Thursday, March 31, 2016

UFO @ The Independent 3/26/2016

UFO, the English Hard-Rock band that's been rockin' since 1969 played at The Independent on Saturday night! The line to get in was still wrapped around the corner from the venue a good half hour after doors opened.  Once inside, drinks started flowing early on and heavily while fans grew impatient during the openers, My Heavy Memory and started ominously chanting "UFO, UFO, UFO" in the middle of their set!

UFO @ The Independent 3/26/2016
Photo by Marc Fong 

When UFO took the stage the place grew louder and rowdier as their middle aged + SF fanbase went wild. Matching a lot of their fans in the crowd, the whole band wore all black which created a sense of unity in the room. 

Being that singer Phil Mogg and drummer Andy Parker are the only two remaining original members, keyboardist/guitarist Paul Raymond, guitarist Vinnie Moore and bassist Rob De Lucca play so seamlessly and with such comradery that it's hard to believe that they haven't all been together since UFO's beginning. 

UFO @ The Independent 3/26/2016
Photo by Marc Fong 
Along with Songs from across their 22 album catalogue, including 2015's Conspiracy of Stars, the heavy metal dudes played an impressive cover of Adele's Rolling in the Deep. While the room full of fans couldn't help but sing along to every song some incorporated air guitar and some rocked out harder than others but the room full of fans couldn't help but sing along to every song. There was zero synthetic enhancements on Phil Mogg's  melodic vocals and though this might have taken some of the edge away as heard on recordings, he still delivered and sounded solid. 

UFO @ The Independent 3/26/2016
Photo by Marc Fong 

Raymond, Moore and De Lucca lived up to the expectation of their predecessors while adding their own flare to original hits. Under a mirage of pretty lights, their percussion driven sound polished by low rumbles of bass carried by Mogg's passionate performance made for a memorable night. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Eleanor Friedberger @ The Independent 3/8/2016

After residing in the non-stop hustle and bustle Brooklyn for the last 15 years, Eleanor Friedberger recently relocated to upstate New York where she recorded her 3rd, solo, studio album, New View in a converted studio barn.
Eleanor Friedberger @ The Independent 3/8/2016
Photo by Marc Fong 

Since the release of the new album on January 22nd, the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and her backing band, Icewater have been on the road since last month and they'll be playing their new material at cozy little shows across the country through May! On Tuesday night, Eleanor Friedberger headlined at The Independent in SF with openers Icewater and China.Her unassuming stature was incomparable to the size of the strong vocals that emerged from the petite 39 year old. Low yet bold and reminiscent of PJ Harvey (because they're both small in size but deliver a big punch of sound when they sing), Eleanor Friedberger's voice sounds similar to that of Dum Dum Girls' lead singer Dee Dee: suggestively sultry, monotone and heavy with a 90's nostalgia. Her demur demeanor was met pleasantly as the handful of people sitting in the back of the room got up to join the small crowd as they inched closer to the stage. With her guitar slung over a fitted Canadian tuxedo, she looked awkwardly comfortable between Icewater's keyboardist, bassist and guitarist.

When the 5 of them were on stage together they were humble and ambiguously inviting with an introverted air.  Warm keys offered crisp slivers of optimism as the notes seamlessly blended within the mosaic of the stringed section and gently breezed through the venue. 

The dark lighting at The Independent that night fit well with their soft yet deep moody indie-rock and helped set a relaxed mood in the venue even more. The lyrics of the contemplative and introspective songs would make a great sound track for a long scenic drive along the coast, or in the woods, or sitting by a fire in a snowed-cabin whilst on your spiritual journey. Perhaps Eleanor's move played a part in her new outlook on life and the subtle shift in her soft, 70's inspired, indie-rock as the album's title, New View implies. 

Eleanor Friedberger @ The Independent 3/8/2016 
Photo by Marc Fong 

Her new outlook on life and love is  heard and understood most notably on what could be considered the first single off of her latest release, "Sweetest Girl": with low rumbling rolls of guitar, a simple yet rhythmic drum beat and repetitive verses it lulls you into hypnosis. The intricate addition of the sweet harmony of back-up vocals from Icewater's bassist and guitarist surprisingly nice on the ears. 

An Eleanor Friedberger show is like getting a glimpse at the pages of her journal whose passages are serenely pretty to hear live for everyone to enjoy. While it was pretty neat that Icewater was the supporting act and played their own music before taking the role as the backing band for the headliner,  Eleanor Friedberger, personally I preferred the as the later. 

The two acts continue touring until the end of Spring! Find out where they're playing  here. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Coachella in the Bay!

It's March and next month is April, which means the Festival Season is officially about to begin and soon!

Coachella kicks things off as chickadees flock to stages and tents sprawled across the Polo Fields in the desert of Indio California to see their top picks over three days on two separate weekends in April. A lot of the bands on the hella big Coachella line-up usually stay on the Festival circuit, that's why I deem this fest the the first of the season.

Every band on the Coachella bill agrees to and signs a radius clause when they are booked to play, which means they can not play a show in or around the greater Los Angeles area 3 months before or after Coachella. Of course there are some loop-holes to this clause, like if a band plays a venue or event prior the fest or between weekends that's owned or operated by the promoter, Goldenvoice/AEG. These shows and/or appearances are known in SoCal as Localchella.
Bands who don't (want to) jump through that loop-hole head up North and play shows in the Bay Area instead. I call this phenomena Bay-chella but its more commonly known ads Fauxchella. As Fauxchella approaches, more and more bands playing this year's Coachella keep springing up with shows of their own around the Bay Area.

Coachella spans the weekends of April 15th - 17th and April 22nd - 24th this year and while some people consider Fauxchella to go as long as May, but I label Fauxchella as the week leading up to the fest, the weeks during the fest and the week after it.
If you can't make it to Indio or would rather see bands in a smaller capacity, here are some of the Coachella acts heading our way next month! 

Ellie Goulding @ The SAP Center in San Jose April 6th
One week before her performance at weekend #1 at Coachella 2016, indie-pop sweetheart Ellie Goulding returns to the Bay on April 6th. Reeling with the success of 2015's Delirium, her 3rd album, the stunning English singer/song-writer/multi-instrumentalist is bringing her world tour of the same name to the SAP Center in San Jose before heading to Indio. 
This will be Ellie's 3rd time performing at Coachella!

Ed Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at The Fox Theater 5/4/2012
Photo by Marc Fong 
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at The Independent in San Francisco April 11th 
After the game changing and heart breaking departure of longtime co-vocalist Jade Castrinos in 2014  Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have not only released their first album since then but they're also are touring in support of it! What better way to be welcomed back then by gracing one of the 6 stages at Coachella two weekends in a row and playing an intimate show to their loyal and lucky SF fanbase at The Independent on April 11th in between?!

Miike Snow at The Independent in San Francisco April 13th & 14th 
It's been four years since we last heard from the party animals of Miike Snow and fans are excited to welcome them back! With the release of iii, their third studio album on March 4th it's no wonder the popular Swedish indietronica band sold-out two nights at The Independent! Their shows in SF go down just a couple days before Miike Snow takes the dance party to the third day of Coachella. This will be the band's first time back at Coachella since 2012, too!

Anthony Gonzolez of M83
M83 at The Fox Theater in Oakland April 17th
After M83's critically acclaimed, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming in 2011 frontman Anthony Gonzolez turned his musically creative visions on scoring movie soundtracks. But, now the ambient synth-pop, shoe-gaze artist is back with his band and is bringing us Junk on April 8th plus a nation wide tour! Tour dates include Coachella on April 15th and April 22nd as well as headlining shows at The Fox Theater in Oakland on April 17th and The Catalyst Club in Santa Cruz on April 23rd! 

CHVRCHES with Wolf Alice  at The Fox Theater in Oakland April 18th & 19th

 They may be playing on different days at Coachella: CHVRCHES is on Saturday April 16th and 23rd and Wolf Alice is on Sunday April 17th and 24th but they're joining forces for two sold-out shows at The Fox Theater in between weekends! This will be CHVRCHES 2nd Coachella appearance and Wolf Alice's 1st!

CHVRCHES at Treasure Island Music Fest 2015
Photo by Marc Fong 

Grimes at The Fox Theater in Oakland April 20th  
The wickedly charming Grimes played two shows at SF's historic Fillmore over Halloween weekend last year and she's coming back to the Bay for Fauxchella on 4/20! 

April 18th - Deerhunter at The Fillmore in San Francisco 
April 19th Savages at The Fillmoren in San Francisco 
April 21st - Crystal Fighters at The Independent in San Francisco
April 22nd - The 1975 at The Greek Theater in Berkeley 

Friday, March 4, 2016

CocoRosie is coming to town!

Sisters Bianca "Coco" and Sierra "Rosie" Cassidy of the the experimental indie-folkteonica band, CocoRosie are going on a short but sweet tour this month!
Sweet that is if you're in the Austin, San Antonio, Santa Fe, Englewood, Boise, San Francisco or Los Angeles areas March 17th through March 28th. 

The colorful, exuberantly creative duo have released an album every two years, more or less, since their 2004 debut. The fact that they were born in the U.S, raised and currently residing in Brooktown France might explain their sweetly unique sound as heard on their 6th studio album, last year's Heartbreak City. Recorded on their quaint farm studio in the South of France, the sisters used vintage toys and antique instruments, among other things, to get back to their roots which sparkle with old timey poetry. 

Their creativeness extends to their appearance, so it will be interesting to see what eccentric costumes and bright, mime-like makeup CocoRosie brings to the stage for these handful of shows. 

If you're in or around San Francisco on Sunday March 27th get tickets to see their 2nd to last show on this short run at The Regency Ballroom! 

Thursday March 17th: Austin, TX @ France Bureau Export 
Friday March 18th: Austin, TX @ Panache Showcase 
Sunday March 19th: San Antonio @ Heatwave Festival 
Wednesday March 23rd: Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf 
Thursday March 24th: Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf 
Friday March 25th: Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theater 
Saturday March 26th: Boise, ID @ Treefort Music Festival 
Monday March 28th: Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda