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The Stone Foxes @ The Chapel

11/10/2014

The French Cassettes had the job of warming the crowd up on Saturday for the second night of The Stone Foxes residency at The Chapel, in San Francisco. This was not a problem for them as they came equipped with their fresh-faced and danceable brand of indie pop. Catchy tracks with tasty rhythms, like “We Were Fun,” got the crowd moving quickly. They gave way to Annie Girl and The Flight who took the stage and created a hypnotic concoction of velvety vocals, and fuzzed out guitar riffs that fully captured the audience’s attention for the main event.

The Stone Foxes brought all the warmth of a family reunion to their hometown audience, but without the cheek pinching and mysterious casseroles. The whole thing felt like one big rocked out celebration. They came out the gate with the irresistible single “Psycho,” then launched into two new tracks from the forthcoming album, Twelve Spells. The Foxes performance of “It Aint Nothin’” was so tight and funky, that you would never guess the band had just released the song a day prior as part of their #FoxesFirstFriday’s campaign, in which they’re releasing one track from Twelve Spells  on the first Friday of each month for a year. Read More

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Deafheaven Orchestrates Beautiful Chaos at The Chapel

11/10/2014

The Converse Rubber Tracks Live tour commenced with a bang at The Chapel Wednesday night. San Francisco’s Deafheaven is headlining the five stop tour that will span the month of November. I had the pleasure of chatting with Deafheaven vocalist George Clarke before the show Wednesday. He was thrilled to be working with Converse … and extra stoked that he got to hand pick all the tour’s opening bands. If you snag one of the free tickets to this tour, you’re in for a treat.

This was the band’s first time playing at the Chapel, and the small venue hosted a sold out crowd eager to feast upon the energy that is expected of a Deafheaven performance. As the guys took the stage, Clarke summoned the mass of fans up to the front. Their set began with “Dream House,” and Clarke’s passion and ferociousness were showcased right from the first note, sustained through a series of equipment malfunctions that led to the bass and guitar cutting out, and only disappearing when the band left the stage after a killer performance of their closing song, “Unrequited.”

The fans at the front of the stage were screaming every lyric of every song, including their newest single, “From the Kettle Onto the Coil,” although it was difficult to hear Clarke’s crisp vocals due to unfortunate sound mixing. Read More

magicman_ photo credit Gavin Thomas

Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to Dance Your Head Off To Synth Rockers Magic Man and Smallpools at Sold Out Nov. 20th Show

11/10/2014

We are teaming up with Columbia Records to hook one of our readers up with a free pair or tickets to Magic Man supporting Smallpools Thursday November 20th at The Independent. Based out of Boston, the five piece synth rock band has been generating a ton of buzz with their debut album Before The Waves. Their single “Paris” has been all over the radio this summer as they toured with Panic! At The Disco and Walk The Moon.

Now Magic Man is touring with Smallpools and stopping at The Independent for a sold-out, high-energy dance party. We want you to experience it for yourself with a pair of free tickets! Good luck! Enter here for your chance to win! a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Scotland’s Finest: The Twilight Sad & We Were Promised Jetpacks @ Bimbo’s

11/06/2014

On Tuesday, the historic Bimbo’s 365 Club in North Beach hosted a dynamic double-shot of live music, with Scottish bands The Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks filling the dark room with their distinct brands of affecting indie rock.

First up was The Twilight Sad. You know that paralyzing feeling you struggle with when you’re stuck under the blanket with an intense fever and the chills at the same time? If you could just take a hot shower, you might feel better, but the bathroom seems so. far. away. and the hallway is just. so. cold.

Occasionally, there comes a moment where you stop shaking, your temperature regulates ever-so-slightly, and you feel a splinter of strength- just enough to pry you from the fetal position, ease your death grip on the comforter, and pull yourself out of bed. You’re not better, you’re just strong enough to move and hopeful it lasts. It’s during that delicate moment of fragility, threatening to recoil sharply into freezing paralysis at any second, in which The Twilight Sad’s newest record Nobody Wants to be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave seems to have been recorded. And the live translation is spot-on.

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All Them Witches Conjur the Ageless Musical Mystic @ the Hemlock

11/06/2014

Two toms, one wide, shining, brass splash and a high hat, and a stout little kick drum with a hand drawn pattern sit at the back of the short stage. Stage left: a Rhodes piano that must be the first Rhodes. It must be, with that ancient aura and tattered paint. And what the hell is that bass he’s playing up front? Also ancient, also possessed of its own karma. Stage right, a sunburst breaks through probably four decades on the face of a Les Paul pulling down mightily on its player’s narrow shoulders, while behind stands a speaker cabinet covered in Grandma’s old couch. But on all of the players’ faces: youth’s supple skin, in stark contrast. This discord is quickly righted, however, and within minutes it’s clear they are mere conduits channeling the ageless mysticism of music as they launch into a set that is either one or nine songs long. This is All Them Witches.

The first song, “Jam,” was a summoning, immediately attaining 60% head bob from the packed-for-a-Tuesday back room of the Hemlock. Clear David Gilmore-esque guitar tones cut through distorted ambient noise, as dynamic changes waxed and waned straight into the second song, “Mountain.” This is where I started to realize how good this was going to be.

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Tinariwen Heats Up The Chapel

11/04/2014

Don’t you love when a song makes you feel as though you’ve been physically transported to another place? You can surf Malibu with The Beach Boys or fly to the moon and back with Pink Floyd, all without leaving the comfort of your couch. Add another to the list: watching Tuareg blues-folk band Tinariwen play The Chapel last Monday in support of their excellent new album Emmaar felt like wandering barefoot across the Sahara with a group of guitar-slinging sonic nomads. Armed with four electric guitars, a bass, two single drums, and seven incredible voices, they took us on a journey of their homeland in 90 minutes flat.
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Shadow Boxer Photography

SFCritic Road Trip: Humboldt County Pops Off with Halloween Special; Talib Kweli and Lyrics Born Rock Intimate Venue

11/03/2014

After weeks of anticipation, a charged Humboldt County donned their most eccentric Halloween garb and partied down with hip-hop icon Lyrics Born and the already-legendary conscious rapper, Talib Kweli. I’d been looking forward to this event for weeks, curious to explore the music scene in such a unique pocket of NorCal. Friday’s show did nothing but obliterate any reservations I had about Arcata’s ability to get down. If you’ve yet to experience a show in Humboldt, get there as fast as you can.

What made this sold out show so memorable was the opportunity to see such phenomenal sets featured in an intimate, and uniquely personal venue. Portuguese Hall, an antiquated building established in 1916, essentially serves Humboldt as a modest community center. Old wooden beams lined the ceilings, adorned by slanted dusty chandeliers, giving it this down-home, almost archaic character. Meanwhile, speakers blasted and masses bounced in unison, devouring up familiar freestyles. Amongst the crowd were wildly festive hill-dwellers and city kids, dressed as everything from erotic unicorns, to spirit animals and Jedi masters, all hyped and prepared to rage. Read More

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RÜFÜS DU SOL Wants You to get Lucky, Kills it at the Mezzanine

10/31/2014

The wave of young Australian indie bands continues to roll through the streets of San Francisco, and the most recent surge left a packed house at the Mezzanine swimming in good vibes. RÜFÜS DU SOL went on just after midnight last Saturday and quickly showed us why they’ve been a familiar name atop the ARIA Charts the last 4 years.

LIVE 105’s DJ Aaron Axelsen, a common name in the Bay Area, kept the hive humming as blue smoke billowed through the room before the lazy, meandering ceiling lights went schitzo at 12:01. From there the boys went to work – prompting the dudes behind us brandishing glowing, oversized gummy bears to lose their minds. And fans didn’t have to wait long, as the second song they performed their latest hit single, “Sundream.” If this track doesn’t get you moving, nothing will. Read More

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A Little Tornado: The Kills @ The Fillmore

10/31/2014

The same night the Giants served up San Francisco with yet another plate of glory with their third World Series win in five years, The Kills stopped by The Regency to give a sold-out crowd a solid shot of their sassy pop-infused rock ‘n’ roll.

Singer Alison Mosshart and guitarist Jamie Hince strolled onstage sporting ear-to-ear smiles, recognizing that it was a special night to be playing in the city. The Giants had thrown the winning strikeout just minutes beforehand, and Mosshart’s greeting “Hello San Francisco… congratulations San Francisco…” carried a knowing winky-face tone to it. Easy crowd-pleaser. We obviously all went nuts. The mood was so excitable, they probably could have squeezed ketchup bottles into their microphones all night and had the us all begging for an encore. Luckily, that’s not what happened. They rocked.

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The Tropics Debut EP Wind House With Release Party at Rickshaw Stop

10/28/2014

We have been following local indie pop rock act The Tropics since spring, so we were excited to hear about the release of debut EP Wind House. With Wind House the five piece band is finally releasing more of the songs we saw live in July, which led to us calling them one of SF’s most promising young pop acts. Last Friday, they took the stage at The Rickshaw Stop for their official record release party playing songs off the EP and a few yet-to-be-released tracks I assume are coming on their full album release.

The Tropics were born when singer Claire George and guitarist Eric Silverman responded to a Craigslist ad for an unrelated band, but soon found they had more in common with each other than the band they were trying to join. In 2012, they added current members Nate Skelton on bass, Rowan Peter on guitar, and Kern Sigala on drums for the full sound we hear today.

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