Live: Gorillaz and aftershow party with Dan The Automator DJ set in SF

A busy night was in store last Thursday, as it was time for the live Bay Area debut of
Gorillaz followed by a Gorillaz aftershow party at popscene, with a one
hour DJ set from Dan The Automator. The Warfield stage was covered with
two huge video screens, the top one playing Gorillaz videos and random
animated snippets involving band members 2D, Murdoc,
Noodle and Russel, while the bottom screen was translucent, with some
animation being projected upon it, but primarily for the use of occasionally seeing the
backlit band playing through it. It was definitely an interesting idea and the plan worked
flawlessly. The music and animation nuggets were in synch and you could catch
Damon Albarn and company silhouetted when the lighting was right through the
bottom screen.

The set was a short one hour in duration, with most of the self-titled album's strongest
tracks given the live work-over. "19-2000," "Clint Eastwood," "M1 A1," "Tomorrow
Comes Today," and "Rock The House" were all in effect, although, sadly,
Russel's raps were not provided by Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, who
dropped them on the initial wax, but instead performed flawlessly by Philadelphia rapper Jamal
The Last Emperor. It is doubtful anyone in the crowd knew the difference. For the
encores, I knew the band were going to repeat tracks already played during the set, but it
didn't make it any less annoying to hear "M1 A1" and "Clint Eastwood" again, nor did it
stop the ever-increasing flow of headz out the door when they got wise to the fact.
Regardless, for a show as hard to pull off as this highly expensive tour stop, it was a
rousing success.

Next up was the aftershow party at popscene. Dan was due to hit the decks at 2
AM, but with the Gorillaz show ending super early at 10:15 PM, we figured he'd
make it over to the club before then. And make it he did, although not alone. The entire
Gorillaz posse came over, including Damon (who has quite the scruffy
beard going, causing me to joke with him "are you Damon Albarn or Damon
(Badly Drawn Boy) Gough?", to which he laughed and responded that since he was
in the States, he hadn't found time to shave. Find it, please) and animator Jamie
Hewlett, along with Beth Orton, who was hanging with the band. Later
arrivals included Chino Moreno of the Deftones, a semi-regular attendee
of the club, and The Automator's bandmate in Lovage, Kid
Koala. The sight of Damon dancing onstage to britpop gems, before being
whisked off by his minder after being mobbed by fans is one I won't forget soon, nor
will I forget Dan and Beth dancing on stage at the beginning of
Dan's set at 1:30 AM. He spun mostly hip-hop and dance tracks, but the kids
weren't there for the music, they were there for the spectacle, and having Beth,
Damon and Jamie all on the side of the stage dancing and joking around
just added to it. When Dan brought Jamal on stage to rap over the vinyl
of "Clint Eastwood," the crowd erupted and as he wound down his set, it was evident to
most in attendance that this was one of the best after gig parties in recent memory. I
wouldn't have missed it for the world...

Live: Gorillaz and aftershow party with Dan The Automator DJ set in SF