On Wednesday night the Soft Moon returned to San Francisco for its first show since the release of its Sacred Bones debut Criminal, joined by Boy Harsher and Cube at the Independent. Those who braved the rain were treated to a night of satisfying synths, boisterous beats, and complimentary spirits courtesy of Luis Vasquez.
Cube opened with a foggy hardware-and-vocals set stationed between four static screens. I had missed Boy Harsher’s previous San Francisco show so I was pretty excited to check out their live set. Taking full advantage of the Independent’s superior sound and lighting, the duo delivered on all fronts. Augustus Muller was armed with a spread of synths, switches and hardware, as Jae Matthews delivered lead vocals with decisive poise. Filling the room with deep, pulsing basslines under red and blue lights, Boy Harsher ended a solid set with their rhythmic single “Pain.”
Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Luis Vasquez lead the Soft Moon trio through an energetic headlining set of industrial post-punk, starting with the title track from Criminal. Backed by a drummer and a synth/bass player, Vasquez handled lead guitar and vocals, switching over to keys and percussion on certain songs. The band seamlessly incorporated tracks from the new album into its standard Captured Tracks song list, introducing San Francisco to dark, introspective songs like “Choke,” “Give Something,” “The Pain,” and “Burn.” Vasquez is a seasoned performer and a man of many talents, impressing the crowd with dexterous hand-drumming and guitar playing, concluding with the thunderous percussion-driven encore “Want.”
“I fucking love you San Francisco! I used to live out here,” Vasquez told the sold out-crowd. He would also “Cheers!” us several times until he decided that we didn’t have enough to drink, offering the audience a whiskey bottle which fans passed between each other. The Independent is the perfect venue to catch acts like the Soft Moon and Boy Harsher, with bellowing synth lines and moody lighting washing over the floor for a dark and rainy night of dancing and catharsis.