“…one of the reasons it passed so quickly for me was actually – I had a kid. He’s magic. And I’ve basically wanted to hang out with him so I’m sorry I disappeared.” Dido offering some explanation of why she’s not done a world tour for the past 15 years, and as an introduction to one of two encore songs – her very personal “Have To Stay” – in her performance at The Masonic in San Francisco on Wednesday night. I’m actually one of those people who have waited to see her for the past 15 years, so it was an amazing experience. Supporting her brilliant new album, Still On My Mind, Dido played many hits and lots of new music, and still left us all wanting more, even with a 20-song set. This was actually show #1 of 3 for me and Shelley (Mrs. Rock Subculture), as we took time to also catch the subsequent shows in both Portland and Seattle (mini reviews included below) as Dido wrapped up the U.S. leg of her tour in California and the Pacific Northwest. Hopefully it won’t be another 15 years for her to come around again, but it was well worth the wait. [Read more…]
KFOG held their Concert for Kids concert at The Masonic in San Francisco on December 8th, boasting a stellar musical line-up of Band of Horses, Blind Pilot and The Revivalists. The popular venue was packed with fans coming out for a great concert and also in support of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and the Marines Toys for Tots program. [Read more…]
“It’s a very special evening for us, because this is the culmination of a lot of hard work… we’re about to take a month’s vacation, so tonight’s party night!” Shirley Manson of Garbage, playing before thousands at The Masonic in San Francisco, the band’s last U.S. show on their current tour (sort of, with a special one off show in Los Angeles next month). With this tour, they are supporting 2016’s new studio album, Strange Little Birds. As a follow-up tour to last year’s “20 Years Queer Tour”, we now see the band looking to the future more than reflecting on the past, though there is still some of that too, with stories about the birth of their music in the 90s and of course they are still playing those fan favorite songs and hits.
“Spread open your Golden Gates…” Morrissey always has an interesting little quip before delving into the first song of the night, and what he prepared from The Masonic in San Francisco was appropriate enough. Having seen him one other time this year – in San Jose in July (phenomenal show!) – he seems to be increasingly jubilant this year… a turn of fortunes for sure. He also seems much more comfortable in his own skin, and more confident (with a stellar band bringing his music alive in a way that eclipses all iterations that have come before it). He was also quite chatty with this latest engagement on Tuesday night, abandoning at least some of the darkness fans have become accustomed to (though he did make a remark about looking to find him in a monastery eight miles south of Vienna in the future). There is often a unique theme for each show by way of matching outfits for the band, and with this show, they all wore “Morrissey for President” t-shirts. We can only image. As one of my all-time favorite artists, I see him as often as I can, and it seemed most fitting to make this show my final one for 2015. He remains one of just a few artists that can still give me that chill down my spine and make me feel like I am witnessing something genuine and important (kicking in at this show with “How Soon Is Now?”). Morrissey has a way of bringing up feelings of nostalgia and fusing it with his new works to create something special. [Read more…]
“It’s so wonderful to be back in San Francisco. It’s wonderful to be back in America, because actually the title of the record – How Big How Blue How Beautiful – was inspired by the American sky. It was actually, in a text message… I sent – I don’t want to break the mystery of it – but I sent to someone I really cared about a lot. And this song was written about that time. And about just how everything seemed endless, and beautiful, and that the world was a magical place. And then if you hear the rest of the record, you may be able to tell that things got a bit… muh… but still, I feel like you come back to this feeling, always.” Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine, providing an introduction to the title song of the upcoming album due out in June. Playing two back-to-back shows at The Masonic in San Francisco, it was not only a set of concerts with new music, but seemingly a Florence with a bit of a different feeling. I was lucky enough to catch two of their shows in 2012 (at the Mondavi Center in Davis and at the Hollywood Bowl), and the Florence I saw performing this week encompassed what I came to expect (an intense and phenomenal performer), but with flourishes of more joy than I’ve seen previously. It made for even more captivating shows, as her and her incredible group of artists truly put on a masterful performance, with a mix of familiar and new. I obviously attend a lot of concerts every year, but Florence + The Machine is one of the very few that can give me that adrenaline rush and tingle down my spine throughout – a real feat. Being fortunate enough to attend both shows this week, while the set list was the same, the shows each had there own character, energy, and vibe. With the preview of the new album, and the quality of the songs, it would appear that the band hasn’t hit any ceilings yet in terms of their gifts, talents and abilities, and I expect them to continue to soar in that big blue sky that Ms. Welch is so fond of… in studio or on stage, they remain one of the top musical artists active today. [Read more…]
Blondie’s spectacular show at the Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco Thursday night was a reminder of how seemingly effortlessly Debbie Harry and the band crossed into and innovated within so many different styles and genres of music in the late 70s and early 80s. Punk, post-punk, disco, pop, New Wave, even some rap, reggae, and infusions of some world music, they were quite the innovators, really serving as a pioneering force in music, and they continue to record new and relevant music today. The Debbie Harry-fronted East Coast post punk/pop/disco group Blondie share the bill on the “No Principals Tour” with Exene Cervenka and John Doe fronting on vocals for the West Coast, L.A. punk pioneers X, which features its original line-up. Both artists brought amazing energy to the stage, which created a frenzy within the crowd at the Masonic unlike anything I’d seen at the usually mellow venue, with fans of both bands flooding the area between the all-seated venue and the low stage. It was definitely a different sort of concert (in a great way) and celebration of music that really served as a pivotal transition from the 70s to the 80s, paving a pathway into what turned out to be fresh and new world.
Roxette played the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco last night, and more than delivered with their unique brand of rock infused pop to an eager audience, the majority of which appeared to be made up of truly hardcore fans of the Swedish band front by the duo of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle. High energy, enthusiasm, and joy emanated from the stage as the band played through a set framed by their many international hits, having sold over 60 million records worldwide. The fact that they were able to break out so big back in 1989 is a testament to their incredible songwriting skills, and having had four number one hits in the U.S. and nineteen Top 40 hits in the UK illustrates their ability to craft really catchy and hooky tunes that appeal to fans of music the world over. More impressive is that they were able to break out globally back when artists were completely reliant on record labels and radio stations to be heard, long predating the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and all the opportunity it has brought to the masses since those days. All that aside, they are a band that really need to be experienced live to fully appreciate their music, as their performance was stellar.
The Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium hosted last night’s concert performance by Tears for Fears. It doesn’t get much better than a set that opens with “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, closes with “Head Over Heels”, and finishes an encore with “Shout”. Some of the most classic songs of the 80s, and the band looks and sounds as great as ever. It was a fantastic evening with an awesome set that spanned their catalog and reflected the real diversity of their work. Truly one of best songwriting teams that helped define the 80s. A fantastic evening and true thrill to see them perform live, and in top form. The songs never sounded better.