Ryan Prendiville

Unintelligible genius: looking back at all four shows of the Reggidency

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When Reggie Watts first came to my attention, through a series of appearances on Conan O’Brien’s show a few years back, I didn’t know where to place him. My first instinct was to lump him in with the trend in music – particularly indie rock –  around the looping pedal where solo artists including Owen Pallett and tUnE-YaRds could layer mic samples atop one another during a live performance to get a larger, simulated band sound. Read more »

Reggie Watts melts minds at SF Sketchfest's Reggidency kickoff

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“Welcome to [SF] Sketchfest,” Reggie Watts said, in what appeared to be his natural voice, “it’s going to be a big night for all of you guys.” The first night of his four-part “Reggidency” at the comedy festival was billed as being Just the Music but from before Watts took the stage at Yoshi’s SF – giving himself an introduction from behind the the curtain and then launching into a series of characters that wavered from pseudo-unintelligible to borderline familiar (Japanese? Jesse Jackson? Vallejo-ean?) – it was clear that label was Just a Guess. Read more »

Live Shots: Fitz and the Tantrums

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A steady backbeat. The swirling organ. Lots of saxophone. Two singers who double as dancers. One skunk striped haircut. Without a doubt, Fitz and the Tantrums have their act together, and worked it Thursday, the first of two nights at the Regency Ballroom. Read more »

How to celebrate MLK Jr. Day in the Bay

Community day in the Yerba Buena Gardens, youth spoken word, civil rights movie screenings, and places to volunteer (it's called a service day for a reason, people)

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Use your national day of service wisely --  jump in one of of the day's volunteering fairs, take in a black history flick, catch some awe-inspiring youth spoken word, learn about colleges 

“In the Name of Love” MLK musical tributeRead more »

Live Shots: Phonte and 9th Wonder at New Parish

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I’ve heard complaints that the Occupy movement doesn’t have a clear message, but Saturday night you could read it from a passing car. At an intersection off of Broadway, where a large crowd had gathered, a few people held up a giant banner on the corner that read “FUCK THE POLICE.” And as we passed groups of officers in riot gear and searched for parking among  the cop cars on nearly every block, it was also obvious that a confrontation was brewing. Read more »

How to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the Bay

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Use your national day of service wisely --  jump in one of of the day's volunteering fairs, take in a black history flick, catch some awe-inspiring youth spoken word, learn about colleges 

Read more »

Live Shots: Mara Hruby at Yoshi's Oakland

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The nice thing about playing a major stage in your hometown is that you can count on support from old friends. On the other hand, it also means that those same people can shout out whatever they want during the mic breaks. “Man, they just had to bring out my childhood nickname,” a slightly blushing Mara Hruby said Wednesday night, responding to a slightly inaudible call from someone from way back in the back of the sold-out crowd at Yoshi’s Oakland. Read more »

Live Shots: José James at New Parish

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A couple of phrases used (and possibly made up) to describe José James’s show Friday night: swoontastic and baby-making-music. The rising neo-crooner gigged in San Jose and SF the preceding two evenings, but it's hard to beat the intimacy of Oakland's the New Parish, which has a certain bohemian vibe. Read more »

Live Shots: Dan Deacon at New Parish

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You go to Dan Deacon in a bad mood – a no-good-reason sort of bad mood, where you’ve been sleeping a lot just to turn it off. (Works for a while, until the stress dreams start.) And even though you’d seen this guy a few times before, you have doubts about the show. Do you really enjoy the music, the high-pitched, manic indie electronics with screeching chipmunk vocals over it? Has he progressed enough as an artist to make a return worthwhile, or enough to brave the crush of an amped up, teenage and hyper crowd? Read more »

Live Shots: They Might Be Giants at the Fillmore

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They Might Be Giants wrapped up a busy weekend in the Bay Area last Sunday night, playing a second night at the Fillmore on top of a free show at the SF Amoeba Music earlier that day. Starting the show, Johns Flansburgh announced that the band would be playing Flood --which he later called the band’s “1990 near-breakthrough album”-- in its entirety. And, since the album was only about 43 minutes long, it would be padded first by some old and new hits. Read more »