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.
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. (more…)
BY RACHEL DOVEY
I never was punk. (Or “a punk?” Or “a punk rocker?” See, I don’t even know the terminology.) I’m 27, so by the time I started flirting with counter-culture, which admittedly was fairly late, it wasn’t really an option. So when I read John Roderick’s Seattle Weekly essay “Punk Rock is Bullshit,” I don’t take personal offense. I wasn’t there.
But I’m really tired of Roderick’s argument, which is the same one that gets pegged to my generation’s counter culture—whether you call it Indie or Hipster or DIY—all the time. It goes something like this: Privilege breeds idealism, idealism breeds entitlement (led by those smug guitarists, or, these days, banjo players), entitlement breeds complacency, complacency breeds not really doing anything to make the world a better place.
I’m sure this particular psychological circle-jerk happens. I’m sure it happens to me in that endless, anxious loop that is my overly idealistic brain. But I don’t at all buy this notion, that a stance of mainstream critique attached to youth-oriented movements is built to fail, at least not in the way Roderick is saying. Occupy was primarily youngish white people with college degrees, and although the gatherings may have fizzled, mainstream media outlets have started talking about wealth and income distribution in an entirely different way. Does the term “99 percent” get co-opted by the one percent to get demographic points? Absolutely. Has the movement and all of the discussion it generated radically shifted the way I—and others in my age group—understand money in politics, vote, participate in local government and consume? Absolutely.
Perhaps there’s a distinction to be made between political youth culture and art-based youth culture, and you can make it in the comments section if you’re kind enough to read this. But I don’t necessarily think there is. In my experience, banjos, flannel shirts, beards, home canning, even, dare I say it, that particularly hushed and introspective roots-blend that comes from our county’s northwest—these are not just pieces of a twee nostalgia-fest that the New York Times likes to take issue with. They’re expressions of something more—of a growing naturalism in response to fossil fuel extraction so heinous its been associated with earthquakes; of consumption habits that value local economics and relationships in commerce and re-use. Maybe we’re annoying sometimes, maybe we grew up reading “The Lorax” and we’re a little smug, maybe sometimes our overly-earnest aesthetics lead to truly terrible products that we sell on Etsy without realizing that they look like genitals. But call me an optimist, I don’t think we’re complacent—and I think punk helped pave the way.
Or maybe I’m just still young, and not tired and worn-down and hopeless enough yet.
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.
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.
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.
“Wow, this sounds a lot like Black Sabbath” was the first thought that popped into my head last night at the Fuzz show in San Francisco. “These long haired dudes kinda look like Black Sabbath, too,” I thought. “But that drummer isn’t hiding behind two bass drums and only has two cymbals. And there’s no singer. This is really, really great! I never liked Ozzy’s voice, and these guys sound like a way bigger band than just a three-piece.” But all these great conversation starters were wasted on my own mind, however, because Ty Segall’s latest musical venture was so damn loud nobody in the Knockout would have heard a stampede of elephants running down Mission Street.
Despite what it sounded like, there was only one guitarist, Charles Moothart. Segall is really the one known for cranking out the rockingest rock with his incredible his guitar tones, but here he’s on drums. More on that later. Moothart’s appropriately fuzzy guitar was fat, so fat, in fact, that it shook my ribcage. Maybe it was a warning, like by body was saying, This Is Almost Too Much Rock, Be Careful. His solos were tasty, like hot jam dripping off a shortbread biscuit tasty. And then there was the hair–so much hair, it was everywhere.
Now Segall, who is a guitarist in something like three other bands, might be on the hook for battery if those drums decide to press charges. He beat them like they owed him money, like they insulted his mother, like they keyed his 1967 Mustang. His ferocity did not dimish the speed of the band’s last song, which kept a blistering pace for four times longer than most punk songs. Not only this, but he sang for some of the songs, most of which were new and will probably have lyrics soon.
The crowd at this Noisepop show may have been a little too hip for its own good. The feeling on the tiny dance floor was that familiar precipice of moshing, where either age, vanity or self consciousness kept people from truly smashing into each other like idiots. Instead, a couple of buzzed dudes in gingham shirts sort of pushed each other around a little, eliciting nervous smiles from the wary crowd around them. In a different setting, this would be the ultimate circle pit band.
Co-headling was OGB III, who took the stage after Fuzz. This band was delicious, filled with ooey-gooey cheese and mushy, fatty pork. Slathered in curtido and spicy salsa, they were too hot at first, but soon went down smooth with a cold Mexican beer. No, wait, that was the pupusas at Los Panchos. No offense to OGB III, but nothing was going to top what we had just seen and heard, and we wanted to leave on the highest note possible.
On a side note, local group Blasted Canyons opened, and were pissed off the whole time about, among other things, their monitor mix. Their playing reflected this attitude it in a bad way. But on the plus side, they did have an Oberheim synthesizer, which is high on the list of things that make really cool sounds. The Knockout is a great bar, with plenty of character and a decent dance floor and stage. It’s too loud and really small, which usually makes every show better. This night was no exception.
…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.
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.
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
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)
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?
The Black Keys
The Flaming Lips
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite
Iron and Wine
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Michael Franti & Spearhead
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.