February was a massive month in San Francisco music; 28 days of good times and ground-breaking shows.
An early standout was a triumphant return to the stage for Ja Rule and Ashanti, who played the Warfield on February 9. The show was a sell-out, with the duo showing what it takes to stand the test of time. 90’s R’n’B is easy to overlook (even if it was everywhere at the time), and it takes a retrospective show to remind us how great songs become enduring classics. 20 years is nothing if you’ve got tunes like this.
And back on the cutting edge, California’s own Dorothy released “Who Do You Love,” the first single from their upcoming album 28 Days in the Valley, before turning up at the Independent in Alamo Square to hammer through a sold-out show. It’s hard to think of any other act with the kind of instant appeal that Dorothy has; as they gave out one hit after another, moving deftly through crowd favorites including “Raise Hell,” Down to the Bottom,” “Dark Nights” and “Flawless,” it was easy to forget that this band has been on the scene for only four years.
There was another great show, this time from the Canadian siren, Tei Shi, who brought her off-beat charm to Bimbo’s 365 in North Beach. It’s no surprise that there was magic in her voice, but it was riveting; a layered, entrancing sound, perfectly complemented by her serious production chops and the old-school 1930’s vibe of the venue. Maybe you had to be there, but it was magical: keep an eye out for her next time she’s in town. And we can’t talk music in February without talking Valentines, but at least we can talk about a show that was better and more enduring than any number of rose bouquets: the 13th saw English singer, songwriter, and model Dua Lipa take to the stage at the Masonic to give an emotional performance that reminded everyone that romance is nothing if there’s no beauty in the world. There and then, there was plenty.
In other news, Dashboard Confessional made their long-awaited comeback with their latest album Crooked Shadows. The record brought waves of nostalgia, but perhaps the biggest surprise was the contemporary edge found by Chris Carrabba as he settles into his place as emo Godfather, where compassion overcame self-indulgence and Dashboard showed themselves to be bigger than the early-oughts scene in which they flourished; again, skill, talent, and practice showed themselves.
San Francisco’s music scene is beautiful and diverse, and this month it was a testament to the hard work and artistry of musicians from across genres, with their roots in a multitude of scenes and eras. There’s no city in the world like this one for inspiring and welcoming the best of each generation of creators, and February was a special month. March has shows from Architects, Milk and Bone and Mandy Gonzalez, and releases from David Byrne, The Decemberists, Jack White and Yo La Tengo; keep an eye on our listings pages and reviews to see more. And see you out in San Francisco!