Live Review

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 »

New 'Romance': Wild Flag stole our hearts at Great American Music Hall

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Despite the awesome spectacle (high kicks, guitar humping) and the resumes (Sleater-Kinney, Helium, the Minders) Wild Flag's music stands on its own. The indie rock foursome (don't call it a supergroup) from Portland, Oreg. and Washington D.C. ripped the Great American Music Hall to shreds on Saturday night, likely Friday night too, but I wasn't there. Read more »

Live Shots: Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Rickshaw Stop

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We all know the story: Some dude records an album in a basement, garners considerable Internet attention, tries to perform live, and totally blows it. Fortunately for the audience at the Rickshaw Stop on Thursday night, Unknown Mortal Orchestra is a bold exception to this emerging parable in modern music. Read more »

Live Shots: Anamanaguchi at Slim's

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The self-proclaimed “nerds” behind me in the will-call line at Slim’s Sunday night were lamenting the theft of their culture. “I hate it when hipsters try to act like us,” one said, with threatening hostility. “Because you’re not one of us, you don’t know what it’s like, and it’s not fucking cool.” Oh crap, I thought, looking straight ahead. Are they talking about me? Do they think I’m a poser, coming to this show because it’s hip? That I wear chunky orthopedics and thick rimmed glasses for the purpose of ironic style? I got my ticket and went inside as fast as I could, away from the geek toughs. 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 »