Live Music

SXSW Music Day 1: Mirel Wagner, Lila Downs, ZZ Ward

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I'm in Austin to blog the SXSW Music festival for the second year. With evening slates that usually have around 50 official showcases happening at any given moment (and many more unofficial shows), one person's perspective can feel dreadfully unrepresentative.

 

To be at SXSW is to know you're missing out on a lot of good music. Fortunately the music you do see makes up for the difference, and very often it's the unexpected showcases, the things that weren't on your radar until that very moment, that end up being the highlights of your experience.  That said here are some of my impressions from Wednesday's evening slate:

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Noise Pop Roundup 2: Cursive, Budos Band, Emily Jane White, DRMS, Atlas Sound

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My personal strategy for Noise Pop 2012 was to pack in as diverse a personal schedule as possible, taking into account old obsessions (Cursive, Bradford Cox) and favored newer acts (Allah-Las, DRMS), national and local bands and musicians, weird and precious live indie music.Read more »

San Francisco honors the memory of Warren Hellman with a free daytime concert

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San Francisco will honor the memory of philanthropist Warren Hellman this weekend with a fittingly free, live bluegrass showcase. The event includes performances by: Poor Man's Whiskey, John Doe, Kevin Welch, Kieran Kane & Fats Kaplin, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Steve Earle, Buddy Miller, The Wronglers (Hellman's old band) with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Gillian Welch, Boz Scaggs, Old Crow Medicine Show, Robert Earl Keen, Emmylou Harris with special guest The Go to Hell Man Clan.  Read more »

Bangarang: DIY hip-hop collective Doomtree is back

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There's something undeniably envy-inducing about a music collective. Everyone lives their separate lives yet they have continuing influence on one another; they hover nearby for comfort and camaraderie, maintain a steadfast family, and encourage a breeding ground for creatives. The emcees, DJs, lyricists, and producers in the Twin Cities-based DIY hip-hop collective/label Doomtree seem to have that system down pat. Under their own monikers, they create praise-worthy individual records. Together, the group carves out quality time and records masterpieces. Read more »

Telegenic Band Check: Lia Rose

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See video

Berkeley-based musician Lia Rose enchanted SFBG videographer Ariel Soto-Suver and a handful of others with her beautiful voice during an intimate living room concert in the Castro hills last week. 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 »

Cunt Sparrer is heading to San Francisco for New Year’s Eve Eve

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It starts off in your basic living room, two girls laughing then launching into a sweet, stripped down lo-fi version of Cock Sparrer’s oi classic “Take ‘Em All.” The musicians, Jennie Cotterill and Sara Lyons, play acoustic guitar and organ respectively, and harmonize “Take 'em all, take 'em all/Put 'em up against a wall and shoot 'em.” The disparity between the lyrics, origins, and this whole set-up encapsulates the appeal of Long Beach’s Cunt Sparrer, a trio that also includes Jen Kirk-Carlson and sometimes Myra Gallarza of Cotterill and Kirk-Carlson's other band Bad Cop/Bad Cop on drums. Read more »

Live Shots: Dinosaur Jr. at the Fillmore

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By Jolene Torr

The nostalgia factor of a night spent at the Fillmore, watching Dinosaur Jr. play the entirety of its classic Bug album while the scents of weed and that cloying old familiar CK One (I shit you not) steeped into my clothes, is hard to ignore. Though I was too young to appreciate Bug in 1988, watching the slacker-rock trio indulge in sprawling guitar solos and dense, chugging bass lines undoubtedly evoked a longing for grunge and those impetuous '90s. Read more »

Cass McCombs greets the Great American Music Hall crowd warmly

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There’s been a lot of talk about how Cass McCombs is an impenetrable character, so much so that it’s become tiring. We’ve heard about his elusiveness and nomadic lifestyle; about his tendency to either act bitterly in interviews (i.e. Pitchfork interview) or shun them altogether. Oh, and that he’s never happy. Admittedly, McCombs has shaped this cryptic persona himself — he’s even made it difficult to know what he looks like (recent photographs have been vague, he’s always altering his “look”). It was an enormous pleasure then on Sunday night to be able to experience the songwriter first hand when he performed at the Great American Music Hall, where it was all about the music. Read more »

Mark Sultan (BBQ) on vitamins, 'Seinfeld,' and the death of rock'n'roll

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Mark Sultan is an embattled crusader for true rock'n'roll. Though in prose, he'll have you believe that it must be destroyed – to save it from itself. Read more »