Live Music

Future Islands release the beast within at Bottom of the Hill

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As I retreated from the Bottom of the Hill’s courtyard into the venue Tuesday night, Future Islands vocalist Sam Herring held the door open and flashed me a dazzling smile. As soon as Herring took to the stage, however, gone was the polite Southern gentleman I’d met outside. He transformed into a raving beast that would hold his audience captive for an intensely theatrical and cathartic performance. Read more »

Shrouded in black, Lykke Li makes eye contact with us at the Fox

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Lykke Li doesn’t want you. Let’s just get that straight.

Lykke Li wants me. Or at least I think so. Because even though it’s a cliche to say that it sounds like someone is singing just to you, that’s what she does. Particularly when the most common word in her lyrics is the word “you,” and you’re standing in the pit at the Fox Theater on Wednesday night, and you (you!) seem to make eye contact right when she says it, so that suddenly it’s not the royal “you,” it’s you, as in "Hey you. You in the tan coat. Hi." And you – or at least I – blush, for a moment, not caring at all who this Jerome guy is, although he may just be her noisy upstairs neighbor. Read more »

Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman get intimate at the Palace of Fine Arts

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There’s no real way of knowing how much crossover there was between the fans of Dresden Dolls singer/solo artist Amanda Palmer and fiction writer/poet Neil Gaiman before the two married last year. Now though? Well, it would have been amazingly helpful if the seating arrangement at the Palace of Fine Arts Friday night had been his and hers – to properly delineate whose fans wear more Victorian-styled coats, Sherlock Holmes hats, video game references, tucked in long-sleeves t-shirts with jeans, and early '90s Jean-Claude Van Damme haircuts – but since that didn’t happen, it was up to the audience to stake their own claims. “We’ve been Amanda fans for quite a while,” one man told the people sitting in front of him, arm draped over his companion. “We’ve been with her longer than he has.” Read more »

Youth Lagoon kicks off his first national tour at Bottom of the Hill

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My infatuation with Youth Lagoon is easy to explain. Youth Lagoon brainchild Trevor Powers and I have a lot in common. Like Powers, I’m an anxious kid who grew up in the scenic, laid back city of Boise, Id. The piano pop prodigy and I have our differences, though. For instance, I didn’t make one of 2011’s most surprising and heartfelt albums, The Year Of Hibernation (Fat Possum).

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The Damned celebrates 35 years of punk at Slim's

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The Damned first turned heads back in 1976. On Saturday night, the UK punk band took to the stage at Slim’s as part of its 35th Anniversary Tour and proved it's only grown better with time. Read more »

A very Nobunny Halloween turns crazy, quickly

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It’s a little nerve-wracking going out in costume for a show when it’s not quite yet Halloween. What if no one else dresses up and it’s a scene out of Legally Blonde? Luckily the bands at Brick and Mortar (Zulus, Uzi Rash, Apache, Nobunny, Ty Segall) were slated to perform costumed covers, so I figured it would be safe. (Plus, I spent enough money making the damn thing to ensure I’d be living with my dad for an additional month--so I was gonna milk it.) Still, when I got inside the venue, I scouted to find some other outfits among black clothes and leather. A guy was wearing a 1994 USA Olympic Dream Team windbreaker (“Carl Mullen” he told me, pointing to one of the figures with a basketball). Another guy was dressed as Business Man Who Has Too Much To Drink, Tries To Mosh Too Early, And Is Never Seen Again, but this was easily topped by the best costume of the night: Totally Trashed Crazy Girl. Read more »

Hans-Joachim Roedelius celebrates his 77th birthday at Cafe Du Nord

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“What a cerebral evening,” a show companion observed as we exited Cafe Du Nord last night, pushing the doors open to a whoosh of cool fall air. Indeed. For the man who's seen it all, first as a child actor in 1930s Germany, then as a reluctant member of the Hitler Youth, and finally a pioneer of early experimental krautrock in the 1970s and ambient jazz, Hans-Joachim Roedelius (Cluster/Harmonia) was not the confrontational artist one might expect. Tall and bald with wire-rimmed glasses, he was erudite, pleasant, subdued. Read more »

Himalayan Bear turns out one of the greatest shows of the year at Hemlock Tavern

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Tuesday night, while all my friends tweeted incessantly about Male Bonding at the Rickshaw Stop, I was quietly preparing for Himalayan Bear at the Hemlock Tavern. After writing an article on Himalayan Bear’s Hard Times (Absolutely Kosher), I found myself obsessively revisiting the album. Read more »

Live Shots: Gold Panda at the Independent

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The endangered giant panda. The vulnerable red panda. But, the most rare variety of all, the elusive Gold Panda, emerged under the cover of a hooded sweatshirt (as is his nature) at the Independent Tuesday night, drawn out by the lure of a MPC, samples, and a sold out crowd. Read more »

Unknown Mortal Orchestra returns to the Bay, digs Dolores Park

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No one could have predicted what was about to happen when Ruban Nielson uploaded a single  track – the fuzzy, undeniably catchy “Ffunny Ffriends” – to Bandcamp in late 2010.  A mere 24 hours later, Pitchfork had seized upon “Ffunny Ffriends,” posted the song on its site, and bloggers were going nuts for the new project, Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Read more »