Posts by: Zack Frederick
November 21, 2013
Curling piano riffs and looming heartache fill the songs of Julia With Blue Jeans On, the latest LP from Canadian songwriter Spencer Krug, who performed Tuesday night under his Moonface moniker at the Swedish American Hall. Despite the relationship-under-a-microscope lyrical focus of his piano ballads, Krug was in good spirits — cracking jokes throughout the night with a shot of whiskey in hand. He was quick to point out he’d arrived late and started chugging whiskey, forcing the audience to sit and wait. When the crowd cheered, he smiled and sarcastically told us great work for applauding alcoholism. Still not ready to begin, he asked everyone to move around and take smoke breaks (“I’m going to be here awhile”) and joked about how the seated event felt far too formal for his piano talents (“I’m no concert pianist and I’m going to fuck up and you’re all going to hear it”).
Krug went on to play every song from Julia With Blue Jeans On, opening with the album highlight “Love the House You’re In,” which begins with a delicate right-hand riff and slides into a deep, soothing chorus. Before launching into “November 2011,” he jokingly invited the audience to leave the room if cheesy songs about love annoy them. Krug is nothing if not polite, boyish, and absolutely endearing. Watching him drunkenly lean into the piano to feel the deep bass vibrations or lean back and nail a twinkling piano riff added an emotional depth to the performance that only enhanced the songs over their recorded originals. Meanwhile, the thundering deep notes of “Everyone Is Noah, Everyone Is The Ark” produced a quiet storm in the hall with its bold, howling chorus — “I don’t know if I can call this home,” Krug cries during the song’s climax — and biblical lyrics.
November 20, 2013
With 13 breweries offering unlimited beer tastings, two tasty food trucks, and a full day’s lineup of the Bay Area’s best rock bands, The Bay Brewed isn’t lacking for flavor. Nonetheless, we’ve added another great element to the festival in the form of the North Beach Brass Band — San Francisco’s very own New Orleans style brass band.
The six piece group features sax, trumpet, trombone, tuba, bass drum, and snare drum and covers a wide array of genres, from New Orleans classics in the spirit of Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Rebirth Brass Band to danceable versions of great hits from artists like James Brown, The Meters, and Miles Davis.
Keep an eye out for the North Beach Brass Band throughout the day at Public Works on December 7th, and watch the video below from the group’s gig at the Cosmic Love Ball for an enticing teaser of what’s in store for The Bay Brewed.
November 18, 2013
For Lil B, the 24 year old Berkeley rapper, the internet has always been the place where his relentless productivity found an audience with the thirst to absorb nearly limitless amounts of content. The result is a sprawling catalogue of singles, mixtapes, YouTube videos, tweets, remixes, and the like that — without serious devotion — is practically impossible to fully grasp. But Friday night’s sold-out show at The Regency put a face to the faithful cult of #BasedGod.
Even after doors opened, a line wrapped up Van Ness and snaked down one of those wet, trashy side-alleys that run like veins into the Tenderloin. The kids were out en masse and buzzing with energy — weed smoke and echoing BASED GOD shouts hung in the alley. By the time The Pack, Lil B’s first rap group, who rose to fame with the Bay Area hit “Vans” (but they look like sneakers), finished warming up the crowd, I felt way too old and also very, very alive. Mosh pits began to form. People in the crowd literally knew every word of Lil B’s two hour set. The floor shook when Lil B launched into crowd pleasers like “Wonton Soup,” “Ellen Degeneres,” and “I’m God.” His between-song sermons on positivity, the West Coast, nerd thugs and #based lifestyle gave the crowd plenty to shout about while raising their hands in prayer. And the diverse crowd that represented close to every ethnicity in the Bay Area lent the concert a very real, no bullshit vibe, a sort of alternate universe where all the never-ending teenage drama ceases to exist when placed in the hands of this kind-of-brilliant, kind-of-insane Berkeley rapper named Lil B.
For at least the first half of the show, the Regency crowd was so enthusiastic that I fully wondered if suddenly anything was possible. Someone threw Lil B a painted portrait of the rapper, which he proudly sang behind for a full song. Kids were jumping on stage and dancing until they were pushed off by security. The mosh pits kept bouncing. And Lil B kept rapping — for two hours. It was an impressive display of stamina and, more than that, it seemed to be a sincere gesture of appreciation to his fans for sticking around and accepting Lil B’s based lifestyle without irony or sarcasm. Very rare indeed.
November 14, 2013
Berkeley internet-rapper and renowned “Based God” Lil B will bring his motivational live show to the Regency Ballroom this Friday. Lil B just might be the most interesting rapper alive. The 24-year-old has developed his own positive-energy self-help philosophy called “based,” recorded over 1500 songs, and given lectures at NYU. His best songs, like “I’m God”, revolve around head-in-the-sky rap beats written by producer Clams Casino, whose style smashes together echo-heavy female vocals and traditional rap beats, resulting in something that feels altogether different. Lil B adds his own flavor too, mixing boastful swagger and “based” preaching.
Below, watch Lil B perform “I’m God” at the 2013 Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago (note that this is well before Kanye went on his deity-craze). Then read the details below to win a pair of tickets to Friday night’s show at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco.
To enter for a chance to win tickets to see the Lil B at The Regency Ballroom, email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Lil B” in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the email. A winner will be selected at random and notified via email.
November 11, 2013
The Bay Brewed, San Francisco’s only indie rock beer festival, returns on December 7 at Public Works for a third year of great music and beer. Over the next month, we’ll catch up with all six of the festival’s superb local bands to discuss how beer, music, and the Bay Area all fit together. In this edition, we chat with Oakland’s Magic Fight, a group led by singer and ukulele player Alex Christopher Haager that creates shimmering indie rock with an arresting edge.
The Bay Bridged: How do you think your ukulele playing fits into Magic Fight’s sound?
Alex Haager: It’s like the smallest Russian doll of each song. Initially, it serves as the backbone to the creation of each track, but once numerous layers of other components are piled on, the ukulele serves more of a percussive function.
TBB: You guys self-released Wooden Swords and Stolen Echoes, and I think the production sounds fantastic. How did you approach the recording process?
Haager: After a pretty intense and drawn-out breakup, which included sleeping on a couch for three months, I picked up and moved to Oakland. Over the course of a couple months I recorded all of the tracks alone in my pretty big but mostly empty room – a state which sort of echoed how my life looked at the time. (Teardrop falls.)
TBB: On Bandcamp, the album is labelled as a “post breakup record.” To my ear, the album creates a rather dark atmosphere. Were you originally aiming for that kind of darkness?
Haager: Darkness was not a specific aim. In fact, I thought some of the songs sounded pretty upbeat; triumphant even. This turned out not to be the perceived effect, as proven to me by the worriedly terrified faces of friends and family when I shared the songs with them. Live and learn.
TBB: What’s the best Bay Area music venue to play as an artist?
Haager: There are a number of fine venues in the Bay Area, but I would say I have had the best experiences at Brick & Mortar. Good sound, good sound folks and a really nice space.
Hernando Buitrago: Amnesia or Brick & Mortar.
TBB: What’s the best Bay Area music venue for catching a show as a fan?
Haager: I have seen a number of really great shows at Bottom of the Hill.
Buitrago: Great American Music Hall.
TBB: What’s your favorite album from a Bay Area artist this year?
Haager: I am excited about the songs that Hannah Lew just put out as Cold Beat.
Buitrago: The self-titled full-length from San Francisco’s Muralismo.
TBB: What other artist or band are you most looking forward to seeing at The Bay Brewed?
Haager: Looking forward to seeing Kelley Stoltz.
Buitrago: Mikal Cronin.
TBB: What’s your favorite San Francisco-brewed beer?
Haager: I am a mighty fan of Social Kitchen and Brewery and Magnolia. The brewmaster at Social actually had a short stint as our bass player earlier this year.
TBB: Which brewer’s beers are you most looking forward to sampling at The Bay Brewed?
Haager: I am excited to see what Triple Voodoo and Pine St. will have to offer. I hope they have beers.
Head over to our Eventbrite page now to get your tickets to see Magic Fight at The Bay Brewed, along with Mikal Cronin, Shannon and the Clams, Kelley Stoltz, Golden Void, and French Cassettes. The event will also feature unlimited tastings from over a dozen local breweries all day long thanks to the SF Brewers Guild.
November 1, 2013
The inaugural Oaktown Music Festival — which celebrates the best Oakland-based bands & solo artists — has announced this year’s contest winners. The victors include Lila Rose (Best in Show) for her “Heart Machine” music video, a darkly polished, seemingly high-budget take on her Florence & the Machine + Regina Spektor inspired indie pop and singer-songwriter Emily Moldy (People’s Choice) for her music video for “My Own One”.
The Bay Bridged is happy to congratulate all the winners. If you want to do it in person, be sure to check out the winners party on November 15 and 16 at Oakland’s Awaken Cafe.
Best in Show
Music Video — Lila Rose — Heart Machine
People’s Choice (Most Nominated)
Music Video — Emily Moldy — My Own One
October 25, 2013
Bay Area soul/blues singer Quinn DeVeaux — a man who has certainly earned his place as a hard-working staple of the SF music scene — will celebrate the release of two new LPs on November 2 at the Great American Music Hall. Each LP will capture a different side of DeVeaux’s style: The first LP, titled Originals, is louder and wilder and features DeVeaux’s entire backing band, The Blue Beat Review. The second, Late Night Drive, is a mellower solo album which should more clearly capture his soulful vocals.
Perhaps you’ve seen DeVeaux play an acoustic set at Rite Spot for 15 people, or maybe you’ve caught him at Club Deluxe in the Upper Haight with his full band, or, more likely, you’ve never seen him at all. If that’s the case and you have any kind of a soft spot for modern soul and blues, I’d make it a priority to mark this show down. It’s almost impossible not to enjoy his music as soon as he starts singing. I mean, c’mon, look at that smile.
October 18, 2013
That band that loves to swim in reverb, also known as West Palm Beach, FL indie rockers Surfer Blood, are playing the Independent this Tuesday in support of their sophomore LP, Pythons. Released by Sire Records and recorded by Gil Norton (he’s produced albums by The Pixies, Foo Fighters, and uh, Sum 41) in California, Pitchfork called the album “hooky, Weezer-ish guitar pop,” which seems like a pretty reasonable description.
To enter for a chance to win tickets to see Surfer Blood at The Independent on Tuesday, email email@example.com with “Surfer Blood” in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the email. A winner will be selected at random and notified via email.
Surfer Blood, Team Spirit
October 22, 2013
8:00pm, $18/advance, $20/door