Fewer than a thousand beatheads are clutching coveted tickets to a once-in-a-lifetime DJ night Friday at
103 Harriet in San Francisco.
Iconic producer and artist DJ Shadow is scheduled to emerge from his North Bay enclave for a rare, intimate sold-out DJ set. The Marin-based producer and DJ can draw tens of thousands at major festivals. This weekend, he'll headline “Low End Theory SF,” becoming the biggest artist to spin at the monthly beat music gathering.
"DJ Shadow is the Big Kahuna for us," says Daddy Kev, “Low End Theory” co-founder and resident DJ. “And we've booked a lot of heavy people.”
Shadow's body of work is the sonic cornerstone of the 6-year-old Low End Theory movement. Centered on a monthly DJ night in Los Angeles, the group of avant-garde DJs has championed risky, thoughtful bass music, helping launch the career of Flying Lotus and others. The global rep of L.A.’s “Low End Theory” night draws visitors such as Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Erykah Badu and James Blake.
"I want to go as far as to say that Low End Theory wouldn't have ever even existed without DJ Shadow's ‘Endtroducing’ album,” Daddy Kev says.
Released in 1996 by a shy, former UC Davis student named Josh Davis, “Endtroducing” is a meticulous, intelligent sonic pastiche, which It launched Shadow to the forefront of global electronic music.
"I'm a huge fan of all the albums, but that particular one, it was just like, the world stopped,” says Daddy Kev, adding “before ‘Endtroducing’ came out, there wasn't an instrumental hip hop or beat album that anyone took serious as an album."
This weekend’s show came together in typical Shadow fashion, says Daddy Kev. Fellow resident DJ Gaslamp Killer befriended Davis in 2011. Shadow attended two Low End Theory SF nights in 2012 anonymously, "just blending in with the scenery".
Then he audited the L.A. event. "He didn't say anything to anybody, didn't talk to anybody, literally just went for the beats and then bounced, and had a phenomenal time."
At a third San Francisco show, a deal was struck. The confirmation call, "was a 'pinch me' moment," Daddy Kev says. "It just feels like the first time all over again."
Friday's event also features Teebs, Free the Robots, Odd Nosdam, Ages and DJ Dials, plus the Low End residents.
"We're trying to bring out our big guns to this one," he says.