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If Your Friends Tell You Horse Feathers is Average Live, Your Friends are Wrong

12/05/2014

Horse Feathers is great rainy day music. (They’ve been a staple for me in the weather we’ve had the past few days in the Bay.) But I was warned they give only an average live performance. With that looming in the back of my mind, I walked in to their show at Great American Music Hall. What they gave was a performance that was anything but average and left my comrade, who knew nothing about the group before that evening, saying that this was the first live show in a year worth going to.

The architecture of the building is gorgeously reminiscent of 1920s grandeur. People lounged at cocktail tables sipping whiskeys, enjoying the syrupy voice of opener Sara Jackson-Holman. Her haunting crooning complemented the speakeasy ambiance. Read More

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Trentemøller’s Electro-Industrial Thanksgiving Treat @ The Fillmore

12/04/2014

Last week, we locked ourselves in a familial cage and stuffed our faces with turkey until our eyes popped out and we swore to never, ever go back for fifths again for the rest of our lives. (Didn’t we learn this last year? And the year before?) A couple days earlier, Copenhagen-based multi-instrumentalist and bootstrapping badass Trentemøller stopped by The Fillmore to send us off into the weekend with more than just turkey and tears. This was one of the last shows supporting the touring cycle for last year’s Lost album, and I can tell you right now the band is still picking up steam, even as the tour winds down.

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Giveaway + Interview: Dustin Brown of NTNT on Portland Music Scene, Yeasayer and Being a SF Tourist

12/02/2014

Saturday December 13th, Portland-based NTNT will bring a little bit of the Pacific Northwest and a lot of synthed up indie pop to Neck of the Woods. They are sharing the stage with local act Scissors for Lefty and Dangermaker in what is bound to be a high energy, dance heavy billing.

The only thing that could make your Saturday night better is getting into the show for free, and we have you covered there. Enter below (it takes maybe a minute) and you will be entered to win a pair of tickets.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Gods Bring Rain, Smallpools and Magic Man to San Francisco

11/25/2014

It poured last Thursday evening in the city, and the fortunate ones found refuge at The Independent. I welcome being stuck indoors if the entertainment includes Panama Wedding, Magic Man, and Smallpools.

Panama Wedding got the night started, and I can’t stress enough how surprisingly good these guys were. They played a rich set highlighted by some of the smoothest vocals I’ve heard in a while, courtesy of lead singer Peter Kirk. They are a moderately bouncy synth pop band, but they bring a decidedly softer, more soulful sound to the stage. I could write a whole review just on the New York based foursome, but I know they will be back as headliners sooner rather than later, so for now, if you want a taste, have a listen to one of my personal favorites, “All of the People.”  Read More

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Noah Gunderson, The Wild Reeds and Angelo De Augustine @ The Chapel

11/25/2014
Angelo De Augustine would probably say this was his worst show ever. But between apologies for being sick, coughs, and gulps of water, Angelo gave the most sincere, vulnerable performance of the night. Opening for a crowd that’s clearly there for guitar-driven indie folk-rock when your message must be conveyed in a whisper and a warble isn’t something I’d wish on anyone. Despite talking through most of his set, though, the crowd tried to be encouraging, and clapped hard for an opener they could barely hear above the martini shaker. Angelo’s music is quietly ambitious, weaving a world equally home to Elliott Smith, Hobbits, Elves, and Jose Gonzales. It is very much his own, and he deftly draws you into it. There’s no doubt he’ll be in town next as a headliner.

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Noise Pop 2015 Lineup Announced, Features Caribou, Slow Magic, Cathedrals and Many More

11/20/2014

Noise Pop is returning February 20th through March 1st to showcase great music and art here in San Francisco.

The initial lineup has some amazing acts including Caribou who recently released the killer LP Our Love. We will also see sets from Craft Spells who stopped in SF this summer on tour, masked percussion maniac Slow Magic, and local electronic duo Cathedrals. We can’t forget Dan Deacon, who is always amazing and blew us away at Noise Pop 2011 with his crazy collection of noise making devices.

You can buy Early Bird and Super Fan badges now here. Individual concerts go on sale tomorrow (11/21) at noon PT.

The full list in order of billing:
Caribou
Dan Deacon
Slow Magic
Giraffage
The Church
Craft Spells
Cherry Glazerr
No Joy
Jessica Pratt
The Black Ryder
Cathedrals
Six Organs of Admittance
Tony Molina
Spazzkid

 

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Story Time With Slick Rick @ Public Works

11/19/2014

MC Melina Jones served as Slick Rick The Ruler’s Bay Area ambassador, and along with DJs Supreme and Pos Red, had the dance party popping off for a couple hours before Rick hit the stage well after midnight. The crowd, which was thick with golden era hip-hop heads, ate up the classic rap tracks being blasted, and got particularly juiced when Bay Area artists like Digital Underground and Too Short were thrown in the mix. DJ Pos Red even invited an enthusiastic member of the audience onto the stage to beat-box while he executed a squeaky-clean freestyle rap. Needless to say the openers got the party started right.

Slick Rick embodies the early years of hip-hop when the MC controlled the party. His prevalent use of call and response not only got the audience involved, but also kept the party from ever simmering too low; the crowd at Public Works was happy to oblige. The sing along that took place did not require a bouncing ball to follow along, as these fans have been listening to most of Rick’s songs for decades and know them nearly as well as the Ruler himself. The set consisted of primarily classic tracks from Slick Rick’s landmark debut album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988) including “Mona Lisa,” “Hey Young World” and “The Moment I Feared.” He also drew from his larger repertoire playing tracks like “It’s a Boy” from 1991’s The Ruler’s Back and “Street Talkin’” from 1999’s The Art of Storytelling. Of course the set would have been incomplete without Slick Rick’s first tracks “La-Di-Da-Di” and “The Show” with Doug E. Fresh, from 1985 when he was still going by M.C. Ricky D. Read More

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The Presets Will Violate Your Gummy Bears, Melt Your Face

11/17/2014

The weekend came early for a primed Warfield crowd Thursday night, as award winning Australian dance band, The Presets, added to the long list of fiery performers to hit the storied downtown theater.

The electric duo of Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes have acquired a pretty well deserved reputation for producing monster light shows, and Thursday night was no exception. The show started with their guilt-ridden party anthem “Push,” as three sets of spotlights shot upwards, frozen in a light dusting of smoke.  Alas, this calm lasted mere seconds as the lights began a calculated flicker, zipping downwards, locking onto the two men at work and sending throngs of hands into the air.

A Presets show takes you from yelling from a mountaintop with tracks like “Ghosts,” and then plummets you to a dank basement – where you just want curl up into a ball – with numbers like “Youth in Trouble.” It’s an intense night filled with disco influenced synth-beats, raw exclamatory vocals, and crushing, unforgiving synth-bass. Did I mention lethal doses of bass? Yeah, let’s just say I hope that the Warfield’s recent renovations included seismic retrofitting, because vibrations of that magnitude have been known to topple cities. Read More

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Run The Jewels at Mezzanine: A Thugs and Biffles Performance

11/17/2014

Run The Jewels performed at Mezzanine Friday with a lineup that hailed exclusively from their hometown of New York City. The openers were Despot, a solo act signed to El-P’s label Definitive Jux, and RatKing some scrappy looking teens from Manhattan that synthesize hardcore music with hip hop. El-P made a brief appearance before the RTJ set when Despot literally warmed the audience up demanding the crowd do a group set of aerobics, led by him.

RTJ entered the stage to Queen’s “We Are the Champions” which was fitting for the energy that they brought to the performance. They welcomed the crowd like old friends, beaming enormous crest-white smiles. They have an amazing stage dynamic; they come across like the people you always hope show up at your party so you can have crazy stories to tell about it. At one point they even wrestled on stage, El-P ended up on Killer Mike’s back.

Their performance was tight, despite the two proclaiming that they got blasted before the show. We recently wrote about their new album Run The Jewels 2 and it was great to see the new material live. By the time they performed “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” it was hard to tell who’s sweat I was soaked in, or how many feet I had stomped on. The crowd was wiley and happy; perhaps feeding off of the joy and respect that the duo brought to the stage.

Most artists separate their private life from their stage life, but these guys seemed to invite the audience to know exactly where they stood off stage. Both men casually brought up their significant others. That was pretty refreshing and solidified their good-dude demeanors. They also bickered about the pros and cons of smoking, Killer Mike dissing cigs, and El-P apologetically crowd sourcing one. They didn’t keep the crowd waiting for the encore. They ended the night with “Angel Duster.” El-P exited the stage. Killer Mike held up a bottle of Belvedere and poetically gave a little toast to the no ones.

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Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover – Live Review of SOHN and Wet

11/16/2014

A band’s sound should not be judged if heard through a laptop speaker. The disingenuous projection lacks the underlying bass, showcasing the distinguishably unbalanced highs. So, it’s hard for me to say much about the up-and-coming bands Wet and SOHN‘s performances from this past Saturday at the Mezzanine, because their sound was clearly off. Where was the bass? The nocturnal drums that bridge both performers’ R&B styles somewhere between James Blake‘s brooding and The Weeknd‘s darker void? Even when I shifted from the downstairs to the upper-level, while the levels were more balanced, the sound still felt hollow.

But, the night wasn’t a complete wash. Wet, the nascent Brooklyn-based band with only an EP to their name, sounded promising given the context. On “Don’t Want To Be Your Girl,” singer Kelly Zutrau’s unwavering vocals had the slightest bit of breathiness, offering an earnestness to the song. Though the visual component was overly minimalist, featuring only a few camera umbrellas, their performance still captivated the excited crowd. If the success of their self-titled EP isn’t already an indicator, the group has a bright future. Read More

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