It's hard to believe that we're almost 20 years removed from DJ Shadow's breakthrough MoWax single "Lost and Found (S.F.L.)." Not just because abstract, downtempo instrumental hip-hop still seems like a pretty contemporary development, but because Shadow himself carries a sort of ageless quality around him. From micro-press psychedelic oddities to the dustiest corners of fusion jazz, those energetic mutations have made him a sort of Herbie Hancock of the MPC and put a characteristic stamp on career-defining albums like Endtroducing..... and The Private Press. But he also seems ageless because he keeps up, even at the risk of alienating the part of his fanbase still waiting breathlessly for him to reendtroduce his '96 self. Engaging with the cream of Bay Area hyphy rappers on 2006's The Outsider or flipping rock crossover from metal to new wave to indie-pop on 2011's underrated The Less You Know, the Better may not have drawn favorable critical comparisons to his early work. But so what? As long as Shadow keeps moving forward — and bringing the pyrotechnic, catalogue-transforming thrills that make him a must-see live act — he'll be worth getting excited about. 18+.
Thu., May 2, 8 p.m., 2013
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