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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

S.F. Symphony's Dia de los Muertos Concert: A Perfect Corrective to a Week of Debauchery

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 3:30 AM

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Considerations of more a more noble nature aside, it may be that this coming weekend, you'll simply be looking for a little culture in the wake of Halloween (or post-World Series) debauchery. Whatever the case, you'll find it at Davies Symphony Hall on Saturday, where the San Francisco Symphony will host its fifth annual Dia de los Muertos Community Concert.

Yeah, sure, it's "family friendly." Yeah, sure, it takes place during the daytime. But unlike other celebrations of this morbidly joyous Mexican/Catholic holiday, the Symphony offers a concert program of real breadth, featuring collaborations with performing arts institutions from across the Bay Area.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

A$AP Rocky Brings Out Hometown Special Guests at the Fox Oakland, 10/24/12

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2012 at 9:22 AM

A$AP Rocky - ALL PICTURES BY MATT SAINCOME
  • All pictures by Matt Saincome
  • A$AP Rocky

A$AP Rocky
Schoolboy Q
Danny Brown
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Fox Theater, Oakland


Better than:
Anything else you could do on a Wednesday night. Where were you!?

Bouncing around on a stage draped in camouflage nets with the rest of the A$AP mob, A$AP Rocky wore a bright white army-like vest in front of a giant banner depicting that iconic scene of Marines raising an American flag at Iwo Jima -- but this time the flag was upside down and backwards. 

"We're fighting a war to be understood," Rocky explained, while gesturing to his outfit.

But last night, to everyone's surprise, A$AP Rocky would have some local rap heroes as his allies.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

SF JAZZ Festival Lineup: Heavy on Big Names, Light on Surprises and Local Talent

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 10:12 AM

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Announced this week by SFJAZZ, the lineup for the 30th Anniversary San Francisco Jazz Festival sounds ringingly similar to the lineups of previous San Francisco Jazz Festivals: a combination of jazz legends (Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman), younger innovators (Don Byron, Jacky Terrasson), vocalists (Dianne Reeves, Eliane Elias), and leading exponents of Latin jazz (Arturo Sandoval, Septeto Nacional). It's a stunning group of artists -- one that any jazz organization would be proud to attract, and one that almost any jazz fan would want to see and hear. Yet there are two nagging problems with this lineup. One is the familiarity of the above-described annual formula. The other is that, despite culling admirably from the global spectrum of jazz, the festival devotes hardly any programming to the Bay Area's own vibrant jazz history and current pool of talent.

Outside of Lavay Smith and Mary Stallings (as well as two performances by high school students), there isn't a single artist booked for this year's festival who has a Bay Area association. Where are Wil Blades, Taylor Eigsti, or Denny Zeitlin? All are accomplished musicians with international reputations. All hail from the Bay Area. And those are just a handful of the great keyboard players we have around here.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Awkward Electric Daisy Carnival Dance Move GIFs

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM

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Chris Victorio
By Christopher Victorio and Ben Westhoff

We love you, Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas. In fact, here are five reasons why you rule the roost. But my oh my you dance funky. We're not saying we're any better; truth is, we're utterly captivated by you and your awkward ways. Were God to create a third left foot, we know you would utilize it. Here, then, are the top ten awkward EDC Las Vegas dance move GIFs.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Khalil Shaheed, Jazz Musician and Educator, Leaves a Legacy Enshrined in His Students

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 11:35 AM

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Khalil Shaheed had unflagging dedication as a trumpet player, composer, and jazz educator. I knew him in all three roles. His death on March 23, at age 63, followed a long battle against lung cancer. His absence leaves a hollow space in the Bay Area's jazz scene, and particularly in the world of jazz education.

Originally from Chicago, the forty-plus years Khalil lived in the Bay Area produced a career in which he recorded with Jimi Hendrix and Babatunde Lea, and toured with Buddy Miles and Taj Majal. He founded Oaktown Jazz Workshops in 1994, and worked as an educator for the San Jose Jazz Society and other organizations. Through all of this work, Khalil's aim was to extend the legacy of jazz, draw connections between its disparate styles, and to invest his students with a sense of its history.

When I worked at the San Jose Jazz Society from 1999 to 2005, Khalil was one of many Bay Area musicians who served as a performer, teacher, and clinician for the organization's jazz education programs. These consisted primarily of appearances at schools, a student jazz competition, and a multi-week summer jazz camp. Khalil not only participated, but helped shape the curriculum. Far from being a mere hired hand, he was a committed partner in the organization's programs.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Dance-Punk Pioneers of ESG Are Calling It Quits: Their Journey Through the Bronx, the Haçienda, Paradise Garage, and S.F.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 8:49 AM

ESG in its current incarnation
  • ESG in its current incarnation

It's 2006, electroclash is on its last legs, and Mezzanine is just three years settled into its locale on Jessie street. The buzzword on everyone's lips is no wave, a rediscovered genre of art music from '80s New York that plays with the form and structure of punk, disco, and hip-hop. Looking to capitalize, Mezzanine books seminal Bronx no wave group Emerald, Sapphire, and Gold (a.k.a. ESG) for its debut San Francisco tour date. One crazy evening later, the venue was set to become the hotspot that we've all grown to know and like. It seems the stuff of fantasy and broad generalization -- and granted, that story was absorbed on a bar stool -- but look back and you'll see that ESG has a certain finesse when it comes to clubs. And now, after 34 years, ESG is calling it quits on a farewell tour that will roll through Mezzanine this Saturday, March 3, its only West Coast stop.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Long Live the Triptych: Five Great Series of Three Rock Songs

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 6:00 AM

In visual art, it's called a triptych -- a piece divided into three connected sections or panels. The individual panels could, in theory, stand on their own, but each adds meaning and significance to the other two, creating a single work that is more than the sum of its parts.

We don't have a name for this concept in music, but we should, especially in the new digital landscape, dominated as it is by singles rather than albums. Three songs is the smallest unit of musical arc, of emotional progression, the midpoint between the song and the album. Two songs only creates a straight line from point A to point B; three allows for a curve, for a complete musical thought.

With that said, here are five great rock triptychs. If we missed your favorite, leave it in the comments.

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The Beatles: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "With a Little Help From My Friends," and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)

If you had listened to this for the first time in 1967 (and maybe you did), the crowd noise in the opening seconds of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" would have tipped you off that the Beatles were up to something new, something bold. As the song nears its end and Sir Paul introduces Billy Shears (a.k.a. Ringo), something funny happens -- "With a Little Help from My Friends" emerges not from the customary silence between tracks, but in one fluid motion from the song before it.

Although this technique may be common now, at the time it was essentially revolutionary -- multiple songs could really be part of one larger thought, despite being listed separately. Conceptually, this was a leap.

Moving forward, the Beatles lead us on a continuous journey, rather than hopping from track to track. In "With a Little Help from My Friends," for example, the line "I get high with a little help from my friends" seems a bit odd in what is otherwise a sugar-sweet song, but it works as foreshadowing for the alternate universe ahead in "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

When "Lucy" ends, we find ourselves firmly entrenched in the Beatles' dream world, which is the profound achievement of this triptych -- it begins by asking us to suspend our disbelief and enjoy a fictional band and ends with us down Sgt. Pepper's rabbit hole.

(Listen here.)

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dubstep Takes Over the Fillmore District This Saturday, Rest of the World Soon After

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Irie Cartel is one of the DJ groups performing at the free Fillmore Dub Music Festival on Saturday.
  • Irie Cartel is one of the DJ groups performing at the free Fillmore Dub Music Festival on Saturday.
If you're reading this blog, you've probably already heard of it -- it's heavy, it wobbles, and it's not the Bay Bridge.

A fast-growing electronica genre with roots in reggae and dub music, dubstep is taking over the Fillmore this weekend. The Dub Fillmore Festival goes down at Fillmore and O'Farrell streets this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., featuring DJs like Mochipet, Nebakeneza, and El Diablo. It's funded by a grant from the mayor's office.

Dubstep "brings together all these different people and blends it in and remixes it in," head organizer Shanell Williams says, stressing the festival's ability to draw a younger crowd to the area than jazz generally does. "Dubstep is that meeting place where everyone can come together and agree upon the sound because you have so much in there."

She agrees that the Fillmore may be known mostly for jazz, but believes that's about to change.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Awesome Alert: Indie-Mart Party Is Back This Sunday

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

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After an eight-month break, the Indie-Mart Party returns this Sunday to Thee Parkside in Potrero Hill, bringing the only three things we care about -- music, food, and booze. Oh, and there's gonna be shopping and such for those of you who don't have your priorities straight (or just want to see some unique stuff, whatever).

The suggested donation for entrance is $3-5, which will help fund Indie-Mart founder Kelly Malone's cancer treatment.

Hit the jump for full details and line-up information.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bela Lugosi's Not Dead: S.F.'s Darkwave Scene Is Still Going Strong (and Weird)

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 11:51 AM

A typical crowd at the Dancing Ghosts darkwave party.
  • A typical crowd at the Dancing Ghosts darkwave party.
If you like Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, or Kanye West, you probably shouldn't go to the Dancing Ghosts party at the Cat Club tomorrow night. If you normally wear lots of bright colors when you're out on the town, or if you like to spend time in the sun for fun, then you'd probably feel a tad out of place.

Formerly at the Stud Bar in SOMA, Dancing Ghosts isn't your typical nightlife scene -- along with events like Shutter at the Elbo Room, it's one of San Francisco's several goth parties, billing itself in fliers as a "darkwave dance party."

For the uninitiated, darkwave music is basically goth music -- sorta.

"'Darkwave' describes a certain era and a handful of foundational artists" from the late '70s and early '80s like Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cure, and Clan of Xymox, says Alex Westhoff, who organizes Dancing Ghost and spins as DJ Xander. In some ways, Westhoff says, Bauhaus's 1979 song "Bela Lugosi's Dead" started the goth movement.

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  • 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.'"