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!!! Proves Dance-punk is Alive and Well in SF

01/29/2014

When I think of !!! (pronounced ChkChkChk, and this is the name you search by the way) I think of three things: Funk, inappropriately short shorts, and dancing. The band plays a type of dance-punk that can go from calm to a furious crescendo at any moment. They did not disappoint on Saturday night, at The Chapel, as they involved the crowd with a blend of electronic beats and funky guitar riffs.

Clad in his trademark throwback 80’s shorts, vocalist Nic Offer was already down in the crowd getting the dance party started during the very first song. Read More

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Interview – Magik*Magik Orchestra’s Minna Choi On “When We Were Young”

01/27/2014

This Friday (January 31st) Magik*Magik Orchestra will live one of their dreams. Since orchestra director, Minna Choi, founded the group in 2008, she’s worked with a who’s who of Bay Area bands–but, this Friday at the Fox Theater will be the first time she can bring many of those bands together. The charitable event will feature Magik*Magik Orchestra performing alongside with Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, The Dodos, Diana Gameros, Geographer, How to Dress Well, Zoe Keating, The Lonely Forest, Maestro Michael Morgan, The Pacific Boychoir, Rogue Wave, Two Gallants, and John Vanderslice.

Proceeds from the performance will go to  support “Magik For Kids” initiative, which helps bring music lessons and experiences to kids throughout San Francisco. Prior to the performance we connected with Minna over email to find about what people can expect and if she’d made any New Year’s resolutions.

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Until The End with Jake Bugg & Albert Hammond Jr at Fox Theater

01/26/2014

JAKE BUGG

Brooklyn’s The Skins consist of three siblings and two friends, none over 21. They sound as if Black Sabbath slept with Soul on the first date. Like a funky Winehouse-Hendrix singing over a Motown Sabbath concoction. Sometimes their music softens, and slow to disco groove. They have a lot of vibes going on and they look groovy too. I hope I made a description soup you can sip.

Albert Hammond Jr. seemed most comfortable when he rocked the punk elements to his tracks. He’s new at being a front man, so his sometimes shy-on-the-mic didn’t offend me. Strokes’ guitar nuances would poke out like a garter belt from under a nun’s skirt, but really Hammond has created a sound of his own. Hammond’s new release is from Julian Casablancas‘s Cult Records.  Check out his video below “Justice,” which features him having sex and getting a real good slap.

 

Photos by Victoria Smith

Anyone can be made to sound good on a studio album, give or take. Jake Bugg is more impactful live. Even as a solemn performer, there is a constant wail in his truly unique voice that is captivating. Not even cynical me can take that away. I presume Rick Ruben heard it too, when Bugg (19-years-old) went into his studio to record two tracks. Ruben ended up pulling an album out of him. He’s got a Pulk voice. What’s Pulk you ask? Oh, a genre term I made up in Berlin last summer that marries punk and folk. He’s kind of a little classic already. There’s a lot of terrific folky songwriters out there, but Bugg has got an x-factor voice. I stayed til the end.

Listen to Jake Bugg “Broken.”

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Kali Uchis – Drunken Babble Mixes 90s Rap with 50s Soul

01/13/2014

Kali Uchis, a singer, songwriter, and rapper based in Virgina by way of Colombia–is different. She’s not sticking to a dress code: from one video to the next, you’ll find her dressed in flatform sneakers with a bandana tied in the front, or showing off her mid-drift with a schoolgirl’s pleated skirt. And as puzzling as her appearance may seem, it’s even more surprising that her style brings to mind a melding of Bone Thugs & Harmony with a contemporary singer like Mayer Hawthorne. But the point of music isn’t to get lost in appearances or comparisons–but the music itself–which is easy with Kali.

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Drake “Hold On, We’re Going Home” (Wild Ones Cover)

01/03/2014

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“My friend played me the song just before we embarked on our last tour down the West Coast,” said Danielle Sullivan, lead singer of Wild Ones, “It became my official anthem.” And while most of the band hadn’t heard the song before and were somewhat skeptical (“Drake? Like that dude from Degrassi?”), the group was swayed and produced their first cover with Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” We’re glad they did.

The group is currently on tour with Surfer Blood (see below for dates).

January 03 @ The Shakedown – Bellingham, WA w/Surfer Blood
January 04 @ Sunset Tavern – Seattle, WA w/Surfer Blood
January 05 @ The Media Club – Vancouver, BC w/Surfer Blood
January 07 @ Lucky Bar – Victoria, BC
January 09 @ Neumos – Seattle, WA w/Telekinesis
January 10 @ The Bartlett – Spokane, WA
January 11 @ Timbrrr Fest – Leavenworth, WA w/Telekinesis, Radiation City
January 12 @ Axe & Fiddle – Cottage Grove, OR
January 14 @ Lowbrau – Sacramento, CA
January 15 @ Bootleg Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
January 17 @ The Void – San Diego, CA
January 18 @ Cellar Door – Visalia, CA
January 21 @ Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA w/Cloud Control

If you’re fan, check out their EP below:

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Phoenix, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend Perform at Not So Silent Night 2013

12/10/2013

Thomas Mars of Phoenix

This weekend, Live 105’s Not So Silent Night festival lived up to its name. Listeners from all over the Bay braved the cold with one common goal in mind: To warm up and listen to some great music.

Both nights featured a diverse lineup, with everything from synth pop to rock. As I walked onto the Oracle floor I saw a varied crowd, and people of all ages and dress code. I stalked an older couple to find the “good food” (which was just pizza and chicken tenders). It had been a while since I experienced a crowd so accessible: They were there to enjoy the music, not to be seen. I suddenly felt uncomfortable wearing my red heels.

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Capital Cities

Capital Cities kicked off the festival and were able to pull off a small dance party. Their selling point was definitely their trumpet player (I’m a sucker for brass), as he eased us into the night with a couple covers and their single “Safe and Sound.”

But the real party started when Arctic Monkeys took the stage. The lights dimmed low and red as the spacious Oracle Arena was transformed into an intimate lounge. They played a mature, blues heavy set featuring many songs from their newest album AM.

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AFI

Seeing Davey Havok of AFI was a big surprise simply because his image has changed so much. His vocals still had that classic, wild sound we all remember him for, but you can’t help but view his stage presence in a new light. The band kept the crowd warm and even started the pit for a second. Then came Queens of the Stone Age, who were pleasantly heavy: everything about their performance was effortless and inviting, despite the growl and bite of their songs. During their set I watched some of the dudes in my close peripheral, going hard, devil horns in the air.

Vampire Weekend then transported us to a parallel dimension; where rock music and floral backgrounds exist together. They were the darlings of the night and as expected, their performance was brilliant but a little too soothing. Kings of Leon continued with a musical nightcap. While they sounded great, their presence was a little bored and disinterested.

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Vampire Weekend

I arrived late the second night but was lucky enough to catch the last half of Lorde’s set. I want to briefly note that she was the only female-leading act of both nights. As a woman, I felt a sense of camaraderie and was proud of Lorde’s confident performance. She knew she was guiding a new generation of young music lovers. With her minimal stage setup and modest outfit (a skirt and a cardigan). She had no gimmicks. We watched and listened as the music spoke for itself.

Phoenix was one of the bands that originally brought me to Not So Silent Night. Their set was loud and upbeat. And when the frenzy of dancing and chanting began during Liztomania,”  I was quickly reminded that I was at a sold out show comprised of nearly 20,000 patrons. Thomas Mars frequently surfed the crowd and he was adamant about testing how deep into it he could go. It was both impressive and silly. Their performance carried a ton of character and unfortunately before we knew it, their shortened 50-minute set was over.

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Thomas Mars of Phoenix

A curtain was drawn over the stage in between sets. The arena became dark and we heard Win Butler’s eerie voice singing “My Body Is a Cage,” but he wasn’t on stage. He was instead standing directly on the floor amongst the crowd, isolated in spotlight. The funeral march sounds of the song grew intense and as it climaxed, the curtain fell to reveal the bandstand of Arcade Fire.

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Win Butler of Arcade Fire

There was no hesitation as they continued on with Reflektor, and the pace of their set did not stop. At one point Butler plucked an iPhone out of the audience, staring into it’s camera quizzcally. We watched everything he and wife Régine Chassagne did with wonderment, partially hypnotized by the sparkling lights of the disco ball, our bodies constantly swaying.

By the end of their set, the floor was covered in confetti. The lights came on and we woke up from our trance, satisfied.

Written By – Lolly Dormido

Photographs By – Darryl Kirchner

Check out the full photo set below:

Arctic Monkeys

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