Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Radio Dept. @ The Fillmore 1/30/2018

In 2011, one year after their 3rd album was released, The Radio Dept. played at The Independent in SF on February 15th. Seven years later on January 30th they returned to SF, playing The Fillmore following the success of their 4th album, 2016's Running Out Of Love

The Radio Dept. @ The Fillmore 1/30/2018
photo by Marc Fong 
It was a slow Tuesday winter night as far as shows go, the crowd forming to a modest size just in time for The Radio Dept. The band span the whole stage, Duncanson and Larsson flanking either side with their touring bandmates in the middle. The set was minimal in every aspect: the no thrills lighting suspect to being house mandated and operated, the band and their parallel ensemble offered a lack luster stage presence and a few dry, mumbled thank yous was the only banter we got. 

The Radio Dept. @ The Fillmore 1/30/2018
photo by Marc Fong 

It's how the Swedish band has held on to their mystic over the last 15 years, keeping their loyal fan base always wanting more. That and the fact that since their 2003 debut they've been known not to play many live shows.  Instrumentation of guitar, bass and keys reared  fuzzy over the PA system at The historic venue, amplifying their already lo-fi feel. 

Fans' cheers at the start and end of songs shouted approval of the grainy indie-rock seeping from the dark fog. As the genre of indie music expands, it's scope broadening wider and becoming more commercial, The Radio Dept. prevails a true indie band. Popular in the underground scene, like any good indie band should be, they've never compromised their reverb romanticism. 15 years and 4 albums later, The Radio. Dept still deliver a sought after indie show. 

The Radio Dept. @ The Fillmore 1/30/2018
photo by Marc Fong 

The Radio Dept. set-list 1/30/2018 
1. I Don't Like This 
The Radio Dept. @ The Fillmore 1/30/2018
photo by Marc Fong 
2. Committed To The Cause 

3. Pulling Our Weight 
4. Can't Be Guilty 
5. Kean On Boys 
6. Why Won't You Talk About It?
7. I Wanted You To Feel The Same 
8. Never Follow Suit 
9. Heaven's On Fire 
10. Sloboda Narodu 
11. Death to Fascism 
12. Swedish Guns 
13. A Token of Gratitude 
14. Occupied 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentines Records

When Valentine cards and candy hit store shelves at the end of January I felt like most when I saw the blinding assortments of reds and pinks: too soon *hard eye roll*. But, a few weeks ago I did come across some Valentines in Walgreens that I think are actually really cute. 

7" vinyls of single love songs in a Valentines Day appropriate sleeve. I'd never seen records packaged as Valentines like that and think it's such a fun and creative way to say Happy Valentines Day, especially to the music lover in your life. There was three to choose from that day I came across them: Respect by Aretha Franklin, Need You Tonight by INXS and Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars. If you're out there doing some last minute bargain shopping for your Valentine today, keep an eye out for Valentines Records at Walgreens. Spread the love of music this Valentines Day, doesn't that sound good? 

There's a reason the song goes, "you spin me right round baby round round, like a record baby right round, round round." 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Ashe @ The Independent 1/23/2018

After being on tour with Louis the Child in December, which included a show at The Fox Theater in Oakland on December 16th, Ashe is on the road again. This time around the "Girl Who Cried Wolf" singer is touring with Lauv, landing her two stops in San Francisco: January 23rd at The Independent and January 24th at Rickshaw Stop. 

The first of two shows in SF last month was the San Diego native's very first time playing with Lauv and her second time ever in San Francisco. The city definitely was not shy to welcome her back as fans flocked to the sold out show that Tuesday night, The Independent was packed well before opening act Ashe hit the stage.

Ashe @ The Independent 1/23/2018
photo by Nikki DeMartini

As the sweetly eerie Willy Wonka theme song, "Pure Imagination" filled the air, Ashe appeared in an over-sized pink blazer, bleached washed denim and barefoot.  With her long golden locks flowing and non-stop smiles ahe fit the bill of a California dream girl and the crowd warmed up to her almost immediately.

Amongst Lauv's back-lined equipment, her drummer, Tom stayed poised on his kit  behind her as she buoyantly gallivanted around the stage singing through that effervescent smile of hers.  When each song ended she smiled and laughed and chatted as she introduced the next song, happily announcing that her grandparents and aunt and uncle were in crowd about halfway through her set. After playing the Summery single she did Louis The Child, "Right To It", she played a not yet released song "Choirs". According to her, the song may very well be her next single and she described it as being very weird which reminded me of our Q & A when she was on tour with Louis The Child: I asked how she'd classify her music and in short she answered "I try not to classify my music - but, it's some sort of combination of weird and accessible". For someone who doesn't like to classify their own music, I'd say Ashe classifies her music perfectly. It definitely lives somewhere in the ever evolving  indie-pop genre.

Ashe @ The Independent 1/23/2018 
photo by Nikki DeMartini

Her exuberant stage presence not only made her colorful songs pop that much more but watching her was like a breathe of fresh air. Ashe is paving her own path as super charged new artist and she hasn't even released an album yet. I can't wait to see what she brings to the stage when her debut does drop.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Surfer Blood @ The Chapel 1/21/2018

Last February when Surfer Blood was on stage at The Chapel it was a few days after the release of their fourth studio album, Snowdonia. The album was Surfer Blood's first recording without guitarist Thomas Fekete and bassist Kevin Williams and it was the band's first tour with Michael McCleary and Lindsey Mills (both of which are also on that album). 

Surfer Blood @ The Chapel 1/21/2018
photo by Marc Fong

Less than a year later, Surfer Blood was back in the Mission District of San Francisco, playing the same stage at The Chapel on January 21st. A measurable crowd graciously gathered that Sunday night as Kid Trails and Terry Malts opened the show.  Surfer Blood hit the stage around ten o'clock with a notable higher frequency than the last time they played there. Seeing that last time SF fans saw them play in the Bay, the remaining original band-mates, JP and Tyler were undoubtedly still processing the untimely loss of Thomas Fekete and the departure of Kevin Williams. It was also the then newly formed quartet's first time on tour together as Surfer Blood. They've had time to grow as a band and bond since then and it sure does show.  

Surfer Blood @ The Chapel 1/21/2018
photo by Marc Fong 

Surfer Blood @ The Chapel 1/21/2018
photo by Marc Fong

Frontman JP was almost giddy as he personably interacted with the crowd as well as with bassist Lindsey as they played. Last time they were here you could sense that Surfer Blood was still feeling each other out but this time around the atmosphere was light and laid back. The re-formed Surfer Blood has found their groove on stage in a year's time. 

Washed out by indigo and emerald hues,  JP and Lindsey carried us away amidst their compassionate jamming while down-to-earth surfer-rock prevailed, whether on the surface or with underlying tones throughout the set. 
Their 13 song set-list weighed heavier on Astro Coast, Surfer Blood's 2010 debut including what JP deemed his favorite song, one he wrote when he was 15, "Take It Easy".  

Surfer Blood @ The Chapel 1/21/2018 
photo by Marc Fong 

Their delightfully charismatic show at The Chapel a few weeks ago was friendly reminder that you can (and will) get by with a little help from your friends. Fans set forth into the week ahead, the last of the first month of 2018, a little lighter after spending that Sunday night with Surfer Blood. 

set-list 1/21/2018

1. Neighbor Riffs
2. Frozen
3. Fast Jaborni
4.  Feast - Famine
5. Weird Shapes
6. Six Flags in F or G
7. Take It Easy
8. Grand Inquisitor
9. Floating Vibes
10. Voyager Reprise
11. Matter of Time
12. Demon Dance
13. Anchorage