Thao and Nick Waterhouse Rule Phono Del Sol, 7/12/14

Christopher Victorio
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down at Phono Del Sol
Phono Del Sol 2014, with Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Wye Oak, Nick Waterhouse, Blackbird Blackbird, White Fence, Tony Molina, Yalls, A Million Billion Dying Suns, The Tambo Rays, Bill Baird
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Potrero Del Sol Park

Dogs, kids, scrubby looking rock 'n' rollers, more dogs, kids, their parents, rock 'n' rollers, and skateboarders: Saturday's Phono Del Sol festival drew a mellow, diverse crowd to Potrero Del Sol park, which consists of a few grassy knolls and a skatepark tucked in between the 101 freeway and Potrero Avenue in the lower-right corner of the Mission. The afternoon weather was typically indecisive for summer in S.F. -- it was possible to find both breezy shade and warm sun. But the real draw was of course the music, and a few acts -- most notably Thao and the Get Down Stay Down and Nick Waterhouse -- broke through the inevitable distractions and chatter of an afternoon in the park to put on thrilling sets. A few others, like Wye Oak, didn't.

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Burger Boogaloo Blends Rock Nostalgia With Youthful Immediacy in Oakland

M.P. Schultz
Ronnie Spector at Burger Boogaloo
The Fifth Annual Burger Boogaloo
Saturday July 5 and Sunday July 6
Mosswood Park

Better than: That mono vinyl rip of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds you play on lazy Sundays. Or the bootleg tape of the recording sessions.

It's Saturday afternoon, the first of the two-day Burger Boogaloo, midway through Reigning Sound's set, and the small crowd is nodding along, occasionally (gasp) dancing to the band's Detroit Wheels-style rave-up. Yes, we're in Mosswood Park in Oakland, and hundreds in cut-offs and impossibly skinny jeans are dancing to rock 'n' roll. This isn't news. But what's remarkable is the complete absence of the scene replayed in tiny screens held at arm's length. These people are remarkably present, here, in this moment, and they're loving it. For a festival/shindig/boogaloo put on by a record label and boasting a lineup fixated on widespread nostalgia, the unspoken motto is, "Be here now."

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DEERPEOPLE Steal the Night at Oakland's Legionnaire Saloon, 6/15/14

Mad Noise
Jeremy Jones Band
Friday, June 15, 2014
The Legionnaire Saloon

Situated on a main street, The Legionnaire has a speakeasy attitude more charming with every stair step up to their modest stage. Security was light. Doors opened at 9:30, and there was no doorman guarding the ascent. Everyone looked to be enjoying themselves, but no heads raised for newcomers to the bar.

The upstairs bartender seemed inordinately excited at the prospect of his patrons being from New Orleans (no one was, though he asked). The price of a Racer 5 was a steal, commensurate to the rent disparities in Oakland versus San Francisco.

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OutKast Rules at BottleRock Napa Valley, But Long Lines Kill the Vibe, 5/31/14

Christopher Victorio
OutKast at BottleRock Napa Valley on Saturday.
BottleRock Napa Valley
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Napa Valley Expo

Better Worse than: Any other experience I've had exiting a large concert or a festival, including those where you board buses to leave.

First came the high of Saturday at BottleRock Napa Valley: For 90 minutes, the Atlanta hip-hop duo OutKast toured an elated crowd through hits from its long career, playing songs like "B.O.B.," "Gasoline," "GhettoMusick," and, of course, "Hey Ya." It was the duo's only Northern California stop so far on this year's much-anticipated reunion tour, and it was fantastic -- even if OutKast didn't fill up the two-hour time slot it was allotted.

Then came the low: As the main stage cleared out from the headliners' set, the throngs of people added to a river of humanity running through the main lane of the festival grounds. Ostensibly, this wall of people formed a line to board buses to get to the parking lots, which were four miles away on the southern edge of town. But the situation was utterly unorganized. There were no helpful signs. No one seemed to know what they were doing. And as more and more surveyed what looked like a hopeless, serpentine queue -- and as the highs from the music and the beer and the wine wore off -- the mood turned dark, and the crowd turned nasty.

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Perfect Pussy Brings Noisy Catharsis to Rickshaw Stop, 5/26/14

Perfect Pussy at Rickshaw Stop last night. Photos by the author.

Perfect Pussy
Sunday, May 26, 2014
Rickshaw Stop

Better than: Being forced to read

Meredith Graves, the lead singer of Perfect Pussy, dropped her backpack on the side of the stage, draped her sweater over it, and was headed to the microphone when a bearded guy in a baseball cap and hoodie stopped her.

"Do you sing?" the guy asked.

"Sometimes," Graves said. "Not always."

The guy persisted. "But you're about to."

Graves looked sideways, smiled, and shrugged it off. "Depends on your definition of 'singing,'" she quipped, walking away.

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Herbie Hancock Stuns at SFJAZZ Center, 5/17/14

Herbie Hancock at SFJAZZ Center
Herbie Hancock
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Miner Auditorium, SFJAZZ Center

Better than: Pretty much anything any other septuagenarian on the planet can do with a keytar.

From the sounds of it, anyone involved with the SFJAZZ Center's gala tribute to legendary keyboard player Herbie Hancock Friday night would have every right to roll through the weekend in a fuzzy afterglow. One of the great pianists to emerge during the '60s as both a leader and as a member of Miles Davis' second great quintet, Hancock has enjoyed over a half century as a jazz innovator and hit-maker. The free-flowing complementary craft cocktails and reportedly mind-blowing sets from Hancock with the SFJAZZ Collective, Hammond B-3 soul legend Booker T. Jones, and others during the previous night doubtless left some of the local institution's deep-pocketed donors feeling a little rough around the edges come Saturday.

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Photos: The S.F. Giants Celebrate Metallica Day at AT&T Park

Christopher Victorio
James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett performing the national anthem.
Metallica Day @ AT&T Park
Friday, May 16, 2014

Giants fans got a treat Friday when the city's favorite metal boys showed up at A&T Park to perform the national anthem, auction off custom guitars for charity, and throw out the first pitch of the game. Metallica's James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett gave a Hendrix-conjuring performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner," while Lars Ulrich handled duties from the mound. Unfortunately, the back-and-forth battle on the diamond proved too much for Giants, with the Miami Marlins defeating San Francisco 7-5. SF Weekly photographer Christopher Victorio was on hand for Giants Day at AT&T Park and sent back these photos of the Metallica boys mulling around on the field.

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Marcus Shelby and Co. Explore Duke and Shakespeare at UC Berkeley, 5/2/14

Marcus Shelby file photo by Scott Chernis

Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra: The Legacy of Duke Ellington: 50 Years of Swing!
Friday, May 2, 2014
Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley

Better than: It's Ellington. What could be better than that?

San Francisco bassist and band leader Marcus Shelby's tribute to the music of Duke Ellington in Friday's Cal Performances presentation in Berkeley was all about the ABC's of swing.

Ambitious, amiable, authentic and atmospheric; bold, bluesy, barefoot (we'll get to that), and Bard-inspired (and that too); the cool, caroling, crooning, cartwheeling conversation between guest artists and Shelby's 16-piece orchestra added up to much more than alphabet soup.

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Here Is Billie Joe Armstrong Performing With the Replacements at Coachella

So the Replacements did Coachella -- the Minneapolis underground rock titans played their first shows in California since 1991 at the massive Indio festival this year. Unfortunately, singer-guitarist Paul Westerberg was plagued with back problems, and had to bring in a ringer to help him sing through much of this past weekend's set. That ringer was Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day frontman and longtime Replacements devotee, who by all accounts appeared to be having the night of his life. "Dreams really do come true!" he told the crowd, according to Rolling Stone. Armstrong came onstage early in the set, and was wearing the same dorky khaki suit the rest of the members worse. Check the Replacements do "IOU" with their Oakland-dwelling fill-in-singer above.

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Mogwai Achieves Wordless Transcendence at Regency Ballroom, 4/18/14

Mogwai at the Regency Ballroom on Friday.

Friday, April 18, 2014
The Regency Ballroom

Better than: Whatever use you had in mind for those frequencies your hearing just lost.

"For the record, we are not Neo-Nazis"

The thought was far from our minds when one of the most personable, disarming bands in music performed at the Regency Ballroom on Friday. But the accent of Mogwai's lead distortionist and occasional singer Stuart Braithwaite can be just as impenetrable as it is charming. And given his own shiny scalp, what was most likely a very innocent question about understanding local skinhead fashion taught a valuable lesson in what subjects to avoid with a drunken San Francisco audience. (Also, perhaps band that claims to be ideal for listening while wasted should not ask about fascism an hour into the show.) And if you don't believe Braithwaite , feel free to look Mogwai's charitable, local-library supporting, Nazi-free career yourself.

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