Ok Go’s catalog is the sonic equivalent of Fruit Loops. Bright, fun, tasty, and far from satisfying or substantive. They are also one of our generation’s greatest bands. Because what Ok Go lacks in musical imagination and originality, they make up for tenfold with the way they have revolutionized and thoroughly dominated the art of the music video.Read more »
This weekend Oakland’s Mosswood Park was transformed into a mini music festival of adorable proportions. After two days of PBR, sunburns, and a heap of eclectic and altogether awesome music, the results are in: Here is the best of Burger Boogaloo 2014. [Check yesterday's review for a different sort of run-through.]Read more »
There are a lot of critiques that I can make about Lady Gaga’s Tuesday night performance in San Jose — the sports arena acoustics, the horrifically boring opening acts, the focus on her new and less popular album Artpop, $80 sweatshirts, the fact that she performed some of her most popular tunes in truncated versions and neglected to play “LoveGame” altogether — but the fact is, none of these shortcomings made a dent in the incredible energy and impassioned performance that Gaga dished out. The show was fucking incredible.Read more »
“Well hello, San Fran!” shouted Wanda Jackson to an almost-full Chapel on Thursday night. “You already know I love you. You should know that by now.”
Jackson, still touring at age 76, looks to be about five feet tall — if you include her carefully teased hair. She needs help getting on and off the stage. She talks openly about her “senior moments.” And she’s an absolute rock star. Her age and petite stature seem merely to add to her massive stage presence. After finishing her rollicking first song, “Riot in Cell Block Number 9,” she beamed at the crowd, asking, “Isn’t it wonderful, the energy?” Read more »
Walking into the Independent on Friday night, the first thing audience members saw were signs titled “A Note From Savages.” These postings read, “Our goal is to discover better ways of living and experiencing music. We believe that the use of phones to film and take pictures during a gig prevents all of us from totally immersing ourselves. Let’s make this evening special. Silence your phones.” It was just the first indication that this was going to be an exceptional night.
Just before Savages took the stage for the first of two sold-out shows, the energy in the room vibrated with a palpable hum, resonating above the droning ambient music pulsing from the speakers. Read more »
The last thing I expected to hear at a Grouplove concert was Skrillex and ASAP Rocky’s “Wild for the Night” but for some reason it seemed to be the perfect soundtrack to the band’s entrance. Dancing wildly and hyping the crowd to the beats and bleats of the track, the five musicians had whipped the sold-out Independent crowd into a high-energy frenzy before they played a single note.
After touring more or less constantly since its inception in 2009, Grouplove is a well-oiled machine on stage. Every member bounces around with frenetic energy, never standing still for a moment. Vocalist and keyboardist Hannah Hooper was all hair, headbanging, whipping around, and running in place in a leopard print unitard as frontperson Christian Zucconi (clad in a bathrobe and Grateful Dead tee) furiously strummed, jumped, and bumped into everyone around him. By comparison, bassist Sean Gadd, guitarist Andrew Wessen, and drummer Ryan Rabin almost seemed demure, despite their own dancing and roaming around the stage. Read more »
Grouplove’s existence is a strong argument for fate. In 2009, Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi met on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Feeling an instant connection, Hooper invited Zucconi to an artist residency in Greece on the island of Crete, which she was heading to just a few days later, and he said yes. At this residency, in a remote mountain village, the pair formed a fast friendship with three other musicians. Within the year, Grouplove was formed.
Two years after that, the band exploded into the music scene with its cheekily titled, megacatchy album Never Trust a Happy Song. Touring constantly since its inception, Grouplove is still going at full sprint, with its second album, Spreading Rumors, coming out Sept. 17, accompanied by the ambitious Seesaw Tour, in which the band will spend two nights in every city at intimate venues, playing one electric and one acoustic show. Read more »
I like a little grit. Usually I feel that a great show combines unpredictability, recklessness, and some raw, unpolished vulnerability. That’s what makes live music exciting and dynamic. If we wanted flawless vocals and sonically airbrushed instrumentals, we’d just stay at home and listen to the music on iTunes. So I’m trying to figure out why Marina and the Diamonds’ shiny, choreographed, factory-sealed set at the Warfield Sunday night felt so right. Read more »
Baby Dee and Little Annie are a match made in camp heaven. The women, nearing their 60s, may have only been playing for 25 people, but boy did they put on a show Thu/25 at Amnesia.
The two looked like characters out of a B movie or a dirty New York speakeasy. Annie, a diminutive little creature, looked like a gypsy in a headwrap and heavy eyeliner. Dee towered over her in an '80s-esque leopard print sweater and leggings with a pink tulle skirt. When Baby Dee finally appeared an hour after the show was advertised to begin, she sat down at the piano and called into the microphone, "If anyone sees Little Annie, tell her the show has started."
Texas is the Reason’s show at Bimbo’s was not sold out, but it sure seemed packed as I struggled to find a good vantage point on Friday night. When I eventually got a clear view, I saw that the stage was hazily lit by dark blue-purple lights. The amplifiers and drum kit on stage were glowing, heavily draped with white Christmas lights. The visual, in its stark simplicity, was stunning.
This perfect, quiet kickoff was the reassurance I needed to prove that this wouldn’t be the gaudy, overwrought reunion that I had feared, but the graceful, tasteful gathering that I had hoped for. Read more »