Plaid is a sweet chime from the past. The UK duo Ed Handley and Andy Turner played to a devoted crowd at Mezzanine in San Francisco on Friday night. They started in with a long drawn out experimental weave of darkly twisted undertones crisscrossed with a foreplay of very deep bass lines before the official dropping in of their more danceable and utterly blissful schemes. Besides the occasional cat call, everyone appeared to be quietly engaged. From backstage I could see that crowd were focused on every sound, occasionally throwing in little nods of approval and cracking big smiles. I overheard a lot of people reminiscing of past Plaid experiences. It was a crowd of nostalgic ravers and newbies that sense the authenticity of Plaid’s style.
Plaid has been producing electronic music for 20 years. Originally inspired by breakdancing, hip hop, and the Detroit techno movement, their music has a lot of electro and b-boy flare. However, many of their releases have made it onto Warp Records–the British indie label that houses notable experimental acts like Autechre, Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. To this day, Andy and Ed have the knack for balancing out darkness, melancholy, and euphoria; the typical emotional gambit for an all night party in a sketchy abandoned warehouse back in the day. There music conjures feelings of past distorted memories. You might have to go down a dark path to find them, but then you hear these chimes that trigger memories, dreams of the past, or maybe a really euphoric futuristic world. Oh, wait – could that be the present?
-Written by Beatrice Lazar and Photographed by Cabure Bonugli