March 8, 2010 by Ben Van Houten · 7 Comments »
Filed Under Columns, Feature Article, Music and..., News
In the midst of enjoying a series of sold-out, locally-headlined shows during last week’s Noise Pop festivities, there was just enough of a gap between bands, drinks and good times for me to have a real downer of a realization: if the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has its way, many of the great venues hosting Noise Pop shows would be put out of business. Places like Bottom of the Hill, Cafe Du Nord, Slim’s, and the Great American Music Hall. Chances are pretty good that if you’ve been to see a show recently, you’ve been to a venue under attack by the ABC. If you’re under 21, the places being targeted account for most of your concert-going options in the City. And therein lies much of the problem.
As many local media outlets have covered, for well over a year the ABC has been pursuing enforcement actions against local clubs that offer all ages shows. In several of these cases, the ABC alleges that the clubs have failed to meet conditions that are part of their liquor licenses, conditions that were either forced upon the clubs (that no one could have expected them to meet) or that the clubs never agreed to at all. Unbelievably, at the heart of a number of these enforcement actions is the claim that venues should be making as much money from food sales as they do from alcohol sales if they want to hold all ages shows.
January’s Flux Summit, titled What’s Shaking Down SF Music Venues?, was a welcome sign of increased action by local venues to distribute information about the attack they are facing (video from the summit here). With the stakes so high for some of the City’s best clubs, though, it’s a little disheartening that more people aren’t already aware of what’s going on. And yet, it’s not difficult to understand why many aren’t engaged in issues of regulatory enforcement, entertainment business licensing, and disputes over food-to-alcohol sales ratios. On the surface, these problems aren’t particularly accessible, compelling or sexy. The reality, however, is that the crackdown on SF venues isn’t just about local indie music. Instead, it touches on a number of concerns that should matter to a broad swath of San Franciscans.
In that vein, I offer:
Five Ways to Think About the Crackdown on SF Venues.
1. This isn’t just an indie music issue. It’s a performing arts issue.
March 5, 2010 by Anna Gazdowicz · Leave a Comment »
Filed Under Feature Article, News
2010 will see the triumphant return of Regional Bias, which will also serve as an official benefit event for the Bay Bridged in our continued efforts to bring you the best of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene.
Full lineup and other details coming soon! In the meantime . . .
Save the Date: Regional Bias 2010 – Friday,
May 21st JULY 23rd, Verdi Club.
March 5, 2010 by The Bay Bridged · Leave a Comment »
Filed Under News, Show Coverage, Show Photos, Show Reviews
Review and Photos by MikeyMike
The Elbo Room brought out quite a lineup this past Saturday with local heroes Nodzzz and Ty Segall plus imports The Strange Boys (Austin, Texas), and Chain and the Gang (D.C.). Although this took place during Noise Pop, this was definitely not Noise Pop. Gone were the young ladies doling out Noise Pop propaganda, gone were the banners of hip kids sucking soda pop with straws.
Instead, there was a tense mayhem in the air. The packed room revealed none of the usual findings — heads bobbing in place, space-sensitive moshing — replaced by shouts of obscenities throughout the night. There were groups of fans that seemingly arrived both sweaty and smelly, and they relentlessly plowed through the crammed quarters. At one point during Nodzzz, an elderly gentleman threw a slightly younger man across the first four rows and down onto the stage. The same younger man was next spotted surfing upside down with feet in the air across the sea of heads. Later, during Chain and the Gang, a large number of ice cubes impossibly flew from the rear of the room all the way to the stage, nailing the unfazed Gang. Here’s the full report in no apparent order.
It’s 2am, I’m sitting in my car in the driveway under a gigantic full moon unable to turn the car off before hearing the last three tracks of my just purchased new Strange Boys album, Be Brave. Track 10, “All You Can Hide Inside,” blows me away. The aching drawl from the first record is there, but set to a beautiful, dare I say it, love ballad? The Strange Boys could be quickly dismissed as another of the psychedelic garage bands that seem to be everywhere now, yet as they prove on their second In The Red release that they are so much more.
March 5, 2010 by Nicole L. Browner · 4 Comments »
Filed Under News, Show Coverage, Show Photos, Show Reviews
Photos by: Charlie Homo
It remains unclear whether the twangy, young-hearted Deer Tick has always had such a strong blend of comical and confident stage presence. My last experience with the band in San Francisco seemed much more innocent and charming than say, rambunctious. Perhaps the pressures of corporate sponsorship and a highly anticipated “sold out” show Wednesday at The Independent put the pressure on Deer Tick to perform, because boy, did they put on some kind of show. Staged in between two T-Mobile spotlights, the Rhode Island quartet took to the stage in feathered masks, and an onslaught of crowd-thrillers instantly began.
Sometimes you think you’ve seen it all, and then you get a new first. While McCauley blabbered on about his best friend in the whole world, a fellow named Paul, the bass player is on his cellphone (onstage) and gets Paul on the line. Soon enough, an all-inclusive happy birthday singalong commenced ringing loud throughout The Independent. For the curious, yes, McCauley sings all songs in that signature Deer Tick raspy, bullfrog tone.
The signs of pre-show intoxication were obvious. Aside from the generous collection of beer bottles next to each microphone stand, there were frontman John McCauley’s intermittent soloing, confessions of which Deer Tick numbers he does and doesn’t like, and playing his instrument about the stage while crawling on his knees. One of War Elephant’s strongest, “These Old Shoes,” marked the tipping point for his outlandish behavior, as McCauley decided to crowdsurf halfway to the bar, guitar, cable and all.
March 4, 2010 by Anna Gazdowicz · Leave a Comment »
Filed Under Giveaway, Mp3, News
A B & the Sea have just finished Noise Pop, and also happen to be in the middle of a clever scheme to slowly release MP3s, for free, to an adoring public. The end of this experiment will act as the official release of the band’s debut EP of surf pop goodness.
Here’s the deal: go to A B and the Sea’s website, and click to download a song from the provided widget, which will be emailed to you. You’ll then be prompted to “share” the process (via Twitter, Facebook, etc.) with others.
The rest of the EP will slowly become available for download as more and more people come to the site and participate – i.e., more songs will be “unlocked,” Super Mario Bros/Rock Band 2 style (for us video game enthusiasts).
Thus far, “Yellow Haired Girl” and “Bone Dry” have been unlocked. So enter your email, spread the word, receive the downloads, and then as more songs open up, they’ll be emailed directly to you.
A B & the Sea are scheduled to play a special acoustic set tomorrow night (Friday 3/5) at the Swedish American Music Hall, opening for singer-songwriter Jarrod Gorbel (of the Honorary Title, hailing from Brooklyn).
As a bonus, we have one pair of tickets to give away to a lucky winner! To enter send an email to email@example.com with your full name and the phrase “I want to see Jarrod Gorbel!” in the subject line. The FIFTH person to enter will win!
March 4, 2010 by Ben Van Houten · Leave a Comment »
Filed Under Bay Area Bands, Mp3, News
As you’ll see in the Weekend Picks, tonight at Amnesia (9pm, $7), The Splinters are holding a party for their new album Kick, which comes out on Tuesday on Double Negative Records. They’ll be joined by two other great local bands at the show — Hunx & His Punx and Magic Bullets.
Also tonight is Veil Veil Vanish‘s party at Popscene (9pm, $8) to celebrate the release of their first full length, Change In The Neon Light. The gothic-shoegaze band’s new record was produced by ATOM (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Cribs, Maximo Park), and they’re plotting to soon head out on a nationwide tour.
March 4, 2010 by Anna Gazdowicz · 5 Comments »
Filed Under Day 6, News, Noise Pop 2010, Show Coverage, Show Photos, Show Reviews
Photos by: Charlie Homo
The closing nights of the last two Noise Pop festivals have focused not only on musical quality, but on the credo of the more outrageous live performance. See: 2009′s Les Savy Fav antics at the Mezzanine. For 2010, this meant bringing together the harmonious indie rock collective du jour: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.
The former Ima Robot man (Alex Ebert) and his merry bunch have cultivated a significant following over the past year, not just for the appreciation of the songs on 2009′sÂ Up from Below. Although, for my money, “Home” is one of the most genuinelyÂ endearing and wonderful songs to have emerged in the past many years, one of the better musical representations of true love, fleeting or not (“Home / Let me come home / Home is whenever I’m with you”).
In fact, the significance of “Home” applies to more than just Ebert and his adorably talented girlfriend, Jade Castrinos, despite the fact that they perform the song as a duet and the song seems to directly revolve around their relationship. The Polyphonic Spree-like collective of the Zeros played together on Sunday at Bimbo’s not just as a seemingly rag-tag group of chums, but as a legitimately gifted, charismatic group of musicians who truly enjoy playing together as friends. As Edward said at one point, “I apologize, we just really really like playing together. Thanks for putting up with us.”
Essentially, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, as long as they are together, are always “home,” no matter where they actually happen to be – and the collective love is palpable. During Sunday’s ruckus, “Home” was performed with absolute certainty, with a joyous grace and explosive energy that was absolutely awe (and “awww”)-inspiring.