Local Show Reviews

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ronnie Spector, Burger Boogaloo Rock Oakland

by Sam Lefebvre
Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Shannon & the Clams
  • Kaliisa Conlon
  • Shannon & the Clams

Burger Records was founded by two bedraggled twentysomethings in Orange County in 2007. Fixated on yesteryear’s bubblegum pop, juvenile punk, and ramshackle garage rock, Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard began releasing music by contemporary bands with nostalgic leanings on a suitably outmoded format: cassette. By 2012, Burger Records had sold 80,000 tapes. In 2014, Burger is still headquartered in a nondescript industrial park, only New York Times writers drop by to report on the label’s pot smoking habits and unabashed rock ‘n’ roll enthusiasm. Last weekend, Burger Records collaborated with local concert promoters Total Trash to present the Burger Boogaloo in Oakland’s Mosswood Park.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Live Review: The Brian Jonestown Massacre at The Fox Theater, 5/8

by Jordannah Elizabeth
Fri, May 9, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Legendary Bay Area psychedelic band The Brian Jonestown Massacre played to a packed house at the Fox Theater in Oakland last night. The band — led by singer Anton Newcombe and including founding members Matt Hollywood (guitar) and Ricky Maymi (guitar), along with longtime members Joel Gion (tambourine), Dan Allaire (drums), Rob Campanella (keyboard and guitar), Frankie “Teardrop” Emerson (guitar), and Collin Hegna (bass) — played songs from throughout its 26-year career, as well as new songs off its forthcoming album, Revelation, which is due for release on May 19.

Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Fox Theater. - ISRAEL VEINTIDOS
  • Israel Veintidos
  • Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Fox Theater.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

John Legend Gives Soulful Performance at Berkeley’s Zellerbach

by Alyssa Jaffer
Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 12:03 PM

On Sunday night, Grammy-winning singer/song-writer John Legend gave a soulful performance at Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley. It was the second Bay Area stop on his “All of Me” tour. From behind the piano, the multi-talented R&B artist entertained the excited crowd with a four-person orchestra and electrical guitarist. The absence of backup singers and dancers was hardly noticeable because Legend completely captivated the audience through his deep melodies and talent on the piano. What sets Legend apart as a performer, beyond the impressive set list and wide vocal range, is his ability to emotionally connect with the audience, making each person feel like he is personally serenading them.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Live Review: Tool and Failure at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 3/12

by Alee Karim
Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 10:59 AM

A Tool concert is a lot like Ridley Scott’s recent film Prometheus, and if you like one, you’ll probably like the other. Both are lavish works of big-budget, high-concept art that are either profoundly thoughtful musings on existence or a lazy con playing to the lowest common denominator, depending on whom you ask. That both the band and the movie are wildly successful and the result of some objectively refined, diligent craft by various artists and engineers only turns the screws for detractors — it’s fair, there’s a lot of expensive bullshit out there.

Let’s just say it’d be awfully depressing if something as moving and cinematic as a Tool concert were just a big joke. And just as Prometheus wasn’t as impressive unless you saw it in IMAX, Tool’s albums also only scratch the surface of the breadth of meaning provided by the band’s live production. A hundred dollars for a ticket sure does sting the recession-addled pocketbook, but goodness if the show wasn’t a lavish display of sound, video, and laser light.

Failure opened well before the listed 8 p.m. start time. It’s a shame that a whole generation has missed out on its heavy art rock. Its guitars crunched with only the faintest tinge of aggression, its vocals soared without any strain, and its drummer was a many-limbed beast. Hilariously/sadly, one Tool fan in the audience kept flipping them the bird after every song, awarding them a thumbs up only when they announced their last song.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: Eyehategod at the Oakland Metro, 1/24

by Zoe Brezsny
Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Demon-conjuring screeches? Check. Legendary New Orleans sludge? Check. Lost platform clog in the mosh pit? Check. Not one, not two, but six doom metal bands stopped by the Oakland Metro Operahouse this past Friday. It was a celebration of Eyehategod's 25th anniversary and Graves at Sea’s triumphant return to the stage after a long hiatus.

  • Liz Ciavarella-Brenner
  • Eyehategod

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Live Review: Kanye West at Oracle Arena

by Madeleine Key
Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 1:53 PM

At Oracle Arena last night, the self-proclaimed God Yeezus, otherwise known as Kanye West, put on a bold, highly orchestrated spectacle that was ripe with symbolism. In other words, it was nothing less than we’ve come to expect from him.

Yeezus, the album he released earlier this summer, is heavy, dark, and bleak, and so was the Yeezus tour. For most of the night, West was faceless, strutting and rolling around on stage shrouded in masks that eerily obscured his face. With the exception of his bright-red shoes and a particularly glittery mask he donned during the final quarter of his performance, the set was awash with grays and nude tones. A massive, stark, pale-gray mountain rose from the back of the stage. A circular screen behind him displayed black-and-white images of passing clouds; later in the night, the clouds were replaced with the night sky and stars. Several times throughout the two-hour performance, a black screen flashed with the definition of a verb written in white (the first was “Fighting: Light beamed into the world, but men and women ran towards the darkness”) — the concept, much like Yeezus, was cold, odd, and difficult to engage with.

Kanye West performing in Seattle.
  • Nabil
  • Kanye West performing in Seattle.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Live Review: Helen Money, House of Low Culture, Black Spirituals, and Sad Vicious in Oakland, 10/2

by Alee Karim
Thu, Oct 3, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Noise shows can be a dicey proposition. At their best, they clear the air from the Western musical forms and melodies we're so accustomed to. At worst, and in a majority of cases, they can be an uninspired mess, with a well-meaning but clueless introvert hunched over thousands of dollars’ worth of effects processors as a bored, fitful crowd totters about. Many musicians in the Bay Area have started a noise project at some point (including Thee Oh Sees’ Jon Dwyer), but few have the heart to maintain them. An exception is House of Low Culture, the relatively long-standing noise outlet of Isis alum Aaron Turner, abetted by some of Oakland’s finest hunched-over abstractors.

It's probably owing to Turner's reputation that the tiny West Oakland space where the band was set to perform filled quickly on a Wednesday night. As the scruffy, friendly young man accepting donations on the artists’ behalf put it, “This isn't the kind of music that plays in bars." It's true — noise doesn’t exactly sell drinks.

House of Low Culture
  • House of Low Culture

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Live Review: Quicksand, Mastodon, High on Fire, Saviours at Slim’s

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 11:39 AM

While supporters of gay marriage were holding impromptu celebrations in the streets around the Bay Area last night, fans of heavy music were having their own celebration of sorts — inside Slim’s, where a lucky group of fans packed inside to see a dream lineup: Quicksand, Mastodon, High on Fire, Saviours, and Hot Lunch. The show was part of a free, five-day concert series put on by Converse (the shoe company) to promote the opening of its San Francisco store. Each night of “Converse Represent” featured its own theme: electronic (Hot Chip), indie-rock (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, DIIV), hip-hop (Blackalicious, Deltron 3030), and punk (Suicidal Tendencies).

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Treasure Island: Hits and Misses

by Whitney Phaneuf
Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Outside Lands, Coachella, Treasure Island: Last year, I made it to all three (also Burning Man, but you won't ever hear me call it a music festival). Treasure Island was my favorite for its location, its format (two stages that don't compete), and its curation of diverse acts that can't be found on every other festival lineup. Bonus for Treasure Island producers booking more than ten Bay Area artists for this year's festival.

It's fair to say this year's Treasure Island had more of those neon-clad bros and girls in high heels with cut-off denim shorts a la Coachella, but the word is now out on the six-year-old festival. And with ticket prices at $129 for the full weekend, the San Francisco Marina-types are among the few who can afford to go.

I've taken a lot of shit from my music-snob friends who say festivals are the worst way to experience an act, and while that can be true, it depends on the artist and the festival. Here's who impressed and disappointed:

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Esperanza Spalding Shows a More Fully Defined Concept at the Paramount

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Aug 28, 2012 at 10:54 AM

The easiest criticism to make of bassist Esperanza Spalding, in previous years, was that her live shows didn't have any overarching theme or direction. She'd mix a typical jazz repertoire — standards, rearranged pop songs, ballads with revised lyrics — with scattered pieces of Brazilian music, or songs that more closely resembled contemporary R&B. Audience members occasionally accused her of solipsism, or at the very least, of being more concerned with her own creative muse than with putting on a great show.

Esperanza Spalding
  • Esperanza Spalding

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