set list

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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_MG_7023TV On The Radio are at an interesting point in their career. The band’s age is such that they are no longer actively buzzed about, yet they don’t stay far enough removed from the music scene to ever be experiencing a “comeback.” A lot of bands can become a little lazy at this point, opting to simply release likable records that don’t really push any boundaries, and serve just as an excuse to tour; TV On The Radio, however, simply have too deep of an imagination to go that direction. As 2014’s Seeds will go down as one of the finest records of their career, the set they played at Oakland’s Fox Theater (their first proper headlining show around here since its release) may go down in history as their finest performance in the Bay Area.
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Seeing Simons & Lucca together is always a treat.

Tony Lucca will always have a special place in my heart…and my career. I say that because it was just about this time four years ago that I wrote my first review for Spinning Platters. I had met editor Gordon Elgart not long prior and discussed writing for him, but it was completely spur of the moment when I invited him to join me to see Mr. Lucca at the Cafe du Nord and cover the show. He asked, instead, that I do it myself. I admit, having never written anything of the sort, I was intimidated. But I did it, and I suppose the rest is the proverbial history? Anyway, I digress. Suffice all this to say that I was happy to catch him last Thursday evening at Yoshi’s Oakland. Even better, he had recently added my beloved Keaton Simons to his band, and offered me a little pre-show time for a chat. [read the whole post]

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...and all the girls went wild.

…and all the girls went wild.

If admitting that I’ve loved a boyband (one in particular, and pretty much only them) for my entire life makes me uncool, then so be it. I’m uncool. Having said that, I never really got into pop in the way many do. New Kids on the Block aside, there was only really ever one other similar group whose music I got into, and that’s irrelevant. Anyway, whether because I decided so at a very young age, or simply because it’s true, I still find Jordan Knight to be one of the most beautiful men on the planet. And okay, if he wants to make a record and then tour with some other musician, well… I’d probably go see him with just about anyone. (Willie Nelson? Barbra Streisand? Rick Astley? I’m game.) If his choice is another cute boy from a similar boyband background, specifically Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, well, alright. Look, he could tour with Miss Piggy and I’d go see him. And so I did, about a month ago (11/18), when the Nick & Knight tour stopped at SF’s Regency Ballroom. [read the whole post]

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GW4

To be honest, I don’t think anything has made me feel older than waiting in line to get into a Gerard Way show, all alone, on a chilly San Francisco night. So many teenage girls with their moms who are closer to my age than they are. All pumped up with teenager energy and hormones. It was overwhelming and energy sucking. I can’t even imagine how Gerard Way must feel, looking at this crowd, when he is a year older than me, married and a Dad himself. It must be weird to say the least. I will say though that at least a lot of them looked like the disaffected youth that would have been the original fans of his former band My Chemical Romance. But now that being weird is normal, who knows if they have the same insecurities and pain that the original “emo” fans of his would have had, like myself. So, what kind of night would it be? Would all that teenage energy turn into something beautiful? Something destructive? Or just throb into something else completely? [read the whole post]

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Show Review: The Antlers with Yellow Ostrich at Great American Music Hall, 07/11/2014

July 14, 2014

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 […]

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Show Review: Tove Lo with DJ Aaron Axelsen and Miles the DJ at Rickshaw Stop, 07/03/2014

July 8, 2014

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 […]

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Show Review: Matt Nathanson & Gavin DeGraw with Mary Lambert at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre, 6/20/2014

June 25, 2014

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 […]

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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 […]

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