It’s rare for a musician to so instantly have a finger on the night’s pulse, but SG Lewis knew how to get everyone’s heart rates up.
On tour for his latest album AudioLust & HigherLove, SG Lewis whisked his eager San Francisco audience away April 7 to a paradise of scintillating electronica. Known for his deep house hits and high-profile pop collaborations, the English singer-producer ushered in an evening of breezy dynamism, marking the first of two special headline shows at The Warfield.
The moment he emerged on stage at the historic downtown venue, hands flew up and chatter turned to cheers. As the slow, dramatic burn of “Intro” metamorphosed into the signature shooting synths of “Infatuation,” Lewis appeared on stage with a guitar slung across his chest.
High above a sea of sloshing drinks and floral shirts, the musician greeted San Francisco with a wide smile. “You look beautiful tonight,” he crooned into his mic, the opening lyric complimenting his audience. Red light flooded The Warfield to the song’s glamorous zeal, and as if flying on his synth, Lewis put his arms out to mimic wings.
Whether he was bobbing his head or closing his eyes to the beat, Lewis seemed to get swept up in his own music throughout the show — his welcoming presence encouraged getting lost together. His onstage passion in turn fueled his audience’s energy; even from his private turntable-flanked stage on top of the main stage, Lewis was anything but distant.
(His fans were perhaps a little too impassioned at times, however. “A horny fan!” Lewis laughed with delight, gesturing as heads turned. In the middle of the floor, a horny fan desperately fluttered a paper fan that read “horny” in block letters.)
Although Lewis’ album explores lust and love in a two-pronged approach, his live performance felt singular. His set’s cohesion steered smoothly, channeling the audience’s restless energy into an impassioned rhythm. While Lewis held firm control of the night’s atmosphere, everything still felt carefree.
Throughout the night, Lewis swiveled from mixers to mic with tenacity, habit guiding his hands. He was both graceful and playful at once, sinking into groovy splendor as he flitted across his turntables. His mixed arrangements bled together seamlessly, from the sudsy, insouciant “Missing You” to the jaunty farewell of “Oh Laura.” Echoey vocals from Tove Lo, Channel Tres, Nile Rodgers, Lucky Daye and more collaborators fluttered in and out, adding narrative to Lewis’ textured electronic spiral.
With no time to waste, Lewis guided the night with expertise. His Daft Punk and Tame Impala influences at the forefront, he sloshed through warm ’80s psychedelia and yacht rock, infusing his set with overcast intensity as he jumped genres. Foaming with funky alternative R&B to disco-tinged synth pop, the evening spilled over like a fever dream.
Toward the end of his set, Lewis hopped off his mixer platform, surprising his audience during his final run of crowd pleasers. He commanded the edge of the stage as his popular reimagination of the Bee Gees’ classic “More Than A Woman” charmed with delightful soul. Back-to-back “One More” and “Another Life” blithely pirouetted through rhapsody — all before bliss rose to the beachy groove of “Lifetime.”
“I’ve been waiting for a lifetime,” Lewis sang, “to tell you I love you!” The sweet, brazen declaration was the epiphany the evening needed, and its unblushing frankness filled The Warfield with jubilation.
Satisfying his audience one last time with an encore, the singer-producer returned to the stage for a final rendition: “Chemicals” exploded with devil-may-care vibrancy, and indeed, his performance was nothing short of intoxicating.