David Byrne & Co. drop an ‘Atomic Bomb’ on The Warfield

Atomic-Bomb_David-ByrnePhotos by Marc Fong // Written by Molly Kish //

ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor
Performed by David Byrne, Alexis Taylor, Pat Mahoney, Lijadu Sisters, Kele Okereke, & more
The Warfield — San Francisco
May 6th, 2014 //

Who is William Onyeabor? This question was not only raised but also rectified with authority this past Tuesday night at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco. But first, a bit of background:

Nigerian-born electronic archetype William Onyeabor changed the entire scope of African funk music in the 1970’s, then he went almost completely unnoticed until recent years. Leading an existence shrouded in mystery and seclusion, Onyeabor single-handedly created a prolific sound through his use of rare sequencers and drum machines that, until then, had never been experimented with in his country.

Independently surpassing the technological achievements of the most major record labels of his time, Onyeabor’s groundbreaking advances in electronic music were entirely unrivaled in the contemporary funk music scene. Venturing into new audio territories with the use of MOOG synths, purportedly brought back from an excursion to Eastern Europe, Onyeabor created an infectiously futuristic groove that changed the entire course of electronic music not only in Africa, but on an ingenious level worldwide.


Fast forward to the present as Luaka Bop founder and musical virtuoso David Byrne has unearthed Onyeabor’s self-released eight album discography and organized a top secret live music project called “ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor”, bringing it to life on stage at the Warfield Tuesday for the third time ever.

With an all-star cast of incredible artists, the Atomic Bomb! band took the stage to provide a near-religious experience (mock-secular program included), reviving the spirit of Onyeabor’s body of work. Lending their various talents to the incredible performance, Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip), Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), Pat Mahoney (LCD Soundsystem), Joshua Redman, Money Mark, The Lijadu Sisters and Sinkane (the musical director) were accompanied by Byrne (along with a full horn section and backing band) as an ensemble cast of transitioning singers, each representing their own version of the legend, William Onyeabor.

RELATED STORY: David Byrne & My Tattoo Manifest Destiny


This show included 12 extended songs, and it was surreal watching the incredible super-group collaborate and reinvigorate such an astounding body of work. The stage was never inhabited with less than 6-8 bodies at a time, all of which was continuously reaffirmed with the shoulder-grazing capacity crowd. A cast of characters, each member of the group had their moments to shine, playing off each other as though they had been performing the material together for years. The natural chemistry on stage between the collective, punctuated by quirky exchanges and various levels of individual showmanship, made for a live show that exceeded euphoric expectations.

The caliber of musicianship, paired with the Atomic Bomb! band’s group dynamic, was beyond explanation. Witnessing these pioneering artists reconceive compositions that helped to truly develop their own sound and genre’s place in musical history was incredibly fascinating and something every member of the house could tangibly feel they were part of. The transcendental quality that William Onyeabor set out to achieve through his work years ago not only was recognized this past Tuesday at the Warfield, but expanded upon into a completely otherworldly experience that anyone present will not soon forget.

WKEND MIXTAPE V9: Bonobo • Tycho • James Murphy & Pat Mahoney


Get your WKEND started RIGHT with new mixes from Bonobo & Tycho, along with a throwback mix from James Murphy & Pat Mahoney (formerly LCD Soundsystem).


BonoboEssential Mix

Our first mix comes from Bonobo for BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix. As a highly accomplished producer and DJ he provides us with over two hours of expertly-mixed tunes. Bonobo’s own tracks and remixes show up alongside those from Jungle, Sharon Von Etten, Dark Sky, Jimpster, Will Arcane, Kelis, Martyn, Leatherette, and Vangelis.


TychoFader Mix

Next up is a mix from Tycho for the Fader mix series. This spring-focused mix features tracks from My Bloody Valentine, Casino Versus Japan, Washed Out, Goldroom, Aphex Twin, Com Truise, and more. This is a beautiful mix that shines on days like today.


James Murphy & Pat MahoneyFabriclive 36

We end this week with a classic mix from 2007 posted yesterday by DFA Records. James Murphy & Pat Mahoney, formerly of LCD Soundsystem, offer up an hour of fantastic tracks including those from Instant Funk, GQ, Lenny Williams, Baby Talk, Love Committee, Junior Bryon, City of Women, and LCD Soundsystem. James and Pat offered up a primer for this mix:

“We’re pretty excited. We find doing mix CDs horrifying to a certain degree because there’s nobody there, so it’s just like, “What are we doing?!” It’s like you’re just yelling into the air. We bought an old Bozak for this – the first DJ mixer ever built, hand-built. It sounds incredible. Everything sounds nicer and bigger and smoother and beautiful. The mix itself will have a little bit of stuff that isn’t necessarily what we’d play in a club. But we’d like it to be fun. So we’ll just do it a bunch of times live. Do it until you like it, that’s actually our motto.”


Kick off your weekend early with the House of Mezzanine launch party!


Enter to win a pair of free tickets to this show below.
Click here to buy tickets if you know you want to go!

Mezzanine Presents HOUSE OF MEZZANINE //
Museum of Love featuring Pat Mahoney (LCD Soundsystem) and Dennis McNany (The Juan Maclean), with Curses, Eug, Richie Panic, Kevin Meenan //
Mezzanine — San Francisco
February 20th, 2014 (Thursday) //

San Francisco’s premiere live music venue, known for bringing some of the most innovative and ground breaking names within the electronic and dance music community, debuts their brand new monthly showcase House of Mezzanine this Thursday night! To kick off the HOM series, Mezzanine proudly presents the SF unveiling of DFA legends Pat Mahoney and Dennis McNany’s brand new musical venture, Museum of Love. Supported by a packed bill of talent including New York’s own Gotham House enigma Curses and guest DJ sets by EUG, Richie Panic and DJ Kevin Meenan, this is going to be one hell of a housewarming!


Renowned musicians in their own right, having risen to individual fame through two separate DFA super groups LCD Soundsystem and The Juan Maclean, the Museum of Love duo of Pat Mahoney and Dennis McNany are an audible force to be reckoned with. Combining pristine electro-pop production with both members’ penchants for funky baselines and disco-house beats, Museum of Love features an amalgamation of two of the top tastemakers in the electronic industry’s palates in musical matrimony. Slated to drop their debut album this upcoming April, the pair released lead single “Down South” in October of 2013 to a highly anticipatory fan base and critical acclaim. Enthusiastic for their West Coast debut, Museum of Love will be taking over the Mezzanine Thursday night with an infectious groove, “fixing to blow some doors completely off.”

After a five-year hiatus from his original debut on Istibubes in 2008, East Coast native and “goth-house” godfather Curses revives his unique flow as a supporting agent in this stellar DJ lineup. Attributing his resurrection on the decks to the evocation of his creative spirit during after-hours parties in Brooklyn, Curses decided it was due time to get back on the scene in 2013. After chalking up some studio time while working on several new tracks, Curses debuted a brand new single at last year’s Miami Winter Conference which took off via Radio 1 airplay shortly thereafter and landed him an opening slot on Tensnake’s full North American Tour. Pulling from his repertoire of both original tracks and remixes, Curses’ set will be the perfect segue into his east coast counterparts headlining time slot, warming up the crowd with his provocative nu-industrial dance tracks and ominous vibe.

Other highlights of this stacked bill include guest DJ sets by local staples EUG, Richie Panic and resident DJ on the “Lady Mezzanine” turntables, Kevin Meenan! Offering an eclectic sample of up and coming Bay Area talent from electronic outlets FACE, Lights Down Low and Epicsauce, House of Mezzanine’s launch party covers the latest and greatest of both coastline’s, bringing to you the best in ground breaking dance music, nationwide. There is no better way to start your weekend off early than dancing into the final hours of February 20th, with this line up of electronic elite.

For your chance to partake in the inaugural evening of San Francisco’s hottest new monthly dance party, register to win a pair of tickets below.


Enter to win if you can make it to the House of Mezzanine launch party February 20th at Mezzanine in San Francisco.

Submit your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Thursday, February 20th at Noon. Winners will be picked at random & notified by email. Your email will be kept private – we will share your email with no one. 21+ only.

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