Shabazz Palaces Bring Beats, Ghosts, and Congas to Slim's, 2/27/14

Categories: Last Night

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Shabazz Palaces at Slim's last night.
By MICHAEL ANDERSON

Shabazz Palaces
Cities Aviv
Extra Classic
February 27, 2014
Slim's

Better than: Reading philosophy without a backing track or live drums.

"2 Chainzzzzzzzz" - cried a member of the audience.

He had directed this comment at Tendai Maraire of Shabazz Palaces, who, much like the pop star, wears shades and dreadlocks -- although that's where their similarities end.

Frontman Ishmael Butler -- formerly of the seminal 1990s jazz-rap outfit Digable Planets -- would return the barb later. He playfully called out the audience for being "charading hip-hoppers," who dress up like and perform the "maneuvers" of the real deal. This audience was predominately male and mostly white, about half wore a beanie or a flat-brim hat, and many danced with their legs fixed in place, ceaselessly nodding their head with eyes shut.


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Two Gallants Capture Pains of the Past at the Independent, 2/23/14

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Two Gallants at the Independent last night.
Two Gallants
Trainwreck Riders
Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014
The Independent

Better than: Spending the night in jail.

"We were both born and raised a few blocks from here," said Two Gallants' Tyson Vogel between songs at the Independent last night. The club is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a run of shows this week, and the homegrown hard-roots-rock duo seemed especially pleased to be headlining one (which, like the others, was sold-out). The Sunday night energy was high, and at the start of the band's encore, Vogel noted that the city had been going through a lot of "upheaval and change" lately.

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Hearing Hendrix's Romantic Side at Yoshi's, 2/14/14

Categories: Last Night

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Hendrix comes alive.
T.E.N.
Yoshi's
Friday, Feb. 14, 2014

Better than: More Hendrix cover bands than you can shake a flaming Stratocaster at.

One might not think that an evening of Jimi Hendrix covers would be a major draw on a romantic holiday like Valentine's. However, the huge line stretching out the front door of Yoshi's in San Francisco last Friday night proved the city has no shortage of couples who feel that Hendrix - much like Virginia - is for lovers. The big crowd was also indicative of the sizable following earned by SF's onetime resident guitar hero Eric McFadden.

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Yuck Brings Beautiful Sounds But Little Energy to the Independent, 1/29/14

Categories: Last Night

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Yuck at the Independent last night.
By MICHAEL ANDERSON

Yuck
Grmln
The She's
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014
The Independent

Better than: Going deaf at home.

This band is having an identity crisis.

Yuck released one of the most acclaimed rock records in recent memory, but just two years after landing on best-of lists from Spin, Pitchfork and the New York Times, frontman and lead vocalist Daniel Blumberg left the band. It's a move that's hard to recover from. Bands lose members all the time -- Interpol lost bassist Carlos D, Smashing Pumpkins lost basically everybody -- and while you might notice the absence of those members' signature styles, no departure is quite as damning as that of the lead vocalist and frontman. He or she, with all the photoshoots -- not to mention the irreplaceable voice -- becomes the band's identity.

So, Yuck in 2013 isn't the same as Yuck in 2011. Obviously, Max Bloom's croon isn't the same as Daniel Blumberg's screech. These days, the arrangements also have more space. Songs like "Somewhere" envelop you and ask you to breathe in; they don't knock you over and ask you to fight back, like "The Wall."


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The 10 Best Things You Missed at the Rickshaw Stop's 10th Anniversary Festival Kickoff, 1/7/14

Categories: Last Night

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The Spits at Rickshaw Stop last night. Photos by the author.
The Spits
Violent Change
Crez DeeDee
Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014
Rickshaw Stop

Better than: Artisan marshmallows.

1. The members of the Spits, a garage-punk band originally from Michigan and now from Seattle, wore black hoods that looked disturbingly Druidish (is that a word?) and had metal studs in them, it appeared. Meanwhile, their drummer looked like Iggy Pop in 1973, only wearing Joker makeup. Or maybe it was Iggy-Pop-in-1973 makeup, we couldn't tell.

2. The Spits said, "This is our last song," like, five times, and each time, played another song. Maybe that bottle of whisky onstage had them confused.


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Black Joe Lewis Doesn't Let Being Angry at Canada Keep Him Down at the Fillmore, 12/03/13

Categories: Last Night

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Black Joe Lewis
Radkey
Think No Think
Dec. 3, 2013
The Fillmore

Better than: Seeing him in Vancouver, apparently.

"Blues-rock" is such a thing now, such a popular style among young garage-dwelling musicians and Victoria's Secret commercials that it would seem it's lost all meaning. In fact, it may never really have had any. Rock evolved from blues, right? We all agree on this? So "blues-rock" is akin to saying "buggy-car" or "pamphlet-newspaper" or "regular phone-smartphone." Right? Do we need to name a thing by invoking its roots? Isn't all rock "blues-rock?"

Well, maybe. Certainly "blues-rock" has more of a emphasis on the tradition from which it sprung, but the consequence of this is that, just as McCarthy saw Communists everywhere, so too does every fast-paced musical style with a hint of slangy guitar and a glance over its shoulder get called "blues-something."


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Morbid Angel Celebrate Covenant, Can Do No Wrong at Slim's, 11/27/13

Categories: Last Night

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Photos by Steven Chew
Morbid Angel at Slim's last night.

Morbid Angel
Rude
Blasphemous Creation
November 27, 2013
Slim's


Better than:
Beavis and Butthead may have led you to believe.

Thanksgiving Eve is a beautiful time for San Francisco. The Indian summer officially gives way to roughly five minutes of fall's crisp yellows and browns, and there's a hell of a lot of parking. The holiday migration makes the city feel roomy and it's actually a damn good time to go out and do things besides nesting with your family: every bar, restaurant, and venue seems to sigh in relief, catering to local San Franciscans enjoying long-ish respites from work.

In a weird way, this psychic cleft is the perfect space for experiencing a legendary event
in death metal. Scene founders Morbid Angel are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Covenant, the first death metal release on a major label and a widely-renowned high water mark for the genre. It's a big deal and it becomes a bigger deal in the context of this normally frazzled city's pre-feasting siesta.


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John Vanderslice Brings Beguiling Perfectionism to the Rickshaw Stop, 11/22/13

Categories: Last Night

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John Vanderslice at the Rickshaw Stop Friday night.

John Vanderslice
Doe Eye
Friday, November 22, 2013
Rickshaw Stop

Better than: A private concert in a tiny telephone booth.

The first person I met at this show claimed that San Francisco's own Doe Eye is going to be the next big thing. He donated an entire paycheck (a grand gesture considering his humble hardware store earnings) to their Kickstarter, and has since attended three of their shows.

Is it their lush instrumentation that lures him back? Perhaps their raw, honest lyrics?


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Deltron and the 3030 Orchestra Throw a Dystopian Block Party at the Fillmore, 11/23/13

Categories: Last Night

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Deltron 3030
Kid Koala
Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013
The Fillmore

Better than: Their June show at Stern Grove, from what we heard.

There was a moment -- er, make that a year or so -- where it was pretty much impossible to go anywhere in public without hearing Del the Funky Homosapien's inimitable drawl on the Gorillaz' "Clint Eastwood." It got to a point where we were, yes, a little sick of the song. We can say with some certainty that we were not alone in this.

My, what a difference a decade can make.


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Jessie Ware's Tender and Danceable Hits Sell Out The Fillmore, 11/18/2013

Categories: Last Night

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Erin Browner
Jessie Ware live at the Fillmore last night.

Jessie Ware
The Invisible
Monday, Nov. 18, 2013
The Fillmore

Better than: Jessie Ware's set at Outside Lands.

Jessie Ware describes her sound as "British Soul," though her sound is plenty reminiscent of American pop stars like Janet Jackson, Aaliyah, and Madonna (the '90s version). She has rolled through San Francisco a few times before, including a show at The Independent last April, and then again for Outside Lands. Ware returned to San Francisco with The Invisible on Nov. 18 for a sold-out show at The Fillmore.


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