San Francisco

Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week

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This week, two sparkly dark singer-songwriters you should already know and love will return to SF on separate voyages: Zola Jesus (Thu/26 at Palace of Fine Arts) and Chelsea Wolfe (OK, technically she’s here next Monday). If only Grimes* were dropping by in these next seven to eight days, we’d have a triumvirate of goths-who-wow-now.

But beyond the Zola Jesus/Chelsea Wolfe lovefest, there’s also a totally free (with RSVP and soul-offering) Nick Waterhouse show, plus Islands, Double Duchess with Magic Mouth, Teenage Bottlerocket with the Queers, British teen folk-rocker Jake Bugg, and more! Read more »

Q&A: Blouse on the Dream Syndicate, forest life, and going synth-less

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Blouse, may have ditched the synths and drum machines of its 2011 debut self-titled album with new Captured Tracks full-length, Imperium, but the sound remains as hazy and dreamy as ever. Now it's just backed by rippling reverb and distortion.

The misty Portland, Ore. dreampop trio makes siren calls that would entice a shipwrecked sailor, floating endlessly in a gurgling oceanic abyss. See? Wistful. Check first single, "A Feeling Like This" or next track "No Shelter" for that particular mental imagery. It's all there, the swashing of fuzz, the wide open minimalism à la xx, the delicate, teetering vocal tracks, and an uneasy feeling of isolation. Read more »

San Francisco Homebrewers Guild Q&A: A mashing good time

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For this week’s cover story, I profiled one particular homebrewer -- my husband -- on his quest to DIY kegerator glory. But there’s more to this story -- hundreds more, in fact. And the homebrewers of San Francisco congregate in the virtual San Francisco Homebrewers Guild (cute motto: “A mashing good time!). Read more »

Geeking out on Kathleen Hanna's the Julie Ruin at Slim's

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After explaining that the next song would be about how there are thousands of feminists, all around the world, and driving home the obvious point -- there is not one sole leader of the feminist movement -- Kathleen Hanna giggled, hearing yet another shout-out from the audience. She jokingly replied, “OK, OK, but I am the number one feminist.”

It was this typical audience-artist interplay that brought the excitement of Hanna’s return to the stage, via new/old project the Julie Ruin at Slim’s last night. Read more »

Onstage proposal prompts group hug from Grouplove at the Indy

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The last thing I expected to hear at a Grouplove concert was Skrillex and ASAP Rocky’s “Wild for the Night” but for some reason it seemed to be the perfect soundtrack to the band’s entrance. Dancing wildly and hyping the crowd to the beats and bleats of the track, the five musicians had whipped the sold-out Independent crowd into a high-energy frenzy before they played a single note.
 
After touring more or less constantly since its inception in 2009, Grouplove is a well-oiled machine on stage. Every member bounces around with frenetic energy, never standing still for a moment. Vocalist and keyboardist Hannah Hooper was all hair, headbanging, whipping around, and running in place in a leopard print unitard as frontperson Christian Zucconi (clad in a bathrobe and Grateful Dead tee) furiously strummed, jumped, and bumped into everyone around him. By comparison, bassist Sean Gadd, guitarist Andrew Wessen, and drummer Ryan Rabin almost seemed demure, despite their own dancing and roaming around the stage. Read more »

The Moondoggies croon sweetly at Brick and Mortar Music Hall

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

Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week

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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 »

For whom the bell rocked: Too much turned up

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Three to five years ago, the most popular phrase at Rock the Bells was “Rest in peace J Dilla.” This year, it was “Let’s get turned up!” The difference between the two shout-outs exhibits the festival’s progression from underground/old-school hip-hop gathering to a way more genre-expansive festival.

This year included stalwart acts that you would have seen at Rock the Bells 2004, 2005, and 2007 such as the Wu Tang Clan, TechNine, and Deltron 3030. But rappers like Juicy J, Riff Raff, and Trinidad James would have been ridiculed for not being “real hip-hop” enough in past years. This year’s eclectic and diverse cast was a reassuring reminder that hip-hop is not dead and that the music coming out in 2013 is just as worthy as that of any other era. Read more »

Sammy Hagar runs through the hits at the America’s Cup Pavilion

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Celebrating 40-plus years on the rock scene, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar hit the stage in San Francisco on Saturday night before a crowd of thousands of enthusiastic fans.
 
Playing the America’s Cup Pavilion, the Red Rocker blazed through a set spanning most of his career, starting out with Montrose songs, then on to his solo material, through his stint with Van Halen, and up through his current output. Read more »

Heads Up: 6 must-see concerts this week

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Music can serve to fit your specific mood. If you can pinpoint an emotion you wish to heighten, you have the ability to explode the senses with a band or musical act playing live that night. You’re just that special.

This week, if you want to feel creepy, go to Death in June; for feel-good grooves, try Jimmy Cliff; to feel cultured, take in Julia Holter; to intensify a sense of ecstasy while engaging with the full scope of hip-hop today, grab passes to Rock the Bells. Read more »