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Friday, May 13, 2016

The 5 Best Songs on Drake's Views That Aren't "Hotline Bling" or "One Dance"

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 2:00 PM

  • Macguyver/
If you haven't heard already, Drake dropped a new album. The improbably long project — it has 20 tracks and clocks in at just under an hour and a half — is the Canadian rapper's fourth full-length record (because If You're Reading This It's Too Late and What A Time To Be Alive don't count as albums; they're mixtapes) and it's not his best.

Even if you're not a Drake fan, you've probably heard two of the album's singles, "Hotline Bling" and "One Dance," but those songs, it turns out, are misleading. The bulk of Views consists of slow-burning, languid jams that show off Drizzy's softer persona and tend to drawl on for a bit too long. Unlike his two 2015 mixtapes — and even 2013's Nothing Was The Same — Drake hardly raps, and you don't hear his characteristic, jubilant "Whoo!" on any of the tracks either.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

An Evening with the Hologram: Hatsune Miku Live Review

Posted By on Wed, May 4, 2016 at 2:53 PM

Computer-generated teen heartthrob. - SEGA/COURTESY PHOTO
  • SEGA/Courtesy photo
  • Computer-generated teen heartthrob.

I kind of hate how much I enjoyed Hatsune Miku.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I headed out to the computer-generated Japanese pop star's second of two shows at the Warfield on Saturday night. I was going in practically blind.

I had so many questions: How would such a musician work live? Would it work at all? Would she interact with the audience? Take requests? Improvise?

I had no idea! I had no notion of what to expect. But I didn't expect to really, really dig it.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Baio Represents the Maturation of the Vampire Weekend Crew at TIMF

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 2:24 PM

  • Adrian Spinelli

If you're not already in the know, Baio is the solo project of Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio. And if his Saturday afternoon set on Treasure Island Music Festival's Tunnel Stage showed us anything, it's that he has a bold and unique identity all his own.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Live Review: Janet Jackson Shows the Kids How It's Done at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

Posted By on Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 11:30 AM

  • Sugarwolf
Janet Jackson
Oct. 13, 2015
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium 

“Gimme a beat!,” Janet Jackson commands, as her eight-piece band rips into the minimal, steely, yet relentless groove of 1989’s “Nasty.” With an army of nine backup dancers in tow, the pop legend shows no signs of slowing down at 49, delivering a physically demanding spectacle worthy of a star half her age. Yet, amidst the breakneck pace and daring athleticism, Ms. Janet’s presence radiates an effortless sense of grace and serenity that only decades of hard-earned icon status can achieve.

As the title of her newly released seventh LP might suggest, and as Tuesday night’s sold-out appearance at Bill Graham Civic Amphitheater confirmed, the late King of Pop’s little sister is as Unbreakable as they come.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Grace Jones Threatened to Kill Everyone at the Fox

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 3:12 PM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane

To stand before Grace Jones’s painted body, bare breasts and all, is like having an audience with Hera in the Olympian throne room. Jones is 67-years old, and at the peak of her power. She doesn’t so much sing as perform rites set to song, and her maniacal imperiousness is catnip for artfags. Although her show at the Fox took place on the Saturday before the Folsom Street Fair, it seemed possible that the Powerhouse and the Eagle were full of tumbleweeds, because their target demo had better plans. People turned out, and they were looking mighty spiffy.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mordred Resurrect Metal Memories at Bottom of the Hill

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 10:28 AM

The Ghost Next Door
Friday, July 24, 2015
Bottom of the Hill

Many San Francisco venues have the advantage of being centrally located or near areas with lots of foot traffic. Other venues, like Bottom of the Hill (located at 17th & Texas Streets), are located off the grid and only draw folks to the area that already made plans well in advance.

Talent buyer Ramona Downey, who has done a splendid job of booking local, regional, national, and international talent for years, hit yet another home run Friday night when she booked the Bay Area's once dormant Mordred to play a warm-up date before its European tour.

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Jamie xx Brings London Club Scene to San Francisco

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 9:34 AM

  • Adrian Spinelli
Jamie xx
Bimbo's 365
July 27, 2015

Last night's Jamie xx show at Bimbo's 365 felt like some sort of concert hack.

The highly regarded producer, whose recently released debut LP, In Colour, has garnered rave reviews and launched the former The xx beat-maker into an exclusive level of both indie and pop stardom, is essentially "too big" to play Bimbo's. A fine venue, but with a capacity of 685, the choice of location was a head-scratcher, let alone for only $25?! So yes, the show sold out in minutes, as did Jamie's upcoming October show at the much larger 2,800 capacity Fox Theater in Oakland.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

We Sent an Old Metal Dad and His 10-Year-Old Daughter to Review Meghan Trainor

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 10:08 AM

  • Dave Pehlling

Meghan Trainor
Charlie Puth
Life of Dillon
July 21, 2015
The Masonic

"Is it going to end late?" my 10-year-old daughter Katrina asked, a touch of concern in her eyes as she looked up at me while we waited for the Powell Street cable car to take us up the hill to see Meghan Trainor at the Masonic. Ever since she was a toddler the kid had always been one to put herself to bed at a reasonable hour.

"I don't think so, as early as the show is starting," I reassured. "I'll be surprised if she plays for more than 70 minutes. We'll be home pretty close to 10."

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Merrill Garbus Is the Spiritual Heiress to David Byrne

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 10:31 AM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane

This past Sunday, on what was possibly the hottest day in the history of the chilly canyon known as Stern Grove, Merrill Garbus, the creative force behind tUnE-yArDs, took over the summertime festival in a muu-muu that made her look a little like Mrs. Roper. (For their part, her bandmates looked as though they could be extras from the Magnetic Zeroes.)

The 36-year-old Garbus is well-regarded for producing spontaneous drum loops and layering eerie harmonics over lo-fi tribal beats. After three albums, it’s clear that her artistic aspirations are exceeding the bounds of her earlier work. Combined with a social justice bent, Sunday’s show hinted at a likely career trajectory: prodigious output at the margins of the mainstream and a devoted fan base.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Death Cab for Cutie Transport Sold-Out Crowd at the Greek Theatre

Posted By on Mon, Jul 13, 2015 at 2:39 PM

Death Cab for Cutie
Built to Spill
Saturday, July 11, 2015
The Greek Theatre, Berkeley

A crowd of 8,500 eagerly awaiting fans filled the Greek theatre Saturday night for the sold-out Death Cab for Cutie concert. This would be the band’s first return to the Bay Area without longtime guitarist, Chris Walla, following the announcement of his departure from the band back in August 2014. However, the audience was still in for an extra treat that night with a full opening set from the melodic indie rock band Built to Spill. Although both bands are coming off the release of a new album this year, having such early success in the ’90s and early 2000’s can make it difficult to attract the younger crowds. However, that was not the case on Saturday as the theater erupted with an even distribution of various age groups seeking to either relive the songs that got them through pivotal moments in their youth or those seeking musical comfort for the youthful trials they are still experiencing.

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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.'"