Faith invited me to this show. Sea Wolf really had a Wilco-esque vibe to me. I liked the cello. The Album Leaf had many people on stage. Their songs were atmospheric. I was really wanting it to pick up the pace and rock out sometimes. I think this was a result of me being quite tired this evening. I was hoping for some rockers to keep me going.
This was another show I had to see because she's a living legend. Deerhoof put on a great opening set. I don't think the crowd that was there for the Yoko fest was totally ready for them. There were seats in the entire theatre, which is unusual. I actually had pretty OK seats. Yoko's set started out with a 15 or so minute film that was her biography, I suppose. It was pretty good since she's done so many interesting things over the years. It was a little grandiose, but I think we can forgive her for that. Her band was really young, and made up of Cornelius and her son Sean. Sean was the band leader for the evening. He'd introduce most of "Mom's" songs. I enjoyed it; I even enjoyed some of the longer songs which in general can get to be too long in a live setting. Yoko sure had lots of energy for a 77 year old. She even was doing some sort of yoga at one point. They played the song and film "Fly" which is a fly crawling over a very naked Yoko. This was before Sean was born. All I could think of was how odd it must be to be playing your Mom's music 40 years later, and there's a film of her naked behind you. I'm certain this is not something I'll ever experience. For a couple songs, Jaron Lanier of VPL (virtual reality pioneer) played with the band. Sean introduced him, saying that he had met him years ago. For the end of the set, they played a film that was the "I Love You" one. The one thing that I like about Yoko is her incessant postive attitude. Sure it can come off as naive at times, but I really admire her consistency and determination. They gave away tiny flash lights that were specific to the event as well. Afterwards, when Aram was trying to get a set list, I saw Lanier on stage. I yelled up to him "Hey I used your VR stuff back in 1990!" He responded sarcastically, "Sorry!"
I didn't know anything about this band. Faith had played me some before, but it hadn't stuck with me. I enjoyed this show more than the previous show I saw at The Great American Music Hall. The band was engaging and rocking enough. The strangest thing about this band? Sometimes they had two flutists playing on the stage at the same time. I have never once seen that before. Another personal observation is that many of their songs remind me of heavy metal ballads, but without the heavy metal vibe.
The was a small show I read about and somehow got tickets. It was in a small space, and Will Oldham was playing 4 times over 2 nights. It was a wide open stage, and they both played unamplified, which was pretty damn cool. There was some grilled food outside, which was also the outside of a very nice looking restaurant. J. Tillman came out and told about his solo camping road-trip adventures while getting to Oakland. It was just him and his guitar, and he sounded great. He's very personable on stage as well. I wasn't sure what "The Cairo Gang" was going to be. It is a guy who plays guitar very well while Will Oldham sings. They set out two chairs for their set. Will was all over the stage and so was the guitar player. He had a nice voice too. They played lots of songs I didn't know (I think they did an old one at the end of the set). After buying the CD there, I've realized they pretty much played the entire album. Will was his wonderful odd self on stage. He was all over the place, moving in odd ways and making odd remarks. I really enjoyed this show. The night before the guy at the ice cream place was playing Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. I asked if he was going to the show; he said it was sold out and tickets were expensive online. I told him the way they sold these tickets online was that you couldn't have given your tickets to someone else anyways. I hope to see more shows like this one.
Faith had bought tickets to this show awhile before. It was sold out. We got there a little late, so we only saw about 3 songs of The xx. The crowd was really into them. The crowd was pretty young. The xx sound pretty 1980s alternative rock, before people used that term regularly. Hot Chip had a pretty big band. Faith did not like the way they sounded; I did not have enough experience with them to say one way or the other. I will say that the one song of theirs I've heard, "Over and Over," sounded pretty great.
This show started at 9 PM, which felt late for a Friday night for a dude who's nearly 40. I think I drank a late coffee or Coke to help out. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my local neighborhood rocker was in Thee Oh Sees. They put on a great set of retro rocking. He doesn't use the telephone microphone; but he does put many effects on his voice. The bass lines were all played on a guitar, instead of a bass. I was very happy to be seeing a complete Yo La Tengo set in a proper venue. The last two times I had seen them was at festivals, which isn't the very best way to have a great show experience. Of course the band sounded great. I still can't believe their rhythm section. I love how they mix up noise, quiet, and pop over the course of their sets. I even enjoyed their longer guitar-spaz parts this time around.
It's always fun to see a band you haven't seen play in 12 years once again. Especially when they are really great, like Hum. The venue is gorgeous. The weather was perfect. The vast numbers of old friends to see was wonderful. What was the show like? Knowing this band, I knew they were going to sound great. I knew they were going to play lots of songs I like as well. Matt, the singer, said at one point after a song, "I'm not that angry anymore." I don't know the song titles, so I can't elaborate on which song caused his reaction. Nevertheless, I know what he means. I saw so many friends for far too short of a time. It felt like a wedding in that way. In the end, I really think I went to this show for the friends. I love the band, and loved the set, but in the end it was the friends. I think I saw a friend I also haven't seen since about 1998, and seeing her brought back all sorts of interesting memories.
So Aranya is some sort of a death metal / punk rock / witch band from Portland, OR. I do not know what to make of it, but I've seen lots of shows, and this was not like another. First off, the diminutive singer had what I'll call an altar in front of the stage. While the first song was warming up (with a didgeridoo droning in the background), she lit a candle and some incense while chanting something incomprehensible. Then she drank a potion, and smeared ashes on her and her band members' noses. Then she got out her viola. And then sang. While wielding the viola's bow like a dagger. All while wearing a metal-studded black dress. She yelled screamed sang. And rocked a clear plastic axe-shaped guitar. Towards the end she was shaking and waving a large stick which was adorned with feathers and ribbons. I simply haven't seen anything like them. That was a tough act to follow. The Tunnel do not have a large stick. But they have a new bassist. They seemed so much more powerful and loud than the last time I caught them. Jeff's vocals are still nice and twisted. Where's the Jeff I know? I loved the sound of his guitar in particular this time. Lots of reverb and nice and loud!
My friend Trevor played this show as well, but he played first so unfortunately I missed him. I got home from work and had to have dinner. By the looks of things, I arrived just after he finished up. Thankfully I stuck around to see the other two guitarists. The first played a couple acoustic songs and a couple electric guitar songs. For each he'd loop what he had played back onto itself with some gadgets he had. The pieces invoked Robert Fripp style repeats. Next up was an amazing finger picking style guitarist. I asked him afterwards, and most of his songs were his own compositions. He first played on a nice small guitar, and the second half of the show was on a 12-string. How I'd explain finger picking style is like John Fahey or those records of Jim O'Rourke's where he's clearly influenced by Fahey. It was so great to see it played live; it would take years for me to ever get there. Watching both of the guitarists play was a highlight for me. Trevor plays again next week, so I hope to catch him this time.
I think this should have been called the inevitable reunion tour. It was a great show. We got there a little late. According to the Internet, they opened with what as far as I know is their only hit, "Cut Your Hair". The stage was nice and stark, I couldn't imagine Pavement having over-orchestrated set decoration. So they sounded great and played lots of the hits. The crowd was totally into it. Since we arrived a little late, we sort of found and snuck into a pretty darn good spot. The band was at eye-level, and the sound was good. Erika's friend Angel had snuck tequila in that was poured into a fake pair of binoculars. When we took swigs, it looked like we were looking at the band with our chins. So the tequila made for an even more interesting show. I had heard from Aram (who worked this show and the night before in Stockton) that the original drummer Gary was going to play with them tonight. A few times during the set, someone who I correctly assumed was Gary would wander on and off stage. He was wearing what I'd call a "New Mexico themed" shirt. Sometime before the encore, a bystander asked us to shut up. That hasn't happened to me in awhile. Just before the encore, Gary came up to play drums. They actually played "Box Elder"! They then left for the encore. For the encore, I had predicted "Two States" and "Summer Babe", and I was correct. It was wonderfully fun. This band has great songs I still love to hear. It was great to hear them again.
This was a record release party for an album called "Beyond Berkeley Guitar". I still have to get the album. I'd describe it as many local guitarists inspired by the tradition of folk steel guitar from the 1960s, in the vein of John Fahey. I'm sure that description doesn't do anyone here justice. I really enjoyed all the performers I got to see & hear. They only played about 10 minutes or two pieces each. This only gave you a small feel of what they could do. During the beginning of the show, I could see the guitarists hands more, so I enjoyed that portion more. Basically I got to see lots of guitar playing it will take me years to ever come close to.
It was billed as a Neil Young solo show. I scored pretty good seats. On stage, he had an organ, a piano, and a smaller organ set up. There was also a Tiffany style lamp on stage. He came out and didn't say much of anything in between songs. He played all sorts of classics and newer songs too. He'd switch between acoustic and electric guitars. "After the Gold Rush" was played on the organ, and sounded great. Of course he sounded exactly like Neil. I often wished I was hearing an entire band, especially during "Cinnamon Girl". He went through his set quickly, and the show seemed pretty short at the time. Right now I'm so glad I got to see this great show in a great venue.
My friend from high school, Lisa P., has just moved to the San Francisco area. We first had gone to see shows together back in 1987. One I remember fondly was R.E.M.. Lisa had painted a portrait of Michael Stipe, and we were lucky enough to have seventh row tickets. At one point in the show, our friend Gary snuck to the front and got the painting to Mr. Stipe, who then held the painting in front of his face while singing the song. So she just moved here, and said that we must go see a show. Built To Spill was the next week, so we chose that one. It had been about 23 years since we first saw a show together. Of course the band rocked. However the best part was when the band started, nearly everyone there smoked out. This despite the no moshing and no smoking signs everywhere. This is San Francisco, after all. I looked at Lisa and she had the best "What the hell is going on?" look on her face. Nothing like a San Francisco night life virgin look.
Somehow I bought 10th row center tickets to this show. I bought them online like anyone else. So we had great seats. Her harp was lined up directly with my line of sight, so unfortunately, I couldn't see how her hands move across the harp. But I did learn that there are harp pedals that she uses. It was an unusual lineup in the band. There was a harp, a drummer, a couple of violins, a trombone, and a guitarist (who would also play other strummed instruments). Joanna also did a few songs on a grand piano that sounded great. So I'll be the first to admit that Joanna Newsom isn't someone that is easy to listen to at first. You must get used to her. And live she just has so much charm that you just will have to like her. It was a great set, full of new songs and old ones. She is so talented she just puts on a great show. Robin Pecknold is the singer for Fleet Foxes, and he opened up solo on acoustic guitar. He's pretty funny and unassuming in between songs. His voice is great. He played a bunch of songs I hadn't heard, and a few Fleet Foxes songs too. It's hard to explain just how great he sounds. At the end of the entire show, Robin came on stage with Joanna and her band, and they played a cover of what I was told is a Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow song called "The Picture". It was good (I had no clue what it was), and I doubt you'll see those artist's names on this site ever again. Joanna was laughing; Robin seemed embarrassed. The crowd loved it.
It was a beautiful warm and sunny Sunday afternoon. This was welcome, since the summer in San Francisco had been much cooler and foggier for longer than usual this year. TMBG played some old hits, such as "She's an Angel", "Anna Ng", and "Birdhouse of Your Soul". I had heard a few of the others before, but the majority of the songs were new to me. They were fun on stage. So Stern Grove is a sunken knoll in a pretty big eucalyptus tree grove. There's also a few redwoods in there. It's free, and is usually so packed with people that they start finding spots in the woods up above the grove. TMBG dedicated a few songs to the Ewoks up in the trees, which I thought was a pretty funny reference since it was a perfect description of the scene.
I figured I had to see Dylan when he was going to play the Fox. I'd read and heard about how unpredictable his shows could be lately, but I didn't mind. I wanted to see someone who I won't say is great, but sure is pretty damn interesting. I had heard that he didn't play his old songs, but he played plenty. I had heard he didn't speak at all during shows, and he didn't. I had heard that his unusual voice was far more unusual, which was quite true. Usually you'd recognize a song by the melody, and not the lyrics. And even with the huge hits, it would take awhile to figure out what song it was. And I was with a huge Dylan fan too. Typically he'd speak through the verse quite quickly. On the BART ride home I think we figured out how to nail an imitation of his delivery. There was an announcer at the beginning of the show that introduced him as "Columbia Recording Artist, Bob Dylan". It seems quaint to introduce yourself that way nowadays. They played "Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat", "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again", "Just Like A Woman", "Visions of Johanna", "Masters of War", "Highway 61 Revisited" (where I swear he changed the words to "Highway 65"), "Ballad of a Thin Man", and "Like A Rolling Stone". Overall I really enjoyed the show and I was glad I got to see Bob Dylan at some point.
Thee Oh Sees opened, crowded close together in front of all the bright orange and yellow Flaming Lips gear on stage. They rocked while Wayne smiled while watching from off-stage. They had harsh white lighting and lots of reverb. Next up was a band stuck in the late 1980s alternative rock universe. They didn't really strike me, but all of the Flaming Lips were there to watch and even participate a couple of times. After this, the party got started. It's always an amazing spectacle to see The Flaming Lips live. There's more flashing lights, confetti, balloons, smoke machines, and more than you've ever seen in one place. It's really something else. Their recent semi-circlular LED video display is a sight to behold. The band rocks. Wayne is Wayne. I still wish this amazing show would evolve a more over time, but maybe I'm being selfish.
This was a part of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. I can remember ones in past years where I had to make sure to bring suntan lotion, but not this year. It was a foggy day, and quite cool. I just read that last year's festival drew an incredible 800,000 people to Golden Gate Park over the 3 days. Yowza. As always there were so many people, of all types in the park. I rode my bike in, and locked it up to a pole I always seem to lock it up too. I guess I'm lucky that way. The 'bike parking' is a mess of 1000s of bicycles. Exene had a nice acoustic set of lonesome songs. I saw some of Fountains of Wayne, and they were more rocking than I expected. They did a partial cover of Foreigner that some of the massive crowd got into, and then announced they did it as a joke since their bass player hates the song. That seemed like an odd way to win over the crowd. I then hiked over to see Kinky Friedman, Texan extraordinaire. He actually sang a song all about Charles Whitman, the University of Texas tower mass murderer. He's also a writer, and has run for governor of Texas. I'd say he's on the sarcastic liberal side of the aisle. Some of his fine jokes: "I'd never say 'fuck' around c.h.i.l.d.r.e.n." "Politicians should be limited to 2 terms: 1 in office, and 1 in prison." They did a cover of Hank Williams, and another of the "Ira Hayes" song I know from Johnny Cash. I then hiked back to see some of Richard Thompson. I'd seen his records in shops for years, and never listened. It was a fine band, but nothing was jumping out to me during his set. So I left early to get a good spot to see Will Oldham. They opened with a song by Kevin Coyne, and actually Will didn't even sing. The woman with the band sang it. Yes, this time The Cairo Gang was an entire band. They did "Easy Does It" with a big Bo Diddly beat. The band was fantastic and so was Will. I just really like to see him live. Towards the end, when they were going a little long, Will went into a long rambling speech wondering how people had the time for Facebook, Tweets, and feeds. And why didn't they spend their time trying to do worthwhile things like learning how to hold their breath longer? He also spoke more than once about how great Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is, how the billionaire who puts it on is a fine man, how Californians should bring some the greatness (like this festival & the money) out to other beautiful places. He mentioned how this was the edge of the U.S. and somehow this made the place that much better. He also asked if anyone had any medicinal herbs they could share.
This was a part of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. This was a fantastic day at Hardly Strictly. My friend Anna and her friends had set up a spot at the stage where Elvis Costello was going to play. I watched the tail end of Hazel Dickens' set and the beginning of Earl Scruggs' set from afar at the main stage. Hazel was great. I really liked her attitude and voice. Earl sat down for his set; he's 86 years old. Elvis' band was fantastic. He did classic songs of his own. He mixed The Beatles' "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" into another song. They covered The Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil". Wavy Gravy was sitting on stage for some reason. His set was truly fantastic, despite the tie-dyed clown on stage. Next up was Mondo Cane, which is Mike Patton singing Italian pop songs with an orchestra. I think it is safe to say this was definitely the oddest and most ambitious set of the weekend. The thing was it was pretty fun. Speaking as someone who is only guessing, I'd say it was Italian pop ala the 1950s and 1960s. His Italian sounded fine to me, but what do I know? It was fun, and the crowd had completely changed since the Elvis Costello set, which was also funny. There is this odd dude with fully colored-in black tattoos on his arms & legs who waved around a single glow stick in the daylight hours and was clearly a #1 fan of Mike Patton. We left a little early to get to the stage where Sharon Jones was going to play. Anna & her friends had "reserved" a good spot there with a blanket. We had to wade through a big crowd to get there, but once we did, we had great seats. This wound up being a fantastic set. The band starts out, and plays a few instrumentals on their own. One guitarist announces in between songs, sounding just like a James Brown MC from one of his live albums. He even leads the band through a medley of all of their hits in the introduction. So the set is retro, but I'd say it is a faithful homage rather than just aping the style. Sharon comes out and she has more energy than I've seen on stage in awhile. We had the perfect spot, where we could see the stage floor, so we could see all of her dance moves (and the synchronized band dancing too). I just loved the songs, the band, and her voice. And the dancing. It was the last set of the day, on the very last day, and they went over about 15 minutes. Neither they nor the crowd wanted them to stop. What a great day at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.
This was the show booked down the road at the place many people from that nights Arcade Fire show were staying. They have a garage rock feel. The room is quite tiny. There were lots of people there, and frankly I think I was a little tipsy, since I didn't have to drive that night. I stayed for the set and then made it down to my tent for the night. I slept well under the redwoods.
Wow. So I got really lucky and scored one ticket to this show. I tried to buy them when they went on sale online. After crazy repeated re-loading the web page once they went on sale, I was just asked for my email, and informed the show was sold out. About four weeks before the show, I got an email telling me that there was one ticket for me for the show. Aram did not get the same email. I decided to go for it. I camped that night in Fernwood down the road. I met two couples, and we all car-pooled over to the show. It was in a beautiful redwood grove. It was sold-out, but here that apparently means barely full. Since Arcade Fire typically put on a large stadium size show, this was going to be good in such an intimate setting. I assume they had less lights, and the stage wasn't too high either. They played many songs, all large and anthem like. They sounded great. At one point the singer mentioned that when they booked this tour, the only place they requested to play was Henry Miller Memorial Library. He thanked his crew and the venue for making it happen. It started to drizzle towards the end of the show. There was no covering over the stage, so the instruments were getting wet. The singer told us the band was going to cut the show short by one song. I found myself really wishing he hadn't told us that. I really enjoyed the show, yet days afterwards I was left feeling like I expected more. I wonder if I would have liked it more if I was able to share the experience with someone I knew well?
Strangely, I'd never seen Teenage Fanclub before. I can remember some story from like 1991 where some college friends went up to the Metro to see them and they shot some music video or other that my friends are actually in. So all the music I've had by them over the years is the album Bandwagonesque. I like the album, but it never really struck me enough to get more. Then over the last few years I've heard a few of their newer songs on Merge Records, and I've really liked them. So I learn they are coming on tour. It was first booked at the Fillmore, which seems crazy, and then it wound up at the Great American Music Hall. They sounded wonderful and played many of the old hits. I went along with Lisa P., my long term partner in crime at rock shows.
So Superchunk did an acoustic in-store before playing The Treasure Island festival the next day. It was only Mac & Jim on guitars. They played lots of new & old songs. At one point Mac asked for requests, but suggested limiting it to old and new songs since those where the ones that had actually been originally written acoustically. It was a great set. I even recorded an iPhone 4 video of Superchunk playing "Skip Steps 1 & 3". Super cool part: I found out that superchunk.com (scroll down to San Francisco) embeds my video (and only my video) from that day. I went across the street to Lost Weekend Video (sadly I believe it's on a death watch) to see live commentary of their documentary of their 2001 tour, Quest for Sleep. This went pretty late. I had locked my bike across the street so I could get to the bus to the Treasure Island festival that night to see LCD Soundsystem. However, some jackass had stolen my Brooks saddle (and seat post). This made the ride all the way to PacBell Park very tiring since I then had to stand the entire way.
So I got to the parking lot where the shuttle buses leave in a quite sweaty state. I had to stand up on my entire bike ride from the Mission because some jackass stole my Brooks saddle that afternoon. I was getting there late since all I cared to see this day was LCD Soundsystem. I was very lucky and had a free VIP pass courtesy of Aram. I expected no one to be on the shuttle since I was basically getting there in time for the last two bands. Nevertheless there were folks on the bus who were actually quite annoying. I got there and went straight for the VIP tent. It was a cold night. The tent helped keep the wind at bay (hah!). I met up with Aram, Mary, & Makwa, who had his industrial strength headset on. In the tent, they served bourbon, so I had a glass. I stayed in the VIP area to watch LCD Soundsystem. It was a great set. It had lots of songs from the new album (which was the only one I knew at the time). The crowd was totally into it, despite it being freezing out. I dislike outdoor festivals, even large indoor venues would be better. I just left enjoying the show, but knowing they would have been better in a club. I luckily got a ride home (along with my bike) from Aram's friend Eric.
So this started out as an epically rainy day. It was torrential. Aram & Mary decided not to use their VIP passes for the day. So I drove up to San Rafael to pick up the passes they thankfully gave me. I was racing back (with a parking pass!) to meet my friend Laura K., friends from back in our Starcourse days, at the bus pickup at PacBell Park so we could drive over. Lisa P. had already left, since she really wanted to see some band I'd never heard of and wound up missing. Laura & I got there just in time to get a good spot up front for Superchunk. The rain nicely parted just as we were parking, so Superchunk (and the rest of the day) was thankfully rain-free. Superchunk put on a fantastic set of great new & old songs ("Kicked In", "Water Wings", "Digging for Something", "My Gap Feels Weird", "Throwing Things", "Hello Hawk", "Detroit Has a Skyline", "Crossed Wires", "Hyper Enough", "Slack Motherfucker", & "Precision Auto"). I think it's just fantastic how great the new songs are, and how they hold their own against the classics we all know and love. Dare I say I look forward to another 20 years of Superchunk? Superchunk were the entire reason I even went to the Treasure Island Festival. I was really lucky to get VIP passes from Aram. So now I had two more VIP passes to provide for friends from Aram. I gave one to Laura. I gave one to Lisa too. My friend Chris from work & his girlfriend showed up with VIP passes he had gotten via awesome Craigslist maneuvering that morning. He wanted to go, but did not want to be in the rain. Soon Lisa wound up bailing, and taking her still unused VIP pass with her. She couldn't get through to me on the wonderful AT&T network. I randomly got a message late, but I couldn't get signal anymore. By the time I had gotten in touch with her after running around looking for some signal, she was already on the bus back home. Then Brad from work showed up, and he was the only one in our group without a VIP pass. We have such important problems, don't we? Anyways, Brad elects to upgrade outside the festival gates to a VIP pass. Too bad that additional pass I had went to waste. So while this is all going on, I got to see a great set by The Sea And Cake. They are all rightly dressed up like it is winter, because it might as well have been. It was a great set, and I can't for the life of me understand why they were there. Looking around the web, it appears that they were on tour with Broken Social Scene at the time. The next band I saw a little bit of was She & Him. Just like the last time I saw them, they suffered from my lack of attention. However it was for very different reasons this time. They sound nice, but I just can't really get into them I guess. Next up on the big stage was Broken Social Scene, which I found I really enjoyed. Big band, big sound, quite perfect for the large stage. The only thing else I can recall now worth reporting is that the singer went way out into the crowd at the end of their set. It was getting dark once The National started. I guess I've seen them before, but the time I've seen them that I remember not caring (and not even caring to write up, apparently) was at Pitchfork. I don't know what it is about this band, but I just can't get into them. I don't care for the singer's voice, and when he's not singing, he just looks damn awkward up on stage, like he doesn't know what the hell to do with his arms. Last up were Belle And Sebastian, who put on a huge great show. I don't recall the singer being so gregarious and loquacious when I saw them 9 years prior. Suffice to say the band has big nice songs, that went surprisingly well in the cold night on the middle of a landfill in San Francisco Bay.
So I went to this in-store not knowing much but having heard Bill Frisell's name before. Ted & Alexandra and I were going to head over to this after a Sunday Streets in the Tenderloin. But this being as the weather had been having lately, it was raining, and they cancelled Sunday Streets. So we went to this in the rain. We got there early enough to get a good spot. Since I didn't know much of his work, I decided to move to the back of all of my friends so they could see better. I'm back there chatting, and soon enough, I see LZ up where I had been standing. I went up and said hello. This was the second time we had randomly ran into each other in only a few days. I used to work with her at Blurb. We chatted for a bit. She apparently never goes up to Upper Haight. She was up there for an old book fair somewhere in Golden Gate Park. She was unsuccessful in purchasing the old Fortune magazines she wanted. So she was walking down Haight, and just happened to see that Bill Frisell is playing. That was lucky for us because we've done plenty together since. Bill's set was fine. It was about 3 long songs, played on guitar, cello (sometimes plucked like an upright bass), and violin.
So Trevor Healy put on a show to say goodbye to San Francisco. It was also to let people see great guitarists playing some of the beautiful guitars he's built. It was in this wonderfully odd Buddhist Temple, near Rainbow Grocery. Everyone was sitting on the floor drinking strong tea. Behind the players was a cast iron wood stove, madly burning scrap wood. The place was warm. The tea was plentiful. It was lots of picking style guitar, much like the "Beyond Berkeley Guitar" session I had seen at Amnesia before. Many were playing Trevor's guitars. I think I saw two electrics, and a few acoustics. Trevor played on the guitar he built for Aram. Aram got the wood for this guitar in Hawaii. It's a beautiful guitar. It was a great send-off to a someone I wish we had the time to get to know each other better. Good luck out East, Trevor!
LZ had found out about this secret show at a new space in the Mission. It's in the basement of a shop on Valencia and 21st streets. Meklit Hadero sings beautifully with a nice jazz influenced band. She and a guy did in interesting a-cappella version of an Arcade Fire song, whose title I can't recall right now. The place and the band were great, but the audience were not so wonderful. There was a group of people near the back, who you could tell were actually friends with the singer. I think this led them to believe they could be obnoxiously loud while chatting with each other, ignoring the band. I hope to go to more secret shows here, if LZ can find out about them in time.
Ted & I decided to go to this one only a few days before. Both of us hadn't heard the band, but had heard good things. It had a late start. But once we got there, it was clear that it was going to start really late. The story was that the band didn't like the sound system that the venue had. The venue isn't a full time rock club, so I think they must rent the equipment for every rock show. Another thing that was clear was that Ted & I were some of the oldest folks in the joint. The first guy up had a Mac Book set on the floor in front of the stage with lots of gear hooked up to it. Once he finally started, his music was loops that would be affected by the various devices' inputs. There was a video projector that projected onto some sort of light sensitive electronics that would modify the sound. He handed out blank slivery CDs to the folks sitting near there to wave in front of the projector and change how the light hit the electronics. There was a thumb piano. There were what Ted & I called churros that were somehow wired up. It was one long morphing song with some lyrics thrown in. Next up was The Fresh & Onlys. They had to sound check, and then they proceeded to get off stage and not play for some time. It was already getting late, and I was really grateful that I drove instead of taking BART. If we had BARTed, Cinderella time would have made us into pumpkins. They sounded fine. There's something about them that somewhat bugs me. I can't quite place my finger on it. No Age came out. It's a drummer and a guitarist. The drum kit is minimal, and the guitarist rig is three amps driven by about 8 square feet of effects pedals. Live they have a guy who plays keyboards samples of the guitar sounds. It was loud. It rocked. I loved this set. I bought the new album and now it's one of my favorites of 2010. They invoke lots of bands from my past, but I don't know what they are nor the exact parts. In other words, it's very listenable.
LZ suggested this fine evening of entertainment. The Mountain Goats did a live soundtrack to the Swedish silent film "Sire Arne's Treasure". It was a great film and a great set. I don't know much about The Mountain Goats. There were a few songs where he'd sing and play guitar solo. There were a few (especially at the tense moments in the film) where the entire band would contribute. We stopped and got Ike's Sandwiches beforehand. They, unlike The Mountain Goats, just may be overrated. Rhea's Deli is better.