Brick and Mortar

The funkmaestro of Vulfpeck on gaming Spotify, German pronunciation mishaps, and Google search optimization


By Jonathan Kirchner

Members of the band Vulfpeck describe themselves as a “half-Jewish German-American rhythm section.” Creators of severely catchy, mostly-instrumental grooves, the four-piece — who first met in a German literature class at the University of Michigan — have built a following with their quirky YouTube videos: Each album track is accompanied by a cleverly shot and edited video of its recording. The videos not only capture the band’s camaraderie, loose attitude, and sense of humor, but also their musical cohesion as a group. Each song is endlessly and effortlessly funky.

As we listened to their fourth EP, Fugue State, released last week, a passerby commented on how their music has a distinctly familiar quality. This makes sense, for a group modeled after the great rhythm sections of the ’60s and ’70s: tight-knit groups of studio players like those in Detroit (Motown), Memphis (Stax) and Muscle Shoals (Atlantic, Chess) that played on not only countless soul and R&B hits, but on classic pop and rock records as well.

The LA-based band created a bit of a stir earlier this year with their Sleepify album — a collection of 31-second-long silent tracks that they told their fans to stream on Spotify, on repeat, as they slept. (That’s the minimum song length after which the music streaming service pays bands a small fee.) The group promised to use the Spotify proceeds to fund a tour of free shows, booked around the cities where the album was streamed the most — and that’s just what they did, after raising about $20,000. (Spotify has since removed the album.)

We spoke over the phone with Jack Stratton, multi-instrumentalist, audio/video engineer, and mastermind for the band, ahead of their upcoming performance at Brick & Mortar Music Hall on Mon/15. It’s a free show, of course. Frequent Vulfpeck collaborator Joey Dosik opens.

San Francisco Bay Guardian Do you want to talk a little about Sleepify and how it came about?

Jack Stratton The first time we had talked about touring, we were trying to play live, because there’s somewhat of a demand from our fans of the YouTube videos. So we were just talking about ways to do that, and get information from other groups about what it costs, and it seemed like a losing-money venture.

So we were trying to think up ways for it to make sense, because really we enjoy playing live, and simultaneously we were talking about this demand-funded tour, where you say: If 100 people in any given place say they’ll go, we’ll show up. And we talk about Spotify all the time when we release stuff — whether it hurts sales or has no effect. It’s hard to judge. So all of those conversations kind of collided into this demand-funded Spotify tour.

SFBG Would you consider it a success so far?

JS Oh, absolutely, yeah. Especially since our last release, it’s hard to say how many fans came in from Sleepify. Probably the majority of people were just interested in the Sleepify part of it, but people did end up checking out the band and enjoying it. I think it almost doubled our fanbase since then, so there’s no way to spin it negative, really.

SFBG I know you’re based in LA. Are all the members there these days?

JS No, not right now; we’re all scattered.

SFBG How do you find time to get together and make music?

JS Vulfpeck is a strict Monday-through-Friday workweek, once a year. Our last album we did in a week in Ann Arbor, and definitely the eventual goal is to be doing that way more often, with other artists, like a classic rhythm section. That’s the vision.

SFBG Do you seek out freelance work backing up other singers? It seems like your records could serve as a great demo tape.

JS Yeah, we’ve done a little bit of that. That’s definitely the vision for it, because you can put out a lot more material. Like, you watch any documentary about [classic soul/R&B rhythm sections], and they played on so many hits. Because with any single artist, there’s just a limit to how much new material you want to hear in a year, [but a rhythm section] can just crank it out — and we’re very fast.

The larger concept to start a rhythm section was that — name a band. If you name any band, I could name their dramatic falling out, but all the rhythm sections, they just kinda do their thing. And then there’s a documentary 50 years later and they’re all still hanging out.

SFBG Fugue State is your fourth EP; how would you say the band’s sound has evolved?

JS Well, I’ve gotten better at mixing, we’ve all gotten better at playing, we’ve gotten better as an ensemble…so those are hard to quantify. The team is improving. We’ve had a mastering engineer since the second album, Devin Kerr, and that’s really helped the overall sound.

SFBG I saw that you and Devin released a Vulf compressor plugin for other musicians to use. Not a lot of bands can say that. How did that come about?

JS Yeah, I’m very excited about that. That was, man, a long time in the works. Not heavy duty work, but I was really into, at one point, this sound of Madlib and Flying Lotus and J Dilla. Whatever that sound was, that pumping, where the whole track pumps — I was like “What the hell is that?”

And I did some research, and the Internet is a magical thing, and I was directed to these late 90s/early 2000s digital samplers. And the compressors on those, certainly Madlib was using them, so I went to Devin and was like, “Check out these sounds I’m getting with these digital compressors.” And he was trying to replicate it with his plugins and he couldn’t do it at all, so he just did a ton of listening to these characteristics, that were not, I think, programmed.

SFBG Right, they might have been bugs or imperfections…

JS Yeah, and actually they were, because [the manufacturers] started phasing out certain effects that were classics. They just didn’t know. [Devin’s] a dangerous dude because he’s very good at DSP [Digital Single Processing] and he’s a mastering engineer, so he’s very musical and has this very technical side. So he did his thing and we would test it out and it was really thrilling. And then our friend Rob Stenson did the interface with Devin and now its in beta and eventually it’ll be out. 

SFBG Do you have a take on analog vs. digital recording?

JS We’re fans of both. We’ll do stuff to tape; we’ll use a nice mixing board and go into the computer or some funky cassette preamp. We’ll do it all — no hangups.

SFBG A lot of your videos are shot in living rooms and bedrooms and they look pretty impromptu. 

JS Yeah, I was kind of all about building a nice tricked-out studio for us. But Theo [Katzman, drummer-guitarist] mentioned part of the charm is all of these different locations and how rugged the setups are.

SFBG The last couple records have each featured a song with Antwaun Stanley [on vocals]. Do you envision more collaboration with him in the future?

JS Oh yeah, I mean, he rules. It’s really fun to work with him. Honestly, not many people could [with us]. It’s not just picking a good voice with us; the person has to be a really good improvisor, like Antwaun, because they have to make it happen on the spot, and there’s no overdubs or background vocals. It’s not just a nice timbre; you have to be a really talented singer and improvisor — a performer.

SFBG Did you write the lyrics or did he?

JS I wrote those. That is one of the greatest joys I wish everyone could experience is having Antwaun Stanley sing your lyrics. Because they go from, like, ridiculousness, to sounding like they were meant to be.

SFBG In general, do you write all of the parts for the band or is it more of a collaborative process as far as the arrangements go?

JS Depends on the tune. I like how versatile everyone is: We’ve done tunes where it’s completely arranged, we’ve done tunes where it’s like: “Do your thing.” Generally, one person comes in with the nugget and they’ll kind of be producer on that track and get to call the shots, but it’s collaborative within that.

SFBG You’ve got some multi-instrumentalists in the band. [Theo Katzman doubles on drums and guitar and Jack plays drums, various keyboards and guitar.] How do you choose who’s going to be on drums, and who’s on keys, etc., for each song?

JS It’s mostly a decision of who will be able to pick up the parts fastest, because it’s all on-the-spot — there’s no rehearsal. Theo’s got a really good ear harmonically. I don’t really, I can’t pick up tunes that quick. If I’ve written the tune on keyboards, I’ll play keyboards, but if it’s someone else’s tune and it’s difficult, he’ll play guitar [and I’ll play drums].

SFBG What does Vulfpeck mean?

JS That was kind of the earliest part of it: It’s “wolfpack,” pronounced by a German, but phonetically spelled out in English. So, if a German saw the word wolfpack, it would probably come out “vulf-pock,” which I screwed up at the time. I thought it would be “peck,” but apparently it’s “pock.”

But that’s the whole idea, and it’s endless joy, because I love the name and it’s great for the Internet, you know? Getting all the [web] addresses. I think there was one military dating profile — that was it — when I first Googled it. I was like “Alright, I think this is open.”

SFBG Search engine optimized…

JS Our Google splash page is — I mean you can’t control these things — but nice, man, it’s all us.

With Joey Dosik
9pm, free
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
1710 Mission, SF


A show a day: Your fall music calendar


What’s going on in Bay Area music these next three months? Glad you asked. 

Like a daily multivitamin wards off the sniffles, getting the SFBG’s official recommended dose of live shows is crucial to maintaining optimal mental health, fun levels, and skin tone, especially as the days get shorter and the weather turns ever-so-slightly cooler.

Here’s your musical agenda from Labor Day through Thanksgiving, with highlights from our favorite fall festivals (see this week’s issue for lots more).

Aug. 28 Black Cobra Vipers with French Cassettes The Chapel, SF.

Aug. 29 Blind Willies Viracocha, SF.

Aug. 30 Mistah F.A.B. Slim’s, SF.

Aug. 31 LIVE 105’s Punk Rock Picnic with The Offspring, Bad Religion, Pennywise, and more. Are you a late-thirties/early-forties punk rock guy or gal who can’t agree on much of anything with your 13-year-old these days? Doesn’t get much better than this lineup. Bonus points for screaming along to all the swearing on The Offspring’s “Bad Habit.” Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View.

Sept. 1 Hiero Day. Souls of Mischief, Del, and the rest of the guys have promised some pretty big guest stars at this week’s fest, but even without ’em — a free block party with beer from Linden Street Brewery and music from some of the Bay Area’s best underground rappers? Guests, schmests. Downtown Oakland,

Sept. 2 Ghost & Gale Brick and Mortar, SF.

Sept. 3 Joey Cape Thee Parkside, SF.

Sept. 4 Carletta Sue Kay Hemlock Tavern, SF.

Sept. 4-13 Mission Creek Oakland Music & Arts Festival. With a range of heavy hitters — from B. Hamilton and Bill Baird to Whiskerman — this is a showcase of the fertile ground that is Oakland’s indie rock scene right now, most with door prices you’re not likely to see from these bands again. Venues throughout Oakland,

Sept. 5 Sam Chase with Rin Tin Tiger Uptown, Oakl.

Sept. 6 Bart Davenport, Foxtails Brigade, more Block Party, downtown Oakland,

Sept. 7 Coheed and Cambria, Fox Theater, Oakl.

Sept. 8 The Rentals Slim’s, SF.

Sept. 9 Wild Eyes Knockout, SF.

Sept. 10 Kyrsten Bean New Parish, Oakl.,

Sept. 11 Sonny & The Sunsets Eagle Tavern, SF.

Sept. 11-14 Downtown Berkeley MusicFest. A range of bluesy, folky, dancey bands from all over the Bay — especially recommended: the First Person Singular presentation of Beck’s Song Reader Sept. 11 and The Parmesans at Jupiter Sept. 14. Venues all over Berkeley,

Sept. 12-14, 15th Annual Electronic Music Festival Brava Theater Center, SF.

Sept. 13 The Breeders Fillmore, SF.

Sept. 13-14 Forever Never Land, “California’s only 21+ music festival,” Avila Beach Golf Resort,

Sept. 15 Vulfpeck Brick and Mortar, SF.

Sept. 16 Lil Dicky Independent, SF.

Sept. 17 Anais Mitchell The Chapel, SF.

Sept. 18 Silent Comedy and Strange Vine Bottom of the Hill, SF.

Sept. 19 Blake Mills, The Chapel, SF.

Sept. 20 Old Crow Medicine Show The Masonic, SF.

Sept. 20-21 Berkeley World Music Festival All over Berkeley,

Sept. 20-21 Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival, with Larry Graham & Graham Central Station, more.

Sept. 21 Oakland Music Festival with The Coup, Kev Choice, more Downtown Oakland,

Sept. 22 La Roux Fox Theater, Oakl.

Sept. 23 Cello Joe The Chapel Bar, SF.

Sept. 24 Skeletonwitch, Black Anvil DNA Lounge, SF.

Sept. 25-28 Philip Glass’ Days and Nights Festival Henry Miller Memorial Library, Big Sur; Sunset Cultural Center, Carmel-by-the-Sea,

Sept. 26 Bob Mould Fillmore, SF.

Sept. 27 Wu-Tang Clan Warfield, SF.

Sept. 27 Redwood City Sala Festival Courthouse Square, Redwood City,

Sept. 28 Sam Smith Fox Theater, Oakl.

Sept. 29 Motown on Mondays Legionnaire Saloon, Oakl.

Sept. 30 Pixies The Masonic, SF.

Oct. 1 Rhymesayers presents Brother Ali, Bambu Bottom of the Hill, SF.

Oct. 2 Lorde Greek Theatre, Berk.

Oct. 3-5 Berkeley Hawaiian Music Festival Freight and Salvage, Berkl.

Oct. 3-5 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Golden Gate Park, SF.

Oct 3-5 TBD Festival. Emerging Bay Area acts like 8th Grader mingle with the big kids (Blondie, Moby, Danny Brown, Kurt Vile) at this seventh annual celebration of “music, art, design, and food.” A low-key vibe and great chance to see some huge acts in a seemingly unlikely location. Riverfront, West Sacramento.

Oct. 4 Cibo Matto The Chapel, SF.

Oct. 5 Bombay Bicycle Club Warfield, SF.

Oct. 6 The War on Drugs with Cass McCombs Fillmore, SF.

Oct. 7 Thurston Moore Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 8 The King Khan & BBQ Show Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 9 Imelda May Fillmore, SF.

Oct. 10 Too Short Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View.

Oct. 11 Pomplamoose Fillmore, SF.

Oct. 12 Jack Beats Mezzanine, SF.

Oct. 13 Mutual Benefit Independent,

Oct. 14-15 Culture Collide. This new-to-the-Bay-Area party has been rocking LA for the past few years, but it seems to have taken on an appropriately Mission-esque flavor for its first Mission takeover: Local kids like Grmln alongside national acts like Cloud Nothings and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah alongside a whole host of buzzy Korean, Australian, and UK bands? Yeah, we’re there. Up and down Valencia in the Mission, with multiple stages including the Elbo Room.

Oct. 15 Of Montreal Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 16 Russian Red Independent, SF.

Oct. 17 Pup Brick and Mortar Music Hall,

Oct. 18-19 Treasure Island Music Festival, with Outkast, Massive Attack, more Treasure Island.

Oct. 20 Kimbra Independent, SF.

Oct. 21 Melvins Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 22 Kat Edmonson Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 23 The Blank Tapes Brick and Mortar Music Hall,

Oct. 24 Foxygen Fillmore, SF.

Oct. 25 Titan Ups and Carletta Sue Kay DNA Lounge, SF.

Oct. 26 Bridget Everett Independent, SF.

Oct. 27 Warpaint Regency Ballroom, SF.

Oct. 28 Broken Bells The Masonic, SF.

Oct. 29 King Tuff Great American Music Hall, SF. www.

Oct. 30 Tycho Fox Theater, Oakl.

Oct. 31 LIVE 105’s Spookfest with Chromeo, Alesso, more Oracle Arena, Oakl.,

Nov. 1 Stone Foxes with Strange Vine The Chapel, SF.

Nov. 2 Citizen Cope Catalyst, Santa Cruz.

Nov. 3 The Black Keys Oracle Arena, Oakl.,

Nov. 4 Frankie Rose with Cold Beat Bottom of the Hill, SF.

Nov. 5 Finch, Maps & Atlases Slim’s, SF.

Nov. 6 Bleachers Independent, SF.

Nov. 7 Slowdive Warfield, SF.

Nov. 8 Shovels & Rope Fillmore, SF.

Nov. 9 Mirah Independent, SF.

Nov. 10 Psychedelic Furs, Lemonheads Fillmore, SF.

Nov. 11 Mac DeMarco Fillmore, SF.

Nov. 12 Shakey Graves Independent, SF.

Nov. 13 Generationals The Chapel, SF.

Nov. 14 Deltron 3030 Catalyst, Santa Cruz.

Nov. 15 J. Mascis Independent, SF.

Nov. 16 Hot Water Music Slim’s, SF.

Nov. 17 Culture Club Fox Theater, Oakl.

Nov. 18 The 1975 The Masonic, SF.

Nov. 19 Har Mar Superstar Bottom of the Hill, SF.

Nov. 20 Minus the Bear Slim’s, SF.

Nov. 21 Seu Jorge Bimbo’s 365 Club, SF.

Nov. 22 Peanut Butter Wolf Brick and Mortar Music Hall,

Nov. 23 Lucero Slim’s, SF.

A show a day: Your fall music calendar


FALL ARTS What’s going on in Bay Area music these next three months? Glad you asked.

Here’s your musical agenda from Labor Day through Thanksgiving, with highlights from our favorite fall festivals.

Aug. 27 Terry Malts Brick and Mortar, SF.

Aug. 28 Black Cobra Vipers with French Cassettes The Chapel, SF.

Aug. 29 Blind Willies Viracocha, SF.

Aug. 30 Mistah F.A.B. Slim’s, SF.

Aug. 31 LIVE 105’s Punk Rock Picnic with The Offspring, Bad Religion, Pennywise, and more. Are you a late-thirties/early-forties punk rock guy or gal who can’t agree on much of anything with your 13-year-old these days? Doesn’t get much better than this lineup. Bonus points for screaming along to all the swearing on The Offspring’s “Bad Habit.” Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View.

Sept. 1 Hiero Day. Souls of Mischief, Del, and the rest of the guys have promised some pretty big guest stars at this week’s fest, but even without ’em — a free block party with beer from Linden Street Brewery and music from some of the Bay Area’s best underground rappers? Guests, schmests. Downtown Oakland,

Sept. 2 Ghost & Gale Brick and Mortar, SF.

Sept. 3 Joey Cape Thee Parkside, SF.

Sept. 4 Carletta Sue Kay Hemlock Tavern, SF.

Sept. 4-13 Mission Creek Oakland Music & Arts Festival. With a range of heavy hitters — from B. Hamilton and Bill Baird to Whiskerman — this is a showcase of the fertile ground that is Oakland’s indie rock scene right now, most with door prices you’re not likely to see from these bands again. Venues throughout Oakland,

Sept. 5 Sam Chase with Rin Tin Tiger Uptown, Oakl.

Sept. 6 Bart Davenport, Foxtails Brigade, more Block Party, downtown Oakland,

Sept. 7 Coheed and Cambria, Fox Theater, Oakl.

Sept. 8 The Rentals Slim’s, SF.

Sept. 9 Wild Eyes Knockout, SF.

Sept. 10 Kyrsten Bean New Parish, Oakl.,

Sept. 11 Sonny & The Sunsets Eagle Tavern, SF.

Sept. 11-14 Downtown Berkeley MusicFest. A range of bluesy, folky, dancey bands from all over the Bay — especially recommended: the First Person Singular presentation of Beck’s Song Reader Sept. 11 and The Parmesans at Jupiter Sept. 14. Venues all over Berkeley,

Sept. 12-14, 15th Annual Electronic Music Festival Brava Theater Center, SF.

Sept. 13 The Breeders Fillmore, SF.

Sept. 13-14 Forever Never Land, “California’s only 21+ music festival,” Avila Beach Golf Resort,

Sept. 15 Vulfpeck Brick and Mortar, SF.

Sept. 16 Lil Dicky Independent, SF.

Sept. 17 Anais Mitchell The Chapel, SF.

Sept. 18 Silent Comedy and Strange Vine Bottom of the Hill, SF.

Sept. 19 Blake Mills, The Chapel, SF.

Sept. 20 Old Crow Medicine Show The Masonic, SF.

Sept. 20-21 Berkeley World Music Festival All over Berkeley,

Sept. 20-21 Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival, with Larry Graham & Graham Central Station, more.

Sept. 21 Oakland Music Festival with The Coup, Kev Choice, more Downtown Oakland,

Sept. 22 La Roux Fox Theater, Oakl.

Sept. 23 Cello Joe The Chapel Bar, SF.

Sept. 24 Skeletonwitch, Black Anvil DNA Lounge, SF.

Sept. 25-28 Philip Glass’ Days and Nights Festival Henry Miller Memorial Library, Big Sur; Sunset Cultural Center, Carmel-by-the-Sea,

Sept. 26 Bob Mould Fillmore, SF.

Sept. 27 Wu-Tang Clan Warfield, SF.

Sept. 27 Redwood City Sala Festival Courthouse Square, Redwood City,

Sept. 28 Sam Smith Fox Theater, Oakl.

Sept. 29 Motown on Mondays Legionnaire Saloon, Oakl.

Sept. 30 Pixies The Masonic, SF.

Oct. 1 Rhymesayers presents Brother Ali, Bambu Bottom of the Hill, SF.

Oct. 2 Lorde Greek Theatre, Berk.

Oct. 3-5 Berkeley Hawaiian Music Festival Freight and Salvage, Berkl.

Oct. 3-5 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Golden Gate Park, SF.

Oct 3-5 TBD Festival, Riverfront, West Sacramento. Emerging Bay Area acts like 8th Grader mingle with the big kids (Blondie, Moby, Danny Brown, Kurt Vile) at this seventh annual celebration of “music, art, design, and food.” A low-key vibe and great chance to see some huge acts in a seemingly unlikely location.

Oct. 4 Cibo Matto The Chapel, SF.

Oct. 5 Bombay Bicycle Club Warfield, SF.

Oct. 6 The War on Drugs with Cass McCombs Fillmore, SF.

Oct. 7 Thurston Moore Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 8 The King Khan & BBQ Show Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 9 Imelda May Fillmore, SF.

Oct. 10 Too Short Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View.

Oct. 11 Pomplamoose Fillmore, SF.

Oct. 12 Jack Beats Mezzanine, SF.

Oct. 13 Mutual Benefit Independent,

Oct. 14-15 Culture Collide. This new-to-the-Bay-Area party has been rocking LA for the past few years, but it seems to have taken on an appropriately Mission-esque flavor for its first Mission takeover: Local kids like Grmln alongside national acts like Cloud Nothings and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah alongside a whole host of buzzy Korean, Australian, and UK bands? Yeah, we’re there. Up and down Valencia in the Mission, with multiple stages including the Elbo Room.

Oct. 15 Of Montreal Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 16 Russian Red Independent, SF.

Oct. 17 Pup Brick and Mortar Music Hall,

Oct. 18-19 Treasure Island Music Festival

Oct. 20 Kimbra Independent, SF.

Oct. 21 Melvins Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 22 Kat Edmonson Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 23 The Blank Tapes Brick and Mortar Music Hall,

Oct. 24 Foxygen Fillmore, SF.

Oct. 25 Titan Ups and Carletta Sue Kay DNA Lounge, SF.

Oct. 26 Bridget Everett Independent, SF.

Oct. 27 Warpaint Regency Ballroom, SF.

Oct. 28 Broken Bells The Masonic, SF.

Oct. 29 King Tuff Great American Music Hall, SF. www.

Oct. 30 Tycho Fox Theater, Oakl.

Oct. 31 LIVE 105’s Spookfest with Chromeo, Alesso, more Oracle Arena, Oakl.,

Nov. 1 Stone Foxes with Strange Vine The Chapel, SF.

Nov. 2 Citizen Cope Catalyst, Santa Cruz.

Nov. 3 The Black Keys Oracle Arena, Oakl.,

Nov. 4 Frankie Rose with Cold Beat Bottom of the Hill, SF.

Nov. 5 Finch, Maps & Atlases Slim’s, SF.

Nov. 6 Bleachers Independent, SF.

Nov. 7 Slowdive Warfield, SF.

Nov. 8 Shovels & Rope Fillmore, SF.

Nov. 9 Mirah Independent, SF.

Nov. 10 Psychedelic Furs, Lemonheads Fillmore, SF.

Nov. 11 Mac DeMarco Fillmore, SF.

Nov. 12 Shakey Graves Independent, SF.

Nov. 13 Generationals The Chapel, SF.

Nov. 14 Deltron 3030 Catalyst, Santa Cruz.

Nov. 15 J. Mascis Independent, SF.

Nov. 16 Hot Water Music Slim’s, SF.

Nov. 17 Culture Club Fox Theater, Oakl.

Nov. 18 The 1975 The Masonic, SF.

Nov. 19 Har Mar Superstar Bottom of the Hill, SF.

Nov. 20 Minus the Bear Slim’s, SF.

Nov. 21 Seu Jorge Bimbo’s 365 Club, SF.

Nov. 22 Peanut Butter Wolf Brick and Mortar Music Hall,

Nov. 23 Lucero Slim’s, SF.

Track record


SUPER EGO Hitch up your skirt and strap on your skates: It’s another crazy weekend full of too much to do. The bonkers three-day-long Sunset Campout riverside rave and Sunday’s gay fetish pig roast Up Your Alley Fair are only the start. (I’m totally stealing my Seattle buddy DJ Nark’s “inflatable yellow rubber ducky inner tube attached to leather harness suspenders” outfit idea so I can hit both, with a pair of winged Saucony Progrid running shoes — and nothing else — in honor of this weekend’s SF Marathon.)

Sunset Campout (Fri/25-Sun/27, $70–$150, Belden, CA., put on by our own illustrious Sunset crew, is pretty much the electronic dance music festival of my dreams, with a huge roster of acts like Soul Clap, Guillaume and the Coutu Dumonts, Danny Daze, Spacetime Continuum, Traxx, Lovefingers, and dozens of local heroes. And Up Your Alley (Sun/27, 11am-6pm, donation requested. 10th St and Folsom, SF. is Folsom Street Fair’s gayer little sister, proving that most homosexuals need but a tiny strip of clothing to make a lasting fashion statement. Both events will feature wiener roasts.



One of my favorite local DJs, dirtybird crewmember J.Phlip, turns her poppin’ bass up for the United Hearts fundraiser, helping to buy school buses for kids in Ghana. DJ Khan from Bristol, UK, and our own Ryuryu of Soundpieces and several members of the Surefire crew will make sure your heart rumbles in the right place.

Thu/24, 9:30pm-2:30am, $15–$50. Public Works, SF.



World Cup what? The world may have moved on ever-so-briefly from boys in shorts chasing little white balls. But this regular party, celebrating the funky breaks and beats of Brazil and beyond, will have you waving your arms and singing. Special guest Tom Thump, whose crates run so deep they pierce the Earth’s mantle, presides. With live percussion and DJs Elan and Zamba.

Fri/25, 10pm, $5–$10. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF.



Yummy UK bass and future sounds by way of this LA fave, one of the early players in the ’90s R&B dance floor revival. Support by a host of others, including Elliot Lipp, Lindsay Lowend, and Chiller Whale.

Fri/25, 10pm-4am, $15–$20. 1015 Folsom, SF.



Irish techno, thy name is Phil. Mr. Kieran has spent a couple decades repping Belfast with some truly fun, truly stylish stuff. (Latest killer slice “Computer Games” comes with a video worthy of cult flick The Visitor.) He’ll be making his debut at the Lights Down Low party.

Fri/25, 10pm-3am, $10–$15. Monarch, 101 Sixth St, SF.



You know you still know all the words to “Money in the Ghetto” — sing out with Oakland’s finest and his full band.

Fri/25, 9pm-3am, $20–$25. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



The Israeli technician (with such thick, silky-looking hair!) keeps his tempos at a deep and steady trot — the better for building excellently textured rides through sensual, emotive soundscapes. Good, heady stuff.

Sat/26, 9:30pm, $15. Audio, 316 11th St., SF.



Those neon sad-emoji kidz from the 120 Minutes monthly are back with special guests Teen Witch, summoning all dark and lovely laptop electro-ghosts, and Banjee Report, an outstanding vogue-rap outfit from Chicago.

Sat/26, 10pm, $5–$10. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF.



This awesome local atmospheric electro pop trio just released nifty Night Colors EP. They’ll be kicking it up live with ethereal matriarch Metal Mother and catchy shoegaze-hop Magicks for a truly magickal night of SF sounds.

Sun/27, 8pm, $5–$8. Brick and Mortar, 1710 Mission, SF.


The resurrection of Ronnie Spector


LEFT OF THE DIAL How do you address a woman who toured with the Rolling Stones as an opening act, while being chased after by a baby-faced John Lennon? Who had five singles in the Top 40 by the age of 21? Who perfected the beehive hairdo two decades before Amy Winehouse was even born?

“Call me Ronnie,” purrs Ronnie Spector, age 70, on the other end of the line. You can almost hear the hairdo.

The woman who influenced performers like Billy Joel, Patti Smith, and Joey Ramone is calling from a suburb near Danbury, Conn., where she lives with her manager/husband of 30 years, Jonathan Greenfield. Their life is a quiet one. Spector — who, as the lead singer of the Ronettes, perhaps the most iconic girl group of the early ’60s thanks to hits like “Be My Baby,” has been described as the original bad girl of rock ‘n’ roll — likes to read and watch movies. She goes grocery shopping, does a little cooking, goes to Bed, Bath & Beyond. Three times a week she goes to an office and dictates responses to her fan mail to an assistant (she doesn’t like to use the Internet much herself). She doesn’t drink (never has, she says), but she still smokes (Marlboro Reds).

Okay, and every now and then she’ll catch up with her old friend Keith Richards, who lives 15 minutes away.

For the past two years, the ’60s icon has also been on tour again: Her one-woman stage show, “Beyond the Beehive,” chronicles her tumultuous life from childhood onward, punctuated with songs, stories, behind-the-scenes dirt and dishing. She’ll bring elements of that show to the Bay Area July 4 weekend, when she performs at Brick and Mortar Music Hall Sat/5 (in a ridiculously fabulous-sounding evening hosted by Peaches Christ) and at Burger Boogaloo in Oakland’s Mosswood Park Sun/6.

So: Why would someone who’s lived such a full life — not to mention a self-described homebody — put herself through the rigors of a touring stage show at a time in her life when she could be resting on her laurels? Or at least, one might think, just resting?

“Because I love it — it lets all of my emotions out,” says Ronnie, sounding straight-up girlishly, genuinely excited. “When I first started, of course, I was scared to death: I’ve been on stage singing since I was a little girl, but I never had to sit down and talk to an audience. Now, I feel so good after I do that show. I go through the good, the bad, and the ugly. I tell them everything, and I’m nervous every time, but I love it.”

A little like on-stage therapy, no?

“I stopped going to therapy when I started ‘Beehive’!” she cries. “Who needs a psychiatrist? My show is my therapy. The audience loves it, I love it, and I get to tell them things I never got to talk about.

“Because a lot of stories from my life — ooh, if walls could talk…”


Born to a Cherokee and African American mother and an Irish father, a drummer, on Aug. 10, 1943, Veronica Bennett grew up in Spanish Harlem, in a large, working-class family that served as her first audience.

“When I was 7 or 8, me and eight of my cousins were in the lobby of our building and I was singing ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’ — the sound was great down there, the tall ceilings — and my cousins all started clapping,” she recalls. “And I thought, I got it! From that point on, all I thought about was singing. I didn’t do homework. The teachers were calling my house saying ‘She’s just singing for the class.’ It was all I cared about.” She spent hours singing with her sister, Estelle Bennett, and cousin, Nedra Talley, the trio that would go on to become the Ronettes.

When the girls were young teens, as if to say “Okay, let’s see what you’ve got,” Ronnie and Estelle’s mother, a waitress at a restaurant next door to the Apollo Theater, managed to get the girls a spot on the bill at the legendary venue’s amateur night. They didn’t win that evening’s competition, but the audience applauded (as opposed to throwing tomatoes), and Spector still remembers the feeling. “That was it. It was the toughest crowd in town, and they liked us,” she says.

The rest is show business history: The signature eye makeup and impeccable on-stage style. Hordes of shrieking fans during appearances on American Bandstand. The UK tour on which the girls spent evenings flirting and dancing with the Beatles. Bottles upon bottles of hairspray.

And, of course, the group’s relationship with wunderkind producer Phil Spector, the man responsible for the “wall of sound” instrumentation that makes so many ’60s records sound so beautifully, chart-toppingly lush. “Be My Baby,” a song Brian Wilson has called the best pop song ever made (at 21, he was driving when he first heard it and had to pull over), is considered the first pop record to use a full orchestra, with horns, multiple pianos, and guitars layered generously over each other. Backup singers included Darlene Love and a then-unknown couple named Sonny and Cher.

To be sure, Spector was ahead of his time. But 30 seconds of any Ronettes song will tell you everything you need to know about what made the group stand out from the pack.

As the Time magazine writer Michael Enright once put it: “Ronnie had a weird natural vibrato – almost a tremolo, really – that modulated her little-girl timber into something that penetrated the Wall of Sound like a nail gun. It is an uncanny instrument. Sitting on a ragged couch in my railroad flat, I could hear her through all the arguments on the street, the car alarms, the sirens. She floated above the sound of New York while also being a part of it…stomping her foot on the sidewalk and insisting on being heard.”

It’s that same combination of vulnerability, sex appeal, and determinedly tough-as-nails I’ve-been-through-hell-so-don’t-test-me bravado that still attracts fans to her shows some 50 years later — despite the fact they’ve probably already heard a good chunk of the story.

Her low points are well-documented: the nightmarish marriage to a jealous Phil Spector that, according to her 1989 memoir, involved death threats and the young singer being physically locked in his mansion. Then rehab, which she later said was just a means of escape from her ex-husband (who, it must be mentioned, as of this writing, is five years into a 19-year sentence for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson — after a trial in which at least five female acquaintances recounted him holding them at gunpoint).

Then there was life after Phil. Ronnie burst back onto the charts in 1986 as a guest on Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight” (with her signature whoa-oh-oh-ohs front and center), may or may not have had a brief fling with David Bowie, released a critically acclaimed solo album produced by Joey Ramone, married her second husand, had two kids (not necessarily in that order). In 2000, after a 15-year royalty battle, a New York State Supreme Court judge ruled that Phil Spector owed the Ronettes $2.6 million; despite licensing their songs to everything from commercials to Dirty Dancing over the previous four decades, he’d only ever paid the women $14,000 and change.

And now? She’s an unmistakably happy woman, and she clearly likes to talk. It doesn’t take much to get her going on today’s pop music: “It’s like a circus! You can’t see a show without dancers and lights and booms and bangs. It takes away from rock ‘n’ roll. Everyone has to have ridiculous outfits, and you don’t even know who they are by the time their record comes out. People don’t have an identity! Miley Cyrus gets up there with an [inflatable] penis coming out of her? Hello? What is that?”

“You take away the dancers, you take away the choreographers, and [with a lot of pop stars] you will not see a real artist there,” she says. “And everybody lip-syncs. In my day you didn’t do that; I would never do that. To me, it’s cheating the audience.” (Ronnie’s voice has stayed strong, she says, because she’s never liked parties.)

However: “I do love that today’s women artists [are allowed to] write their own material, which we couldn’t. You look at the artists from the past like me, the pioneers, we ended up with nothing because of royalties. Now, Taylor Swift is one of the richest girls in rock ‘n’ roll.”

She also has nothing but kind words for Amy Winehouse — a singer who owed her obvious debts in the vocal and visual style department, and whose “Back To Black” Ronnie sometimes covers in return (once, in London, with Winehouse trying not to be spotted in the audience). “She was a dirty rock ‘n’ roll singer, her voice was real, and she was real,” she says. “I miss her.”

Aside from not really enjoying Top 40 radio, however, Ronnie says she’s loving life — and you believe her. She talks like a survivor — not just of an abusive marriage, but of a time and a place in pop music that chewed young women up and spit them out with astounding ease.

“To be honest, a lot of the groups I knew 50 years ago are dead or dead broke,” she says. “And I had to fight for my career. I was in court for 15 years.

“But you know what? What goes around comes around,” she says conspiratorially. “Karma’s a bitch, and it’ll bite you right in the ass. He’s in prison, and I’m not. I’m out there singing, having the time of my life, and I have everything I want: My shows, a great husband, everything I wanted back then. Turns out you can have your cake and eat it too.” A hearty laugh.

“Otherwise, what’s the point of having cake?” 

Ronnie Spector will perform at the Burger Boogaloo After-Party (Sat/5 9pm, $35) at Brick and Mortar Music Hall and at Burger Boogaloo Day 2 (Sun/6, all day, $35-$50) in Oakland’s Mosswood Park.


Listen: New M. Lockwood Porter single “Chris Bell” pays tribute to the less-celebrated heart of Big Star


This happens very rarely, but every now and then, I’m actually in step with some kind of larger musical zeitgeist. My lifelong affection for Big Star — thanks, Dad — only grew deeper with last year’s documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, which told the tale of a band that, more or less, struggled for its entire existence to be heard, only to achieve what could be considered widespread popularity roughly two decades after they stopped making music.

One story that film also teased out was the tragic narrative of Chris Bell, who maybe wasn’t as charismatic as his co-frontman Alex Chilton, but boy, could he write a song, and boy, did he have some demons. Bell died, like so many of the greats, at the age of 27.

So I was excited, needless to say, when Berkeley’s M. Lockwood Porter released his new single, “Chris Bell,” a tribute to the late songwriter in which Porter’s earnest ’70s power-pop influences are made very clear. Porter’s debut LP Judah’s Gone garnered some critical praise last summer, but we haven’t heard much from him since; now, he’ll be doing a mini-tour of sorts to support the release, starting with an opening spot on Mirah-headlined bill tomorrow night [Thu/6] at Brick and Mortar. Give the track a listen, and below, read some of what Porter wrote me when I asked about his inspirations for the song.

I’ve claimed Big Star as one of my favorite bands for almost 10 years. I got into them around the time that I was about to go to college. I was in this phase where, artistically, I believed that you had to totally reinvent or revolutionize the musical language in order to make valid art (I was 16, okay?). When I discovered Big Star, along with a few other bands, I realized that pop/rock based music could sound fresh without adding too many bells and whistles as long as there was honesty and a unique point of view behind it.

[After watching Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me], I learned that he was as important, or even more important, to the creation of #1 Record than Alex Chilton was. Second of all, Big Star’s lack of commercial recognition, along with the fact that critics seemed to focus on Alex Chilton as the genius behind the band, were among his reasons for leaving the band. Third, after he left the band, he went into a depression that he never fully escaped. He got into painkillers, heroin, and some of the interview subjects in the film suggest that the car accident that killed Chris Bell might have been a suicide. I’ve also since read rumors that Chris Bell was a closeted homosexual, and that his shame might have been an additional reason for his depression. I don’t know whether that last part is true or not, but all of these facts together gave me a huge amount of sympathy for him.

It made me very upset that even I — someone who considers #1 Record to be a desert island album — had given Alex Chilton most of the credit for Big Star’s effect on my life (not that he wasn’t important, as well). I started thinking about how much Alex Chilton” by The Replacements (whom I love) had played into the mythos of the band, and that’s where the first line of the song came from.

In the film, someone points out that Chris Bell is a member of the 27 Club. That got me thinking about this whole romance and mythology that exists around people like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, etc. — rock stars who died young. I did not want to write a song that attempted to create a similar kind of mythology around Chris Bell. I felt like it would have been tacky and disrespectful to do so. In the documentary, Chris Bell’s brother and sister are interviewed. Their pain over Chris’s death still seems very raw. He died nearly 40 years ago, and they still miss him deeply. I wanted to try to write about Chris Bell with that perspective in mind, rather than writing something that could have come from some lazy rock journalist.

Also, I love Neil Young, and there’s that infamous line in “Hey Hey My My” (“Rock and roll is here to stay / It’s better to burn out than to fade away”) that ties into the whole tortured rock star mythology because of the Kurt Cobain connection. It’s also just a happy accident that the line “Rock and roll is here to stay” is also in Big Star’s “Thirteen.” When I realized that coincidence, I knew I had to put that into the song.

And now, because he makes me feel feelings, let’s listen to some Chris Bell, shall we?

M. Lockwood Porter (w/ Mirah, Ages and Ages)
3/6, 9pm, $12
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
1710 Mission, SF

SF Bay Guardian presents night two of WATERS residency at Brick and Mortar


Winner of the 2012 Goldie Award for Music,  WATERS hits up Brick and Mortar this month for a February residency. Needless to say, the San Francisco Bay Guardian couldn’t be more proud to be a presenting co-sponsor along with Ineffable Music.

(Speaking of Goldies, the 25th Annual Goldies celebration is Friday, February 21 from 8-11pm at Folsom Street Foundry. Get more info and see who’s going here.)

Spring 2010 saw the demise of Port O’Brien and founding member/front man Van Pierszalowski needed a break from the hectic, wonderful mess that is touring. He stumbled into respite in Oslo, Norway and explored the new city, swam in the Norwegian fjords, enjoyed the weather and the experience of seasons changing. He found his bearings and formed WATERS. The band will be previewing material from their forthcoming album, a follow up to the critically acclaimed debut Out in the Light

The new album “is about waking up. It is about getting out of a situation that seems endless, and realizing you’re not too old to make dramatic and sudden changes in your life. It is about starting over.”

With Two Sheds and There’s Talk. Get advance tickets at here.

Monday, February 10 at 9pm @ Brick and Mortar, 1710 Mission, SF | $6

War of the roses


TOFU AND WHISKEY Rock ‘n’ roll guitarists do not typically have the opportunity to play with full, live orchestras. Though legendary avant-punk composer Rhys Chatham has long challenged that notion.

“I thought it would be nice to write a piece for a literal orchestra of guitars, both for its unique sonority, as well as for the social element of massing so many guitarists together, to give them the experience of playing in an orchestra, the way classical musicians do,” the 61-year-old writes from his home in France.

His first piece for multiple electric guitars was back in ’77 — Guitar Trio — and by ’84 he upped the number to six. But this is where the electric guitar orchestras of Chatham took a huge leap: 100 guitars, wailing, riffing, battling, rising in unison and twisting on their own windy paths.

Since then, Chatham has launched multiple pieces based on 100 to 400 electric guitarists, including An Angel Moves Too Fast to See (1989), and A Crimson Grail (2005). His newest piece, A Secret Rose, is back to 100 and will have its Bay Area premiere Sun/17 (7pm, $10–$75. Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour, Richmond.

The difference? A Secret Rose was a piece intended to be learned quickly, without placing “unreasonable demands” on the participating musicians’ time.

“An added plus as far as ease of mounting the piece is concerned is that I wrote the piece for guitars in a standard tuning, so the musicians can simply arrive with the strings they normally use, cutting down on the time it takes to restring the guitars, not to mention the purchasing of special strings for 100 guitarists!”

Like much of his other work, A Secret Rose is informed by Chatham’s strong connection to the roots of the ’77 punk scene, a world the minimalist composer cracked open in his early 20s. He says at the time he was trying to find his voice as a composer.

He grew up in New York City playing his father’s harpsichord, which he first picked up at age six. By age eight he was playing clarinet, and at 12, he switched to flute. “Luckily, my flute teacher was a contemporary music specialist, so she taught me Density 21.5 by Varèse, Sonatine for flute and piano by Boulez, and many others.”

In his early 20s, he first became entranced with the burgeoning loft jazz scene in NYC.

“I switched to tenor saxophone because the fingering is almost the same as flute, also because it was louder.”

There, he studied alongside the greats, including La Monte Young — he even sang in his group, the Theater of Eternal Music — along with Terry Riley. He was an early member of Tony Conrad’s the Dream Syndicate, and played alongside Charlemagne Palestine.

Around this time though, there was the punk awakening. Everything changed with an electrifying Ramones concert in 1976 at CBGB.

“I had never seen anything like it in my life. Wow! I felt that I had something in common with their music. I mean, as a hardcore minimalist composer, I was only using one chord in the music I was doing at the time — the Ramones were using three — but I loved the repetition, and that’s when I decided to embrace this music into my own.”

He dropped the sax and picked up a Fender Telecaster guitar, and he was soon playing minimal music in a rock context at Max’s Kansas City and CBGB.

The classic Fender is still integral to his performances more than three decades later. For A Secret Rose, each guitarist will bring her or his own electric guitar. Says Chatham, “The piece was written for a Fender kind of sound…so we ask the guitarists to bring guitars that have a Fender type of sound.”

As for finding those 100 talented guitarists to join the orchestra? It was a collaboration with the Other Minds new music community nonprofit, which is presenting the West Coast premiere of A Secret Rose, and Chatham’s manager Regina Greene. The application process was wide open, so the end result is a batch of musicians from all over the world, including the UK, Argentina, and Canada. The Richmond performance in the dramatic waterfront Craneway Pavilion includes musicians from Guided by Voices, Akron/Family, Tristeza, Hrsta, Sutekh Hexen, and Girls Against Boys.

Many of the guitarists are also local: Other Minds received a grant from the James Irvine Foundation that focuses on “nonprofessional and professional musicians from low-income and ethnically diverse communities in Contra Costa and Alameda counties” to help put the event on. After the applications came in, Other Minds and Chatham went to work mixing in musicians with backgrounds in jazz, folk, noise, psych, metal, experimental, classical, and punk.

The final blend includes Oakland’s Carolyn Kennedy, Alameda’s Kurt Brown, Berkeley’s Becky White, and more, plus Chatham alumni (who’ve played in different electric guitar orchestras with him) including John Banister of San Francisco and Brian Good of Walnut Creek.

All those guitarists will be backed by electric bassist Lisa Mezzacappa, and drummer Jordan Glenn, both from the Bay Area. In a much smaller scale preview of A Secret Rose earlier this year, Mezzacappa and Glenn did Guitar Trio (version for eight musicians) with Chatham at the Lab in the Mission. “They are excellent musicians. Well, they’d have to be to accompany 100 electric guitars,” Chatham says. “They are the rhythm section, the wind, indeed the hurricane that lights the fire of the playing of the guitarists!”

The performance itself is structured similar to a symphony, starting with an introduction and slow prelude, followed by an allegro movement

“[And] then I break with sonata form and have a structured aleatory movement, followed by an adagio section, ending with a brisk allegro, although having a vastly different character than the first one,” explains Chatham.

“All the music is notated, even the aleatory section has specific prose instructions. When we mount the piece it will probably be one of the few times the guitarists make use of a music stand!”


For this third annual Friends of Tricycle Records comp release show, the favored local indie label brings out Oakland lady trio Hot Toddies. The Toddies make sunny though rough-edged beach pop with sugary multipart harmonies, and released their Bottoms Up EP on Tricycle earlier this year. The Tricycle Records comp, produced by Julie Schuchard, includes the slow-burning Hot Toddies’ track “Summertime Blues,” along with songs by James & Evander, Happy Fangs, Swiftumz, WOOF, and more. With Tambo Rays, Kill Moi, Odd Owl, Blaus (DJ set).

Wed/13, 8pm, $6–$9. Brick and Mortar Music Hall, 1710 Mission, SF.


Melt-Banana has always been a curious subject: rapid, triumphant grindcore matched to yelpy staccato vocals tinted with Japanese accents, like Spazz meets Deerfhoof. And with each album, the group — formed in 1993 — has proved itself still endlessly fascinating, complex, even fun. Its latest, Fetch (A-Zap), is its first in six long years, and it comes speeding back to the present, not a moment of chaos lost. Check “The Hive” — it’s like riding a terrifying roller coaster on acid with a screeching sprite on your shoulder. With Retox. 

Sat/16, 8pm, $15. Oakland Metro, 630 Third St, Oakl.






Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week


Ready to get weird? Naturally, as this is the week of All Hallows Eve (i.e. the best time of the year), the shows you must see are downright spooky: The Flaming Lips’ Halloween Blood Bath, Maya Jane Coles at Freaky Friday, the Hellraiser’s Ball series’ Terry Malts show, Total Trash’s extended Halloween bash, and so forth.

Go out goblins and ghouls of the Bay, raise some spirits and remember the dead. And never forget: Nilbog is Goblin backwards.

Here are your must-see shows: 

Terry Malts
Full disclosure: The Bay Guardian is co-sponsoring this event, the first in a series of Hellraiser’s Ball shows. But it deserves to be in Heads Up anyways, because Terry Malts are San Francisco pop punk perfection, and they’re back after touring off new full-length Realizes This is Nowhere (Slumberland), released last month.
With Violent Change
Tue/29, 8pm, $10
Brick and Mortar
1710 Mission, SF

The Flaming Lips’ Halloween Blood Bath

“Oklahoma City psych rockers the Flaming Lips’ mold-breaking performances are as varied as the band’s back catalog. Motorcycle exhaust filled punk orgies, dazzling Christmas light powered spectacles, car stereo orchestras, and for at least the last decade, the technicolor, eyeball melting, heart swelling celebrations of pure weirdo pop, accented by confetti cannons and costumed menagerie. Now it’s switching up again, retiring elements that came close to being trademarks. (No space bubble, kids. Go see Diplo, who ripped it off, as he does every gimmick.) With their latest, The Terror, the Lips seem to be on their own private dark side of the moon, and the current tour promises to be a different kind of spectacle.” — Ryan Prendiville
With Tame Impala, White Denim
Thu/31, 7pm, $47.50
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
99 Grove, SF

Halloween at the Chapel
Bobb Saggeth, the female-fronted Black Sabbath tribute band, headlines this black mass with Haight Breeders (covering Misfits songs, natch).
Thu/31, 9pm-2am, $15.
777 Valencia, SF

Total Trash Halloween Bash: Yogurt Brain as Weezer
“This year’s Total Trash Halloween Bash offers some of the usual suspects when it comes to rockers delivering camouflaged covers. However, with NOBUNNY channeling Bo Diddley as “Nodiddley” and Russell Quan joining Shannon and the Clams as Los Saicos, we step out of the box that usually brings us Cramps and Misfits covers. While those shows are completely appropriate (along with the typical homage to bands like the Ramones, the Damned, and Alice Cooper) and have proven popular, Oakland’s sentimental-grunge act, Yogurt Brain, has opted to take on Weezer this year. Rest assured — fans of the Blue Album and Pinkerton won’t be disappointed.” — Andre Torrez
With NOBUNNY as Bo Diddley, Shannon & the Clams as Los Saicos, more
Thu/31, 9pm, $15
Stork Club
2330 Telegraph, Oakl.

AYLI Presents Freaky Friday with Maya Jane Cole
“During previous appearances in the city, London artist Maya Jane Coles has come dangerously close to being outpaced by her popularity. Pressed to the sides of Monarch during her set last year, my extensive catalog of deep struts and funky steps was reduced to a little heady bobbing for lack of space. It’s a relief that AYLI is bringing her to the more spacious venue of Public Works, particularly now that Coles released her Comfort LP, a vocally-oriented bit of silky house, featuring guest appearances by Kim Ann Foxman and Karin Park. (The track with Park, “Everything,” is the album’s standout.) Still, given how packed this party is on the lineup side, including co-headlining Romanian-born techno producer Cosmin TRG, it may be wise to stake prime floor space early.” — Prendiville
With Bells & Whistles, Brian Knarfield, Cubik & Origami LIVE, more
Fri/1, 9pm-4am, $20 presale
Public Works
161 Erie, SF
(415) 932-0955

Total Trash Halloween Bash: The Sonics
“The folks behind Total Trash are bringing a relic from the first wave: The seminal Washington-based 1960s garage rock band, the Sonics, will play a string of shows for the annual Total Trash Halloween Bash. The Sonics were there in the very beginning. They got their start in a time when the British Invasion was in full swing. Rejecting sugary-sweet mop-topped bands, the Sonics idolized Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard.  ‘We thought, to heck with wearing suits and neckties,” keyboardist-vocalist Gerry Roslie says. “Playing love songs felt wrong — we could only play music with power. We played loud and we played how we felt: like animals.'” — Erin Dage
With Phantom Surfers, Legendary Stardust Cowboy
Fri/1, 7:30pm, $35
New Parish
579 18th St, Oakl.

With Roy Loney, Dukes of Hamburg, Wounded Lion, Chad & the Meatbodies
Sat/2, 7pm, $35
Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell, SF
(415) 861-2011

Dance Party Boys
“OK, despite the name this isn’t a dance party, but let’s freak out! Gayish punk-metal outfit Dance Party Boys (which includes several members of the nightlife scene, including former Pansy Division back-up dancer Xavier Breff) hit the 924 Gilman stage with Brave Ulysses, Black Bones, and NslashA for some good ol-fashioned moshing.” — Marke B.
Fri/1, 8pm, $10
924 Gilman, Berk

Promo: Win tickets to see Halsted at Brick and Mortar on Tue/15


Halsted is playing Brick and Mortar on Tuesday, October 15 with Churches (members of Rogue Wave). Coinciding with the show they will also be releasing the first single, “Independence Day,” from their upcoming album, slated for an early 2014 release.

This will be the second record that the Missouri-born, San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Ryan Auffenberg has issued as Halsted, a moniker he chose to employ when putting out 2010’s Life Underwater. The new album, High Wire And A Heart Of Gold, is a gorgeous recording that explores many of the complex and intriguing issues that accompany maturity. It was recorded in San Francisco at Boxer Studios by Peter Craft and mastered by John Golden (Spoon, The Shins).

Rolling Stone is hosting the new single; grab it here.

To enter to win tickets, email your full name to sfbgpromos [at] sfbg [dot] com with “Halsted” in the subject. Winners will receive email notification on Monday, October 14. Gmail users should be sure to check their promotional folders. Good luck!

The Moondoggies croon sweetly at Brick and Mortar Music Hall


I’ve yet to be disappointed with a Brick and Mortar show, and the Moondoggies concert was no exception. When the Seattle rockers came on stage last Thursday night, they dove straightaway into bluesy rock songs.

Frontperson Kevin Murphy’s vocals were pleasant and warm, but they stood in contrast to his expression, which most of the time was apathetic.

The group’s seductive hooks, pulsing bass lines, and somewhat-ominous piano chords went over well with the crowd, people were swinging their hips, drinks in hand.

Bassist Bobby Terreberry, head bobbing, calmly plucked away, facing the side of the stage most of the set. And Jon Pontrello’s spastic, weaving dance moves with his guitar and tambourine proved a comic contrast next to Murphy’s uninvolved position behind the mic.

Drummer Carl Dahlen also brought some needed energy to the stage. Lost in the beats, Dahlen struck the set with an affable urgency, his fire-red hair swinging in his wake. And keyboardist Caleb Quick was anything but, taking his time to strike each chord with what looked to be a deep and somber intent.

No matter any critique you may have of the group, it’s impossible to say its lacking in fullness, in totality. When the vocals become hushed, the heedlessly playful guitar riffs meandered to new heights. When the percussion and bass toed the line of “background” music, the group’s harmonies became impressively bold.

The result was a striking sense of balance. The beauty was in their distinctions as performers: Murphy swaying and singing; impassively cool behind his caterpillar-like mustache, Terreberry zoning out to resilient bass lines, Pontrello a feisty hot mess.

Dahlen was buoyant behind the drum set and Quick gave the performance a tasteful poignance.

One highlight was “Midnight Owl,” off their latest album Adios, I’m a Ghost (Hardly Art, 2013), which came out of this August with plenty of critical praise. It was also where Murphy shone the brightest — or darkest.

Murphy crooned the soft chorus wearing a yearning expression while shuffling uncomfortably, “She’s a midnight owl, ain’t seen her yet/ She’s an early riser, ain’t gone to bed.”

Their set seemed to go buy too quick, always a sign of a good show.

Live Shots: Asteroid #4 and the Richmond Sluts at Brick and Mortar Music Hall


By Brittany M. Powell

Brick and Mortar Music Hall may have had some noise complaint troubles with the San Francisco Sound Commission earlier this summer, but that hasn’t kept the venue or Kymberli Jenson, of Kymberli’s Music Box Presents, from putting on great shows.  Last Saturday’s bill included the Asteroid #4 and the Richmond Sluts. It was a handful of loud rock’n’roll bands that blasted us back through the decades with sounds echoing 1960s and ‘70s psychedelia and punk, but also hints of the late ‘90s and early 2000s , when these bands were fresh on the music scene. 

They’ve all been around the block, or as frontperson-guitarist Scott Vitt of the Asteroid #4 put it, these are all “old heads” and “mainstays” at this point.

The Asteroid #4, which recently transplanted to the Bay Area from Philadelphia, released its first EP in 1995.  Its music is a blend of classic psychedelic rock, with a little melodic folk and shoe gaze tremor, and strong influences from late ‘60s psych rock bands like Love, and early ‘90s British bands like Spacemen 3. 

When I asked Vitt how he felt living in California was influencing his band’s sound, he responded, “living and breathing the natural beauty, the mountains, the forests and, of course, the ocean, first-hand, I think it’ll be very evident on our next record that we’ve become a California band.”

And the group sounded plenty at home on Saturday night, as if the packed music hall was its own cozy living room. The set was vibrant and full of the precise kinds of melodies and riffs that can only come from a band that’s been playing together as long as it has — and is more than comfortable in its own skin. When asked about this, Vitt quoted Miles Davis, “you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.”

The Asteroid #4’s set included personal favorites, “Hold On,” which seems to have a Brian Jonestown Massacre influence, “The Unknown,” and “I Want to Touch You,” a Catharine Wheel cover.  For the final song, Joel Gion of BJM joined the band on stage for “Into the Meadow.”

After the Asteroid #4, the Richmond Sluts went on, which was an excellent transition into an upbeat set closing out the night.

The Richmond Sluts formed in 1998, in the Richmond District. Imagine the NY Dolls on LSD, with a little bit of the Cramps and the Rolling Stones thrown in to keep it both weird and glammy. I have vague memories of hearing this band play at a few parties back in the day, but I have to say I don’t remember it sounding nearly as tight as it did the other night.

Frontperson Shea Roberts also looks nothing like the Stiv Baters (of the Dead Boys) gaunt 20-year-old look-alike I remember either. While the Sluts don’t really have the same excuse for playing trashy, angsty, garage rock about sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll as their post-pubescent selves did back in the late ‘90s, it doesn’t really matter, cause their talent has matured enough to take the material to whole other level. 

Said Shea, “I know some of the lyrics are a little goofy sometimes and the stuff I’m writing now tends to be a bit more serious…but they were all sparked by some emotion I was feeling at the time and I’m OK with that.  Maybe we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously.”

We shouldn’t.  Not when we can rock out to music like this to keep it in perspective. 

Their set included tracks like “Sweet Something,” “Sad City,” and “Paddy Wagon” off their 2001 self-titled release. Shea says that he hopes to keep playing with the new Sluts and that’s the plan “until it’s not fun anymore.”

The Selector: September 4 – 10, 2013



The Zombies

When their single “Time of the Season” was released in 1968, the Zombies had already broken up and the album that featured the now-classic tune almost wasn’t released. Even if that seminal song hadn’t hit the airwaves, the band would still be considered one of the best groups of the 1960s based on the strength of its earlier hits such as “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No.” Original members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent have re-formed the group and are bringing back the classic sound — and catch opening band Et Tu Bruce, featuring Jamie White, son of Zombies’ founding member Chris White. (Sean McCourt)

8pm, $39–$60

Yoshi’s Oakland

510 Embarcadero West, Oakl.


Thu/5, 8pm, $39–$60

Yoshi’s SF

1330 Fillmore, SF



Everything is Terrible!

Everything Is Terrible! began as a blog compiling hilariously bizarre video clips, plucked from tapes rescued from garage sales, thrift stores, and wherever else VHS carcasses, particularly copies of 1996’s Jerry Maguire, go to die. The seven-member collective’s found-footage efforts soon spawned multiple viral sensations (including “So Your Cat Wants a Massage?”, which has over two million YouTube hits) and 2009’s Everything Is Terrible! The Movie! Now, there’s a live show to accompany a pair of new films: Comic Relief Zero! (“a comedy special that’s the opposite of special”) and EIT! Does The Hip-Hop!, which promises “white rappers promoting hamburgers,” among other delights. (Cheryl Eddy)

Fri/6, 9:30pm, $15

Roxie Theater

3117 16th St, SF

Sat/7, 8pm, $10

New Parkway

474 24th St, Oakl.


Agave Baroque

I’m throwing my yearly pitch for the fantastic concerts that take place regularly at Old First Church: an entrancing mélange of programs by seasoned and younger musicians that covers centuries of “classical” music — and an ocean of styles, too. (Sitting in the surprisingly comfy pews, I’ve enjoyed everything from contemporary Celtic-tango hybrids to Liberace-dramatic Brahms.) The lively, Bay Area-based Agave Baroque quartet — Aaron Westman, violin; Shirley Hunt, viola da gamba; Kevin Cooper, baroque guitar; JungHae Kim, harpsichord — takes us back, way back, to the 17th century, with selections from Bach, Biber, Buxtehude, and more. Intimate evening music in a gorgeous church — hard to beat it, Baroque or no. (Marke B.)

8pm, $17

Old First Church

1751 Sacramento



Considering that Shiva, the god of dance and one of the most important figures in Hindu mythology, is represented as male, you’d think that Bharata Natyam, India’s most popular classical dance, would have produced male dancers galore. In fact, it hasn’t. Part of the reason is that Bharata Natyam originated with women temple dancers. Today, much as in the West, Indian parents apparently still discourage their sons to take up dance professionally. For Ganesh Vasudeva this was never an issue. Though the only boy in class when he started at age 10, he says that dancing makes him feel “like nothing else in his life.” For his one-night only Traditions program, he has researched “male oriented compositions” both within and outside the common practice. (Rita Felciano)

8pm, $20


1310 Mission St., SF

(415) 626-2060


The Shrine

This LA-based outfit’s aptly titled debut album Primitive Blast is a raw slice of seething thrasher rock that dares you to throw the devil horns up and head bang til dawn. Borrowing heavily from Black Sabbath, Black Flag, and maybe some black magic, the Shrine’s youthful fuzz and manic energy are the soundtrack to a Venice Beach endless summer. Born out of a Santa Monica high school and the discovery of a shared love for Thin Lizzy at a beach party (you can’t make this shit up) the Shrine has been steadily moving up the ranks, graduating from sweaty house shows to its current headlining tour. If you’re looking for good, dirty fun or a sweet logo to stencil onto your skate deck, this is your band. (Haley Zaremba)

With Hot Lunch, Carlton Melton

9pm, $12


777 Valencia, SF

(415) 551-5157




Milo Aukerman from the Descendents went to college, and got his “Suburban Home” with his “Silly Girl,” and now there’s a film about him and fellow bandmates and their efforts in achieving “ALL.” Tired Descendents puns aside, there’s cause for Bay Area fans of the band to rejoice again after its early August performance at America’s Cup Pavillion. Recently released Descendents-centric documentary, Filmage, serves as a love letter to the band as well as its offshoot group, ALL. As a two-year do-it-yourself effort by filmmakers Matt Riggle and Deedle LaCour, Filmage tells the story of the band with interviews from members of the group and through artists such as Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and Nirvana, Mike Watt of Minutemen, and Keith Morris of early Black Flag and Circle Jerks fame. Making a one-day appearance, this will be the film’s SF premiere. (Erin Dage)

Sat/7, 12pm, $7.50

Roxie Theater

3117 16th St, SF

(415) 863-1087


Sammy Hagar

Celebrating a 40-year-plus music career, Sammy Hagar is back in the Bay Area this week, where he first came to prominence as a member of Montrose before heading out solo and eventually (controversially) joining Van Halen. The shaggy-haired Red Rocker is out on the road with a band featuring old cohorts, including ex-VH bassist Michael Anthony, ahead of the release of his new album, Sammy Hagar and Friends, which sees release later this month. And know that while you’re rocking out and having a blast, you’ll be helping along a good cause too — Hagar has announced he’ll give the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks $2,500 during the tour stop. (Sean McCourt)

7:30pm, $39.50–$85.

America’s Cup Pavilion

Piers 27/29, SF



Total Burger Bub Showcase

If the Internet is any indicator of real world trends, cats are pretty in right now — and so is garage rock. So why not combine the two? Lil Bub, Burger Records, and Total Trash Booking are working together as a team to bring together a full day and night of unabashed camp, cats, and rock ‘n’ roll with the Total Burger Bub Showcase. Lil Bub, arguably one of the most famous smushed-face “perma-kittens” on the market right now, is coming to the Bay Area along with some garage rock friends. At the tender age of 2, she has reportedly penned a book, Lil Bub’s Lil Book, and invites you to see her live and get your copy of the book signed! She’ll be at the Rickshaw Stop from 3 to 7:30pm (and there’ll also be a screening of the doc film on her during that time). Shortly thereafter, at 8:30pm, garage rock artists such as pervy rabbit man Nobunny, Colleen Green, Monster Women, and the Shanghais will be playing at the same venue in honor of Lil Bub. If you’re interested, the price of admission to see Lil Bub is $12, and the rock show is $12, respectively. (Dage)

3pm, $12; 8pm, $12 Rickshaw Stop 155 Fell, SF (415) 861-2011


Vikesh Kapoor

There’s something earnest and sweet about Vikesh Kapoor, who offers a refreshing take on acoustic songwriting. The musician’s simple finger-picking style carries his rough sing-talk vocals quite well, and rounds out the candid quality of his singing. Kapoor’s songwriting conveys something so basic and human, and his unkempt pipes are at times reminiscent of Bob Dylan (just wait till he brings out the harmonica). The young performer seems to have carved out a very specific niche of folk singing and songwriting, as shown in “I Dreamt Blues,” which Kapoor once described as a ballad about love, work, technology, government, and apathy. The ballad is the first track off his upcoming concept album The Ballad of Willy Robbins, out Oct. 15. Kapoor is bringing his enlightened sound to the Chapel very soon — just in time to make you a fan. (Hillary Smith)

With Alela Diane

9pm, $18


777 Valencia, SF

(415) 551-5157


Titus Andronicus

About nine months ago, I went to see Titus Andronicus at the Great American Music Hall. My expectations were high, since it’s one of my favorite bands, but I was totally unprepared for the onslaught of earnest rock ‘n’ roll, 500+ person gang vocals, and the entrancing vulnerability of frontperson Patrick Stickles. Titus Andronicus’ recorded work is extremely calculated. Its grandiose story arcs and complicated orchestration are both impressive and mind-blowingly neurotic in their attention to detail. (2010’s Civil War concept album The Monitor comes with a hefty “suggested further reading” list of historical texts.) However, the band still captures a raw energy and soulful sincerity that pushes it over the line into greatness. If you like high energy shows and high register lyricism, this is not a show to miss. (Zaremba)

With Lost Boy

8pm, $17

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750



Tab Benoit

This Louisiana native reminds me of the raw, electrifying power of a classic Fender. His wallowing vocals paired with bluesy guitar create a sound both soulful and unique. All of Tab Benoit’s songs include smooth, high-toned blues notes during which he seems to melt right into his guitar. His raspy, sometimes bleak vocals seem to hang in the air like a thick cloud of smoke. And with that voice, Benoit capitalizes on the ability of blues music to address those carnal feelings of lust, loss, and heartache, deep within us. His smoky sound has been sifting onto stages all over the West Coast this past month, and Brick and Mortar Music Hall is next. Check out the talented musician before he heads back out to the South. (Smith)

With Chris Cobb Band, Kris Lager Band


Brick and Mortar Music Hall

1710 Mission, SF

(415) 800-8782


“Frederick Marx Documentary Series”

Though he’s traveled the world making films, Frederick Marx — best-known for co-producing, writing, and editing 1994 doc Hoop Dreams — lives in Oakland, and hometown venue New Parkway has programmed a three-part series with Marx (who now runs nonprofit Warrior Films) in person to introduce and discuss his work. Influential, critically-acclaimed basketball tale Hoop Dreams kicks things off tonight; future editions will showcase Marx’s short films, as well as 2010’s Richard Gere-narrated Journey From Zanskar, about youths who leave Tibet in an effort to preserve their culture. (Eddy)

Also Oct. 15 and Nov. 12

7pm, $10 (series pass, $25)

New Parkway

474 24th St, Oakl.


Bleeding Rainbow

Bleeding Rainbow has seen several incarnations since its 2009 formation as Reading Rainbow. Its third album, Yeah Right, includes two added band members, a new name (allegedly provoked by a remark from Carrie Brownstein), and as one would expect with a move from “Reading Rainbow” to “Bleeding Rainbow,” added shades of something sinister. Despite the changes, though, its signature sound remains: Out of the fuzzy noise of reverb and distortion emerges sweet pop melodies from Sarah Everton. The band’s transformed, but between the noise, the darkness, and the pop, it still promises a good time. (Laura Kerry)

With the Love Language

8pm, $12

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011

Get to the show, weirdos


FALL ARTS There are so many things competing for your precious time: long lines for pricey gourmet coffee, civic responsibilities and volunteer work, actual work, glazed fake cronuts or whatever the kids are into these days. Make live music a priority as well — your days will float by on a pink cloud of fuzzy, hangover-fueled memories.

As we’re lucky enough to live in a region stuffed with musicians and venues that take in touring acts, the options for every week are damn near endless. Here are some shows to take note of this season, one for (nearly) every day of the upcoming months. (Note that dates and locations are subject to change, so always check the venue site.)


Plug them in to your Google Calendar. Better yet, stick this list to your wall with chewed-up bubblegum. Either way, impress your friends with superior show knowledge:

Aug. 30 [UPDATE: postponed due to illness] Icona Pop: As silly as it’s always been, bubbly Swedish electro-pop duo Icona Pop is in the running for the arbitrary media-hyped “song of the summer” (or as Slate puts it, the yearly “Summer Song–Industrial Complex”) thanks to party track, “I Love It,” featuring fellow up-and-comer Charli XCX. And, get this, the album from which “Love It” springs, This Is… (Record Company Ten/Big Beat Records), isn’t even out until Sept. 24. Squeeze out the last bits of this very poppy season and hold out for the recorded versions by taking in this live set. Fillmore, SF.

Aug. 31 [Here’s another to make up for that cancellation above] Rin Tin Tiger, French Cassettes Great American Music Hall, SF.

Aug. 31 Sonny and the Sunsets, Shannon and the Clams Chapel, SF.

Sept. 2 Ty Segall Great American Music Hall, SF.

Sept. 3 Superchunk and Mikal Cronin Fillmore, SF.

Sept. 4 Zomby (live) Public Works, SF.

Sept. 5-6 “UnderCover Presents Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited:” For this event, the UnderCover Presents collective dives deep into the introspective, folk-rock world of Bob Dylan’s ’65 gem (which gave us “Like a Rolling Stone”) with covers by Carletta Sue Kay, Quinn DeVeaux, Whiskerman, Beth Lisick, and guest music director Karina Denike, among others. Freight & Salvage. Also Sept. 8, Contemporary Jewish Museum.

Sept. 6 Mission Creek Oakland: The month-long fall music and arts festival packs a punch with dozens of local bands playing 15 East Bay venues, including the Uptown, the Stork Club, and Children’s Fairyland (!). It kicks off with a free opening party tonight at the Uptown with Naytronix, Clipd Beaks, YNGBMS, and Safeword. Various venues, Oakl.

Sept. 7 Push the Feeling with Exray’s Underground SF,

Sept. 8 Lil Bub book signing with Nobunny: So Lil Bub is this famous Internet cat and Nobunny is the infamous IRL punky masked Bunny-Man; together they’ll claw through the Rickshaw Stop all day and night. This multipart Burger Bub Mini-Fest includes a Lil Bub book signing and doc film screening, plus live sets by Nobunny, Colleen Green, the Monster Women, and the Shanghais. Paws up, everyone. Rickshaw Stop, SF.

Sept. 9 Sex Snobs Elbo Room, SF.

Sept. 10 Bleeding Rainbow Rickshaw Stop, SF.

Sept. 11 Moving Units DNA Lounge, SF.

Sept. 12 Julie Holter Great American Music Hall, SF.

Sept. 13 120 minutes presents Death in June Mezzanine, SF.

Sept. 14 Rock the Bells: the annual touring hip-hop fest returns, headlined by Kid Cudi, A$AP Mob. feat. A$AP Rocky, E-40, and Too $hort, Common, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on Sept. 14; Wu-Tang Clan, Black Hippy feat. Kendrick Lamar, and Deltron 3000 on Sept. 15. Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mtn View.

Sept. 16 Kate Boy Rickshaw Stop, SF.

Sept 17 Julie Ruin: Kathleen Hanna returns to her pre-Le Tigre output but beefs it up with a full band including fellow Bikini Kill bandmate Kathi Wilcox and is set to release bouncy feminist dancepop record Run Fast Sept. 3. A few weeks later the Brooklyn band lands in SF. Slim’s, SF.

Sept. 18 Berkeley Old Time Music Convention Various venues, Berk.

Sept. 19 Hard Skin 1-2-3-4 Go!, Oakl.

Sept. 20 Foxygen Independent, SF.

Sept. 21 Tape Deck Mountain and Battlehooch El Rio, SF.

Sept. 22 “Radio Silence presents: Doe Eye performing Arcade Fire” Brick and Mortar Music Hall, SF.

Sept. 24 Wax Tailor Mezzanine.

Sept. 26 Zola Jesus Palace of Fine Arts, SF.

Sept. 27 Peter Hook and the Light Mezzanine, SF.

Sept. 28 “Station to Station:” This train-travelin’ art and music experiment, organized by artist Doug Aitken, pulls a stop in Oakland with live performances by Dan Deacon, Savages, No Age, Sun Araw and the Congos, Twin Shadow, and more. And the train itself is designed as a moving kinetic light sculpture, so expect a bright show. 16th St. Station, Oakl.

Sept. 30 Chelsea Wolfe Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 1 Peach Kelli Pop Hemlock Tavern, SF.

Oct. 3Brick and Mortar Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 4-6 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Bonnie Raitt, Bettye LaVette, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, Devil Makes Three, Chris Isaak, Mark Lanegan, First Aid Kit, Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside. As the free annual fest releases lineup names in glorious song medleys, this is who we know for sure will fill GG Park with folk-country-hardly-strictly-bluegrass notes this year, as of press time. There will be more added in the coming weeks, so check the site. Golden Gate Park, SF.

Oct. 5 Har Mar Superstar Bottom of the Hill, SF.

Oct. 7 No Joy Brick and Mortar Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 8 Fucked Up Terror Oakland Metro Opera House, Oakl.

Oct. 9 Iceage Rickshaw Stop, SF.

Oct. 10 Thee Oh Sees Chapel, SF.

Oct. 11 Extra Action Marching Band Mezzanine, SF.

Oct. 12 Marky Ramone with Andrew W.K.: Is this pairing crazy enough that it just might work? While Joey Ramone has sadly passed on to punk rock heaven (lots of leather and skinny jeans), drummer Marky Ramone is carrying on the legacy by enlisting pizza guitar-having party rocker Andrew W.K. as his frontperson. The band known as Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg performs classic Ramones songs. Independent, SF.

Oct. 13 Legendary Pink Dots DNA Lounge, SF.

Oct. 14 Langhorne Slim Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 15 Tim Kasher Rickshaw Stop, SF.

Oct. 16 Dustin Wong Great American Music Hall, SF.

Oct. 17 CHVRCHES Fox Theater, Oakl.

Oct. 18 Robert Glasper Experiment SFJazz Center, SF.

Oct. 19 Treasure Island Music Festival: the forward-thinking two-day fest out on windswept Treasure Island includes Atoms for Peace, Beck, Major Lazer, Little Dragon, Animal Collective, James Blake, Holy Ghost!, Sleigh Bells, and more. Giraffage, and Antwon are the locals on the bill. Treasure Island, SF.

Oct. 20 Goblin Warfield Theatre, SF.

Oct. 21 Hunx & His Punx Chapel, SF.

Oct. 22 Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck Paramount Theater, Oakl.

Oct. 23 Oh Land Independent, SF.

Oct. 24 Woodkid Regency Ballroom, SF.

Oct. 25 The Blow Bottom of the Hill.

Oct. 26 Airfield Broadcasts: For this large-scale event, composer Lisa Bielawa will turn Chrissy Field into a giant “musical canvas” in which listeners can interact with broad sounds floating through the area with the help of nearly a thousand professional and student musicians including orchestras, choruses, bands, and experimental new groups. The musicians will begin in the center of the field then slowly move outwards, playing Bielawa’s original score. Chrissy Field, SF.

Oct. 29 The Jazz Coffin Emergency Ensemble El Rio, SF.

Oct. 30 Save Ferris Regency Ballroom, SF.

Oct. 31 Danzig Warfield, SF.

Nov. 1 Janelle Monáe: Futurist soul crooner Janelle Monáe has had a big year, releasing “Q.U.E.E.N.” with Erykah Badu in the spring, and more recently she fired off Miguel duet “PrimeTime.” The last time the pompodoured singer made it to SF she was dancing down the aisles at the SF Symphony’s Spring Gala (earlier this year), but a darkened venue is much more her speed. Think she’ll be wearing black and white? Warfield Theatre, SF.

Nov. 7 Wanda Jackson: The stylish rockabilly queen, and former real life Elvis paramour — and crackling vocalist behind tracks like “Fujiyama Mama” and “Let’s Have a Party” — is still brash and still touring at age 75. And she’s still putting out new tunes too, with her own 2012 LP Unfinished Business, and just before that a collaboration with Jack White on The Party Ain’t Over (2011). Yes, the party continues. Chapel, SF.

Nov. 8 Of Montreal Great American Music Hall, SF.

Nov. 13 Those Darlins Chapel, SF.

Nov. 14 Kayhan Kalhor and Ali Bahrami Fard SFJazz Center, SF.

Nov. 16 Melt Banana Oakland Metro Opera House, Oakl.

Nov. 17 Rhys Chatham: This is vastly bigger than your average rock concert. See, avant-punk composer Rhys Chatham will perform the West Coast premiere of his “A Secret Rose” with an orchestra of 100 electric guitars. That’s right, 100-times the shred. The Other Minds-presented hourlong performance will include musicians from Guided By Voices, Akron/Family, Tristeza, and more. Craneway Pavilion, Richmond.

Nov. 18 Misfits Oakland Metro Opera House, Oakl.

Nov. 22 Kate Nash Fillmore, SF.


The Selector: August 21 – 27, 2013


God is dead?



“German Summer Films”

Though the Goethe Institut’s latest film series is dubbed “German Summer Films,” it offers a refreshingly loose interpretation of the theme. For example, the first film, Color of the Ocean (2010), is from German director Maggie Peren, but it’s set in Spain’s Canary Islands, and features an international cast in its tale of a border patrol officer (Alex González) who meets a German woman (Sabine Timoteo) entangled with a Congolese refugee (Hubert Koundé). (That said, the second film in the series, 2005’s Summer in Berlin, is more or less the quintessential “German summer film.”) The rest of the series includes acclaimed German-Turkish director Fatih Akin’s 2000 In July; and a 2009 made-for-TV adaptation of Jack London’s Sea Wolf starring Sebastian Koch (2006’s The Lives of Others). (Cheryl Eddy)

Wednesdays through Sept 18

6:30pm, $5 donation

Goethe Institut San Francisco

530 Bush, Second Flr, SF



Cool Ghouls

Bay Area natives Cool Ghouls are fun, reckless, rude garage-rock goofballs and they know it. It’s virtually impossible to attend one of their live shows and not feel the same chill vibes they give off. The group released its self-titled full-length debut album in April of this year, and has been playing shows on it locally since. The Ghouls’ scratchy-screamy vocals backed by playful guitar riffs and tumbling percussion resonated with the young SF crowds and landed them gigs most recently at Bottom of the Hill, the Chapel, Hemlock Tavern, Brick and Mortar, and the summery Phono del Sol fest. Their enjoyably sunny sound was the perfect match. If they get much bigger, their house-party image might have to expand. So catch them while you can, and while they’re still cool. (Hillary Smith)

With Lemme Adams, Black Cobra Vipers

9pm, $10

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St., SF

(415) 626-4455




And they said a stoner metal cover of Roxy Music’s “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” couldn’t be done. Well, sludge metal veterans the Melvins are here to prove them wrong. The longstanding band is making a voyage to Slim’s to play its 2013 cover album, Everybody Loves Sausages. Get ready for things to get a little weird and campy, as a bunch of middle aged dudes play a diverse selection of tunes throughout the ages. Embarking on their 30th anniversary tour, the Melvins will be playing songs by artists such as freak folk band the Fugs, the dear and departed drag queen Divine (John Waters’ muse), Queen, David Bowie, and the Jam. In short: don’t miss this hit parade. (Erin Dage)

With Honky

9pm, $22


333 11th St, SF

(415) 255-0333



No Age

The newest album from LA noise-punks No Age, An Object, seems almost restrained compared to the bombast of previous records like 2010’s Everything in Between. With An Object, there’s a sense of tense build-up without release, tightly coiled guitar lines over paranoid drumming, and faraway hollers on the Sub Pop record, which comes out Aug. 20. Like much arty post-punk, it makes you feel like you’re holding your breath for the entirety of the tracks, unable to unclench. Relax and settle in: the experiment of An Object is a success, and the album is worthy of passionate intake. Continuing down the experimental route, the duo takes its live show to a more unexpected location this time: the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. And if you miss this stop, No Age will be back in Oakland Sept. 28 for the Station to Station fest at 16th St. Station. (Emily Savage)

With Devin Gary and Ross, Sun Foot

7:30pm (doors at 5pm), $7

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

2625 Durant, Berk.




Nahko and Medicine for the People

Aptly named, Nahko and Medicine for the People seem like some sort of sonic cure. Nahko Bear’s versatile vocals range from a howling, soulful croon to a bouncing, jovial talk-sing. The indefinable quality of the group is further pushed in lyrics “I am a killer whale, I am a lion, I am a panther, I am coyote, I’m just a human being on another fuckin’ journey,” in “Warrior People.” According to their website, Bear is joined on stage by “truth seekers for whom Nahko’s story resonates with their own.” Nahko himself was born a mix of Apache, Puerto Rican, and Filipino cultures and adopted into an American family. Consequently, he suffered from an identity crisis at a young age. The mission of the band is simply to make people feel good, and to give solace to the culturally alienated. They do all that and then some. (Smith)

With Saritah

9pm, $15


628 Divisadero, SF (415) 771-1421



The Parmesans

Local countrified indie-folksters the Parmesans released their full-length debut, Wolf Eggs, this week. The record’s full of swoony multipart harmonies, plucky instruments, and a chipper sense of hot-sauced humor. All of that is on fine display in track, “Load Up on Eggs and Bacon,” which begins with a solo voice, “when I wake up/I feel shaken” then layered barbershop quartet-style with additional harmonies, “load up on eggs and bacon,” and the sound of an egg cracking. Add to that the strings of guitars and mandolins and banjos, bellowing trumpet, and a light and tight rhythm section. Then bake on high. Oh, and be sure to check the new video for “JuJaJe,” also off Wolf Eggs; there’s no food involved, unfortunately, but the sparse little vid does feature the boys clowning around in various states of lounge. Perhaps there’ll be egg on their faces in the next one. (Savage)

With Before the Brave, Garden Party, Greg Downing

9pm, $10

Thee Parkside

1600 17th St, SF



“Sneak Peek at the Fringe”

The colorfully creative chaos that is the 22nd San Francisco Fringe Festival is mere weeks away (it runs Sept. 6-21), but diehards and early birds can check out excerpts from works by eight local companies tonight. Among them: Amy K. Kilgard’s multi-character solo performance, Triskaidekaphobia: 13 Consumer Tragedies; Sean Andries and Siouxsie Q’s tale of a love affair between a mermaid and a tourist, Fish-girl; Maria Grazia Affinato’s autobiographical ode to her Italian family, Eating Pasta Off the Floor; and Genie and Audrey’s Dream Show!, featuring Genie Cartier, Audrey Spinazola, and a “cat piano.” For all the deets — and complete info on the upcoming full fest, visit the Fringe’s website. (Cheryl Eddy)

8pm, free

Exit Theatre

156 Eddy, SF



San Francisco Bacon and Beer Festival

For the first time ever, San Francisco will host an almighty bacon and beer fest. The Boston version of the event has sold out in under 10 minutes the past three years. Chefs from more than 25 Bay Area companies presenting their best bacon dishes and local craft breweries bringing out their finest for the $50 event are reasons enough to attend the unique gathering. If you’d like one more reason to spend the cash, take comfort in the fact that all admission proceeds will be donated to Sprouts Cooking Club. The club is a Bay Area organization that strives to teach children of all socio-economical backgrounds how to cook hands-on with real chefs, using real ingredients, in real restaurants. (Smith)

2:30pm, $50

Fairmont San Francisco Hotel

950 Mason, SF

(415) 772-5000

Facebook: San Francisco Bacon and Beer Festival





Many who have flirted with musical greatness have also teetered on the fine line between eccentricity and insanity, and Deerhunter frontperson Bradford Cox is no exception. While the Atlanta band’s garage rock albums continue to receive glowing reviews and growing numbers of dedicated fans, Cox’s mental (in)stability has also been featured center stage in the group’s evolution. His charming eccentricities — rambling and semi-incoherent stage banter — are shadowed with more off-putting stunts, as when Cox responded to a fan’s snarky request for “My Sharona” with an hour-long cover of the song in Minneapolis. A Deerhunter show is many things — insane, beautiful, confusing, and frequently very moving — but there is one thing it will never manage to be. Bradford Cox will never be boring. (Haley Zaremba)

With Lonnie Holley, Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks

8pm, $21

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750



Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie

A trashy pop-culture icon, a chain smoker, a right-wing maniac, a finger-jabbing screamer so notorious his fans were called “Loudmouths:” Morton Downey Jr. was one of a kind, and that’s probably for the best. New documentary Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie screens tonight in San Rafael and opens August 28 at the Roxie; it looks at his legacy through clips of Downey’s train-wreck-in-progress talk show and features interviews with the likes of Pat Buchanan, Alan Dershowitz, and Sally Jesse Raphael. (Eddy)

7:15pm, $6.50–$10.75

Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center

1118 Fourth St, San Rafael



Black Sabbath

Before reality television and famous flame-haired wives, even before that bloody bat-biting incident, Ozzy Osbourne was simply a wild-eyed young boy from a hardscrabble town who, together with guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Bill Ward, formed the world’s first heavy metal group. Black Sabbath has become a hardened, bellowing legend, though in recent years was mostly relegated to playing metal fests like Mayhem, or Ozzy solo at Ozzfest. This year, however, the original group released its first new album together in decades, 13, a lumbering return to form produced by Rick Ruben. With it came instantly timeless first single, “God is dead?” an eight-minute metal epic. Beyond all the hype, myth, and druggy tabloid brouhaha, a vital band still stands before us, wicked as it ever was, and willing to crowd-please with old tracks mixed in with the new. According to live reviews of this headlining non-fest tour, the band has been opening with “War Pigs.” (Savage)

7:30pm, $40–$149.50

Shoreline Amphitheatre

One Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View



The Breeders

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their breakthrough album Last Splash, ’90s favorites the Breeders released a special deluxe version of the record earlier this year on CD (a seven-disc vinyl version is set to drop next month on 4AD), featuring a host of bonus live tracks, demos, a photo booklet, and more. The classic lineup of the band — Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim MacPherson — has reunited and is promising Bay Area fans it will perform Last Splash, which was recorded right here in San Francisco, in its entirety, along with its seminal debut effort, Pod. (Sean McCourt)

8pm, $30


1805 Geary, SF

(415) 346-6000