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Sizzle & Fizzle: Highs and Lows from the Last Week in S.F. Music 

Wednesday, Dec 21 2011


Tori Amos put on one of the most enthralling live shows we've seen at the Paramount in Oakland, performing fan favorites from her entire catalog with a live string quartet. Grown men shouting "I love you!" and "How are you?" hinted at the tremendous affection Tori's fans feel for her, and with a live show this revelatory, it's not hard to see why she commands such devotion.

Jay-Z and Kanye West brought their hugely anticipated Watch the Throne tour to San Jose, and pretty much lived up to their tremendous reputation. Jigga and Yeezy stood alone on a multi-platform stage replete with pyrotechnics, huge LCD screens, and a dazzling laser show. Given that they also brought many of the best rap songs of the last decade, this concert was a highlight of the year.

Noise Pop added more performers to next year's festival lineup, including lauded Baltimore duo Wye Oak and S.F. favorite the Dodos. Already featuring Built to Spill, Craig Finn, Surfer Blood, and Archers of Loaf, among others, Noise Pop's 20th year is looking to be a blowout.


Warren Hellman, the billionaire financier and banjo-picker who put on the free annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival in Golden Gate Park, lost his battle with leukemia on Sunday. He was 77. We'll miss Hellman's tireless energy, persistent sense of humor, and love of music. Thankfully, Hellman ensured that the festival will continue for at least 15 years after his death.

• We were among the sold-out fans anticipating the Pharcyde's Saturday show at Yoshi's, but sadly, the night felt like nostalgia by the numbers. Muddy sound held back songs that should have been highlights, and it seemed the members were performing more for the money than a love of making music together.

• The Grateful Dead's growing empire of merchandise now includes a videogame where you can revisit some of the S.F. band's most legendary concerts with other Deadheads. Sadly, the game doesn't include any competitions related to obtaining acid, rolling joints, or holding free love parties.

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