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

Wednesday, Feb 22 2012


• The Warren Hellman Public Celebration brought stars like Emmylou Harris and Old Crow Medicine Show to two stages at Ocean Beach on Sunday, and reproduced all the magic that makes Hellman's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass so beloved. It was a fitting tribute to the late banjo-picker.

• Are we returning to the days of the megaparty? Lights Down Low's sixth anniversary throwdown at Public Works made us wonder. With DJs like Danny Daze and Todd Edwards packing floors upstairs and down, no one lacked for options. The festivities went on way past last call, and the insides of the nondescript venue were covered in weird posters and signs.

• The best part of our interview with Howlin Rain was Ethan Miller letting slip that the members of S.F. pscyh-rock juggernaut Comets on Fire have been playing together on Ben Chasny's new record. Miller's Rick Rubin-directed Howlin Rain project has its charms, but we'd love to see Comets return.


• Among the many revelations at the S.F. MusicTech conference, one especially struck us: The Future of Music Coalition concluded, after surveying 5,000 musicians, that digital technology isn't helping artists earn more money. It seems counterintuitive, but it appears tech-savvy musicians are earning less than their Luddite peers.

• Fire-haired egomaniac Dave Mustaine confirmed his idiocy twice last week: First he said he wants a Republican in the White House and would be happy if it were Rick Santorum. Then he issued a statement claiming he wasn't endorsing Rick Santorum. Dave, it's become too easy to mock you.

• Let's call it Chris Brown creep: First the Grammys let the habitual abuser perform (twice!), then rumors leaked that Rihanna — who suffered at his hands in 2009 — would feature him on a remix. If true, that's a shame.

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