Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

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Posts Tagged ‘SF’

The xx Became A Loud Place @ Bill Graham Civic

Posted by xneverwherex on May 21, 2017

the xx
Sampha
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
April 15, 2017

London trio The xx had a 3 night residency at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in one of the most beautifully lit shows with amazing use of mirrors to capture feelings. The band also had to get some SF activities in, including a stop to see the Giants.

the xx

the xx

The xx came out and immediately started playing “Say Something Loving” off of their new album I See You. As their lush guitars filled up the entirety of the room, it just embraced you. It was so dreamy as Romy Madley Croft‘s vocals came into the song over the guitars. The band played most of their songs from their first album as well as this album.

The band then immediately went into “Crystalised” off their debut The xx. The song had a dark feel and felt like a song that Interpol would have played. It also featured the bass lines of Oliver Sim. As the voices of Romy and Oliver came together, they created melodies that were just beautiful. It was like they were made for each other. “I Dare You” proved that they wrote the perfect pop song. As Romy and Oliver faced each other playing guitars and mirrors turned inwards, it gave the song an intimate feel.

Lips” showed off Jamie Smith’s, better known as Jamie XX, fantastic skills behind the controllers creating impressive beats. He has added in some tropical rhythms giving the song a breezy feeling. Also, The xx covered Jamie XX’s “Loud Places” which transformed the auditorium into a club with everyone dancing as Jamie commanded the room. As the mirrors turned in all directions with the ceiling mirror coming down it felt like the venue just opened up. And for a moment it felt like it wasn’t even a performance.

From seeing them in 2009 opening for bands to headlining 3 nights really showed how much the band had grown. They have turned their introverted minimalist sound outward and their use of mirrors was able to convey that feeling, how it could change the reflections of the lights and really open up the stage or keep it nestled, tight and dark. Their songs have become bigger and Romy’s vocals now soar on their songs.

Highlights of the show included: the great guitar riffs on “Sunset” as well as their dueling vocals before they came into the most gut-wrenching harmonies; the raw performance from Romy as she played “Performance” on her own; “VCR” which gave me chills and reminded me of Bowie as it sounds like an updated version of “Heroes“. Additionally, Oliver dedicated the ever catchy groovy soulful “Dangerous” to all the single people in the crowd who rarely get mentioned.

the xx

the xx

As the band said at the end, “we see each and every one of you. We want you to know that we see you and we love you.” And as the fans left the building, it truly felt like they had touched all of us in their own way.

Label-mate and fellow Londoner Sampha opened up the set supporting newly released album Process. He was backed by 3 additional people: a drummer, a keyboardist and someone on synth pads. The songs varied and ranged from sultry electronic music with deep bass to other songs that had a lot of drums layered into his music. Sampha also used Caribbean island sounds that made his music feel alive.

Sampha preformed the gorgeous song “Too Much” on his own. It was just him on piano and his haunting vocals. The song already received a bit of attention as Drake sampled it. Sampha’s music is destined for a film score in the way that his simple piano pieces conveyed so much emotion. He is definitely not to be missed.

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Arkells – The Next Great Canadian Export?!?

Posted by xneverwherex on April 18, 2017

Blossoms
Arkells
Wilderado
Bottom of the Hill
April 13, 2017

On a cold night in San Francisco, the inside of Bottom of the Hill looked anything but. People were clearly already preparing for Coachella with short shorts and high boots. The lines were long to get in and it was a packed club. Little did I know, the crowd was not there for headliner Blossoms but showed up in droves for Canadians Arkells, who clearly stole the show.

Blossoms, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, brought back the baggy Madchester scene. Unabashed ’60s pop songs mixed in with psychedelic undertones and in some cases a bit of Abba-esque ’70s sounds. The band played most of the songs off their debut self-titled album. While the band has a lot of hype and is being touted as the next Arctic Monkeys, unfortunately, lead singer Tom Ogden appeared wanting to be anywhere but there. Songs sounded lackluster and there was no energy. But, he did at times sound reminiscent of Alex Turner and even had his same hip gyrations down.

Blossoms

Blossoms

Myles Kellock brought some recognizable dance riffs on his keyboards to the catchy “Honey Sweet“. It sounded like they came out of a New Order song. Towards the end of the set, Tom performed an acoustic number that just didn’t work. As the band stood onstage not doing a thing, it just felt awkward. Thankfully, it was only one song and then they would play the guitar driven “Cut Me And I’ll Bleed“. A simple hook that is destined to get stuck in your head. It stood out.

Blossoms ended the set with the utmost of pop songs, single, “Charlemagne“. The song which is pure catchy, sunshine pop, woke up the crowd which gladly danced along. And with that, the band was gone as quickly as they seemed to come to the stage.

The openers stole the show from the onset. It was going to be a daunting task for anyone to come after Arkells. The boys from Hamilton, ONT. clearly should have been the headliners. The band, who has been playing for 10 years, had just played here a few months before and they did not disappoint.

From the moment Max Kerman, lead singer and guitarist, hit the stage you knew what you were in for. He had a frenetic energy that was contagious. As he said the moment he walked onto the stage, he wanted everyone singing and dancing. He jumped into the crowd during the first song, “A Little Rain (A Song For Pete)“, and immediately got the crowd jumping and dancing and as promised he even called out the lyrics for the crowd to sing along.

Arkells - Max Kerman

Arkells – Max Kerman

The band played a really great set with plenty of songs off their new album, Morning Report. Each song told a story and the band just pulled you in. While it would be near impossible to put a label on them, aside from calling them alternative rock, their sound was never static. On “Savannah” the band had some really tight melodies and even had Anthony Carone, keyboards, break out a trumpet. “And Then Some” proved to be a perfect love song with gorgeous guitar riffs coming from the multiple guitars. It was really impressive to hear how all these guitars could melt into the background. Their newest song which was just released a couple of weeks ago, “Knocking At The Door“, was powerful. With a gritty bluesy sound, and Max singing out to “rise up”, it felt like something changed in the crowd. There was a pulse and an energy to the crowd.

While everyone always mentions the UK when it comes to the next newest, hottest band, we really can’t forget about our friends up North. Arkells clearly stole the show tonight. Perhaps touring with Canada’s greatest band The Tragically Hip taught them a thing or two.

LA band by way of Texas and Oklahoma, Wilderado, was the first opener. You could hear their music while waiting outside and they brought some energetic rock-n-roll to the club. The band had a catchy Americana/twangy sound filled with lots of guitars. They were able to uniquely blend how the South meets California sunshine/psychedelia. The band is definitely one to watch.

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Vagabon Proved She Won’t Be A Small Fish For Long At The Rickshaw Stop

Posted by xneverwherex on March 25, 2017

Vagabon
Allison Crutchfield & The Fizz
Joyride!
Rickshaw Stop
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

Vagabon

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.

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I’m In Love… With That Song – The Replacements

Posted by xneverwherex on April 14, 2015

The Replacements
John Doe
Masonic Auditorium
4/13/15

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.

Mats

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.

Mats

Mats

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.

Set List:
Takin a Ride
Favorite Thing
Hangin Downtown
Treatment Bound
I Don’t Know/Buck Hill/I Don’t Know
(Elvis “Little Sister” tease)
I.O.U.
“Poetry Tent” (Paul reads in a tent to “Take Five,” Brubeck
Androgynous
([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
Nobody
Take Me Down to the Hospital
I’m in Trouble
I Hate Music
If Only You Were Lonely
I’ll Be You
The Ledge
Color Me Impressed
Maybellene
(Chuck Berry cover)
Anywhere’s Better Than Here
Sixteen Blue
Can’t Hardly Wait
Bastards of Young
Within Your Reach
Seen Your Video

Encore:
Skyway
(Paul solo acoustic)

Encore 2:
Left of the Dial
Alex Chilton

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20 Years Later and The Dandys (Still) Rule OK

Posted by xneverwherex on April 26, 2014

The Dandy Warhols
The Warlocks
The Independent
April 23, 2014

Its hard to believe that the Dandy Warhols have now been together for 20 years. The band was in town on Wed night to kick off their new tour celebrating 20 years. The Independent (which was of course a sold-out show – apparently selling out in some 5 mins according to Courtney), was a perfect place for the band. Still quite small, it seemed that most of their older fans were in the crowd. A few of the people had remembered seeing the band at house parties around the Mission.

The band, mainly CTT, reminisced about the long ago time in which they were playing shows to a few of their friends. Since then, they’ve opened for some amazing bands/artists (hello Bowie!, The Charlatans, and countless others) and have played some really awesome shows (3hr shows, 13 Tales album, etc). It was pretty great to see all of them feeling so at home and so comfortable. As Zia mentioned, she was just so comfortable that they would do whatever they wanted for us, including one of the Warlocks playing tambourine on ‘Bohemian Like You’ (if I recall correctly).

The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols

The band really went old school for the show and played a ton of early material (so happy to hear TV Theme Song after what seemed like years) and also CCR, White Gold and so many others. And they even went more old school to play a cover from Eddy Grant (whereby CTT talked about the Clash and Desmond Dekker! and then even went farther back to discuss his band The Equals). It was one of those kinds of nights, where you wished it never ended.

And what can I say about their fanbase. Some of the best fans Ive ever seen and met. As always, met some very awesome people in the crowd. People were very into sharing all their smokes and it was just a very great environment. Even for new fans, the older ones are always very cool and never ‘too cool for school’.

An awesome show indeed — and the best part The Warlocks opened the show.

The Warlocks

The Warlocks

The Warlocks, from LA, started the night out in fine fashion. With some slow droning guitar rock, that changed into more shoe-gazey and even had some pop bits. Guitarist Earl, who was in front of me, is one hell of a musician. He is *incredible* on the guitars and you get mesmerized just watching him. The band is really incredible and plays a really tight set. Its the type of band that just takes you on a trip for an hour as you really feel the music and it just takes a hold of you.

One of the best openers I had seen in a very long time. The only thing Im most sad about is the fact that I did not have plans to attend Austin Psych Fest which has the most amazing lineup ever.

Pseudo-set List (I know this isnt correct order and songs are missing)
Be-In
Shaking
Used To Be Friends
TV Theme Song
Ride
Last High
Now Ya
Sad Vacation
theyre gone
Gotta get over
holding me up
come back
girls
ccr
horse pills
bohemian like you
dreamt
godless
get off
white gold
pete/boys better

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Jesus for the Jugular – The Veils

Posted by xneverwherex on May 2, 2013

The Veils
The Sporting Life
Independent
April 24, 2013

The Veils always put on a great show. I had seen them in NYC a few times and they never disappoint. So, of course I was excited to see how it would be on the other coast. I spoke with their merch girl (from New Zealand, naturally) who I had actually met before. We talked about prior shows, their love of Prince (who was also playing that night) and how another friend of mine from New Zealand had to see them in NYC.

It was starting out a great night. I was surprised to see that when the opener came on – The Sporting Life – there was only me and one other girl in the area standing and giving support. While I know people were not there for them, it never ceases to amaze me how people act oblivious and not at all interested. At least by the time the Veils showed up on stage, the crowd had come forward a bit and the venue filled up.

The band, originally hailing from New Zealand and now based out of the UK, seems to be ever changing in their line up. Last time they had a wonderful female drummer from Germany (if I recall correctly) and now they have added a brass section (Americans), and a new drummer (possibly from Germany, maybe from the UK?) and a few other guys to round out their sound (also from European countries). This addition is great and the brass really adds to their songs.

Finn Andrews, lead singer, has such an impressive voice. You can feel the raw emotion as he sings and his face is entirely expressive – the look of a tortured soul/artist. Everything is shown on his face and its hauntingly beautiful. This is just one of the many thigns I like about him/the band. He didn’t have much to say, but a few thanks for the liking of his hat and he seemed cheery enough to be in SF. Sophia, bassist, always comes across as shy and more often than not, plays with her back to the audience. When a woman commented on her awesome boots, she got super excited and more talkative. As always, she sounded awesome on bass.

The band played quite a bit of new songs off their album ‘Time Stays We Go’. After hearing it online a bit, I was impressed with the songs live. They sounded amazing. It was great to hear ‘Calliope’ which always sounds amazing. And their final song of the night ‘Jesus For the Jugular’ sounded as great as ever. It was gut wrenching with one hell of a guitar solo that probably normally ends with a guitar on the ground (at least in the past it has). It was so intense and it was one hell of a way to end the show. It left you wanting more but completely happy with what you got.

If you havent yet seen them (theyre headed to NYC any day now), you really should. The band never disappoints and with this new album sounding incredible and with rave reviews, this might just push them over the edge into major star quality. Not that Finn doesnt already have that quality!

Oh and as far as the merch – Finn designed the shirts. So its worth it to get one (or two).

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Michael Been of The Call is Celebrated

Posted by xneverwherex on April 22, 2013

The Call (featuring Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club)
Jeffertitti’s Nile
DJ Dan Mancini
Slims
April 11, 2013

Its not often that a show touches your heart and is so endearing. But this show was just that. It took a year and a half for the show to be put together. It appeared that The Call’s music was not the easiest to learn, but Robert did one hell of a job to follow in his father’s foot steps.

Robert Been, bassist and singer of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, came together with his father’s band The Call to perform their music. It was one of two shows that the band will be playing. His father, Michael Been, died a few years back on tour with his son’s band. It was sudden and way too soon. So this was a perfect tribute to his father, bassist and singer, of The Call.

The Call

The band seemed very excited to be playing. Their music still sounded incredible and they definitely still knew how to rock. Their 80s alternative U2-esque sound was amazing as they opened up the set with ‘Everywhere I Go’. The crowd was enthusiastic with lots of cheers. Tom (Dickie), the guitarist, was right in front of me clad in a BRMC shirt. It was fitting and he was full of smiles. He smiled at me a few times, easily one of the younger people in the audience. The guys next to me were pumped up as they yelled out songs and talked about their first time seeing the band. Scott, the drummer, was on top of it, pushing the band through the music. Jim was great on keyboards, having a really fun time.

The band seemed to be racing through songs and they all sounded incredible. While I only recognized a handful of songs, it was easy for me to want to be there to support this special night. Their songs are easy to get into and their music still has a current sound to it. The gents next to me gave Robert a hard time about messing up a few of the songs. Robert was cute and nervous and some of the songs were clearly more difficult than others.

One of my favorite bits of the night was the crowd heckling him for not quite getting the songs right. He commented on how hard they were to learn and why it took so long for them to have this night. He told a heart warming story about his dad’s bass being stolen. Then one day he gets a call from a pawnshop in Santa Cruz with the owner being a huge fan of the Call and realizing that it was Michael’s bass. It landed back in Robert’s hand and he’s been playing it. He comments about it being very hard to stay tuned, but that it was special.

I was beyond excited to hear ‘Let The Day Begin’. I had recently heard it when BRMC had played it, but it was just incredible to hear the band play it. The crowd sang along and clearly was having a great time. The lyrics still seem so relevant. The set ended with ‘Walls Came Down’ and it sounded even better live. With everything that had been going on, the song just seemed so fitting. They ended the set with Uncovered which was just Robert singing and it was just hauntingly beautiful. It was great that they kept playing and didnt leave the stage right at 11. They pushed on and said to hell with last calls/closing times. Its a joke anyway – I sure dont remember this when I last lived here. (Apparently its a new thing – with some place moving in and wanting to change it up – thank you gentrification).

Jeffertitti’s Nile

Robert definitely tried his hardest and wanted to please the band and his fans. A guy commented next to me, ‘well he’s definitely not his father, but he’s holding his own’. Robert sounded great and albeit a bit nervous, he was clearly having fun. The guys were all good natured and poking fun at him. His father definitely had to be smiling down at him. The band clearly missed Michael but this was the best tribute anyone could have asked for. It was just heartwarming and endearing and Im glad that I got to be there to be a part of it.

Jeffertitti’s Nile, the opener, is a 4 piece band from LA and a friend of Roberts. The lead singer came out clad in skin tight jeans, that looked like they were painted onto him. He had a mop of blonde hair hanging in his face reminding me of a surfer. But a surfer band they were not. The other guys came out in long shirt/dresses and pants and longish hair stepping out of the 60s. It was fitting that they played psychedelic-garage-bluesy-glam rock. They kind of flowed all over the stage. The real awesomeness was the drummer and his hair which exceeded Brent (fathead of The Dandy Warhols). This guy had the most awesome head of hair, only sadded by the fact that the drums hid it. People seemed to really enjoy them. They were pretty quiet with not much to say, and when they did say something it was all distorted through the mics. This is one band that I cannot wait to see again.

Setlist (from LA – and prob the same in SF)
Everywhere I go
I Still believe
I dont wanna
Floating Back
Into the woods
Turn a blind eye
oklahoma
you were there
tore the old place down
red moon
swim in the ocean
let the day begin
reconciled
modern romans
whats happened to you
…same old story
you run (acoustic)
walls came down
uncovered

I feel alone lyrics

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The Airborne Toxic Event Rocks The Warfield

Posted by xneverwherex on April 18, 2013

The Airborne Toxic Event
Nightmare Air
The Warfield
April 11, 2013

I hadnt seen the Airborne Toxic Event in quite a few years and hadnt remembered their prior sets quite so lively. The band did not disappoint. They put on a really great rock show. Mikel Jollett, lead singer, wasted no time at all before climbing on the stacks on the far left side and singing to the audience all over there. He really worked the stage using every bit of it – making rounds to each side.

Airborne Toxic Event – Mikel

By the 2nd or 3rd song, he jumped into the audience and started playing from the crowd. The crowd was really into it and were singing along and dancing. There was so much energy from the entire band. The guys moved from different instruments throughout the set which was pretty cool. Mikel was often times on top of the drum kit and playing from there. The other band members each had their turn up there. There were some pretty incredible guitar solos as well as bass solos. Mikel gave each member a shout out and plenty of time to show off how talented they were.

The set just flew and before I knew it, they were onto the encore. Some of the highlights during the set were ‘Numb’, which it didn’t seem a lot of people knew or were into. Their cover of the Magnetic Fields ‘Book of Love’, was just beautiful and sounded really incredible and fresh. They ended the night with a raucous encore of a medley of songs that had the crowd going nuts and singing along. It started out with their own song “Missy” which then became Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ and then turned into Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’ and then they did a quick pause. Mikel talked about the next song being a huge protest song and how most people in this country have no idea what the song is about. Of course, it was Bruce Springstreen’s ‘Born in the USA’. By the time it was done, they had taken it back to ‘Missy’. It was a real incredible way to end a really amazing set.

ATE

I definitely had missed seeing a balls-out rock show that just rocked! By the end of the night, everyone was a sweaty mess from dancing and singing. It was great fun and a band I will definitely be seeing again.

The opener Midnight Air, also from LA, were a harder edged rock band. While they were good, I wasnt blown away by them. One of the band members was in Film School which I had really liked but this was definitely not the same band. The band clearly had a great time and were excited to be playing in SF for the first time. They were talkative and friendly and fun! The band was also excited to be playing their last show with ATE and clearly had a great time on tour with them. Im guessing theyre playing Coachella about now.

If youre on the fence about seeing the ATE, and theyre heading East – Id definitely say not to miss them. You definitely will have a great time!

Set List:
Gasoline
Happiness is Overrated
Does This Mean Youre Moving On?
True Love
Changing
Something New
Half of Something Else
Numb
Safe
Wishing Well
Timeless
Sometime Around Midnight
All I Ever Wanted
All at Once

The Book of Love (Magnetic Fields cover)
The Graveyard Near the House
Missy/Ring of Fire/American Girl/Born in the USA/Missy

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Raise Our Voice, Make Another Sound – The P-Spree

Posted by xneverwherex on April 4, 2012

The Polyphonic Spree
New Fumes
Sweet Lee Morrow

Great American Music Hall
4/3/12

My first show in awhile and my first show since moving back to SF. I couldn’t have chosen a better band for my first show here. The GAMH is a super awesome space. The ceiling is quite ornate in the shape of a woman’s body (thank you, foursquare). Its quite the intimate spot with tables wrapped around the venue making it a great place for dinner and a show.

Sweet Lee Morrow, keyboardist with the Spree, opened the show with a folk acoustic set. He sat down in the middle of the stage with just a lone chair and guitar. He sang a few songs, made some quips about songs not for the young ones (ah the ever great all ages shows) and finished the set in a fast 20 minutes or less. Next up, New Fumes. I was surprised that the audience didnt seem so into it, and for just one guy he had some great beats. An electronica set with interesting beats and Star Wars as a backdrop, not bad. Oh yeah, and danceable music. I was quite loving it.

A few minutes before 10pm and a red sheet/screen is covering the stage. Its a wonder how many members are in The Polyphonic Spree these days and how will they fit them all on the stage. Right away you could tell 2 players would be high up above the others. Soon, a heart is cut out and out pops Tim DeLaughter’s head. The rest of the sheet is then cut and pulled off and GAMH has turned into a stage filled with at least 13 members (although I swore there were more). Way high up above would be the cellist and guitarist. In the center are 2 rows of choir members that are beyond giddy. Of course, my favorites, the horns comprising a french horn, trombone and trumpet.

The Polyphonic Spree

Its a whirlwind pace of a show with white robes swooshing and a big red heart stitched into the middle. Who wouldn’t want to be a member of that cult band. Musical director/lead singer Tim DeLaughter takes us on a tour of the Spree’s musical catalog. Directing the instruments and choir it begins to feel like a gospel baptist church. Its hard to not get caught up in the euphoria that the band brings. Everyone swaying and dancing with hands extended into the air. Plenty of peace signs flashed throughout the show along with heart-shaped hands.

Some of the highlights included ‘2000 Places’ which early on got the crowd moving and dancing. The new single ‘Bulls Eye’ sounds quite great. The Who medley was pure brilliance as Tim leads the band through a nearly 10 minute performance that includes a rockin’ ‘Pinball Wizard’. The french horn and cello got lots of play during that. ‘What Would You Do’ had the choir doing some great harmonies and vocals.

So soon they’d be off the stage. Tim said how awesome it was to be in SF again and how they’d be back again real soon. As in one month, maybe one night, and then he said theyd play again today at 7:30am and asked if we’d be there. Obviously, if there was a 7:30am show we’d all be there regardless.

The band then left the stage for a few minutes before coming on and doing a march through the crowd. The band members kept on coming – high-fiving the crowd and waving hello. The encore consisted of ‘Together we’re Heavy’, crowd favorite ‘Light & Day’, ‘We Sound Amazed’ and ‘The Championship’. It is one hell of a one-two punch when oen of the last songs you’re singing is ‘Follow the day and reach for the SUN!’ – which should be an anthem for the band (and prob for most of us in general). The band finally left the stage (after a nearly 2 hour set) for good with each member walking off the stage and waving goodnight. As the band members left soon it was the cellist, who seemed to be having a hard time getting down from the riser and 2 singers and Tim. As each person left it got a little quieter, but the audience got louder. Soon it was just us and Tim singing ‘All in good time, we’ll come round, raise our voice, make another sound’. And then it was just us and the audience continued singing that line and simply put… it was beautiful.

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