The Masonic

Superchunk as The Misfits

Some of the very best band photos of Superchunk are the ones where they are dressed up as The Misfits. That’s the birthday guy on the far right with the devilock.

Do you know what today is? You do. It’s July 12. That means that over in North Carolina, it’s Mac McCaughan’s birthday. Who? Yes. Mac McCaughan of the long-running pogo-producing indie-rocker band Superchunk, as well as his own semi-solo project Portastatic, as well as one of the founders of the stalwart Merge Records. Cheers to Mac.

Speaking of pogo-inducing rock and roll, let’s talk about this week’s concerts. Here’s what we’ve got coming up this week in the Bay Area: things with animals, things from the past, and things near to college.

So, let’s get this preview started. Previewing now. Pre. View. Preview is starting and let’s go preview now.

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Sports!

Sports!

Do you know what today is? You do. It’s July 5. That means that here in the Bay Area, it’s Huey Lewis’s birthday.

Speaking of the heart of rock and roll, let’s talk about this week’s concerts. Here’s what we’ve got coming up this week in the Bay Area: symphonies, troopers, and remembrances.

So, we’ll preview this now. Previewing now. Let’s preview and go ahead and preview. Preview go!

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It’s Pride Weekend in San Francisco this week, and it’s fun to see all the bright-eyed people in the city who are attending their first Pride celebration.

Speaking of going to new things, let’s talk about this week’s concerts. Here’s what we’ve got coming up this week in the Bay Area: tanned people, clan people, French people, bad people, and cool people. Should be a pretty cool week.

So, let’s preview. We’re previewing now. Let’s preview and do the preview where we preview. Preview!

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Never before has spontaneous comedy seemed so effortless — and brilliant — in a musical performance

Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie of Flight Of The Conchords

Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie of Flight Of The Conchords

Comedy and music have always seemed to be slightly at odds with one another; there’s always this slightly underlying sense of novelty in humor-driven bands, a thought that without certain “gimmicks”, their work wouldn’t be nearly as funny, or that their jokes only appeal to a certain subset of popular culture. Artists like Reggie Watts manage to defy this expectation with deft aptitude; he is both a hilarious improvisational comedian and a brilliant musician in his own right, and the minimal nature of his performance adds emphasis to the stories he tells. The ability to shoot off jokes with rapid-fire delivery is, therefore, crucial in a concert setting; it reminds the audience of the brilliant wit and skill of the performers, rather than their ability to practice rehearsed jokes night after night. Nearly seven years after the release of their last album I Told You I Was Freaky, Flight Of The Conchords are still able to demonstrate these skills with flawless, side-splitting ease, and their live show is marvelous to watch — for both casual fans and hardcore ones alike.

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Elvis performing at the Donostiako Jazzaldia 2010 (photo by Dena Flows)

Elvis performing at the Donostiako Jazzaldia 2010 (photo by Dena Flows)

It’s common for the fame of the song to equal the fame of the artist, and Elvis Costello came out with a handful of hits in the 80s that have made their way into the American consciousness. “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace Love and Understanding” is one of the great rock anthems of the early 80s: a wanting to be more caring, but feeling burned and raw from life’s disappointments, and is as least as famous as the artist himself.  He’s always been a broad reaching artist; early tracks of his like “Shipbuilding” and “Almost Blue” straddle the edge of jazz, but he’s best known for his angsty, sometimes political rock and roll from the 80s and early 90s.

He’s evolved as an artist since then, releasing jazz and country albums containing some truly excellent material, and more or less leaving his rock days behind. I imagine it must be a frustrating blessing to be so beloved as an artist for such a small subsection of a vast and eclectic catalogue; shows sell out but the audience wants the same five or six songs, when there are fifty newer songs that will never receive the same attention. It’s like the inverse to “adultolescence”, where instead of the artist’s refusal to grow, everyone else is attached to what he did at age 25. I’m guilty of this, and while I can get behind his new material, and his move towards a Merle Haggard musical style – a grandiose goal, and one he can pull off – I miss the angry rock star who I grew up listening to.

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All photos by Oliver Brink

All photos by Oliver Brink

The Stooges were one of the greatest American rock bands of all time. That core team of Iggy Pop along with the Asheton Brothers created a brand new sound that was so thick, dirty and ferocious, it made even the heaviest bands of the 60s sound like Peter Paul and Mary. As a young punk, I devoured the three records they put out in the 60s. Those records are perfection. However, that also meant that I avoided any and all of Pop’s solo material. Sure, if people were dancing to “Lust For Life”, I’d join in, but the little solo material I came across otherwise — “Candy”, “Real Wild Child” — all sounded like over produced parodies of that animalistic beast that was The Stooges.

Fast forward to 2016. I learn that Pop is releasing a so-called “farewell” album. He enlisted Josh Homme, the “too handsome for his own good” mastermind behind Queens of the Stone Age, to produce the album. He then drafted Homme, along with other members of QOTSA and the Arctic Monkeys, as his backing band. With the majority of the Stooges having passed away, I thought that these guys were capable of emulating that sound. I had high hopes for a back to basics, thick and dirty rock record and tour.

I was wrong, but I was wrong in the best way possible.

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Show Review: An Evening with Loreena McKennitt at the Masonic, 3/19/2016

March 22, 2016

Canadian queen of Celtic melodies returns to San Francisco for an austere and intimate performance “Surreal” is probably the most appropriate word to describe how the evening felt this past Saturday night, when Loreena McKennitt returned to the Bay Area for the first time in nearly 10 years and treated a sold-out crowd at The Masonic […]

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Noise Pop Show Review: Metric at The Masonic, 2/23/2016

March 9, 2016

It’s a little jarring when your relationship with a band isn’t reflected by the show you see them put on. I’ve had this happen before; when I saw Marina and the Diamonds the first time, I was surprised to see a woman playing an intimate set at a piano. I was confused; where was the […]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts: 12/18/15-12/24/15

December 18, 2015

Star Wars! Star Wars! Star Wars! Star Wars! Can you believe it? It’s difficult to believe! But it’s here! This week! B… [cough]… it’s… it’s been… a long time since it was possible to look forward to a Star Wars anything. It’s here! Extraordinary feelings. Now, let’s talk about what’s coming up this week. Let’s […]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts: 10/1/15-10/7/15

October 1, 2015

It’s a packed week with Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park and Alternative Press Expo in San Jose. Coming up we have concerts by old people, young old people, and very old people who don’t much age. Let’s preview!

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