DJ Cam, Blockhead, DJ Vadim, May & Saunderson
DJ CAM'S NOT-SO-MAD BLUNTED JAZZ, BLOCKHEAD'S DOWNTOWN SCIENCE
Back in the '90s, France's DJ Cam was one of the world's most accomplished producers of what people sincerely called "triphop." Full-lengths like Mad Blunted Jazz, Substances, and The Beat Assassinated came packed with tracks that coupled DJ Premier's rugged funk and DJ Shadow's filmic, melodic sophistication. Like many of his peers, though, Cam couldn't sustain that lofty level of quality. On his latest album, Seven, the somewhat inevitable mellowing process seeps into his productions, as do bland, songwriterly ballads sung by guest vocalists Chris James, Nicolette, and Inlove. Oh, well; let's hope Cam sprinkles his set tonight with some of his killer Clinton-era jams. Blockhead (Aesop Rock beat manufacturer James Anthony Simon) similarly trawls in funky, cinematically expansive cuts that have made Ninja Tune (Block's label) an institution with humans who like to nod their noggins. With Suttikeeree and DJ Sean Cee. Chop Suey, 9 pm, $12, 21+.
2 OUT OF DETROIT'S BIG 3 TECHNO PIONEERS AIN'T BAD
Having the chance to catch Detroit techno originators Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson perform together is a bit like witnessing Chuck Berry and Little Richard on a package tour. (Too bad Juan Atkins couldn't come, too.) Granted, both May and Saunderson's creative peaks as producers occurred about 20 years ago, but they're still dynamic presences on the decks. Saunderson's January gig at Re-bar was a sweaty celebration of his uncanny floor-filling instincts, as he blended feel-good, vocal-heavy anthems with more introspective, structurally edgier cuts. As a DJ, May has shown a nimble dexterity, bridging old club classics with newer elite material, keeping things both soulful and sonically advanced, banging and sophisticatedly orchestral. Tonight you have the rare opportunity to get down to some serious birthplace-of-techno business. With Nordic Soul. Neumos, 8 pm, $15 adv, 21+.
DJ VADIM, THE RUSSIAN PERCUSSION CZAR
DJ Vadim is Russia's foremost export of off-kilter hiphop instrumentals. True, it's not a crowded field, but Vadim's proved himself to be a prolific provider of whimsically unconventional productions—especially via his Ninja Tune releases and those on his own Jazz Fudge label, under the names Andre Gurov and Little Aida—for a dizzying array of rappers, toasters, and singers. Vadim's tracks invariably offer a panoply of surprising, exotic textures within the context of myriad styles (funk, dub, baile, R&B, etc.). Dude can scratch like mad, too. With Truckasauras, Graintable, WD4D, Al Nightlong. Chop Suey, 9 pm, $10, 21+.