You've got a midweek day off? You're stoked. Go see some live music with that hard-earned free time. Oh, and happy independence, America. That's what we're celebrating, correct?
Eat a barbecued tofu dog slathered in relish and drink some park beers in celebration of such things as country pride and days without responsibility. Then fill those Bay Area music venues, checking in on America’s favorite proto-punk troubadour, Mali's favorite virtuoso progeny, the Big Time Freedom Fest, woozy dream poppers, a punk rock museum benefit, and more.
Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end:
Last time the Modern Lover cult hero Jonathan Richman did a slew of shows at the Make-Out Room, he brought drummer Tommy Larkins to the outings, performed for hours on end, sang in multiple languages, chatted awkwardly, mixed up his pacing and flipped his set list so time floated by without a lull. He also danced samba-like solo – twisting his thin frame as a contortionist. Who’s to say this round should be any different? We know Larkins is back at least.
Mon/2-Tue/3, 7:30pm, $15
3225 22nd St., SF
Vieux Farka Toure
The son of Ali Farka Toure, Malian singer-guitarist is legend in his own right. Oft referenced as a “guitar virtuoso” or more specifically “The Hendrix of the Sahara,” Vieux's graceful, quick-fingered guitar skills rival those of the rock’n’roller regime, yet he blends in traditional West African influences. Fresh off the Touré-Raichel Collective (his collaborative album and tour with Israeli musician Idan Raichel), Vieux this time swings into town solo, his strumming again center stage.
Mon/2, 8pm, $22
1330 Fillmore, SF
“Big Time Freedom Fest”
What's more deliciously new America than the string-lit back patio at El Rio? That’s where dreams are made and shattered. People fall in momentary beat-fueled lust, cheap beers with lime wedges are sipped en masse, and fried food is gobbled up without a second thought. It’s tradition, years in the making. This seventh annual Big Time Freedom Fest features some awesome local heavy-hitters: Religious Girls, Tartufi, Finn Riggins, Battlehooch, and Night Call, all for $8, in the outdoor heavy-hung fog.
Wed/4, 3:30pm, $8
3158 Mission, SF
Giraffage, James & Evander
“Glitchy” seems to be the key word for San Francisco’s electronically-constructed solo project, Giraffage. I'm on board. Those little glitchy effects break up otherwise endless ambient affairs, spinning the act from dream-pop to hip-hop in a cotton candy pillow. Tonight’s a co-headlining set with fellow Bay Area suspected Ambien-poppers, James & Evander. That “synth/stoner pop” Oakland act released magical debut LP Bummer Pop last month. How many more pops can we squeeze in this show description? Pop.
With Astronautica, Young Pharaohs
Thu/5, 9pm, $6
1840 Haight, SF
“This year’s WIXIW (say wish-you) finds Liars reinventing the wheel again, to produce their most synthified affair yet; picture the rocktronic fusion of Kid A-era Radiohead, approached with the finely calibrated ambience of Bjork’s Vespertine, Trent Reznor’s swagger, and Tom Waits’ lumbering dynamics.” – Taylor Kaplan
With Cadence Weapon
Thu/5, 8pm, $22.50
Great American Music Hall
859 O’Farrell, SF
Formerly of San Francisco, the now New York-based psychedelic dream popper Shana Falana returns to her beloved Bay in support of new In the Light EP, bringing along a new multimedia show. Falana’s lilting church choir-like vocals matched to looping guitar and percussion gives the impression of a surreal religious experience deep in the X-Files woods. I want to believe.
With Kelley Stoltz, the She’s, B and Not B
Fri/6, 9pm, $15
Cafe Du Nord
2170 Market, SF
Punk Rock Museum Benefit
Given punk's lasting impact on so many musical branches, and influence on the raw sounds of countless beloved acts, a Punk Rock Museum seems absolutely necessary. Why didn't we think of this? The new museum – spearheaded by Taquila Mockingbird and based in LA – has been established to “further preserve the punk rock genre.” For this show, parts of the museum travel to San Francisco. There will be a mix pieces (photographs, old fliers, art by the likes of Winston Smith, etc.) from the permanent museum collection, and of course, live music to carry on the legend: Debora Iyall (of Romeo Void), Metal Circus (A tribute to Husker Du), and Meri St. Mary and the Housecoats. Also, DJ Big Nate will be spinning classic punk cuts.
Sat/7, 9pm, $15
1600 17th St., SF
Local psych-rockers Cool Ghouls seem to be everywhere lately, opening up Noise Pop retrospective shows, making appearances at lots of local venues, playing Save KUSF benefits; a.k.a traveling around town with beer-fueled, good-time rock'n’roll in tow. They've got a bright and free EP currently up for grabs on their Tumblr, an upcoming slot at the Independent before Sonny and the Sunsets, and a full-length LP coming in the fall; this Hemlock show is a good chance to check out the five-piece in smallish setting.
With LA Witch, the Sister Ruby Band
1131 Polk Street, SF