Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ragga Muffins Rocks the Fox

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2009 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge Raggamuffin, Troubador, Poet, MC: K'naan - EKAPHOTOGRAPHY
  • EKAphotography
  • Raggamuffin, Troubador, Poet, MC: K'naan

Friday's Ragga Muffins Festival offered my first chance to see the remodeled Fox Theater in Oakland, which just recently opened. The first impression was one of amazement: the venue is big, impressive, and luxurious, yet comfortable as well. Unlike the Paramount and the Warfield, the Fox rocks. It's got some cool, subtle details, like the zellij patterns in the ceiling, but also intelligently-designed, modern ergonomics which contrast the building's old-school, historical landmark status. There are terraced levels leading down to the stage, for example, which means its easier to see from the back of the venue; and the smoking section is high-ceilinged, with vertical vents, so you don't return from a smoke break coated in tar. Other pluses I noticed included the friendly attitude of the staff; one usher even offered photography tips. And with several bars in operation, wait time for a drink was minimal. Finally, Oakland has a cool spot for larger shows--a place you'd choose to be at without reluctance and of your own accord.

As for the concert itself, it also impressed. I can't remember the last time a big reggae show happened in Oakland (previous Ragga Muffins have been held at the Bill Graham Auditorium), and the upgrade in venue seemed to have a positive effect on both performers and audience. There were no major gaffes to speak of; the only minor ding was the loud sound check performed prior to K'naan's set. Unfortunately, I missed Rootz Underground, who started playing exactly at 7 p.m., but it does say something that the opener was on and off the stage on time. Highlights included Lee "Scratch" Perry donning a dreadlocks-equipped hat, K'naan updating an Ethiopian jazz classic with hip-hop beats, and Stephen Marley's acoustic rendition of "Mind Control." All in all, an irie introduction to what looks to be the crown jewel in Oakland's emerging Uptown nightlife scene.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

About The Author

Eric Arnold


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"