Live Review

I watched Rebelution next to Dusty Baker

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“Put in this story that you watched Rebelution next to Dusty Baker,” said Dusty Baker. As I stood against the railing on the upper level of the Independent Tuesday night, I was unknowingly chatting up the former San Francisco Giants' manager. The baseball legend chuckled at my slight embarrassment at not recognizing him. He leaned over the railing as he talked about supporting live music and coming here with his best friend from 2nd grade. Read more »

Courtney Barnett gets droll at the Rickshaw Stop

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Courtney Barnett at the Rickshaw Stop Monday night.

By Sloane Martin

Standing outside the Rickshaw Stop before Courtney Barnett's set, I'm watching her chat with her bandmates when one of the girls working merch pops out to let Barnett know that they've run out of everything — shirts, albums, posters. "Oh, hang on," Barnett cries. "I think we have a couple more t-shirts in the car!" And she's off, grabbing the minivan keys from her drummer so she can dig out something to sell to San Francisco. Despite the shaggy hair and the tomboy-cool outfit of striped t-shirt, jeans, and Chelsea boots, she genuinely has appreciation for the fans who have come out.

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Live Shots: Hether Fortune gets cathartic at the Night Light

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Last Friday it was Valentine’s Day, but all I saw was tears. I’ve wondered before how some musicians can sing some of their more emotional songs during live performance without becoming visibly emotional themselves. Aren’t they attached to those lyrics (especially if they’ve written them)? Are they desensitized by the one-hundredth time they play that song about having their heart ripped out by the one who doesn’t even love them anymore? Or worse yet — the one who never did? Read more »

Live Shots: Augustines get anthemic at The Independent

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by Stephen Sparks

When my girlfriend and I got into the cab for the ride to The Independent on Monday night, the Slavic driver was rocking out to “The Summer of ’69.”

“Do you like Bryan Adams,” he asked us immediately, making it feel like our answer determined whether he’d give us a ride. So, yeah, we like Bryan Adams alright. “Not everyone likes Bryan Adams,” he continued. “I don’t understand.”Read more »

Yeezus stares down yetis, climbs volcanoes, is born again at the Oracle Arena

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Kanye West is at an enviable place in his career. Everyone knows who he is. He’s reached near iconic, almost mythic status. The problem is, everyone knows who Kanye West is, even if they don’t listen to his music. I’m fairly certain there are people I’m related to who are only familiar with him largely because he impregnated and proposed to a beautiful woman with a large, rich family, sextape, hard-working publicist, and contract with an unscrupulous cable TV network (in roughly that order). They likely also know him as an egotistical and crazy loudmouth, for reasons too long to detail here.

In sum, Mr. West’s celebrity has threatened to obscure and confuse his accomplishments. Luckily, his newest stage production, Yeezus, represents the history of Kanye West, according to Kanye West. Read more »

Live Shots: Savages at the Independent

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Walking into the Independent on Friday night, the first thing audience members saw were signs titled “A Note From Savages.” These postings read, “Our goal is to discover better ways of living and experiencing music. We believe that the use of phones to film and take pictures during a gig prevents all of us from totally immersing ourselves. Let’s make this evening special. Silence your phones.” It was just the first indication that this was going to be an exceptional night.

Just before Savages took the stage for the first of two sold-out shows, the energy in the room vibrated with a palpable hum, resonating above the droning ambient music pulsing from the speakers. Read more »

Geeking out on Kathleen Hanna's the Julie Ruin at Slim's

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After explaining that the next song would be about how there are thousands of feminists, all around the world, and driving home the obvious point -- there is not one sole leader of the feminist movement -- Kathleen Hanna giggled, hearing yet another shout-out from the audience. She jokingly replied, “OK, OK, but I am the number one feminist.”

It was this typical audience-artist interplay that brought the excitement of Hanna’s return to the stage, via new/old project the Julie Ruin at Slim’s last night. Read more »

The Moondoggies croon sweetly at Brick and Mortar Music Hall

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I've yet to be disappointed with a Brick and Mortar show, and the Moondoggies concert was no exception. When the Seattle rockers came on stage last Thursday night, they dove straightaway into bluesy rock songs. Read more »

Gary Numan: dark music done right at the Oakland Metro

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From Metallica to This Mortal Coil, there's a sense of canned melodrama about most "dark" music that I've long found goofy and unconvincing. On that note, Massive Attack's Mezzanine has always struck me as dark music done right, leaving the angsty ostentation behind, in favor of casually luring the listener downward into its imposing dungeon of groove.

As Gary Numan took the stage in Oakland last Tuesday night, the British artist displayed a similarly nuanced sensibility of what makes dark music work, delivering a relentlessly groove-based set of songs that brooded and seethed with total conviction. Read more »

Live Shots: Asteroid #4 and the Richmond Sluts at Brick and Mortar Music Hall

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By Brittany M. Powell

Brick and Mortar Music Hall may have had some noise complaint troubles with the San Francisco Sound Commission earlier this summer, but that hasn’t kept the venue or Kymberli Jenson, of Kymberli’s Music Box Presents, from putting on great shows.  Last Saturday’s bill included the Asteroid #4 and the Richmond Sluts. It was a handful of loud rock’n’roll bands that blasted us back through the decades with sounds echoing 1960s and ‘70s psychedelia and punk, but also hints of the late ‘90s and early 2000s , when these bands were fresh on the music scene.  Read more »