Don't let SXSW-fueled FOMO get to you — there's plenty going on right in our own backyard
The Kenyan-born, longtime SF-based singer-songwriter-producer Sila Mutungi uses the term Afrofunk to define his music, but the list of influences that announce themselves on his new record, SuperAfrican, is an impressively long one: There's Sly Stone-esque funk, to be sure, but there's also jazz, more than a little R&B, Latin-infused guitar, bright, big band horns, almost maniacally shouted choruses, and a vibe that pays homage to the country of his birth. This record release show will also mark the release of a comic book by the same name, written by Eric K. Arnold, that "focuses on a young African superhero who takes on villains in African settings, from refugee camps to diamond mines" — African kids should have a superhero that looks like them, Mutungi explains. All proceeds from the comic book sales will go to onemama.org, a non-profit funding a self-sustaining medical clinic in Uganda.
Barbecue pairing: Rotisserie chicken, Pete's BBQ.
777 Valencia, SF
The Record Swap at the Knockout has, one would like to imagine, a vibe that would have been in place at the first few SXSW festivals: that of a room full of people who really want to nerd out about music, and have a found a tiny little corner of the world to do it in. Unlike the current state of SXSW, you probably won't find any tech talks or marketing gurus; it's not known for inciting social media mayhem. (They have a Facebook page, but that's about it; if anyone wants to start hashtagging things #rsatk with me next week, you're more than welcome.) This pseudo-monthly party is completely free, and comes with the benefit of Taqueria Cancun next door. Say what you will about breakfast tacos; I'll take San Francisco Mexican food any day of the week (and at any time of day).
Barbecue pairing: Nope. See previous sentence. Super veggie burrito, black beans, extra hot sauce, please.
3223 Mission, SF
We Became Owls is the name for the musical output of Oakland's Andrew Blair and Ross Warner, Orinda natives and guitarists who've been writing songs together since middle school, plus a cast of rotating supporting characters on the banjo, cello, upright bass, piano and drums, with lap-steel and sing-along, sit-around-the-campfire-with-a-bottle-of-whiskey choruses front and center. Call it alt-folk, Americana, what have you — these kids have listened to their Bob Dylan, and there's a depth to their songwriting, a level of genuine soul in their sound that's not just easy on the ears; they mean it, and that makes all the difference in the world.
Barbecue pairing: Why, the kitchen at BOTH of course. A cheeseburger, plus copious amounts of PBR.
With decker., TaughtMe8:30pm, $12
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St, SF