Things I know right now: I'm far from the only one who knows all the words to Yaz's Upstairs at Eric's, OK Computer is much better as a conceptual drag performance, and the 12-inch version of "Mountains" by Prince is one of the best extended jams ever committed to vinyl.
The third thing I know from being a record nerd (it's also impossible to prove to you, since the Purple One spends all his time on Youtube yanking down his music). But the first two revelations came courtesy of the stunning San Francisco Album Project, a talented group of drag performers, stage technicians, theatrical personages, and tasteful club kids. Every two months they take on an entire album, presenting it as a stage extravaganza, embellished with special effects and original dialogue. It's brilliantly nuts, and not the albums you'd expect at all from a bunch of colorful queens.
After conquering Yaz and Radiohead (standing room only, btw), the SFAP is about to scale the purple peak and slide under the cherry moon:The troupe will present Prince's "Parade" -- the soundtrack to his 1986 movie Under the Cherry Moon, including the original version of my beloved "Mountains" -- in its entirety on Sun/22 at the Chapel.
I asked Nathan Rapport and Bobby Barber, "album curators" of SFAP, to give me the lowdown on the project, and what to expect this Sunday:
The eighth annual Symbiosis Gathering -- part outdoor music festival, part rave on a lake, part yoga retreat, part art project, part green conference, all pretty amazing -- happens this weekend. I wrote about it in last week's paper (especially about my enthusiasm for the music lineup, including Mount Kimbie, Polica, Hudson Mohawke, Matias Aguayo, STS9, Thugfucker, and a ton more).It's a creative explosion!
I caught up with Symbiosis producer Kevin KoChen to get a little more interdimensional with the fest's vibe.
The last thing I expected to hear at a Grouplove concert was Skrillex and ASAP Rocky’s “Wild for the Night” but for some reason it seemed to be the perfect soundtrack to the band’s entrance. Dancing wildly and hyping the crowd to the beats and bleats of the track, the five musicians had whipped the sold-out Independent crowd into a high-energy frenzy before they played a single note.
After touring more or less constantly since its inception in 2009, Grouplove is a well-oiled machine on stage. Every member bounces around with frenetic energy, never standing still for a moment. Vocalist and keyboardist Hannah Hooper was all hair, headbanging, whipping around, and running in place in a leopard print unitard as frontperson Christian Zucconi (clad in a bathrobe and Grateful Dead tee) furiously strummed, jumped, and bumped into everyone around him. By comparison, bassist Sean Gadd, guitarist Andrew Wessen, and drummer Ryan Rabin almost seemed demure, despite their own dancing and roaming around the stage. Read more »
Adam Ant isn’t just a stage name, it’s a mission statement. When Malcolm Mclaren of Sex Pistols fame swiped Adam’s band in the early 1980s to form Bow Wow Wow, it could have been a quick death for the ambitions of Stuart Leslie Goddard. But, as legend goes, a steadfast decision was made by Goddard in a North London mental hospital in the late 1970s. Dubbing himself Adam Ant, Goddard would do nothing less than become the biggest new wave sensation possible. He showed that determination, yet again, at his Regency Ballroom appearance this Thursday. Read more »
Celebrating 40-plus years on the rock scene, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar hit the stage in San Francisco on Saturday night before a crowd of thousands of enthusiastic fans.
Playing the America’s Cup Pavilion, the Red Rocker blazed through a set spanning most of his career, starting out with Montrose songs, then on to his solo material, through his stint with Van Halen, and up through his current output. Read more »
Music can serve to fit your specific mood. If you can pinpoint an emotion you wish to heighten, you have the ability to explode the senses with a band or musical act playing live that night. You’re just that special.
This week, if you want to feel creepy, go to Death in June; for feel-good grooves, try Jimmy Cliff; to feel cultured, take in Julia Holter; to intensify a sense of ecstasy while engaging with the full scope of hip-hop today, grab passes to Rock the Bells. Read more »
Grouplove’s existence is a strong argument for fate. In 2009, Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi met on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Feeling an instant connection, Hooper invited Zucconi to an artist residency in Greece on the island of Crete, which she was heading to just a few days later, and he said yes. At this residency, in a remote mountain village, the pair formed a fast friendship with three other musicians. Within the year, Grouplove was formed.
Two years after that, the band exploded into the music scene with its cheekily titled, megacatchy album Never Trust a Happy Song. Touring constantly since its inception, Grouplove is still going at full sprint, with its second album, Spreading Rumors, coming out Sept. 17, accompanied by the ambitious Seesaw Tour, in which the band will spend two nights in every city at intimate venues, playing one electric and one acoustic show. Read more »
Brick and Mortar Music Hall may have had some noise complaint troubles with the San Francisco Sound Commission earlier this summer, but that hasn’t kept the venue or Kymberli Jenson, of Kymberli’s Music Box Presents, from putting on great shows. Last Saturday’s bill included the Asteroid #4 and the Richmond Sluts. It was a handful of loud rock’n’roll bands that blasted us back through the decades with sounds echoing 1960s and ‘70s psychedelia and punk, but also hints of the late ‘90s and early 2000s , when these bands were fresh on the music scene. Read more »
MUSIC Though San Francisco musician Jill Tracy is deeply fond of the macabre, "gloomy" is not an accurate word to describe her personality. The day I speak to her, she's in exceptionally high spirits, having just wrapped up a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign.Read more »
Swirling guitars… cooing vocals… that all-engulfing wall of noise. It's difficult to describe My Bloody Valentine's sound without veering into borderline erotica, and understandably so; in the guitar rock landscape, few bands make music that's so tactile and exhilarating.
For many of its devoted fans, the band's seminal 1991 LP, Loveless, is inextricably tethered to private moments of introspection and sexuality. Its delicate balance between loud and quiet, menace and seduction, resulted in a sense of emotional ambiguity, allowing the listener to project their own perspectives and yearnings onto those immaculate pop songs.
Fresh off the heels of this year's long-awaited Loveless followup, simply titled mbv, My Bloody Valentine stopped by SF this past Friday for its first Bay Area appearance since 2008, on its first tour in support of new material since the early '90s. Read more »