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Jessie J Set to Play the Warfield Next Week

in Music News by
Jessie J played the Great American Music Hall on Saturday October 28, 2017

Jessie J is set to play the Warfield next week. She’ll be celebrating the release of her latest full-length album R.O.S.E released earlier this year. The record sees the multiplatinum UK-born BRIT Award-winning songstress unearth a rarely seen and heard side of herself. The stark and minimal production from DJ Camper [Nicki Minaj, Mary J. Blige, and Mariah Carey] gives way to intensely personal lyrics and a raw, soulful performance.

“I didn’t want to write any new songs.” Jessie J said in a press release, “Camper said “Ok” then before he left the room, he put the beat for “Think About That” on a loop. The lyric and melody just starting falling out of me, and 15 minutes later when he returned I had a song. He laughed and said “see”.”

Jessie J plays the Warfield on Monday, October 1 // Show 8 p.m.

Photo by Louis Raphael

New Album – Thrice, ‘Palms’

in New Music by

Twenty years and 10 albums into a career that has crossed boundaries, California’s Thrice are back with Palms, their second post-hiatus long player. There’s something special about Thrice: moving from barely-tuned punk (1998’s Identity Crisis) to scene-seizing hardcore (2002’s The Illusion of Safety), through one of the only exciting mature albums to emerge from the screamo scene of the mid-oughts (the hugely underrated Vheissu), and even a concept album that kept the songs tight and avoided self-indulgence (The Alchemy Index), they have consistently used genre as an inspiration, not a prison, and served up some of the best alternative music of the last couple of decades in the process. They’ve even managed that almost-never-seen phenomenon: going on hiatus, promising to be back, and then actually returning. While it’s easy to bundle them with their peers in the post-hardcore scene of 15 years ago (think Thursday, Brand New and Manchester Orchestra), Thrice have been plowing their own furrow for years.

Following on from 2016’s To Be Everywhere is to be Nowhere, their first album after a hiatus of 3 years, Palms is an odd beast: while the band are clearly still moving forward, there’s a palpable sense of comfortable professionalism in this record. It means it’s slick and powerful – no small feat for a record made largely in guitarist Teppei Teranishi’s home studio – but youthful screaming can’t last forever, and Thrice find themselves working to replace ardor with flat-out technique.

At so many points in Palms, they achieve that without breaking a sweat: ‘The Grey’ is a spiritually-charged insistence on humility as the thing that will save us from fundamentalism of all sorts; “The Dark” is a cast-of-literal-thousands track featuring iPhone recordings from Thrice fans mixed faultlessly into a chorus of hope and dissent; “Beyond the Pines” is, in the tradition of fan favorites “Red Sky” (from Vheissu), “Beggars” (2009’s Beggars), and “Salt and Shadow” (TBEITBN), a palate-cleanser and a crescendo, bringing together everything that’s gone before it on the album and making it into something wholly unexpected. In this case, it’s a tender yet rasping ballad, fading to a soft silence. The high points are high.

But elsewhere on the album, lyrics fade into fuzziness (“A Branch in the River” and “My Soul”), and riffs on recognizable styles don’t really succeed in escaping the genres that inspired them (“Hold Up a Light” is a hymn to plunging power-chords, and not much more; “Just Breathe” is a regression to post-hardcore tics that are nothing special amongst their previous genre-defining efforts).

By their own high standards, Palms is not a classic Thrice album, lacking the sense of excitement and discovery that marked out previous records: but to come in the middle of the pack in a discography like Thrice’s is no shameful thing. It’s an achievement to create an album that draws inspiration from sources as wide as Vangelis (listen to “Only Us” and find a song that’s what would happen if you pulled Blade Runner into a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure and gave it a heart) and hipster’s favorite monk Richard Rohr (“Everything Belongs”), and brings them together into a meaningful whole. Palms is forthright, heartfelt and assured; the product of a band who knew, going into the studio, exactly what they wanted to make, for good and ill.

Thrice w/ The Bronx plays The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco // November 2, 2018 //  8 p.m.

Lauryn Hill Celebrates Iconic Album at the Shoreline in San Jose

in SF Concert Reviews by

When I arrived at the Shoreline Amphitheater last night in Mountain View the security guard had warned me. “It’s Lauryn Hill. You know she’s gonna be late.” And sure enough, he was right. The iconic rapper/singer with the endearing smile and ageless looks was supposed to go on at 9 p.m. but ended up going on stage closer to 10 p.m.

The crowd that had grown restless by that point (people were literally pole dancing on the venue’s light stands) were quick to forgive by the time she whisked softly onto the stage in a colorfully patterned headdress coupled with a giant pink tutu because tonight was going to be something special. Tonight, everyone in attendance was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the singer’s opus, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

It was an emotional event.  So much so that at one point early in the show, Ms. Hill had tears in her eyes when she confessed to her adoring fans. “It’s been 20 years y’all. Can you believe it? 20 years!” Looking at how great Lauryn looked it is hard to believe that it’s been so long. It really goes to show the strength of this lady who’s had her shares of trials and tribulations throughout that time.

But all of that was forgotten from the moment she kicked off the show with the powerful rap anthem “Lost Ones” to the time in the set she sang the much softer “To Zion,” a song written about the sacrifices made for her son. From start to end it was impossible to not be moved by Hill’s performance.

Although her voice is different now than it once was, a little raspier maybe, it breathes the scars and experiences that have shaped her into who she is today. A strong and powerful woman capable of inspiring legions of fans around the world.

The often times misunderstood singer wasn’t shy with her politics last night either. During the entire show, projected behind her, was video footage of current events. Clips of police harassment, inner-city protests, and the funeral of Aliyah perfectly complimented her strong messaging. She’d accompany it with some words about coming together to make a change in the world. It’s a message that rang true and felt from the heart.

And so it comes as no surprise that the show was completely sold out last night. The subject of admiration that she’s been for so many for close to 20 years now, is still felt so strongly today. It’s the sincerest testament to what a truly incredible artist Lauryn Hill is. But more importantly, the important figure we so desperately need today.

Photos by Louis Raphael

SF Symphony to Kick Off Stravinsky Festival w/ Burning Man Group

in Music News by

This weekend kicks off the first week of the San Francisco Symphony’s two-week Stravinsky Festival. The Symphony will be performing some of the famous composer’s most exciting works along with some fun pre-concert activities.

Just for the second week of the festival, they are partnering with a Burning Man group – Art Haus – who will be curating their pre-concert lobby experience. The group will present music and dance performances in the Davies Hall lobby prior to each concert dressed in the original costumes from their performance of Rite of Spring at last year’s Burning Man.

The event drew a crowd of an estimated 10,000 people, and the photo below capturing the moment earned a spot in the Smithsonian “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” exhibit.

Art Haus at Burning Man

In addition to the Art Haus performances, the September 27-30 concerts will be preceded by screenings of Keeping Score – Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring, beginning an hour and a half prior to each performance. While you’re there be sure to visit the lobby exhibit exploring the life and music of Stravinsky.

Art Haus photo courtesy of San Francisco Symphony (c) Tomas Loewy

Foster the People, Grouplove Set to Perform at P1440 Volleyball Tournament 

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Three-time Olympic gold medalist and Bay Area native Kerri Walsh Jennings is launching her brand new event series, p1440 in San Jose at Avaya Stadium grounds on Sept. 28-30.

The volleyball event will transform Avaya Stadium Grounds into an immersive experience filled with fun activities for all ages and some musical performances by Foster the People, Grouplove, Daya, Marian Hill and Magic Giant.

Foster the People, Grouplove, Daya, Marian Hill and Magic Giant are set to perform at P1440 volleyball tournament in San Jose on Sept. 28-30

According to a press release that was sent to us earlier, here are some other features of the event.

  • Beach Volleyball: p1440 will host some of the best athletes in the world to compete for the p1440 San Jose Invitational title. Athletes include Walsh Jennings, Anouk Verge-Depre (Switzerland), Carolina Solberg (Brazil), Anders Mol (Norway), Christian Sorum (Norway).
  • Health & Wellness Village: Attendees will be able to enjoy guided meditations and multiple daily yoga sessions. There will also be live cooking demos occurring daily and inspirational talks from p1440 experts like Impact Theory’s Tom Bilyeu.
  • Development Village: p1440 will show attendees how to workout and recover just like the pro athletes—even with Walsh Jennings’ trainers and favorite resources. Catch different workouts happening all day long at the Movement Shop, a portable fitness studio with p1440 expert trainers Tommy Knox, Kerry Wachtfogel, Brain Mackenzie and Cody Butler. Guests will also be able to fine-tune their volleyball hitting and footwork skills at the AcuSpike individuals trainer or participate in some volleyball clinics led by p1440 coaches.
  • PongStarz: All weekend long attendees can play ping pong with friends, compete in a King of the Table tournament or learn straight from Olympic and top international table tennis players who will be on-site playing and interacting with attendees.
  • Kid’s Court: Curated with the little ones in mind, the “Kid’s Court” area will have inflatable slides, a rock climb wall, bubble artists, Super Hooper Connect 4 Game + Jenga and short kid-friendly workouts and challenges.
  • The Boardwalk: Pop-up entertainment will take place at the Boardwalk. Attendees will discover street dancers, magicians, balloon artists, face painters, caricaturists and more.
  • Art: Attendees will be able to engage with and create art throughout the venue all weekend. From a chalk art wall and post-yoga canvas painting to expressing themselves through an interactive ball wall and shopping for handmade accessories from Ubuntu Life that support healthcare for children with special needs.
  • Food & Drink: Have some fun in the wine & beer garden; shop for healthy snacks, produce and smoothies at Zanotto’s Family Markets or grab something to eat at Food Truck Row.

Photos courtesy of Olive Creative Strategies, Inc.

Q&A: MissVicky

in SF Local Bands by

How did you come up with your artist name?
It’s always been a nickname of mine since I was little and it just always stuck with me. So I chose to keep MissVicky as my artist name to keep that memory alive. It’s also very savvy in my opinion.

How would you describe your sound?
My sound is fresh, entertaining and Catchy! It captivates your mind and makes your soul vibe out!

When did you first become interested in playing music?
I’ve been interested in music for as long as I can remember. It’s always been a dream of mine to pursue it.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at a show?
I remember performing a song that I had just recorded not too long ago. I was nervous and there was a big crowd, and as I was singing I forgot the words. I was like oh crap but then caught up to where I blanked out and continued singing. It was so embarrassing but hilarious. One of those moments you never really forget. But of course, laugh at it now.

What are you listening to these days?
At the moment I’m enjoying Majid Jordan, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, and Kehlani. Just to name a few out of many.

What are some of your favorite Bay Area music venues?
Double Dutch and Bruno’s

What are some of your favorites hangs in the Bay Area and why?
I honestly love the beach and the pier. They’ve always been a place of relaxation or a place to go out and enjoy your day.

What does music mean to you?
Music to me is a therapy. It’s always been a place to express yourself. Whether you’re feeling down, or happy, or energetic, it’s always a great feeling to write it down and make a song out of it.

What inspires you to write?
My life and my kids. It’s been a roller coaster nonstop so it’s always kept me inspired.

What’s your favorite neighborhood in the city and why?
My favorite neighborhood would have to be the financial district. I like the constant traffic of people. I love seeing people all around enjoying their day going shopping or heading to work. The energy is up there.

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
I can be very shy. I don’t know why but I am. But of course, once the ice is broken I’m the social butterfly everyone sees.

Music Venue Profile: The Greek Theater in Berkeley

in Music News by
Odesza at the Greek Theater in Berkeley (October 28, 2017)

The Greek Theater in Berkeley, California, is more than just a live music venue. With a history dating back through the counter-culture way back to the pre-earthquake days of the Bay Area, it has a huge record of historic performances. The longest-running outdoor amphitheater in America, the first event that the theater hosted was in 1903, when a group of students performed “The Birds” by Aristophanes. Between that, and its original funder (the Greek Theatre was originally named The William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre, after the newspaper mogul, California mythical beast, and origin of the Kane story in Welles’ Citizen Kane), the Greek had beginnings which were not terribly rock-and-roll; but from day one, it’s been a space for social causes and academic movements. As well as its pivotal role in the UC Berkeley free speech protests of 1964, the stage has seen speeches from the Dalai Lama and President Teddy Roosevelt, amongst many others.

It was in (of course) the 60s that the Greek became a preferred space for musical concerts and festivals. Artists including Jefferson Airplane, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, B.B. King, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and many more have played the Greek, while the Grateful Dead managed to perform 29 times there between 1967 and 1989.

Odesza lights up the Greek Theater in Berkeley (October 28, 2017)
Odesza at the Greek Theater in Berkeley (October 28, 2017)

The theatre was built on the site of Ben Weed’s Amphitheater, which was a rough, outdoor area that had been used as an amphitheater since 1894. Back then, with a design based on the ancient Greek theater, Epidaurus, the theater wasn’t as large as it is now. In 1957, Ernest Born designed a backstage area in the theater’s basement. Today, it includes a massive plaza with two stage-level additions on the sides.

Aside from music shows and theatrical performances, the Greek Theatre is at the heart of the UC Berkeley community: it’s been the venue of choice for several annual UC Berkeley events like the Commencement Convocation for graduating seniors, the departmental graduation ceremonies, and the Big Game Bonfire Rally before the annual Big Game with Stanford. Aside from these events, the Charter Day ceremonies and inaugurations of University of California presidents and Berkeley chancellors have also been conducted in the Greek Theatre, while the Berkeley High school holds their graduation ceremonies in the Greek Theatre.

In 2004, Another Planet Entertainment took over the theater’s concert promotion. Since then, the company has diligently worked on expanding the scope of the various concerts and theater productions hosted at the Greek. They also believe in being environmentally responsible, which is why the Greek became the first music venue to implement an environmental protection scheme during their entire concert season.

With such a rich history and a dedicated commitment to the future, it’s only fitting that the Greek has a great lineup of performances to offer. This month, the lineup includes a cannot-miss lineup, including performances by Arcade Fire, The National, Death Cab for Cutie, and Ben Howard. If you know these acts – and even and especially if you don’t – head to the Greek to witness some unforgettable music in a venue that has truly stood the test of time.

The Smashing Pumpkins Announce Highly-Anticipated New LP

in Music News by

The Smashing Pumpkins today announced their highly-anticipated new LP Shiny And Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / Lp: No Past. No Future. No Sun. Recorded at Shangri La Studios with legendary producer Rick Rubin, the LP is the band’s first in over 18 years to feature founding members Billy Corgan, James Iha, Jimmy Chamberlin, with longtime guitarist Jeff Schroeder. It’s set to be released on November 16, 2018.

The Smashing Pumpkins today also released the LP’s second single “Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)”. You can watch a lyric video for the track, featuring Corgan’s handwritten lyrics below.


1. Knights of Malta
2. Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)
3. Travels
4. Solara
5. Alienation
6. Marchin’ On
7. With Sympathy
8. Seek And You Shall Destroy

Mariah Carey Releases new Song

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Mariah Carey just released her new single entitled “GTFO.” The new song is off her upcoming new album, due out later this year, which is her 15th and first studio album since 2014. “GTFO” is produced by Grammy nominated/multiple ASCAP award winner Nineteen85, who has worked with Drake and Jordan Manswell (Daniel Caesar), among others.

Mariah will share the music video for the new song tomorrow, September 14.

“I wanted to give my fans and everyone a first listen that wasn’t so serious,” says Mariah. “I’ve had so much fun making this album, and I wanted the first moment to reflect that light-hearted spirit.”

Mariah just finished up her Caesar’s Palace residency on Sept. 10 and will be performing at the eighth annual iHeartRadio Music Festival at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 21. 

Photo courtesy of Sony Records


Dave and his Foos Blow the Roof off the Shark Tank in San Jose

in SF Concert Reviews by

Dave Grohl’s story is really quite unique. How many drummers do you know hit it big in music by starting of one of the greatest rock bands in history (alongside legendary grunge icon Kurt Cobain no less)? Then after a tragic band breakup up decide to start and front their own band; to have it be yet another hugely successful group, one that’s ruled the airwaves for close to 25 years now.

It’s a feat that has rarely if ever been done, but one that’s quick to comprehend when you consider Grohl’s work ethic. The guy works hard, I mean really hard. And you can see it when he’s up on that stage. Last night at the SAP Center in San Jose, there was never a boring moment in the show as he ran around like a madman the entire set, singing and playing his heart out to an arena filled with screaming fans.

After a brief yet impressive set by opener The Joy Formidable, the Foo Fighters, a band that is completed by Taylor Hawkins on drums, Pat Smear on rhythm guitar, Nate Mendel on bass and with their newest addition of Rami Jaffee on the keys, kicked off the show with blistering performances of a few mega-hits comprised of “All My Life,” “Learn to Fly” and “The Pretender.”

During a quick break between songs, Growl then went on to address the crowd and apologized for the wait between bands. “Sorry it took us 45 minutes to get out here,” said Grohl. “But we’ve got a lot of songs to play. We’ve got about 175 to play before midnight!” The crowd went wild and Grohl kept his promise. It was hit after hit after that.

The best part of the show for me had to be the Taylor Hawkins drum solo midway into the show. Aboard a floating spaceship inspired contraption, he levitated above the crowd to knock out a Bonham-inspired flurry of drum fills. Hawkins, the multi-talented musician that he is, then busted out a passionate vocal for the song “Sunday Rain.” He showed off his pipes once more during an original version of “Another One Bites the Dust,” a song selection that comes as no surprise considering the bleached-blonde drummer’s affinity for Queen.

For a band that’s been around for almost three decades, the Foo Fighters are showing no sign of slowing down. And if last night’s sold-out show is any indication of audience interest, they’re well on their way to obtaining Rock n Roll nirvana. In fact, according to Rolling Stone, it looks like 2020 will be the year they are eligible for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Nirvana is already inducted, what a fairy tale ending it would be for Grohl if he did it again with a band that he started all on his own.

Photos by Louis Raphael


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