SAN FRANCISCO —Toronto band Badbadnotgood brought their jazz-hop sound to the Fillmore Thursday evening. Despite being young, they’ve already worked with established artists like Ghostface Killah, Mick Jenkins and Kaytranada. Although their set was long, it was tremendously well-crafted.
Drummer Alexander Sowinski acted as a kind of emcee for the group, Matthew Tavares offered his talents on the keyboard and Chester Hansen worked the bass guitar like a veteran. At multiple points he and Sowinski teamed up while Tavares and saxophone player Leland Whitty were backstage. At others, Tavares and Sowinski would work together, while Whitty and Sowinski would solo back and forth.
These four men performed like seasoned pros, riffing off each other in a way that only great chemistry and talent will allow. Hansen and Tavares jammed out while Sowinski and Whitty threw their hands up in the air, twisting and turning in mock interpretive dance. BadBadNotGood threw an amazing show, but the two openers Hodgy (formerly Hodgy Beats) and London O’Connor were no slouches.
Despite being brief, O’Connor made great use of his time and set the tone for the show as a whole. He opened sitting next to a 3-foot-tall plastic light-up cube. When the beat dropped on his first song, he hopped atop the box as its psychedelic colors changed. O’Connor spoke of his transitory living situation and his love of crafting ambient music. While he rapped, again from the height of his light cube, its orange and blue light illuminated him from below, as he played a small drum machine.
Hodgy was the first original member of the group Odd Future to release a solo album, back in 2009. The FLOGNAW influence is still very present in his sound, similar to Earl Sweatshirt in flow. But the 26-year-old has definitely come into his own with the release of his latest project Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide. On earlier projects his sound was too close to that of other Odd Future members but tonight, and on the project as a whole, he made it clear that Hodgy is coming into his own.
Rock might be on life support, but jazz and hip-hop are back in a big way, and Thursday they melded into a grandiose display of talent and fun.
Follow columnist Ian Firstenberg at Twitter.com/IanFirstenberg.