Live Shots

Live Shots: Zahara! at Swedish American Music Hall

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Yeah, so sometimes I cry a little when I listen to live music. You got a problem with that?

This may have happened last Friday night (10/21) when I went with Sam Love to Zahara!, a performance that featured singing and dance with roots in passionate flamenco from Kina Mendez, live Moroccan musicians (a group by the name of El Hamideen), and even some belly dancing.

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Live Shots: Portishead at the Greek Theatre

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Once while talking music with friends on a long road trip I was posed with the task of describing Portishead’s sound. Struggling to articulate the sum of their collective parts, I did a hasty mental cut-and-paste and said, “They’re sorta like…if Pink Floyd was a hip-hop band…and Billie Holiday was their singer.” It’s a clunky description, not so much for the references, but because Portishead’s greatest attribute is their ability to bend genres so seamlessly that it all morphs into their own sort of singular sonic universe. Even the prevailingly appropriate moniker of trip-hop (of the Bristol variety) really seems more of a launching point than a description. Read more »

Save a horse, ride these cowboy pictures: Shots of the Grand National Rodeo

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So struck were we by the spectacle that is the first weekend of the Grand National Rodeo (read our print coverage of the event here), your Guardian news team lost a couple hundred dollars worth of camera equipment, by a conservative (uneducated in the ways of photography) estimate (your writer's). Luckily, we still brought back photo documentation. They never should have let us stand by the bronc pit.Read more »

Mini symphonies and Beach House: Treasure Island, day two

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Though Wild Beasts' brand of baroque, sensual dream-pop is better suited for a dark and smoky bar, I consider it an honor to catch the UK band in any setting. A sizable crowd gathered around the Tunnel stage at Treasure Island Music Festival to enjoy songs from this year’s Smother, along with older material like breakout hit “The Devil’s Crayon.” Hayden Thorpe’s heavenly falsetto rang out over chiming guitar provided by Ben Little. Read more »

Space Mayans and techno-African kuduro: Treasure Island, day one

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Treasure Island Music Festival rewards the stout of heart and non-possessive of blanket space. The way the island fest is set up, no two concerts overlap – if one feels up to it, one can traverse the 100-some meters between the Bridge and Tunnel (get it?)  stages to catch any given day's entire. Music. Lineup. Upshot? I spent a solid hour in the press tent with my feet on a card table, tapping away on my smart phone as though taking notes, incredibly unstout. Read more »

Live Shots: The Hula Show 2011 at Palace of Fine Arts

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Images of chilling fog sweeping over the Golden Gate Bridge and a glowing sunset illuminating the Painted Ladies might not conjure thoughts of hula and Hawaii, but the Hula Show at the Palace of Fine Arts bridged that connection, bringing swaying hula hips to San Francisco in a unique aloha tribute to our fair city.

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Live Shots: Gardens & Villa and Waterstrider at Bottom of the Hill

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Rarely, if ever, do I see such unbridled joy at shows these days, at least not in the way I saw it last night for every band at Bottom of the Hill. Read more »

Live Shots: Prince Rama, Gang Gang Dance at the Independent

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A few things Prince Rama –  show openers at the Independent last night –  and Gang Gang Dance –  headliners – have in common: a whole lot of rhythm, standing tribal drumming (Gang Gang also has a more Western seated drummer), psychedelic visuals (damn, should have brought those drugs the kids take), and high, reverberating, Bollyhood-recalling vocals. Read more »

Live Shots: The Rapture play Blow Up Forever II at the Factory

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Blow Up is reputed to be the best party in the city. I’ll say it’s almost certainly the best regular event for the 18+ crowd. But rule number one of going to a 18+ club event: don’t wear your nice shoes, even if the code says  “dress to impress.” It was only thanks to sheer luck and repeat viewings of The Matrix that I managed to avoid a geyser of projectile vomit in the Factory’s overcrowded men’s room Saturday night at Blow Up Forever II. “You go here.” I said, guiding the poor kid to the urinal I was about to use. “I’ll wait for the stall.” Read more »

Lovefoxxx makes SF love her at the Fillmore

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By the end of last night at the Fillmore, CSS's dynamic lead vocalist-party rioter Lovefoxxx was stripped down to a black tank top and ripped up jean shorts over fishnets, her raccoon eye makeup smeared across her face, fluffed pink hair electrified out of its sockets. Read more »