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Ratatat Proves Mondays are the New Friday With High Energy Show at Regency Ballroom

08/05/2015

On August 3rd, Ratatat made sure that everyone forgot that it was a Monday. The Brooklyn-based duo consisting of Mike Stroud and Evan Mast had planned on performing at the Regency Ballroom two days prior, until a broken down tour bus forced them to postpone. The assumption that a Monday show would bring a lower energy crowd was instantly dashed the moment the lights dimmed. Ratatat transformed the Regency Ballroom into a place far removed from a mundane work week.

Along with Ratatat, the tour included New York-based rapper Despot. His demeanor and commentary were intentionally and amusingly bleak. “My name is Despot. I am a rapper. Here is a rap song” was his introduction, and then he proceeded to rap. On the verge of releasing his first studio album, he revealed that most of the tracks on the album, and in his performance, were produced by Ratatat. The crowd was definitely feeling the fusion of Ratatat jams and East Coast rap.

Ratatat’s set began with an empty stage and a slowly building guitar riff that climaxed in a blast of blinding white light. Before vision could return to normal, Stroud and Mast were onstage, opening with “Pricks of Brightness.” As the show progressed, the energy of the crowd rose quickly, as did the temperature. The Regency Ballroom soon became a steam room where intense lasers and lights sliced through the heavy air in a mesmerizing light show that persisted the whole performance. The sound and the lights were a single spectacle, playing off each other while three-dimensional projections of birds, chains, and brains in a piece of coral dance on plexiglass screens on each side of Ratatat. Mike Stroud, who handles the guitar work, used all of the space on the stage to play the psychedelic-esque riffs that Ratatat is known for. Evan Mast played the driving bass lines that kept the crowd moving. Dance pits were forming all night and caused someone to spill their vodka redbull down my back, which was almost a welcome relief from the heat that was created by the raucous crowd. Read More

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Outside Lands 2015 Survival Guide

08/05/2015

Today I was sitting on my couch eating chips and saw a clip on ultra-marathoners and all I could think was, yeah this is pretty intense but it’s nothing compared to three days of drinking and listening to music in a park. This weekend thousands will pour into Golden Gate Park for fun in the sun (fog), booze, food in compostable containers and some of today’s top music artists. Outside Lands is the real deal and only the strong will make it all the way to Elton John‘s set Sunday.

Getting to and from the park

Getting to the park usually isn’t too bad, but the car drop-off areas are near the entrances on Fulton and Lincoln tend to slow to a crawl. The easiest way to go is by bike, there are like 70 acres of bike racks there. If you are near a bus line or Muni line that goes West to the park, it’s also usually a good way to go, as they add extra buses and trains to keep up with the high demand. Team up with friends if you are taking Uber or Lyft because the surge rates tend to be steep. Also check out Flywheel (Disclosure I work for Flywheel) and Sidecar, which don’t do surge prices. Parking near the park is very limited, but I have friends who have gotten lucky in the past if you are willing to do a long walk.

Getting home from the park is a totally different story. You could of course try public transportation, or if your phone isn’t dead and gets signal you can try calling a car. Personally I think one of the great parts of Outside Lands is walking through the park after the shows – thousands of people high on life (and other things) walking together. It is also easier to catch a ride once the crowd dies down. Grab a drink at a local Richmond, Sunset or Haight bar and decompress from the festival.

What to bring

Early weather reports put the weekend at a beautiful 70 degrees every day. But if there’s one thing we all know about the West side of SF it’s that the fog can roll in at any point. Make sure that you don’t get stuck wearing your crop top when the temp drops 20 degrees in 10 minutes. Layers people. Bring sunscreen. Not trying to be your mom here, but you can still get sunburnt in the fog, especially if you are as pasty-Irish as me.

You can also save yourself a few bucks by bringing in food. Every year I see people talking about going to the park early to bury booze, but I’ve yet to see someone pull it off. The most creative way to sneak in booze I’ve seen is some girls who wrapped tall boys in lettuce, tortillas and tinfoil to look like burritos.

If you have a portable phone charger you may want it to get home after the festival. The cell service is terrible and your phone will die quickly if it is searching for signal all day. Also the bathrooms can go downhill really quick so you may want to grab some hand sanitizer and TP. If you are going to pee in the bushes please don’t do it directly uphill from people sitting at the Twin Peaks stage. Peeing in the bushes is also a great way to get kicked out, keep that in mind.

How to Prepare

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Song of the Day: Outside Land Artists The Revivalists “Keep Going”

07/17/2015

Today The Revivalists are pulling back the curtains on their new album Men Amongst Mountains. New Orleans is famous for its music and producing acts with HUGE sound. The Revivalists are no exception, ethereal keys and slide guitar give way to horns that hit you like a wall of sound. Vocalist David Shaw’s soulful, sometimes gravelly voice brings all the pieces together.

The whole album is great and makes me want to kick back and relax on a porch and just watch the world go by. Check out the first track on the new album “Keep Going:”


I also highly recommend the track “It Was a Sin.” You can catch The Revivalists next month at Outside Lands Music Festival.

Photo: Travis Shinn

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Photos: Phono del Sol 2015 Takes Advantage of SF’s Best Summer Weather

07/13/2015

Our friends at The Bay Bridged couldn’t have asked for a better day for their annual Phono del Sol Music Festival. I applied sunscreen twice and still got a nice base burn. While the weather was a great opening act, the true star was the line up of up and coming local acts and high energy headliners.

Phono del Sol is fucking weird and I love it. It has everything you’d expect from a music festival in the Mission. Hipsters in their best Coachella outfits, dogs, little kids running around in the playground, skateboarders at the skate park and food trucks. It’s unique, campy and and everyone seemed to be having a great time.

I’ve decided to do a GIF essay of some of my favorite parts because fuck it, it works for Buzzfeed. If the idea of animated pictures freaks you out you can just scroll all the way down for stills.

Let’s start with this awesome lady kicking ass with a hula hoop. I don’t know what I would look like dancing around with a hula hoop but I am pretty sure I wouldn’t legally be able to do it so close to a park with children. Also shout out to that sweet Sutro Tower tat.
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An Introduction to Dopapod the Jam Scene’s Latest Shredders: An interview with Rob Compa

07/10/2015

Dopapod has come a long way from jamming in keyboardist Eli Winderman’s basement in Boston, Mass. Eli, guitarist Rob Compa, bassist Chuck Jones, and drummer Scotty Zwang are bringing their eclectically-influenced jam rock to the west coast, stopping in for a Saturday (July 11) show at the Independent in San Francisco, CA.

My first exposure to Dopapod came in the form of a “Dazed, and Dubfused,” a voiceless, version of a popular Led Zeppelin song in 2011. The song is spacey and a half-step into the weird keys, interchanged with Anastasio influenced guitar. Jamming through a journey of emotions that, ultimately, melted my face.

You could say practice makes perfect for this band. Dopapod has played about 150+ shows a year for the past three years. Primarily in the northeast, and no further west than Colorado. That changed in 2015, now on their first full west coast tour from San Diego to Seattle.

I was lucky enough to speak with guitarist Rob Compa about their hectic schedule, growth as a band, and thoughts on the jam scene in preview of their San Francisco show. Check it out, and don’t forget to pick up your tickets to the show here($13+ fees). Read More

Photos by Victoria Smith

Song of the Day: Strange Talk “Something’s Bout To Change”

07/07/2015

I am a big Strange Talk fan. Or is it I was a big Strange Talk fan? They have made some big changes in the last year.

The four piece pop band that was Strange Talk is now a two piece electronic act. I am not trying to come off as harsh because I like the new single “Something’s Bout To Change,” I am just hoping that the new format can continue to capture what I loved about their album Cast Away and the live experience.

I saw them live about a year ago (you can read all my thoughts here) and they were just coming off some major exposure here in the U.S. from a snapchat promotion. What I loved about seeing them live wasn’t necessarily their most popular songs, but the crazy energy they brought and their ability to jam on tracks like “Is It Real?” or “Eskimo Boy.”

I am an optimist and while I will miss the old Strange Talk I am eagerly awaiting more new music from the guys that will blow me away.

Check out the first single “Something’s Bout To Change:”

 

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Seven Things To Look Forward to at Phono del Sol Music Festival Saturday July 11th

07/06/2015

We are big fans of The Bay Bridged here at SFCritic. Not only do they spend every day supporting local music here in San Francisco, but they also put on one of the best bang-for-your-buck music festivals in the country. I am of course talking about Phono del Sol Music and Food Festival. There is so much to love about this boutique festival that takes place in the Misson’s perfect little Potrero del Sol.

To celebrate this year’s show I decided to pick an arbitrary number of things I am looking forward to Saturday.

1. I’ll start out with an easy one, co-headliner Tanlines. Tanlines are touring on their new album Highlights released in May. This NYC duo just oozes creativity as can be heard in their music and seen in this incredible Netflix parody created to promote the album. Their electronic blend is hard to categorize, but if I had to describe it I’d say it sounds like Talking Heads recorded an album in a submarine with a sassy robot sidekick from the 80s? Check out “Pieces” off the new record, I can’t wait to hear this one in the afternoon sunshine.

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Jacco Gardner to Induce Flashbacks, Psychedelia at Brick and Mortar This Saturday (June 27)

06/26/2015

Jacco Gardner is set to play Brick & Mortar Music Hall tomorrow night (Saturday, June 27), touring in support of his new album, Hypnophobia, which was just released on Polyvinyl Records. Judging by his sound, and the space that is Brick & Mortar, it should make for an incredibly intimate, and I would imagine flooring, experience.

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Day Wave Drops New Single for You To Weekend To

06/13/2015

Oakland’s very own Jackson Phillips, aka Dave Wave, released a new single last week called We Try But We Don’t Fit In, and it’s a perfect tune to drift into the weekend to. It’s the kind of song that can maximize any kind of emotion that happens to be influencing you at this moment in time – whether that’s elation from seeing old friends, the flurry of excitement from new relationships, or the comforting buzz of a few cold beers on the beach. A mellow guitar line, simple yet driving, paired with harmonious vocals dipped in falsetto and reverb, this song will help transport you to wherever it is you need to be right now.

If you haven’t given up yet, and are indeed thirsty for more, check out Day Wave’s SoundCloud here.

It’s Saturday, and after reigning victorious over a doomsday-style hangover, you have a drink in your hand, the wind in your face and the sun on your back. You’re a champion, one that can’t be held back – basking in the glory that is 48 hours of pure, unadulterated exemption, free of responsibilities or decision making. Happy weekend, you beautiful Warriors.

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Treasure Island Music Festival 2015 Lineup Oct 17-18 + Tickets on Sale Thursday at 10am

06/09/2015

Great news for fans of great music and beautiful views, TIMF 2015 lineup is finally here. There is a little something for everyone this year with headliners such as The National, CHVRCHES, Father John Misty and RTJ.

While you might not see as many acts on the lineup at Treasure Island as you would at Outside Lands, you also don’t have to walk half a mile between stages and set times are staggered so you don’t miss any artists.

The whole lineup looks great and they’ve done a good job of balancing electronic and rock. Early tickets will cost you $150 + fees and when those are gone it goes up to $170 + fees. Get Tickets Thursday here.

The National
Deadmau5
Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique
CHVRCHES
The War On Drugs
Azealia Banks
Father John Misty
STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9)
Run The Jewels
Panda Bear
Gorgon City (live)
Jose Gonzalez
Hudson Mohawke
Deerhunter
Cashmere Cat
Drive Like Jehu
Viceroy
Lower Dens
Shamir
Ex Hex
Mikal Cronin
Baio
Viet Cong
Bob Moses
Ought
Skylar Spence

Check out our pictures from last year here.

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