Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Coming Soon to the Independent!

On November 10, L.A.-based sextet, West Indian Girl, returns to the bay area to headline at the Independent. Their last performance was at the Treasure Island Music Festival where they played a 20 minute set on the side stage. I remember wanting to hear more. If I said that the sound is like a Death Cab meets Honeycut, you might get a good idea for the sound, but I don't think that's exactly it. The show at the is the 3rd Annual Benefit. Opening for West Indian Girl is .

The show is on November 10, at the Independent and tickets are $13-$30 and available at

Also returning to San Francisco is . Check out my earlier post about Vampire Weekend when they opened for the Shout Out Louds at the Rickshaw Stop. I'm very excited for their return. This time they will headline the Independent. They claim to be specialists in the following styles: "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa", "Upper West Side Soweto", "Campus", and "Oxford Comma Riddim." If you don't know what that means, that means you don't know anything. Go read a book. Or just go to their myspace page and listen to a couple of tracks.

Vampire Weekend performs on Wednesday 12/5 @ The Independent. Tickets are $12 and available at

Nicole Atkins - Neptune City

Nicole Atkins made her San Francisco debut earlier this year at Popscene when she opened for the Long Blondes. For the most part, the crowd was mulling about and the buzz of conversation would've made it extremely difficult to command a stage. No one even noticed the small frame emerge onto the stage... and those that did, didn't expect that little Jersey girl was going to be able to drown out the rowdy audience.

The moment Nicole Atkins opened her mouth to sing her first note, there was a resounding thud of jaws dropping onto the floor of the 330 Ritch nightclub in San Francisco. I was frozen in place and a bomb could have gone off in the neighboring parking lot, but there was no way I was going to take my eyes off what I was witnessing. What ensued was song after song of soulful crooning that invoked an image of Sinatra's pipes with Joplin's spirit.

Yesterday, she released her first full length album called Neptune City... I rocked out to it during the 5.6 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Bay Area and then I watched her perform 'The Way It Is' on David Letterman. Anyway, the album is quickly becoming a desert island album for me so do yourself a favor and buy it. It's a keeper. And look out for her in a city near you. Also, if you see her, tell her that I want to make babies with her.

Check out another live review on

Check out this video: "The Way It Is"

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Unfettered Joy

delivered a genuine smile-fest at last night. Despite the usual repressed San Francisco (too-cool-for-school) crowd, the Pipettes were able to conjure up a little activity on the area in front of the stage (known to many as a 'Dance' floor). Like the last time I saw the Pipettes, no one left the room without an ear-to-ear grin.

Opening for the Pipettes were San Francisco locals, , who also cast a spell of joyful perfection with their Indie-Nintendo-Rock and KarenO-meets- vocals. (Picture Below)

After the show we made new drinking friends.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hello, old friend.

I've recently been spending a lot of time on the east coast visiting my nieces and nephew. The little monkeys are 6.5, 4.5, and 0.15 years old. Thankfully, I was never charged with changing diapers, but I quickly became an expert in retrieving pacifiers and quelling the shrilling cries of a newborn. Most of my time was spent entertaining the two older monkeys. Between soccer games, T-ball practice, karate lessons, horseback riding sessions, going to the zoo, the pumpkin patch, the air and space museum, carousels, watching 'High School Musical' AND 'High School Musical 2' I was a bit overwhelmed by suburban life. San Franciscans, after all, have more dogs than children under 18.

Now, my brother always was a big role model in my life, and I always viewed him as a 'do-no-wrong' type of guy. Yet, he was the one that kept me in check when I tried to slip through lies and tom-foolery. What a prick.

So when he started investing some time and interest in my social life, I started to view him a bit differently. My earliest memories of live music involve my brother. He brought me to his university when I was 15 years old and showed me how to rock. Yes... he took me to Fishbone and before I knew it, he was crowd surfing. The guy I looked up to all my life, who I believed to be stodgy, condescending prick, showed me that he was actually pretty fucking awesome.

Fast forward (20-ish years) to wife, house in the burbs, three kids, killer career and he's got little choice but to be somewhat on the fringe of (sub)popular culture. Although, he DOES know all the words to the popular songs of 'High School Musical' 1 & 2. Bless his heart, he has set aside the selfish whims of youthful irresponsibility and lives in a near-story-book life. Anyway, Since my brain was about to explode from the parade of midgets and mini-vans, I figured I needed to force-feed the father some old-fashioned fun. I scoured the local club websites.. and lo-and-behold.. Rodrigo y Gabriela making good at the 9:30 Club for a show they had previously cancelled a while back!

The show was sold out, so he tried to use that as an excuse not to go. Granted, he had a point... the 9:30 Club in DC is about a 40 minute drive from the burbs, so there was a risk of not getting in.. but for me, it was the journey that I was looking forward to, not the destination. We rolled up to the 9:30 Club, I hopped out while he looked for parking, and by the time he walked up to the door, I had two tickets in my hand for face value.

The 9:30 Club is an amazing venue. As you walk through the narrow hallway there are small dungeon-like concrete openings that allow access into the main hall (there are real doors too). The main floor is about the size of the Independent... and they REALLY pack it in. The mezzanine level had several risers so it doesn't require you having to lean on the rail to see the show (like at Great American or 12 Galaxies). All told, the venue holds about 1200... but if there is a fire in there, you're fucked.

The stage setup had a couple of small cameras on the microphone stands which looked right on to Rodrigo and Gabriela's guitars. They projected the close up image of the fast-fingering-phenoms up on the giant screen behind them as if to say, 'if you don't believe it is possible to actually play this music the way we do, here's a close-up.' It was a great touch and mesmerizing to say the least.

My big-bro never missed a beat and was rocking it out with the DC crowd and assumed wing-man duties which was a nice surprise. How could I have ever thought my idol and mentor had lost his touch? The only thing that could have made the night better is if we ordered pizza and passed out before the delivery guy arrived.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Etymology of Datarock

When the New York Yankees lose a game in the playoffs, it usually means the rest of my day goes quite poorly. I understand that's not something many non-sports fans can understand, but it happens. In general, I would disappear into seclusion and it is nearly impossible to get me back into a good mood. On Friday, however, I was committed to willing myself back into a good mood so I would be able to make it to a show on Friday. This was the data used into swinging me back into a good mood:

Fact: many great musical acts were in town,
Fact: it was the beginning of a long weekend,
Fact: the impending shit-show, Fleet Week, was on the horizon,
Fact: F-14s were delivering good vibes
Fact: the weather was pleasant
Fact: I had tickets to go see Datarock at the Rickshaw Stop

Conclusion: Snap out of it. It's just a game.

Datarock is a Norwegian band who describes their sound of a mixture as musical styles that they like. Simple enough. Their Wikipedia entry classifies them as Dance-punk, Electro Rock, and Post-punk revival. Clearly this is an odd combination, but it is true. It is nearly impossible to bundle their sound into one contrived definition. So, let's analyze what we know about Datarock and see if they are worthy of the name.

da·tum [dey-tuhm, dat-uhm, dah-tuhm] noun, (singular)
da·ta [dey-tuh, dat-uh, dah-tuh] (plural)
1. a single piece of information, as a fact, statistic, or code; an item of data.

rock [rok]
1. to move or sway to and fro or from side to side.
2. to be moved or swayed powerfully with excitement, emotion, etc.
3. to dance to or play rock music.
4. (of popular music) to have the driving beat characteristic of rock.
5. to shake or disturb violently

They opened their set with 'New Song' and rocked it hard, loud and fast. After that, they proceeded to touch a variety of musical genres. It was like going to a concert festival where one band played every stage. And they delivered an impressive performance.

Fact: I moved and swayed to and fro or from side to side.
Fact: I was moved powerfully with excitement, emotion, etc.
Fact: I danced to rock music.
Fact: The music being played had the driving beat characteristic of rock.
Fact: It shook and disturbed me violently (when I tripped up the stairs.) Yes. up. shut up. It was a long day.

Conclusion: Datarock maintains a musical backbone as they explore the limits of their versatility and creative innovation while melding a variety of genres into an extraordinarily unique collection of songs that truly rock.