This video has been floating around of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield floating in space, slowly turning inside his vessel, playing the acoustic guitar and singing Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie (“Space Oddity,” naturally). It’s an arresting image, melding science, sound, nerd culture, and pop culture together in the coolest of ways. And it was his goodbye love letter to space, as he returned back down to earth yesterday.
Outside the spaceship, and also back here on earth (and playing San Francisco this week, naturally) there are bands that are grounded by gravity, though little else -- the celestial atmospheric head case of Kisses, larger-than-life Big Boi, otherworldly solo pounder Black Pus (Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt), cosmic soul duo Myron and E, and more invade our shores in the coming days. Maintain your curiosity, and greet them live in the flesh, eyes and ears wide with wonder. Read more »
The Detroit-based trio, Jamaican Queens, makes instantly catchy, hip-hop-influenced, electronic-soaked pop gems and performs them in a dance-inducing glam pop fashion. Although Ryan Spencer, Adam Pressley, and Ryan Clancy have been laying down beats together for less than a year, they have already released a full-length album – Wormfood – hit their hundredth show, and written album number two (which they’ll record once they’ve concluded their lengthy West Coast and summer tours). Read more »
I like a little grit. Usually I feel that a great show combines unpredictability, recklessness, and some raw, unpolished vulnerability. That’s what makes live music exciting and dynamic. If we wanted flawless vocals and sonically airbrushed instrumentals, we’d just stay at home and listen to the music on iTunes. So I’m trying to figure out why Marina and the Diamonds’ shiny, choreographed, factory-sealed set at the Warfield Sunday night felt so right. Read more »
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 »
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 »
I first heard Jessie Ware’s “If You’re Never Gonna Move” on the road from the East Coast. After that, the song averaged about five plays per state. Ware’s understated and soulful dance pop has the rare ability to adapt to any situation. It eases the tension in a car full of two people with almost irreconcilable taste in music; it works equally well as the soundtrack to a lazy afternoon, and a night out. And it feels good.
The formula, which has earned her recognition in her native UK, is gaining a following in the US. Though the breakthrough album Devotion won’t be released stateside until April 16, many of her concerts, including Thursday’s at the Independent, have sold out to audiences that sing along with every word. (Not to worry, she also has an in-store at Amoeba that day.) Read more »
Sorry, readers. Modest Mouse at the Fox Theater and Foals and Alt-J at the Fillmore are all sold out shows, plus Lou Reed canceled his Warfield appearance (it was supposed to take place Sunday).
But there are plenty of other shows you should be checking out this week including Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester at the SFJazz Center, long-running legends like Sparks (squee!) and the Skatalites, club-ready 2 Chainz and Ewan Pearson, along with (separate) album release parties for TOKiMONSTA and Burnt Ones. Read more »
Sadly, another music institution in the city is shuttering. Live at the Rrazz (otherwise known as the Rrazz Room), which went through a series of difficulties and legal issues this past year, including an ill-fated venue change, has announced it will be closing for good.
In an email to its patrons last week (including the Bay Area Reporter's BARtab, which tipped us off) and now on the front page of its website, Rrazz said, “As many of you know. the last several months have been monumentally challenging for us. It seems like all the forces in the universe have been working against us.” Read more »
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 »