Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Talib Kweli @ The Fillmore 3/22/2015

Talib Kweli @ The Fillmore 3/22/2015
Photo by Marc Fong

The People's Champions Tour at The Fillmore  was a non-stop, hard hitting rap delight starting at 8:00 and  lasting til  midnight!

Talib Kweli @ The Fillmore 3/22/2015 
Photo by Marc Fong

First up was Poisen Pen followed by Haan, CF and Chino XL and the crowd was intently feeling their flow during each one of their sets. It was an elaborate kinship as each rapper spit their own rhymes they'd be joined by another fellow rapper or rappers and an accompanying DJ. 

NIKO IS @ The Fillmore 3/22/2015 
Photo by Marc Fong

The stage was never left empty and there wasn't a dull moment as the showcase show churned out act after act, back to back to back. The unite and fight for your rights theme of the night was highly prevalent and accepted extremely well by cheering, chanting fans throughout the politically charged show. 

NIKO IS @ The Fillmore 3/22/2015 
Photo by Marc Fong

NIKO IS @ The Fillmore 3/22/2015 
Photo by Marc Fong

Pumping up the energy in the venue, Kweli's latest protege, NIKO IS hit the stage, introducing himself before introducing the crowd to his wicked  lyrics. The young Brazilian born hip hop artist had a positive vibe and he single handedly dominated the stage during his set which seemed to be over just as soon as it began.

Immortal Technique @ The Fillmore 3/22/2015 
Photo by Marc Fong

Bay Area underground rapper Immortal Technique (Felipe Andres Coronel) riled excitement in the room to the extreme before   Talib Kweli finally hit the stage just before 11:30. The place went wild as the lyricist genius worked the stage and the room fervently spitting strong words with a powerful message.

Talib Kweli @ The Fillmore 3/22/2015 
Photo by Marc Fong

The Brooklyn bred artist is dropping what will be his 11th album, Radio Silence sometime later this year and it was quite a scene seeing the of collection of artists all together in support and anticipation of it's release!
The People's Champions Tour rolls on through April 17th. 

NIKO IS and Talib Kweli @ The Fillmore 3/22/2015 
Photo by Marc Fong

Friday, March 27, 2015

OK Go @ The Warfield 3/21/2015

The Warfield  welcomed two L.A based bands on Saturday night: the psych-pop band White Arrows opened for post-punk Pop Powerhouse OK Go.

OK Go @ The Warfield 3/21/2015
Photo by: Marc Fong

The on going  tour in support their 2014 sophomore LP, In Bardo found the modern trip-indie up and comers, White Arrows on the road with OK Go this Spring. Dressed in white from head to toe, front-man Mickey Church set himself apart from his 3, dark garb  band-mates and all eyes were on him as show goers got to the venue. 

White Arrows @ The Warfield 3/21/2015 
Photo by: Marc Fong
Usually quirky and outspoken, the singer was rather reserved keeping banter short yet plentiful with thank yous to their SF fans and the headlining band. Timid stage presence aside, White Arrows sounded solid and called it a wrap with guitarist Paul Caballero harmonizing on the catchy track, "City Boi". Before exiting, Church asked if everyone was excited to see OK Go and the crowd confirmed they were with cheerful applause. 

OK Go @ The Warfield 3/21/2015 
Photo by: Marc Fong
OK Go had fans up in the balcony on their feet as soon as they hit the stage behind a sheer projector screen which fell as the first song ended. The happy go lucky band really loves interacting with their fans and they did not waste anytime getting friendly with them. Between every song, if Kulash wasn't he carrying on with lots of chatty banter his right-hand man, Nordwin asked the crowd questions in  goodhearted attempts at quick Q&A's. 

The party really got going when confetti cannons showered the crowd during the second song, "You're So Damn Hot", happy fans smiled and danced as the band fed off the positive energy. The immensely engaging show included songs from all four of their albums, including a stripped down version of "There's A Fire", an acoustic solo of "Last Leaf" performed from the crowd and a cover of Led Zepplin's "Black Dog".

OK Go @ The Warfield 3/21/2015 
Photo by: Marc Fong
Lifting spirits with fun pop songs, OK Go is playful on stage as well, visibly having fun with each other as they played. Their colorful over the top antics, make for an interesting rock show.

OK Go @ The Warfield 3/21/2015 
Photo by: Marc Fong

OK Go @ The Warfield 3/21/2015 
Photo by: Marc Fong

OK Go is on tour until early May with a grande tour finale hometown show in LA! 

White Arrows set-list 3/21/2015
1)Leaving It Alone
2) Coming Or Going 
3) Can't Stop Now
4) Nobody Cares 
5) We Can't Ever Die
6) Get Gone
7) City Boi 

OK Go set-list 3/21/2015 
1) Upside Down & Inside Out 
2) You're So Damn Hot 
3) The Writings on The Wall 
4) I want You So Bad I Can't Breathe 
5) Obsession
6) This Too Shall Pass
7) There's A Fire 
8) Last Leaf
9) Needing/Getting
10) I'm Not Through 
11) Get Over It 
12) The One Moment
13) Do What You Want 
14) Black Dog 
15) Turn Up The Radio 

1) Fake It 
2) A Million Ways 
3) White Knuckles 
4) I Won't Let You Down 
5) Here it Goes Again 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Homemade Lemon Pudding Cupcakes

My Aunt Molly, cousin Makenna and I found a recipe on Pintrest for Homemade Lemon Pudding Cake then we baked Lemon Pudding Cupcakes for my Aunt Teresa's Birthday! 

We put all of the ingredients for the homemade cake on the counter top and being that the recipe called for two different bowls in the beginning,we went ahead and divided the mixing tasks. 

While Molly whisked together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt, I used a handheld grate to shave 2+ tbsp of fresh lemon zest from two lemons. Mmm, it filled the kitchen with such a refreshing Spring sent! 

Photo by Makenna Farrell

Makenna took pics of our mixing and once the fresh lemon zest was ready I used an electric mixer to add it to the butter, baking powder, lemon pudding, egg mixture. It was so yellow and bright! 

Molly mixed the milk, oil and vanilla in another bowl and when all of the components, wet and dry , were ready, we mixed them all together. After Makenna got all of the wrappers ready in the cupcake tins we poured the yummy looking batter in them and popped them in the oven which was preheated to 325 degrees. 

Since the recipe we used was actually for a Bundt Cake that had a baking time of 50-60 minutes we decided to check on the cupcakes' baking status after 20 minutes. The cupcakes passed the clean toothpick poke test after baking for about half an hour or so and  Molly noticed that the cake sank a little bit as they cooled! We aren't sure why they sank but we think that maybe it happened because this is a bundt cake recipe, not a cupcake recipe. 

To kept the cupcakes fresh until we celebrated Teresa's Birthday two days later, we put them in  in air tight Tupperware. Also for freshness sake we went with store bought frosting which Molly and Makenna used to finish the cupcakes the day we celebrated. We went a little fancier than the usual Betty Crocker or Pilsbury tub of frosting and got "Not Your Bagel's Cream Cheese" from Ace of Cakes', Duff Goldman's brand. 

Of course we had to do a taste test before we brought our Lemon Pudding Cupcakes to Teresa's Birthday dinner, we had to make sure they were good! 

The lemon pudding cake was moistly dense, not heavy but refreshingly decadent. It had a vibrant yellow lemon color but the cake didn't taste a lot like lemon. Next time  I'll substitute the water that the recipe calls for with lemon juice so these cupcakes burst with lemon flavor! Duff's Cream Cheese frosting was super creamy, not overly sweet and it's subtle cream cheese flavor paired nicely with the subtle lemon flavor of the cake without outweighing it. 

Two days later, after a delicious dinner with my cousins and Aunts we were very excited to enjoy a Lemon Pudding Cupcake! They tasted just as fresh as when we taste tested them the night we baked them and  I actually preferred our Lemon Pudding Cupcakes two days later, too!
The Birthday Girl and my cousin Megan liked them and complimented us on the tasty Bday gift!  Success! 

Photo by Molly Farrell

Happy Birthday TT!

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of white granulated sugar 
1 package of JELLO lemon pie filling (small packet) 
2 tbsp fresh lemon zest
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup of whole milk 
1/3 cup canola oil 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
3 tbsp cornstarch
4 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon salt 

- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (F)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt, then set aside. 
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed with a paddle attachment cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add in the pie filling mix and combine thoroughly. 
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure each is thoroughly incorporated.
- Mix in the lemon zest. 
- Combine the milk, oil and vanilla extract in a large measuring cup or bowl.
- Startin with the dry ingredients alternate pouring 1/3 of the wet and dry ingredients into the bowl, incorporating thoroughly after each addition. 
-Mix on medium speed after the last addition. 
- Pour the batter into the wrappers/cupcake tin(s). 
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until a poke test comes out clean. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Royal Blood on Tour, Spring 2015!

In one whirlwind  year, even before the August 2014 release of their debut album, the British rock duo, Royal Blood have opened for Portugal the Man, The Arctic Monkeys and the legendary Pixies, and now they're headlining their very own North American Tour!
Royal Blood at LIVE105's NSSN Soundcheck Holiday Party @ DNA Lounge 12/10/14
Photo by Marc Fong  
Starting this Spring, Royal Blood hits the road on their tour with Mini Mansions and then they jump full on into the Summer festival circuit before touring with Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters! DO NOT forget your earplugs when you go to see these guys cause they bring the rock and will blow the roof off of venues including both of their sold-out shows at Slim's in San Francisco! 
Royal Blood at LIVE105's NSSN Soundcheck Holiday Party @ DNA Lounge 12/10/14
Photo by Marc Fong  

April 13th - The Fonda Theater - Los Angeles, CA (SOLD-OUT)
April 14th - Slim's - San Francisco, CA (SOLD-OUT)
April 15th - Slim's - San Francisco, CA (SOLD-OUT)
April 19th - Ace of Spades - Sacramento, CA
May 23rd - Vogue Theater - Vancouver, BA
May 25th - Wonderland Ballroom - Portland, OR
May 27th - Murray Theater - Salt Lake City, UT
May 28th - Fox Theater - Boulder, CO
May 30th - Wooly's - Des Moines, IA

Royal Blood at LIVE105's NSSN Soundcheck Holiday Party @ DNA Lounge 12/10/14
Photo by Marc Fong  

May 31st - Wolly's - Madison, WI
June 1st - The Rave II - Milwaukee, WI
June 3rd - Metro - Chicago, IL
June 4th - Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH
June 10th - 9:30 Club - Washington, DC
June 11th - Amos' Southend - Charlotte, NC
June 13th - Center Stage - Atlanta, GA

April 10-12th - Coachella - Indio, CA
April 17th-19th - Coachella - Indio, CA
June 5th-7th - Governors Ball - New York, NY
June 11th - 14th - Bonaroo - Manchester, TN

July 6th - Susquehanna Bank Center - Camden, NJ
July 8th - Molson Canadian Amphitheatre - Toronto, ON
July 9th - Molson Canadian Amphitheatre - Toronto, ON
July 13th - Susquehanna Bank Center - Camden, NJ
July 15th - Citi Field - New York, NY
July 16th - Citi Field - New York, NY
July 19th - Fenway Park - Boston, MA
August 12th - Rexall Place - Edmonton, AB
August 13th - Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB
August 16th - Fiddler's Green Amphitheater - Denver, CO
August 17th - Fiddler's Green Amphitheater - Denver, CO
August 19th - Hollywood Casino Amphitheater - Maryland Heights, MO
August 21st - Sprint Center - Kansas City, MO
August 24th - DTE Energy Center - Detroit, MI
August 25th - First Niagra Pavilion - Pittsberg, PA

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Go see OK Go!

OK Go are about to embark on an epic North American theater tour so if you didn't catch them live last Summer don't miss your chance to see them this Spring!

The fun loving foursome is touring in support of their latest album, last year's Hungry Ghosts and they're starting the party with two shows in the Bay Area: March 20th at the Catalyst in San Cruz and March 21st at The Warfield in San Francisco! 

OK Go - Spring 2015 North American Tour Dates: 
3/20 - Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst 
3/23 - Portaland, OR @ McMenamin's Crystal Ballroom
3/24 - Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theater 
3/25 - VAncouver, BC @ Commodore BAllroom
3/27 - Calgary, AB @ MacEwan Ballroom
3/28 - Edmonton, AB @ Union Hall
3/29 - Saskatoon, SK @ Louis' Pub 
3/31 - Winnipeg, MB @ Garrick Center 
4/2 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
4/3 - Chicago, IL @Metro 
4/4 - St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant 
4/6 - Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
4/9 - Boston, MA @ House of Blues
4/10 - Ithaca, NY @ The State Theatre 
4/11 - New York, NY @ Terminal 5 
4/12 - Baltimore, MD @ Ram's Head Inn 
4/14 - Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre 
4/15 - Orlando, FL @ Beacham Theatre
4/17 - Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
4/18 - Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater 
4/20 - San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theatre 
4/21 - Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
4/22 - Kansas City, MO @ Middle of the Map 
4/24 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre 
4/25 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex 
4/26 - Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory 
4/28 - Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl 
4/30 - Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre
5/1 - San Diego @ House of Blues 
5/2 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern

If you enjoy their music videos but you haven't experienced them live you need to go to an 
OK Go show! Need proof of how fun their live shows are? Read my review of their sold-out show at The Independent last July! Tickets to see them at The Warfield are only $25, you gotta go!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

JMSN @ The Independent 3/2/2015

Last March Christian Berishaj better known by his stage name,  JMSN opened for Crosses at The Independent  and last Monday night he headlined there!

JMSN @ The Independent 3/2/2015
Photo by Marc Fong 
JMSN @ The Independent 3/2/2015 
Photo by Marc Fong 

Dressed in Bermuda cutoffs, an oversized stripped t-shirt, slip-on kicks and a simple gold cross on a long gold chain, JMSN looked every bit indie, complete with a well kept beard, when he breezed on to the stage.

JMSN @ The Independent 3/2/2015 
Photo by Marc Fong 

A diverse crowd leisurely mingled following  supporting act Rochelle Jordan and the show was sold out by the time the headliner started. With an exhilarated pep in his step the Albanian American singer/songwritter/producer from Detroit kicked things off with "Addicted" from his 2014 self titled (The Blue) album

Greeting the crowd with a charismatic"how y'all doing" JMSN came off very friendly and genuine quick to interact with and introduce his band mates and coolly connect with his fans. His R&B singing style paired with indie back-up bass and drums gave the spirited set a subtle folk feel with a feel good vibe. The talented frontman gracefully bopped around the stage all night, delivering a lively show which pleasantly offset the somberness of the songs.

JMSN @ The Independent 3/2/2015 
Photo by Marc Fong 

Compared to the likes of How to Dress Well and Bon Iver, JMSN has undoubtedly mastered a unique technique of blending the soul, Indie and R&B genres.  Appealing to a wide ranging fan base, JMSN continues to garner  high praises and a growing popularity with a wholehearted ease. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New Music Madness!

It's madness how much new music is announced and/or released in March! 

Take a  look at a couple releases from last month, who's releasing albums this month and some albums that are slated to be released in the months to come.  

Canadian indie-electronic duo, HUMANS dropped their first official album last week on February 24th via Hybridity Music. Get the party started today with Noontide: available on itunes and on HUMANS' website,  dashumans.com

The sassy, stylish singer/songwritter/party starter MNDR teamed up with Sweet Vally (Wavves' Nathan Williams and his brother Kynan) to bring us 5 songs on the EP, Dance 4 A Dolla.  
The dark, yet catchy club-pop  EP was also released last week on February 24th. 

Purity Ring's  hauntingly romantic, eerily whimsical Synthpop seems to have gone a little more mainstream on Another Eternity out yesterday, March 3rd. The Canadian  duo still have a distinct dreamy, trance sound on their sophomore album but more pronounced vocals heard on it may broaden their audience. 
Listen for yourself, I'd love to hear what you think.  

Arcade Fire's Will Butler is releasing his first "solo" album, Policy featuring AF's Jeremy Gara drummer on March 10th. Will's debut album is brought to us by Merge records which is the same label that Arcade Fire is on.  
It will be interesting to see what  loyal Arcade Fire fanatics think of this venture. 

Modest Mouse haven't had a new album since  2007's We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank but that will change on March 17th!
The band is set to release their long awaited 6th studio album , Strangers to Ourselves this St. Patrick's Day. Can't wait? Place your pre-order today!

San Francisco transplants, Geographer will release Ghost Modern on March 24th. The band has already debuted a single off of their upcoming third album, "Need" and they're already touring in  support of the new album!

Ben Gibbard has been busy recording new Death Cab For Cutie music since announcing that his project, The Postal Service would permanently disband after the band's 2013 reunion tour. Kintsugi, the 8th album from Death Cab  drops at the end of the month on March 31st. See them live at The Greek Theater in Berkeley on July 11th!  

On April 7th the energetic power-pop couple, Matt & Kim will burst back on the scene with New Glow

Here's hottie with a body, Kim shaking her tail feather in the video for the first single, "Hey Now", from the upcoming  album. Get ready to bust a move with the duo because they're  hitting the road in April! Catch Matt & Kim at The Warfield in SF on May 2nd! 

Alabama Shakes is already on tour in support of their sophomore album, Sound & Color out on April 20th/21st. 
They'll be at The Greek Theater in Berkeley a few days before the new album drops on April 11th!  

This is pretty cool: Passion Pit is offering instant digital copies of their new singles, "Lifted Up (1985)" and  "Where the Sky Hangs" from their upcoming new album from Kindered also out on April 21st.  Keep an eye out for show announcements because these guys sure do love the festival circuit! They're on the bill for a bunch of Music Festivals all over the place including BottleRock Napa Valley on May 30th.

The rumor mill has been spinning with releases that will hopefully happen this year!

- Ratatat: Last year the homepage of their website stated they were working on new music and the experimental electronic rock duo has a a handful of shows lined up but there's still no confirmed word on a new album.  

- The Dead Weather : We all know Jack White is a busy guy but The Dead Weather's third album, which was suppose to be released in 2014 still doesn't have a 2015 release date, what a "Buzzkill(er)".  

- Deftones: Front man Chino Moreno has confirmed that the band is working on a new album. It will be the first album following the passing of bassist Chi Cheng. 

- Fun.: Last month on Facebook Fun. confirmed that they are NOT breaking up but unfortunately the band is not working on new music despite the high demand for it.  As Nate works on his first solo album, Jack's continuous pursuit with Bleachers and Andrew scoring films, Fun. fans should keep their fingers crossed that the band will be back with a new album soon!

- Dr. Dre: 2013's Detox never dropped but there has been buzz around Dre releasing an album, appropriately titled Not Detox sometime this year.  

- Gwen Stefani: The hot mama released the single "Spark the Fire" late last year and No Doubt is touring a lot this year.... do you think that means new albums?!

There's much more in store down the road of course, but until then, happy listening!