Matt Nathanson

Sketchfest co-founder & all-around funny girl Janet Varney

I’ve always liked Janet Varney, who I knew almost exclusively from her work with Thrilling Adventure Hour, but once someone made the connection for me that she was one of the co-founders of SF Sketchfest, my admiration for her ratcheted up quite a few notches. So, she’s super funny, and likeable, and charming, and kind of a badass producer too? So cool! So this year, when I was perusing the schedule, and saw that she was doing a live podcast (The JV Club, it’s called) with Matt Nathanson, Rachel Dratch, and Jon Hamm? Hell yeah! I’d been trying to get to a Rachel Dratch appearance at Sketchfest for at least a year or two, and Jon Hamm is so fun when he’s in comedy mode (which I’d not yet seen live, either). I immediately put in my request and hoped I’d get to cover the show. Next thing I knew, there I was, at Brava Theater Center, last Saturday afternoon, with a great seat, just in time for the house lights to go down. [read the whole post]

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Gavin in Napa this past April

Gavin DeGraw in Napa this past April

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit my folly: I was tardy to the Gavin DeGraw party. I mean really tardy. It’s not that I’d never heard of him or didn’t enjoy his music. It’s just that, for some reason, while my friends were all obsessing over him back in 2004 when he first came on the scene, I resisted several opportunities to join them. It wasn’t until I got a chance to fall for his charming personality in 2012 on Dancing with the Stars that I finally saw the error of my ways and drank the Kool-Aid. Since then, though, I’ve been making up for lost time. Now a genuine, bona fide giant Gavin fan in my own right, I recently had my first chance to finally catch him live this past April in Napa, promoting his newest album, Make a Move. You might think that having just seen him two months ago would make me less likely to rush myself to see him again at my alma mater UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre last Friday night when he co-headlined with the phenomenal local boy Matt Nathanson, but well… you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. [read the whole post]

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Playing tonight at Hotel Utah.

Playing tonight at Hotel Utah.

Thursday, June 19th [read the whole post]

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Florence Henderson in a sleeping in a nighty, while a dog eats pizza. Just one of the many things you will see live on stage at this year's Sketchfest.

Florence Henderson in a sleeping in a nighty, while a dog eats pizza. Just one of the many things you will see live on stage at this year’s Sketchfest.

Wouldn’t it be great if cloning was already a thing? So we could be at 8 places at once and not have to decide which Sketchfest events you are going to? Well, until science improves greatly, we are stuck with one body and being in one place at a time. Because of this trouble, I have taken the time to dissect the entire Sketchfest schedule and help you out by highlighting the best of the fest. A complete schedule and tickets can be purchased here. A lot of shows have already sold out, and more shows are selling out every day, so don’t forget to purchase in advance!

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Matt Nathanson brings a little holiday cheer to Santa Rosa.

Matt Nathanson brings a little holiday cheer to Santa Rosa.

One of the best things about the Christmas season is that it, like summer, is a great excuse for radio stations to bring cool bands and artists together for a show that’s a celebration, and always a fun time. This year, the one I chose was Mix 104.9‘s 8th Annual Chris-Mix, last Thursday night in Santa Rosa. Not only did it promise to be a fun, mellow night out with a friend, but I hate to miss a chance to catch San Francisco’s own Matt Nathanson (ok, he’s a Massachusetts native, but he calls the city home these days). The show also boasted Vicci Martinez (familiar to many from her run on the first season of NBC’s The Voice) and Parachute. There’s also always the promise of the occasional Christmas carol on such evenings, but either way I knew it promised to be a good show. [read the whole post]

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A brand new festival just outside my front door.

A brand new festival just outside my front door.

When rumors about the first ever BottleRock Napa festival began to circulate, they were impressive: early flyers listed Dave Matthews Band and Pearl Jam as headliners (neither was ever confirmed). Still, the festival had the attention of the Napa Valley and surrounding music lovers long ago.

Once the final lineup had been released and tickets purchased, however, it was time to finally see what all the hype had been about. Because my home is in such a central location within “Napa proper,” as we all call the city of Napa (so as not to confuse it with the rest of “the Valley”), I didn’t actually experience the crazy traffic so many locals worried about. And while I did hear on one of the first few days (Weds or Thurs, though I’m not 100% certain which) that it took someone approximately 90 minutes to reach the Napa Expo from Fairfield (normally a 25-30 minute drive), I know for sure that the traffic relaxed and was relatively comparable to any other holiday weekend. (Which is to say, not insane as predicted.) The parking situation was the same as it usually is, I know for sure. The first three days, I arrived well before noon. As such, I beat the crowds and was able to find nearby parking with such ease that I chalked that up to my knowledge of the neighborhood, vs. all those who were coming in from out of area who didn’t know where to look (and as a result, were paying $25-40 to park much farther away). [read the whole post]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts, 6/23/11-6/29/11

June 22, 2011

Seriously folks…. What’s with all of these unGoogleable band names? Do you really think that’s a good idea? Some really great bands like BOBBY, Parachute, and Comma are all playing this week… And, I’m sorry, but you really need to sell yourselves hard at these shows so people remember you, and don’t end up finding […]

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Sketchfest Review: Maximum Volume! with Greg Behrendt and Matt Nathanson at Cobb’s, 1/21/2011

January 22, 2011

At Cobb’s on Friday night was a show called Maximum Volume!, a definite misnomer. For while the volume was never turned up — the electric guitar and amplifier sat on the stage like a tease — the one thing turned to the maximum was the length of the show. This was definitely the longest comedy […]

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A Music Nerd’s Guide To SF Sketchfest 2010

January 12, 2010

As San Franciscans, we love festivals. We also love music and laughs, and it seems that line is blurring between the two worlds more & more everyday. And, although our music festivals have been littered with comedians quite a bit lately, especially with Tenacious D functioning as headliner at least year’s Outside Lands Festival, the […]

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Spinning Platters Official Weekly Tip Sheet For the Week of June 15-21

June 14, 2009

Bay Area show tips for the week of June 15th to the 21st.

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