March was a great month in San Francisco music. The start of the month belonged to the smaller music venues and more intimate shows which are one of the city’s great unsung strengths, and where the magic continued uninterrupted this month. Bottom of the Hill, in particular, had a packed schedule, with shows from SF local beach vibe merchants Healing Potpourri, Oakland’s west coast country noodlers Half Stack, and LA nu-soul from Jasper Bones. The Palmer Squares also brought Chicago hip-hop to a decent week-night crowd.
In SF’s easy-to-ignore but quietly thriving tribute world, Super Diamond’s show of Neil Diamond hits at Bimbo’s 365 was a night to remember, with the reminder that celebrating inspiration is as much a part of what makes SF’s music scene great as fresh bands and styles are.
For those looking for a scene with big ticket names at the top, SF had you covered, with Justin Timberlake’s postponed November show finally making it to the Oracle Arena in Oakland. Delayed because Timberlake had been suffering from bruised vocal cords, the show proved that you can never wait too long for a good thing. Timberlake kicked out a performance that exceeded fans’ wildest dreams, with the now-standard offer of a high-concept stage show flipped on its head to turn the stage into something like an arena-sized camp ground, complete with flannel blankets and a campfire. Don’t ask us why; but it worked.
Elsewhere, for those who know that some of the Bay’s best culture is set back in the rolling fields, Yountville Live brought together three of mankind’s greatest blessings – food, wine, and music. With the finest weather for company, the celebrations saw the coming together of some of the most celebrated chefs, premium wineries, and musicians from various parts of the world. The lineup was country-heavy: among the roster of artists were Nashville’s Runaway June, Michigan’s ‘Loser of the Voice’ (yet winner of the stage) Colorado’s Lauren Duski, Ingrid Andress, and Cash Campbell.
New releases included New Zealand folk heroes’ Flight of the Conchords’ Live in London, which was easily among the best things to happen this month. With their classic quirky banter thrown among some of their best music, the band finally brought back the magic that fans had been longing for since their HBO series wrapped more than a decade ago.
In future show news, KAABOO Del Mar announced its music and comedy lineups for this year’s event in mid-September, including Cash Cash, Mumford and Sons, Sheryl Crow, Switchfoot, and Vintage Trouble. The comedy lineup is pretty impressive too, with names like Bob Saget, Jimmy O. Yang, and Kevin Smith, among others, while we discovered that one of the city’s most famous musical collaborations is set for a revival, with Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony performing at the Grand Opening of San Francisco’s Chase Center in November, for one night only. Keep an eye out for tickets.
The finale to this month’s musical extravaganza came with the Spiritualized’s show at the Masonic. Jason Pierce’s musicianship shone through, and it isn’t something you forget once you witness it; a whirlwind of invention from one of the fathers of art-electronica.
With that, it’s a wrap for March. Come at us, April. We can’t wait for all the bigger and better things you’ve got in store.