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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Five Concerts To See in the Bay Area This Week

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Flying Lotus performs Thursday at the Fox Oakland
  • Flying Lotus performs Thursday at the Fox Oakland

Helmet, Toadies, and Ume @ The Independent, Friday, Oct. 26

Thus far, eating grilled chicken testicles on television hasn't signified the arrival of a viable new band, but hey, Ume could change all that. The Austin outfit (whose name is pronounced "ooh-may") hung out with professional foodie Anthony Bourdain during a recent No Reservations episode and sampled the aforementioned dish. Based on the trio's sound alone, you wouldn't guess that its members would associate themselves with such a potentially ridiculous activity. Ume makes alt-rock/post-punk that's intent on coming across as poised and stylish -- songs are varnished with fuzz and gloom without ever getting truly damaged -- and frontwoman Lauren Larson's measured coo makes her a dead ringer for Metric's Emily Haines, a perpetual keeper of the cool. For ideal listening, bust out 2011's Phantoms for a night drive through a sleek, neon downtown. -- Reyan Ali

Battlehooch and Raw Geronimo @ The Knockout, Wednesday, Oct. 24

If you aren't up for surprises, stop reading now: The music of Battlehooch offers no shortage of startling turns and unexpected landings. The six-piece San Francisco outfit bills itself as "shape-shifting orchestral rock," but that's only half the story. Battlehooch sounds like what would happen if a group of musical prodigies got trapped in an instrument storage locker with a dozen boxes of Cap'n Crunch and a gallon of mushroom tea. We could point out the elements of funk, comment on the presence of exotic flutes, note the howling lines of brass, mention the searing guitar leads, or bring up the frequent changes in tempo. But the only way to really get it is to see it live. This is a great time to do it: All through October, Battlehooch is holding a Wednesday night residency at the Knockout. With different openers every night -- and these maniacs in the headlining slot -- you'll never know quite what to expect. That's a good thing. -- Ian S. Port

Urulu @ Monarch, Friday, Oct. 26

Screaming divas, ethereal pads, and the smooth rush of TR-909 hi-hats -- '90s nostalgia is back full-bore, and with it an entirely new wave of retro-futuristic house music. At the forefront is Los Angeles-based DJ/producer Taylor Freels, aka Urulu. A fresh face on the scene, he specializes in an unabashedly nostalgic sound that creatively appropriates aspects of East Coast luminaries like Masters at Work and Kerri Chandler, while staying true to the computer-driven aesthetic of the present. What hasn't changed is the music's sense of intense euphoria, something that can be heard in recent single "1991," as well as in his DJ sets. Catch him as he plays this Friday for Lights Down Low's Halloween Bash. -- Derek Opperman

Red Fang @ Slim's, Saturday, Oct. 27

Portland, OR-based quartet Red Fang has proven itself to be one of the hardest working bands in metal over the past few years. Since the release of the group's ferocious self-titled debut in 2009 -- and the hysterical beer-soaked, Ren Faire battle gone horribly awry video for "Prehistoric Dog" that went viral to the tune of over a million YouTube views and counting -- Red Fang has logged a preposterous number of miles on both sides of the Atlantic spreading the gospel of its tuneful bludgeoning. 2011's Murder the Mountains, the band's first album for noted metal imprint Relapse Records, rightfully ended up on numerous year-ending "Best of" lists with its crafty mix of sledgehammer riffs and hooky tandem vocals from bassist Aaron Beam and guitarist Bryan Giles. Having made two extensive jaunts through Europe in the past year, Red Fang finally brings its pulverizing live show back to U.S. stages this fall. -- Dave Pehling

Flying Lotus @ Fox Oakland, Thursday, Oct. 25

Considering how elusive his records can be, Flying Lotus' live show is surprisingly visceral. The Los Angeles beat artist's new album, Until the Quiet Comes, features more of the twisting basslines, stuttering rhythms, and crackling negative space that marked breakthrough releases like Los Angeles and Cosmogramma. And like those, it's worth the effort you make listening to it. Live, though, Stephen Ellison's mindfuckery lurches into the physical realm, with his distant grooves and torso-rumbling sub-bass working weird, kinetic spells on the occupants of a darkened room. The dreaminess of Ellison's music comes through, sure -- but so does its danceability. -- Ian S. Port

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