Beck Tour 2014 for Morning Phase

03/12/2014

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We don’t often share tour dates, but in the case of Beck we hope this is seen as a plea to his troupe to add a Bay Area date. (Beck, please add a Bay Area date.) As an artist who’s catalogue remains fresh, even fifteen years later, Beck’s latest album Morning Phase is no different. The highly lauded album is already a contender for best in 2014, spending its second week in the top 10 of the U.S. album chart since its release in late February.

As someone fortunate enough to have caught his performance for Pop-up Magazine’s “Music Magazine” last year–if you have the opportunity to catch him–don’t let it slip by. His calendar is open for the Bay Area’s slated Outside Lands. Could it be a sign? You heard the rumor here first. Read More

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It’s Happening for G Eazy – These Things Happen Tour Review at The Fillmore

03/09/2014

“These things happen.” G-Eazy repeats that phrase a few times in the night instead of saying, “Wow, this is amazing.”

It’s his current hashtag motto, as well as the title of his tour. It’s fitting. Becoming a celebrity, headlining large venues, then selling them out, and having models tweet that you’re “boss”—these things do happen for G-Eazy. Three years since graduating from Loyola University, the rapper, born Gerald Gillum, is quickly ascending into the celebrity heartthrob status of which many have always dreamed.

It’s a Wednesday night, and The Fillmore is sold out (the show sold out a month in advance)–yet it feels oddly empty. Only after our photographer struggles to get closer to the stage for photos does it become clear that crowd full of teen girls, wearing belly cut shirts, are packed so tightly to the front that the back of the room seems sparse. Center stage, the rapper stands atop a small raised platform that is illuminated by a brightly lit “G-Eazy” sign. Compared to the grandiose sets of current pop stars, this setup looks bare. But it serves its perfunctory purpose throughout the night: G climbs the stairs–making sure he’s in sight of all the girls in the crowd–then either adjusts his hair or pulls his shirt up over his face, wiping the sweat from his brow, each action receiving the same high pitched screams and calls of “We love you!” from the audience. It’s almost too much, but these things happen. Read More

Not Everything is Beer and Rock-and-Roll – Angel Olsen @ The Great American Music Hall

03/06/2014

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Angel Olsen visited us at The Great American Music Hall this Monday, playing with a four piece band (Angel on guitar, along with an additional guitarist, bassist and drummer) in what appeared to be dangerously close to a full house. The singer/songwriter has been gaining some serious national attention quickly, with features in the New York Times and multiple NPR bumps in just the last few months.

Angel got her start in Chicago, but is truly an international act — you can check out her full tour schedule here. It’s easy to imagine her playing in a dim lit coffee shop, water droplets sliding down the window behind her, as onlookers listened and warmed themselves with a cup of coffee.

I had a fairly good idea of what I was walking into, but I was thoroughly impressed with the live quality of her voice. Too many times studio albums are so well produced that talented vocalists turn out to be wildly underwhelming live–but, this was not at all the case. Although this was a relatively low energy performance, and she gave off a very “I don’t care” vibe, her voice was powerful and commanding while still being delicate with an emotional inflection.

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Behind the Visuals of Yassou Benedict’s “In Fits in Dreams.”

03/05/2014

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For many of us music is visual. Our aural senses convert tones into colors and memories. Yet, rarely on a music blog do we read about the perspective of a filmmaker creating a music video.

Gary Yost is a local Bay Area filmmaker that was approached by Lilie Bytheway-Hoy of the local indie band Yassou Benedict to make a video for the band’s song “In Fits in Dreams.” In the process of sharing the video with us, Yost explained how he conceived of the video that was filmed at eight different locations throughout San Francisco and southern Marin.

“The lyrics to the song drove the narrative,” explained Yost. “Lilie’s approach to singing lyrics is interesting in that she keeps them very vague and open to interpretation. But if you read them as written, they are extremely insightful.” Read More

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Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr & Chad Valley Rock The Fillmore with Harmonies and Bubbles

03/05/2014

Saturday night  Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr and Chad Valley got the trampoline-like floor of The Fillmore bouncing to a blend of electronic beats, pulsing percussion and smooth vocal melodies.

Opener Chad Valley, got the eventing started with its brand of synth pop accompanied by haunting lyrics. Many in the U.S. assume that Chad Valley is the singer’s name, but it’s actually a long running brand of toys in the UK, which artist Hugo Manuel has adopted for his act. Manuel closed his set with “Shell Suite” a song that showcases his vocal range and compositional creativity and was perfect segue into the rest of the night.

Josh Epstein, half of the quirky duo Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, was nice enough to talk with us last week in advance of the show, sharing insights into the band and showing some love for his hometown of Detroit. Saturday night he focused on some San Francisco memories – telling a story about a packed show a few years back in the early days of the band at Milk Bar and rocking a Warriors practice jersey that his mom bought him as a teen. Read More

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Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Poolside to Play SF OysterFest May 10th

02/28/2014

Some good news this week for anyone looking forward to (not cheap) drinks and delicious oysters at this year’s San Francisco OysterFest. The organizers have announced the first two acts and things are looking pretty good. Indie folk band Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros is headlining and we also know that electronic pop duo Poolside will bring its unique variety of “daytime disco” to the outdoor event in Golden Gate Park.

Last year there were over 10 acts including Bag Raiders, RAC and DEVO- so expect more announcements soon.

The event takes place on Saturday May 10th. Tickets aren’t yet on sale, and it looks like they are still working on the website but it appears the best place to follow them for now is on Twitter where “Stanton the Oyster” is sharing spoilers.

Check out Better Days from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros here:

Listen to Poolside taking on classic Neil Young in its “Daytime Disco” style here:

Image Courtesy of San Francisco OysterFest & Photoshop

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Josh Epstein of Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr Talks Detroit, Beck and Burritos

02/27/2014

At SFCritic we always love to get some of the story behind the music when a cool act comes to town and we were lucky enough to get Josh Epstein (pictured right) of genre blurring electronic duo Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr to answer a few questions for us before they headline at The Fillmore this Saturday, March 1st. Tickets are still available to see the group with opening act Chad Valley here.

SFCritic: Did you always think you would be a musician? When did you know?

Josh Epstein: I was in a band that toured a bit in high school. But I never thought I’d do it for the long haul. That all changed when I got meningitis in college though.

SFC: Did getting mentioned during the Daytona 500 get you any new fans? But seriously, how often are you asked about the name? I read that you picked it to make sure people didn’t know what to expect when they first heard you; what other names did you consider?

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Take Back the Night: Phantogram @ Amoeba Records

02/26/2014


Last Wednesday, following an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and the day before a sold-out show at Oakland’s Fox Theater, rising New York duo Phantogram treated San Francisco to a (free!) four-song set at Amoeba Records, highlighting material from their new record, Voices.

This was their first Bay Area appearance since a dominating performance at last year’s Treasure Island Music Festival, where they shattered expectations with a headline-worthy show, undoubtedly climbing a few spots up the festival lineup ladder. Singer/keyboardist Sarah Barthel and multi-instrumentalist Josh Carter (with the help of two backing musicians) smiled and regularly engaged the mob of fans packed between the aisles of CDs. When Barthel announced just before launching into the first song (Voices standout “Black Out Days”) that “this is our new single,” an excitable dude near the front yelled “I hope you’re still single!,” eliciting laughter from nearly everybody, including Barthel. Read More

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We Want It Loud! A Review of Chappo at the Chapel

02/19/2014

Last Thursday the Chapel hosted a band I’ve been getting really excited about lately, Chappo. If you do one thing today, go listen to this band. Pour yourself a drink, crank the volume up to 10 (your neighbors will like this, I promise), and get ready to be impressed and probably emotionally effected. Chappo bleeds originality, being the kind of band that not only gives off, but openly promotes and invites a more in-tune and spiritual experience.

The Brooklyn-based band is at the front end of a U.S. tour, with stops in Seattle, Portland, and Denver up next. Led by frontman Alex Chappo, the band — who recently finished a tour with Imagine Dragons — has an absolute monster stage presence that is undeniable. They pull you in, make you dance, and leave you wanting more.

Chappo recently released their new single “I Don’t Need the Sun” off their upcoming album Future Former Self. They came out of the gates hard Thursday night with an “I’m Not Ready” opener that immediately got the crowd (or me at least) dancing. The night was as a solid mix of old and new material, a highlight for me being the next song they played (off their album Moonwater) “Shots Fired.” This song lights a fire under your feet but is one of the eeriest songs I’ve heard, evoking an almost psychedelic feeling — something the band does particularly well and often.
Read More

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Haight-Ashbury Street Fair fundraiser Saturday 2/22 at Milk Bar

02/17/2014

This Saturday, 2.22, Breakup Records is hosting a show at Milk Bar, the proceeds of which will go toward putting on the 37th annual Haight-Ashbury Street Fair this June.

Playing: Sea Dramas (“rang(ing) from hazy folk with pensive melodies to 60’s-inspired, echo-laden pop that melds genres with swirling, dreamlike qualities”), Dangermaker (“slick, haunting guitar rock that goes perfectly with a shot of whiskey and an absence of light”), Sweetwater Black (“loud rock n roll”) and Margaret The King (“a band that embodies the free expression and energy around them while also delivering a bit more”)

All information and links to the bands’ music is on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/228384147345697

And the website for the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair: http://www.haightashburystreetfair.org

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