the She's

This Week’s Picks: August 13 – 19, 2014




Kevin Morby

If you’re enough of an indie rock fan, you might have heard Kevin Morby’s work without knowing it. He’s played bass for Brooklyn psych-folk crew Woods since that band’s 2009 breakthrough Songs of Shame, and he co-fronts The Babies with Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls. But after touring with Real Estate and releasing the solo album Harlem River on Woods’ label Woodsist last year, he’s primed to take the spotlight. A fan of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, Morby’s always had a strong Americana streak, from the Western ballads on the Babies’ Our House On The Hill to the New York City love letters on Harlem River. But despite his buzz-band cred, his all-American ethos never seems ironic, and his voice and guitar playing are perfectly suited for his ambitions. (Daniel Bromfield)

7pm, $8

1-2-3-4 Go! Records

420 40th St., Oakland

(510) 985-0325



Sir Sly

There’s no need to call these band members “sir.” But you might’ve had to rely on that as a fallback when the musicians adopted anonymous identities at the beginning of their careers. Though that act was certainly mysterious enough to accompany the band’s gloomy sound (sad indie rock tinged with some hip-hop and electronic influences), Sir Sly deserves recognition for last year’s EP, which is enough to appease fans until this September’s release of its debut full-length. If the title track “You Haunt Me” is anything to go by, then yep, the trio’s polished its melancholy music the first album. (Amy Char)

With Thumpers, Mother

9pm, $15

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011



Like Stars We Collide

Playwright Vadenek Ke is ready to unveil his second installment in his “A Series of Collisions.” The enigmatic and elusive playwright, who explores the sexual, cultural, and vocational limitations of relationships, has written three new one acts, titled collectively Like Stars We Collide, that will be performed by his trusty troupe, the Planets Aligned Theatre Company. Known for their quick wit and occasional surreality, Ke’s works are morsels of romantic truth — they certainly don’t attempt to paint idealistic portraits of love, but simultaneously acknowledge the raw beauty and excitement that accompanies the pain. Each of the three works is directed by a different local voice, and features burgeoning SF stars. “Call it Off,” which chronicles a crumbling couple at a theme party, takes on a Rashomon-esque storytelling device to explain the individual experiences of the lovers. The small yet stylish Mojo Theatre provides an evocative locale for Ke’s elegant glimpses into the human condition. (Kurlander)

8pm, $15

Mojo Theatre

2940 16th St. #217, SF

(415) 830-6426




San Francisco queer electro duo GAYmous claim to be motivated by the “power of the synthesizer.” On one level, this has to do with sound — their synths pack plenty of sonic oomph. But the self-declared “slut-step” duo is also motivated by synth-driven music’s ability to unite and empower marginalized groups, from the queer synthpop of the ’80s to the relentlessly empowering pop music of the early ’10s. Following those traditions, GAYmous delivers plenty of raunchy and sexually candid humor but ultimately succeeds on the basis of great pop hooks and melodies. They’ll be performing at the Uptown Oakland alongside multimedia drag performance group Daddies Plastik and the amazing Fatty Cakes & The Puff Pastries, an ensemble consisting of multiple vocalists and centered around a dizzying glockenspiel-snare drum-organ setup.

9pm, $8

Uptown Nightclub

1928 Telegraph, Oakland

(510) 451-8100





Joshua Cook and the Key of Now

Joshua Cook made his name as the lead guitarist and sometime-singer of the Soft White Sixties, a local soul-heavy rock outfit that has made a huge splash at festivals (particularly an electric SXSW set) inthe last year. Cook has now formed his own outfit, a bluesier crew called Joshua Cook and the Key of Now. Their debut single, 2013’s “All Bad Things,” has a lick that sounds decidedly Jimmy Page-esque and cynical, frustrated lyrics about romantic near-misses and economic woes. FCC Free Radio, the six year-old internet radio station that champions local artists and opinion, takes over the DNA Lounge to present Cook’s new sound alongside Kitten Grenade, Survival Guide, and I Am Animal. Kitten Grenade, singer Katelyn Sullivan and instrumentalist Ben Manning’s ukelele and drum group, has been churning out sweet yet edgy folk-rock for the last two years and looks to be a nice counter to Cook’s heavier jams. (Kurlander)

8pm, $10

DNA Lounge

375 11th St, SF

(415) 626-1409




Non-metalheads may not recognize any of the names at the Oakland Metro’s two-day Deadfest. But with four stages and 46 bands from the Bay Area and beyond (including Impaled, Bell Witch, and Negative Standards), Deadfest should have something for anyone even remotely interested in heavy music. Spearheaded by DIY promoter Gregg “Deadface” Paiva, Deadfest also features a food bar with delicious-sounding gourmet tacos, featuring absurdly Bay Area-sounding accoutrements like “key lime crema” and “heritage pepper confit.” The event is only $20 per day, meaning an average of less than a buck per band. If you have even a passing interest in thrash metal, doom metal, hard core, crust punk or any of the other various forms of loud, overdriven, fancy logo-encouraging music that will be on display at Deadfest, there’s no reason not to go. (Bromfield)

7pm, $20 per day

Oakland Metro

630 3rd St., Oakland

(510) 763-1146






The Muppet Movie 35th Anniversary

Muppet fans! It’s time to get “Movin’ Right Along” down to the Castro Theatre to catch a 35th anniversary screening of The Muppet Movie, the feature film that started the big screen careers of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal and the rest of their beloved gang. Presented by SF Sketchfest, today’s event is extra special — Dave Goelz, the voice and puppeteer of The Great Gonzo will be appearing for a talk and Q&A — and he is bringing a real Gonzo Muppet with him! Don’t miss your chance to make a “Rainbow Connection” with the legendary performer (who also worked on The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Emmett Otter) and his iconic, chicken-loving creation. (Sean McCourt)

11am, $10

Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF




Civil War Living History Day

The band called the Civil Wars may have broken up, but the dream of the 1860s is alive in San Francisco. No need to adopt the fashion trends of years past for this American Civil War enactment. (Just dress appropriately for the city’s August weather and be glad you don’t have to deal with the South’s humidity.) In a condensed jump back into time, the day offers regular infantry drills and artillery discussions throughout the day and plenty of demonstrations of soldier and civilian life way back when. Highlights include historical music (characterized by heavy reliance on the drums) and medical treatment (which may not be up to snuff to deal with Ebola). (Amy Char)

10am – 5pm, free

Fort Point National Historic Site

999 Marine, SF

(415) 556-1693




Name Drop Swamp Records + Quiet Lightning

This new collaboration between independent SF record label Name Drop Swamp Records (Fox & Woman, Split Screens) and the long-running lit and spoken word series Quiet Lightning brings together live music, poetry, and performance for an evening that’s sure to draw a crowd full of all kinds of artists — in addition to those being featured on stage. Featured performer Luz Elena Mendoza of Y La Bamba is someone you won’t get to see in a small room for too much longer, thanks to her unique, rich vocals and skilled storytelling through song. The door is sliding scale and the aim is for this evening to be the first in a bimonthly series at the Emerald Tablet (sorry, “Em Tab,”) so get in before it blows up. (Emma Silvers)

5 – 9pm, $10-20; no one turned away for lack of funds

The Emerald Tablet

80 Fresno, SF

(415) 500-2323




Built To Spill

Boise’s Built To Spill has been churning out heartbreakingly lovely indie rock songs for over 20 years. Doug Martsch, formerly of Treepeople, formed the group in 1992. Since then, the band has gone through a whirlwind of lineup changes with Martsch as the only constant, but have managed to create seven equally beautiful, reverb-heavy studio albums. Martsch’s music has been cited as a major inspiration by such indie rock royalty as Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. Though it’s been five years since they’ve released an album, Built To Spill’s live show hasn’t declined a bit. This three-night run at Slim’s is a very special event, and certainly not to be missed. (Haley Zaremba)

With Slam Dunk, The Warm Hair

8pm, $28

Slim’s 333

11th St, SF

(415) 255-0333


Fucked Up

Toronto’s Fucked Up might be the most ambitious punk band on the planet. This six-piece hardcore band has been releasing more and more epic and boldly experimental records since their explosive entrance to the scene in 2001. The group has even been recognized by the Canadian government, winning the prestigious Polaris Prize in 2009 for its incredible, sprawling punk-rock opera The Chemistry of Common Life. Their most recent effort, Glass Boys, maintains their hardcore edge while finding more rock depth, borrowing simultaneously from Dinosaur Jr. and Negative Approach. The record asks questions about what it means to be an aging and successful punk band. Known and notorious for their tempestuous relationship and wildly unpredictable live shows, Fucked Up is one of the best hardcore bands and certainly one of the best live acts on the road. (Zaremba)

Tijuana Panthers, The She’s

8pm, $20

The Independent

628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421

The Guardian listings deadline is two weeks prior to our Wednesday publication date. To submit an item for consideration, please include the title of the event, a brief description of the event, date and time, venue name, street address (listing cross streets only isn’t sufficient), city, telephone number readers can call for more information, telephone number for media, and admission costs. Send information to Listings, the Guardian, 835 Market Street, Suite 550, SF, CA 94103; or e-mail (paste press release into e-mail body — no attachments, please) to Digital photos may be submitted in jpeg format; the image must be at least 240 dpi and four inches by six inches in size. We regret we cannot accept listings over the phone.

This Week’s Picks: July 2 – 8, 2014




Be Calm Honcho

As Be Calm Honcho’s lead singer croons about her love of California on the band’s debut album, differences between the SF-based band and an LA-based band quickly emerge. (Yes, LA. You can stop bragging about being able to bath in sunshine at the beach 365 days a year.) Be Calm Honcho recorded the album in Stinson Beach, where Karl the Fog must’ve frequently drifted in, comfortably settling into his guest role on the album. The tunes sound effortlessly dreamy — even a little gloomily hopeful. The band is joined, fittingly, by fellow local bands, The She’s and Owl Paws, at its record release show tonight. (Amy Char)

With The She’s and Owl Paws

8pm, $10

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011




For the past three years, these hometown heroes have managed to charm the pants off of critics and fans alike with their powerfully emotive mixture of black metal and shoegaze. The band’s most recent album, Sunbather, a sad, seething record about the melancholy of perfectionism and unattainable ideals, was a critical darling that brought Deafheaven onto the national stage in a flood of gushing reviews and end-of-the-year best-of lists. Though they are a relatively new band, with only a few years and two albums under their belt, Deafheaven both record and perform with a masterful confidence and unabashed willingness to break the rules, creating a sound that has been described as “post-everything.” You don’t want to miss the chance to see them shred on their home turf. (Haley Zaremba)

With Wreck & Reference

8pm, $16

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750




Answer Me! A Comedy Game Show

A thick layer of dust covers your high school quiz bowl trophy in your childhood bedroom. Between Netflix marathons of Orange Is the New Black, you sort of yearn for an intellectually stimulating challenge. Take everything you know about Piper Chapman and head over to the Mission for tonight’s pop culture game show. (While you’re at it, consider renting a video or two to support Lost Weekend Video before the competition begins.) Two teams, each comprised of two local comedians and one randomly selected audience member, duke it out for frivolous fame and useless trinkets. Plus, your teammates are sure to be more entertaining than that awkward mouth-breather back in high school. (Amy Char)

8pm, $10

The Cinecave at Lost Weekend Video

1034 Valencia, SF

(415) 643-3373




Legendary Stardust Cowboy

Inspired by his obsession with space travel, Norman Carl Odam became the Legendary Stardust Cowboy in 1961 and has been honing his maniacal psychobilly style ever since. “The Ledge” is as interested in cars and girls as he is in sci-fi, toilet humor, and the political issues of whatever era he happens to find himself in (“They signed the treaty in Kyoto, Japan!” he screams on “Global Warming,” as if a UN conference was as exciting as a sockhop.) His absurd subject matter and often incomprehensible vocals have earned him fans from outsider-music guru Irwin Chusid to David Bowie, who covered “I Took A Ride On A Gemini Spacecraft” on his album Heathen. The Ledge’s upcoming Stork Club show should demonstrate why he’s considered one of America’s best — or at least most polarizing — touring musicians. (Daniel Bromfield)

9:30pm, $5

Stork Club

2330 Telegraph, Oakland

(510) 444-6174




Venetian Snares

Winnipeg-based electric music artist Andy Funk, better known as Venetian Snares, has been releasing bass-heavy odysseys of albums since the early 1990s. His artistic diversity and tendency to reinvent himself has led to a scattered but unbelievably prolific output — he’s put out 26 formal full-lengths for 8 different labels since 1998 alongside hundreds of EPs, singles, and mixes. While Venetian Snare’s time signatures, samples, and equipment are constantly in flux, his music stays abrasive and challenging no matter the set-up. His newest album, My Love, is a Bulldozer, released two weeks ago, juxtaposes modern classical elements — particularly strings — with extended drum machine and bass breakdowns and irreverent, often hilarious lyrics. Known for his live mixing and aggressive sets, expect both IDM aficionados and raging moshers to be showing up in full force. Avoid the trite fireworks and head to the Independent for some real explosives. (David Kurlander)

8pm, $15


628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421



Gilman Benefit

924 Gilman has gotten some flak recently for hiking up the prices of its shows, deviating from its original $5-a-show credo in order to satisfy the demands of its $4,500 rent. Luckily, Gilman will will be hosting not one, but two benefit concerts in the first two weeks of June — and both will only set you back a paper Lincoln. The first will take place on the 4th of July and features a host of local bands, including The SoundWaves (San Leandro), Flip & The European Mutts (San Jose), and Black Dream (San Francisco) — plus Drinking Water, an Arizona ska-punk trio that’s toured in the US and Mexico. Though benefit No. 2 features a higher proportion of indie rockers, this one is as punk as anything the Gilman’s ever put on. (Daniel Bromfield)

7pm, $5

924 Gilman

924 Gilman, Berkeley

(510) 524-8180




The Fresh & Onlys

Though they rose to fame with the San Francisco garage-rock explosion of a few years back, the Fresh & Onlys eschew the punky pulp-horror aesthetic of many of their contemporaries in favor of a romantic sound that’s more Heart Shaped World than “Heart Shaped Box.” Though their early recordings (Grey Eyed Girls, Play It Strange) are as fuzzy as anything Ty Segall or John Dwyer’s ever done, the Fresh & Onlys have always been more pop than rock, more brain than body, more introverted than extroverted. But that doesn’t mean they can’t hold it down live — whether as an opener or headliner, they can bend their style to suit just about any live setting and keep the party going. (Daniel Bromfield)

9pm, $15

The Chapel

777 Valencia, San Francisco

(415) 551-5157





“Brakhage, Brakhage, Brakhage!”

Add about 397 more “Brakhages” to the title of this Yerba Buena Center of the Arts tribute to the late, great experimental filmmaker, and you’ll have the approximate number of films he created over the span of his career. Three programs highlight both familiar and rare works from the celluloid wizard. Up first is today’s “Self and Other,” films from 1974-86 that examine “how autobiography and portraiture can be represented with motion pictures.” Later programs are “Sound Films” (1962-74), spotlighting some of the oft-silent artist’s soundtracked pieces; and a vivid, gorgeous array of late-career works represented in “Hand-Painted Films” (1993-2002). (Cheryl Eddy)

2pm, $8-$10

Also July 10, 7:30pm; July 13, 2pm

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF



The San Francisco Symphony

The San Francisco Symphony heads west to the Sunset on Sunday for its annual appearance at the free Stern Grove Festival. The outdoor affair, picturesquely located in a green basin of rocks and picnic tables, will feature a mostly 20th-century program conducted by charismatic former Symphony Resident Conductor Edwin Outwater. More unconventional programming, including several offerings from Howard Hansons 1930s opera Merry Mount, join standard overtures and waltzes by Bernstein and Richard Rodgers. A potential second-half highlight comes in the form of Ravel’s heartbreakingly gorgeous “Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte” and exhilarating “Bolero,” both presented with jazz improvisations from prolific pianist Makoto Ozone — the reworking of these iconic classics into new styles should lead to striking new modalities and moods. Pack up a cheese plate and your best white capris and head down to the Grove for an alternately meditative and rousing journey through the modern classical canon. (David Kurlander)

2pm, free

Sigmund Stern Grove

19th Ave. and Sloat, SF

(415) 252-6252





Cloud Nothings

Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings have been indie darlings since the band’s formation in 2009, but have received special praise for April’s Here and Nowhere Else. The new work sees the group embracing a punchier punk aesthetic — lead singer and rhythm guitarist Dylan Baldi spins confused, remarkably catchy choruses over staccato guitar lines and astonishing drum fills by hitherto unknown new addition Jayson Gerycz. Their present tour, which winds around iconic mid-size theaters in the West and Midwest before a European leg, promises a taut, kinetic setlist that includes all of their new album and a few scattered cuts from their three preceding LPs. These guys may be melodic, but they embrace involved and improvised instrumental interludes onstage that lend each show unpredictability and showcase Gerycz, Baldi, and excellent bassist TJ Duke. The stately Great American Music Hall provides an ideal locale for the group’s blend of flash and homage. (David Kurlander)

8pm, $20

859 O’Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750



Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Eccentric doesn’t really being to cover it. Nick Cave is a madman with a burning spark of genius propelling his frenetic presence and unparalleled career, careening from genre to genre, turntable to page to screen, and implanting his gritty, unmistakable thumbprint into everything he touches. With an almost four-decade career, the onetime frontman of Australian punk and post-punk bands the Lost Boys and the Birthday Party, and current frontman of Grinderman and the Bad Seeds, Nick Cave is a legendary force of nature. Everything about Cave’s musical style is unique, but it is his lyrics that set him apart as one of the most imaginative and unapologetically confrontational artists in the industry. Stained pink with blood, sweat, and semen, his songs are a visceral journey that only Cave, one of the most energetic and impassioned performers alive, could properly deliver. His sneer and snarl are a sight to behold. (Haley Zaremba)

With Jonathan Richman

8pm $53

The Warfield

982 Market, SF

(415) 673-4653

The Guardian listings deadline is two weeks prior to our Wednesday publication date. To submit an item for consideration, please include the title of the event, a brief description of the event, date and time, venue name, street address (listing cross streets only isn’t sufficient), city, telephone number readers can call for more information, telephone number for media, and admission costs. Send information to Listings, the Guardian, 225 Bush, 17th Flr., SF, CA 94105; or e-mail (paste press release into e-mail body — no attachments, please) to Digital photos may be submitted in jpeg format; the image must be at least 240 dpi and four inches by six inches in size. We regret we cannot accept listings over the phone.

Happy hump day music news!


Hiatus, schmiatus: Thee Oh Sees have been added to an already-dreamy Burger Boogaloo lineup. Catch ’em alongside OFF!, Shannon and the Clams, Nobunny, Terry Malts, and of course the inimitable Miss Ronnie Spector herself, July 5-6 at Mosswood Park in Oakland.

Who needs Coachella anyway? In between their two weekend stints at that shitshow of a music festival down south, Waxahatchee is playing a free show at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza today at 5pm. Are you in Berkeley? It’s goddamn beautiful out. You should go.

Start your itinerizing: Outsidelands just announced each day’s lineup and put single-day tickets on sale. Are you in more of a Kanye-Disclosure-Warpaint-Mikal Cronin kind of mood? Or a Tom Petty-Tycho-Big Freedia head space? These are the tough questions.

Cocktails grow up: Don’t worry, one of SF’s favorite fuzz-power-pop bands hasn’t gone and gotten lame, though. This new track, “Tough Love,” off Adult Life, suggests the five-piece has gotten a little tighter and just a little slicker, in a good way. That record won’t be out until June 17, but you can probably hear a lot of it at the Rickshaw Stop this Fri/18, when they open at the EP release party for The She’s.

“My brain is a little addled in terms of my long-term memory.” That’s Courtney Love, in an excellent oral history of Hole’s Live Through This, in honor of the album’s 20th anniversary. No matter what you think of her or her Dave Grohl reconciliation or her mediocre missing airplane-finding skills, this album is still gorgeous and important and yes I will fight you about that.

Also, this interview.

Sweet, psyched-out, and dirty


LEFT OF THE DIAL Setting aside the darkly ear-wormy melodies, haunting vocals, and refreshingly crisp grunge-pop that goes into Everyone Is Dirty‘s sound, it’s singer Sivan Gur-Arieh’s violin — slicing sweetly above the chaos of a final chorus, adding a heightened sense of gothic romance to a bridge — that sets the Oakland art-rock quartet apart from the current fuzzy, grungey masses.

Good thing Gur-Arieh’s come to peace with the fact that she plays it.

“I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my violin since I was a kid,” says the singer, an Oakland native whose father taught her play when she was in elementary school. “I mean, growing up, you don’t always want to be staying home standing in front of a music stand, playing scales for two hours at a time. I’ve definitely put my violin under the bed and not played it…but it always came back out.

“I’m at a point where I realize it’s a tool, and it’s a tool I know how to use, and you don’t always get to choose that,” she says, earnestly, like someone speaking about a handicap. “Now, I’m just at, I play the violin. Whether it’s a nerdy instrument or not, I do it and it’s a part of me.”

It’s also a big part of the band’s charisma, an invitingness coming through music that technically should feel cold — sure, Gur-Arieh’s distinctive whisper-wail would be at home providing the soundtrack to an artsy vampire flick, but you also trust her, and the weirdness, in the same way you trust the Pixies‘ or Sonic Youth‘s weirdness; it doesn’t seem to be an affectation.

Then there’s a very ’90s sensibility about pop’s borders, reminiscent of SF’s own Imperial Teen, maybe Sleater-Kinney, and I want to say a more jagged Veruca Salt but maybe I’m just ridiculously excited that they’re reuniting so I’m hearing them everywhere? Regardless: Add in psyched-out guitar riffs from Christopher Daddio, a super warm, strong rhythm section courtesy of Tony Sales on drums and Tyler English on bass, and you start to understand why the four-piece, at just a year and a few months old, has earned serious devotees around the Bay Area as well as highly coveted free studio time at Different Fur via Converse’s Rubber Tracks pop-up — all before releasing a full-length record.

That’s in the works, Gur-Arieh assures me. This January marked both the band’s one-year anniversary (its first show as a four-piece rocked Cafe Du Nord, sigh) and another major milestone: They signed with Breakup Records, the husband-and-wife-run label, formerly out of Oakland (now out of Portland but with a heavy bias toward bands from their former hometown); the label will be producing EID’s first full-length at the end of May.

In the meantime, the band has been releasing teasers of what we can expect, like “California” — a full psych-rock sprint that gets undeniably reminiscent of the Dead Kennedys‘ “California Uber Alles” in its chorus, when the layers of sci-fi guitar drop out for Gur-Arieh to admonish “California, put your pants on/you’ve had too much to drink.” They just re-recorded that one for the full-length, at Daddio’s home studio, where they do most of their recording. “He’s an engineer, and he’s a perfectionist,” says the singer. “The fact that he’s able to make everything sound so good just using mic placement…it’s incredible to me.” On “Mama, No!!!” things take a turn for the Nirvana-esque, though the band keeps it dynamic by playing expertly with contrasts — the sing-song of Gur-Arieh’s voice with unrestrained drum crashes, the urgent peal of violin over fuzzed-out guitar.

She and Daddio, who met when Gur-Arieh was in film school in Chicago and New York (he did sound design for her thesis film), share primary songwriting duties; when the singer moved back to the Bay Area, they started seeking out the band’s rhythm section. Film still plays a big part in how the singer thinks about music, she says. “I make our videos for the most part,” she says. “They’re very connected to me. I’ve always been a musician, but I’ve also always been painting, writing poetry&ldots;film is kind of an extension of music, to me.”

Everyone Is Dirty will be sharing a bill on April 5 with a pair of similarly dramatic, cinematic, female-fronted bands: Rich Girls, the new(ish) gothy garage project from Luisa Black (formerly of The Blacks) opens, and Happy Fangs, whose contrasting male-female vocal dynamic, courtesy of Rebecca Bortman and Mike Cobra, has just been supplemented by the addition of Sacramento drummer Jess Gowrie. It’s the kind of lineup that has the potential to kick your ass, then wrap it up and hand it back to you with a sweet smile as an experimental art project. I mean this in an entirely positive way.

“I’ve been really into this violin player from Chicago named Leroy Jenkins lately,” says Gur-Arieh, when asked what she’s been listening to. “If you look him up on YouTube, his playing was so weird and messy and imperfect, and that’s super inspirational to me. That’s unique especially for violin players, because they tend to be so focused on perfection, on playing other peoples’ music perfectly, and he was an emotional player — not afraid to make the violin sound piercing,” she says, “and dirty.”

Happy Fangs w/ Everyone Is Dirty and Rich Girls
Sat/5, 8pm, $10
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St, SF


While we’re riding high on the female-fronted band kick, a few other kick-ass ladies to look out for this month:

Given the current classic funk-soul revival — see Sharon Jones‘ sold-out stint at the Fillmore last week — there’s just no good reason why Wicked Mercies hasn’t blown up yet. Fronted by three seriously talented female vocalists, with a brass section that culls from the best of the old-school San Francisco soul scene, the band – which bills itself as “working class talent” that brings “the sound of San Francisco street soul to the people” — has been a dance party-starting staple at funk-friendly venues like the Boom Boom Room for a few years now, so there’s little doubt that a room as small as Amnesia is going to get sweaty very quickly. Remember to drink water.

Wicked Mercies
With the Go Ahead
Sat/5, 9pm, $8-$10
853 Valencia, SF

Forming a band when you’re in middle school that actually goes on to critical praise and some commercial success before you’ve graduated from high school means a few things. For The She’s, which the Bay Guardian ever-so-aptly identified as a band On the Rise in 2013, one thing it means is giving interviews about your upcoming second EP that involves quotes like this one, from singer-guitarist Hannah Valente in a recent Bay Bridged interview: “It’s going to sound a lot different. On our first album, there are songs that we wrote in eighth grade.”

All good-natured (and, let’s be real, envious) ribbing aside, there’s no question that The She’s have pretty much won the hearts of any red-blooded San Franciscan with an affinity for summery dream-pop; they’re also entering a stage of band-life reserved for artists who achieve a certain level of success while so young that their age becomes part of the shtick. This next stage is when they’re going to have to prove that they’re talented songwriters and performers, period, as opposed to being really, really good for a band made up of high school kids. For the record, I think the former is true, but their sophomore EP, Dreamers, due out April 15, will have to do the talking. Catch ’em for free at Amoeba on April 12, or the official (all ages!) release show at the Rickshaw Stop.

The She’s
With TV Girl, Lemme Adams, and Cocktails
April 18, 9pm, $10-$12
Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell, SF

Gimme 5: Must-see shows this week (Noise Pop edition)


Like sands through the hourglass, so are the festivals of San Francisco. Or something like that. SF Beer Week is over, dear readers, but fret not! It’s the end of February, which is undoubtedly the cruelest month, no matter what T.S. Eliot said, when the darkest days of winter (in places that have that season) are finally over, and the first blossoms of spring are testing their sea legs like so many trepidatious Bambis. In these parts, that means one thing: Noise Pop is upon us.

This the year NP turns 22, so the festival is definitely old enough to hang with the big kids. And there are indeed some big kids in this year’s lineup — Lord Huron, Real Estate, and Dr. Dog, to name a few. But our favorite part about this festival is what it means for up-and-coming Bay Area acts, for whom playing Noise Pop is something of a rite of passage. We’ll be highlighting a few of our favorites over the course of this week, but for now, here are some suggestions for places to show some local pride. As per usual, the tightly-packed schedule presents some tough choices — so yes, we know there are more than five options here. Life’s tough. T.S. Eliot got that one right.


Papercuts and Vetiver @ The Chapel
This is a dreamy package deal if I’ve ever seen one. Papercuts‘ Jason Robert Quever’s melodic, melancholy sighs have never sounded as subtlely polished as on his upcoming album, Life Among the Savages, his first for the brand-new LA-based label Easy Sound Recording Co. Labelmates and fellow San Franciscans Vetiver‘s breezy folk-pop is music for a spur-of-the-moment afternoon drive up the coast. Throw in San Diego opener The Donkeys and you’ve got yourself the sonic landscape of a California we’re in the habit of relegating to car commercials where someone in the passenger seat is grinning and sticking their hand out the window playfully, a California where everyone’s fresh-faced and it never rains. Noise Pop-goers, you can have it all! Especially that last part.
With EDJ, and Vinyl selections by Britt Govea
8pm, $18
The Chapel
777 Valencia, SF

(Plan B: Strange Vine/French Cassettes at Bottom of the Hill, or CCR Headcleaner/Skate Laws at Benders)


Jel @ Sparc
Forget the music, watching Jel repeatedly punch drum machine pads and twist sampler knobs on bulky, last-gen machinery would be worth the price of admission. The East Bay-based electronic hip-hop producer manages to keep his appendages intact while stabbing out a dizzying array of kick drums, snares, and percussion in ever-shifting breakbeat arrangements and tempos. On his latest LP, Late Pass (Anticon), Jel balances bass with shoegaze melodies, hints of psychedelia, electric guitar chords and some of his own emceeing. In line with the political undertones throughout the album (“Don’t get comfortable,” the title track advises), this show marks the two-year anniversary of the San Francisco Patient and Resource Center, a medical cannabis nonprofit. — Kevin Lee
7pm, free (RSVP req. for non badge-holders)
1256 Mission, SF

(Plan B: Social Studies, Aan, Farallons, Max and the Moon at the New Parish)


Painted Palms, Dirty Ghosts, Happy Fangs @ Slims
Sure, Cold Cave is technically the headliner, but calling these three local bands supporting acts just seems wrong. SF duo Painted Palms are the darlings du jour of the psych-rock world, for good reason — Forever, released just last month, is one of the most lush, layered debut albums we’ve heard in a while. Dirty Ghosts‘ Allyson Baker is a frontwoman and a half, drawing from punk, blues, experimental rock, and electronica, and the band has promised a new record in 2014, so we wouldn’t be surprised to hear some fresh material. And Happy Fangs, featuring boundless, rough-around-the-edges, sweet n’ salty energy from former members of My First Earthquake and King Loses Crown, will be playing their first show with a live drummer (check back here for a Q&A with them later this week).
7pm, $16
333 11th St, SF

(Plan B: Soft White Sixties/The She’s at the Chapel, Bleached/Terry Malts at the Rickshaw Stop)


Black Map, Free Salamander Exhibit, Lasher Keen, Happy Diving @ Bottom of the Hill
Yes, there’s a lot going on Saturday night. No, you shouldn’t go see that band you’ve seen a million times before. If you’re in the mood to get super-heavy and excellently weird, this is a solid lineup of newish Bay Area talent running the gamut from Black Map‘s epic, guitar-driven, smart-art-rock-meets-anthemic-metal sound to upstart Happy Diving‘s soft-grunge-leaning, head-bobbing power pop. Lasher Keen’s earthly psychedelia seems to be from another century, you just can’t tell if it’s the future or the past — we’re pretty sure they’d say that’s a good thing. And Free Salamander Exhibit is, of course, the new project from former members of the elaborately theatrical, cultishly loved experimental noise-rock outfit Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. Let’s just say you’re not going to be bored.
8pm, $15
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St, SF

(Plan B: Mikal Cronin at the Chapel, Mark Kozelek at Great American Music Hall — look for our feature on the latter in this week’s paper.)


Rogue Wave, Trails and Ways, Wymond Miles @ The Chapel

Oakland’s Rogue Wave set the tone for lo-fi, indie pop-rock way back in the mid-aughts, with an onset of popularity so sudden it seemed unsustainable. Not so — the lineup may change, but the band’s talent for crafting jangly earworms needs no further proving, as of last year’s Nightingale Floors. Trails and Ways, whose members met at Cal, make danceable, Bossa Nova-infused dream-pop that broadens and deepens with repeated listens, but doesn’t take itself overly seriously; oh yeah, they also sing in three languages. And Wymond Miles, still probably best known as the Fresh and Onlys’ guitarist, put out his second solo work late last year — a dense, thoughtfully arranged post-punk gem of a record. Note: This is an afternoon show and, with a bloody Mary on the side, would probably be an excellent hangover soother.
3pm, $20
The Chapel
777 Valencia, SF

Teen dream machine


YEAR IN TOFU AND WHISKEY Call it the Rookie Magazine trickle-down effect: Teen girl rockers ruled the world in 2013. Granted, some 20-somethings were in there too. But still, these young and fierce ladies — celebrated on either Rookie’s more polished site or eye-popping Tumblrs of a similar demographic — were the artists to take notice of this year.

The young majors of 2013 were 17-year-old New Zealander Lorde and Los Angeles sister trio Haim, all in their early 20s. There were also female rappers and soul singers, like Cameroon-raised Lorine Chia (20), and Brooklyn-based Angel Haze (22). Locally, there was teen surf pop quartet the She’s. On a smaller scale, there are emerging acts like Sacramento’s sister duo Dog Party, which, at ages 14 and 17, released its biggest record to date on Asian Man Records this August.

Rookie is the web magazine for young girls that looks more to the Sassy archetype than Seventeen, but so far beyond those bounds that it’s almost ludicrous to compare the two. Started in 2011 by now-iconic mini fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson, the website blends style, feminism, and culture into a Nylon-esque vision of rude glamour. More so, it’s become a casual, glittery hit-maker, simply by nature of showcasing exciting new talent early in the game, often before it’s been hungrily shredded by the widespread blogger industrial complex.

Musicians are featured in gushy profiles, or longer Q&As, often with more personalized questions than are found on standard music blogs. An early Rookie writeup on Lorde reviewed her full-length record Pure Heroine (Universal Music Group) in a typically conversational tone: “I first heard Lorde, when I was in the parking lot of a Target one night. It was 10:50pm and I was in the car by myself, listening to the radio; I had just been going through a breakup and was in an awful state of mind. Suddenly this song came on with a simple beat and this AMAZING voice that made me sit up straight and turn on Shazam, which told me it was Lorde’s song ‘Royals.'”

Can’t you too remember such a time? An moment in a youthful life, alone in your car or next to the stereo in your room, the disappointments of a confusing day rushing through your mind, and then the moment a song transformed that hurt into pure joy? It might not have been a pop song, but it certainly could have been.

Thanks to the thrill of that paradoxically anti-consumerist pop song “Royals,” Lorde (née Ella Yelich-O’Connor) was undoubtedly the biggest of the aforementioned bunch of teen girls who made it big in 2013. She became a bona fide pop star in black lipstick and a poof of untamed, grungy curls. And while her look and style are certainly endlessly dissected, she came to the pop charts when there was a specific need for her new breed of mainstream-yet-still-underground-enough-to-be-weirdish sound.

In her recent essay on Lorde and others of her ilk, NPR writer Ann Powers poetically described Lorde’s step away from pop stars of the tongue-out, twerked-out Miley variety we also suffered through in 2013: “Lorde is a phenomenon because of perfect timing. She came along just when listeners were craving what ‘Royals’ famously advocates: a different kind of buzz. After a few months as the new find of early musical adopters, this droll chanteuse became notorious for suggesting that some kids might prefer to stand apart from pop’s endless party.”

Angel Haze was another standout — a stunning, pansexual, artistically rare rapper who took Macklemore’s “Same Love,” and gave it meaning, singing of her own (real) struggles with sexuality. The young artist’s debut full-length, Dirty Gold, doesn’t even see release until January 2014, but her covers (she also took on Eminem’s “Cleanin’ Out My Closet”) made her a name to know in 2013.

Haze was featured on Rookie, as was soul singer Lorine Chia. A performer with a silky voice and tropical beats, Chia released an EP, Naked Truths (Make Millions Music), in October and frequently Tumbls her fascinating life and favorite musical finds. Like other young females who made their mark this year, she seems worlds apart from the sleek pop stars of yore, still enthralling but somehow approachable.

And then there was Haim, the crunchy, LA-based sister trio that hit it big with September-released Days Are Gone (Polydor Records, Columbia Records). The album went silver, selling nearly 90,000 copies stateside, which is big news in these unwieldy music industry days.

But apart from the pop and hip-hop charts, teen girls were also making waves in smaller local scenes. Case in point: The She’s. The talented, breezy-surf pop quartet started off the year playing Noise Pop and were on the cover of the Guardian, posed as a group to watch in 2013.

A few months later, there they were: life-sized on bus-stop posters plastered around downtown as part of that big Converse campaign that overran the city’s music scene this summer (not that we had anything to do with the leap). The She’s recorded a track for Converse’s Rubber Tracks popup station at Different Fur Studios, and also played a ton of shows throughout the year. Oh, and the SF natives all just graduated from high school.

As for Sacramento’s burgeoning Dog Party, the sister duo is still navigating those studious halls of yore. Singer-guitarist Gwendolyn Giles is a senior in high school, and drummer Lucy Giles is a 14-year-old sophomore. They started playing together at ages 9 and 6.

“Before [guitar] I played the flute, but that wasn’t for very long because I like guitar,” Gwendolyn tells me from their Sacramento home. “The flute made me dizzy. Also when I was in fourth grade, American Idiot came out and I was obsessed with Green Day.”

Lucy pipes up with her earliest inclination that she wanted to play rock’n’roll: “I was really into the White Stripes when I was in third grade. I like Meg White and so I just kind of decided I wanted to play the drums.”

Her dad picked up a drum set at a garage sale, and the girls soon began lessons, and then started writing songs — with angsty lyrics about worrisome BFFs and the like, and stories that were mostly autobiographical. In 2013, the Giles sisters released their third full-length, bratty pop-punk record Lost Control, on Mike Park’s legendary Asian Man Records. It stands with the Donnas, the Bangs, and a mix of other fun party punk acts before them.

Ty Segall tops their mutual list of favorite new (or new-to-them) acts of 2013, followed by the Descendents, the Babies, fellow SacTown locals Pets, and most of the Burger Records roster.

“My sister and I really love Ty Segall,” Gwendolyn gushes of the prolific rocker. “He’s amazing … my favorite artist of all time.”

Dog Party went on a full US tour with Kepi Ghoulie (of ’80s band Groovie Ghoulies) and just last week played with the Aquabats at Slim’s. Next up, they’ll play the Gilman Fri/20.

As with other female artists this year (and for the past decade), Dog Party has had to deal with web trolls intent on breaking them down.

“Now that we’ve gained a little bit of popularity, there have been some nasty things written about us on the Internet,” Lucy says. “But that doesn’t really affect us. We don’t like to listen to what they say because we don’t really care.”

While the Giles sisters hadn’t known about Rookie before they were featured on the site, they’ve heard a lot of feedback since the post, which urged readers to “stream the new album by our (and probably your) new favorite band.”

“We got a lot of attention from Rookie,” Gwendolyn says. “People have come up to us and been like ‘Hey, I heard about you from Rookie!’ It’s pretty cool.”

“Our social media sites had a pretty big boost off that article,” adds Lucy. 


Tofu and Whiskey’s top records (and sandwiches) of 2013

1. Weird Sister, Joanna Gruesome

2. In Dark Denim, Antwon

3. It’s Alive, La Luz

4. Run Fast, The Julie Ruin

5. Ionika, Metal Mother

6. Ride Your Heart, Bleached

7. Self-titled, Golden Grrrls

8. Mama’s Hummus sandwich, Bi-Rite

9. Tofu Banh Mi, Hella Vegan Eats

10. Vegan Reuben, Ike’s

Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week


The Queen of Rockabilly (who once dated Elvis), a ‘90s shoegaze icon, a legendary SF math rock crew, and a brand new haunted surf-garage quartet. This week’s must-sees stretch beyond space and time, genre and generation. Wanda Jackson, Mazzy Star, A Minor Forest, La Luz — they’re all here now.

Plus, there are two major anniversary events: 10 years for Women’s Audio Mission; 20 years for grimy hardcore label Six Weeks Records.

Here are your must-see shows:

Cold Beat

That voice. Those eerie, singular vocals that are somehow both alien and intimately familiar. They sound like electric Tesla coils wrapped in whipped silk. San Francisco’s Hannah Lew is most often heard harmonizing by three with her striking post-punk trio Grass Widow. With newer project Cold Beat, it’s her vocals alone above the needling guitars and anxious synths of a different band. [Here’s the full feature]
Tue/5, 9pm, $6
Night Light
311 Broadway, Oakl.

Mazzy Star
“Santa Monica’s Mazzy Star has been teasing its fans with promises of a fourth album since 2000 — and even then the album was long overdue. Nearly two decades after its last album, Among My Swan, Mazzy Star has really, truly, finally dropped its long-fabled follow-up, Seasons of Your Day. Mazzy Star was seminally important to ’90s shoegaze, and its dark influence is still audible in bands like the Dum Dum Girls and Beach House. The best part about its new album is that while other bands have taken Mazzy Star’s sound and retrofitted it, the band itself has not changed a bit. Seasons of Your Day seamlessly picks up where the band left off in 1996. Hope Sandoval’s haunting voice is still as achingly gorgeous as ever, and you don’t want to miss your chance to hear it in person tonight.” — Haley Zaremba
With the Entrance Band, Mariee Sioux
Wed/6, 8pm, $35
982 Market, SF

Wanda Jackson
“When Wanda Jackson first went on tour in 1955, she shared the bill with a young man who quickly became a major musical influence and (for Jackson, at least) a romantic partner. This guitar-slinging fella, named Elvis Presley, helped her transition from country music to a newer, faster, more raucous genre later described as rockabilly. Jackson pioneered the genre, earning her the title of the Queen of Rockabilly and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an “Early Influence.” Now well into her 70s, the Queen still reigns supreme. While Jackson can’t hit all of the high notes anymore, she’s still full of enough piss and vinegar to put performers more than half her age to shame.” — Zaremba
With the Swinging Doors
Thu/7, 9pm, $28
777 Valencia, SF
(415) 551-5157

La Luz [Ed. note: The band was in a car accident last night and totaled its van. To help, donate through Paypal using the email]
Sometimes the unexpected can rip you apart. And sometimes, those rare unanticipated moments can inspire you anew. All the hurt and bewilderment and dark emotions reconfigure and morph into a project, such as an album. La Luz guitarist-vocalist Shana Cleveland felt this molten wave firsthand and the end result is a striking, blackened surf rock album with four-way doo-wop melodies and churling riffs smacking against the seawall. It’s the full-length debut from the Seattle all-lady quartet: It’s Alive (Hardly Art). The group tours to SF this week, opening for of Montreal. [See this week’s paper for the feature]
With Cool Ghouls (Fri/8), Painted Palms (Sat/9)

Fri/8-Sat/9, 9pm, $21
Great American Music Hall
859 O’Farrell, SF

Six Weeks Records 20th Anniversary
Two decades is a long lifeline for a DIY record label — especially one known for such short songs. Six Weeks Records, founded in ’92 by Athena Kautsch and Jeff Robinson, has distributed dozens of grimy grindcore, breakneck punk, and loud-as-hell hardcore albums from bands around the world. Clearly dedicated to the art of deafening music, the label also publishes the Short, Fast & Loud fanzine. This two-night anniversary fest features acts of the Six Weeks Records family including LA powerviolence legends Despise You, Tokyo’s Slight Slappers, NY’s Magrudergrind, Capitalist Casualties, Backslider, Coke Bust, P.L.F, and more.
Fri/8-Sat/9, 7pm, $17 each ($30 two-day pass)
Oakland Metro
630 Third St, Oakl.

Women’s Audio Mission 10th Anniversary Party

Let’s survey the breadth of bands playing this here anniversary party: There’s surfy teenage quartet the She’s, Mariachi Femenil Orgullo Mexicano (the Bay Area’s only all-female mariachi crew), soulful East Bay post-punk trio Little Sister, and DJ Sep, the founder and main resident of Dub Mission, one of the longest-running dub and reggae parties in the US. What do they have in common? They’re all led by powerful musicians and singers of the female persuasion. And the lineup is fitting, as this diverse sonic spectacular is for Women’s Audio Mission, a music production and recording organization geared toward helping women realize their full potential in the music world. Celebrate the org, the ladies, and the scene tonight at WAM’s big party at El Rio.
Sat/9, 3-8pm, $10 donation
El Rio
3158 Mission, SF

A Minor Forest
“With noisy and jam-packed intricate time signatures and musical arrangements, A Minor Forest (AMF) stuck out in the Bay Area music scene years ago, taking on a post-rock sound in a community with a simplistic punk tradition. And on Sat/9, the band is reuniting to play its first show in 15 years — at Bottom of the Hill with Barn Owl, fellow labelmate of Chicago’s much-loved Thrill Jockey Records.” [See this week’s paper for the feature] — Erin Dage
With Barn Owl
Sat/9, 9:30pm, $15
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St, SF
(415) 626-4455

Live Shots: Street Joy, the She’s, the Tambo Rays at Milk Bar


Wednesday night, three young, up-and-coming bands gathered at the Milk Bar, an intimate venue on the western edge of Haight Street, to lay down fun, unseasonably warm beats – a welcome contrast to the decidedly autumnal weather.
Street Joy, a LA-based rock trio comprised of Jason DeMayo (vocals, guitar), Scott Zimmerman (drums), and Mike Coleman (bass), kicked off the show with upbeat pop and punkish tunes. These musicians, who organized into a formal band in 2012, describe their songwriting as “that of the cassettes a dad would show his son on car rides to baseball practice.” Sigh, nostalgia.
The highlight was their spirited cover of “Hold Me Tight” — a Beatles release circa 1963 — and the dynamic on-stage rapport between Zimmerman and DeMayo kept me enthralled throughout their set.
The She’s — a teenage girl group whose crooning, feminine, summery sound is inspired by ‘60s girl groups and pop acts like the Beach Boys — followed. While many of their songs sound very similar (at times their set felt like a contagious throw-back daze), their multipart harmonies, which are the crux of their songwriting, felt expert. In addition to playing catchy tracks off of their 2011 release (Then It Starts To Feel Like Summer) such as “Jimmy” and “Fabian,” they played some newer songs, including “Anywhere But Here,” which is somewhat dark and subdued – at least in the She’s universe.
Bassist Sami Perez, guitarists Hannah Valente, and Eva Treadway, and drummer Sinclair Riley (they all sing) have been best friends since kindergarten, and it shows. On stage, they are incredibly in-sync; they even managed to all crouch down and grab their plastic water cups at once point in a synchronized sweep. Yes, their water cups — no booze yet.
By the time the Tambo Rays took the stage at 11:15pm, I was starting to feel pretty exhausted, but Sara DaMert’s spirit and spunk picked me right back up. The group’s alternative percussionist extraordinare, Sara, who at any given moment was either playing keys, drums, cymbals, tambo, or a combination of the four, was the heart of the “chill pop” foursome’s performance. Sara’s brother, Brian DaMert, perhaps the slightly subtler member of the family, laid down entrancing guitar riffs, engulfing the waning audience in a beautiful wall of sound.
The Tambo Rays showcased a surfy rock’n’roll (occasionally hippie-laced) sound onstage; their set was fluid and kept my attention. The highlight of their performance was “Take That,” whose enthused delivery, distinctly summery feel, and sardonic lyrics about Georgia the chicken instantly made me smile.

Best of the Bay 2013 Editors Picks: Arts and Entertainment




Editors picks are chosen by Guardian editors for special recognition for brightening the Bay Area experience.


It takes a lot to stand out in this town. Bands and entertainers are a dime a dozen, and quality cover or innovative, hilarious “tribute” acts fill venue lineups year-round. The First Church of the Sacred Silversexual, however, is a glittery entity all its own. Raucous and roiling with glam-rock glee, it’s an orgasmic sensation of all things David Bowie wrapped in tinfoil and pumped full of sparkly gospel soul. The boisterous crew of theatrical musicians and singers packs onto stages and blows the Bowie horn: All ye who enter here, know the Thin White Duke’s (or Ziggy Stardust’s, or Alladin Sane’s) name. The oft-adoring crowd, with lyrics sheets in hand, responds in time. It’s a Suffragette City spectacle that “tap dances on the lines between religion and revelry, beatitude and blasphemy, rock show and revival.” Wham, bam, thank you ma’am!



Tired of hum-drum literary events involving lecterns, monotones, and rumpled suit jackets? Has Janey Smith got the antidote for you. One part poetry reading, one part beer bust, and one part urban exploration escapade, literary gatherings at the Squat turn the pedestrian concept of a reading into a situational ritual. After assembling in Smith’s lower Haight apartment for mingling and judicious imbibing, the crowd is ushered silently to a secret location: an abandoned flat lit by dozens of tea candles with a small pile of rubble on the floor serving as a podium for the invited poets. The echo of empty rooms, the brave flickers of candlelight, and the rapt attention of the crowd makes poetry at the Squat resonate that much more, attracting a stalwart crew of hardcore wordsmiths and armchair literati alike.



Jaunty East Bay rapper-producer IamSu! has released a barrage of clever mixtapes and collaborated with the likes of big-timers like 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, Juvenile, E-40, and Roach Gigz — but his career can be traced back to Youth Radio, a nonprofit media center based in Oakland. Like so many others before and since, the talented 23-year-old MC got his start there at age 15 and learned all about the art of beat making. Fast-forward a decade and IAmSu! (born Sudan Ahmeer Williams) is getting some serious love for attention-grabbing lyrics, bold beats, and his casual return to hyphy, not to mention team efforts with his crew HBK (Heart Break Kids) Gang. He still reps his hometown even while sending it up in hits like “Goin’ Up” feat. Khalifa, nonchalantly tossing out rhymes like “Ask around I got hell of love in the Bay/Get money give a fuck what a hater say” over a wobbly beat in a video directed by Kreayshawn and featuring cameos by locals like Gigz. He may be bursting outside the bounds of the Bay, but his output remains a family affair.



The home base for SFJazz was decades in the making, but the popular nonprofit jazz organization finally got its own permanent home this year — and the SFJazz Center‘s sparkling new glass building is a marvel of modern sound. The $63 million, state-of-the-art facility includes balconies, perches, a fancy restaurant, and a smaller performing space for up-and-comers. But the main bowl-shaped auditorium deep inside the venue is where all that jazzy action comes alive, a circular space with platforms that can accordion and retract to make room for different kinds of setup. Resident artistic directors like Jason Moran have made good use of that unique space; during his stay, Moran opened up the bottom level for an actual skateboarder’s half-pipe with live skating demos, and also widened it up for a Fats Waller dance party. And of course a diverse roster of jazz greats — McCoy Tyner, Eddie Palmieri, Esperanza Spaulding, Hugh Masekela, Bill Frissell — have reached the new rafters with their flights of sound.

201 Franklin, SF. (866) 920-5299,



At first, the idea of opening a successful gay sports bar in the Castro might have struck some as either a shameful back-in-the-closet move (only manly men allowed, no swishing!) or another apocalyptic omen of gay assimilation (we’ve become the jocks who beat us up!). But then you watch the diverse crowds — including, yes, the swishy — pack into Hi Tops to cheer on our major championship teams and our lesser-recognized sports organizations and heroes. You see the Sports Illustrated picture of two male 49ers fans enthusiastically kissing — the first such photo to appear in that magazine. You check out the super-spiffy design of the place, which repurposes vintage bleachers, b-ball court floors, lockers, and cage lights. You sample the playful drink menu, which features an actual cocktail made with Muscle Milk, and a bar menu that twists standard game day food in a slightly gourmet direction. Finally, you see how owners Jesse Woodward, Dana Gleim, and Matt Kajiwara have created a community of like-minded queer sports fans who can finally express their mutual admiration openly, proudly, and loudly. Holy crap, is that a ball in your hand?

2247 Market, SF. (415) 551-2500,



We’re declaring 2012-2013 the theatre season of Lauren Gunderson, y’all. Ever since this prolific Georgia native’s Exit, Pursued by a Bear debuted at Crowded Fire Theater in 2011, Gunderson’s scripts are smart, sassy, and fueled by revenge and science. “I think I write about scientists more than I write about science,” she told Creative Loafing Atlanta. “You could say that science is the landscape and ether of the plays, but the hearts and dreams of the scientists are what we’re really watching.” That empathetic approach to science may help explain why her plays have the taken tech-nerdy Bay Area by storm. This season alone saw the Bay Area-based productions of no fewer than five of her scripts: Emilie La Marquise du Chatalet Defends Her Life Tonight by the Symmetry Theatre Company in Berkeley, Toil and Trouble at Impact Theatre, By and By with the Shotgun Players, The Taming with Crowded Fire Theater, plus I and You at the Marin Theatre Company. Love a rising star? There’s still time to bolster your “I saw her back when” cred when both TheatreWorks and SF Playhouse produce her works in early 2014.



For fans of great house music, packed dance floors, cute crowds, and sweating out the workweek, Wednesdays are the new Fridays, thanks to the stellar Housepitality party crew. Promoters and DJs Mikey Tello and Miguel Solari, along with about a dozen fantastic resident local DJs, bring in international underground superstars every week to get us over hump day (and play havoc with our Thursday mornings). But the Housepitalers go beyond merely roping in midweek talent — they’ve built a devoted community of new and old school dance mavens, crossing generational divides through the spirit of darned good music and a loving vibe. Now in their third year, they also dig deep to introduce the Bay to fresh talent and obscure legends: not too many parties on Earth can boast bringing in “DJ’s DJ” (and an inventor of Detroit techno) D. Wynn one week and then contemporary Bulgarian live acid house act Kink the next. Who needs sleep, anyway?

Wednesdays, 10pm-2am at F8, 1192 Folsom, SF.



Humans beware. The great robot revolution is nigh, and builders of combat robots have done us no favors by creating machines whose sole function is to destroy. Way to go, guys. But, on second thought, maybe it’s for the best that these “combots” exist, and are still obeying their owners by fighting battles — exclusively with each other — inside a giant, bulletproof pen at the annual International RoboGames. This gives us an opportunity now to study their moves — before they launch their surprise attack on the human race. Combots have advantages such as brute force, whirling blades, super-sumo skills, and general imperviousness to pain. There are even androids that perform kung fu (shudder). But by observing them in action now, we can start formulating our defense strategy ahead of time. Thanks, RoboGames, for giving us this opportunity for the past decade.



Along with closely-affiliated nonprofit San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation, CinemaSF has stepped up to keep a pair of historic theaters located in non-trendy neighborhoods — the Vogue and the Balboa — alive and thriving, especially after a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year raised dough to ease the Balboa’s digital-upgrade costs. (The Vogue, thankfully, was already 21st century-ready.) It would be an easy moneymaker to simply screen the latest Hollywood releases, and while both theaters do show first-run stuff, they also offer exclusive and special-interest programming on the side, such as the Balboa’s “Popcorn Palace” kiddie series, and the Vogue’s hosting of San Francisco Film Society events like November’s “Taiwan Film Days.” Have we mentioned how awesome it is not to always watch a movie on your laptop alone in your tiny room, or be bombarded by sense-numbing multiplex gimmickry? Here’s to many more years of great indie flicks shared in great spaces with friendly film fans.



After 33 years of provoking thought and conversation about contemporary ideas and letters, City Arts and Lectures has a brand-new venue for hosting its famed series of onstage chats with boldfaced names (recent roll-call: Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Guest, Zadie Smith, Jaron Lanier, Marc Maron, Jhumpa Lahiri). But the Nourse Theater isn’t actually new at all — it was built in 1927, which makes it nearly as old as the Castro Theatre. The late Beaux-Arts beauty, once used as the High School of Commerce theater, sat neglected and closed for over 30 years. Now spiffily refurbished (think plush new seats and top-of-the-line sound and lighting) under the guidance of City Arts & Lectures founder Sydney Goldstein, with fabulously Rococo-like architectural details preserved, the hulking building on Hayes is fully revived and ready for heady artistic musings and bleeding-edge pronouncements.

275 Hayes, SF.



When it was announced in 2011 that legendary Soma gay leather biker bar the Eagle Tavern was closing, much of the queer population was stunned. Sure, although charitable Sunday afternoon beer busts and renowned Thursday Night Live local rock showcases were packed, the large bar and patio were not exactly swarmed the rest of the time — and the owners had recently sunk much of their money into the revamped Hole in the Wall Saloon. But the Eagle’s closure became a flashpoint for what many saw as the homogenization of SF’s gay population and the gentrification of traditional queer spaces. A determined activist coalition rallied the city’s political forces and helped find new gay buyers — Alex Montiel and Mike Leon — who vowed to keep the spot’s rough-and-tumble, rock and roll gay vibe while revamping the interior and programming to appeal to a new generation of sexy, bearded, kinky men and friends. The SF Eagle flew again in 2013, and has been by all accounts a success: still down and dirty, but the coolest “new” gay hangout in the city.

398 12th St, SF.



How long does it take to make a tradition? Surely a longevity spanning four decades denotes a yearly gathering that has taken hold of a group’s psyche. If this is indeed the case, consider the pagan faction Bay Area Reclaiming’s Spiral Dance a full-blown, locally born folkway. The rite takes place each year during the Halloween season, or Samhain, as the pagan holiday of death and regeneration is best known. During the gathering — which also serves as Reclaiming Bay Area’s biggest fundraiser of the year — dance, acrobatics, elaborate altars, and song mark a program largely geared around the spiral dance itself, in which group members move in a whorl (widdershins, as the counterclockwise movement is known in faiths from Wicca to Judaism) that invokes rebirth as the cold season approaches. It’s a gorgeous, all-inclusive sight, regardless of the number or character of the deities to which you pay homage. (You’re invited too, atheist babes.)



Oh, how we love Sister Spit — that incubator of radical feminist artists and punk-lit creators, host for two decades of some the best Bay Area spoken word performances. But the performance series (birthed by Michelle Tea and Sini Anderson back in 1994, and then again in 2006) may well hold more significance to those outside of the Bay. After all, when Sister starting touring in the late ’90s, packing its erudite rabble-rousers into a series of ramshackle vans, towns like Detroit and Tucson got a very special dose of San Francisco’s “talented, tattooed, and purple pigtailed” poets, writers, sexual outlaws, and more. Cultural ambassadors, we deem them all. The series continues to go on the road — with writers like Ali Liebgott, Eileen Myles, Robin Akimbo, and many more — and grow. Earlier this year publisher City Lights debuted its new Sister Spit imprint with a glorious anthology of pieces performed at past events, Sister Spit: Writing, Rants and Reminiscence from the Road.



Different Fur Studios is esteemed by the current generation of music fans for churning out a staggering variety of hip music from San Francisco — A B & the Sea, Main Attrakionz, Lilac, the She’s — and beyond. Given the storied studio’s long history, however, it’s no wonder it’s still helping define the sound of the Bay. It was founded in 1968, at the height of San Francisco sonic weirdness, by Patrick Gleeson, an energetic electronic music composer who brought in the likes of Herbie Hancock, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Stevie Wonder. The Fur stands on end: alert to the changing times and latest trends. Nowadays, it’s known for being highly Web-savvy, recording live iTunes-exclusive tracks, and uploading videos of in-studio sessions (like those of Little Dragon, Girls, Toro Y Moi, Big K.R.I.T., and more). Praise be to a different Pat — current owner and engineer Patrick Brown — who as a champion of local acts and labels alike keeps tradition alive in the heart of the Mission.



Gay gamers often have friends they can brag to about their Xbox Live gamerscore. And they often have friends they can take to the club. And never shall those two groups of friends meet. Yet for one glorious weekend in Japantown last August, LGBT nerds united to celebrate indie queer games and to dress in Princess Peach drag (her five o’clock shadows were fetching). GaymerX was the first LGBT video game convention in the nation, and its panels included executives from gaming super-giant Electronic Arts, where gaymers lobbied for more inclusion in a white-male-hetero-normative-dominated industry. The dance floor was rocking, as Pikachu, Kratos, Mario and a host of other costumed fans shook their pixilated tail feathers. The voice actress who portrayed the killer robot from Portal, GLAaDOS, even helped two beautiful bear boys get married on stage with her signature song “Still Alive.” And best of all, the convention announced its second run for next July at an even bigger space. As Mario would say, “Let’s-a-go!”



Hang out with rad musicians like Peter Case, Alejandro Escovedo, Nataly Dawn, Sean Hayes, The Mother Hips, Ben Kweller, Heather Combs, John Vanderslice, and Chuck Prophet at a genial house party — and then watch them play a full concert in the living room? This convivial scene (you may actually be able to pet a cat while singing along) is what KC Turner’s House Concert series is all about. Here, nothing separates the performers from their patrons, save a few extra inches of legroom and the use of a microphone. In the music business, it seems almost inevitable that you’ll wind up selling some portion of your soul to make a living, but so far the fresh-faced, formidably-prolific KC Turner seems to be avoiding that fate by helping to create the world — and by extension, the music business — he wants to live in. We are all the better for it. Just please try not to spill any wine on the rug.



In 1973, Japantown’s Nihonmachi Street Fair was devised along the lines of community protest — in the face of sweeping neighborhood redevelopment, the celebration of Japanese heritage was a line in the sand, a declaration that one of SF’s unique neighborhoods would not be erased by the vagaries of urban renewal. (Nihonmachi means, roughly, “Japantown.”) Forty years later, it is an enduring statement of the power of community, and the festival considers itself a representation of the Pan-Asian cultural experience in San Francisco. During the early August weekend of Nihonmachi, awesome food, unique crafts, and musical performances fill the streets, and Asian traditions like the Chinese Lion Dance, Hawaiian music, and Filipino acrobatics fill the stages. An estimated 30,000 people attended this year — fest organizers wager they were largely first-time fans of this neighborhood triumph, which only confirms the community’s deepening roots.



One game has the player land on a purple planet and get asked out on a date by a giant sea monster. Another has you shimmy a bumble-bee’s booty in the right sequence to win. Some of the games touch serious subjects like coming out for the first time, or dealing with poverty. And you can make one, too! The games on DIY text-based gaming platform Twine are wild and varied, but they’re always first person narratives. Remember “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? It’s kind of like that. Birthed three years ago by Chris Klimas, Twine really took off in the past year after being trumpeted by Anna Anthropy, a game designer known for “Dys4ia,” which chronicled her start in hormone replacement therapy. That’s the beauty of Twine: it’s a format suited to telling very personal stories in an interactive way. You don’t need to know any programming at all to make a free Twine game — it’s all text, so you just need to know how to write. And the games that result are presented as web pages containing a maze of hyperlinks: a pretty good metaphor for life.


The spirit of the underground is still alive in Larry Gonello Jr.’s world. The ace renegade soulful house and techno DJ was everywhere this year — from official street festival to not-so-official one, from licensed afterhours loft party to extralegal sunrise beach rave — joining in the fabulous mobile soundsystem tradition pioneered by great tricyclist Amandeep Jawa’s speaker-wired Trikeasaurus Rex, Monkeylectric’s Off-Grid Party Trailer, or anyone whose strapped an old transistor radio onto a bike during critical mass and rocked the freak out to Michael Jackson. Gonello’s Boombox Affair, though, usually went one better: wiring together an array of large, vintage, insanely covetable boom boxes to form a wall of sound at his pop-up dance parties. Adding a couple innocuous bass bins, he creates a DIY soundsystem that looks cool as hell while moves the crowd. “Sick” is the word usually uttered by first-time viewers. But by the time that overused yet totally appropriate word is swallowed up by beats, they’re already dancing.



Books on tape, books on schmape. If you’re looking for the words of great literature to leap off the page (or titanium dioxide electrophoretic screen, if you’re Kindlin’), look no further than the 20-year-old tradition that is Z Space’s Word for Word series. In 1993, the legend goes, Susan Harloe and JoAnne Winter founded the company in order to “tell great stories with elegant theatricality, staging performances of classic and contemporary fiction.” The first production, of Dorothy Parker story “The Standard of Living,” played to a packed house. Seventy staged works — from classics like Sherwood Anderson’s homey Winesburg, Ohio and Tennessee Williams’ homo-textual “Two on a Party” to cutting edge contemporary works like Siobhan Fallon’s resonant Iraq War-fallout story cycle “You Know When the Men Are Gone” and Nathan Englander’s post-Holocaust domestic tale “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” (performed at the Jewish Community Center) — and a tour of France later, the inimitable W4W troupe just took on the title story of Dan Chaon’s 2012 collection Stay Awake for Litquake. In a delightful meta-move, Word for Word will stage 36 stories by SF’s patron saint of the theater, Sam Shepard, in May 2014.



Everybody’s saying the feisty, freaky soul of San Francisco is dying. Finally someone did something about it, in the form of resurrecting one of the city’s most treasured cult arts figures, Ed Mock. A black, gay, free-spirited improvisational dance pioneer who died of AIDS in 1986: welp, you can’t get much more “vanishing San Francisco” than that. (Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf premiered in his studio. Enuf said.) The fact that Mock and his eponymous dance company heavily encouraged, trained, and influenced a generation of young artists surely helped cement his immortality. So much so that former student and UC Berkeley dance instructor Amara Tabor-Smith, who met Mock when she was 14 and joined his company three years later, joined with several collaborators in June to bring his specter back to the byways of our fair town. He Moved Swiftly But Gently Down the Not Too Crowded Street: Ed Mock and Other True Tales in a City That Once Was consisted of 11 site-specific performances that journeyed through Mock’s life, from “A Roomful of Black Men” in LaSalle Pianos to various “acts of improvisatory disruptions” up and down Valencia Street. You could feel Mock smiling fearlessly, glorious in a giant pink tutu, back on the streets.




Best of the Bay 2013: BEST PET SOUNDS


Different Fur Studios is esteemed by the current generation of music fans for churning out a staggering variety of hip music from San Francisco — A B & the Sea, Main Attrakionz, Lilac, the She’s — and beyond. Given the storied studio’s long history, however, it’s no wonder it’s still helping define the sound of the Bay. It was founded in 1968, at the height of San Francisco sonic weirdness, by Patrick Gleeson, an energetic electronic music composer who brought in the likes of Herbie Hancock, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Stevie Wonder. The Fur stands on end: alert to the changing times and latest trends. Nowadays, it’s known for being highly Web-savvy, recording live iTunes-exclusive tracks, and uploading videos of in-studio sessions (like those of Little Dragon, Girls, Toro Y Moi, Big K.R.I.T., and more). Praise be to a different Pat — current owner and engineer Patrick Brown — who as a champion of local acts and labels alike keeps tradition alive in the heart of the Mission.

Heads Up: 8 must-see concerts this week


The Internet never forgets. I realized this yet again today after discovering the complete 1979 BBC documentary, Who Is Poly Styrene, and with the more globally appealing announcement that it looks like JT and the rest of the ‘N Sync gang will perform at MTV’s Video Music Awards, Sunday. Oh and Cher has a new video, which is her first in 12 years! There may be hope for you yet, Gotye (the coffee shop I was at this morning played his hit, which reminded me of his existence.) 

Anyways, this week (and slightly beyond), the Bay Area will host both legendary and up-and-coming must-sees, with the Melvins, Black Sabbath, My Bloody Valentine topping the list, along with Deerhunter and No Age, and newbies the Parmesans, the She’s, and Ovvl. All acts to catch if you have the chance (and you do, see below).

Here are your must-see shows: 

The She’s
“If you walked anywhere in the downtown area during July, you’re probably already familiar with the She’s. The band was featured by the Converse Represent campaign, and its image, pushing a drum kit up one of SF’s trademarked hills, has been boldly splashed around the city. Converse chose well. The She’s embody all the youth, DIY attitude, and vintage pop that San Francisco loves. Their debut album, appropriately titled Then It Starts To Feel Like Summer, retrofits dreamy ’60s pop with a crackling teenage energy (these ladies are still in high school) and they’re finishing up a much-anticipated EP, tentatively titled We’re not Best Coast (But They’re Cool Too). The band, which has credited much of its success to the open and supportive SF music scene, is giving back tonight at Bottom of the Hill, where it’s headlining this Save KUSF Benefit.” — Haley Zaremba
With the Yes Go’s, False Priest
Tue/20, $10, 9pm
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St, SF

The Melvins
“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
Thu/22, 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.
With Devin Gary and Ross, Sun Foot
Fri/23, 7:30pm (doors at 5pm), $7
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
2625 Durant, Berk.

My Bloody Valentine
“This is the reunion for which we dared not hope. Until this year, My Bloody Valentine’s genre-defining masterstroke of the shoegaze movement, 1991’s Loveless, was the last we had heard from the Irish-English band, and as a result, it was canonized as one of those pristine, “perfect” albums, frozen in time and untainted by inferior follow-ups. And then, this past Groundhog Day, the unthinkable happened: after an excruciating, 22-year wait, and countless broken promises, bandleader Kevin Shields casually posted a new record, mbv, on the web, In Rainbows style, surprising his diehard fans with the legendary third album they had been hopelessly fantasizing about only a week before. This Friday, My Bloody Valentine will pay a visit to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for their first SF show since the early ’90s.” — Taylor Kaplan
With Beachwood Sparks, Lumerians
Fri/23, 8pm, $45
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
99 Grove, SF
(415) 624-8900

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.. (Savage)
With Before the Brave, Garden Party, Greg Downing
Fri/23, 9pm, $10
Thee Parkside
1600 17th St, SF

“If you’ve been to a local metal show in recent months, chances are Ovvl was on the bill. If not, there was probably an Ovvl member standing next to you in the crowd. But, hesher, stop now if you’ve been taking ’em for granted. With a new album and tours on the horizon, the four-piece is about to be mighty scarce around these parts.” — Cheryl Eddy
With Crag Dweller
Sat/24, 9pm, $5
Bender’s Bar and Grill
806 S. Van Ness, SF

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. This year, Black Sabbath 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.”
Mon/26, 7:30pm, $40–$149.50
Shoreline Amphitheatre
One Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View

“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
Mon/26, 8pm, $21
Great American Music Hall
859 O’Farrell, SF
(415) 885-0750

The Selector: August 14 – 20, 2013





Long before SF became hospitable to starts-up and high tech biz, it fostered dance innovation. No one in the city boasts this continued support more so than the Garage, the place with the red door that welcomes all-comers. Some of those choreographers, however, have outgrown the Garage’s limited studio space. Hence, the yearly Summer Performance Festival (SPF), which throws the spotlight on those ready for the bigger world. Last year SPF moved to ODC Theater, which was a great decision. ODC offers a superb, professional, yet still intimate environment. The eight 2013 choreographers — selected from 120 — are BodiGram, Jenni Bregman, Aura Fischbeck, Gretchen Garnett, Angela Mazziota, Milissa Payne, Nine Shards, and VinnicombeWinkler. Their pieces range from solos to a dozen or more dancers; from 15 to 45 minutes; inspired by, among others, kids drawings and hot air balloons. (Rita Felciano)

Through Fri/16, 7pm and 9pm, (Sat/17, also 4pm; Sun/18, 2pm, 4pm, 7pm), $10–$20

3153 17th St, SF

(415) 863-9834


Ivan & Alyosha

Seattle band Ivan & Alyosha creates a beautifully feel-good take on folk and indie rock. However, the group’s songs are more than just catchy tunes. The band, which was formed by Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary, delves into darker patterns and themes on songs like “Don’t Wanna Die Anymore,” an indignant and resolute track with soft melodies that speaks of repentance and death. This balance of fast-paced, catchy, foot-stomping rhythms with earnest, ballad-like vocals gives listeners a wide variety of moods to choose from. One of its most buzz-worthy songs seems to say it all — the band is “Easy to Love.” And this summer, Ivan & Alyosha has been hitting the venues hard, touring on the latest, highly acclaimed album All the Times We’ve Had, with a stop in SF tonight. Come and see just how easy it is to love the rising band. (Hillary Smith)

With the Record Company 8pm, $15


628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421



Divisadero Art Walk

For better or worse (depends who you ask), Divisadero Street, between Geary and Haight, is undergoing a transformation. Some long-standing businesses (Blue Jay Café, Little Chihuahua, Fly Bar, the Page, NOPA) remain, while others have recently settled in that Alamo Square-ian, Panhandle-adjacent nook (Bi-Rite, Rare Device, the Mill, San Franpsycho). And yet, they all exist in basic brick-and-mortar harmony along Divis, and will showcase such familial spirits at the annual Divisadero Art Walk tonight. Journey down Divis to take in the basics: art shows, store discounts, food and drink, live music. Some offerings of note: Vinyl’s got Pizza Hacker craft pizza, the Page will have an extended happy hour till 9pm, and Madrone Art Bar hosts Fred Windisch’s surf photography from the 1960s, New Orleans piano music, and a free Night Fever Disco Party. Plus, the New Liberation Community Garden at 1100 Divisadero, a project of Neighbors Developing Divisadero and the New Liberation Church, will host SF Skate Club’s skate jam, a variety show, and jazz-inspired artwork. (Emily Savage)

5pm, free

Divisadero between Geary and Haight, SF

Facebook: Divisadero Art Walk


“Neon Slime Double Feature!”

Everyone knows there’s beef between Los Angeles and San Francisco — and not just where baseball is concerned. But rivalries that run as deep as fault lines be damned: SoCal’s Cinefamily and our very own Roxie are making a star-spangled case for harmony — through movies! Trashy movies, no less! Cinefamily zips into town tonight carrying precious cargo: 35mm prints of 1984’s Angel (“honor student by day, Hollywood hooker by night!”) and 1982’s Vice Squad (two words: killer pimp), to be screened before San Francisco eyeballs hungry for garish, sleazy exploitation rarities. Together we can! (Cheryl Eddy)

Angel, 9:15pm; Vice Squad, 11pm, $12

Roxie Theater

3117 16th St, SF


Useless Children

Useless Children, a noisy hardcore act hailing from Australia, has made its way from down under to play with Seattle-based noise rock band Dream Decay, and North Bay stoner-garage act, the Vibrating Antennas. With its second album — 2012’s Post Ending // Pre-Completion — in tow, this will be Useless Children’s first time venturing into the US. The band, known for its chaotic sound, takes an artsy, more experimental approach to modern hardcore. And those supporters also pack a punch, both known for being rowdy and playing powerful live shows. If you like your music feedback-laden with murky distortion pedals, then this may be the show for you. Get ready for a night of violent noise rock in a bar. (Erin Dage)

8:30pm, $7

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF

(415) 923-0923


Matatu Film Festival

The traveling Matatu Film Festival — named for a Swahili term that refers to ride-share taxis in Kenya and other East African countries — visits Oakland’s New Parkway Theater with films depicting “global journeys of humility, pride, resistance, and faith.” The fest opens tonight with Patricia Benoit’s story of Haitian immigrants in New York, Stones in the Sun (2012). It closes Sat/17 with Senegalese director Alain Gomis’ Tey (2012), about a man drifting through the last day of his life. (Both films are followed by tie-in music events at the nearby New Parish.) Among the other screenings: powerful docs God Loves Uganda and Stolen Seas (2012), well worth catching if you’ve missed them at previous local fests. (Eddy)

Through Sat/17

New Parkway Theater

474 24th St, Oakl


Best Coast

Under “biography” on Best Coast’s website, there is a single phrase: “Inspired by life and love and everything else.” Brief as it is, this little credo is really all one needs to know about Best Coast’s beach-bleached garage jangle. Frontperson Bethany Cosentino’s attention is sometimes attributed to her rock star boyfriend (Nathan Williams of Wavves) or her Internet-famous cat (the almighty Snacks) but after two successful albums — not to mention an unflaggingly devoted fan base —Best Coast’s catalog speaks for itself. The LA outfit’s simple, sunny pop songs are not particularly challenging, adventurous, or intellectual, but sometimes a hyper-listenable little slice of SoCal bliss is just what you need on a gray San Francisco day. (Haley Zaremba)

With Bleached

8pm, $25


1805 Geary, SF

(415) 346-6000




Have you ever worried that you just didn’t have enough grindcore in your boring, monotonous life? For those who have had that terrifying thought, Oakland’s third annual Deadfest is the perfect remedy. Boasting headliners such as ’90s grindcore heroes Dropdead and sludge bands Noothgrush and Brainoil, this will be a weekend of hardcore not soon forgotten. In true grindcore tradition, there will be over a dozen bands in a short period of time each night on two stages. Get ready for an aural assault that will have your ears ringing for days. As the youngsters these days say: “See you in the pit!” Just a reminder: It’s best not to be 30 minutes late to this event, because you run the risk of missing two to three bands. (Dage)

Through Sat/17, 8pm, $15 per night

Oakland Metro Opera House

630 Third St, Oakl.

(510) 763-1146



SF Street Food Fest

La Cocina’s annual San Francisco Food Street Festival gives locals the chance to sample cuisines from all over the world. Food trucks and booths line the streets at the festival in a pulsing, crowded mix of aromas and flavorful dishes like the Penang peanut tacos from Azalina’s, Peruvian ceviche from Cholo Soy, or beef pho rolls from Rice Paper Scissors. The Mozzeria stand can satisfy your cheese craving with the Margherita pizza — fresh mozzarella, pomodoro sauce, and basil. And if you desire a sweet and refreshing beverage, visit the Curry Up Now truck and try the Rose Lassi. The festival has an infinite amount of combinations, and it’s fun to try as many of them as your stomach, and wallet, will allow. Donations made at the festival support La Cocina’s business incubator program which aids early-stage entrepreneurs growing healthy, sustainable food businesses. (Smith)

11am-7pm, free

Folsom from 20th to 26th, SF


“Eat a Bug! An Interactive Bug Cooking Workshop”

Oh sure, you call yourself a foodie. But would you dare snack on a scorpion or gnaw on a hairy tarantula leg? Test the limits of your taste buds (and earn some sweet bragging rights) with author David George Gordon, aka “The Bug Chef,” whose wholly unique Eat-a-Bug Cookbook contains such recipes as “Sheesh! Kabobs,” featuring “12 frozen katydids, locusts, or other suitably sized Orthoptera, thawed.” Gordon’s cooking demo is aimed at adventurous chefs of all ages — Fear Factor fans and planners of daring dinner parties alike. (Eddy)

1-3pm, $10-$20

San Francisco Botanical Garden

Golden Gate Park (near the corner of Ninth Ave and Lincoln), SF



San Francisco Mixtape Society: Camp

Bug juice and swimming holes, acoustic guitar strumming by the crackling fire and hand-braided friendship bracelets around your wrists, those sticky-sweet summer breezes whistling through the trees. Yes, the thought of summer camp tends to bring back warm and itchy memories for the lot of us who experienced such seasonal traditions in our youth (even for those who accidently went to Christian horse camp, but that’s another story). Put those nostalgic feelings to tape, or CD, or flash drive, then share them with that bright and bubbly SF Mixtape Society crowd tonight, at this newest installment of its quarterly gathering, centered around the theme of “Camp.” Maybe I’ll even make an accidently-religious-pony-camp mix to trade. Although, as the Mixtape Society smartly likes to keep its themes broad, the “Camp” distinction could lend itself to something else entirely, say, a campy Judy Garland track? As always, the meetup is open to all and free of charge, but you can only take a mix home if you bring your own to trade. Didn’t you ever learn the joy of sharing? (Savage)

4-6pm, free

Make-Out Room

3225 22nd St., SF



The She’s

If you walked anywhere in the downtown area during July, you’re probably already familiar with the She’s. The band was featured by the Converse Represent campaign, and its image, pushing a drum kit up one of SF’s trademarked hills, has been boldly splashed around the city. Converse chose well. The She’s embody all the youth, DIY attitude, and vintage pop that San Francisco loves. Their debut album, appropriately titled Then It Starts To Feel Like Summer, retrofits dreamy ’60s pop with a crackling teenage energy (these ladies are still in high school) and they’re finishing up a much-anticipated EP, tentatively titled We’re not Best Coast (But They’re Cool Too). The band, which has credited much of its success to the open and supportive SF music scene, is giving back tonight at Bottom of the Hill, where it’s headlining this Save KUSF Benefit. (Zaremba)

With the Yes Go’s, False Priest

$10, 9pm

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St, SF

(415) 626-4455

Noise Pop 2013: The Thermals and Dirty Ghosts at Rickshaw Stop, Bender’s happy hour


I first learned of the Thermals in 2005 from the DVD series, Burn to Shine, in which bands play a house that’s set to be demolished. In an unlucky Portland, Oreg. home, the pop punk trio – by then together for just under three years – bounding with energy, played exclusive single “Welcome to the Planet.” That particular Burn to Shine installment also featured live, untouched performances by Sleater-Kinney, Mirah, the Decemberists, and the Gossip. A basic slice of life in Portland that year, all under one soon-to-be-gone roof.

Friday’s Noise Pop show at the Rickshaw Stop celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Thermals’ very first album, More Parts Per Million (2003, Sub Pop). And while it’s now all these years later, and the band has since released a decade’s worth of records building to 2013’s Desperate Ground, the Thermals have maintained a joyful, power-pop exuberance and nasally shine. The Rickshaw crowd pogo’d off its feet to every song, nearly in unison, matching the excitement of the band on stage, even causing a brief kerfuffle near the end.

“This week is the 10th anniversary of our first record,” said lead singer-guitarist Hutch Harris, “I hope you like it because we’re going to play most of it.”

And the sold-out room did enjoy it. Despite the band’s relative longevity, the audience seemed mostly on the younger side; I’d guess at least half were under 21, and spotted those inked giant Xs on many a pumping fist (maybe they were just straight-edge? Do kids still do that?). That could also be due to the fact that the show was 18 and over, and the Rickshaw generally attracts a younger set.

The show opened with experimental San Francisco pop trio Ev Kain, which had a confusing, dense sound peppered with echoing duel vocal harmonies, expert, off-time drumming, angular guitars, and upbeat ska melodies. At different points, it was reminiscent of the early aughts math-rock and dance punk explosions, a welcome change from standard SF garage acts, at other moments the roaring lead vocals were distracting from the drumming (though I always am drawn to a drummer who sings). I overheard comparisons to both Radio 4 and Fishbone thrown out among the attendees up on balcony. See? Confusing.

All-teenage, all-girl beach pop group the She’s (ahem, our recent cover stars for the On the Rise issue) followed and impressed with those breezy harmonies and technical skills. The quartet opened with “Picture of Houses,” in which three of the four harmonize, “picture of houses in my life/grey skies and warm sand/it’s al-ri-ght” – that last “it’s alright” being repeated in a dreamy Beach Boys ode.

Pretty much everyone around me was smiling during the She’s set, especially when lead singer-guitarist Hannah Valente dedicated a song to her dad, saying “Happy birthday, dad!” before launching into a brand new track.

Next up, Dirty Ghosts brought out the Flying “V” guitars and classic, hard-hitting rock’n’roll. The band, another trio from San Francisco, seems to be getting tighter and brighter every year – perhaps it has just been too long since I’ve seen them live. They blew my mind like it was the first time.

Led by the hair-shaking guitarist Allyson Baker and bassist Erin McDermott (who sported a beer tap strap and a Faith No More shirt), Dirty Ghosts played songs off last year’s Metal Moon, and seven-inch “Katana Rock/Eyes of a Stranger” (2012). They killed with “Eyes of a Stranger,” which, as they noted, is in the classic 1980s film, Valley Girl (a.k.a my all-time favorite movie), and also with gritty single “Ropes that Way,” during which Baker and McDermott walked toward each other and did that noodling rock star move they’re so good at.

An audience interaction I dug during the set: whenever Baker mentioned Canada, or talked at all really, a smaller cluster of ladies near me screamed, whooped, danced, and repeatedly called back to the stage banter (old friends from Baker’s native land of Toronto?). Either way, they were feeling it, and it was contagious.

The next day, I stopped by Noise Pop’s free happy hour show at Bender’s and caught the awesomely hard, deep-fried Southern ’70s rock’n’roll act Wild Eyes SF  (with electric singer-tambourine shaker Janiece Gonzalez wearing an American flag denim vest, naturally, and drummer Ben Richardson, who, full disclosure, is a sometimes Guardian contributer), along with “[Black] Sabbath-worshiping” rock band Owl, and some delicious deep-fried tater tots dipped in ketchup. The greasy daytime show, packed with tall dudes with long hair and black shirts, was the perfect antidote to the poppy preceding night, and ended my Noise Pop 2013 week with a bang and a belly ache.
(Video shot by Guardian arts editor Cheryl Eddy)

Bands on the Rise 2013


MUSIC Ask 10 artists the same question, get back a dozen answers. The replies to my very brief questionnaires this year — it’s our second annual On the Rise issue — were revealing, like peeling back the skin of a tender orange, or rather fragrant onion.

Some juicy responses filled me with pride for our fair city and sisters across the bay, some inspired me to dig deeper, some just stunk. Jokes — they were all much appreciated, thank you. As the surveys came floating back in, I got excited by personal sonic descriptions such as “club bangers and sultry club grind jams,” “morbid classics,” and “Brazilian shoegaze.”

Another question that garnered a flurry of diverse answers from the acts: what’s the best part of life as a Bay Area artist? Turns out, the artists like that the crowds here mosh and smile, that making music locally isn’t intimidating like it can be in LA or NY, that new groups pop up whenever you think you’re clued in to it all, that they’re able to see live music every night of the week, the monthly showcases like Sick Sad World, the tight knit community of elder area rappers, and “the widespread non-commercial ethos of groove.”

And like last year’s list, this On the Rise bunch is rather varied, dealing in electronic arts, post-metal, hip-hop hype, ’70s glam, radio-friendly soul pop, and beyond — truly creating unique sounds across the board. One common thread I did find was the location; more than half of those picked for the 2013 list happen to be based in the East Bay, meaning at least six of the 10 are usually spotted across the bridges and BART stations. What that says about our local music scene, I haven’t quite dissected, though I often hear rumblings from artists in the area about rising SF rents and lack of rehearsal space. These are concerns to discuss amongst ourselves.

For On the Rise 2013, this much I know: these are the acts that I’d like to see get more attention this year and beyond. These are the bands, singers, musicians, and rappers that have been creating exciting output for less than a year, or some, for nearly a decade. They’re the ones to keep your eye on, to stay involved with, to hand over your hard-earned cash to see live. They’re keeping the Bay interesting — and weird — and for that, I’m grateful. Here are their stories.











Live Shots: La Sera at the Chapel


It was nice to see that “Kickball” Katy Goodman hasn’t grown up too much since leaving the Vivian Girls. Her big smile, bubbling stage banter, and virginal attire—a lacy white dress to match her white Fender bass guitar — added a saccharine candy coating to the dark, jangly pop of La Sera, her Los Angeles-based solo project.

Swaying and hopping across the Chapel stage last Saturday night in all black Converse All Stars, Goodman whipped her all-male backing band through a surprisingly short set, clocking in at just around 45 minutes.

La Sera was within the first ten bands to grace the stage at the Chapel, San Francisco’s newest music venue at 18th and Valencia in the Mission; the venue celebrated its opening in conjunction with this year’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival last month. The Chapel is a stripped down, well, chapel — complete with stained glass windows and an arching, pitched ceiling with beautiful dark wood rafters.

As an added bonus, in contrast with everything I know and understand about music venues, the Chapel is astonishingly clean. For now, it smells of wood stain instead of stale beer. The 500 capacity venue also offers a small dinner menu and seating spread around the room at simple, wooden tables that match the hardwood floors.

The audience during La Sera was extremely engaged, if mellow, watching with quiet attentiveness and occasionally chuckling at guitarist Tod Wisenbaker’s bad jokes (“He writes his own material,” quipped Goodman. “It’s pretty impressive.”)

La Sera’s newly released sophomore effort Sees the Light picks right up where the last left off, sounding a bit like a co-ed Dum Dum Girls or, as you might expect, Vivian Girls. The live show, like the new album, offered few surprises. Goodman, despite being a veteran of the stage, was surprisingly tame and uncharismatic for a frontperson. For the last song, however, she jumped off the stage and sang directly to some excited audience members, giving a stronger finish to an otherwise good, but unremarkable show.
The real highlight of the night was the opener, San Francisco’s own the She’s, a beach-tinged girl band with a slightly doo-wop vibe and a seriously good groove. So good, apparently, that La Sera’s drummer bought a the She’s shirt between sets to wear for his own performance. If the She’s next album is as good as the material they played Saturday night, they could definitely be a band to watch out for.

Heads Up: 6 must-see concerts this week


Waiting for the second manicure of my life, flipping through trashy magazines with my excitable fellow preeners, I came upon a photo of glittery purple monster Katy Perry; the conversation switched to her skills as a pop singer and place in the cultural zeitgeist (general consensus: the candy-coated songs are terrible guilty pleasures, her candy-coated bosom and infantilizing sexuality are kind of ick). We flipped the page.

Fast-forward several hours and – tickled by intense declarations of love and copious champagne at an intimate ranch wedding – the preeners and I are ecstatically throwing our whole selves into this “Teenage Dream.” Limbs in the air, with broad toothy smiles, we were in it, and without any trace of remorse or snark.

Music does that to you. We all seek out the challenging works of the genius craftspeople, but sometimes, it’s all about that quick and thrilling release, of both endorphins and mind. Letting it all go for the moment. Soaking up the sound. Musicians and bands below such as Naytronix and Father John Misty – and even genuine pop-star-in-training Maria Minerva – have both the challenge and the release. Why pass up the chance to see that live?

Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end:

Let’s get this out of the way: Naytronix is actually Oakland’s Nate Brenner, tUnE-YaRds’ bassist, who has her tripped out mixing sensibility, and is also a member of experimental East Bay act Beep! That said, he’s clearly on his own path with the robotic-dance-party Naytronix project, with dense synth samples and shiny disco pop grooves. Plus, I’m partial to Bay Area-heavy outputs. Check out the video for his single “Baby Don’t Walk” off his debut album, Dirty Glow (Oct. 9). It’ll make you want to Frankenstein twist in Golden Gate Park like some kind of Lynchian character.
With Sonnymoon, Bells, B. Lewis
Tue/25, 7:30pm, $8
Cafe Du Nord
2170 Market, SF
(415) 861-5016

Father John Misty 
This Father John Misty appearance comes before the long-sold out show later this week at the same venue. The absurdist LA folk singer-songwriter (a.k.a Fleet Foxes drummer J. Tillman), with strong vocals, a dapper sense of humor, and cocked hips, sent electrifying ripples through the Outside Lands crowds last month; one can only imagine how he’ll creep indoors. Silver lining: if this one does indeed sell out, there’s always the Jansport/Noisey Bonfire Sessions party thingy this weekend on Treasure Island – it’s free with RSVP and he plays alongside the Dodos, Geographer, and White Fence.
With Jenny O
Wed/26, 8pm, $15
628 Divisadero, SF
(415) 771-1421

Oakland’s Dreamdate could have been born of the 1990s Pacific Northwest. The trio, led by singer-songwriter Yea-Ming Chen, is lo-fi but poppy, minimalist but warm and sweetly melodic. A stripped down garage rock effort worthy of both tween swooning and headbanging. The trio has been bopping around the Bay for a few years now, and tonight, it shares the stage with some more melodic up-and-comers, the She’s.
Thu/27, 9pm, $7-$10
Brick and Mortar Music Hall
1710 Mission, SF
(415) 371-1631

Erin Brazill and the Brazillionaires
Self-described noir pop six-piece Erin Brazill and the Brazillionaires is set to use its Amnesia performance as an opportunity to release a new video. Not just any run-of-the-mill, song-to-performance video, this is the visual version of a song suite based on Hitchcock films including Rear Window, The Birds, Psycho, and Frenzy. A brow-raising undertaking indeed. But this talented local group – which includes the use of a washboard, clarinet, cigar-box guitar, and organ – doesn’t seem to shy away from a challenge. Plus, Amnesia says there will be a “lingerie fashion show” that night, whatever that means, presumably not the bands in their delicates.
Sat/29, 9pm, $7-$10
853 Valencia, SF
(415) 970-0012

Maria Minerva
“Like a ’90s TRL countdown as envisioned by Peaking Lights, Maria Minerva’s fuzzed-out hypnagogia is the stuff of bygone pop anthems, filtered experimentally and relentlessly through Macbooks, cheap software, and a boatload of filters and effects. Commended by The Wire for her contribution to the blossoming meta-pop movement, the elusive Estonian producer strikes a captivating balance between high art and radio trash, traditional top-40 conventions and anarchic nonconformity. “ — Taylor Kaplan
With Father Finger, Bobby Browser, EpicSauce DJs
Sun/30, 8pm, $12
Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell, SF
(415) 861-2011

Under the Central Freeway: A Live Music Festival
The main room will have locals Kelley Stoltz, Religious Girls (who just dropped new album I Want to Believe last week), Sweet Chariot, Will Sprott, the Wrong Words, Shalants, and Super Natural. And in the loft, DJs the Selector DJ Kirk of Sweater Funk, TS and OddznEndz, PASystems, and Dr. Linder. This one’s kind of a no brainer. Spend all day under the freeway at Public Works, then squint when the doors open and release yourself into the night.
Sun/30, 2-9pm, $15
Public Works
161 Erie, SF
(415) 932-0955



Ladies in the music biz deserve to be heard — weirdly, that still needs to be reiterated in 2012 — and Women’s Audio Mission is helping them get loud. The nonprofit is staunchly dedicated to “the advancement of women in music production and the recording arts.” As it notes, this is a field where women are chronically under-represented. WAM hires teachers for recording classes and has its own in-house studio, which means affordable recording time for budding female artists. Last year, the truly exciting local all-girl teenage rock ‘n’ roll band the She’s recorded their debut album at WAM, and this year the band is gaining some serious traction with radio spots. Ever grateful, the quartet behind the She’s credits WAM with realizing their dream (aww). Other clients include Kronos Quartet, Making Dinner, and Brazil’s Constantina. Here’s to a female future of recorded sound.

1890 Bryant, Suite 312, SF. (415) 558-9200.

Heads Up: 6 must-see concerts this week


Is it mundane to still be talking about the weather? What if we’re reminiscing about fickle San Francisco, and a rejuvenating weekend full of beaming hot sun, melted sundaes, and stretches of eternity park lounging with thousands of your closest compatriots?

What if that much-needed industrial shot of Vitamin D super charged our brains for the week ahead? Why can’t we believe in the goodness of the occasional bright weekend to dismiss week in, week out monotony?

What else drags our tired souls from the pits of a dull routine? Why, the ebb and flow of musical intake, of course. That jolt of bass, the kick of drums, the oom-pah of brass, the buzzing expanse of synth: it kick-starts our brains with a correspondingly industrial shot of adrenaline, rolling fog or shine. 

Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end:

The She’s
The melodic teenage rock’n’roll group seems to be living the garage pop dream right about now. The local quartet has a sparkly newish album making serious waves, has opened for dream-show Girls, and recently played Noise Pop before Surfer Blood to a sold-out crowd. While yes, a tad bit jealous, we must admit, it’s deserved: the She’s talent – bassist Samantha Perez has been playing since she was 7, and the others started around then too – and, their surfy fun vibes keep us coming back for more.
With Bilinda Butchers, Trails and Ways
Wed/25, 8pm, $10.
Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell, SF
(415) 861-2011

The Touré-Raichel Collective

Both wildly popular in their home states, Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré and Israeli pianist Idan Raichel came together for the languid, subtly gorgeous joint album The Tel Aviv Session – mixing in respective cultures of music through gentle plucking and steady drum beats – and bring that magic tonight to the Herbst.
Thu/26, 8pm, $25-$85
Herbst Theatre
401 Van Ness, SF
(415) 621-6600

Opeth and Mastodon
A doomy double bill of Swedish heavy metal and Southern-fried sludge. Both acts are epic in their own special way.
Fri/27, 8pm, $32.50
Fox Theater
1807 Telegraph, Oakl.
(510) 302-2250

Public Access: Hype Williams
Hype is indeed the word. The Xanax-slow atmospheric pop duo from London, named after the filmmaker, is making a name — and sound — all its own. Once shrouded in wobbly synth mystery, as these things usually are at the start, Hype Williams keeps the buzz a-growing. With openers Gatekeeper, Teengirl Fantasy, and Zebra Katz, it’s going to be a trippy goth pop carnival of a night.
Fri/27, 9pm, $15.
Public Works
161 Eerie, SF
(415) 932-0955

The crust punk band, born of the early Aughts, is three parts His Hero Is Gone (depths-of-hell growling vocalist- guitarist Todd Burdette, guitarist Yannick Lorrain, and drummer Paul Burdette) and three parts Death Threat (overlapping others, plus bassist Billy Davis), and all parts blistering, head-banging, good times. Playing twice in the Bay Area this weekend.
With Talk is Poison, Hunting Party, Replica, Negative Standards
Fri/27, 7pm, $10
Oakland Metro
630 Third St., Oakl.

With Needles, Sete Star Sept, Permanent Ruin, Stressors
Sat/28, 9pm, $10
Thee Parkside
1660 17th St., SF
(415) 252-1330

Sonya Cotton
Sonya Cotton is a folk force, an endearing vocalist and musician (known to swing a delicate uke) with church of nature-like calm; it’s not difficult to picture Cotton tearfully cradling a fallen deer in a lush forest, singing with woeful empathy of its journey. See below. Note that it’s difficult to watch, but her tone brings significance to the sadness.
As part of the Power of Song Series
With Conspiracy of Venus
Sun/29, 9-11pm
Brava Theater Center
2781 24th St, SF

The She’s on Girls, Women’s Audio Mission, and soccer practice


The She’s have opened for Girls, played with Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, and this month, released an infectious, surfy garage-pop debut album, Then It Starts To Feel Like Summer (the record release show is this Saturday at Bottom of the Hill).

Oh, and the band members – bassist Samantha Perez, vocalist Hannah Valente, guitarist Eva Treadway, and drummer Sinclair Riley – are all juniors in high school. But don’t diminish their talent by seeing She’s as a novelty, “young, all-girl band.” They’ve got the chops. I got the lowdown from the Bay Area quartet after school this week, discussing playing against stereotypes, life with punk parents, dream shows (hint: they’ve already played theirs), and kindergarten enemies.

San Francisco Bay Guardian: What were the first concerts you attended?
Hannah Valente: One of the first concerts we attended as a group was Blondie at the Fillmore. It was really inspiring to see a woman with such a powerful voice.
Samantha Perez: For me, I went to a lot of punk shows with my parents growing up because they were in the punk scene. It inspired me to begin playing music because I love the atmosphere and energy at shows.
SFBG: When did you start playing music and what influenced that?
Eva Treadway: We all grew up with music around us, both from our parents and also from growing up in SF. I was raised on a mix of old country blues records from my dad and Grateful Dead jams from my mom, which, come to think of it, is an interesting mix. As a kid I was crazy about the Beatles, and that was what really sparked my interest in picking up a guitar. I asked my parents for lessons and I had my first few lessons when I was about 10. When I started songwriting with the other members of the band, making music got really exciting for me again. Because we all come from different musical backgrounds – there was by no means Grateful Dead in Sami’s household growing up – but we also share really similar ideas and tastes in music.
Sinclair Riley: I started playing piano when I was about seven, then a few other classical instruments, but I didn’t start playing drums until the beginning of The She’s. My dad had a Beach Boys CD that he would always play in the car when he was driving, and I always liked driving with him so that I could listen to it because it was so much more interesting to me, I loved it so much more than anything I was playing on piano.
SP: I started playing guitar when I was seven years old. I was really resistant to play guitar, but my dad bought me a pink daisy-shaped one, so I got into it. As the years went on, I liked it more and more and then I started to sing in the San Francisco Girls Chorus, but I really wanted to start writing songs and start preforming.
HV: I was really influenced by my dad. He always seemed to be playing guitar around the house, so I just started singing with him. When I was like, three, I would sing with him while I took baths. I always liked music because it helped me connect to people. I’m shy, so it’s nice to have another way to communicate.
SFBG: How did you meet?
SP: We all met in kindergarten, and we were really close friends except me and Eva. We were enemies. In fifth grade we started playing music together and through that we became closer friends. It all started one day after soccer practice when Hannah said she had learned to play the Aly & AJ version of “Walking on Sunshine.” Eventually, the whole soccer team was in the band, but in the end it came down to just us four.
SFBG: Can you tell me a little about the process of making Then it Starts to Feel Like Summer?
SR: It was a pretty long yet satisfying process. About half the songs we already had written, and the others we wrote during the process of recording. It was so wonderful to get the opportunity to record at Women’s Audio Mission. It was really fun being in the studio and getting to take our time on this one. On this album we tried to capture the sound of what we play live. The ladies there are so nice and also taught us a bout the engineering aspect as well.
SFBG: What influences your sound? Who influences you personally?
HV: We are said to be a cross between the Ramones and the Ronettes, we really like the Beach Boys and other ’60s garage music. We’re always listening to new types of music, like ’60s country, local bands, and of course, pop.
ET: We’re influenced by going places and walking around San Francisco.
From listening to great songs, Lennon/McCartney of course, Brian Wilson, George Harrison, Phil Spector, even Britney Spears. Pretty much everything Christopher Owens from Girls writes I find inspiring.
SFBG: Where do you write music? Is it a group effort?
SR: Normally what happens is someone will bring in a guitar part or a melody or some part of a song, and we’ll all work together in our practice area (Hannah’s basement) to finalize the song – add lyrics, harmonies.
SFBG:  What’s been the most surreal experience thus far in the band? The weirdest?
HV: Hand’s down the most surreal show was playing with Girls at the Fillmore. Not only did we get to play with one of our favorite bands to listen to, but we also got to play on a stage where so many inspirational artists have performed.
SP: Playing at such a historic venue was unbelievable. The audience was great, the sound was great, the food backstage was great…it just really couldn’t have turned out any better. On the other hand, the weirdest experience we’ve had was probably when we were asked to play on TV on an early news broadcasting at like, 5 a.m.. We stayed the night in San Jose on a school night so that we could get to the studio at 3 a.m. and still be on time for school. However, we just happened to be there the same day that the San Bruno pipelines exploded, which meant our segment was canceled. It was a long, sleepy ride to school that morning, but at least we looked TV ready for all our peers!
SFBG. Who would play your dream show?
HV: Our first dream show would be to play with Girls, but then that actually happened. Then I would say to play with Magic Kids, but that also happened. After that, it would be the Morning Benders, but yes, that happened, too.
SP: Perhaps now our dream show would be with the early Beach Boys, once we build a time traveling machine, maybe that will be possible.
SFBG: Is it difficult working as an underage band in the San Francisco music scene?
EV: I think the most difficult part about being an underage musician (apart from sometimes not being allowed into to our own shows) is being treated as some sort of novelty act. It seems like a lot of times people feel that it is enough to describe our band as a “young all-girl band”, which really says nothing about our music. When people write reviews I wish they would remember that our age and gender are facts, and it doesn’t really go much deeper than that. It is true that being teenagers in the SF music scene is exciting for us. We’ve gotten to meet and even perform with some of our idols, and I know that that is something most teenagers don’t have the opportunity to do. I am proud of what we’ve done at this point in our lives, both as a band and as individuals and I feel fortunate to know what I am passionate about early on. The way I see it, it only leaves us time to grow.
SFBG: Is the She’s an intentionally all-female band?
SR: Not really, it just happened. We formed the band at that age when boys have cooties, and it’s been no boys ever since. We get treated differently since we’re a young all-girl teenage band though, and it’s made us stronger. We can go against the stereotype that girls and teenagers aren’t as capable as others.
SFBG: Do you consider yourselves feminists?
HV: We want women to be taken more seriously in the whole music industry. Every step of the way, our album was made by women. We hope to inspire other girls to get involved in this industry because women are way underrepresented.

The She’s
With Tijuana Panthers, Melted Toys
Sat/3, 10 p.m., $10
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St., SF
(415) 621-4455

Election 2010: Wait is on for Labor-Dems


Labor Council executive director Tim Paulson isn’t quite ready to give up the ghost on this one, despite a reported 196 Republican seats already won in the House.  “We really don’t know what the final answers are… some things are going well, some things are going not as well.” Most of labor’s most pressing local races – Paulson cited Measure B and the District 6 and District 8 races as examples – have yet to be decided and may possibly not have a confirmed winner until tomorrow. Measure B is going down at the moment, by the way – 51.6 percent “no” votes, still not enough reported at this point to call the race.

So for now, the Labor Council-Democrat Party party at the Great American Music Hall is contenting itself with crudites and tunes by young rock-women, The She’s. Fiona Ma made it up to congratulate everyone who got out the vote for the Dems – Jerry Brown, Pelosi, and Boxer have cinched their races — but Aaron Peskin of the DCCC hasn’t yet made an appearance. Maybe it’s just the dedication showing. “Aaron doesn’t know the polls closed awhile ago,” Paulson announces.