Thursday, July 24th
Kitten, Dear Boy, Your Cannons at Bottom Of The Hill
Kitten are, hands down, one of the top 10 live bands I’ve ever seen. Frontwoman Chloe Chaidez is the most fearless woman I’ve ever seen take to the stage. Sometimes I’m amazed that she is still alive, considering the type of torture she puts her body through on stage. This is their first time in the Bay Area since the release of their first full length record (after three excellent EPs). Their eponymous debut is a fun collection of synth pop songs with infectious hooks, and I highly recommend it. Although the live show is really the bread & butter with this band.
Pookie & The Poodlez, Guantanamo Baywatch, Those Howlings, Sweet Bones, Slick! at The Night Light
Friday, July 25th
Au Revoir Simone, Dresses, The Lower 48 at The Independent
Au Revoir Simone are the best band to ever get their name from a line from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. If that isn’t enough of a reason to go see them, then listen to this track, one of many earwormy pieces of pop confection to come out of this combo:
Saturday, July 26th
Jonathan Rice, Sandy’s, Pearl Charles & The Pipe Canyon Band at The Chapel
Hardcore Jenny Lewis fans all seemed a little perplexed at first when she brought in this Irish folk rocker to her camp, and he ended up becoming her primary collaborator. His first few records felt like works in progress by a songwriter still trying to find his voice. Happily, he’s found his voice and has grown exponentially as a singer, songwriter, and performer in the last few years. (Obviously it doesn’t hurt to have the greatest songwriter of our generation as your tutor.) This is the first time he’s headlined in the Bay Area in quite a while, and since Ms Lewis is gearing up for a gargantuan tour, it’s probably the last time we will see him alone in a bit.
Voodoo Glow Skulls, La Plebe, Monkey at Thee Parkside
Sunday, July 27th
Sly & Robbie with Taxi Gang and Bitty McLean at The Independent
When looking at the history of recorded music, there are a handful of artists that pop up regularly as being universally influential. Sly & Robbie are probably the most obscure, despite their distinctive production style: equal parts thick, hypnotic, and aggressive, has brought us records by artists as wide ranging as Bob Dylan, Britney Spears, Simply Red and No Doubt. I also don’t believe modern Top 40 would sound anything like it does today if Sly & Robbie never existed. Pharrell Williams takes plenty of cues from this Jamaican duo, as does Lorde. They basically invented the idea of thick bass and syncopated rhythms as a party starter. They also rarely visit the US, so don’t miss this show.
The Clientele, The Tyde, Matt Kivel at The Chapel
Monday, July 28th
Wolfmother, Electric Citizen at The Fillmore
I know that this isn’t exactly the same Wolfmother that blow everyone away with their epic debut record nearly 8 years ago. However, Andrew Stockdale has tweaked the line up back to being an ferocious power trio, and will melt your face off at The Fillmore tonight.
Tuesday, July 29th
Shabazz Palaces, Gamera at The New Parish
Shabazz Palaces are a fantastic second act story in rock. Frontman Ishmael Butler was a key member of the highly influential Digable Planets, a group the dissolved after a mere two brilliant albums. Many years after their disolving, Butler decided he needed to get back in the game. So he put together a new project that borrows from musique concrete and 20th Century Classical to create the most innovative hip hop project currently working today. The only remotely comparable project is Death Grips (RIP).
Steve Miller Band, Tower Of Power, Journey at Concord Pavilion
Wednesday, July 30th
Arcade Fire, Devo, Dan Deacon at Shoreline Amphitheatre
At this point, either you like Arcade Fire or you don’t. There’s no way you haven’t heard them yet, unless you live under a soundproof rock. However, Arcade Fire (who have been killing it on this tour, FYI) are only a minor part of this show. Supporting this show is not one, but two of the most important and nerdiest acts in the history of electronic music. Synth punk pioneers Devo, currently supporting re-issues of their early demo recordings Hardcore Devo Vol 1 & 2 as well as laptop mastermind Dan Deacon. The support is so good at this show that I don’t know how Arcade Fire are going to follow it!
The Budos Band at The Independent