So much to do/see on March 2nd

Awhile back I wrote a blog post saying that if you weren’t seeing live music on that particular night, it was because you had chosen to stay home or have non-musical plans.  Tonight, March 2nd…the story is the same.

So, while you are getting up and drinking your coffee (or other morning beverage) and wishing that you had not decided to have that second beer last night (even though you didn’t finish it — sacrilegious, I know!), I hope you find yourself here, reading my blog. My blog that is going to tell you about the bands that you could see tonight and why I’ve made the choices that I’ve made about tonight. Full disclaimer: some of these shows may have sold out; I didn’t check since I already have my ticket.

*If you didn’t go see The California Honeydrops last night at The New Parish (or even if you did), you can catch them again tonight. Same place! They have been on my list to check out live for awhile. However, much like this time, I wasn’t able to make it happen in the past. So, there they remain on my list. One of these days…

*Joe Jackson is playing at the Masonic. I love Joe Jackson though I’ve only seen him once and it was a L-O-N-G time ago (during my first living-in-SF stint). If I remember correctly, he was a bit curmudgeonly (which most of you know that I love — hello, Jeff Tweedy!) and scolded the crowd for talking. I will ALWAYS love a performer who scolds the crowd for talking. I will NEVER understand why people go to live performances and then talk through them, especially since it’s generally about mundane things like the traffic getting to the show. So, more power to you, Joe!  Keep up the good work!  And if you are one of those people who wants to have a conversation, might I suggest that you go to dinner or to a bar for drinks instead of the show, or at the very least before the show? But I digress… back to why I did not choose Joe Jackson — The Masonic is not one of my favorite venues, making this an easy show to pass over this time. I will be hopeful that I get to see him again in the near future, preferably at a venue that I like more.

*Beirut at The Fox Theatre in Oakland. I enjoyed Beirut when I saw them a few years ago and I would very likely go see them again, but if I were to see them again I’d like to choose a smaller venue (I saw them at a festival in Canadia a few years ago) and I’d also choose a night where there wasn’t a band or performer that I LOVE competing with Beirut for my attention!

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*The Shook Twins at Cornerstone in Berkeley.  I have been up and down with The Shook Twins though when I look back on it, I think there was only one performance that I was on the downside.  I most recently saw them in Nashville during Americanafest and I really enjoyed them again. Their outfits are generally matchy (probably because they’re twins) and they have some interesting instruments and a great stage presence.

*Also, The Bob Mould Band is playing at The Fillmore. I have nothing to say about this because I’m not really familiar with Husker Du or The Bob Mould Band, but I have friends who are excited by this and it is the Fillmore so I feel like it deserves a mention.

*Then we have Ben Morrison playing at Bottom of the Hill.  As anyone who knows me knows, Ben is a part of my favorite local band, The Brothers Comatose.  The Brothers are taking a hiatus right now and Ben has put out his own album with a different band and this is the tour to support that album, starting tonight at BotH.  Not only is BotH one of my favorite local venues, but Ben…  I don’t even know what to say about Ben. I love his voice! He’s got a great stage presence. He’s a really nice guy and I really want to support him (Yes I pledged to his Kickstarter campaign.) Also, his fiancee will be singing along on some of the songs (or so he promised on I/G) and she’s awesome. (If you aren’t familiar with her and the T Sisters which is her band with her sisters, you should go see them at The Swedish Hall on Saturday, March 16th.) How am I not going to this Ben Morrison show, you ask?  Well, let me tell you about how this show was not announced until after I already purchased tickets for the band that I chose for tonight’s entertainment. Let me also tell you that I have every intention of darting as quickly as I can from GAMH to BotH tonight in hopes of catching a song or two before the show ends. I may have requested to Ben that he play long to give me time to get there.

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*And who is playing at GAMH, you might ask? Who would keep me from going to see the frontman from my favorite local band? Well, that would be Darlingside.  The winner of the HSB 2018 Jammies and the band who I think may be able to heal the world. Okay, I may be setting expectations too high but they have healed my soul in the past and I am not alone. The first time that I saw Darlingside, they were opening for Patty Griffin at The Fillmore. (Thank you, Patty!) They were AH-mazing and so when I went home, I made a note of them as I do for opening bands that I want to see again/more.

When they returned to SF, my friend Renee invited me to see them headlining at GAMH for my birthday.  Of course, I said yes. This was in November 2016.  Two horrible things happened in November 2016 immediately before my birthday.

  1. My cousin (technically not my first cousin, but whatevs) Jamie died of a drug overdose. He had just turned 22 and was about to graduate from Temple. While I wasn’t super close to him at this time in his life, I’ve always been very close to his mom who is my first cousin and sort of played the role of older sister to me as we grew up together. I watched Jamie and his sisters, Rachel and Alexa, grow-up. I’ve also always been fairly close to Jamie’s sisters and his first cousins, Caitlin (who has been mentioned in other posts) and Jake. In general, I am fairly close with the majority of my family though I usually only see them once a year. Jamie’s death was a shock and it really fucked me up for awhile. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  2. This country completely betrayed me (and woman and non-white people and people with disabilities and… and… and…) and elected an unqualified, misogynist, racist creep to the highest office in our land. I don’t think I need to explain why having a majority of the people in my country choosing to elect someone who openly suggested that it was acceptable to grab women by their pussies would be horrible, but then again I know women who voted for him so maybe I do. Suffice it to say, that if this paragraph doesn’t make you understand how I feel about this, I’m not planning to go into more detail here. This isn’t that type of blog and I would prefer not to waste the time writing about it here since my written words aren’t likely to change anyone’s mind either.

So back to Darlingside…

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Renee (who had also just lost a friend) and I met up for the show. Neither of us were in a good place.  Then Darlingside took the stage and started to play their beautiful songs and have their banter and their cute band introductions and Renee and I cried our way through most of the show in the most cathartic way that I could have imagined. I have since seen them several times at festivals and at GAMH and they have NEVER disappointed me (though they don’t usually make me cry). They played HSB last year (as you may have figured since they won the Best of the Jammies award) and I was able to introduce many of my friends to their music. I don’t think there was a single person among us who wasn’t impressed and perhaps, in love.  I am so looking forward to tonight and have been for quite awhile. I honestly am not sure how many tickets I’ve bought for this show because friends kept asking me to pick up a ticket for them the next time I was at GAMH or Slim’s. (Yes, this is a service that I offer to the LOLMs.) Given that, there should be a decent group of us tonight if you’d like to join us. Or maybe you don’t want to join us, but trust me that you should go to this show! If you aren’t going to this show, then you should go to see Ben Morrison (or one of the other shows that I’ve mentioned) because I believe in supporting live music and supporting the things you love.

If you do come out tonight, all that I ask is that you not talk during the performance!

Also, if you’d like to read an earlier blog post for Darlingside, I’ve linked it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Moon Medicine @ The Southern Heights Brewery 02.10.19

The Southern Heights Brewery was a pleasant surprise on a cold and rainy Sunday. They were hosting an artist collective with a local writer, natural stone bolo-ties, vintage clothing, pottery, jewelry, and girl scout cookies. Plus they had a delicious Raspberry Sour on tap. Oh, AND live music!

We were only able to stay for one set, Full Moon Medicine, but really enjoyed it. They were having sound problems. First they were in a warehouse and second the sound board wasn’t really being run by anyone. It was a little bit of a mess but the band pulled through and made some great bluegrass-country-folk music with a banjo, stand-up bass, guitar, drums, and harmonica. I would absolutely try to catch this one again sometime.

Neko Case @ Bass 02/08/19

Neko Case is one of those artists that from first glance looks like she doesn’t give a fuck and has everything. She’s beautiful, her long thin legs stretch out tonight on the Bass Concert Hall stage in black leggings with white leg bones printed exactly where her own are under her skin. Her untamed, wild red hair is down and free. Her voice echos around the hall and the acoustics are perfect.

She seems perfect, yet all you have to do is listen to her to understand that she is like all of us, fragile, fighting to have the courage to be ourselves, to love and be loved. She said out to the audience more than once that she was nervous and working to get her rhythym. You couldn’t tell it though. That’s what makes her so incredible to watch and to listen to. You can feel universal struggle struggle that we all have in every one of her songs. Whether it’s an upbeat song like “I’m a Man” or a slower song like “Calling Cards”, she manages to make me feel like every song has a personal attachment.

The venue (not my favorite in Austin because they love rules for no reason and are very stuffy) was nice but it ate up the opener, Jennifer Castle, who just had an acoustic guitar and harmonica. I would like to see the Toronto based singer in a smaller venue. Her Joni Mitchell-like voice and folksy songs were just too slow and small for the large dark room.

I don’t have photos of the event because they threatened to kick you out if you took any. It didn’t stop the lady sitting next to me from using her flash and shooting video but whatever. Knowing my history, I would have been the one who got caught and I was with my rule-following man.

Check out Neko Case at the NPR Tiny Desk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwRcPEg1MyE

 

Hi, How Are You Day (1.22.19)

http://acl-live.com/calendar/hi-how-are-you-day

I’ve been delayed in writing a review for this shindig but I didn’t want to skip doing so because it was a wonderful night for both music and fundraising. I had the opportunity to volunteer and feel very lucky to lend a hand for a worthy cause. Some of the best music comes from pain and sadness but musicians should be able to afford and have access to mental health services when they are needed. The Hi, How Are You Project seeks to help offer that support.

From the website:

The Hi, How Are You (HHAY) Project was developed to educate people worldwide about the importance of mental health and well-being while promoting a culture of inclusion, HHAY Day features a global fundraising concert hosted at the Austin, Texas, ACL Live at the Moody Theater. The concert features performances by the The Flaming Lips, Built To Spill, Yo La Tengo, The Black Angels, Gavin DeGraw, Bob Mould, The Moth & The Flame, and Bob Schneider. 

One in four adults struggle with mental health. But, it only takes four words, one simple question to let someone know you care: “Hi, How are you?” HHAY Project founders Tom Gimbel and Courtney Blanton were inspired to create HHAY Day by iconic Austin musician and visual artist Daniel Johnston’s famous local mural “Jeramiah the Innocent,” which is painted on the corner of Guadalupe and 21st Street. The mural depicts a frog asking the ever-important question – “Hi, how are you?” Johnston has chronicled his struggles with mental health throughout his career.

I know some of you will be disappointed in me when I tell you I didn’t stay for the whole show. My friends who did texted and posted photos saying how great it was. I’m sad I couldn’t stick around but when I left around 11pm, Bob Mould and the Flaming Lips were still due to take the stage and I had to be at work early the next morning. I did get to see Yo La Tengo, Bob Schneider, Build to Spill, Gavin Degraw, and The Black Angels. They were all fantastic, bringing their pain of their own mental health or the loss of ones they loved to the surface through music to help us all deal with this heavy issue.

I especially enjoyed the Yo La Tengo set which seemed to really take the mental health theme to heart when deciding on their set list. My DidWeJam counter-part, Jenn, will be sad to know that our favorite, rode-hard-and-put-away-wet guitarist Brett Nelson who we saw play with Built to Spill in 2012 is no longer a member of the band. He’s been replaced by a tiny, lovely, much healthier looking, excellent female guitarist but I don’t know her name. She did not wear a t-shirt with Mother Earth on it.

Yo La Tengo

Built to Spill

The Black Angels

Paul Thorn (Tonight 1/18 at the Mystic or Tomorrow 1/19 at Cornerstone)

Before we start talking about Paul Thorn, let’s discuss how slow this year is starting for me musically-speaking. In past years, the Western Winter Formal hosted by The Easy Leaves at GAMH has been the musical kick-off of my year, but not this year.

The note from The Easy Leaves follows:

“Well, it hasn’t been easy, but after careful consideration we regret to inform y’all that the Western Winter Formal will be taking this year off. It was a tough call, but at this time it seems to be the right move as we focus in on finishing a full length album and cast our gaze onward to the year ahead. We’re gonna miss our annual winter rendezvous with all you Wild West types! And we’ll be back to San Francisco before to long to revive the tradition and look forward to many more Great American Times in the years to come ❤️🤠🌵❤️”

I was pretty disappointed that the show was cancelled, as were some of the other LOLMs. Funny enough, The Easy Leaves still ended up being the kick-off of my musical year, more or less; it just started about two weeks after it usually does. Full disclosure, I’m counting Jeff Tweedy as my first show of the year because he played 4 songs for us (acoustically) at the City Arts and Lectures gig where I saw him a week ago. However, last night’s show (which was my actual first show of the year) had The Easy Leaves (duo) opening for Branson Anderson opening for Corb Lund, so they still pretty much get slot #1 for the year.

But I digress… because what I came here to talk to you about is Paul Thorn. There is so much to say about this man, I don’t know where to start. He is entertaining AF and has THE BEST accent ever! His stories (with that accent) are more than enough for me; he doesn’t even need to perform music. But then he does and it takes me to a different place entirely.  And if you are really lucky (and I have been), he comes down into the audience and hugs (with permission) and touches (hands) and sometimes even dances with audience members.

The first time that I saw Paul Thorn, he was billed on this tour called Soul Salvation with Ruthie Foster. I had never seen either of them. I was new on my quest of 52 shows in 52 weeks and feeling some pressure. I called my partner in crime from a distance, Andee, on my way home from work to tell her about this show I was thinking about going to and so I went to GAMH instead of going home from work that night.

And what a night!!! There was Paul Thorn (who opened the show and made me so happy), then there was Jill Katz (who between sets turned to me — the total stranger next to her — and said ‘Aren’t you so excited?’ and with that one question, the foundation of a true friendship was laid that evening — and also, I was so excited!) and then there was Ruthie Foster (and she was amazing too, but this story isn’t about her).

I don’t know if it was at that first show that Paul Thorn introduced me to his song ‘Pimps and Preachers’ or if that came later, but listening to him introduce that song (and listening to my friend, Jessica, introduce that song as Paul Thorn) makes me smile every time. When I’m really really lucky, he plays ‘Snake Farm’ for me. And then there’s his song about how he doesn’t like most of the people he loves.

I can’t say enough how much you should go see this man if you haven’t already. It really is a feel-good show and his songs are both witty (lyrically) and entertaining (musically). There is a lot of love at his shows; I don’t know why but it’s a truth! If you need to fill up your love tank, go to one of these shows!

Maybe I’ll see you at Cornerstone on Saturday night.  If not, I’ll leave you with my favorite gem from Kate Wolf in 2017…

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The Districts with Duncan Fellows & Deeper

My friend bought into a sweet deal offered last year from Margin Walker Presents and gets two tickets to a show each month. This is the one she selected for January and I was the lucky plus one! Thanks Lauren!!!

This was an all ages, sold out show and I knew almost nothing about the band before I went except for a brief listen on Spotify. It was definitely a younger crowd and there was even moshing (that’s what they called it back in my day) during the Duncan Fellows set. I guess you could call moshing, it was more jumping in a group and felt a lot safer and jovial.

Duncan Fellows is a local Austin indie-rock band that I had heard of before but never gave much thought. They had a little radio play on KUTX but it hadn’t caught my attention. I’m glad I was able to catch them open the night up. They were great. In fact, of all three bands, they were my favorite! All of the dudes in the band sang along to the songs, even if they weren’t at a microphone and it gave me the feeling that these dudes really love their music and love being in a band together. They clearly have an Austin following and I am part of the group now too.

Deeper was a band I would not likely see again. It just wasn’t my jam. Honestly, the crowd didn’t seem to dig it as much either. The lead singer would yell all the lyrics rather than sing and it was just a little too hard rock for my liking but hey, if that’s your jam, check ’em out.

The Districts hail from Pennsylvania (Lititz area) and released their first album in 2012. This indie-rock band of dudes were great and provided a fantastic show. I thoroughly appreciated their respectful attire. The lead singer wore khakis with a tucked in shirt and the bassist also tucked his t-shirt into his jeans. Kids these days may be a lot of things but they aren’t sloppy… well, at least some of them were trying anyway.

Lee Fields and the Expressions on NYE

Okay, I know this show is sold out and I also know that if you don’t have NYE plans by now, then you probably don’t want to have NYE plans, but….

Last night’s show at The Chapel was *such* a good time. The energy was amazing! The music was dance-y and fun!

Quinn DeVeaux was such a surprise. That man was grinning from ear to ear the entire time he was playing and he and his band were great. In particular, the woman keeping beats really stood out for me; she was cute to boot so that could have contributed to her standing out. They are playing at Moe’s Alley (opening, but not for Lee Fields) on January 4th and I highly recommend this show (assuming it’s not sold out).

I don’t even know where to start with Lee Fields… The fabulous jacket. The super shiny button-down under it that was more unbuttoned then buttoned, the big gold cross around his neck or the way he sang and yelled and made oh-so-sure that the crowd was happy.

If I didn’t have plans for tonight, I think there’d be a good chance that I’d be standing outside The Chapel tonight trying to score a ticket to this show. Doors at 7. Show at 8, but you could skip M-tet in my opinion. They played music without words. I think most of you know that’s not my jam!

Happy 2019 y’all! Whatever you do tonight, be safe and make sure to hug and kiss your loved ones (consensual, of course).

 

REBUILDING BUTTE Tonight (December 27th) — A Camp Fire Relief Benefit at Neck of the Woods

UPDATE: I won a raffle prize… 3 bottles of Zinfandel for me!

It’s a slow week in SF, but I’d most likely be going to this show regardless because the line-up includes Ben Morrison & Alex Morrison (of The Brothers Comatose).  Other performers include Smokey The Groove, Hot Buttered Some (Members of Hot Buttered Rum), The Rowan Brothers, Deep Blue Jam  and there will be DJs spinning between sets.

So come out and support the folks that were burned out in the Camp Fire. Monies go to NVCL (same as all the other benefits I’ve posted) and really what better entertainment choices do you have tonight (unless you have tickets to Robyn Hitchcock or you made the mistake of purchasing California Honeydrops tickets for tonight instead of tomorrow).

If you haven’t seen Ben and Alex perform together before, it’s a real treat. They sound so good together, as only siblings can. Come out for what should be a fun night in the Richmond tonight!

Glorietta @ Scoot Inn

12/14/18 Austin, TX

This band has so much talent in it that you may have trouble figuring out who exactly is in it. That’s because they are our own Austin Supergroup! Don’t get too excited though, this was their last show… except for a special, secret festival in late March that they may reunite for. Nothing will ever be as good as this show was at the Scoot Inn though. It was like watching friends have a party on stage. It wasn’t like that. It was that.

The band’s music is touching and perfectly executed by this group of cherry picked all-stars. Some of it was original and unfamiliar and some of it was music from their own albums or bands. At one point they played WildChild’s song Expectations. I love Wild Child so it is hard for me to say that this band nailed it in a totally different incredibly tight way. Another highlight was when Jason Robert Blum (who I really didn’t know of before) sang a song about Wimberley, TX. It’s a small, quaint town along a crystal clear river in the Central Texas Hill Country and it was just beautiful. If you are not too concerned about video quality, check out the song here:

Toward the end of the show, “Grammy Award Winning” Adrian Quesada pulls out a bottle of tequila, but not just any bottle, a 3-foot tall, color-changing, light-up gallon of tequila. He said it was a gift from his dad and it has been sitting in his studio for a while. What better time to drink it than now. After a quick admission that Matthew is on the wagon (and stayed on while on stage anyway), the bottle began to be passed around and poured into each others mouths. Then David Ramirez sang Friends in Low Places, after toasting a couple that had just gotten engaged. Austin was loving it’s music that night and I love this music town.

The story they tell is that Matthew Logan Vazques (Delta Spirit) pulled everyone together to make an album in Glorieta, NM. and included Nathaniel Rateliff at the time, but he did’t tour with them. Instead, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Noah Gundersen, Kelsey Wilson (WildChild), David Ramirez, Adrian Quesada (Grupo Fantasma), and Jason Robert Blum took on a one-time-only tour this year. If you saw them, count yourself lucky. This is a fleeting moment and that’s why you always go to the show. I know I am glad I did.

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