Interview with Alyssa Robbins, Playing Hotel Utah This Friday Night


About two years ago, I had the opportunity to meet singer-songwriter Alyssa Robbins at a mutual friend’s house in Washington State. Since then, I have been following her career from afar as she continued to evolve her style in Brooklyn.

Recently, Robbins recorded her second album, her first since 2007, entitled Our Time Was Here We Just Forgot To Bea short album that manages to touch on many musical styles. Think Aimee Mann, Bonnie Raitt and a few surprises in between. She is touring on the new album and stopping here in SF to open for Two Man Gentleman Band Friday night. But before she does we asked her a few questions.

SFCritic(SFC): I have been enjoying your new album Our Time was Here We Just Forgot How To Be. It has a really different feel than your first album, both in the type of music you are playing and the way you use your voice. What changed or inspired you to evolve your sound since the last album? Read More

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Review: Milky Chance Release Sadneccesary Ahead of Show at Rickshaw Stop


Milky Chance is one of those acts that appears to come out of nowhere, but immediately makes its presence known. Similar to Gotye, their single “Stolen Dance” just emerges from thin air, and then you hear it everywhere. Recently, I heard it in a cab and at my favorite ramen spot on the same day. Although it is a major accomplishment to have a breakthrough single, more impressive is how many great songs appear on their debut album Sadneccesary. 

Hailing from Kassel, Germany duo Clemens Rehbein and Philipp Dausch met in the 11th grade and started creating music as Milky Chance in 2012. They must have clicked immediately because the two mix genres such as folk, reggae, spanish guitar and electronic together with a maturity and skill where many, many others try and fall flat. Read More


Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) Saves the Day at The Mezzanine


It’s been a while since I’ve been to a show as a writer. Normally out shooting as a photographer, I decided to muster up the courage to get out on a Tuesday evening with one of my best friends to see what Yasiin Bey still had to offer this once malleable hip-hop head. The reason for doing so was two-fold; I still have a special place in my heart for ‘real’ hip-hop, and because I’ve been following Mos Def (Bey’s FKA) and his career since the early Black Star days. I’ve always felt personally engaged and interested in what he stands for in his music and that his position and demeanor are both genuine and unique, so I was looking forward to seeing him perform solo. (David and I caught the dynamic Black Star duo at the 2011 Rock the Bells show). For me, the night was a roller coaster of entertainment, enjoyment and disappointment.

It started off with your typical ‘indie’ hip-hop show theatrics – more acts on-stage than originally scheduled, a late-by-design set of performances, and a questionable hype-man who faltered in between sets. The crowd began to BOO as comedian Chris Riggins decided to segregate and separate concert-goers by racially profiling fans. As if he had planned it all along, the ‘host’ called out to the crowd, asking, “Are y’all ready to see some real hip-hop tonight?” The response was not quite what he had hoped, so he decided to single out a fair skinned patron by asking him what his problem was. The man looked confused as he said, “What are you talking about? I’m ready,” while he smiled and put up his hands. (He was one of the few people actually engaged.) When the crowd grew even more silent, the host replied to the young man, ‘Yeah, whatever. My bad, white privilege.’ Read More


Treasure Island Music Festival Announces 2014 Set Times


As we near the one week countdown for Treasure Island Music Festival, the organizers have spilled the beans on artist set times. For those who aren’t familiar with TIMF, set times aren’t as stressful as other festivals because all the acts happen on two adjacent stages and don’t overlap, it really cuts down on the FOMO.

While there is nothing super surprising about the order of the acts, at least now you will know when you have to wake up and catch the shuttle. Try to wake up “early” to catch local electronic act Cathedrals at noon on Sunday! The full daily set times can be found here. I’ve also listed them below with relevant reviews from SFCritic. Read More

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Photos: Lake Street Dive, Ages and Ages Thrill Sold-out Fillmore


Last night, The Fillmore hosted two fantastic sets from Lake Street Dive and Ages and Ages. We have been excited for this show for several weeks, but I have to admit that as a huge San Francisco Giants fan I was initially not happy to leave a big playoff game and head to the Fillmore. Luckily what I found there was some great music and a high energy crowd ready to dance and sing along.

I hadn’t yet seen the opener Ages and Ages, who hail from Portland, but I have been listening to their recent album Divisionary for the past week. Led by singer and guitarist Tim Perry, they play a feel-good folk rock that layers rounds of lyrics for an incredibly full sound. Instrumentally, they remind me of their fellow Portlandians The Decemberists, but the rich vocals bring me to the warm memories of singing with family and friends. Read More

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Song of the Day: Mysterious UK Duo, Wonder Wonder With “Shark”


London-based Wonder Wonder is an enigma. In an age where big name acts are usually paired with a big story about their personal life, trials, or tribulations, this duo decided to try a different approach aimed at trying to let the music speak for itself.

The band has no website. No photos or biographical information on their Twitter or Facebook sites. All we know about them is that they are from the UK, and they are releasing one song every month for a year, culminating in a debut LP. When I emailed to ask why, they sent this reply:

We are keeping quiet for the moment because we feel that the songs, the writing, the production and the feel of the music should take the forefront of this project. We have both individually experienced what it’s like to be artists promoting ourselves as a brand, and how visuals and perceptions of artists can often affect the listener’s response to the actual art itself. Sometimes it can help, and sometimes it can corrupt. Music is the most important thing to us, good songwriting, good lyrics, interesting sounds – that is what we want to focus on.

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Giveaway: Win a pair of tickets to see Megan Slankard at GAMH 10/18


Local songstress Megan Slankard hits the Great American Music Hall on Saturday October 18th to reveal and release her new album Running on Machinery. She’s been an impressive DIY musician for years, having independently sold 35,000 copies of her previous records. The sound is reminiscent of Edie Brickell and Rickie Lee Jones, with both edgy and mainstream appeal. You should also be sure to check out Slankard’s hilarious and painfully truth-telling web series “inDIYe.”

The show, presented by local promoter KC Turner, is all ages, and the incredible, indelible Quinn Deveaux (with his Blue Beat Review) opens the night. Tickets & more details here.

We have two tickets to give away!
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The Dodos @ The Chapel


Last time I saw The Dodos was late in 2013, at a well-received Great American Music Hall performance. At that time, the songs chosen by the San Francisco band were mostly a collection from their last album, Carrier, which had been released a few months earlier. While no new material has been released since then, the show they played last Saturday at The Chapel (with Dylan Shearer as the opener) felt quite different; it wasn’t just the smaller size of the venue that allowed for a more intimate experience, but the fact that the band was not focusing on a particular album, taking requests from the audience and asking them to shout out whatever songs they wanted to hear (“Horny Hippies” was definitely one of the requests heard the loudest). A cool night that made me remember that, as Heraclitus once said, you can’t step twice into the same river.

Photos from the show: Read More


A Life’s Worth of Experiences: An Interview with Ed Nash of Bombay Bicycle Club


This Sunday, October 5th, something very special is going to happen. Bombay Bicycle Club will be playing the Warfield, and it’s going to be strong. Strong to quite strong.

Bombay Bicycle Club has been a highlight of the 2014 live event season for me. (They played the Fillmore on April 20th earlier this year, you can read the review here.) This is a show that is not to be missed. The group of early 20-something’s plays with the same gusto as if they’d been on tour their whole lives — which is basically true. They bring an energy so breathtaking, so huge, that you can’t help but dance and, more importantly, smile.

Forming in London in the mid 2000’s, the band quickly gained steam and have since taken their tour across the globe. SF Critic recently had the privilege to interview the band’s bassist, Ed Nash, to talk band evolution through new sounds, a life on tour, and some pretty gnarly artwork. Make sure to go grab your tickets for the show this Sunday, and for those across the country check out their full tour schedule here. Read More


SFCritic’s Concert Calendar and October Shows to See


We are always on the lookout for fun shows here in SF and around the Bay. Over the past few days, we have been gathering details on some of our favorite acts coming to town, and we decided the natural culmination of this effort is our new Upcoming Concert Calendar.

Check out great Bay Area shows in October and November here.

We will be updating our listing as more great shows come across our radar. Each Wednesday, we will highlight a couple of upcoming acts to help you find great acts in your backyard. Read More

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