There are a lot of critiques that I can make about Lady Gaga’s Tuesday night performance in San Jose — the sports arena acoustics, the horrifically boring opening acts, the focus on her new and less popular album Artpop, $80 sweatshirts, the fact that she performed some of her most popular tunes in truncated versions and neglected to play “LoveGame” altogether — but the fact is, none of these shortcomings made a dent in the incredible energy and impassioned performance that Gaga dished out. The show was fucking incredible.Read more »
On Wednesday night at The Independent, a sold-out crowd anxiously awaits the mysterious creature known as BANKS. Cloaked in layers of black fabric that fall to her ankles, the dark chanteuse struts deliberately to center stage, where a spotlight shines onto her pale face. The L.A.-based signer-songwriter seductively sets into the dark R&B track “Before I Ever Met You,” recalling instrumentals by The Weeknd, with whom she toured last year.Read more »
If you were driving down Fell street last Friday, you might have come upon an unexpected detour. This would have been the block cordoned off for the first annual SFJAZZ Gala in their new facilities at 201 Franklin St. The building opened in January 2013, and in addition to featuring near-perfect acoustics in the main auditorium — arguably the best on the West Coast for jazz — it provides a sophisticated space for a social and fundraising event such as this one.Read more »
This week’s must-sees include a riot grrl legend with a shiny new project, a crew of gritty Brooklyn punks, an Oakland music fest (the Oakland Music Festival), a former Closer Musik member, and an experimental vocalist, formerly of Swans. Plus, Blouse, Dirty Beaches, and oh, so-much-more! Read more »
From Metallica to This Mortal Coil, there's a sense of canned melodrama about most "dark" music that I've long found goofy and unconvincing. On that note, Massive Attack's Mezzanine has always struck me as dark music done right, leaving the angsty ostentation behind, in favor of casually luring the listener downward into its imposing dungeon of groove.
As Gary Numan took the stage in Oakland last Tuesday night, the British artist displayed a similarly nuanced sensibility of what makes dark music work, delivering a relentlessly groove-based set of songs that brooded and seethed with total conviction. Read more »
It’s all about choice, people. Noise Pop is a well-oiled festival machine at this point — now in its 21st year — cranking out dozens of concerts, nightlife happenings, film screenings, culture club events, photography showings, and all that good stuff we’ve come to expect from the homegrown indie fest. But given all those choices for the week of Feb. 26 through March 3, restless souls such as myself always tend to feel a bit well, overwhelmed. Read more »
Green is a Manhattanite and acoustic singer-songwriter whose extensive lyrical topics center around black humor, blue language, and one Miss Jessica Simpson. He is best known for his role as half of the Moldy Peaches alongside Kimya Dawson. Shapiro, formerly of Echo Park’s American-Brazilian rockers Little Joy, is a retro-fashion icon in LA. She is perhaps best known for dating rock stars.
So what happens when east meets west and the social elite meets the man who once wrote a song called “Choke on a Cock?” An unexpectedly tender album of heartbroken duets and breakup ballads in a unique style, something we jaded listeners have yet to hear. Green’s humble baritone and Shapiro’s silky timbre blend beautifully, and in the recordings their joined voices soar to poignant, vulnerable heights. Read more »
On Saturday night, a small cadre of dedicated fans waited patiently for Ben Chasny’s psychedelic folk project, Six Organs of Admittance, to take the stage at Bottom of the Hill just before midnight. Six Organs is currently touring the West Coast in support of their LP Ascent, which was released last month on Drag City. Members of his other project, the noise rock group Comets on Fire, accompanied Chasny on the album and onstage at BOH.
Lead guitarist Chasny and supporting guitarist Noel Harmonson, bassist Ben Flashman, and drummer Utrillo Kushner effectively drenched the punkish, gently swaying crowd in raw, unplugged, cacophonic tribal noise as they orchestrated spooky guitar symphonies, hard rock riffs, and fuzzed-out surf numbers. About half of Six Organs’ jams possessed an epic “I’m marching into battle with a large horned animal” vibe, and Chasny’s intermittent vocals felt dark, scratchy, wispy, and perhaps slightly demonic. Read more »
In this week's issue Landon Moblad profiles retro rock purveyor Nick Waterhouse. Here are a few audio clips from Nick's shoot at the Swedish American Hall with photographer Matthew Reamer. Nick talks about why he's excited to play San Francisco's Verdi Club (tonight), and sums up how he's usually summed up by the press.