The Best of September in San Francisco Music

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September has been a great month in music for San Francisco. Featuring Mariah Carey’s new single, a double-take inspiring we’re-not-in-the-90’s-any-more slice of sass from someone with Olympic qualifications in the subject, “GTFO” is exactly what it sounds like. Produced by Grammy nominated, multiple ASCAP award-winner Nineteen85, (whose previous credits include work with fellow world-beaters Drake and DJ Khaled). Speaking of the track, which is a part of her new album, Mariah revealed, “I wanted to give my fans and everyone a first listen that wasn’t so serious. I’ve had so much fun making this album, and I wanted the first moment to reflect that light-hearted spirit.”

Away from new music and the glorious glitter of pop, September also saw the beginning of the San Francisco Symphony’s two-week Stravinsky Festival, which saw the city’s world-class orchestra not only take on the classics of one of the 20th century’s greatest composers, but also running several fun and entertaining pre-concert activities, before giving the crowd some of the most popular works of the composer. Branding the festival ‘Rebellious Beauty’, the second week of the festival saw the Symphony partner with Art Haus Collective, who brought Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring to Burning Man in 2017 – no, really – to create the kind of glorious cultural mash-up that you can only find in this beautiful city. Burning Man Does Classical – you saw it in San Francisco.

Lauryn Hill performing at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View

September also gave us some unforgettable live music performances. Mountain View’s The Shoreline, in particular, was the venue of choice this month, with Lindsey Stirling giving a breathtaking performance on the violin before The Dave Matthews Band came to town. Matthews, who has been on the road for over 25 years now, seems to show no signs of slowing down. He’s still enjoying every moment of it, and it was evident in the way he lit up the stage that night, with a supremely energetic performance. He sang from his gut and his heart, and despite being a man of few words, his music was all that the audience needed to connect with him.

Continuing the parade of geniuses of another era, Lauryn Hill also took the crowd at the Shoreline by storm, as she performed to a full house. Hill was emotional about the fact that it’s been twenty years since she’s been on the scene, and her artistry has never seemed more necessary – tender, compassionate, firey, insistent, unapologetic, true. Meanwhile, The National gave music lovers a sincere and wholehearted performance filled with captivating music and charm at the Greek Theater in Berkeley.

And now that October is on us, it looks to be a great month – kicking off with British pop dynamo Jessie J at the Warfield tonight, before we have indie resisters Interpol at the Greek on Oct. 6 and Ani DiFranco on the 7th at The Fillmore, with Andrea Gibson, and later in the month we’re looking forward to shows from acts as diverse as Kronos Quartet (YBCA, Oct. 11) and Third Eye Blind at Mountain Winery in Saratoga. It’s going to be a great month – 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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