SF Music Scene Roundup: Best of March

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March has gone by in a blur of unforgettable performances that happened in just about every music venue in the city; the month saw shows from Michigan’s guitar virtuoso Harvey Mandel, math-rock mind-blowers Architects, and Kiwi pop-art queen Lorde, and special events including a festival for both Bacon AND Beer, at Jack London Square, and signings from Stone Temple Pilots and a somehow-still-partying Andrew W.K. Elsewhere, the Regency Ballroom saw a mesmerizing performance from ZZ Ward that left audience smitten and spellbound. Ward has always been one of the city’s favorite artists, and she recreated the magic of some of the best tracks from her last three albums, reminding the world why the blues sits at the foundation of so much of the world’s great music.

Following close on the heels of ZZ Ward came Billie Eilish’s show at the Great American Music hall, which managed a feat not often seen; a venue full of tweens and their mothers roaring in joy and dancing to electropop. Tickets sold out in minutes, and the sixteen-year-old Eilish is on her way to becoming the next big thing. Watch this space, and track down her show next month at the Alt 105.3 Concord Pavilion, on May 13th. Flint Eastwood – who are still way, way better than their stage name allows – gave a roaring 45-minute musical tour de force, bringing out soul-nourishing, brown-overall-wearing (really) spaghetti western-inspired (still not kidding) pop for the crowd at the Fillmore. For sheer livewire originality, Eastwood can’t be beat.

For nostalgists, and everyone who ever picked up a poorly-tuned acoustic guitar to sing indistinct but keenly-felt lyrics, Noel Gallagher’s show at the Fox Theater in Oakland deserves a special mention; the show bore the kind of shine you can only get from 25 years of playing, while still showcasing the swagger that’s been there from day one, and (as every fan really knows) the tenderness that’s given Gallagher more staying power than a thousand sibling arguments with erstwhile Oasis frontman Liam could ever derail.

In other news, the epic Kaaboo Del Mar announced the lineup for the San Diego Festival, and the festival, all set to happen from September 14-16, includes legendary performers like Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Katy Perry, Robert Plant, the Sensational Space Shifters, Halsey, Post Malone, Wiz Khalifa, N.E.R.D, Incubus, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gucci Mane, Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators, Alice in Chains, and Billy Idol, among others. Any festival show that can throw in Billy Idol as an end-of-list bonus is worth the money and the time, and the range of performers there is enough to guarantee a classic weekend.

Closer to home, we had a great time checking out Bimbo’s 365; it’s an impressive space that’s been putting together a great lineup of shows, with the ambiance you can only get when you’ve been running since 1931. If you’re in the city, drop by for some great music this month: the Rebirth Brass Band is scheduled to perform on April 13th and April 14th – Friday and Saturday nights – and Foreverland is dropping by on the 20th for a music tribute to the King of Pop.

March was amazing; April is going to be sweet. San Francisco has a great springtime coming up!

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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