An animated crowd gathered at 1015 Folsom for some energizing midweek house music mayhem with London DJ group The 2 Bears this past Wednesday. The dance floor instantly snapped into a bobbing and dipping mass of happy faces as soon as the guys hit the decks, and the good times rolled on late into the night.
The 2 Bears is a collaboration effort between Joe Goddard of Hot Chip fame and fellow UK producer Raf Rundell, and they expertly served up a tasty set of foot tapping house beats with smooth and soulful vocals thrown sporadically in the mix for good measure. There’s been some well-deserved buzz around The 2 Bears because it’s an interesting side project between two very musically obsessed producers that take great care in both piecing together great dance tracks and curating tasteful DJ set lists. The duo is also on the Coachella lineup this year, with Goddard impressively playing a second set with Hot Chip as well during the weekend. San Francisco is always happy to host Coachella bands before or after they head to the desert, and this was definitely the ‘Fauxchella’ show that I was most excited about checking out this year.
The 2 Bears did live up to the hype at 1015 Folsom, and it was a solid night of music. The atmosphere of this show was very infectiously positive as well, and it was just a great place to soak up lively vibes for a few hours. Goddard and Rundell looked to be having a great time during the performance as they high fived and danced their way through the set, and this sentiment was magnified out over the audience. The tone of each track was just different enough so that the set was both a dynamic but also cohesive experience, and there was never a lull in the action. House drum rhythms mixed with piano accented notes that bled into many synth layers. The resulting meld of sounds couldn’t help but add a bounce in your step.
The crowd responded most enthusiastically to the performance of the album title track “Be Strong,” a pulsing ode to music and it’s captivating influence on life. “Bear Hug” was also a fan favorite, and the down to earth spoken lyrics from Rundell were neat to hear live and unprocessed as a contrast to the down-pitched bearlike vocals in the recorded track. The simple but effective two-step beat formed a solid foundation for experimental dancing and people got really into the groove.
Many times at the end of a 3am weeknight out dancing, it’s understandable to be left a bit tired and ready to head home, but this show had a really energizing and seemed to have a renewing effect on me and many other people in the crowd. I hung around a bit and met similarly enthusiastic people and we all just basked in the glow of how nice the set had been. I was in such a good mood that I offered my couch to one of these new friends who had missed the last BART train back to the East Bay. In retrospect, we should have all bear hugged it out to thank Goddard and Rundell for putting on such a fun night. I’d definitely recommend catching a performance from these guys in the future, and be sure to stop by the new Yuma club-like tent at Coachella and soak up some beats if you’re headed out there this weekend.