Concert Reviews

Steven Wilson

Steven Wilson

There’s never been any debate over the fact that English new-prog, Pink-Floyd-meets-metal band Porcupine Tree is Steven Wilson, in both part and in whole. While comprised of a core set of musicians that have contributed to the writing, recording, and touring of the many records forged over its career, Porcupine Tree started as a project for Wilson alone to craft music; in fact, at its very beginning, it was a made-up legendary rock band with its own fake history and discography that Wilson had penned with a colleague back in the late 1980s. Twenty years later, Wilson has put his primary project on a shelf (Porcupine Tree has been on hiatus since 2010) and shifted the attention to his own “solo work”. Lest the reader shy away from the often-wary prospect of a frontman deciding to carve out his own path, Wilson’s output has been nothing short of spectacular, now spanning the length of four albums which demonstrate a remarkable leap in creativity, songwriting, and production with each successive release. Hot off the heels of his recently-released Hand. Cannot. Erase., Wilson returned to the Bay Area on Sunday night for a live performance with his new touring band, and the result was a gorgeous, stunning display of musicianship and sonic texture that shook the walls of the Warfield for over two hours.

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Mike Patton of Faith No More

Mike Patton of Faith No More

In 2010, Faith No More returned to their hometown of San Francisco to play three ferocious, wildly-anticipated concerts that marked their first appearance in the Bay Area since their disbandment in the late 90s. The general reaction, from the most hardcore fans to the relatively casual listeners, was extremely positive, albeit with the lingering curiosity of “…but what’s next?” After a handful of tours, a smattering of festival appearances, and two years of almost total silence — during which the prolific band members worked on some of their other projects, as well — something more official surfaced in the latter half of 2014, in the form of two new songs: the slow-stalking “Motherfucker” and the chugging, anthemic “Superhero”, both of which showed up in their live sets that year. Now, with their seventh album Sol Invictus soon to arrive in record stores, and a mountain of tour dates taking up their schedule this year (paired with everyone from ANTEMASQUE to Refused), it seemed like the perfect time for Faith No More to return to the Warfield — this time with two shows, instead of three — and their transformation in the last five years is not only palpable, but an utter delight to witness.

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KnifeParty_RukesPhoto2014

I’m going to be completely honest. I was worried that the crowd at this Knife Party show would kill my opinion of the show itself. I was worried that I would run into a Coachella-Lite type of experience, and I’d be dealing with neon day-glo tank top wearing bros who only came to rage out. I have never been so happy to have my expectations proven wrong. [read the whole post]

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I have a bit of a weird history with The Antlers. Not, like, personally. It’s just that one of their (arguably) best albums, Hospice, was something I found when I was in the depths of a deep depression. I won’t ever forget how much it tore up my heart to listen to “Bear” for the first time and how heartbreaking those lyrics were. Tonight, I entered Great American Music Hall, but found myself back in that darkened apartment, whiskey in hand, tears soaking my face.

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tove lo edited (13 of 18)

Before that show, I had no idea why I enjoyed Tove Lo so much. On the surface, she looks just like another Ke$ha-inspired glitter party clone. But standing in the middle of Rickshaw Stop, somewhere between the whiskey, vaporizer smoke, and bendy straws, it hit me. Somewhere in that crowd, in all those eyes glittering in the lights coming from the stage, it all became so painfully obvious: we are all hurt. And that’s why we were there.

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Ben Folds puts on his serious face before having an amazing time.

Ben Folds puts on his serious face before having an amazing time.

There was a moment during “Steven’s Last Night in Town” when Ben Folds, letting the San Francisco Symphony do its thing, turned toward the audience, put his hands on his knees and flashed a huge smile. It was the happiest I’ve ever seen him, and who can blame him?  Here he was, on stage with a world class orchestra, hearing them play the horn breakdown of a humorous song he wrote during a time when he was just another struggling Nashville musician. Now he’s on top of the musical world, playing songs that belong in the Great American Songbook with 100 great musicians and singers.  I’d smile, too. And I did. [read the whole post]

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Show Review: Empire of the Sun with Vin Sol at The Fox Theater, 04/17/2014

April 23, 2014

Empire of the Sun are simply a band that somehow defies explanation and supersedes any real definition, and their live show at The Fox in Oakland on Thursday certainly follows suit. With an intro that rivals most Las Vegas shows, a light package that is worthy of any pure EDM set, and a lead singer that […]

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Show Review: Darlene Love at The Nourse Theater for City Arts and Lectures, 3/7/2014

March 10, 2014

In a brilliant display of great timing, City Arts and Lectures welcomed “Oscar winner” Darlene Love to their stage at the Nourse Theater on Friday night for an evening of question answering and singing. As both the opening act and the headliner, she managed to be highly entertaining on both counts, literally leaving the crowd […]

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Noise Pop Review: Bleached, Terry Malts, Mystic Braves, and Tropical Popsicle at Rickshaw Stop, 02/28/2014

March 4, 2014

I have no idea how to describe what just happened. This entire show felt like a crazy collision of surf, classic, psychedelic, and punk rock all interlocking and interweaving together to make Bleached, a veritable Voltron of music. Looked at individually, each of these groups are amazing reminders of angsty, dreamy, teenage Southern California rock […]

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Show Review: An Evening with Transatlantic at The Regency Ballroom, 2/1/2014

February 3, 2014
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sZel2vFeyc”

On June 18, 2000, Transatlantic played their first ever show in Bethlehem, PA. It was a loose, joyous set that was technically a little off, but felt like a big event. At the time, I thought “well that was fun. Too bad I won’t get to see them again.” Why? Because supergroups hardly ever last, […]

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