This Week's Picks: July 23 - 29, 2014

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WEDNESDAY 23

 

 

Man or Astro-Man?

Auburn, Ala.'s Man or Astro-Man? has spent decades perfecting their sprawling surf-rock. Incredibly imaginative and extremely prolific, the group has recorded and toured tirelessly since early 1990s. Drawing diverse influences from the likes of Dick Dale and Link Wray, punk and new wave, and science fiction and a fascination with space and extraterrestrial life, Man or Astro-Man? take surf rock in directions and galaxies previously uncharted. Largely instrumental and entirely captivating, the band's nine-album catalog is a musically-stunning journey through sound and space. Known for their high-energy live sets, often performed in space-suits complete with astronaut helmets with intricate sci-fi set pieces, musicians Star Crunch and Birdstuff will shred their way into your hearts. (Haley Zaremba)

With The Ogres, WRAY

8pm, $20

The Independent

628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421

www.theindependentsf.com

 

 

Cymbals

The cooler-than-thou French monologue on UK band Cymbals's single "The End" might have you in the dark, but the intro's melancholy melody should be instantly familiar to anyone who's spent too many hours in a club. The faint, ringing tone stuck in ear the next day (or week), bringing back memories: "It's the end of the night, you've been dancing too much. They've got to turn on the lights." Smartly placed on a stellar album (The Age of Fracture) of arty synth-pop that's in line with Metronomy, Passion Pit, and David Byrne, it's a reminder that, for better or worse, some things don't last as long as you want. (Ryan Prendiville)

With Astronauts, etc., The Wild Wild

8pm, $10-12

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011

www.rickshawstop.com

 

THURSDAY 24

 

 

CAM & Co. Productions' Spring Awakening

Once a high school theater kid, always a high school theater kid. After receiving their hard-earned diplomas from San Francisco's School of the Arts, some of the city's most talented teens realized they couldn't abandon the pool of talent at the school. So instead of embracing the idea of a deadbeat summer before college, the members created their own production company. Their conception of Spring Awakening is financed through an online fundraiser they created, and is completely driven by efforts from School of the Arts family members. Support up-and-coming youth theater while wondering why you couldn't be as cool as them when you were 18. (Amy Char)

Through Sat/26

7:30pm, $20

Phoenix Theatre

414 Mason, SF

(415) 336-1020

www.phoenixtheatresf.org

 

 

 

FRIDAY 25

 

 

RAWdance

With a decade of distinguished work behind the company, RAWdance has every reason to celebrate. Ryan T. Smith and Wendy Rein collaborations draw you in with the integrity of a highly structural approach that yet yields works that resonate emotionally. Their newest piece seems tailor-made to the kind of intelligence that they bring to their work. Turing's Apple explores both the genius of the British scientist Alan Turing and his tragedy when he came out as a gay man. It will be joined by the final version of Burns that the choreographers describe as Rorschach-test driven, and film-noir inspired. RAWdance will be joined by a guest artists Gretchen Garnett + Dancers in a trio, and a grief-exploring sextet, Nawala ("Lost") by Tany Bello's Project B. (Rita Felciano)

July 25-26, 8 pm. July 27, 7 pm. $25-30

Z Space

450 Florida St. SF

866-811-4111

www.zspace.org

 

 

 

This Must Be the Place: The End of the Underground 1991- 2012

Named for an excellent Talking Heads song, This Must Be the Place is an annual summer celebration of rock docs, exploring the birth, life, death, and (depending on whom you ask) near-constant rebirth of punk rock through iconic moments captured on film. This third installment, curator Mike Keegan has announced, will sadly be the Roxie's last, so get to it. Friday's '90s-tastic triple bill sounds too fun to miss, with 1991: The Year Punk Broke (featuring live performances from Sonic Youth and their then-opener, Nirvana), Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies (featuring the never sober, always charming GG Allin, who was dead before the film finished shooting), and What's Up, Matador? (featuring three-minute bursts of rarely seen excellence from labelmates Guided By Voices, Pavement, Yo La Tengo and more). Don't forget your flannel. (Emma Silvers)

Through Sun/27, prices and showtimes vary

The Roxie Theater

3117 16th St., SF

www.roxie.com

 

SATURDAY 26

 

 

CoffeeCon 2014

Cursed with the personality of an ogre if you skip your morning coffee? Once you've gotten a head start on your caffeine fix Saturday morning, head over to this art gallery — for one day only, it houses an interactive latte art exhibit (arguably just as creatively esteemed as postmodern paintings). The coffee festival features a plethora of other hands-on lessons, including one titled "How to Review Coffee," and unlimited coffee samples, so you can sound like a pretentious — but educated — coffee snob while you pine over an obscure roast when you're with your friends at Starbucks. Local bands perform live to simulate a hipster coffeehouse vibe. (Amy Char)

9am - 4pm, $15-$20

Terra Gallery & Event Venue

511 Harrison, SF

(415) 896-1234

www.terrasf.com

 

 

Fritz Montana

The spike in blues-rock appreciation that came with The Black Keys and their various contemporaries may be losing its luster — the Keys' newest LP, Turn Blue, hardly lived up to their previous releases. But Fritz Montana shows that the blues are alive and well in San Francisco. A blistering three-piece band fronted by high-octane vocalist and guitarist David Marshall, won Live 105's local band contest last October, which led to them opening for Kings of Leon, Queens of the Stone Age, and Vampire Weekend at the station's Not So Silent Night. Fritz Montana's first album, Scaredy Cat, is ready to drop, and the group has chosen the Rickshaw Stop as the spot for their release party. The group will play their new release, along with their celebrated 2013 EPs, and sell copies of their debut full-length hot off the presses. Fritz Montana may not be reinventing the wheel, but the band's songs pulse with an energy and technical grace that bodes very well for their dreams of airwave domination. (David Kurlander)

$10-13, 9pm

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011

www.rickshawstop.com

 

 

 

Rick Springfield

One of the biggest surprises in Dave Grohl's 2013 doc Sound City — about the legendary SoCal recording studio where Nirvana's Nevermind and other iconic works were recorded — was the inclusion of 1980s hunk Rick Springfield, the General Hospital star turned pop singer. Turns out he recorded the 1981 album Working Class Dog there, thus gifting the world with Grammy-winning radio jam "Jessie's Girl." Springfield's kept busy since his teen-dream days; aside from offering up Sound City memories, he wrote a memoir (2010's Late, Late at Night) and now, a novel: Magnificent Vibration, about a curious man's unconventional spiritual journey. Book Passage touts his appearance as "featuring a live musical performance," so get those lighters ready. (Cheryl Eddy)

4pm, free

Book Passage

51 Tamal Vista, Corte Madera

www.bookpassage.com

 

 

SUNDAY 27

 

 

Waffle Opera

Waffle Opera, founded by a group of young local singers in 2012, has altered the glitzy opera house aesthetic using an unexpected prop: succulent, syrup-covered Belgian waffles. The company, which serves the treats after each of its shows, embraces a remarkably unpretentious approach to legendary works, using minimalistic sets and small houses to bring out the lyrical and musical subtlety of centuries-old classics. The group is presenting a concert version of Cosi fan tutte, the 1789 Mozart opera whose title translates roughly to "Women are like that." An uproarious comedy about two Neapolitan officers who don disguises and try to woo each others' fiancées to prove the inconstency of female affection. While still a archaic by the standards of contemporary gender politics, the women (spoiler alert) are presented as smart and capable; they quickly pick up their lovers' plot, leading to a madcap phantasmagoria of mistaken identities and partially-broken hearts. Waffle's semi-staged version highlights the soaring arias, clever quips, and intricate plot of Mozart's funniest work. (Kurlander)

$15-$25, 3pm

Center for New Music

55 Taylor, SF

www.waffleopera.com

 

 

MONDAY 28

 

Andrew Jackson Jihad

In my mind, Phoenix's Andrew Jackson Jihad is both the quintessential and the essential folk-punk band. With bitingly clever lyrics that toe the line between hilarious and heartbreaking, an unflinching confrontation of social justice issues and a willingness to examine and sing about their own privilege, Sean Bonnette and Ben Gallaty have created some of the most important and tenderly earnest albums in the folk-punk canon. The band's unsteady, cracking vocals and mediocre musicianship lend a charming naivete, emotional sincerity, and accessibility to their music. The band's frenetic energy and the fierce dedication of their fan-base make Andrew Jackson Jihad's live shows a powerful experience. (Zaremba)

With Hard Girls, Dogbreth

8pm, $16

Slim's

333 11th St, SF

(415) 255-0333

www.slimspresents.com


Wolfmother

Wolfmother came roaring out of Australia in the mid-aughts with its self-titled debut, which went five times platinum in the band's home country and did well enough abroad to secure them a position as one of the Anglophone world's most formidable touring acts. Combining a shameless love for '70s hard rock (Led Zeppelin in particular) with the sharp hooks of stoner rock, the trio struck a chord with both the classic-rock and alt-rock crowds, and just about any guitarist born in the mid-'90s can likely remember learning one of their songs early on. Though the band only records sparsely, Wolfmother has remained a regular on the international touring and festival scene — a position that this year's New Crown should secure. (Bromfield)

8pm, $28

The Fillmore

1508 Geary, SF

(415) 346-6000

www.thefillmore.com

 

TUESDAY 29

Hundred Waters

Hundred Waters are signed to Skrillex's OWSLA label, but don't expect big bass drops from this Florida crew. Rather, they trade in a "digital folk" style that offers an intriguing rural perspective to the retro-futuristic conversation currently taking place in underground electronic circles. Birds chirp in unison with drum machines; Blade Runner synths support Tolkienesque fantasias. At the front of it all is Nicole Miglis, a one-woman choir whose voice seems as perpetually omnipresent as the sun and the sky. Though this year's The Moon Rang Like A Bell suggests pop ambitions lurking beneath their idiosyncratic exterior, the band is still one of the most unique and fascinating bands in the electronic universe — as well as one of the few that can truly claim to sound like nothing else. (Bromfield)

8pm, $14

The Independent

628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421

www.theindependentsf.com