“We’re female chauvinist pigs…” Jill Cunniff, one of the three members of Luscious Jackson, prefacing her invitation of a handful of men in the audience to join them on the stage to shake their booties during their song, “#1 Bum”. It was an informal kind of show for the band, who haven’t been in San Francisco for a very long time, having recently reunited for their first studio album since 1999. One of just three headlining shows for this tour (having played Los Angeles the night prior and with Boston still to come next Saturday, as well as two festival appearances), The Independent appeared sold out (or close to it) last night. They put on an electric show with material spanning their original 90s songs as well as the new album, all sounding fresh and original. They definitely still have “it”, and hopefully their efforts to reinvent themselves with their PledgeMusic campaign and new independent streak will lead to a resurgence of their special brand of rock/pop/hip hop.
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.
Last night, Mountain Winery in Saratoga played host to a true co-headlining concert, with the two artists – Blondie and Devo – alternating opening and closing duties, date-to-date, as this joint tour gets underway, having kicked off just this week. The show was mixed overall, with Blondie putting on a stellar performance in her opening slot and Devo powering through some technical glitches that diminished their quite obvious intent to provide some serious fan service. Overall, it was a great night of 80s nostalgia for those in attendance. Both artists brought their very unique styles and presence to the stage, and overall it was a great opportunity to experience two very different performances.
Today is a sad day for the music world, as the news spreads that Adam Yauch, MCA of the Beastie Boys, died today at the young age of 47 after a battle with cancer over several years. There are many fine obituaries published all over the web, just hours after the news broke, so I thought I would just share a few more personal thoughts about the man, his band, and their music. [Read more…]