Posted by xneverwherex on March 25, 2017
Allison Crutchfield & The Fizz
March 23, 2017
Coming to SF straight from SXSW with lots of well-deserved hype was Vagabon. Vagabon is producer and musician Lætitia Tamko, born in Cameroon and raised in NYC. In a far too short set, she played nearly all of the songs off her debut album Infinite Worlds. Vagabon, who played a number of songs with just a guitar and synthpads, also brought 2 other women musicians with her for some added bass and drums.
Vagabon’s haunting vocals brings an emotional punch to the songs. During “Cold Apartment
” you can feel the angst in her voice and it clings to your skin. There is such a rawness and vulnerability and it feels stripped to the bone, yet the moment the drums and bass join in it packs a real punch. “Minneapolis
” bursts out with punk aggression and explodes with lots of guitars and bass and has you stomping along in no time.
Lætitia even teased us with her new song as the other musicians left the stage. She literally had just written it and it was still a work in progress. In her new song she has a line about the moon and her lyrics are so picturesque that you can visualize her words. She knows how to bring more than emotion to her songs and uses her words expressively.
She ended the set with single “The Embers“. As she sang “I’m just a small fish” repeatedly over punk drums and the crowd sang along, it was clear that she would not be a small fish for long. As she said early on, with a huge smile on her face, “Thank you all for coming. This is fucking crazy.”
Philadelphia’s Allison Crutchfield & The Fizz had a hard act to follow. She said right away that she didn’t want to keep the crowd waiting and came on earlier than expected. She started the set by stating that “I hate men, but I love California” and then went into playing 2 songs about California. Her song “I Don’t Ever Wanna Leave California” is a catchy lo-fi bubble-gum pop song.
Some of the songs were more catchy than others and it seemed to lull in the middle before picking up again with new song “Charlie” off her debut album Tourist in This Town. Her songs tended to work better when she harmonized with her guitar player as it gave her songs a more interesting fuller sound. The band ended their set pretty early on saying there was just one more song. It seemed that the energy was just waning but it worked out as all the bands played the same amount of time. She ended the set with their very catchy song, “Dean’s Room“. It was one of their more dancey songs, which the crowd loved, and sounds like it came courtesy of New Order with their recognizable keyboards/percussive hooks.
Locals Joyride! opened up the set. The very loud trio, fronted by Jenna Marx, is bringing the ’90s pop punk sound back. During “Don’t forget the first one”, as the drums and guitars quiet, Jenna’s sugary pop sweet vocals burst through the song. It made the song feel alive and brought freshness to set it apart from their other songs. Their 20 minute set, which felt far too short, consisted of tight pop punk songs that came alive with their explosive energy and loud guitars. It was a great way to start the set and get the crowd ready for an incredible evening of music.
Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: 90s, Allison Crutchfield & The Fizz, Cameroon, concert, indie, Joyride!, Laetitia Tamko, live, music, NYC, pop-punk, punk, Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, SF, Vagabon | Leave a Comment »
Posted by xneverwherex on April 14, 2015
20+ years later and The Replacements were back in San Francisco for the “Back By Unpopular Demand Tour”. The much-adored Minneapolis ‘Mats broke up all too soon in 1991 and it was hard to imagine that this day would come. It was even harder to come by with a ticket to this oh so sold-out show which seemed to have sold out in mere minutes of their onsale time. But pretty much any price would have been worth it to see them. I had pretty much given up on going to the show and opted for a ticket to another reunion show Ride over at The Warfield. But my heart was always in it to see The ‘Mats.
It was interesting to see them in a nice, polished club with ushers at the doors and ‘bartenders’ in their tuxes selling way overpriced drinks. But I will say the sound at The Masonic
was pretty amazing. While I cant say Im a huge fan of Nob Hill (is anyone really?), it was a pretty sweet venue and one Id gladly go back to. So it was amusing when Tommy Stinson
commented about how they used to play in the ‘lowlands’ (referring to the I-Beam in the Haight). And naturally Paul Westerberg
could barely remember it. And that was just the kind of show it was.
Some bantering about the songs, the area and how we needed to break the Portland curse. And if that wasnt broken after that, Im not sure what would have unbroke it. The band started out the night just right with ‘Takin a Ride‘. The crowd was jumping and bouncing and it was pure energy with lots of fists punching into the air. It was hard to go wrong when that was just the opening song. Of course, it was over all too soon with what felt like 2 minute songs of pure raw-punk energy. Headed right into ‘Favorite Thing‘ kept the audience moving and it seemed that energy would never stop.
The band sounded as great as ever. Sure, theyre a little older (or a lot!) as we all are. Forgotten lyrics, shortened songs, clips of songs that didn’t finish, and even Paul singing ‘Androgynous‘ from inside of a tent. It just would not get better than that, but of course it did. While the band didn’t necessarily have hits, they did manage to play a lot of their more popular songs along with their deeper cuts. It should have appealed to nearly everyone in some way, shape or form. They really mixed it up with playing songs from their early albums Hootenanny and Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash plus their later albums.
And best of all, the band still had that grittiness/dirt to them. They still had an edginess to them and Paul might be a little grayer but hell a lot of us are now and he still sounds as great as ever. The energy from Tommy on bass is still electrifying. Dave Minehan on guitars was f’ing brilliant. He had so much energy and was an awesome fit. (Original ‘Mats guitarist Slim Dunlap is recovering from a stroke; while original drummer Chris Mars ixnayed the reunion tour). On drums was Josh Freese who was pretty kick-ass having played in oh so many other bands. Its a great fit and they seem to have chemistry.
The show was one of those things where it was either going to be insanely awesome or it would just suck. Thankfully, it was f’ing brilliant. I couldnt have asked for a better time, better company and a most awesome crowd. Everyone singing to “Bastards of Young” is one of those moments that will be hard to forget. The excitement of finally hearing “Kiss Me on the Bus” live was beyond awesome. Plus, Paul playing “Skyway” acoustically was just gorgeous. And then you add in other popular songs like “Ill Be You“, “I Will Dare” and of course the final encore of “Alex Chilton” along with the entire crowd singing along and it might be one of the most perfect sets.
I may regret not taking more photos (really hardly any), but hell if it was way back when none of us would have even had them. It was nice to see for most the set that there werent a whole lot of people recording/filming every second of it. We were all caught up in a time and moment together, and fuck it, why bother trying to replicate it. It will never be better than that moment. With that being said, the photos on here are all from Ben Graham and theyre quite a fitting way to remember the show.
Opener John Doe (of X) opened up the show and like many a punk-rocker these days, he has gone the alt-country-folk route. And they were quite good and the woman in his band had amazing vocals. He changed the lyrics to a song to reflect a SF club and that was a nice touch. And he even played some X songs as well so that is a pretty cool thing. Plus, its f’ing John Doe opening and it seemed a very fitting opener.
Takin a Ride
I Don’t Know/Buck Hill/I Don’t Know
(Elvis “Little Sister” tease)
“Poetry Tent” (Paul reads in a tent to “Take Five,” Brubeck
([with Paul singing from inside a tent)
Kissin’ in Action
((with Tommy playing Black Sabbath Iron Man intro at the end))
I Will Dare
Kiss Me on the Bus
20th Century Boy / Bang a Gong (Get It On) / All Shook Down
Take Me Down to the Hospital
I’m in Trouble
I Hate Music
If Only You Were Lonely
I’ll Be You
Color Me Impressed
(Chuck Berry cover)
Anywhere’s Better Than Here
Can’t Hardly Wait
Bastards of Young
Within Your Reach
Seen Your Video
(Paul solo acoustic)
Left of the Dial
Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Friends, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: 'Mats, alt-country, alternative, concert, John Doe, live, Masonic Auditorium, Minneapolis, Nob Hill, punk, San Francisco, SF, The Replacements, X | Leave a Comment »
Posted by xneverwherex on October 22, 2014
October 14, 2014
Finally! A show at the Rickshaw Stop that did NOT start at 11pm. It must be a sign that Im getting old as those shows are always so insanely late. I guess those are just Popscene nights.
DC-based Ex Hex
was in town ‘opening’ up for Speedy Gonzalez who I didnt stick around for. Its hard to believe that Mary Timony’s new band was not the headliner as everyone was there to see her and her new band. Mary Timony
, of Wild Flag, Helium and her own band, as well as others, had formed a new trio with other DC natives Laura Harris
(kick ass drummer) and Betsy Wright
The band was awesome. On tour for their new album Rips the trio played a fast power-punk-pop set. It had the all-girls feeling of The Go-Go’s if they were a bit more punk. The band started out with new single ‘Dont Wanna Lose’ which is catchy, fun, jumping goodness. Its just awesome. They wasted no time as they went from song to song with insane guitar playing and incredibly catchy bass lines. Betsy and Mary have great chemistry on stage and feed off each other, playing up close to each other, leaning against each other and playing the hell out of their instruments. Betsy has amazing vocals and sounded amazing on the songs she sang on.
It was a bit of a bummer when the sound totally cut out right after “All Kindsa Girls” and the girls were left on stage to fend for themselves. Perhaps its amusing because right before they played that they dedicated it to the bartenders and said ‘yes – we are really going to play this song’. Then, a total absence of sound techs (or pretty much anyone that worked at the club) and they had to kind of wing ‘Outro’. So instead it became an instrumental guitar heavy song with lots of drums and no vocals. I recall Mary trying to sing some and even in the front it was hard to hear a thing. I could watch them mouthing words, but it was pretty sucky. I knew at one point Mary was about ready to give up, but Betsy kept telling her to play on. Was so glad that they did and managed to do one more song. And somehow the mic started working again.
It was a really awesome set and the trio were awesome together. Theyre still on tour and making their way back to the East Coast again, so if you havent seen them and are a fan of either Mary or just incredible guitar playing/power-punk-pop music, make sure to see them.
SF-based Wild Moth opened the show. Sadly, it was impossible to make out vocals with such insanely loud guitars. It sounded so muddled that I couldnt figure out if the sound system was just awful at Rickshaw Stop or this was the bands sound. If theyre on another set, Ill definitely see them again to see if its any better.
Dont Wanna Lose
Waste Your Time
How You Got That Girl
Hot and Cold
You Fell Apart
All Kindsa Girls (The Real Kids cover)
Outro (minus vocals)
Posted in Adventures in the Big City, DC, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: 10/14/14, Betsy Wright, DC, Ex Hex, girl-band, indie, Laura Harris, live, Mary Timony, pop, power-pop, punk, Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco | Leave a Comment »
Posted by xneverwherex on September 10, 2013
September 3, 2013
It had been 12 far too long years since Superchunk had played in San Francisco. Thankfully, they had been playing quite a bit in NYC over the past couple of years so I’ve had my share of Superchunk shows most recently. The show was definitely not the same with the absence of Laura who bowed out of touring due to a hearing loss type condition. The band would replace her (on tour) with Jason Narducy who has toured with other bands. I missed seeing Laura jumping around and really having fun, but as she mentioned in an article – she doesn’t hate music, and shes not too old. Its just one of those things.
The crowd was a great mix of people — a lot of older (ie 60s) type folks along with the 40+/late 30 year olds who grew up listening to them. I met a few people who didn’t go to many shows, but would definitely not miss Superchunk. As a few said, well its not quite the same and their music had changed. Im not sure I totally agree with that, but I hadn’t seen them in the 90s – so of course maybe theres no longer mosh pits but it did still have the same energy.
The band opened their set with the popular new song ‘Foh’. Its quite catchy and soon they were off into ‘Me & You & Jackie Mittoo’ which was even more catchy. The band played nearly every song off their new album I Hate Music . The album is fun, catchy and so fast-paced with the great spirit of punk music still alive. Pop-punk at its finest. The first part of the set seemed to fly by at a record pace with 15 songs lasting about an hour and 15 minutes. ‘Digging For Something’ sounded as great as usual and had the crowd singing along.
The band came out for 2 encores which was quite awesome. Jon, the drummer, swapped spots with Mac for the encore and turned it into a high energy punk show with a few guys forming a small pit towards the stage. ‘Slack Motherfucker’ had everyone singing along and pogo-ing along to the music. As Mac said – he might just lose his day job. The band ended the set with a 2nd encore to ‘Brand New Love’ from Sebadoh. A few covers, and lots of songs – old and new – and what a show!
As always – Jim was super fun and chatty. Talking about his pants falling down and random other things about playing. And of course, making fun of Mac here and there. Mac relegated us with a great story about his first trip to SF when he was about 15. He went to a punk show at some random warehouse downtown and couldn’t find his friends, but ended up having a blast!
Superchunk never disappoints. They brought fellow artist Mikal Cronin
(from their own label Merge Records) on tour with them. He was great and had some really great songs. It started off a bit slow but had a slow steady build and had some awesome songs. The crowd was pretty respectful with some talking, but not terribly into it. Im not sure Mikal Cronin even said who he was as he just tore through a 45 minute opening set with nearly no stopping. He’s definitely worth seeing again.
Me & You and Jackie Mittoo
Skip Steps 1 & 3
Out of the Sun
Digging for Something
Trees of Barcelona
Learned to Surf
Landshark (Fang cover)
Brand New Love (Sebadoh cover)
Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: 9/3/13, concert, indie, live, Merge Records, Mikal Cronin, music, NC, punk, Raleigh, San Francisco, Superchunk, The Fillmore | Leave a Comment »