Fox Theater

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.

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

John Carpenter

John Carpenter

Music in film is an often-celebrated phenomenon, but it seems to exist primarily in the medium it’s made for. Occasionally, composers and songwriters will offer up their works for public or private performance, though they themselves may not be in attendance, and in general the world of film music feels very separate from that of “traditional rock music”, i.e. the bands that release albums and promote them with live tours. The phenomenon of a live tour by acclaimed horror director John Carpenter, therefore, is even more impressive; his musical works not only require an actual band to perform (with synthesizers and guitars driving the melodies, rather than orchestras and choirs), but the tunes are steady, driving, and in small enough bits that they are easy to digest — this isn’t a random night at the symphony, folks! In addition, Carpenter himself wrote the scores to a good chunk of his films, so the live performance of compositions and overtures from his classic works could now be experienced with an ever more present vitality.

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

"Anarchy burger! / Hold the government!" - The Vandals

This Saturday in Oakland, plenty of this.

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 guys, montage anchorpoints, as much anarchy as you’d like, and a band that just went ahead and named themselves California.

And previews. Preview time. Let’s preview. [read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

Steve Vai’s latest excursion is as much a massive thrill ride as it is an endurance test — for band and audience alike

Let's Play Guitar In A Five Guitar Band

Let’s Play Guitar In A Five Guitar Band

It’s been twenty years since guitar mastermind Joe Satriani piloted the first G3 Tour, an endeavour that featured a total of three guitar wizards driving a multi-hour set that showcased some truly intense musicianship. On that tour, and on nearly every one that followed, Satriani was accompanied by his protégé, Steve Vai, who brought his own brand of sorcery to pair with Satch, alongside whichever third player was enlisted each year. In 2016, however, Vai apparently got the notion that three guitarists playing simultaneously was not a big enough challenge to pull off, and kicked off the “Generation Axe” tour which featured no less than five of them — spanning genres, geographical locations, and playing styles. With a titanic set that sprawled out for over 3 hours, it was a testament to the true meaning of “instrumental guitar music” and how such a term is a remarkably small pigeonhole, given the amount of players that work within it and the breadth of their expertise.

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

Lyz Luke and the cast of UnderCover

Lyz Luke and the cast of UnderCover

A record like Dookie, the magnum opus from the Bay Area’s arguably-most-popular punk band, Green Day, was not so much another album in the shop as it was a sonic bombshell going off, whose waves were felt in scenes across the Earth. The raw energy and youthful vigor had rarely been presented in so straightforward and familiar a manner, especially in a format and at a time that it was almost universally accessible to everyone looking for something refreshing and powerful in the current world. Dookie, by scene purists, may be remembered as the record that shoved one of the loudest, wildest dimensions of the music world into the spotlight, and while they may revile this fact, Dookie’s influence and impact on all music that came after it is undeniable. It still stands tall as one of the greatest records of its age, and one of the most famous to come from the East Bay of Northern California. It was fitting, therefore, that the Bay Area collective UnderCover culled together a collection of local players, all passionate fans of the effect this record had on them in their younger years, to kick off this year’s UnderCover Presents series with a 15-band tribute to one of the seminal works of 90s punk rock.

With so much to cover, I’ll be doing this in the style of the show: 15 mini-reviews of all of the songs, with photos for each, and a wrap-up at the end. Read on!

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

Puscifer (Mat Mitchell, Paul Barker, Jeff Friedl, Carina Round, and Maynard James Keenan)

Puscifer (Mat Mitchell, Paul Barker, Jeff Friedl, Carina Round, and Maynard James Keenan)

Let’s get one thing out of the way before this review starts: Puscifer is not a side project. It’s a sprawling, multifaceted, genre-defying, borderline-synaesthetic outlet of artistic expression, the brainchild of Tool vocalist/winemaker Maynard James Keenan and musical mastermind Mat Mitchell — and at this point, they’ve been grinding the axe for nigh unto a decade (closer to twenty years, if you count their brief appearance on Mr. Show way back when), and it absolutely shows. The collective has been refining the elements of what their sound, their mission, and their performance entails, for that entire span of time and 2015’s Money Shot — the album, the tour, the experience — is the next step along the journey within the minds of this collective of visionaries. As with everything released during their career thus far, don’t let the smirk-inspiring record title (nor its positively comedic artwork) lead you into dismissing them outright. If anything, it’s a bit of a relief to know that the men and women of Puscifer have a sense of humor to match the seriousness with which they take their production, both for the live show and the music itself.

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

Show Review: FFS at the Fox Oakland, 10/15/2015

October 21, 2015

Just over two years ago, timeless whimsical art-pop duo Sparks made their first appearance in the Bay Area in years, in the form of a stripped-down two-man show that spanned the entire course of their career. What probably WASN’T immediately well known, however, was the presence of members of another band at at least one […]

Read the full article →

Mid-November METAL overload!

November 24, 2014

There really is no such thing as “metal overload”.  If there was this many epic metal shows per week every week of the year, that would be more like “metal heaven” (except all metalheads are Satanic, right? So, “metal hell”?)…

Read the full article →

Show Review: Nickel Creek, The Secret Sisters at The Fox Theater – Oakland, 5/19/14

May 22, 2014

To paraphrase Laura Rogers, lead vocalist for The Secret Sisters: “When Nickel Creek come on, you are going to smile, and stay smiling the whole time they are on stage.” It’s been nearly seven years since the great Southern California trio have last toured as a unit. Despite all three members making many trips to […]

Read the full article →

Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts, 4/11/13-4/17/13

April 12, 2013

Concerts! Shows! Performances! And this week in the Bay Area, they’re extra-beardy!

Read the full article →