Review & Photos: The Fresh & Onlys, R. Stevie Moore, Plateaus, and Burnt Ones @ Bottom of the Hill, 2/27/13 (Noise Pop 2013)
March 1, 2013
Photos by Lauren Espina
This week’s Noise Pop 2013 festivities continued at Bottom of the Hill on Wednesday night with toe-tapping performances from San Francisco garage rockers Burnt Ones and The Fresh & Onlys, plus San Diego’s Plateaus and D.I.Y. legend R. Stevie Moore. Each of the four bands is a quartet, providing for a well-rounded rock show.
Burnt Ones warmed up the stage with an impressive rock ‘n’ roll set. Frontman Mark Tester relied on feedback from his amp to provide the set with gritty distorted guitar sound as he belted out his vocals to the crowd. Amy Crouch kept time on the band’s two-piece drum kit, communicating with her band members through glances and smirks. Adam Finkin of Blasted Canyons joined Tester as the second guitar player for the show, with Brian Allen on bass. The band offered a taste of their forthcoming LP You’ll Never Walk Alone, ripping through their latest singles “Strawberry Tombs” and “Fountain of Youth.” Tester even attempted to shred his guitar behind his head for all of two-and-half seconds, setting the tone for the evening.
San Diego pop-rockers Plateaus hit the stage next, incorporating elements of punk and surf-rock into their danceable rock set. The quartet play a no-frills set of bouncy anthems recalling summer days on the beach.
Twenty minutes after Plateaus packed up, R. Stevie Moore’s backing band hopped on stage, consisting of guitarist J.R. Thomason plus a drummer and an additional guitar/keyboard player. They were closely followed by a man with a cotton candy blue Santa Claus beard protruding from his black hoodie, who proved to be none other than American lo-fi legend R. Stevie Moore. Moore, now 61, is a pioneer of D.I.Y. music, with over 400 home and studio recorded releases to his name. The casual showman was armed with a bass guitar, which had a baby doll head covering one of the tuning knobs.
The band opened with what I think may have been a rendition of “Mason Jar”, followed by “Carolyn Will You Come”. Moore then plopped down in a chair positioned a couple feet behind his microphone, caught his breath, and blew the audience a kiss. He quickly stood back up and said, I kid you not – “Where my bitches at? Swag, swag, swag, swag, swag…” – successfully getting a rise out of the young crowd. Thomason, out of breath, asked for more vocals in his monitor. Moore and his band continued to serve up pop-rock jams from his extensive back catalog. Recognizable numbers included “Play Myself Some Music” (after which Moore ad-libbed “she blinded me with silence…silence”) a former collaboration with Ariel Pink called “Irony”, and “I Like to Stay Home”, one of his earliest hits.
The band took a brief intermission, then returned on stage for a few more songs. “Hella love y’all,” Moore said to the enamored audience, explaining that the band was touring from Vancouver to San Diego, or, “to hell and back… hella.” Moore threw off his hoodie and clipped dark lenses onto his glasses, finishing his memorable set with more stage antics such as lying down and playing on the floor.
SF garage rock favorites The Fresh & Onlys closed with a set spanning fourteen cuts from the quartet’s catalog. The band opened with “Wash Over Us” and focused mostly on material from last year’s Long Slow Dance. Sneaking in a pair of tracks from each of their previous full-lengths, The Fresh & Onlys ended with “Diamond in the Dark”, followed by an encore of “Endless Love” and “Feelings in my Heart” from their self-titled debut.
To say that frontman Tim Cohen was in rare form would be an overstatement, but his inebriated banter was nonetheless entertaining. Rather than babies or hallucinogens, his chosen topic for the night was Fireball Whiskey, which the bar did not carry. “Fireball is what keeps the positive sweat coming through the pores,” Cohen said, after he already claimed to be seeing double. Before “Fire Alarm”, he announced, “This is our fifth song,” and then instructed the audience to hug it out during “Loving Kindness”. No flubs in the performance, though. The seasoned rockers sounded as fantastic as usual. Cohen dedicated “Fog Machine” to San Francisco, admitting that he misses the City since moving to Arizona. He did, however, make a concerted effort to shut himself up and finish the set, not that anyone minded his jokes.
Overall the night was a lot of fun, and although fans seemed to be conserving their energy for the rest of the festival, a rocking good time was had for all.
January 13, 2012
R. Stevie Moore (“a riveting genius“) is set to release a series of cover tracks via Glowmobile Recording Company in early 2012. Keep your eyes peeled for more information on this release, and in the meantime, enjoy one of the tracks: a cover of “No Escape from Loving You”, originally written by Sean Moore.
December 30, 2011
Some years are great for shows – like 2008. Some are great years for albums, like 2009. But this was a great year for both, from the start. In the order I remembered them:
Family Crest – My Living Room; 9/11
Duh. Can you believe this alterna-dad cream dream supreme? A stalwart and happy-go-lucky nonet of classically trained musicians show up at my house to play their lovely, life-affirming chamber pop on the anniversary of 9/11 and my teenage son sits in on clarinet? You just had to be there. But then we would have run out of pasta much sooner.
Deerhoof – Great American Music Hall; February 1
They’re just the best, in an age when it has become pointless to talk about the best. You know it’s a good show when legend Fred Frith shows up to sub for the first opener. Deerhoof primed and dimed their uniquely cereberal, detached shredding and just blew it out every pore. Great pix from Charlie Homo.
Tune-yards – Rickshaw Stop; August l5
When Merril Garbus takes the stage, it’s chills, thrills, more chills and a house full of sweaty, jumping converts. This was actually Vetiver’s show – Tunes added late. They were pretty tasty, but ultimately the latest to learn: don’t share a bill with Tune-Yards unless you like being used as a mop. [More...]
September 2, 2011
Monday’s double-header showcasing R. Stevie Moore and Ariel Pink’s recent musical affair also featured local kaleidoscopic pop wizard Kelley Stoltz for the second night of a two-part “secret” show. The Makeout Room was in rare form, as the crowd – large, yet manageable – packed themselves in and eagerly awaited what we all expected to be a very special experience. It was, indeed!
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With his first tour ever and an upcoming documentary this year, R. Stevie Moore is finally getting the exposure and respect that he’s earned. If it’s not for his monumental library of bedroom-recorded works that span almost five decades, then it’s for paving the way for DIY and lo-fi recording artists like Ariel Pink, and more recently Puro Instinct among others.
Recommended, 8/22-8/28: Magic Trick/Magic Bullets, R. Stevie Moore/Ariel Pink, Mikal Cronin, The Soft Moon/Craft Spells
August 22, 2011
Every Monday, we’ll be offering you early picks for some of the week’s best concerts. Do you think we omitted something worthwhile? Let us know in the comments! Be sure to visit our Local Concert Calendar for an expanded set of daily listings.
Tim Cohen’s Magic Trick releases album, Magic Bullets play final show
Tim Cohen‘s other band, Magic Trick, releases its new album, The Glad Birth of Love, Tuesday on Empty Cellar Records, and the band celebrates its release on Wednesday night at the Rickshaw Stop (8pm, $8). The show is a packed one, and it also marks the final show ever by SF indie pop heroes Magic Bullets. Also performing are locals PreTeen and The Tambo Rays.
R. Stevie Moore and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti at the Make-Out Room
Cult outsider artist R. Stevie Moore returns to SF for two Make-Out Room shows on Sunday the 28th and Monday the 29th. He’ll be joined by similarly out-there not-so-secret guest Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti for both shows, along with a great local artist each night. Sunday, it’s Carletta Sue Kay, and Monday, it’s Kelley Stoltz.
Recorded for Japan: benefit compilation with Ariel Pink, Kurt Vile, many live tracks recorded in Brooklyn
August 10, 2011
Another fantastic benefit compilation to support Japanese earthquake relief efforts was released August 4th, featuring artists such asÂ Kurt Vile, Ariel Pink, and R. Stevie Moore performing the appropriately titled “You Are Too Far From Me,” with members of MGMT. Almost all of the songs on Recorded for Japan were actually recorded live in the Vacation Island studio in Brooklyn.
Stream Recorded for Japan online, and make your donation to the Japanese Red Cross for a full album download.