Three Must-See Acts This Week

J. Phlip, Five Alarm Funk, and Deafheaven


J. Phlip (Dirtybird) with Mikey Lion (Desert Hearts) and Fritz Carlton (Desert Hearts)

9:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 11, at Public Works. $22;

One decade after her Dirtybird Records debut, J. Phlip has taken over a role as one of the label’s leading artists with her distinct brand of bassline-driven techno. Born Jessica Phillippe, the DJ-turned-producer began her journey into dance music during her freshman year at University of Illinois, swapping her initial plans of becoming a systems engineer for a different type of engineering, one specifically geared for the dance floor. After winning a remix competition in 2005, Phillippe moved to Chicago to immerse herself in club culture, eventually finding her way to San Francisco where she connected with Dirtybird, releasing her hard-hitting debut single “Rumble Rumble” in 2008. With sights on mastering her craft, Phillippe spent three years DJing in Berlin, techno’s Mecca, and left with a deeper understanding of dance music and the role of a DJ. Although Phillippe is an accomplished producer, she considers herself a DJ first, distancing herself from the glut of modern dance producers who are subpar DJs, saying in an interview with VICE, “When I am playing CDs, I like to mix as if I’m playing vinyl. I like to keep it feeling old-school.” Old-school is one way to describe Phillippe’s style, but being an ace curator with plenty of experience under her belt, she reminds listeners what a true DJ ought to sound like.

Five Alarm Funk


Five Alarm Funk

9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 10, at Boom Boom Room. $7;

What started as a loose collective of like-minded musicians who felt there was a lack of funk in their hometown of Vancouver eventually became one of the genre’s most formidable forces. Five Alarm Funk didn’t come into existence overnight; the group slowly grew into its current eight-piece ensemble after drummer and vocalist Tayo Branston met guitarist Gabe Boothroyd at a house party in 2003 where they decided to jam together on the spot. With no other mission than to rock out house parties, other musicians naturally found their way in. The hype surrounding Five Alarm Funk spread throughout Canada, and the ensemble quickly realized they started something bigger than any of them could initially imagine. The release of last year’s Sweat, Five Alarm Funk’s sixth studio album, was a benchmark that earned the band a nomination for “Best Instrumental Album” at the 2018 Juno Awards, and caught the ear of funk-icon Bootsy Collins, who would go on to collaborate with the group on their recently released single “We Play The Funk.” Despite their success in the studio, Five Alarm Funk’s natural habitat is on stage. As Branston said in an interview with Canadian Beats, “The shows are a constant barrage of groove, melody, intensity, and fun. Be prepared to dance, smile, laugh, and get in a killer workout.”




8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 14, at August Hall. $22.50;

While Deafheaven was not the first band to combine the intensity of black metal with sweeping post-rock breakdowns and shoegaze-drenched guitars, no other band has done so in the refined manner as the Bay Area quartet over the course of their existence. Yet, despite near-unanimous critical praise for all four of their excellent studio albums, Deafheaven have divided listeners, as metalheads dismissed the group as “too soft,” with the Pitchfork-crowd turned off by the band’s blistering aggression. But the group is abundantly clear that they do not play to cater to a certain scene, and aware of their polarizing nature, are a creative force who truly operate outside the artistic-limitations of adhering to a single genre. Sunbather, Deafheaven’s astounding 2013 sophomore album, is not only one of the decade’s highest praised albums, but is representative of the increasingly dynamic nature of heavy music, and perhaps a subtle commentary on the futility of genre-purism. Last month saw the release of Deafheaven’s fourth album, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, and hears the band doubling down on their metal-roots, yet comfortably expanding their sound into previously untraveled sonic territory, leaving one with the impression that the band has evolved into a singular-behemoth that is immune to existential pressure. For the band, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love is the beginning of a new era of Deafheaven, as vocalist George Clarke explains in an interview with Revolver, “This, to me, feels like a seminal record. I see the first three albums almost as like a trilogy, encapsulating our 20s. This feels like a fresh start in a way. It feels new.”

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