Live Shots

Live Shots: The Robert Glasper Experiment at New Parish

|
(3)

It really wasn't a question whether the Robert Glasper Experiment would be any good at the New Parish on Friday night  – but how it would go about replicating the success of Black Radio, which recently won the Grammy for R&B album of the year.

That’s an album that features notable collaborators on each track – Erykah Badu, Lupe Fiasco, Bilal, Mos Def/Yasiin Bey, etc. – which could leave pianist Glasper a lot to make up for live. Going into the show I had a few theories: maybe the group would use pre-recorded vocal tracks in places, maybe up-and-coming vocalists would be pulled on stage from Oakland’s music scene, or maybe some surprise guest would be introduced. (Singer José James was nearby at the San Jose Jazz Winter Fest. Maybe he’d finish in a timely manner over there and stop by?) Read more »

Live Shots: Passion Pit, Icona Pop, Matt and Kim at the Bill Graham

|
(0)

Swedish duo Icona Pop made the typical announcement about being really happy to finish up its tour in San Francisco, last Thursday at the Passion Pit/Icona Pop/Matt and Kim show at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

Things likely have changed for Icona Pop, which specializes in bouncy, dubstep-inflected pop about “heartbreak,” particularly since the song “I Love It”* was appropriately included in the episode of HBO’s Girls where TV’s most self-centered character** goes on a coke binge. Read more »

Noise Pop 2013: The Thermals and Dirty Ghosts at Rickshaw Stop, Bender's happy hour

|
(0)

I first learned of the Thermals in 2005 from the DVD series, Burn to Shine, in which bands play a house that's set to be demolished. In an unlucky Portland, Oreg. home, the pop punk trio – by then together for just under three years – bounding with energy, played exclusive single "Welcome to the Planet.” That particular Burn to Shine installment also featured live, untouched performances by Sleater-Kinney, Mirah, the Decemberists, and the Gossip. A basic slice of life in Portland that year, all under one soon-to-be-gone roof.

Friday's Noise Pop show at the Rickshaw Stop celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Thermals' very first album, More Parts Per Million (2003, Sub Pop). And while it's now all these years later, and the band has since released a decade's worth of records building to 2013's Desperate Ground, the Thermals have maintained a joyful, power-pop exuberance and nasally shine. The Rickshaw crowd pogo'd off its feet to every song, nearly in unison, matching the excitement of the band on stage, even causing a brief kerfuffle near the end. Read more »

Noise Pop 2013: R. Stevie Moore is cool, plays Bottom of the Hill

|
(1)

R. Stevie Moore is cool. When was the last time you saw a 60-odd-year-old* man standing on stage shouting "where my bitches at" and repeated calls of "swag"? That kind of thing never happens.** (Though it did last night at the Noise Pop show at Bottom of the Hill with Moore, Fresh and Onlys, Plateaus, and Burnt Ones). Read more »

Noise Pop 2013: Cruel Summer, Lake, and the Blank Tapes at Hemlock

|
(0)

It's a low-key kind of Noise Pop year compared to the past three or four, without the huge, attention-grabbing headliners of yore  (looking at you, Flaming Lips at Bimbo's), but Wednesday's show at the Hemlock Tavern could have been nuzzled in nicely in any very early NP lineups, which is what made it feel authentically true to the inherent spirit of the festival.

No pomp or glitz, no big names or sold-out, packed-to-the-gills chaos. I initially went to see Olympia, Wash.'s Lake, a twee, lo-fi indie pop quartet with great hooks, but found much enjoyment out of the two bands that sandwiched that act (Cruel Summer and Blank Tapes), perhaps even more so? Read more »

Christmas in February: The Residents come home

|
(0)

Bimbo's was packed to the rafters Sunday night for the triumphal homecoming show of music-and-neo-surrealism group the Residents, which was celebrating 40 years of relative obscurity with a blowout tour.

The stage was set with a whimsically unseasonal Christmas theme — huge inflatable candy canes, Santa, and Frosty the Snowman — draped with a hand-lettered banner emblazoned simply with the band name. 

The days of elaborate sets and 16-piece ensembles are over for the Residents, and their current incarnation — a stripped-down trio of masked musicians known simply as “Randy,” “Chuck,” and “Bob” — relies mostly on electronic sampling and assorted effects to create the unsettling soundscapes and dissonant jangles they’ve been (un)known for since their very first public release in 1972 — the “Santa Dog” single.

Read more »

Live Shots: 'Dance + Diaspora' at ODC Theater

|
(3)

Strong drum beats, hip shimmies laden with bells and voices coming together in song. This show has it all. Presenting "Dance + Diaspora" two performances this Friday and Saturday -- pics above are from the dress rehearsal -- by choreographers Jill Parker (with her Foxglove Sweethearts troupe) and Tania Santiago (with her Movendo con Capoeira troupe)   -- a showcase of steamy belly dancing and heart-pumping Capoeria.

Read more »

Live Shots: Tomahawk at the Great American Music Hall

|
(2)

Tomahawk gave two rare live performances this weekend at the Great American Music Hall, the second of which this photographer attended, and — as to be expected from most things involving Mike Patton — it was flawless, aggressive, and there were lots of dudes in the crowd.  

The night started interestingly enough, waiting in line behind Jello Biafra at will-call and hearing him give his name to the woman behind the glass, while a few people behind me whispered, “that’s Jello Biafra.”  I don’t think he remembered me, but he stepped on me during the last Melvins show I photographed at GAMH. That time, I looked up and he said, “sorry” and I was like, “awesome.” 

Read more »

Black Choreographers Festival takes flight

|
(0)

This weekend, go watch some dance. Sam Love and I stopped by Dance Mission this week to check out a final rehearsal of a piece choreographed by Gregory Dawson and left feeling elated. Dawson has gathered a group of ridiculously limber and supremely talented dancers for refined, minimalist, yet achingly beautiful pieces that pulse with a strong, affirming spirit. His company is just one of several featured at the Black Choreographers Festival, a celebration of African American dance, art and culture. The piece we saw clearly stemmed from classical ballet roots, but also found inspiration in contemporary dance, creating a performance that displayed awe-inspiring athleticism (those extensions!) as well as thought-provoking drama, tension, and story. Go get your tickets already. It will be fabulous! Read more »

Live Shots: Soundgarden at the Fox Theater

|
(8)

It took Soundgarden a full 10 songs before it began to flex its muscles at the Fox Theater on Tuesday night, before the band dialed in and proved what out-and-out Badmotorfingers the four musicians can be. I doubt that the enamored (and now half-deaf) crowd leaving the Fox would have agreed with me on this point about the band’s early setlist sluggishness. Soundgarden delivered in a big way, and you would have been hard-tasked to find an audience member complaining after the dynamic, eardrum-crippling, 27- song performance.

Read more »