berkeley

Superchunk as The Misfits

Some of the very best band photos of Superchunk are the ones where they are dressed up as The Misfits. That’s the birthday guy on the far right with the devilock.

Do you know what today is? You do. It’s July 12. That means that over in North Carolina, it’s Mac McCaughan’s birthday. Who? Yes. Mac McCaughan of the long-running pogo-producing indie-rocker band Superchunk, as well as his own semi-solo project Portastatic, as well as one of the founders of the stalwart Merge Records. Cheers to Mac.

Speaking of pogo-inducing rock and roll, let’s talk about this week’s concerts. Here’s what we’ve got coming up this week in the Bay Area: things with animals, things from the past, and things near to college.

So, let’s get this preview started. Previewing now. Pre. View. Preview is starting and let’s go preview now.

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Tom Jenkinson (Squarepusher) of Shobaleader One

Tom Jenkinson (Squarepusher) of Shobaleader One

A big issue I’ve taken up many times with electronic music is the fact that many top-selling, well-known acts are able to craft their musical set — and perform it — with incredibly little effort, sometimes less than a single button press. Many circles of music fans mock massively popular DJs for this “just push play” approach to touring, and I’m among them; I appreciate a great live show as much as anyone, but there should be a balance of performance and spectacle. In addition, it’s easy to bury the lack-of-complexity in a lot of pop-centered dance sets under piles and piles of dazzling lights, psychedelic projections, and spiffy lasers. If any of these sound like your own pet peeves with music that has mostly been composed with the aid of a machine, then you’ll want to make a point to see Shobaleader One, the latest project helmed by IDM artist Tom Jenkinson, best known for his work as Squarepusher. Theirs is a live performance bereft of automated tracks, flashy lights, or colorful costumes; instead, it’s a tour-de-force of stunningly-complex grooves played at dizzying tempos — the sort of thing that would appeal to electronic, jazz, and progressive fans alike.

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It’s Pride Weekend in San Francisco this week, and it’s fun to see all the bright-eyed people in the city who are attending their first Pride celebration.

Speaking of going to new things, let’s talk about this week’s concerts. Here’s what we’ve got coming up this week in the Bay Area: tanned people, clan people, French people, bad people, and cool people. Should be a pretty cool week.

So, let’s preview. We’re previewing now. Let’s preview and do the preview where we preview. Preview!

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An evening of history and illumination, full of energy and exciting sounds

Jean-Michel Jarre's live setup

Jean-Michel Jarre’s live setup

By this point, I’ve waxed on and on and ON about electronic shows, so what’s in store for anyone attending one shouldn’t be too surprising: elaborate lights and projections, minimal equipment onstage, and a limited scope of what the performers can actually do (by virtue of sounds and lights responding to recorded cues). It’s therefore incredibly exciting to know that one of the forefathers of the genre — French composer Jean-Michel Jarre — is one of the most energetic performers in live electronica today. His stage persona pairs excellently with his dazzling visual effects, and most of the music is actually played live, rather than simply cranked out from a MIDI sequence or a pre-recorded track. It’s taken 40 years for Jarre to do his first U.S. tour, but by all accounts, he has been owning this lap like he’s been doing it for an eternity.

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Two evenings of spellbinding wonder and incredible sound

Sigur Rós at the Fox Theater, Oakland

Sigur Rós at the Fox Theater, Oakland

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 14th for a stream of their second LA Phil performance!

Fifteen years ago, I remember wandering down a dimly-lit suburban lane on a chilly November evening, the street silent as a tomb. I had a copy of ( ), the third record by renowned Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós, put that album in a Discman, and the quiet world around me instantly seemed to shift into some strange new world. I’ve always found that record to be an utterly sublime and immensely powerful expression of music, and was supremely pleased that some of my favorite songs from that album were in the set the first time I saw Sigur Rós play live. The band and their production crew are absolute masterminds at blending sound, light and visuals into an otherworldly experience; that show, in 2006 at the Marin Center in San Rafael, is still probably my favorite concert that I have ever experienced. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing Sigur Rós two times, playing two sets each (!), making these my sixth and seventh time experiencing their live performances — and they are just as astonishing as they have always been.

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Carl Brutananadilewski of Aqua Teen Hunger Force demonstrating the abilities of The Foreigner Belt. (Got burned a bit by his tanning bed earlier.)

Carl Brutananadilewski of Aqua Teen Hunger Force demonstrating the abilities of The Foreigner Belt. (Got burned a bit by his tanning bed earlier.)

July Fourth, 2016! Wooooo! Yeah! Our country is still here! Let’s celebrate!

If you’d like to add to your celebrations this week in The Bay Area with a concert, I’ll tell you what we’ve got coming up: caricatures, drugs, dogs, and culture that you don’t have to pay for.

So, let’s preview. Time to preview. It’s time to preview now and now here are the previews.

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts: 2016-05-23 – 2016-05-29

May 23, 2016

This week in The Bay Area we have refusals, memoirs, and those who wear purple. We have clowns, the dead, and war. Should be a pretty good time. Now, let’s get to the previews. Preview time now. Let’s preview and then we’ll be ready for the week. Previews, starting now.

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts: 2016-04-23 – 2016-04-27

April 23, 2016

We’re in the final weekend of Coachella 2016, and the consequent Fauxchella 2016 shows are coming our way. What’s Fauxchella? It’s when you can see a band that’s also scheduled at Coachella but without actually having to go to Coachella. This week in The Bay Area we have old stars, old studio guys, old smoky […]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts: 2016-04-15 – 2016-04-20

April 15, 2016

Happy Tax Day! One of the two sure things. OK, so let’s turn in the paperwork and then let’s go to a concert. Preview time, guys. This week in the Bay Area, we have natural events, nouns, piercings, and a tradition that Louis Pasteur likely might not have smiled upon. But you never know. And […]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts: 11/6/14-11/12/14

November 6, 2014

Post-Election Day we have a panoply of excellent concerts coming to The Bay Area this week. Shows of all kinds. We have shows that are avenging! And dance-y! Secretive! And lemony! Metal! And even including the magic of public transportation. It’s wonderful that there are so many kinds of shows ’round here and so many […]

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