Fauxchella

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Oh Fauxchella, how do I count the ways?  While most of the world waits diligently to attend something overly populated with clutter, annoyance, and unwelcoming weather, the locally abounding intellects know you will be there for us.  Engrossed entirely inside night four of eight, you gave me Bat For Lashes.  While there were about seventeen other shows that night, none were more sincere than this one.  So much so I’m sure the Great Pumpkin would have agreed.

While I may not be comparing Natasha Khan to a pumpkin patch, in an utmost elegance, I must say: she squashed it.

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All Photos by Misty Brewster

All Photos by Misty Brewster

Fauxchella is a brutal time for music fans. The night Metric played at The Fox, we also had to contend with like minded bands How To Destroy Angels and Savages playing across the bridge. It was a tough night of you enjoy powerful women fronting danceable rock bands. And, as much as I truly love this band, I was thinking hard about what I was missing. I didn’t want to feel buyers remorse. Deep down inside, I knew this was the right place to be. And the sold out crowd at The Fox tonight knew it, too.

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All Photos By Michelle Viray

All Photos By Michelle Viray

Oakland is a blessed city for music. We have some of the best venues and best crowds on Earth. For far too long we were treated as the ugly stepsister to San Francisco. However, San Francisco seems to do a great job of attracting the type of concert goer that attends because they feel obligated, and simply hangs on in the back of the room with their arms folded across their chest. In Oakland, the room explodes. Case in point: Vancouver, BC’s Japandroids played a sold out show at The Independent last year. It was shortly after the release of Celebration Rock, an album that hit with near universal acclaim. And, of course, the whole room stood still throughout the entire set. However, this warm Wednesday night in Oakland was a completely different story.

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The leading ladies of the evening

The leading ladies of the evening

If you asked someone what their favorite record by a female singer in 2011 was, odds are you would have gotten a reply that fit one of two options: 21 by Adele, or Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine. Both topped charts, and the former swept the Grammys, taking home the coveted Album Of The Year award, among others. Sadly, out of the spotlight (and off the radar for many a casual music fan) were a pair of records that rounded out Spinning Platters’ 2nd and 3rd place winners for our Album Picks of 2011, both by extraordinary women who have been captivating audiences all over the country, perhaps even the world, with their otherworldly but gorgeously eclectic brand of experimental indie rock. To pair the two together is a feat in and of itself, as the two have very different backgrounds — both in their own respective songwriting and in their own performing history — but it was, no doubt, an effective combination, as evidenced by the near sold-out crowd that arrived at Oakland’s Fox Theater on Tuesday night. The pair had skipped briefly across the country, even between two weekends at Coachella, and now were coming to the end of their trip: the Oklahoma-born, Manhattan-based Annie Clark, better known by her stage name St. Vincent, and Oakland’s own Merrill Garbus, more well known under the zanily-punctuated pseudonym of tUnE-yArDs.

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Punk crusade throughout the land

Punk crusade throughout the land

At the end of the day, what truly compels someone to come to a concert is their love of the music that their favorite band plays — and the sheer energy with which they present it to their fans. Take away the light shows, the falling props, the dancing backdrops, and the larger-than-life haircuts, and what brings people to a concert, what REALLY sells out a club and packs its patrons in tighter than sardines in a tin can, is the overwhelming desire to watch an artist deliver their heart and soul onstage, in the form of bellowing voices, howling guitars, and an onstage presence that drains the viewer just by beholding it. Irrespective of genre, of geographical location, and even of time period, it is truly the mindbendingly ecstatic bands that pulls in all comers — even well-known and loved artists of other musical worlds. Thus, it was little surprise that members of bands such as Rise Against, Metallica, Faith No More, AFI, As I Lay Dying, Death Angel, and Sevendust were on hand to experience one of the most incredible performances of 2012, when newly-reunited Swedish hardcore juggernauts Refused took the stage at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco and delivered a set that was paralyzing and stunning in its intensity.

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The massive stage rig for Justice's set

The massive stage rig for Justice's set

2012 has already begun as the Year of the Dance Music Show, with electronic acts dominating some of the most popular venues worldwide and music festivals across the country. The Ultra Music Festival brought in 60,000 attendees per day this year; I Love This City, coming Memorial Day Weekend, plans to overflow AT&T Park with fans and over 40 huge acts of the dance music world. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the hot ticket to catch is on the club circuit: any highly-successful electronic act that packs their titanic stage show into an under-5000-people theater to shake the walls with earth-shattering bass and wild dancing. Though you’d normally be hard-pressed to find anything that isn’t pulsing house or swaying dubstep to pack a venue with concertgoers aplenty, the Fox Theater played their cards right in welcoming French dancemasters Justice to Oakland between their Coachella weekend visits, and the duo delivered brilliantly with precision, style, and a dizzying array of lights and sound.

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Show Review: PJ Harvey at The Warfield, 4/14/11

April 17, 2011

PJ Harvey is simply an artist.  It just so happens her medium is music.  Every tour for each new record is an engrossing sensory experience, completely different than the last.  Having seen her perform at the Warfield for every record, minus White Chalk, (she left SF off the tiny tour), since 1998, I’ve had the […]

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Show Review: Lightning Bolt, T.I.T.S., High Castle at Rickshaw Stop, 4/13/11

April 14, 2011

Noise is probably one of the most varied genres of music out there. It can cover simple clanking if anvils, carefully executed pieces of experimental classical music, or just a thunderous barrage of sound played be traditional rock instruments. Tonight’s show at Rickshaw Stop concentrated on the latter, but was still a widely varied evening […]

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Show Review: Jónsi at Zellerbach Hall, 4/15/10

April 17, 2010

All I can REALLY say is that you didn’t go to this show, you’ve just made the biggest mistake of your life.  Let me tell you all about it.  Maybe you made it up to yourself by seeing it last night in San Francisco, or you can make it up by traveling to faraway lands.  […]

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Show Review: Atoms For Peace (Thom Yorke) at the Fox Oakland, 4/14/10

April 15, 2010

I think we’ve reached the point where if Thom Yorke’s name was attached to a juggling festival, the show would be sold out in three seconds flat.  Nobody in music today holds the same trust in the eyes, ears, and hearts of fans more than he does.  All Radiohead fans seem to blindly follow, and […]

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