Live Review

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 »

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 »

Holy Ghost! proves it's worth the wait at Slim's

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I’d been worried about making it to the Holy Ghost ! show at Slim's on time, so it was a relief to see the singer of Jessica 6, the opening band, standing outside Slim’s having a
smoke. Black hair, black heels, black mini skirt, black leather jacket: Nomi Ruiz is recognizable. I wished her luck and went inside to find out just how early I was. Read more »

Live Shots: Real Estate and Big Troubles at Slim's

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The sunny, indie rock jams of Ridgewood, NJ’s Real Estate cured my rainy day blues on Friday night at Slim’s. San Francisco’s unshaven, flannel-clad urban lumberjacks showed up en masse to seek shelter from the rain and soak up some seriously good vibes. The five-piece kicked off with “Suburban Beverage” from its 2009 self-titled debut. Inviting us to mellow out, leader Martin Courtney repeated the song’s only words, “Budweiser, Sprite, do you feel alright?” Fans responded with blissful head-nodding. 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 »

Live Shots: Shonen Knife at Bottom of the Hill

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Japanese pop and the Ramones; it's a combination you might not hear anywhere else besides a Shonen Knife show (or on the band's tribute album Osaka Ramones). On Friday night at Bottom of the Hill, the Osaka-bred trio of pop punk rockers wound up an already-worked over crowd with a full encore set of Ramones songs. Read more »

Weird Al Yankovic never misses a beat at the Fox

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For someone who got his start in the music business by recording his first single in the men’s room, “Weird Al” Yankovic has certainly come a long way. Forging a wildly successful career that has lasted three decades and counting, the master of musical parodies hit the stage at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Sunday night, proving that while his act is hilarious, his talents for showmanship and performance are no joke. Read more »

Live Shots: Das Racist at Ruby Skye

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The disgruntled bouncer at Ruby Skye begrudgingly admitted my entry to the Das Racist show on Friday night, only after I managed to flag down the event’s promoter to confirm my legitimacy. It was a telling kick off to an evening riddled with problems on behalf of the club, but I wanted to approach with an open mind. Read more »

Dam-Funk brings modern funk and futuristic shoulder synth to Mezzanine

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The Mezzanine wasn’t packed to capacity Saturday night, but there was a point about a quarter into Dam-Funk’s set when things started to get electric on the dance floor. I was in a sort of self-imposed paralysis, but looking around, it seemed as if I was surrounded by about half a dozen people, each just completely going for it. Woman in a sundress, shaking it back and forth without spilling the second half of her drink; A couple of businessmen out for a night during a layover; Short brunette busting out some fly girl moves not seen since In Living Color; Some jaw-some kid with ass length blonde hair and a complete tie-died outfit (with matching head-band), popping, locking, sliding, swerving, and whatever, all in a way that screamed drugs; A skinny guy with a flat-top and glasses, dancing with two girls and doing the robot. The fucking robot. 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 »