Live Shots

Live Shots: Titus Andronicus at Great American Music Hall

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If you want to stay in the good graces of Titus Andronicus (which played Great American Music Hall this Tuesday), don’t mention frontman Patrick Stickles' beard, or his recent lack of beard, or his uncanny vocal likeness to Bright Eyes vocalist Conor Oberst, or really much of anything else. But you didn’t hear it from me. Because of his sensitivity, Stickles has been churning out some of the best anger and angst-driven punk rock of this century. In spite of his sensitivity, he still seems to be a super nice guy. Read more »

Live Shots: La Sera at the Chapel

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It was nice to see that “Kickball” Katy Goodman hasn’t grown up too much since leaving the Vivian Girls. Her big smile, bubbling stage banter, and virginal attire—a lacy white dress to match her white Fender bass guitar — added a saccharine candy coating to the dark, jangly pop of La Sera, her Los Angeles-based solo project.

Swaying and hopping across the Chapel stage last Saturday night in all black Converse All Stars, Goodman whipped her all-male backing band through a surprisingly short set, clocking in at just around 45 minutes. Read more »

Live Shots: AU at the Independent

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It was my first time seeing Portland's AU live Saturday night, and I had some important questions I hoped the show would answer. First of all, how does one pronounce AU? Aww? Awe? Oww? Gold? More importantly, how would the band recreate its sound live? I had theories, but as AU began its set at the Independent with its most recent album's first (and most prominent song) “Epic,” those quickly proved false. There were no guitars. Read more »

Live Shots: another Nobunny Halloween

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Walking to the Brick and Mortar Music Hall on Halloween night for the Nobunny show, I was disappointed by how few costumed people were roaming the streets of San Francisco. Doesn’t anyone have time for fun anymore? Turns out I need not have worried. My Halloween-loving peers pulled through, turning the small, darkened venue into a veritable haunted house full of Jedi, devils, skeletons, cats, and so much more. Read more »

Giants sweep the World Series, city goes buck

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Praise Scutaro, the Giants swept the World Series last night. And San Franciscans, loose after a brilliant sunny day in the city, with ample practice from the Giants' victory two years ago, and half dressed in their Halloween costumes, acted accordingly. Photographer Charles Russo was on hand to capture everything from the cheers in Civic Center Plaza to the fires that were lit on Mission Street late last night. Read more »

Live Shots: Crystal Castles at the Fox

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Arriving early to the Crystal Castles show Monday at the Fox Theater, discovering that one opener, HEALTH, had canceled its performance, and that the photo pit would be off limits for the other, Kontravoid, I was left with some unexpected time on my hands. Time that I spent trying to recall where I had seen the eerily familiar image hung over the stage, of a veiled figure cradling a fragile, vulnerable looking man in their arms.

Presented without context, it could be potentially tenderly romantic or gothically morbid, an ambiguity which seemed to typically invite the sort of let-me-Google-that mystery that recent bands have found so chic.* Read more »

Live Shots: David Byrne and St. Vincent at the Orpheum

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David Byrne opened his show with St. Vincent on Monday night by thanking the Orpheum for breaking its run of The Lion King for their performance. The David Byrne-St. Vincent show wasn't too far off from the theater’s regular selection though. The eight piece brass band doing choreographed marching behind the duo had a theatrical effect, feeling somewhere between a Stop Making Sense-themed halftime show and an instrument-bearing ensemble in West Side Story.

The 60-year-old musical giant and 30-year-old indie star brought out a diverse crowd. Byrne was carrying on the legacy of art-school punk-turned-pop band, the Talking Heads, but some in the crowd seemed to be wondering “who is this pretty young talent helping espouse his eccentric philosophies?” The scalpers outside were only selling Byrne’s name on the tickets and there was an overabundant amount of “we love you David” cries from the audience.

Read more »

Live Shots: ABADA-Capoeira's "The Spirit of Brazil"

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Sparking machetes. Lots of them, clanking against each other, as the dancers holding them ran in circles.

I'll be honest, sitting in the front row was slightly intimidating, and also rather exhilarating! The ABADÁ-Capoeira dance troupe, plus special guests from as far Switzerland, filled the stage with pure energy, in rehearsal for the troupe's "Spirit of Brazil" show, running Thu/18-Sun/20. Read more »

Live Shots: Treasure Island Music Festival 2012

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Music nerds talk lineups the way sports fans manage fantasy teams, particularly with festivals, where suddenly strategy becomes a part of catching a show. Treasure Island Music Festival, is sort of an exception, since in theory you can catch every single act, given the two alternating stages. At the same time, this means that unless you head to the silent disco or take a nap, one of those geeks will be standing behind you during a set, obsessively talking about how the lineup should be slotted differently. Read more »

Live Shots: Peter Gabriel at HP Pavilion

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Peter Gabriel strolled onto the stage at HP Pavilion on Tuesday with the house lights still glaring and the upper tier of the arena empty save for a scant few concertgoers sprinkled throughout the vast space.

Standing at the center stage microphone, Gabriel matter-of-factly began to explain to the audience how the concert would be structured for the rest of the evening. For an ever artistically-minded musician known for the theatrical nature of his live performances, it was a strangely stilted beginning to the start of his concert, exuding all the excitement of a CPR certification course. Read more »