(New Reason to Arrive Early) Openers: The Hot Moon

Categories: Openers
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"Openers" is a new column here at All Shook Down in which we will dig up some of the best opening bands in San Francisco each week and tell you why it's worth showing up early to catch them. Our ambition is to uncover music that you aren't familiar with and would otherwise probably eat a burrito through. And though our ears are ever-pointed underground, if someone above-the-radar is playing first and has our music-loving heart in glee, we may have no choice but to tell you. Opening bands who think they're worthy should send kind pleas to iportmusic@gmail.com.

This week we're pinning our up-and-comer hopes on The Hot Moon, a promising neo-R&B group formed last year in San Diego with members of Grand Ole Party and Mr. Tube and the Flying Objects. We like the way they play soul: With bone-dry piano and guitars, a touch of horns, and plenty of empty space around a restrained rhythm -- a lean, yearning sound born from an unmistakably modern kind of worry.

Singer Sasha Pfau builds her towering voice up slowly and seductively over these primitive tunes, recalling Bessie Smith as she floats her woes luxuriantly over the beat. And while The Hot Moon occasionally veer toward an uncomfortably smooth kind of R&B -- mostly brought on by Pfau's athletic vocal chords -- at other times she sounds like an old soul sample on slightly-awkward repeat, making us wonder if The Hot Moon are deliberately evoking contemporary hip-hop. Either way, we're intrigued.

The Hot Moon
opening for Judgement Day and Battlehooch (part of SF Winter Music Fest)
Saturday, January 30
Bottom of the Hill

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