Live Music

Live shots: Beck christens the new Masonic

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It's not often that you get to see a new venue on opening night — so yeah, even if Beck hadn't been part of the deal, we would've been stoked to spend Friday evening at the newly refurbished and rebranded Masonic.

While it's not technically a new venue, it might as well be: After months of construction (and literally years of fighting with Nob Hill neighbors) the historic Masonic temple reopened this weekend with a new sound system, completely revamped stage and seating areas, new bars and concessions, a shmancy new VIP section, you name it. Read more »

Viracocha is legit! Here are five things from the past five years that we wish we could've written about

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As you may have heard by now, Viracocha — everyone's favorite Never-Never Land of a music venue/spoken word performance space/speakeasy/antiques store/beautiful place to stop and use the bathroom should you find yourself having to pee on Valencia — has gone legit.Read more »

Happy Hour: The week in music

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Happy Friday, friends, and welcome to August. We're only about a month away from summer weather!

As happy hour draws closer, here's a look back at the best music and music news we heard and saw this past week:

-- Sharon Van Etten shone in a free, intimate (though packed-to-the-gills), Pandora-presented evening at The Chapel on Tuesday night [July 29]. Read more »

Middle fingers to the sky, Lady Gaga takes San Jose for an artRAVEy ride

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There are a lot of critiques that I can make about Lady Gaga’s Tuesday night performance in San Jose — the sports arena acoustics, the horrifically boring opening acts, the focus on her new and less popular album Artpop, $80 sweatshirts, the fact that she performed some of her most popular tunes in truncated versions and neglected to play “LoveGame” altogether — but the fact is, none of these shortcomings made a dent in the incredible energy and impassioned performance that Gaga dished out. The show was fucking incredible.Read more »

LA siren BANKS enchants The Independent

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On Wednesday night at The Independent, a sold-out crowd anxiously awaits the mysterious creature known as BANKS. Cloaked in layers of black fabric that fall to her ankles, the dark chanteuse struts deliberately to center stage, where a spotlight shines onto her pale face. The L.A.-based signer-songwriter seductively sets into the dark R&B track “Before I Ever Met You,” recalling instrumentals by The Weeknd, with whom she toured last year.Read more »

An evening with Herbie Hancock and Nancy Pelosi at the SFJAZZ Gala

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By Micah Dubreuil

If you were driving down Fell street last Friday, you might have come upon an unexpected detour. This would have been the block cordoned off for the first annual SFJAZZ Gala in their new facilities at 201 Franklin St. The building opened in January 2013, and in addition to featuring near-perfect acoustics in the main auditorium — arguably the best on the West Coast for jazz — it provides a sophisticated space for a social and fundraising event such as this one.Read more »

Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week

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This week’s must-sees include a riot grrl legend with a shiny new project, a crew of gritty Brooklyn punks, an Oakland music fest (the Oakland Music Festival), a former Closer Musik member, and an experimental vocalist, formerly of Swans. Plus, Blouse, Dirty Beaches, and oh, so-much-more! Read more »

Gary Numan: dark music done right at the Oakland Metro

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From Metallica to This Mortal Coil, there's a sense of canned melodrama about most "dark" music that I've long found goofy and unconvincing. On that note, Massive Attack's Mezzanine has always struck me as dark music done right, leaving the angsty ostentation behind, in favor of casually luring the listener downward into its imposing dungeon of groove.

As Gary Numan took the stage in Oakland last Tuesday night, the British artist displayed a similarly nuanced sensibility of what makes dark music work, delivering a relentlessly groove-based set of songs that brooded and seethed with total conviction. Read more »

Which Noise Pop show is right for you?

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It’s all about choice, people. Noise Pop is a well-oiled festival machine at this point — now in its 21st year — cranking out dozens of concerts, nightlife happenings, film screenings, culture club events, photography showings, and all that good stuff we’ve come to expect from the homegrown indie fest. But given all those choices for the week of Feb. 26 through March 3, restless souls such as myself always tend to feel a bit well, overwhelmed. Read more »

Adam Green and Binki Shapiro pair up at the Chapel

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Adam Green and Binki Shapiro make an odd couple.

Green is a Manhattanite and acoustic singer-songwriter whose extensive lyrical topics center around black humor, blue language, and one Miss Jessica Simpson. He is best known for his role as half of the Moldy Peaches alongside Kimya Dawson. Shapiro, formerly of Echo Park’s American-Brazilian rockers Little Joy, is a retro-fashion icon in LA. She is perhaps best known for dating rock stars.

So what happens when east meets west and the social elite meets the man who once wrote a song called “Choke on a Cock?” An unexpectedly tender album of heartbroken duets and breakup ballads in a unique style, something we jaded listeners have yet to hear. Green’s humble baritone and Shapiro’s silky timbre blend beautifully, and in the recordings their joined voices soar to poignant, vulnerable heights. Read more »