Live Review: Zakir Hussain at SFJAZZ Center

Live Review: Zakir Hussain at SFJAZZ Center

Posted by: on Mar 8, 2013 | Comments (4)

Eric Harland, Giovanni Hidalgo, Zakir Hussain and Steve Smith take a bow after their concert March 7 at the SFJAZZ Center.


Walking to the new SFJAZZ center last night, we were concerned with the time. Thanks to the state of downtown San Francisco traffic and parking, we would be walking in after the scheduled start time. A woman at the stoplight overheard us, and gave us a look.

“Relax, baby,” she said. “It’s jazz.”

While her wise words sank in, she crossed Franklin Street in a brief lull of traffic, against a red light, with headlights barreling toward her. We opted to do as she said, not as she did, and waited for the light. As luck would have it, we found our seats several minutes before tabla master Zakir Hussain took the stage.

First onstage was a group performing a piece commissioned by SFJAZZ in 1998, a poem by Rumi set to music featuring Hussain, three other tabla players, sax, piano, vocals and a dancer with bells on her ankles. The result was organic combination of Eastern rhythms and textures with Western jazz style. Hussain at times played a walking bass line on his tabla, and the other tabla players kept the beat with low and high sounds, mimicking a drummer with a kick and snare. Each player took a solo, culminating with the four tabla players furiously tapping fingers and slapping hands on their drums in complete synchronicity at unfathomable speed.

The opening act

Trying to listen to the individual notes in this situation is like trying to follow each individual flash on a set of strobe lights. Just when my head was about to explode, they finished with a finale rivaling a 15-second fireworks display.

Wisdom’s ‘Full Spectrum’ Album Release Party

Wisdom’s ‘Full Spectrum’ Album Release Party

Posted by: on Mar 7, 2013 | Comments (0)

Tevya 'Wisdom' Jones

Oakland-based and Sonoma County-bred hip-hop artist Wisdom has just dropped his third studio album, Full Spectrum. Touring in promotion of the worldwide release, Wisdom and his crew headline this week’s Casa Rasta reggae dance party night in downtown Santa Rosa on Thursday, March 7.

Born Tevya Jones, the Sebastopol-raised hip-hop lyricist is well-known to local reggae fans as the frontman for the band Azibo Tribe, as well as a former member of Medicine Drum. His creative style is progressive, conscious hip-hop rooted in dancehall beats and reggae rhythms. With more than three decades of experience under his belt, Jones’ new album has a polished, authentic approach, fusing the cultural divide between hip-hop and world beats. Mixing up militant drums and rapid scratch loops, Wisdom’s rhythms touch upon everything from b-boys and street battles to light prisms and dojos.

Full Spectrum features Sizzla and Michael Rose from Black Uhuru, and “it’s more focused,” says Wisdom on the direction of the new record. “I spent way more time crafting and perfecting this album. My voice is stronger, matured and I have fused more of both my rhyming and singing together as well as developed more mastery of both individually.”

Check out the brand new music video for “Lyricism” below.

Wisdom is hosted by DJ Sizzlak and DJ Dinga at Casa Rasta this Thursday, March 7 at Society: Culture House. 528 7th St Santa Rosa. $5 before 11pm, $10 after. 707.336.2582.

Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum to Play Phoenix Theater

Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum to Play Phoenix Theater

Posted by: on Mar 5, 2013 | Comments (1)

It’s official: Jeff Mangum, frontman and musical genius behind the band Neutral Milk Hotel, will play the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma on Tuesday, April 9.

Tickets, $30 each, go on sale Wednesday, March 6, at noon. They’ll be available at the Last Record Store in Santa Rosa—cash only, but only a $1 service charge—and through the Phoenix Theater’s site.

Mangum, a famously reclusive figure for a decade after releasing the landmark album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, has slowly re-emerged and performed live over the last few years. (We reviewed his show at the Fox Theater in Oakland here.) In the Aeroplane still manages to hover near the top of most “Best Albums of the 1990s” lists, and shows no sign of slowing in terms of influence and scope.

This is another show for the history books at the Phoenix Theater, which has of late hosted instant-sellout shows with Snoop Dogg and Animal Collective. (And don’t forget Hanson, which had teenage girls camping outside the Phoenix Theater for two days before the show.) My guess is tickets will sell quickly for this one, too.

Luckily, as evidenced by his recent shows, Jeff Mangum plays well-arranged setlists of classic material, and still has that same reedy, hypnotizing voice. Get ready, folks.

Humm-Baby! Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z to Play Candlestick Park

Humm-Baby! Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z to Play Candlestick Park

Posted by: on Feb 22, 2013 | Comments (0)

…Opening act Crazy Crab?

It looks like Candlestick Park will get one last musical hurrah before being torn down—Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z’s ‘Legends of the Summer‘ stadium tour hits the historic ballpark on July 26. Ticket info. is here—there’s Citi card presales and VIP packages and all that stuff before the general public onsale on Feb. 28.

Candlestick Park has a long history of concerts going all the way back to the Beatles’ last-ever show in 1966, where only 25,000 people showed up, paying between $4.50 and $6.50 each for tickets. The Rolling Stones played two nights there in 1981, and Metallica rumbled the infield in 1988 (see video of “Seek and Destroy” here) and again in 2003. There were a ton of raves at the ballpark in the ’90s and aughts, too.

As for me, I basically grew up at Candlestick, in the Will Clark-Kevin Williams-Jose Uribe era of the Giants. I can’t promise that JT and Jay-Z are going to be as exciting as the 1989 World Series, but still—it’s pretty damn great that the place gets a proper send-off in the form of what’s probably the biggest tour of the summer.

BottleRock Napa: Single-Day Tickets On Sale!

BottleRock Napa: Single-Day Tickets On Sale!

Posted by: on Feb 19, 2013 | Comments (1)


Good news just in: single-day tickets for Napa’s way crazy BottleRock Napa Valley festival are on sale starting Wednesday, February 20.

Single-day tickets are $139 each.

Also, single-day tickets to the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis kickoff show on May 8 are now on sale, too, for $29 each. You can buy those here.

In related news, BottleRock this week added the Avett Brothers, Joan Jett, X, Richard Thompson and the Violent Femmes to the already-mind-blowing lineup.

As previously reported, BottleRock runs May 8-12 at the Napa Valley Expo.

Full info. at the BottleRock site here.




Ott. + All-Seeing I (live band) perform at Juke Joint for Valentine’s Day

Ott. + All-Seeing I (live band) perform at Juke Joint for Valentine’s Day

Posted by: on Feb 12, 2013 | Comments (0)

Emerging from the English cultural revolution of the late 1980’s comes Ott., a multifarious DJ artist, whose organic dub creations are equally balanced takes on the celestial and earthbound  His sonic soundscapes are a treasure chest of world rhythms, synthesizers and drum machines. A progressively interconnected combination of instrumentation and bass-heavy beats that takes chill-out to a whole other level.

Regularly performing at some of the world’s largest electronic music festivals, Ott and his band make a West County stop this week to kick back and no doubt make music to some of NorCal’s finest indica. Turn down the lights and position yourself for meditation to this fan-compiled 3-hour collection of Ott albums. It will most likely induce many gloriously reflective hours of universal awareness.

See Ott perform with his live band All-Seeing I at Juke Joint this Thursday night at Hopmonk in Sebastopol. Also featuring DJs Kilowatts & Lenkadu. Thursday, Feb. 14, at Hopmonk Tavern. 9pm. $25. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 707.829.7300

Everything You Need to Know About Bottle Rock Napa Valley: Lineup, Tickets, Schedule, More

Everything You Need to Know About Bottle Rock Napa Valley: Lineup, Tickets, Schedule, More

Posted by: on Feb 1, 2013 | Comments (6)

The full lineup for Bottle Rock Napa Valley has been announced. It includes The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Zac Brown Band, Furthur featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, Kings of Leon, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Primus, The Flaming Lips, Jane’s Addiction, Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, The Shins, Bad Religion, Iron and Wine, Dirty Projectors, Dwight Yoakam, Edward Sharpe, Mavis Staples, Best Coast, Sharon Van Etten, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Cake, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Wallflowers, Blues Traveler, Brandi Carlile, Donovan Frankenreiter, Grouplove and many, many more.

The festival runs May 9-12 at the Napa Expo, with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis kicking off the festivities on Wednesday, May 8. The Macklemore show is free to 3- and 4-day pass holders, and individual tickets for the show, at $29, will go on sale “at a later date.”

Confirmed acts for Thursday, May 9 include Furthur, the Black Crowes, Primus, ALO, Violent Femmes and Cafe Tacuba.

Confirmed acts for Friday, May 10 include the Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Flaming Lips, Dirty Projectors, Andrew Bird, the Shins, Blues Traveler, Tristan Prettyman, Vintage Trouble, Flagship, Justin Townes Earle. and Allah-Las.

Confirmed acts for Saturday, May 11 include Kings of Leon, Jane’s Addiction, Bad Religion, Ben Harper, Edward Sharpe, Dwight Yoakam, Iron & Wine, Best Coast, Sharon Van Etten, Tift Merritt, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Allen Stone, Donovan Frankenreiter, and RNDM.

Confirmed acts for Sunday, May 12 include the Zac Brown Band, Train, Michael Franti, the Wallflowers, Rodrigo y Gabriela,Cake, Grouplove, Brandi Carlile, Rogue Wave, Mavis Staples, Charlie Musselwhite, and Erin O’Hara.

Ticket pre-sales start Sunday, Feb. 3, at 10am, on the festival’s own site. Prices are as follows:

Three-Day Pass (Fri.-Sun.): $299.

Four-Day Pass (Thurs.–Sun.): $399.

VIP Reserve Passes (includes VIP parking, viewing area, VIP afterparties): $599.

The first 700 Napa County locals to join the “Highway 29″ club will get $70 off, with details to be announced Feb. 2 full details just announced: if you are a Napa County resident and pledge to walk, bike, skateboard, carpool or take public transportation to the festival, you will get a presale code for the $70 discount. The pledge also involves letting people from out of town crash at your house, and to “display kindness in the face of frustration and patience in dealing with the inevitable hiccups of a first-year festival.” (UPDATE: After just an hour of signups, all of those 700 locals-only presale codes are completely spoken for.)

In honor of the Superbowl, 49er fans can use the code “GOLDRUSH” to get $49 off.

As of yet, no individual day tickets are announced, but based on what I know about festival ticket sales in general, I can predict that there will likely come a time when individual day tickets become available. UPDATE: Single-day tickets go on sale on Wednesday, Feb. 20. Individual day tickets are $129.

A full comedy lineup is expected to be announced in mid-February, and food, beer and wine will naturally be part of the festival as well.

The excellent lineup is a massive coup: Bottle Rock is being put on not by Live Nation, Another Planet or Goldenvoice but by two Napa locals, Gabe Meyers and Bob Vogt, who had a hand in the resurrection and reopening of the Uptown Theatre. Needless to say, it’s a huge deal for Napa.

More details here as they come in.


Bottle Rock Napa Lineup: Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Macklemore, Flaming Lips, Ben Harper, Shins, Bad Religion, Jane’s Addiction, Furthur, Many More (UPDATED)

Bottle Rock Napa Lineup: Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Macklemore, Flaming Lips, Ben Harper, Shins, Bad Religion, Jane’s Addiction, Furthur, Many More (UPDATED)

Posted by: on Jan 30, 2013 | Comments (6)

The lineup for the totally crazy Bottle Rock Napa Valley music festival running May 8-12 has been announced, and boy, is it nuts. Can we just say it right now: Best North Bay Festival Lineup Ever?

Acts include:

The Black Keys
Alabama Shakes
The Flaming Lips
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite
The Shins
Bad Religion
Iron and Wine
Edward Sharpe
Mavis Staples
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Michael Franti & Spearhead
The Wallflowers
Blues Traveler
Brandi Carlile
Donovan Frankenreiter
Group Love

By my count, that’s about seven bands that are huge headliners in their own right, plus a lot of festival heavy-hitters. Not to mention: there are over 40 bands scheduled to descend on the Napa Valley for the festival, with a complete lineup and full info promised for this Friday.

The festival runs May 8-12 primarily at the Napa Valley Expo, which will have four stages. Other shows are at various venues around town, including the Uptown Theatre. Food, wine, craft beer, comedy, and afterparties throughout downtown are all part of the deal.

I’ll say it again: This is nuts.

VIP and group tickets go on sale here on Feb. 3; public tickets go on sale on Feb. 10. We’ll update here as more info. comes in.

UPDATE, Jan. 30: According to the festival’s Facebook page, three-day passes are $299, four-day passes are $399 and VIP Reserve passes for $599. Locals get a discounted rate with three-day passes at $229, four-day passes at $329, and VIP for $529.)

UPDATE II, Jan. 31: The Black Crowes have this festival listed on their official website tour dates. Also, little birdies are chirping that Macklemore is playing a kickoff show for the festival , and judging by the festival’s first-ever tweet, that’s probably very likely. There’s also a “leaked” lineup going around that is almost certifiably fake.

UPDATE III, Feb. 1: Lots of news this morning.

Added to the festival: Jane’s Addiction, Kings of Leon, Furthur featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, Primus, Zac Brown Band, Dwight Yoakam, and Cafe Tacuba.

Ticket prices are as listed above. As of yet, there are no single-day tickets announced. Napa Valley locals, artist fan club members, community partners and “Friends of the 49ers” will be able to buy 3- and 4-day passes starting Feb. 3. Passes go on sale to the general public on Feb. 10.

The Macklemore show is Wednesday, May 8, and is free for all three- and four-day passholders. Individual tickets will be sold to this show as well at $29, available Feb. 10.

Headliners by Day:

Wednesday, May 8: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Thursday, May 9: Furthur, the Black Crowes, Primus

Friday, May 10: Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, the Shins

Saturday, May 11: Jane’s Addiction, Bad Religion, Ben Harper, Edward Sharpe

Sunday, May 12: Zac Brown Band, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Cake

The incredible thing is that this festival is not being put on by Live Nation, Goldenvoice, or even Another Planet. It’s being put on by two Napa locals, Gabe Meyers and Bob Vogt, who had a hand in the resurrection and reopening of the Uptown Theatre.

I’ll say it yet again: This is nuts.



How To Destroy Angels and Scare Yourself Shitless

How To Destroy Angels and Scare Yourself Shitless

Posted by: on Jan 30, 2013 | Comments (0)

Trent Reznor, the brains behind Nine Inch Nails and many, many other musical projects is in yet another group. This one’s called How To Destroy Angels, and it includes Reznor’s wife Mariqueen Maandig, art director Rob Sheridan and the composer Atticus Ross. The video for their first single, “How Long,” is, to say the least, really scary. Not scary in a The Hills Have Eyes way, more like a that-could-be-the-future-in-my-lifetime way.

Welcome Oblivion, the band’s full-length debut, is due out March 5. They’re also playing Coachella in April.

2013 Healdsburg Jazz Festival Lineup Announced!

2013 Healdsburg Jazz Festival Lineup Announced!

Posted by: on Jan 11, 2013 | Comments (0)

It’s gonna be a Charlie Haden kind of weekend opening the Healdsburg Jazz Festival this year, with big names like Ravi Coltrane, Lee Konitz, Jason Moran, Charles Lloyd, Fred Hersch, Bill Frisell and many, many more performing at the best little jazz festival in the world running May 31–June 9.

Haden, who made his name with Ornette Coleman‘s famed quartet, will be the subject of a two-day tribute on June 1-2 featuring his Liberation Music Orchestra with Carla Bley and his Quartet West with Ravi Coltrane. Who else is playing the opening weekend? Try atmospheric guitar phenom Bill Frisell, invigorating pianist Geri Allen, saxophone legend Lee Konitz, Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubacalba and more.

The second weekend sees Healdsburg favorite Charles Lloyd teaming up with personal fave Jason Moran in a duo setting, the Fred Hersch Trio, the Marcus Selby Orchestra with the HJF Freedom Jazz Choir and others.

Many of the headliners this year have played in Healdsburg before and are returning to the festival, but one name’s new: Lee Konitz, who made his name with Lennie Tristano and pioneered much of the “cool” jazz sound that would go on to revolutionize the music. He conducted a student workshop at SSU in 2010, and though it was a little bit unusual, his tone and conception were as good as ever.

For more info. and ticket information as it comes along, see the festival website.