Chef Bronson’s Delicacies Delight at The Warfield


New York got together with California to cook up a delicious hip-hop chowder on Tuesday evening. The city by the Bay served as the host for a meeting of the minds between Action Bronson, Earl Sweatshirt, and an entourage of guests.  The performers and crowd alike were riding high on the excitement of new releases, and good strong Cali bud.

After an opening set by Queens up-and-comer Remy Banks, the crowd was prompted to “turn up,” and they were happy to oblige when Earl Sweatshirt hit the stage. The floorboards flexed under the inexhaustible energy of  OFWGKTA fans.  After a nod to E-40’s Bay Area anthem “Tell Me When to Go,” Earl took the time to make sure that everyone in attendance was familiar with the hook from the new track “DNA.” What followed was a glorious group catharsis that can only be achieved by belting out profane rap lyrics. While some of the tracks on I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside sound dark, introverted and subdued on record, when they are blasted at full volume and you are surrounded by a rambunctious mob, they take on new dimension.

After Earl’s set, L.A. producer and DJ heavyweight The Alchemist took his post at the turntables, and deftly kept the crowd at a simmer between sets. When Action Bronson emerged in all his bearded glory, it was like seeing a mythical beast. The energy radiated by the crowd was reflected in the performance, and while Bronson did not do any cartwheels, or stage dives (thank God), he did not miss a line all night. His flow was on point across a range of material including tracks from the brand new album Mr. Wonderful, 2012’s Alchemist produced mixtape Rare Chandeliers, and 2013’s Saaab Stories. Guest appearances by frequent collaborators Meyhem Lauren and Big Body Bess allowed the husky star several entertaining opportunities to catch his breath. Read More

Interview: Brooklyn’s Dreamers On Cosmic Rock, Touring With STP and New Music


Brooklyn trio Dreamers are headed to The Fillmore tomorrow night supporting legends Stone Temple Pilots. It must be pretty awesome for an up and coming band to play the Paramount in Seattle and The Fillmore here in SF in back to back gigs. I also hope that while the guys are on tour with STP they take the opportunity to master the 90s rock voice.

Tickets are still available for tomorrow and can be found here.

Dreamers play what they call cosmic rock. For the uninitiated, it’s upbeat, driving alternative rock instrumentals with a heavy dose of reverb and guitar flair. Listening to their self titled EP I got an OK Go meets original Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtrack vibe. It’s new, but it has a familiarity that you’ll like. Once I learned that 2/3 of the band hails from Seattle, I could definitely also hear the influence of a steady diet of grunge growing up.

Check it out for yourself starting with their single “Wolves” below. You can also find more music here.

I had a chance to ask Nick Wold a few questions ahead of their Fillmore show tomorrow.

I’ve seen your music described as cosmic rock, where are you drawing the inspiration for your music?
We draw a lot of inspiration from the actual cosmos, and wonder about the strange nature of existing. Rock’n’roll is philosophy as well as fun, science and art as well as ‘fuck-all’. Read More

Young Fathers Shake Things Up at The Independent 4/25 With Mas Ysa


The Mercury Prize winning UK trio Young Fathers will be making a stop in San Francisco at The Independent on Saturday, April 25th. The group just released its newest album White Men Are Black Men Too on April 7th with the Big Dada label.

The newest single from the album, “Shame,” embodies their hard to define sound. The song has multiple rhythmic layers of instruments and vocals that clash and harmonize throughout demanding the body to bounce with the beat. It’s a bit of rock, a bit pop, some hip hop and pretty much everything in between. There is something great about a band that is named so literally (all three members are named after their fathers) playing music that is so abstract.

Check out the brand new video for Shame here:

Opening for Young Fathers is Mas Ysa, pronounced mass ee-sah. Read More

Song of the Day: “Drag” by Day Wave


Ahh… Wednesday. A day where some (or most) of us convince ourselves that, hey – we’re basically done with the week, so let’s go drink / see some live music / hit the beach / etc.

Welp, here is a song that will pair nicely with any of those things: a new joint from Day Wave called Drag. A super chill and melodic tune perfect for kicking back midweek. Smooth guitar, satisfying reverb on both lyrics and guitar, and a well-timed falsetto whistle make this a Wednesday anthem I can get down to.

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The Max Savage Show – Live in Emeryville Thursday Night


Apparently those of us who missed Episode One of The Max Savage Show are less prepared for the coming Golden Age, but all hope is not lost. Thursday night, Max Savage – once a contributing writer here at SFCritic, who has also contributed to La Blogotheque, NPR and the Bay Bridged – will host Episode Two of his eponymous talk show with some epic local musical guests: rapper Kool A.D., the French Cassettes, and Antique Naked Soul, as well as Anna Sussman of NPR’s Snap Judgement and a cooking demonstration from the excellent Oakland eatery Homestead.

Since I haven’t been to one of these events … yet … I can’t tell you exactly what will happen. But local blogger Apes on Tape says, “Even if you’re unfamiliar with the above, Thursday offers an entertaining, rowdy, live studio show to sink your teeth into.” And Max himself says it’ll be a night of “joy, folly and existential wonderment.” Hard to resist.

The fun happens Thursday April 9th at Scandinavia in Emeryville. Show starts at 8pm and tickets are $8 advance/$10 door. Buy them here.

Song of the Day – “Drive With Your Eyes Closed” / A Band Called Quinn


The song — “Drive With Your Eyes Closed” by A Band Called Quinn

This tune hit me when I most needed a sultry beat to shake off a rough day, and in listening to it, I found it exemplifies itself. Literally driving with your eyes closed brings both exuberance and fear — I should do it; I shouldn’t do it. There is a push and pull in opposite emotional directions. With a driving downbeat this song pushes, with the relaxed melody it pulls.  Likewise, Louise Quinn’s voice is full of smooth, rich honey tones, but by the end of the song you have to wonder if it is mad honey, conjuring hallucinations, not what it seems. She sings, “Look out for those wolves in lambs clothes.” With syncopation, electro synths, and a few well-placed lulls, the song succeeded in shaking me loose, and now I can’t stop listening to it.

The band is an artpop group based out of Glasgow, Scotland. The song, it seems, was part of the soundtrack for this odd and exciting bit of theatrical music (or musical theatre? or film?) called Biding Time (Remix) written in part by Quinn, and based on her own experience of being signed to a major label.

Check out the Miaoux Miaoux and Celebrity Murder Party remixes too here.

Solving The Grateful Dead’s Rubik’s Cube: An Interview with Dark Star Orchestra


Dark Star Orchestra is set to play this Tuesday and Wednesday (April 7th and 8th) at the Great American Music Hall, and for anyone who is a fan of improvisational jam music – this is a must see. You can get an idea of what’s in store here.

For those of you unfamiliar with the group, here’s a quick breakdown: since 1997, they’ve been playing specific sets from the Grateful Dead, from specific shows. So they’ll choose a particular show, say March 23rd, 1975, and play that show song-for-song. But that doesn’t mean note-for-note – in fact, just as jam bands like the Dead don’t ever play a song the same way twice, neither does Dark Star.

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Photos: LA’s Francisco The Man @ DNA Lounge


Last night Francisco The Man played DNA Lounge on what turned out to be a surprisingly slow Thursday and a really intimate showcase for the band. I’m surprised that it was slow because both the opener Big Harp and Francisco The Man are incredibly skillful and played damn-good music. It must be that not everyone has heard Francisco The Man’s 2014 release Loose Ends, an album I will put on and before you know it I’ve listened to the whole thing.

On stage the band has the same time-bending effect, songs and verses give way to intricate, minutes long jams and you just kind of lose yourself to the moment. The chemistry is incredible, and their focus is complete. They’re not the type of band that jumps around on stage, but you can see in their faces that they’re putting everything they have into making incredible music. Guitarist and vocalist Scotty Cantino’s lyrics are tense and delivered in a high register. He reminded me at times of Julian Casablancas or a punk Tom Petty.

They draw on a mix of sounds from punk to alternative rock to psych. From Castino’s guitar came distorted guitar solos with the type of vibrato only a master of the whammy bar can deliver. Its clear you can’t half ass it in this band, they are playing some challenging music and making it seem easy. I was left wanting more after their set ended. Read More

Magic Man, the Keytar Make Triumphant Return to SF


Magic Man reappeared in San Francisco last Thursday and proved they’re perfectly capable of handling the added workload that comes with being a headliner. Touted as “a triumphant synth rock band,” the New England based team of five puts on quite the show– something they perfected early on playing in living rooms and basements. Thursday’s show at Slim’s was no exception.

Magic Man 1

Their sound, composed of synth beats, clean and energetic guitar riffs, and hammering drums, is exceptional, but their energy is what makes them great. Lead singer, Alex Caplow, really knows how to engage the crowd as he frequently extended his arms towards the throngs of young women who had gathered to get a glimpse of the heartthrob. The rest of the packed house really came alive once they put it in another gear with “Tonight,” as the building filled with smoke and hands came together. They then proceeded to kill it with my personal favorite, “Texas.” Read More

ELEL Sweeten A Wednesday Night


When I walked into the Rickshaw Stop last night, sadly late enough to miss both opening bands, it was pre-fogged, the upstairs was roped off, and about a hundred people milled about in anticipation. 30 or more of them were pushed up against the front of the stage, waiting, waiting.

ELEL (pronounced as it seems, “LL”) eased onto the stage under soothing cobalt and aqua lights. Their first song “Change My World” was like an initiation – welcoming, slow-building, grounding. Just as the beat would pick up, it would fall off into almost-silence, pause, and then leap back in with the pronounced and precise effort of the kick drum. By the end of the song each instrument had been introduced – from the wood block to the tenor sax, the bass, synths and reverb-laden guitar– the stage was set.

At this point, I was ready for the catharsis to begin and to be swept into a dancing frenzy, but it wasn’t until the third song that their hit “40 Watt” came out and the crowd jumped around like wild animals under the racing lights. And after “40 Watt” the band headed back into a series of slow to mid-tempo songs that, while building fantastically, with switching time signatures and layered instrumentation, left the longing to be cut free palpable in the room. By the last few songs (pre-encore), the release finally arrived. Read More

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