Live Review

The Aislers Set reunion welcomed with open arms, nostalgia at The Chapel

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By Rebecca Huval

After an 11-year hiatus, dream-pop lovables The Aislers Set played to a sold-out room swooning with nostalgia at The Chapel Sunday night.

Singer-songwriter AV Linton sang catchy melodies backed by a curtain of reverb and Yoshi Nakamoto’s chest-thumping, punk-infused drumbeats. Unlike the typical audience of young rapscallions drawn to Valencia, this late ‘90s band surfaced the 30- and 40-year-olds — and even had them jumping and dancing past 11pm on a Sunday. Read more »

Arca underwhelms at Gray Area

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By Ryland Walker Knight

Gray Area Arts & Technology is a newish venue, admittedly a work in progress, with construction and renovation continuing when the doors are closed, but they are already booking unique electronica acts. My first visit was, as it happens, the first time Tim Hecker played a show in San Francisco (late July; great waves of processed sounds), and my second, Tuesday night (Sept. 23), was one of the five stops on Arca’s current DJ tour along the West Coast.

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Live shots: Beck christens the new Masonic

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It's not often that you get to see a new venue on opening night — so yeah, even if Beck hadn't been part of the deal, we would've been stoked to spend Friday evening at the newly refurbished and rebranded Masonic.

While it's not technically a new venue, it might as well be: After months of construction (and literally years of fighting with Nob Hill neighbors) the historic Masonic temple reopened this weekend with a new sound system, completely revamped stage and seating areas, new bars and concessions, a shmancy new VIP section, you name it. Read more »

Kiesza storms the pop scene at the Rickshaw Stop

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By Rob Goszkowski

It’s entirely possible that Kiesza outgrew her gig at the Rickshaw Stop a few minutes after it was booked. Those in attendance at the Pop Scene-presented show were fortunate to see the singer, songwriter, and dancer from Calgary in such an intimate club venue on Thursday, Aug. 28, given the staggering rise that she’s in the midst of.Read more »

Live Shots: Jack White rocks so hard he sprains his ankle at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

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With the opening chords of “Fell in Love with a Girl,” Jack White took to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium stage on Friday night at what seemed like 100 miles per hour at staggering volume…with little interest in ever applying the brake. Read more »

Live Review: The Coup's provocative 'Shadowbox' marred by sound problems

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The Coup's new multimedia project Shadowbox was at least partially inspired by bandleader/MC Boots Riley's experience walking into a Theater Artaud performance as a child. The performance was a treatise on AIDS, but Riley was more frightened than enlightened by the giant sets and writhing actors around him. Read more »

Paul McCartney bids Candlestick a fiery goodbye

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My earliest memories of Candlestick are formative ones. Like any Bay Area kid who cut her baseball teeth on Giants games at the notoriously frigid stadium, I thought every family prepared for sporting events by piling on 17 strategic layers and stuffing their car full of sleeping bags and other accoutrements that could double as equipment for scaling Mount Kilimanjaro.  Read more »

Snarky Puppy brings sweet fusion to the SF Jazz Center

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By Paul Kenyon Krantz

While hordes of people were packed into Golden Gate Park for Outside Lands Aug. 9, the all-American quasi-collective known as Snarky Puppy made the walls of the SF Jazz Center made ring with their particular frequencies of jazzy, instrumental fusion.Read more »

Capitalism, performance art, and a whole lot of ass-shaking: Notes from a Beyoncé and Jay Z show

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First off: To review a Beyoncé and Jay Z show, in the traditional way that music writers generally review live music — assessing and critiquing the sonic experience, the songs performed, the technical skill and effort put into reimagining and translating studio albums into an engaging performer-audience interaction — is totally missing the point.Read more »

Jimmy Cliff high-kicks his way through 50 years of music at the Fillmore

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Jimmy Cliff is a goddamn maniac. It's about 45 minutes into his 90-minute set at the Fillmore on Saturday night [July 19], and while the sheer volume of ganja smoke in the packed room is making real movement — beyond the standard shuffle/sidestep, white reggae fan head-bob, and occasional 30-second pogo accompanied by the triumphant fist-in-the-air move — seem an insurmountable challenge for most everyone on the dancefloor, 66-year-old Jimmy Cliff is onstage in matching bright yellow-and-red pants, a robe, and a hat, quite literally running circles around everyone. Read more »