Fox Theater

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 }

Nick McCarthy, Russell Mael and Alex Kapranos of FFS

Nick McCarthy, Russell Mael and Alex Kapranos of FFS

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 of those very same shows: Alex Kapranos and the other musicians of Franz Ferdinand, who watched the show as regular members of the audience (and then joined the boys backstage after the gig). This wasn’t the first time that Ron and Russel Mael, the brothers of Sparks, had discussed working with the Glasgow rockers, but this gathering became the impetus to make something even bigger — and less than a year after those concerts, the supergroup FFS (named for the bands that make it up) was formed, with their eponymous album cranked out a few months later. The album and the band are their own unique experiences; FFS has a playfulness that recalls the best work of Sparks, which blends smartly with the bombastic showmanship of a big rock show — the sort of thing that Franz Ferdinand is well known for. Lest fans be worried that there’s a clear divide between the two groups, the truth couldn’t be more clear: the two sets of musicians play off of each other marvelously, and when it all comes together under one roof, the FFS live show is a different experience all by itself.

[read the whole post]

{ 0 comments }

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 →

Show Review: fun., Andrew McMahon at The Fox Theater – Oakland, 2/7/13

February 8, 2013

This would be my fourth time seeing fun. within the last twelve months. The first time was in the parking lot of a record store in Austin, TX. That show only featured the core of the band: vocalist Nate Reuss, keyboardist Andrew Dost and guitar player Jack Antonoff. It was 2 o clock in the […]

Read the full article →