Charles Russo

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: 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 »

Live Shots: Blondie and Devo at the Warfield

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I was flipping around on my car’s FM dial last week and had the bleeding-from-the-ears misfortune of coming upon Taylor Swift’s staggeringly awful new single. I thought for a moment that I landed on some kind of Disney or Nickelodeon channel, where corporate-oriented bands score those awkward tween TV shows. In reality though, Swift is currently selling the shit out of the thing on iTunes…and leaving me to question my faith in humanity’s hearing.
 
So I was all the more enthusiastic as I headed to the Warfield on Monday night for the Devo and Blondie double bill. Clearly, I was in need of some kind of authentic audio to counter balance the heavy dose of vapid pop I had stumbled into on the airwaves. And even as their 1979 heyday grows ever more distant, Blondie and Devo delivered in a big way on Monday. Read more »

Live Shots: Neil Diamond at the HP Pavilion

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At some point during the massive “Sweet Caroline” sing-a-long deep into Neil Diamond’s concert at HP Pavilion, a rowdy female fan vaulted into my aisle, loudly proclaimed her love to Neil, skulked away from some security guards, and then just all-out bolted for the stage.

She made it as far as the fourth row before a scrum of ushers in royal blue jackets intercepted her in mid-sprint. At that point, Neil was really whipping the place into a tidy frenzy. In fact, by the time he hit his stride on “Cracklin’ Rosie” a couple songs later (“Play it now/Play it now my baby”), it seemed like the audience of dolled-up cougars and enthralled seniors might just erupt into a full-on mosh pit. Read more »

Live Shots: Refused and the Hives at the Warfield

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Photographer Charles Russo shot Refused and the Hives at the Warfield. 

It took 14 years to happen, but the sweaty, sold-out, packed-to-the-rafters crowd at the Refused concert Wednesday night would tell you it was worth the wait. Read more »

Live Shots: Radiohead at HP Pavilion, 04/11/2012

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The first time I saw Radiohead, it was opening up for Belly, back when “Creep” was an exquisite oddball of a radio hit.

Actually, it wasn't so much opening for Belly as it was a double bill, but Radiohead played first and Thom Yorke had a platinum rock star hairdo and the band was touring on an unspectacular album with a title gleaned from a Jerky Boy’s joke. Read more »

Elbo Room benefit to raise funds for fire victim

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Longtime Gamescaper, Larkin Street social worker, local hip hop emcee, walking comic book encyclopedia, and all-around dear friend Robert Strawder was severely injured in an early morning apartment fire at 24th Street and Valencia on December 1. After nearly a month of intensive care treatment and frequent surgeries, Strawder remains in a medically-induced coma on a long road to recovery. Friends, family, and co-worders are holding a benefit for him today, Tue/26 at the Elbo Room to raise funds for his rehabilitation. Read more »

Live Shots: Feist at the Warfield

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SFBG photographer Charles Russo caught Feist at the Warfield on Monday. 

Live Shots: Portishead at the Greek Theatre

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Once while talking music with friends on a long road trip I was posed with the task of describing Portishead’s sound. Struggling to articulate the sum of their collective parts, I did a hasty mental cut-and-paste and said, “They’re sorta like…if Pink Floyd was a hip-hop band…and Billie Holiday was their singer.” It’s a clunky description, not so much for the references, but because Portishead’s greatest attribute is their ability to bend genres so seamlessly that it all morphs into their own sort of singular sonic universe. Even the prevailingly appropriate moniker of trip-hop (of the Bristol variety) really seems more of a launching point than a description. Read more »

Live Shots: Soundgarden at the Civic Auditorium, 7/21/11

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After capping off a monstrous 20-plus song set yesterday, on Thursday, July 21, with the tortured grind of “Slaves & Bulldozers,” Soundgarden put an exclamation point on their performance with a six minute shake-the-building-foundations, horses-of-the-apocalypse audio assault.

Amid waves of controlled feedback and blaring Seattle Sonic resonance, I thought my dental fillings were shaking loose. I was worried the Civic Auditorium balcony would soon collapse. I suspected that teenagers might start exploding throughout the audience. Read more »