Live Review

Live Review: My Bloody Valentine’s SF show feels like something beamed in from another decade

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Swirling guitars… cooing vocals… that all-engulfing wall of noise. It's difficult to describe My Bloody Valentine's sound without veering into borderline erotica, and understandably so; in the guitar rock landscape, few bands make music that's so tactile and exhilarating.

For many of its devoted fans, the band's seminal 1991 LP, Loveless, is inextricably tethered to private moments of introspection and sexuality. Its delicate balance between loud and quiet, menace and seduction, resulted in a sense of emotional ambiguity, allowing the listener to project their own perspectives and yearnings onto those immaculate pop songs.

Fresh off the heels of this year's long-awaited Loveless followup, simply titled mbv, My Bloody Valentine stopped by SF this past Friday for its first Bay Area appearance since 2008, on its first tour in support of new material since the early '90s. Read more »

A giddy celebration of El-P and Killer Mike at the Independent

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It's been a big couple of years for El-P, Killer Mike, and the twosome’s recent musical courtship. In 2012, nothing but praise seemed to follow both El-P's Cancer 4 Cure (guest starring Killer Mike) and Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music (produced by El-P).

The momentum gained by those two albums led to this summer's Run the Jewels, a collaborative project and eponymous album that further solidified the hard-edged, spaced-out vibe they've been after together. The pair brought this new material as well as solo sets to the Independent last Tuesday night. Read more »

Philip Glass at 75: an intoxicating series, live scores to 'La Belle et la Bête' and more

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Last June, legendary composer Philip Glass treated our fair city to a one-off collaborative performance with indie-folk visionary Joanna Newsom. Just two months ago, he made a joint appearance with Beach Boys collaborator and eccentric songsmith Van Dyke Parks, in NYC. Last weekend, Glass paid SF another visit with a career retrospective festival, featuring live productions of two original, highly influential film scores. Glass is no ordinary composer, and even at the age of 75, his prolificacy and flair for innovation challenge that of any working musician. Read more »

TNGHT whips the Mezzanine's 420 crowd into a frenzy

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Like a microcosm of our ever-morphing music culture, electronic duo TNGHT stands squarely between the traditions of EDM and hip-hop, reaping the benefits of both musical forms, and generating something new in the process. Comprised of Lunice (from Montreal), and Hudson Mohawke (from Glasgow), the pair stopped by the Mezzanine this past Saturday after a two-weekend Coachella run, bringing their shiny, brassy, bass-loaded grooves to a sold-out crowd of ecstatic 420ers. Read more »

Jessie Ware eats pizza at Little Star, connects with her fans at the Independent

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Last Thursday, when the lights came up on the stage at the Independent, they revealed a woman who was relishing the reverential shouts of the sold-out crowd. With a dramatic bun on top of her head, large hoop earrings, and tall heels, Jessie Ware appeared to embody the fully realized pop star that the world is starting to recognize in her.

Throughout the night, though, it became clear that what makes Ware so compelling isn’t the idolizing distance of pop-stardom, but its opposite. Between each song, she charmed the audience with candid and often self-deprecating banter. To a loud response of cheers and clapping, she spoke of her boyfriend who had joined her on tour and enjoyed planting himself in the audience to gauge its mood. “If someone comes up to you being a bit pervy, it’s just ‘cause he’s really proud of me,” she said, then laughed along with the crowd. Read more »

Rhye keeps it smooth, sexy at Bimbo's

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With the audience seated at tables under warm lighting, the mood was set at Bimbo’s on Wednesday night for a very intimate evening with the mysterious Rhye. Canadian producer-vocalist Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal (of Danish duo Quadron) have turned heads in the indie world with their soulful, jazzy collaboration, and March 2013 album, Woman, mostly inspired by Milosh’s intense connection with his wife. At Rhye's live show, that passionate love felt universal – and palpable – between the audience and the band. Read more »

Adam Green and Binki Shapiro pair up at the Chapel

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Adam Green and Binki Shapiro make an odd couple.

Green is a Manhattanite and acoustic singer-songwriter whose extensive lyrical topics center around black humor, blue language, and one Miss Jessica Simpson. He is best known for his role as half of the Moldy Peaches alongside Kimya Dawson. Shapiro, formerly of Echo Park’s American-Brazilian rockers Little Joy, is a retro-fashion icon in LA. She is perhaps best known for dating rock stars.

So what happens when east meets west and the social elite meets the man who once wrote a song called “Choke on a Cock?” An unexpectedly tender album of heartbroken duets and breakup ballads in a unique style, something we jaded listeners have yet to hear. Green’s humble baritone and Shapiro’s silky timbre blend beautifully, and in the recordings their joined voices soar to poignant, vulnerable heights. Read more »

Pinback delights fans at annual Bimbo's show

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The audience at Pinback’s sold-out show this Saturday night filled Bimbo’s with a pleasant air of mellow enthusiasm. The eclectic (albeit extremely white) crowd was excited without being obnoxious, and its quiet, genuine appreciation was the perfect match for Pinback’s own casual expertise.Read more »

The Mountain Goats unify a contemplative crowd at the Fillmore

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By the time the audience had gathered in the Fillmore on Friday night to see the Mountain Goats, news of the school shooting in Connecticut had jarred people across the country and incited countless conversations about gun regulation and mental health resources. Tragedy can spur these important discussions, but the events of Friday morning called for something else as well. John Darnielle, the man behind the Mountain Goats, opened by recognizing the tragedy as a huge disappointment — another thorn in our hope for humanity – but more importantly, as a reason for us to get together, make music, and spread joy. Read more »

Live Shots: Santigold at the Fox Theater

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Santigold was barely a full song into her sold-out performance at the Fox Theater Wednesday night when she began to stoke the lovefest with her Bay Area fans. "You know you're my favorite place to perform...you guys have so much energy!" In a different room to a different crowd it may have come off as a cheaply-pedaled stage sentiment, but the show that ensued lived up to her assessment: the crowd never stopped dancing and Santigold never stopped smiling. Read more »