Belgian singer-songwriter Selah Sue and her headlining North American tour is coming to the left half of the U.S. in coming weeks, before playing some dates and festivals abroad. Finding both critical and commercial success in recent years, the young artist will be bringing her unique mix of R&B, soul, and reggae to The Independent in San Francisco on August 25th, and Another Planet Entertainment has provided some tickets to give away for this upcoming date at one of the best intimate venues in the Bay Area. If you e-mail me your name and share this post on Facebook or tweet a link on Twitter, you will have a chance to win a pair of tickets to the upcoming concert in San Francisco. Entries must be received by Thursday, August 22nd. You can also still purchase tickets for this show for $15 – see www.apeconcerts.com. [Read more…]
It’s rare that audiences are treated to a real triple header concert, but that was my take on the female fronted trio of bands that owned the stage at The Independent in San Francisco last night. How I ended up there… I blame the Swiss (more on that later), but it was a real showcase of contemporary alternative bands that are making incredible music and bringing it on the road. All three have also released amazing new albums this year (more on that later as well) and this material seemed to please the sold out crowd of 800 at the intimate Bay Area club. They are all doing it again tonight at the Great American Music Hall, and I can’t recommend enough checking it out. If they aren’t coming to a city near you, I can’t recommend enough picking up their albums, each released this year. CSS’s Planta, MS MR’s Secondhand Rapture and IO Echo’s Ministry of Love are, for me personally, three of the best releases of the year, and there is a good chance all three will appear in my Top 10 Albums list for my 2013 End Of Year article.
Just when you think you know what to expect from a Crystal Castles concert, a naked man casually walks on stage to tend to his drum kit (not a euphemism), part of the second of two supporting bands. But of course the real show starts with the main set… and with Crystal Castles, it’s as much about the experience surrounding the music as it is the music itself. While Alice Glass and Ethan Kath don’t really have anything to say in-between songs during their thumping (with many thumps courtesy of touring drummer Christopher Chartrand) high energy shows, they certainly know how to entertain and excite once they take the stage. With their unconventional sound, seizure-inducing lighting effects, and interactivity (by way of Alice diving into the audience), a Crystal Castles show overloads the senses… so much unfamiliar and unexpected for your eyes, ears, and brain to process. Whatever your take on their brand of experimental electronic/synthpop/synthpunk music, you certainly can’t consider their live shows to be boring or uneventful. A band born to perform live, for sure. Their studio recordings are fantastic (and their third studio album, (III) is excellent), but you really need to see them live to understand their music, and get the full Crystal Castles experience.
Another Planet Entertainment has announced a stellar line-up for their annual Outside Lands 3-Day festival in San Francisco at Golden Gate Park, running August 9-11. Headliners include Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Phoenix, Kascade, Vampire Weekend, Pretty Lights, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hall & Oates, and more. 3-Day tickets are on sale now. [Read more…]
“Do you guys remember – some of you will remember – Metric shows before cell phone cameras? It’s really funny you know; that shit changed my life.” Metric’s Emily Haines, taking a moment mid-show at the Fox Theater in Oakland last night to share some candid thoughts about how advances in technology have affected her and what she shares with audiences during concerts; a bit of a lament over the way things used to be… a simpler time. Her philosophical aside was quite interesting (salted with some humor as well); to hear her unique perspective on live concert events today and the ubiquitous technology wherein everything and anything can be recorded with ease (and how bits can carry on, out of context). Funny enough, it was something I had mentioned in my coverage of the show the night prior at Mondavi Center in Davis, though some friends of mine who have been to Metric shows that I missed said it is something she has brought up in the past as well. In any event, with that and a nice chat at the end leading into their “Gimme Sympathy” closer, there seemed to be a different kind of dynamic with each audience in the past two nights (both awesome, but different). Fox Theater offered a GA floor whereas Mondavi was seated (though ended up sort of GA as it got going), but the larger Fox has the distinct separation between stage and audience, with the security pit, so the added discussion maybe bridged that literal gap to create a different sort of connection compared with Mondavi, wherein the band could reach down and literally touch the members of the audience with ease. In any event, having seen back-to-back shows over two nights, it was fun for me to compare the two. Both were stellar shows with great performances by Metric, as they tour over a dozen shows and dates between now and June. While for me on a personal level the Mondavi show was more engaging (since I was front row for the entire show), I took an opportunity with the Fox show to enjoy the set from different perspectives, and it was quite enjoyable to even move to the very back and have a better perspective with which to take in the impressive lighting effects on the stage, which is much different from seeing it all up close. All in all, another fantastic show by Metric and they have become one of my favorite bands to turn out to see live.
“If you’re here, you know I love a sing along, so don’t let me down, alright? Hook me up.” Metric’s Emily Haines, giving her introduction to the acoustic version of their classic song, “Gimme Sympathy”, which brought the intimate show at Mondavi Center to a close last night. 2013 is shaping up to be one of the best years in some time for live music concerts, and April in particular is weighted very heavy with competing and conflicting shows all over the West Coast due to Coachella and bands doing their own headlining shows in addition to that “granddaddy of U.S. festivals”. Even so, when Metric announced a little over a dozen dates running through June, I changed around my own schedule to be sure to see them twice. The only other artist I’m seeing twice this month is Prince, so I think that speaks volumes about the esteem with which I hold this band. With their show a Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, they certainly didn’t disappoint. Pre-show, looking around the beautiful venue at the crowd, it was hard to say what kind of audience the band was going to encounter. Opener Mona delivered and got them out of their seats, and by the time Metric came on stage, they were beaming with excitement that further fueled the band. It was definitely one of the top shows I’ve been to this year, and it was one of those shows that was so good, the only negative was those fleeting thoughts that it eventually had to come to an end. In any event, it was spectacular and unforgettable, and the band is one of the must-see acts touring today.
Thomas Mars, vocalist for French alternative rock band Phoenix, was a man of few words in-between songs at their Coachella headlining warm up gig at Freeborn Hall at U.C. Davis last night, but the show was extremely interactive. By the second song of their approximately hour and a half set, he was already at the edge of the stage, leaning into the audience. By the time the high energy show came to an end, he’d sung one song on the front rail of the all standing/GA venue, made his way deep into the crowd sometime thereafter, and eventually crowd surfed atop the sold out capacity crowd. It was among their first live shows in several years, and they played a lot of material from their highly anticipated forthcoming fifth studio album, Bankrupt!, due April 22nd.
“To give is the reason I live”… a Frankie Valli lyric and a comment made by Morrissey on stage well into his set at Mondavi Center at U.C. Davis in Davis, California. Morrissey has long been a fundamental part of my favorite music artists of all-time, and more than all of them, his music has always moved me – those special moments where the words and the sound connects with me, that chill down my spine and adrenaline rush… as part of the soundtrack of my life, Morrissey and his work add texture, substance, and color unlike any other artist. And his live appearances have become increasingly rare, so any opportunity I have to experience it “for real”, in person, I am there, as the live experience just magnifies it all. And the show last night at Mondavi Center was a spectacular celebration among a special group of fans. [Read more…]
“Tonight we’re doing something that means something…” Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds from the stage last night, commenting on the $10,000 raised for Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, in conjunction with Brad Brooks as supporting band, KFOG, and Another Planet Entertainment, as well as The Independent, who played host to the amazing concert put on by the Las Vegas-based alternative band. Imagine Dragons, about to launch their first headlining concert series this Spring, put on an incredible performance to the sold out 500-capacity venue for this special one-off fundraiser. In stark contrast to the band’s explosive success over the past year, Dan and his group seem very humble and grounded; appreciative of their fans and career trajectory. Having had an opportunity to see them twice in as many months, I can say that they are one of the most exciting bands to see play live today, and I suspect that by the end of this year, they will be playing much, much bigger venues to huge crowds, as word spreads that they are a must-see band with fantastic music.
“Most times I try to think about how blessed my life is, and what a great time I’m gonna have in the future”… An optimistic and heartfelt sentiment shared by Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Farrell, somewhere in the middle of an amazing concert last night. Jane’s Addiction pretty much figuratively kicked the door open from the 80s and into the 90s with their alternative music, genre defining single, “Stop!”, off their 1990 album Ritual de lo habitual. A truly pioneering band with a unique post-punk/post-goth (and at times hard) rock sound; if “Stop!” kicked the door in, “Been Caught Stealing” off the same album hammered a wedge in that door for the next generation of music that followed. At the Mondavi Center in Davis last night, some 22 or so years later, “Stop!” closed out one of the best shows I’ve been to all year. A fantastic celebration of amazing music by an awesome band, who, collectively and with individual efforts outside of their group, have had a tremendous and ongoing influence on pop culture in challenging ideas and preconceived notions. Maybe it is just in their nature, but they continue breaking new ground and opening doors well into their careers, and never lost their grasp on how to put on a great rock concert and connect with their fans.