Are you ready for another folk revival? It's definitely here, in fact, this is a rather late post about such things – New York Magazine just did a spread including Mumford & Sons, the Head the Heart (whose June 1 show at the Fillmore is already sold out), and the Lumineers, for chrissakes.
It was the startling revelation elsewhere that Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros was also the formerly angular-haircut-having leader of electroclashy IMA Robot that really got me thinking about about all this. Could it already be time for New Weird America 2.0? (Grain of salt: Mumford & Sons are from England.) That last round was only a handful of years ago – Devendra, all those acts on the pages of beloved Arthur Magazine, et. al. – though this batch seems decidedly less weird. These acts, as NY Mag points out, have broader crossover appeal.
It makes sense, recessions seem to bring out the twang in folks, and many of these beard-and-suspenders types rose up around 2009 or later. What else brought this to the forefront of my thoughts? This week in the Bay Area, the debatable leaders of this relatively newish pack, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, make their first visit since that Railroad Revival tour with Mumford & Sons last year.
Also this week, New York's jazzier swing folk duo Two Man Gentlemen Band – I'm stretching here – takes the steamboat (we wish) to San Francisco. And of course, there are shows with our own homegrown fiddlers, banjo-pickers, and boot-wearers. As always, a few tangentially related or just plain totally unrelated acts made the list below.
Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end:
Breathe Owl Breathe
The dreamy folk pop trio brings inherent playfulness – they wrote a children's book – to frosty despair, mixing somber lyrical content with lush vocal harmonies, subtle elegant strumming with the sporadic hand clapping.
With Victoria Williams
Wed/2, 9pm, $10-$12
Brick and Mortar Music Hall
1710 Mission, SF
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
On stage this ten-piece folky, psychedelic rock tribe looks like a ragtag flurry of ecstasy. (Mia Sullivan)
With Aaron Embry
Wed/2, 8pm, $32.50
1807 Telegraph, Oakl.
The punk-tinged alt-country rockers have been together since 2000 (under the TR name as of 2004) and the born-and-bred San Franciscans have gained a steady local following thanks to moxie, bluegrass spirit, and encouraged sing-alongs. Noteworthy: the whole evening lineup is packed with Bay Area up-and-comers, so it's an excuse to watch the whole show.
With Passage Walkers, Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits, Apogee Sound Club
Fri/4, 8pm, $10-$12
155 Fell, SF
The song and video for “Pickin' Fields” (the first release of the band's single series) are reason enough to fall in pleasantly bemused love with the “shape-shifting” orchestral folk rockers. The San Francisco six-piece buzzes through genres, and in the process, riles up crowds.
With White Cloud, B Hamilton
Fri/4, 9pm, $7-$10.
Brick and Mortar Music Hall
1710 Mission, SF
Father John Misty and Har Mar Superstar
This is a weird (read: awesome) lineup – Father John Misty is the darkly folk rock ex-Fleet Foxes drummer and Har Mar Superstar is a swarthy, sex-soaked R&B god recently caught live with '80s-esque backup singers and a surprise Blood Orange appearance. Well, I guess they both do have that sexy thing going on.
Sat/5, 10pm, $12
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St., SF
Two Man Gentlemen Band
Former street performers are always the best entertainers. And with their years playing to unwilling pedestrians, the Two Man Gentlemen Band's Andy Bean (singer, tenor guitar, banjoist) and Fuller Condon (upright bass) have learned to pluck out crowd pleasers: jazzy, irreverent dixieland swing with a knowing wink. They come in support of recently released LP Two At A Time.
Sun/6, 9pm, $10
853 Valencia, SF
Swedish. Extreme. Metal. And holy hell is it fast. Not folk in the slightest, but well worth a trip the Fillmore.
With Baroness & Decapitated
Sun/6, 8pm, $29.50
1805 Geary, SF
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