By Avi Vinocur. Photos by Avi Vinocur and TJ Mimbs.
So as we speak I'm crammed between an NPR listener, a Louisiana native longing to be home for Jazz Fest, and a cool dude with lensless glasses awaiting the gospel of a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx, who found her home in New Orleans singing mountain music. I love America.
Her name is Alynda Lee Segarra -- short, cute, Aubrey Plazaesque (but smiley) with an incredibly evocative voice not quite like anything I've heard. Read more »
It was more than three years ago when I first saw the Limousines on stage. I hadn’t heard a song of theirs and the half-filled Nob Hill Masonic Center was waiting for Weezer to step on stage and take them back in time on their "Memories" tour time machine. In the meantime, we were stuck in the present, listening to an unknown indie electronic duo that danced their asses off as they performed. As lead singer Eric Victorino sang about crusty socks and stacks of pizza boxes, I realized the Limousines had a knack for entertaining a crowd.
Live shows are an opportunity for musicians and music lovers to share an experience together. After all, you’re standing in the same room. Brick & Mortar Music Hall is a treasure trove for musicians. The small space offers an intimate setting that gives musicians the chance to embrace their audience.
I stood five feet away from WATERS’ lead singer and frontman Van Pierszalowski Monday night and not once did I feel embraced. Read more »
“Well hello, San Fran!” shouted Wanda Jackson to an almost-full Chapel on Thursday night. “You already know I love you. You should know that by now.”
Jackson, still touring at age 76, looks to be about five feet tall — if you include her carefully teased hair. She needs help getting on and off the stage. She talks openly about her “senior moments.” And she’s an absolute rock star. Her age and petite stature seem merely to add to her massive stage presence. After finishing her rollicking first song, “Riot in Cell Block Number 9,” she beamed at the crowd, asking, “Isn’t it wonderful, the energy?” Read more »
Wednesday night, three young, up-and-coming bands gathered at the Milk Bar, an intimate venue on the western edge of Haight Street, to lay down fun, unseasonably warm beats – a welcome contrast to the decidedly autumnal weather. Read more »
Maybe people just don’t know how to party anymore, but I didn’t come across vomit once at the Treasure Island Music Festival. The crowd’s vibe was more or less well-behaved all weekend -- pretty chill considering how many people were clustered on the island for the fests’ seventh successful installment.
The organizers rely on big names, the unique setting, a variety of vendors, and plenty of distracting flash (including the nearly iconic 60-foot Ferris wheel you can ride at $5 a pop) in order to keep this thing a destination. Read more »
Fans of the Dodos flocked to the Great American Music Hall on Wednesday night, to catch the band’s final performance of its latest tour. It was a glorious homecoming played out before an adoring Bay Area crowd as Meric Long and company turned out a dynamic set that seamlessly alternated between quietly beautiful and downright fierce. Read more »
Have you ever heard of a snowball? (Not the frozen thing, the sugary treat, or some kind of sex act). I’m talking about the totally wholesome retro swing dance thing in which eager dancers surround a couple or two on the floor. The band yells out “snowball!” and the dancers separate and grab someone else from the outer circle. “Snowball!” again and the circle widens, leading eventually to concentric circles of revelers swishing and swirling to live music.
Last night at Bottom of the Hill, Har Mar Superstar -- the Minnesota-bred soulful R&B and pop singer -- led the eager Tuesday night crowd in a rapidly devolving snowball. On first mention he yelled out, “It’s called a snowball! Go roller skating once 25 years ago!” And then continued to nudge the audience to keep finding new partners: “snowball!” “Snowball again!” Read more »
Once (three years ago) I broke my wrist at a Thee Oh Sees show, and despite the gnawing pain from my misshapen wrist, I stayed to watch the rest of the set.
You see, you just don’t leave a Thee Oh Sees show early. It is a band you experience, because it’s not that often that you get the chance to see a band that enjoys what it's doing quite so much, and may just want to pull you into the hectic fun.
My most recent encounter with Thee Oh Sees was last Thursday at the Chapel; the band was kicking off its sold-out, three-night residency with spooky electronic act Fryborg, proto-punk worshippers OBN III's and precise psych-rock band the Blind Shake. Read more »