Tag: sf live music

PERFORMER PRESENTS – Birds and Batteries / The Rooftop Vigil (formerly Parasol) / The Special Goodbye @ Hemlock Tavern (11.29.07)


Sometimes I lose my words… Sometimes I just don’t feel like saying anything at all, as if a particular second had passed and I’d like nothing more than strive for the preservation of it – a simple moment fluttering as it is… pleasant.

I arrived just in time for the headliner of November’s Performer Presents show at Hemlock Tavern. Birds and Batteries sound exactly like the imagery their name summons. A hint of alt-rock mixed with electro-synth, they manage in finding a comfortable middle-ground between natural purity and chaos machine. Their instrumentation shines with lushness, pop and soothing serenade, notably on brilliant tracks like, “Ocarina,” “Jungles (Oceans),” and the clear favorite, “Star Clusters.” But that’s about all I can say, and the only thing left I remember is the frontman’s flannel shirt and beard. (Is he a lumberjack?) They’re in no way my favorite band, but it was a nice experience, like catching stars from a mountaintop.

I’ve easily concluded that Hemlock wins as my favorite bar in the city. The attentive and friendly staff only enhances the already casual ambiance, made better by reasonably-priced drinks. Lastly, but never least, Hemlock lures hot hipsters of a variety that seem slightly less diseased. The process of hitting on a girl flows more naturally when you’re pretty sure she won’t give you crabs…

Yes, I arrived late even though I only live a few blocks away… I’m sure the first two bands rocked.

[UPDATE 2008: The Rooftop Vigil has changed their name, once again, to Geographer. That is all. Carry on…]

Festizio @ Beale Street Bar & Grill (12.01.07)


Review from Anthony Von Eckstein, Booker, Beale Street Bar & Grill

“As a music club manager and musician in the San Francisco area, I have been involved with 1000s of musicians and bands for over 20 years. The first time that tears ever came to my eyes at the end of anyone’s gig was last Saturday night when Festizio came out to play here at our downtown SF venue! The sound of music that emanates from this cerebral rock band is a great mix of melodic and edgy rock riffs, clear and excellently delivered vocals, and a rhythmical energy that cascades into a waterfall of creative overtones. Awesome attitudes, showmanship, and stage presence are also in abundance with Festizio, an emerging force in the universal pages of rock music.”

Gosh, thanks! :)

Deeper @ Beale Street Bar & Grill (09.15.07)


She swayed back and forth, eyes closed, as her voice drove with grit and tension. Her right hand gently caressed the microphone, sliding up and down the stand in a manner slightly more than suggestive…

This is the method to which Deeper conducts their eclectic blend of rock. A dash of punk with a hint of metal, mixed with (self-proclaimed) influences ranging from Bowie to Nirvana, one never really knows what to expect.

“This song is dedicated to a cowboy,” announced lead songstress, Kristy (last names omitted from public presentation), before beginning the extraordinarily fluid song, “Normal.” The technical proficiency of guitarist, Eric, was displayed through a complex weave of hammer-ons, pull-offs and brilliant riffs. Drummer, Bob, was spectacular, driving the song to perfection. Bassist, Ben, laid down a smooth groove that really elevated the music. And, of course, Kristy’s perfectly pitched vocals, kicking into overdrive during the most opportune moments, added the final dose of emotive energy.

From their online bio: We spew the politics of self. We play rather loud (for ourselves, not for the kids… never for the kids).

Kids are stupid, anyway…

Rilo Kiley @ The Warfield Theatre (09.06.07)


I don’t even know where to begin. There are concerts that rock (Muse), and there are concerts that just make you feel good (Dylan)…

Rilo Kiley falls gracefully between glory and groove.

From power-pop folk affairs like, “Portions for Foxes” and “Spectacular Views,” to uber-love ballads, “I Never” and “Does He Love You?” Rilo Kiley succeeds on all fronts and never fails to please. Amazing vocals by Jenny Lewis; their collective instrumentals, superb. The ambiance was perfect.

“We can see the stars, from where the birds make their homes, staring back at us….”

This was Rilo’s first show after playing overseas, and you could tell they were pumped to be back home. Ever-charismatic lead guitarist, Blake Sennett, contributed a healthy share of the entertainment. Bassist, Pierre de Reeder, and drummer, Jason Boesel¸ established a strong rhythm with which the audience flowed with no restriction.

“Indifferent, but distanced perfectly…”

Opening acts, Jonathan Rice and Grand Ole Party, were excellent as well. And when someone yelled, “Rilo Kiley!” near the end of Rice’s set, he cuttingly replied, “Yeah, I like them better than YOUR band too…” Suh-sizzle, snap.

“Projected endlessly…”

But I remember you, dear Jenny, though you may not remember me. You see, I was a dopey kid enthused with, “The Wizard,” a movie about an even dopier kid who excels at playing Nintendo. You were hot then and, damn it all, you are hotter now. But, seeing you on stage…

How did you put it?

Oh, yeah…

“It’s so fucking beautiful.”

Chris Cornell @ The Warfield Theatre (07.10.07)


“Who fucking cares about the All-Star game?!”

And so began Chris Cornell’s glorious set of songs spanning from Sub Pop Soundgarden, through Audioslave, and finally to his solo career. You can’t really imagine how much his music has changed until you hear “Jesus Christ Pose” juxtaposed before “Sunshower.” He missed a few cues… or maybe it just seemed like he did. You can never tell with these rock types. It’s called “artistic license” (aka “getting high before the show”). He was literally “Like a Stone”: a little clunky on stage, but ultimately solid throughout.

That said, this man is my musical hero and he taught me how to sing. “When I’m Down” is still my favorite song of all time.

Warfield is a decent enough venue. The floor isn’t sloped and there always seem to be tall, balding men hoarding the front rows, so you’re guaranteed the urge of wanting to get a little Sleepy Hollow on a few Ichabod Cranes.

But one thing I cannot forgive…

“This is a song about a man.”

It was Spoonman.

I didn’t see a single fucking spoon.

What the hell…

Muse @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (04.09.07)


There are rare moments in life where you feel like you could just die.

Like when a beautiful woman kisses you, or when you taste a really great piece of chocolate cake (you can see how much I value food), the experience is so glorious and profound it carries you away.

On April 9, 2007, Muse performed at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, and it was the concert of my life. The sonic flashflood from Matt Bellamy’s Frankensteined (yeah, I even made up a word for it) guitar against the relentless backbeat of Dom Howard’s drums could raise any man’s spirits. Add to that Chris Wolstenholme’s thunderous bass, and you can’t help but feel a heart-pounding high.

The venue itself didn’t detract from the overall experience. We arrived late, and it only took mere seconds to get from the entrance to the action. I honestly can’t remember anything else about it, which is more of a good thing than a bad.

Also, I had about five pints of beer before going in.

That always helps.