SF Show of the Week // GO4FREE to Cut Chemist at Mezzanine 5/13 (FRI)

Cut ChemistWritten by Nik Crossman //

Cut Chemist with Alligator Spacewalk //
Mezzanine – San Francisco
May 13th, 2016 //

Lucas MacFadden, better known by his stage name Cut Chemist, originally made waves in the Los Angeles hip-hop scene as an avid contributor to Jurassic 5 and through his collaborations with Bay Area instrumental hip-hop/trip-hop producer DJ Shadow in the early 90’s. 

In 2006, MacFadden left J5 and released his debut studio album The Audience’s Listening on Warner Bros. Records, with the title track being used for a worldwide Apple TV commercial promoting its iPod nano product.

Building on his solo fame, Cut Chemist supported Shakira during her “Oral Fixation” tour in 2007, wowing crowds with his unique approach while pushing the limits of the audio-visual world. That same year, he made a cameo appearance as a chemistry teacher in the Academy Award-winning movie “Juno” that comically plays off his academic-sounding moniker.

This Friday, Mezzanine will celebrate seven years of MOM DJs with exclusive remixes and originals of your favorite Motown songs while headliner Cut Chemist and opener Alligator Spacewalk hit the decks. Tickets are available for $25, or you could win a pair of tickets by submitting your full name and email below.

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


Follow Showbams on Twitter for more contest giveaways throughout the week. Be the first to respond to our contest tweets to GO4FREE to these shows:

Too Future: May 12th (THUR) @ 1015 Folsom
Marc Kinchen: May 13th (FRI) @ 1015 Folsom
Hot Buttered Rum: May 13th (FRI) @ The Fillmore
Beat Connection: May 13th (FRI) @ Swedish American Music Hall
Blackalicious: May 13th (FRI) @ Slim’s
TV Girl: May 13th (FRI) @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall
Chris Cohen: May 14th (SAT) @ Swedish American Music Hall
Bob Mould: May 15th (SUN) @ The Independent


Win-2-Tickets

Enter your name (First and Last) along with your email below. If you win a contest, you’ll be notified on the day the contest ends (details above).

Like Showbams on Facebook, follow Showbams on Twitter and follow Showbams on Instagram. Subscribe to our social channels for a better chance to win!

CONTEST CLOSED.

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

New material or not, it’s good to see Jurassic 5 still giving it their all

Jurassic 5By Josh Herwitt //

Jurassic 5 //
Club Nokia – Los Angeles
July 9th, 2015 //

In 2002, Jurassic 5 were on top of the hip-hop world. After achieving moderate success from its first two studio albums, the LA-based group’s third LP Power in Numbers soared to No. 15 on the Billboard 200 thanks, in part, to its hit single “What’s Golden” before other tracks like “Freedom” and “Hey” would later propel the six-piece further into the mainstream.

But by 2006, things had started heading in the wrong direction for the alternative hip-hop collective. DJ/turntablist Lucas Macfadden (Cut Chemist) left the group to focus on his solo career, and J5’s subsequent full-length record Feedback, despite its commercial success, was met by some rather ho-hum reviews. Less than a year later, the group broke up, citing “musical differences” for its decision to call it quits. Each of the remaining members — Charles Stewart (Chali 2na), Dante Givens (Akil), Courtenay Henderson (Zaakir aka Soup), Marc Stuart (Marc 7) and Mark Potsic (DJ Nu-Mark) — went their separate ways after the split, with some pursuing their own individual projects while Henderson was eventually forced to work a job at Nordstorm to make ends meet.

Jurassic 5 - Marc 7


Jurassic 5’s Marc 7

Seven years passed before Jurassic 5 would resurface, though this time it was in front of a packed crowd on the polo fields of Indio, Calif. The group’s Coachella performance in 2013 would signal a reunion of sorts, one that has continued through the first half of 2015 with shows overseas in Australia, New Zealand and Japan prior to this summer’s headlining U.S. tour, which featured a hometown date at Club Nokia last Thursday night.

And although Jurassic 5 hasn’t released any new material besides the Heavy D-produced track “The Way We Do It” last year, they still sound just as tight as they did in their early-2000’s heyday. In its native LA, the group appeared to be in high spirits from the minute it walked on stage. Chali 2na, arguably the group’s most beloved emcee among fans due to his deep baritone voice and remarkable rhyming ability, looked like his old cheerful and playful self, flowing effortlessly while flashing his great, big smile in between verses.

Jurassic 5 - Chali 2na


Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na

The DJ battle that ensued midway through J5’s set, meanwhile, reminded both new and old fans that the talent within the group extends equally from the front to the back of the stage. Because for as gifted as DJ Nu-Mark is, it’s hard to think of Jurassic 5 without picturing Cut Chemist behind the decks. During the few months that the group performed without him after his departure, something felt missing. It’s that relationship between DJ and emcee, after all, that makes iconic hip-hop groups like J5 so special to experience in a live setting, even more than two decades after they were formed.

At Club Nokia, Jurassic 5 never showed their age. They hit upon just about every big track they ever released and even welcomed legendary rapper Percee P to the stage late in their encore. But as nostalgic as it was hearing tracks like “Jayou”, ” The Influence”, “Quality Control” and “Improvised” more than a decade after they were written, Jurassic 5 won’t be able to live off them forever. Whether it’s next year or the year after, there will come a time when the group’s members will have no choice but to re-enter the studio and assemble a new record — if not to generate more radio play, then to at least continue touring. For now though, all six seem happy to be performing together again and similarly, so do their fans.

Going inside the mind of a hip-hop hero with Cut Chemist

cut-chemist_postBy Josh Herwitt //

Lucas MacFadden has been collecting vinyl for more than 30 years. That is his job, after all.

The renowned turntablist, who his fans know better as Cut Chemist, has scratched and sampled his way to the top of the DJ world over the past 20 years, thanks in part to his work with Latin funk/hip-hop/rock outfit Ozomatli and 90’s alternative hip-hop pioneers Jurassic 5.

But neither MacFadden nor hip-hop would be anywhere near where they are today without the lifelong contributions of Afrika Bambaataa — and MacFadden would be the first to tell you that himself.

“It was all his vision for an entire culture,” he explained to me one day over the phone last week.

Afrika Bambaataa

That culture, hip-hop, would be characterized by more than just the music it fostered, as graffiti artists and break dancers found their calling during the late 70’s. But with street gangs and drug dealers also holding court in the South Bronx, it was Bambaataa’s hope for a different way of life, a peaceful way of life that transcended both its time and place.

“He was very active in the community in going from gangs to art, gangs to music and having that impact his community,” MacFadden continued on. “The groups that I’ve been involved with throughout my life have done the same thing. It’s no question why I gravitate toward people with those ethics.”

What ultimately lured MacFadden into Bambaataa’s world, though, was the legendary DJ’s fascination with the past and present — from royal space garbs to Native American headdresses — as strange as it may have seemed for a young, white boy first learning about hip-hop culture at the age of 12.

“He represented some other-worldly figure,” MacFadden remembered. “It was a representation of the past and the future in a way where it just seemed like he was in total control of the present. That was something I never experienced before, and I didn’t know how to comprehend that.”

Afrika Bambaataa

Just days after my interview with Cut Chemist, it’s nearly impossible to escape the net that Bambaattaa has cast wide over pop culture as I watch half chef, half television star Anthony Bourdain chat with “The Godfather” on the newest episode of his CNN show “Parts Unknown.” The brief exchange between Bourdain and Bambaattaa reminds me of some of the topics MacFadden and I discussed, including Bambaataa’s appreciation for Kraftwerk (he sampled the group in his 1982 hit “Planet Rock”) at a time when no one else in the U.S. even knew who they were.

“Just to take Kraftwerk and have the foresight to go, ‘You know, that’s a really cool song. I’m going to play that at the park,’” MacFadden said toward the end of our interview. “He brought Kraftwerk to the street. It’s crazy.”

It’s why when New York-based writer Johan Kugelberg first came to Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow (aka Josh Davis) with the idea of putting on a nationwide tour that would feature strictly Bambaataa’s historic archive of more than 40,000 records, the two beat makers didn’t think twice.

“I’ve already taken away more than I could have ever imagined,” MacFadden told me at one point during our conversation, even with more than a handful of shows to go on the 25-date “Renegades of Rhythm” tour that wrapped up October 9th in Vancouver.

DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist

At the Hollywood Palladium on a Friday night, a crowd of mostly 30-40-year-olds packs the dance floor, soaking up everything that MacFadden and Davis throw its way — whether it’s the Latin, African, Calypso or Soca grooves that Bambaataa once introduced as leader of the famed Universal Zulu Nation — over the course of a 90-plus-minute set.

The performance, which eventually ventured deeper into Bambaataa’s extensive catalog, would serve as an important reminder that hip-hop music and the culture many of us associate with it now has changed quite a bit, for better or worse, since Bambaataa’s heyday. But that doesn’t mean Bambaataa’s impact still can’t be felt to this day.

“I want people to know about Afrika Bambaataa as a person and as a figure that has contributed more to modern music than anybody else I can think of,” MacFadden replied when I ask him what he wanted his fans to take away from the “Renegades of Rhythm” shows.

In all likelihood, there never will be another Afrika Bambaataa. As two of hip-hop’s most prominent DJs today, Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow understand that better than most people.

Yet, in paying the utmost respect to one of music’s greatest living legends over the last six weeks, they have proved to be worthy of at least some of the admiration and praise Bambaataa has warranted for almost 45 years. Because you never know — one day, two other talented DJs may just choose to honor MacFadden and Davis with a tribute tour of their own.

cut-chemist_1

DJ Shadow

DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist

WKEND MIXTAPE: Cut Chemist – American Pie: Fall Backwards

Cut Chemist

Los Angeles native Cut Chemist brings us this week’s mix with a deep blend of psych folk and rock selections. Created last fall to give thanks to the harvest of music that was recorded in this country, you’ll find an hour of music perfect for the season.

Cut Chemist is a founding member of Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli. He is also a co-creator of Brainfreeze with DJ Shadow.

For more mixes from Cut Chemist check out his Soundcloud page.