The Best of November in San Francisco Music

in Music News by

It seems like San Francisco is only taking it up by a notch or two with each passing month, and when we look back on this last month, there’s a lot to give thanks for.

In new releases, Muse announced their Simulation Theory World Tour, which is all set to kick off in February 2019. The tour will bring the band to Oakland on March 9 next year, and you might want to block that date. The English rock band released Simulation Theory, the record that inspired this tour, on the 9th of this month. Being their eighth studio album, the set of tracks brings out the glorious, weird, jagged, inimitable soul of the band more than ever before. It’s an eccentric mix of musical notes and soundscapes, and there certainly isn’t a dull moment. Not unlike San Francisco itself.

Elsewhere, diva-di-tutti-diva Mariah Carey’s new single from her album Caution, titled “A No No,” was an earworm that had us looking forward to the record, which came out on November 16th, and did not disappoint, while Steve McQueen’s movie Widows was supported by fellow Brit Sadé’s single “The Big Unknown,” which was composed specifically for the final scene. The track – a slow-burning, heartfelt ballad – is one of the best kind of movie tie-in songs: a song that’s great in its own right, combined with a film that’s already attracting awards buzz.

In major tour announcements, Oakland’s getting lucky in April next year, with a visit from Canadian Sinatra Michael Bublé, following a show from Swedish RnB-electro star (it works) Robyn, on February 25th at the Fox Theater. And this month had some special shows itself – from James Hetfield’s act at the Masonic added the words ‘lighthearted’ and ‘intimate’ to the words we might choose to describe a Metallica-inflected show, bringing the audience together as one huge family united by a love for great music.

Elsewhere, the Fox saw virtuoso guitar work from Steve Vai and friends as part of their Harlem-Globetrotters-of-electric-guitar show, Generation Axe. Not so much a rock show as a sleight-of-hand show with guitars and lights, Generation Axe was unmissable for anyone who loves the guitar, as a rolling roster of performers (Vai, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, Swedish legend Yngwie Malmsteen, and Zakk Wylde of the Ozzy Osbourne Band) took turns to own the stage and shred while the shredding was good; the crowd roared their approval.

Right at the other end of American music, we were also treated to our fair share of good old mountain music, thanks to Tyler Childers’ live musical performance at the Fillmore. For all fans of country music who had been looking for a concert that did justice to the genre, their dreams came true that night – while Tori Kelly brought tender power in gospel song at the Herbst Theater. Another huge highlight of the month was the celebration of 60 years of the O’Jays that took place at a packed Paramount Theater. The energy there was crackling, and you had to be there to believe it.

All in all, this was one hell of a musical ride; and the holidays are just starting. We’ve already had PJ Morton ripping it up at the Independent on Sunday 2nd, and there’s more to come. See you out there!

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.

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