Review & Photos: Young the Giant, Manchester Orchestra, Minus the Bear @ San Francisco Oysterfest, 6/30/12
July 2, 2012
Written by Roman Gokhman
The sun peeked out from among the clouds several times Saturday during the 13th annual San Francisco Oysterfest in Golden Gate Park, but by 4 p.m., as headliner Young the Giant was about to take the stage, the fog settled in permanently, setting a mellow mood over the festivities that did not go unnoticed by the performers.
“It’s foggy, but it’s peaceful,” frontman Sameer Gadhia remarked a few songs into a set that lasted a little over an hour.
Perhaps because of the weather, the relaxed atmosphere or vocal and guitar technical difficulties throughout the SoCal band’s set, there wasn’t much sense of urgency, or energy, on Saturday – until the very end, when a fed-up Jacob Tilley repeatedly smashed his guitar against the stage and knocked over other equipment in frustration.
That left festival-goers to consider: Which of these oyster booths deserves my money more? Or: Toffee almonds or Oreo crumbs on the hand-dipped ice cream bars?
As for the show, four bands performed in all. After a short set from San Diego blues-rock duo Little Hurricane, Atlanta garage rockers Manchester Orchestra played a nearly one-hour-long set that included tunes from all three of the band’s albums, such as “Pride,” “April Fool” and “I’ve Got Friends.”
“Pensacola,” off 2011’s Simple Math, stood out as a highlight in the set for its strong melody.
Seattle’s Minus the Bear performed next. The electro-pop quintet has a new album, its fifth, coming out in August. This made it intriguing when the first new song to be performed was one that didn’t make the cut. Having second thoughts, perhaps?
Older tracks included the synthy “Thanks For The Killer Game of Crisco Twister,” “Drilling” and the more melodic “Into The Mirror.”
Which leads back to Young the Giant. The band blew through the majority of its debut album, with tracks like “I Got,” “Guns Out” and “Cough Syrup,” as well as a handful of newer tunes with names like “What You Get,” “I Wanna” and “Camera.” Although all three sound similar to older songs, the third, with a church organ intro, is the most interesting.
One of Gadhia’s microphones malfunctioned for most of the set, and sound issues also visibly frustrated Tilley. That culminated in the destruction of equipment at the tail end of the encore, the meant–to-be uplifting “My Body.”