Live Shots

Pinback delights fans at annual Bimbo's show

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The audience at Pinback’s sold-out show this Saturday night filled Bimbo’s with a pleasant air of mellow enthusiasm. The eclectic (albeit extremely white) crowd was excited without being obnoxious, and its quiet, genuine appreciation was the perfect match for Pinback’s own casual expertise.Read more »

Estamos atentos: Photos and lessons from Friday's anti-violence march in the Mission

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It's hard to say if the march of neighbors from the 16th Street BART station, to Valencia Street, to 24th Street, and back down Mission Street will stop attacks like the January 6th assault on 23rd and Guerrero Streets that inspired last Friday's anti-violence demonstration and walk. But for a community that feels nervous about walking one's own sidewalks at times due to an ongoing spate of sexual assaults, that wasn't really the point. 

"No violence, no police! From the bathroom, to the streets!" went the crowd's chant, led by an ambulatory drum circle past the 1,000 new restaurant seats on Valencia and the tourists snapping photos of the massive, swaying protest puppets above our heads. Making the violence visible? Check. A disempowering situation turned into a show of strength? Check. Read more »

Pitting before dinner: Trash Talk, MellowHype, Sabertooth Zombie, and Antwon at DNA Lounge

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By Greg Weissel
All photos by Matthew Reamer

A half hardcore, half hip-hop bill at 6pm on a Monday in San Francisco. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing, in fact, did go wrong – and the writhing masses wreathed in weed smoke hovering over the concrete dance floor at DNA Lounge proved that mixed bills can make for the most energetic live shows.

The mood for the night was one of joyful irreverence, marked by the line of young men and women lined up on 11th Street, holding their skateboards, wearing Odd Future or punk rock shirts, cutting in line and hassling the strict bouncers. Read more »

Live Shots: SantaCon sleighed SF

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Photos by Bowerbird Photography

A city wide pub crawl wearing santa costumes. How could San Francisco not be thrilled for this annual event, the city where everyone loves to dress up and drink! (Well, OK, some of us were terrified of the more tipsier St. Nicholas cohorts, who may have gotten a little too jolly. But still.)

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Live Shots: Santigold at the Fox Theater

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Santigold was barely a full song into her sold-out performance at the Fox Theater Wednesday night when she began to stoke the lovefest with her Bay Area fans. "You know you're my favorite place to perform...you guys have so much energy!" In a different room to a different crowd it may have come off as a cheaply-pedaled stage sentiment, but the show that ensued lived up to her assessment: the crowd never stopped dancing and Santigold never stopped smiling. Read more »

Sufjan Stevens as the Christmas Unicorn at Great American Music Hall

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When I walked into the Great American Music Hall on Wednesday night, I was handed a Christ-Mess Sing-a-Long booklet with a unicorn on the cover. While I had already gathered from the name of the event — Surfjohn Stevens’ Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice — that it wasn’t going to be a standard holiday concert, I wasn’t quite prepared for the awesome eccentricities that awaited me.

The Great American, which is already one of the Bay’s most gorgeous venues, was literally aglow with strings of Christmas lights reflecting off bows and baubles attached to headbands, elf ears, vests, and ugly sweaters throughout the dedicated audience. On stage, incense was burning and guitar techs were wading through piles of inflatable Santas and unicorns. Read more »

Live Shots: Drag Queens on Ice (with the SF Bulls!)

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They twirled, twisted, leapt, and also sometimes fell, on their very well-padded booties. Glitter dusted the smooth rink, as the drag queens took the ice.

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Live Shots: Death Grips at Slim's

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When I first saw Sacramento's Death Grips — about a year or so ago at 1015 Folsom — they had to work especially hard. The room was half full and Stefan Burnett made up the difference, jumping down into the crowd and taunting it into action. The intervening time before a repeat performance was longer than expected (Death Grips suddenly canceled their last scheduled tour to finish their second album of the year) and at Slim's Monday the crowd seemed prewound, eager to see the sold-out show, jockeying for position near the front, and admiring freshly purchased t-shirts showcasing the attention-baiting cover art for No Love Deep Web. Read more »

Baby steps: Pregnant Ana Tijoux headlines at an evolving La Peña Cultural Center

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Unlike the last time I saw her perform in California, there was no reason for Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux to apologize to her audience for her English in the La Peña Cultural Center at her pre-Thanksgiving show on Wednesday.

"Quien no habla español?" she asked the crowd. "Muy bien," she continued when no one could understand Spanish well enough to yell out that they don't understand Spanish. "El mejor publico in los Estados Unidos." Read more »

Flamenco goosebumps: Buika at Herbst Theater

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Large portions of my life have been chronicled by music. Chopin waltzes from when I was starting to learn piano, Iron and Wine from my college Seattle days, and this summer, Spanish flamenco singer Buika. Sam Love and I have had her music playing literally non-stop, whether it’s while we’re editing photos, having dinner parties with friends, or driving north to Point Reyes for a hike. We’re totally addicted.Read more »