Showing posts with label San Francisco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label San Francisco. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

So You're Not Going to Outside Lands Festival? Here's 5 Other Things to Do in the Bay

These Hedwigs really want to see you this weekend
If you will not be joining the throngs descending upon Golden Gate Park this weekend for Outside Lands Festival, do not despair. There is plenty happening around the Bay including 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' Live, The classic GODZILLA, a Big Ass Hillbilly show, Cheech & Chong (and War) and the poems of Allen Ginsberg put to music.

(Although this is not to say, going to outside - Outside Lands and enjoying Paul McCartney from a blanket in the park isn't a good idea. Why not? You might even catch a renegade band playing out in the grounds somewhere)

Click here to read the rest of the article

Cheech & Chong (and War) promise a smokin' good time
1) Friday August 9th 8pm - GODZILLA at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. The original, uncut Japanese version (with English sub-titles). Tickets $5.

2) Friday August 9th 8pm - Shelby Ash Presents: The BIG ASS HILLBILLY SHOW at Slim’s with Emily Bonn & The Vivants, The Muddy Roses, and Shani Chabansky. Info and tickets $15.

3) Saturday August 10th 3pm - Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Boxcar Theater. This show has been running to sold out audiences for several months, get your half price tickets on Goldstar! $18-22.

4) Saturday August 10th 7:30 - Cheech and Chong with War at America's Cup Pavilion. Get your half price tickets on Goldstar. $25-35.

5) Sunday August 11th 1pm & 3pm - Ginsberg in Song the Contemporary Jewish Museum. With poems arranged by Conspiracy of Beards musical director, Daryl Henline, performers include Afi Ayanna, Allison Fenner, Berel Alexander Steinberg, and Peter Whitehead. $5 Members; $15 general (includes Museum admission, advance tickets recommended).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Outside Lands Fest Day 3 highlights: Italians, Africans, Bluegrass, and STEVIE WONDER

Stevie with one of his insanely hot backup singers.

Another year, another Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park. I (happily, these things are tiring) didn't get there all three days, but was surprised with a VIP ticket to Sunday, which was the BEST day to be there. Two words: STEVIE WONDER.

But first things first. We got there early to see this Italian dude Jovanotti, who was SUPER fun. His fabulously hooky song "Tutto L'Amore Che Ho" was featured on the festival's site and I just had to  see what his deal was.


Turns out this guy can rock a crowd, hard. His energy was infectious, reminding me of Manu Chao, like this video...



Toward the end Jovanotti popped down into the crowd (which was WAY smaller than what he usually plays for in Europe, I'm sure) and sang to us. Not bad for high noon.  I enjoyed seeing the sort of folks who knew who he was, and would get to the festival so early to see him.



"We usually play for three hours" Jovanotti said in the cutest Italian accent, "So we're trying to give you the highlights in forty minutes!


After some fried pickes from the Fabulous Frickle Brothers, we came across Dr. Flotsam's Hell Brew Revue, returning bigger and better than last year. "It's an extraordinary setup, envisioned and handmade by an artist named Mike Shine and his posse of Carny Bastards to evoke a family carnival ambience." (SFWeelkly blog)


And guess who was playing? The Brother's Comatose (a fabulous local bluegrass band)! And I later found out that's where The California Honeydrops and Tumbleweed Wanderers had been playing all weekend, to pretty large crows! I'm glad that local bands got to play for the throngs in such a fun and quirky spot.


Then we caught some of Caveman's brooding set, who I became familiar with after NPR featured them on one of their Tiny Desk Concerts. I love that their guitars are made by one of the band members and I love that dude's outfit. (Yes, I had some fun with the color saturation.)



And then it was onto Amadou & Mariam. The other highlight of the day for me. I've been wanting to see this Malian couple perform live since I first heard about them in grad school. My afropop ensemble covered a couple of their tunes (with varying success, this music is complicated!) And they did not disappoint! 

A totally oversaturated photo of Amadou y Mariam. With those colors I couldn't resist 



And then it was onto Mr. Stevie Wonder. HOLY SHIT. It was all I could have wanted. I mean the dude walked out onto stage with a freaking KEYTAR. He played all the hits, even the corny ones. That's OK Stevie, we'll let that go, because you can do whatever you want. Really WHATEVER you want. You're Stevie Wonder.


He really did whatever he wanted. It was pretty obvious that the band was pretty used to Stevie changing the order of the setlist, calling out keys and songs, and teaching them (Beatles) songs on the fly. Everyone was having a ball.

Aisha Morris, Stevie's daughter is second from the right.
I was particularly mesmerized (as I often am) by his backup singers. Not only were they too hot for words, but Aisha Morris, STEVIE'S DAUGHTER, is one of them. 

I heard that Metallica (who played the night before) was really fun, but I'll catch them next time. Two more artists checked off the bucket list: Stevie and Amadou & Mariam. w00t!

This is a cool photo of the Wine Land's tent. It's just purdy.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Vote for me to sing the National Anthem at AT&T Park!


My aunt Sharon is a huge opera fan, and she told me that Classical Bay Area radio station KDFC is having a little youtube competition to get someone to sing the national anthem before the Rigoletto Simulcast in AT&T Park on September 15th at 8pm.

So I figured why the hell not. I practiced in the car a little bit and then a couple days later I did one take on my computer. It's not perfect, but who cares?

VOTE FOR ME! And you can vote everyday if you want :)

Consider going to watch the Rigoletto simulcast at AT&T Park, it's super fun. You can sit on the field or in the stands and have a picnic. And it's FREE!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Bay Area music & videos I am digging: The Seshen, DRMS, and Zej & Calen

It's been a whirlwind year so far and I've been listening to so much amazing music. Here are just some of the highlights that have fun videos. All these guys have just released new material and are playing live shows this summer, so check 'em out.

Interesting little tidbit I just thought of: all of these bands funded projects successfully on kickstarter.

The Seshen - caught them live a couple weeks ago. Not only are they super nice people, but they are fabulous live. I'm loving the whole album, which you can stream here. Sorta Morcheeba, Erykah Badu-esque with dub step.



DRMS (pronounced "Dreams") - Emily Ritz's vocals are pretty magical. They also put on an awesome show with lots of percussion (vibraphone!), visuals and performance art elements. Listen to their new album here.



Zej and Calen - I just think this video is so sweet. I had the pleasure of interviewing these two on my podcast, check it out here (live performances!). Their music is sweet and thoughtful. I've been enjoying their new record "Last Station" full of love songs, many of them with environmental themes.
 
Sunday Train by Zej & Calen - Official Music Video from Bazooka Mama Productions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Two Examiner.com articles about the SF Music Scene

The photography of Jana Carrey at the "Local Artist Live-In"
Look Ma, I'm still writing for Examiner.com! And I just posted two articles this week about new events in San Francisco featuring local talent!

"For the Record 101" - lecture series and record club a The Red Poppy Art House

"Local Artist Live-In" - weekly event pairing local music and art at Underground SF

Go me! Please click through, they still pay me one penny for every hit, and I know you want to make me rich! Har har.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jamie and Juan's music podcast



I know I've not been posting much lately. I promise you that I've been REALLY super, DUPER busy with musical projects and jobs. In fact, GOOD NEWS: Hear it Local has asked me to blog regularly for them, which is super exciting. So, stay tuned.

One of the fun projects I've been part of is a podcast with my friend Juan Raigosa who used to be a KUSF (R.I.P.) DJ. (Juan had me on his show semi-regularly at the end of 2010 to hang out before the station got derailed).

Juan sets up a mini recording studio in his bedroom and I wheel in some of the amazing people of our music community to play music (live and recorded), chat and just tell us about what's happening.

We're thinking of changing the name, but for now it's called Just Push Play.

Click to listen on our website 

So far we've had on KC Turner, Jonathan Mann, Jessie Woletz, Dina Maccabee and Lyz Luke. It's been a lot of fun.  Can't wait to record more!

Some photos of us being silly and playing some live music.

Juan, Jessie Woletz and me.

 Dina Maccabee

Lyz Luke, bear, me, Juan and Pavlov the Puggle 

KC Turner plays us some tunes






Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Conspiracy of Venus makes a music video

My choir has made a music video! One of my choirs, Conspiracy of Venus, was super lucky to have participated in a music video race: 16 bands. 16 filmmakers. 16 music videos. 1 weekend.

While we didn't win (sad face) we had a blast and got to work with the video makers It Donned on Me and hey, WE HAVE A MUSIC VIDEO! The song is an original by our conductor Joyce McBride.

 

That lovely lady starting in the video, is Soprano 1, Maggie Andrews.

Made in one weekend, in the presidio, we are dressed in sheets. A pair of those hands at the beginning are mine.

This is the hilarious and gross video that won, "COBRA" by doppio.



One video that I liked quite a bit by Elle NiƱo, it was filmed on Bernal Hill, right by my house. And I hike up there every week or so.

 

Click to watch more videos from the First Annual Music Video Race

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gotye live in San Francisco, a gorgeous show for a gorgeous record

Gotye at Coachella last weekend (
Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

Last night, Gotye performed at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, in between Coachella performances, fresh off Saturday Night Live. You can definitely say that the Belgian-Australian artist is the hottest ticket of the moment.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve most likely seen the sexy and innovative video and heard Gotye’s hit tune “Somebody that I Used to Know” featuring Kimbra covered on Glee, American Idol and everywhere else (Maybe you heard me singing it? I can't stop). What you might not know is that the song is not a one-off, but part of a beautifully written and produced album called Making Mirrors which transfers well to the stage.

Wouter “Wally” De Backer’s song-crafting has grown in leaps and bounds since the 2008 “Mixed Blood”. “Eyes Wide Open”, “Save Me” and surprisingly “State of the Art” are exquisite songs which could easily be released as singles.

Gotye has been compared to Elliott Smith, Sting, Peter Gabriel and I would throw Imogen Heap into the mix, creating a genre-defying, sample-saturated wall of sound. Watching De Backer perform these tunes is watching him switch from playing various percussion instruments, sample –filled keyboards and pushing his voice to unfathomable heights in pitch, volume and timbre. Experimental keyboardist Tim Shiel joyfully plugged away at his set of electronic toys.

The only time I felt the music suffered from too much sampling (the five-piece band also included a guitarist and bassist) was in the soul tunes “I Feel Better” and “In Your Light”. Live horns are always better; sampled horns are sort of sad.

Continue reading my article on Examiner.com

Monday, April 16, 2012

Train at the Fillmore, loving the "Mom Rock"


Many things can be said about the band Train. Originally from the Bay Area, this Grammy-winning band is the quintessential feel-good poprock band and will be forever associated with the cheese-tastic tunes “Hey Soul Sister”, “Drops of Juptier” and “Meet Virginia.”

When I caught wind that Train would be playing six-gig engagement at San Francisco’s most beloved venues including the Fillmore, The Great American Music Hall, Bimbo’s 365, Slim’s and the Independent, I definitely rolled my eyes a little bit. But when I heard that these shows sold out immediately, I decided I had to give this band who’s been working hard for over 20 years the benefit of the doubt.

I loved reading this little article from SFist about this group of mom’s who traveled here from around the country to see all six shows, and camped out early to get a good spot in front of the stage. SFist also coined the genre "Mom Rock" in association to Train. Too funny.

I'll just say now that Train puts on a GREAT show. And as my friend said, “They give a damn” about their fans. Lead singer and front man Patrick Monahan signed dozens of posters and t-shirts from stage mid-song. Some of the items came from the audience, some came from the band.

There were lovely, sappy and endearing moments when Monahan got to show off that he's just a regular family guy: bringing his tutu-wearing young daughter on stage to spin and dance. He also told stories about how much he loves his wife and how he wishes she could have gotten to meet his mother, who “Drops of Jupiter” is written about.

But perhaps the high light of the evening was when San Francisco Giants players Barry Zito and Matt Cain joined Train onstage for a couple songs (Zito plays guitar) incuding Journey’s epic “Don’t Stop Believin’” And of course, the crowd went wild, including yours truly. See a video here. There's nothing like celebrating the beginning of baseball season like that!

Monahan sounds terrific; 20-years of singing at the top of his vocal range has been good to him. The band works it out. Local singer/songwriter Megan Slankard who also opened for Train at the Great American Music Hall earlier this week sang back up vocals. Other bands to open for other San Francisco shows were Finish Ticket, The Family Crest, Jeff Campbell, bringing the local love.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus & 'Wicked' composer Stephen Schwartz at Davies Symphony Hall

The Gay Men's Chorus fills most of Davies' Symphony Hall's Stage

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know there there's nothing I love more than dozens of singing men in tuxedos. How about HUNDREDS of singing men in tuxedos? Yes please. And no, I don't care if they're all gay, they still sound and look amazing.

I'm pretty excited that I can be at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas (more posts on that to come, sorry to have slacked) and the day that I get back, I get to see the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus perform the program "Enchantingly Wicked" in Davies Hall WITH Stephen Schwartz, composer of Godspell and Wicked. Seriously, I'm pretty lucky.

The SFGMC was joined by San Jose's mixed chorus Choral Project (you can see them in the center dressed in black in the photo above), which added a some female energy to the program. A highlight was "For Good" from Wicked, a song about friendship and how good people can change your life, solos by Kristina Nakagawa and Ariel Buck.

I cried about twelve times the whole evening.

The combination of the timbre of that many male voices with the cute choreography and the uplifting and inspiring thematic material that characterizes Stephen Schwartz's work, kept my eyes damp for most of the performance.

I had never drawn the connection that the same brilliant mind created Godspell, Wicked and the song "Colors of the Rainbow" from Pocahontas. After hearing everything all together in one program, Schwartz's voice comes through loud and clear. His thematic material is positive, uplifting and the melodies are soaring, wonderfully poppy and fun to sing.

And, the dude can perform. He played several songs, just his voice and a piano. One of the cuter tunes about finding love in a big city: "Everyone wants to be in love, just not with anyone they know." How true!

The SF Gay Men's Chorus records "Testimony" at Sky Walker Ranch

And then there was world premiere of "Testimony", commissioned by the SFGMC, composed by Schwartz in collaboration with Dan Savage and the "It Gets Better Project" based on the words from LGBT video participants and their struggle in finding hope while living in fear.

OH. MY. GOD. There wasn't a dry eye in the Hall.

"You will change lives" said SFGMC Artistic Director and Conductor Timothy Seelig of the choruses performance, quoting I think Schwartz himself.


Monday, October 3, 2011

My humble solution of what to do about San Francisco's overcrowded Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

Some lovely folks I met coming back from the loo

Warren Hellman and the organizers of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival have a chance to make the gathering even more meaningful. At some point safety regulators will notice that the gathering has gotten far too crowded; how will they solve this problem? My humble solution is to require inexpensive tickets for entry, and donate the proceeds to local charities.

Hardly Strictly is one of those many events that makes me so lucky and proud to live in the Bay Area, and be a resident of San Francisco in particular. As a music lover, the idea of seeing (or more like only hearing because you can’t get too close to the stage) Emmylou Harris, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Ralph Stanley, Bela Fleck, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, and Gillian Welch in two days free of charge is absolutely insane. I thank Mr. Hellman for an awesome birthday party every year and applaud his love and passion for good music.

TO READ MORE OF MY ARTICLE CLICK HERE

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Things I saw (and ate) at Outside Lands Fest, Day 2: Bacon, opera, OK Go and dirty sinners



Saturday August 13th was just another amazing day in San Francisco, after the fog burned off in the afternoon anyway. There was a perfect breeze and the sun was out and I had music all around me.

We bounced back and forth a lot today, just following our mood. On the agenda was OK Go, the Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, The Roots and Muse if we felt like it.

OK Go
. I know the joke is that their music is nothing special, but I totally dig these guys for their continuous outpouring of creativity. Their videos are obviously incredibly innovative and fun, but they also do crazy stuff like play a whole song on the hand bells (like the video below). These guys are true artists and performers, in every sense of the words.

And let me just say that this might have been the one time in the whole of the weekend that I wanted MORE VOLUME.




Ok GO also cracked me up continuously calling the crowd a bunch of "dirty sinners", what San Francisco has always been known for. I can't say I disagree with them. He also mentioned how overwhelmingly white the San Francisco crowd is, can't disagree there either.

The Roots: So fun. I wish I was Jimmy Fallon and have these guys has my house band. They paid tribut to Fela Kuti, Guns and Roses, Zeppelin and some "Jungle Boogie."

Girl Talk: This is performance you really have to experience live to really get I think. Imagine all your favorite songs coming at you in enormous speed, sometimes only teasing you with one hook or one chorus. Some of the mash-up pairings are so awesomely funny. I need to get some of this for working out.

FOOD:
I ate this (I did not eat it all myself, in fact we couldn't finish it, it was too insane):


Good Lord, what is that you ask!? It's peanut butter mousse, chocolate fudge crust, candied bacon and caramel. Don't believe me?


The couple across the picnic table was eating this chocolate covered Oreo, marshmallow stuffed thing. It was too amazing not to photograph.


Later we also ate this from Criolla Kitchen : OMIGOD SO GOOD! Shrimp Po'Boy and Yam-Yam Tater Tots. I will definitely be visiting the restaurant in the Castro. Seriously... SO GOOD.


I did not eat this, but enjoyed the sign, imaging what these would be like:


Like I said yesterday, there were a ton of fun things to do not appearing on big stages. I found out more about the "mimes" I had seen the day before . Not mimes at all. Turns out it was a folk opera and installation called “Flotsam’s Wake” featuring Mike Shine and the Carny Bastards.


I enjoyed the banners in front of the Twin Peaks Stage. They were weird.



Theses lovely ladies practiced some yoga in front of us for awhile during the Arctic Monkeys and OK Go.


And an Australian sword swallower at the Barbary Tent. Crazy I tell you.


I'm skipping today's festivities to see Adele (rescheduled from last month when she was sick), which is okay by me, my feet are tired!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Things I saw at Outside Lands Fest, Day 1: Phish, The Meters, The Shins and hippie hipsters


Trey Anastasio of Phish

Outside Lands Fest was surprisingly fun today. It was a shitty typical cold and overcast day in San Francisco (just the way I like it!) and I got to see The Original Meters, Phish, The Shins, some acrobats, a drumcore samba brass band, art installations and hippies (both old and young).

Here's some photos I took, and maybe a video or two.

Phish - My friend wanted to get super close-up for the Phish set, so we charmed our way through the crowd to a pretty close up spot. It was totally worth it. These dudes are still so awesome. I saw them a bunch in high school and college and it was fun then and it was fun today.

And I just wanted to say, these guys are jamming their way into middle age and I love it when rockstars just look like normal people. I had to post this picture because Mike Gordon has the most awesome "play face".

And yes, I was very pleased to see that Jon Fishman still wears the polka-dotted mumu, this time with a hoodie underneath to keep warm.

Mike Gordon's "play face"

Can't have a Phish show without balloons and beach balls...


The Original Meters: Art Neville on keys, Leo Nocentelli on guitarist, Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste on guitar, and George Porter Jr. on bass. George kept welcoming us to "Senior Citizen Fun 101" This was fun, but too bad Leo's amp kept getting out of whack. We got to hear some awesome jamming, but lost lots of time to hear songs. We did get to hear "Cissy Strut" though, and that's all needed. It doesn't get much funkier.



The Shins - Great. They played a tune off the record they are working on and almost done with. It was really awesome. Let's just say it had a little bit of a Caribbean feel to it...

And wait-a-minute, I believe there was a female guitar rhythm guitarist up there also doing backup vocals, does anyone know anything about her?

See all the lights in the audience below? This picture was taken during the first song when all of those cameras came out. So funny.


Inspector Gadje and The Loyd Family Players - found these local folks playing out in the open. Two bands playing as one: one part Eastern European Brass, one part samba/drumline. An awesome team. We followed them into the forest and into Cocoland.





Choco Lands: I'm not sure what was going on here, but I liked it. In the forest there were art installations all over the place: huge wind chimes with a rope swing in the middle (so that when you really got swinging the top of the rope would hit the chimes), a mime show, structures, parachutes... very Burning Man.


( Same sign at night)





The Barbary Tent: with vaudeville, burlesque, acrobats, SF local boys from the Jazz Mafia as the house band, magicians, etc. Another perfectly SF addition and a great place to actually SIT IN A CHAIR. I'm getting old, standing all day is making me stiff.

This guy, Ethan Law, is doing one of those Cyr Wheel Cirque du Soliel awesome things. He's from SF's Circus School!


People - Because of Phish, the Burning Man vibe was strong today. Tomorrow will be another story (tomorrow is Muse, the Black Keys, The Roots, Girl Talk, etc.)





Oh, teenage girls at festivals: you are so cute, and yet probably so annoying to some folks. I remember being that excited about everything!



(This picture is a little creepy, but this little girl had the coolest face painting, and I caught this blurry shot right before she got super smiley for the cameras.)