Thunderheist, Tenderlions @ 103 Harriett, 1/23/09

Isis from Thunderheist to the doorman: “Hi, I’m the performer. Can you let me in?”

Doorman: “ID.”

Isis: “But I’m the performer.”

Doorman: “No.” Shakes head.

Isis: “Well I guess I’m not performing tonight!”

103 Harriett is really just the side entrance to the cavernous 1015 Folsom. Apparently the club was in need of some major rebranding. Now instead of entering on the slightly dangerous but usually busy Folsom side, I gotta walk down an alley in the dark.

After we were let in, leaving Thunderheist waiting outside, we queued up along a staircase- a line of what could best be described as SF’s finest tastemakers. Wearing various degrees of ugly chic, from a Cruella DeVille coat, to Party Monster man makeup, to an Indiana Jones hat, to the multi-hued Burner gypsy dolls. And then there was me, wearing the same latex tights as Isis. I win.

“slightly darkbeat dance music, peppered with some early ’90s hooks”

Tenderlions were hitting the stage when we walked in. Tenderlions is two guys hunched over laptops, bouncing in ’80s geek wear. Seriously, that striped tank top was ridic. They cranked out some good, slightly darkbeat dance music, peppered with some early ’90s hooks. Tank top was beating the drum sticks on his laptop/drum machine, and occasionally moved over to a small drum setup off to the side. Problem was, I couldn’t hear any of that. It didn’t seem like it added anything to the music, though I wanted it to. However, the beats got the kids dancing. The spacious dancefloor gave way to many inspired moves that one would not be able to pull off in the more traditional tiny SF venue. This other kid kept coming out on stage- a hype man that we dubbed Asian Garth- and he was hilarious. The set kept going and going- way too long for this opener in my opinion- they played for about an hour.

By then it was 12:15, slightly late for an act to come out that hasn’t even dropped their first record yet. But, there was still an impressive showing- the floor was mostly full of a captive audience. Isis, whose presence is Grace Jones-esque, gets on stage and tries to talk to the crowd but the DJ won’t cut the track. When she is finally able to speak, she talks about how it is snowing where they are from in Canada, and that she is so happy to be in SF where she can wear clothes like this. Then she expressed her excitement for Obama. She introduced the other half of Thunderheist, Grahm, and they got on with their set. They must have played every song from their upcoming album.

thunderheist

Thunderheist

“It’s like two girls kissing- it’s kinda hot”

The first couple tracks could be deemed Electro R&B, showing off Isis’ pipes. The rest became Electro Hip Hop, booty shakers by nature. The crowd is eating it up, especially the front row who seem to be almost harassing her with their enthusiasm. She played them off well. The set was filled with a kind of subdued energy that fit well with the music- it’s seductive, or as Isis introduced one track: “It’s like two girls kissing- it’s kinda hot”. The set ended with ‘Jerk It’, where they let the crowd join them on stage.

crowd

Thunderheist crowd

Thunderheist fits nicely into a niche dance category close to The Bug, Santogold, M.I.A., and even Peaches. Not a bad place to be at all. Expect them to blow up in the next six months.

OVERALL: 7.75/10
Thunderheist performance: 8.25/10
Tenderlions performance: 6.5/10
venue (103 Harriett): 7/10
crowd/scene: 7/10
value ($10.00/ticket): 9/10
memorable: 7/10

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