Show Reviews

“No one can take away our memory!”

Discharge Kids

If Day One was about old school and hardcore and Day Two was about politics, then Day Three was about unadulterated partying and England. Admittedly, I am not much of an “oi/streetpunk” fan. It’s not that I am opposed to it, mind you, it’s just that very few of the bands in the genre have impressed their importance onto me. So it was with some trepidation that I embarked to the site of the final day of the festival, with every intention of keeping my mind open and enjoying some hearty music from across the pond.

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“Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!”

Choking Victim-8

Despite, or maybe in spite, of the heat I woke up for day two feeling refreshed and ready to go. The usual first day kinks had been worked out and entrance into the venue was faster, although I heard some rumor about ISIS threatening to bomb Las Vegas was flying around, which may have accounted for the somewhat increased security at the venue. Punks don’t take too well to the authoritarian attitude of aggressive security guards, so you can probably imagine a lot of grumbling and arguments were to be heard from the lines. Regardless I made it inside with plenty of time to grab a water bottle and head to the stage for the opening act of the day.

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The Foo Fighters intended to play until they could play no more (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

Where had the time gone? Somehow it was already Sunday, and Day 1 and Day 2 were already behind us!

Sunday promised to have the best weather of all, as well as some acts I’d been really looking forward to. Because I’d missed The Helmets last year – but heard them from my house and was impressed enough to text a friend who was already there, asking who they were I knew in advance that I had to make it there early this year to see them in action. [read the whole post]

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Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers headline Saturday at BottleRock Napa Valley 2017 (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

This year’s Saturday at BottleRock Napa Valley promised to be a beautiful warm and breezy 75 degrees, the perfect weather for a festival full of good music, great food and all the beer, wine, and cocktails you can handle! Once again, there were more acts scheduled than was possible to see all at once, so I had to pick and choose pieces of sets from the bands I most wanted to see to make it all work. (For example, who wants to decide between House of Pain and Bishop Briggs? I wanted to “jump around” and jam out with Ms. Briggs… [read the whole post]

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Maroon 5 headlines Friday night at BottleRock Napa Valley 2017 (Photo credit: BottleRock Napa Valley / Latitude 38 Entertainment)

Last weekend marked the return of my hometown’s beloved music, food and drink festival, BottleRock Napa Valley, which turned five this Memorial Day weekend. In addition to boasting phenomenal music lineups year after year, BRNV offers a wine garden, a “beer bend,” a silent disco, a beer and bourbon garden, displays of art throughout the festival grounds, and of course, the culinary delights that have come to be associated with this valley that is so much more than wine. [read the whole post]

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Two nights of intimacy and storytelling with the man who plays a hundred instruments

Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields

Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields

The Magnetic Fields are an extremely strange phenomenon: a group that is wildly talented, successful, and fiercely loved by their fans, despite staying relatively far from the radio-friendly limelight. The songwriting of creative leader Stephin Merritt evokes memories of both Sondheim-esque theatrical compositions and shimmering 80s pop ballads; his lyrics range from whimsically poetic to wickedly tongue-in-cheek; and most of their records are complete conceptual pieces, collected in the space of an entire singular work. Despite his dozens of works ranging on anything from 69 songs about love to country-style tunes about the open road, Merritt has seldom penned works that speak specifically about his own life, which is where his new record 50 Song Memoir comes in. Comprised of one song for each of the years in his own life, starting in 1965 and ending in 2015 (when the recording for the album began), the work takes up five discs and two and a half hours of playing time — making it the perfect piece to play across the span of two nights.

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Show Review: deadmau5 w/Feed Me at the Fox Oakland, 4/25/2017

May 4, 2017
vimeo.com/20383464

In a now-relatively-infamous Tumblr post, Canadian electronic wunderkind deadmau5 (aka Joel Zimmerman) called out the DJ world for the lack of ingenuity and overall simplicity of their live shows. Ever since, he’s worked to keep pushing the envelope of his own performances, adding layer after layer of lights and screens that are all triggered by his own available […]

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My 2017 Journey with Sigur Rós, Part 2: Walt Disney Concert Hall w/Los Angeles Philharmonic

May 1, 2017

LA’s world-famous orchestra adds an entire extra universe of sound to the Icelandic trio’s performances If the experience of Sigur Rós live can be described as wondrous, then beholding them with an orchestra is a truly transcendent experience. Prior to this tour as a three-piece, I’ve always seen them with some form of miniature assemblage accompanying […]

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Show Review: Raiders of the Lost Ark Live in Concert with the SF Symphony

April 14, 2017

A lovely night with Williams’s score, Ford’s performance, iconic scenes… there are no bad dates here! Raiders of the Lost Ark is the quintessential action-adventure film. One could confidently claim that it is the greatest action-adventure film of all time! There is nothing about Steven Spielberg’s 1981 classic that isn’t famous — the giant boulder, […]

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My 2017 Journey with Sigur Rós, Part 1: Fox Theater Oakland/Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley

April 14, 2017

Two evenings of spellbinding wonder and incredible sound This is the first of two posts chronicling my journey to see Sigur Rós for five performances in April 2017: two in Northern California, and three in Los Angeles with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. Be sure to catch them on tour and tune in to Pitchfork on Friday, April […]

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