Electro, samba, dub, disco and funk fans keep African-inspired beat music alive at the weekly Afrolicious residency in the Mission district’s Elbo Room.
In April, the melting pot of funky beats will turn 6 years old and exceed 300 events, thanks to “an amazing crowd without a doubt,” says co-founder DJ Pleasuremaker.
“The room has amazing, amazing energy,” he says. “These are totally passionate people that love music and want to hear whatever crazy, insane stuff we can come up with.
“You see older and younger hip kids, older veterans of the scene. It’s a real diverse makeup,” he says.
“Really what you see is a lot of people not interested in going to a club where they have to look cool, and act cool. They just are cool,” he says. “I’m sure we’ve all been to a club that’s intimidating, where people aren’t acting nice. I tried to create the antithesis of that from Day 1, and I don’t think people feel shy coming in.”
Born Joe McGuire in Kansas City, Mo., Pleasuremaker grew up with the turntables and radio on. He got his first guitar at 14 and played in a relatively successful band until he started in college radio and followed that with a stint in the radio industry.
He moved to San Francisco in 2006, following his older brother, who spins as Señor Oz.
His idea for an Africa diaspora-inspired party night worked in the Midwest, so he brought it out with him.
Afrolicious, which started in 2007, at its core features DJ sets from Pleasuremaker and Señor Oz. But the party has expanded to include live percussion, vocals and horns.
Afrolicious, performing as a 10-piece act, appears today at Elbo Room and Friday at Public Works.
Last year, Pleasuremaker and Afrolicious toured the country, playing Red Rocks and Burning Man, as well as opening for Thievery Corporation.
Slated for release later this year are an Afrolicious album and an EP with a “more electronic vibe,” says Pleasuremaker, who also has recorded a solo album.
The full-time musician, whose last day job was in A&R for Thievery Corporation, has given up on a “normal” life. He says, “I learned there’s no such thing as security and stability. If you give up on your dreams, you give up on your life.”