Live Review

Live Shots: Santigold at the Fox Theater

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Santigold was barely a full song into her sold-out performance at the Fox Theater Wednesday night when she began to stoke the lovefest with her Bay Area fans. "You know you're my favorite place to perform...you guys have so much energy!" In a different room to a different crowd it may have come off as a cheaply-pedaled stage sentiment, but the show that ensued lived up to her assessment: the crowd never stopped dancing and Santigold never stopped smiling. Read more »

Live Shots: AU at the Independent

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It was my first time seeing Portland's AU live Saturday night, and I had some important questions I hoped the show would answer. First of all, how does one pronounce AU? Aww? Awe? Oww? Gold? More importantly, how would the band recreate its sound live? I had theories, but as AU began its set at the Independent with its most recent album's first (and most prominent song) “Epic,” those quickly proved false. There were no guitars. Read more »

Skipping Bridge School: a happenstance Saturday in San Francisco

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For me, things usually go better when the unexpected happens, like this past weekend when my half-assed plans to attend Saturday’s installment of Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit Concert fell through. Instead of seeing Axl, as he reportedly flubbed the lyrics to “Welcome to the Jungle,” I stayed local to witness part of a San Francisco tradition and later, one of the more sensory provoking and delightfully weirdo art performances I’ve seen in a while. This surprise night out-on-the town turned out to be a success. Read more »

Amanda (Fucking) Palmer unites the freaks at the Fillmore

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Theatrics! Camp! Bravado! Glitter! Body hair! Going to an Amanda Palmer concert is like taking a trip to the island of misfit toys. Standing in the crowd, I was surrounded by top hats, tutus, tuxedos, pink mohawks, steampunk creations, and many more accessories that I can’t begin to identify. 

The audience at the Fillmore last Wednesday was incredibly diverse in age, gender, and style, seemingly united only by their love for the many artistic eccentricities of Amanda Fucking Palmer, as her fans call her. Read more »

Six Organs of Admittance march into battle at Bottom of the Hill

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On Saturday night, a small cadre of dedicated fans waited patiently for Ben Chasny’s psychedelic folk project, Six Organs of Admittance, to take the stage at Bottom of the Hill just before midnight. Six Organs is currently touring the West Coast in support of their LP Ascent, which was released last month on Drag City. Members of his other project, the noise rock group Comets on Fire, accompanied Chasny on the album and onstage at BOH.

Lead guitarist Chasny and supporting guitarist Noel Harmonson, bassist Ben Flashman, and drummer Utrillo Kushner effectively drenched the punkish, gently swaying crowd in raw, unplugged, cacophonic tribal noise as they orchestrated spooky guitar symphonies, hard rock riffs, and fuzzed-out surf numbers. About half of Six Organs’ jams possessed an epic “I’m marching into battle with a large horned animal” vibe, and Chasny’s intermittent vocals felt dark, scratchy, wispy, and perhaps slightly demonic. Read more »

The Tallest Man on Earth throws down his pick

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On a long BART ride to Oakland after a longer day at school, I thought I probably couldn’t stay awake at a punk show, much less an acoustic folk concert. When I arrived at the Fox and saw that the Tallest Man on Earth show was seated, I was sure that I was doomed.

The stage setup was minimal, with one chair, a circle of monitors, and one keyboard. I stifled a yawn as Kristian Matsson, a.k.a the Tallest Man on Earth, skipped onto the stage in a white tank top and black skinny jeans, looking ironically small on the large, sparse stage. Matsson picked up his guitar, strummed, and wailed out his first note, sending the audience into hysterics. Read more »

Live Shots: Buraka Som Sistema at the Independent

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How much space does a person need to dance? If you’ve been to a packed, over-sold massive EDM show lately, the answer could be zero, as being rooted in place and fist-pumpin’ seems to be all the rage. Really, though, if you’re at least going to move your feet then a little more room* is required.

Which is why I was relieved to find that the Independent, while crowded, wasn’t packed to the walls last night. Because Portugal’s Buraka Som Sistema likes to get down in a very specific way. In that way that Tribe liked to get down – devoted to the art of moving butts.

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Lindsey Buckingham's live show comes down to one

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With an arsenal of a dozen guitars and several amplifiers lined up behind him, Lindsey Buckingham wasted no time delving into his extensive catalog of songs Monday night at the Fillmore.

Striding up to a lone microphone stand wearing his signature blue jeans, v-neck t-shirt, and black leather jacket, the singer and guitarist launched into an hour and 15 minute set that spanned a broad spectrum of his career, covering a wide swath of solo material in addition to some of the mega hits he created as a member of Fleetwood Mac.Read more »

Frankie Rose's brief, enthralling Brick and Mortar stop

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In case you hadn't noticed, Frankie Rose's got the Internet goin' nutz. The 33 year-old has served time in two super buzzy groups of girls (Dum Dum & Vivian) and NYC critical darlings the Crystal Stilts and is about to kick off a tour with Real Estate.

The blogosphere's thickest rims have been falling over themselves to praise her sparkling sophomore LP, Interstellar (Slumberland, 2012), and on Saturday night, Rose took herself and that buzz (I hear it needs its own van) to a sold-out Brick and Mortar Music Hall for an brief yet enthralling 10-song set. Read more »

The crowd goes ballistic for Gotye's hit song

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There is nothing quite like hearing the song that’s been stuck in your head — persistently playing on repeat — finally materialize in front of you.

When the all-too-recognizable trickles of the xylophone and Gotye’s effortlessly poignant voice introduced  “Someone That I Used To Know” last night at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the crowd went ballistic; a collective jolt of ecstatic bliss took over, followed by a vigil of raised iPhones and Androids. Read more »