K. Michelle, Mezzanine, SF Critic-2

Photos: 0 F**ks Given as K. Michelle Pushes Through Tech Glitches to Thrill Fans


K. Michelle kicked off her My Twisted Mind Tour at San Francisco’s Mezzanine on Thursday night. This was the R&B singer’s first opportunity to hit the road with these songs following the release of her latest album, Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart?, at the end of 2014.

Following a few technical issues, namely with a video screen, K. Michelle took to the stage in a blinged-out sleeveless catsuit and put on a impassioned performance. K. Michelle is a singer who wears her heart on her sleeve. The songs came thick and fast, “Hard To Do” and “Damn” both being highlights from the early part of the set. Read More


There’s something in Springtime Carnivore’s Atmosphere – Wednesday 2/11 @ GAMH


Wednesday evening at the Great American Music Hall, Springtime Carnivore – the “nom de tune” of LA’s Greta Morgan – will invite you in to a dreamy, hazy pop that crosses not only genres but eras with ease. Morgan’s vocals might not be breaking any speakers, but the fluidity and flexibility floating across octaves is mighty impressive. The songs are catchy, with heavy reverb on the tambourines, “fuzzy guitars and blown out drums” (as her own bio so aptly describes) and that far-away psychedelic nostalgia you get from looking at pictures of 1960’s era San Diego surfer chicks in bikinis. The eponymous debut album, released last November, is also reminiscent of Motown classics (with backing vocals so tight they feel loose), the melancholy, rainy-day pop of Feist’s early album Let It Die,  and, for the locals, the rich soulful-sweet voice of Kacey Johansing.

But the tune “Foxtrot Freak (Something in the Atmosphere)” tells you better than I could what to expect on Wednesday: “Something in the atmosphere / Drink it up, drink it in / Til you’re hypnotized / Til it feels like a sin / Drip drop, rain wash, half-time swing / You won’t even feel a thing.”

Check them out as they open for local favorites The Dodos at GAMH on Wednesday February 11th. Tickets are here.


Wrong Done Right with The Devil Makes Three


There was plaid as far as the eye could see, more than a few cowboy hats and at least one guy dressed like a bumble bee at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Saturday night. The trio that makes up The Devil Makes Three originated in Santa Cruz, but they appeared to be right at home in front of the riled up and sold-out Bay Area crowd.

Large banners depicting radiant eyes served as a back drop for the string band consisting of guitar, banjo and double bass. Right from the first notes of the set opener “Stranger,” there was enough stomping and clapping in the crowd to more than compensate for any perceived lack of percussion. One whiskey-soaked Americana anthem after another kept the whole crowd, from the pit to the back of the balcony, whipped into in a frothing hoe down. Read More


Photos: Beacon Blends Electronic Grooves and Smooth Lyrics at Rickshaw Stop


Wednesday fans at the Rickshaw Stop were treated to a wide spectrum of electronic genres from acts Running in the Fog, Lord RAJA, and headliners Beacon. There was a surprisingly large crowd out on a weekday night and they filled the space with plenty of energy, dancing, and talking over each other between sets.

Running in the Fog, the moniker SF-based Amanda Harper, opened with a slowed down house beat and soulful female vocals. The music at points reminded me of a classic jazz singer set to heavy synths and drums, while other songs sound like straight up 90s R&B, baby-making music.

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Wednesday 1/28 @ Rickshaw Stop: NY’s Beacon Prepares to Drop Heavy Beats and Haunting Vocals


Another bargain for music lovers this week at Rickshaw Stop, NY acts Beacon and Lord RAJA will be joined by local act Running in the Fog for just $12 at the door. I know it’s a Wednesday, but just convince yourself you don’t REALLY have to work Thursday and come out for some good music.

I’ve had Beacon on a few playlists for the past couple years, especially the recent remix of Tycho‘s “See.” The Brooklyn-based duo plays their own blend of electronic ambient beats with R&B inspired lyrics, and right before the new year they dropped their new EP L1.

For me the new EP is really a game changer. They still have the haunting, Thom Yorke-esque vocals but the new beats have a weighty, heavy feel to them. Where the older stuff would often spacious and super ambient, their is a new complexity with L1. Not that their previous stuff was bad, but the new stuff is just doing so much more for me and I’m looking forwards to seeing what the next full album brings. Read More

Kyle Benefit Jan 30 Amnesia

Benefit for Kyle Lesley @ Amnesia this Friday


There are many pockets of the local SF music scene. One of them revolves around a little bar on Valencia Street called Amnesia, which has been a community center of sorts for the folk-freak scene (though the venue has no genre-limitation) through the 14 years I’ve been in this city. It’s a beautiful community of people who make music from the heart, some of which really breaks your heart and some of which gets you sweating and shaking on Amnesia’s dark and cramped little dance floor.

Friday night, Amnesia will host a fundraiser for a friend of that community, Kyle Lesley, who has been battling stage IV metastatic melanoma for a few years. I’ve had another friend battle this very stage of this very cancer, and it’s a nasty, persistent, aggressive fucker. (Really, isn’t that the one thing we can all agree on? Cancer sucks.)   Read More


Photos: EagleWolfSnake @ Bottom Of The Hill


EagleWolfSnake represents the latest creation from three multi-talented musicians whose purpose is to make you get off your ass and have fun. San Francisco’s Indie Pop Rock trio constructs driving beats accompanied by precision harmonies, sprinkled with funky guitar licks, leaving you no choice but to move your feet. Debuting as EagleWolfSnake, they’ve orchestrated a full-bodied sound that makes one wonder how there’s only three members in the band. At Bottom of the Hill, there was no lack of energy when they took the stage. Their stage presence demonstrated this integral brotherly chemistry, only accomplished by years of playing together. The catchy, upbeat melodies from songs like Whatever You Say keeps your body moving while chanting along to the anthem. Check out the music video below:

You can catch EagleWolfSnake performing all over the bay area in preparation for Napa Valley’s BottleRock festival in May, where they will certainly expand their Bay Area following. Read More


Tove Styrke, The Tropics and GNTLMN Light Up popscene at The Rickshaw Stop


Friday night, Popscene once again took over The Rickshaw Stop in the Civic Center for a night of high energy pop. Tove Styrke headlined, representing Sweden’s exploding pop music ecosystem and was joined by locals The Tropics, and LA’s GNTLMN. As always, Popscene’s Aaron Axelsen was on hand to spin new music between sets.

I need to make a quick disclosure. On Friday, I was in the middle of a terrible cold, and the only way I could rally to get to the show was to shove my face full of DayQuil™ washed down with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale™. So for me, everything was weird, slightly shiny and mildly drowsy. Read More

TDM3 - Live Photo (Meredith Powell)

The Devil Makes Three Prepares to Rock the Fox Theater January 31st


The Devil Makes Three are kicking off 2015 with a rigorous tour schedule, and will make a stop in Oakland on January 31st. The large capacity of the Fox Theater should not daunt this trio, seeing as they have made a reputation out of blowing away large festival crowds and small venues alike with the relentless energy they bring to their rockabilly infused Americana.

During this North American tour the band will be selling a seven inch featuring a couple new tunes produced by Buddy Miller which mark the first new music released by the group since 2013’s critically acclaimed I’m a Stranger Here.  The new tracks bring a soulful polish to the bands folk steeped roots, a sound which should be right at home in the elegantly cavernous Fox Theater.

Tickets are still available for $25 + fees here.

Photo by Meredith Powell

hella gay 2014

Hella Gay in Oakland Wants You to Come Party; Gay or Straight


Hella Gay Oakland Queer Dance Party,  or simply Hella Gay, has been a destination for some serious ass shaking in Oakland for the past six years. Originally conceived by DJ’s GSTAR and Hey Hey Hey after they threw a New Year’s Eve party so fun, they decided to make it a monthly event. Hella Gay was held for years at The Uptown Nightclub in Oakland, but after it shut its doors a couple months ago, the collective is now seeking a new permanent home. The music played is all across the board, but what’s most crucial according to the crew is that it gets people dancing.

The lineup has changed throughout the years as members rotated in and out with GSTAR as a holdfast. Hella Gay now welcomes two new members, DR. SPINZ and FELA KUTCHii. The parties happen the fourth Saturday of every month from 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Tickets are $5 at the door, 21+, Location TBA.

I got to ask the members a few questions about Hella Gay below: Read More

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