SAN FRANCISCO — For Hawaiian DJ and producer Mr. Carmack, sounds speak just as loud as words. At least that was the case for his set at the Rickshaw Stop on Wednesday. With lush soundscapes, Mr. Carmack led the sold-out crowd through an ever-evolving flow of sensations, from cathartic rushes to celestial musings.
Leading up to the show, Mr. Carmack mingled with fans trickling into the venue. He took the stage as the evening settled in and got things rolling with ambient pulses. After a long instrumental intro, he sang, “I wish that I could be myself again,” and continued to unravel his rarely heard vocal talent.
On top of occasional singing, Mr. Carmack had a stage set-up different from past performances. Usually, he works his magic over a couple Macbooks and synths. But for this run of shows, he’s switched things up with live instruments. Whether he took to his Nord keyboard, synths, or trumpet, it was as if he had the world at his fingertips. Seamlessly, he brought fans to synchronized motion. Heads bobbed to the beat, hands swayed in waves and all seemed lost in each captivating note.
The second song took an abrupt pause: “This song is called ‘Don’t Waste My Time.’ How are you doing, San Francisco?” Mr. Carmack interjected, setting off cheers.
The rest of his set proved to encompass a hybrid of different genres. At times, he highlighted the amplified throbs of house music, and other times, the colorful chimes of vaporwave. He’d also embellish tracks with ballad-like keyboard parts and a smooth trumpet tone.
Perhaps the sonic fusion is what makes Mr. Carmack’s music most entrancing; because it’s a palpable reflection of what’s on his mind. It lives up to his motto: “Make music like no one’s listening.” But if his San Francisco performance indicated anything, his fans are all ears.
— Chloe Catajan
Follow photographer Daniel Lee at Instagram.com/danyolsan.