Live Shots

Live Shots: Treasure Island Music Festival 2013

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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 »

Live Shots: The Dodos at Great American Music Hall

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All photos by Charles Russo

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 »

Live Shots: Har Mar Superstar at Bottom of the Hill

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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 »

Thee Oh Sees, OBN III's, and more shake up the Chapel

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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 »

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: A rookie recap

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By Kaylen Baker

“This,” said a friend, turning and surveying a backlit crowd, bopping and blazing under an unlikely October sun, “is the real San Francisco.”

I’m new to this city, and its croaking cables, faddish food trends, steep hills, all-aboard attitude, and free bluegrass festival have captivated me.
   
I was stuck in the largest forested mob I’d ever seen, between the nubby hills that form Hellman’s Hollow. To my left a drunk woman shouted into her cell on the shoulders of a drunk man, to my right a bare-chested beer-bellied man flapped his arms above his head,  and ahead, the String Cheese Incident spread a bluesy beach jam over this valley of ears.

Back up to day one of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Read more »

Live Shots: Superhero Street Fair

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Batman, super dog Rowdi, Supergirl, and Green Man were among the costumed characters photographer Amanda Rhoades caught at the Fourth Annual Superhero Street Fair last weekend in San Francisco.

All photos by Amanda Rhoades

Live Shots: Savages at the Independent

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Walking into the Independent on Friday night, the first thing audience members saw were signs titled “A Note From Savages.” These postings read, “Our goal is to discover better ways of living and experiencing music. We believe that the use of phones to film and take pictures during a gig prevents all of us from totally immersing ourselves. Let’s make this evening special. Silence your phones.” It was just the first indication that this was going to be an exceptional night.

Just before Savages took the stage for the first of two sold-out shows, the energy in the room vibrated with a palpable hum, resonating above the droning ambient music pulsing from the speakers. Read more »

Onstage proposal prompts group hug from Grouplove at the Indy

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The last thing I expected to hear at a Grouplove concert was Skrillex and ASAP Rocky’s “Wild for the Night” but for some reason it seemed to be the perfect soundtrack to the band’s entrance. Dancing wildly and hyping the crowd to the beats and bleats of the track, the five musicians had whipped the sold-out Independent crowd into a high-energy frenzy before they played a single note.
 
After touring more or less constantly since its inception in 2009, Grouplove is a well-oiled machine on stage. Every member bounces around with frenetic energy, never standing still for a moment. Vocalist and keyboardist Hannah Hooper was all hair, headbanging, whipping around, and running in place in a leopard print unitard as frontperson Christian Zucconi (clad in a bathrobe and Grateful Dead tee) furiously strummed, jumped, and bumped into everyone around him. By comparison, bassist Sean Gadd, guitarist Andrew Wessen, and drummer Ryan Rabin almost seemed demure, despite their own dancing and roaming around the stage. Read more »

The Moondoggies croon sweetly at Brick and Mortar Music Hall

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I've yet to be disappointed with a Brick and Mortar show, and the Moondoggies concert was no exception. When the Seattle rockers came on stage last Thursday night, they dove straightaway into bluesy rock songs. Read more »

Sammy Hagar runs through the hits at the America’s Cup Pavilion

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Celebrating 40-plus years on the rock scene, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar hit the stage in San Francisco on Saturday night before a crowd of thousands of enthusiastic fans.
 
Playing the America’s Cup Pavilion, the Red Rocker blazed through a set spanning most of his career, starting out with Montrose songs, then on to his solo material, through his stint with Van Halen, and up through his current output. Read more »