Chris Pureka Debuts “Cabin Fever” Video – Plays GAMH on Thursday 4/20

On April 1, 2016, Chris Purkea released Back in the Ring. She left her home base of Portland, OR and embarked on a tour with her band that found them crisscrossing the United States and Europe playing over 70 shows in less than a year. Now, one year later, Chris is heading out for a string of U.S. tour dates to celebrate the upcoming April 2017 release of her new live CD / DVD combo, which was recorded during the Back in the Ring release tour at Jammin Java in Vienna, VA.

Chris’s elegant emotionality as a vocalist, and her flair and immediacy as a lyricist have garnered her favorable comparisons to Gillian Welch, Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, and Patty Griffin. She’s earned accolades from such distinguished taste-making outlets as The New York Times, Paste, Magnet,, and The AllMusic Guide. She’s shared the stage with such diverse and esteemed artists as Dar Williams, The Lumineers, The Cowboy Junkies, Gregory Alan Isakov, Martin Sexton, and Ani DiFranco. Along the way, Chris has remained fiercely independent, selling over 50,000 albums through her own label, Sad Rabbit Records.

Tickets are still available for her show at GAMH on Thurs. 4/20 - with Mothers Fathers Sisters Brothers!

SF Weekly Live Review: Dreamcar Turned On The Ignition At Great American Music Hall – The AFI-No Doubt Supergroup Played Its Third Show Ever For A Ravenous Crowd On Sunday, April 9

How do you write about bands that don’t exist?

To be fair, Dreamcar — the recently announced joint venture of AFI lead singer Davey Havok and No Doubt members Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont, and Adrian Young — does exist, but barely. Their first single, the upbeat rocker “Kill for Candy,” premiered on Los Angeles radio station KROQ in early March. They’ve since released another single, “Born to Lie” — and that’s it.

The band’s eponymous studio debut drops on May 12, which meant that when I entered Great American Music Hall on Sunday night, I had roughly six minutes’ worth of music to use as context.

In some ways, this scenario is a welcome departure from the normal routine, wherein fans go see a band they love hoping they play their favorite songs. Radiohead and Green Day don’t have to sell me on their music with their performances – I’ve already bought in a long time ago. With Dreamcar, the stakes were somewhat different, even if the results were ultimately the same.

Lead singer Davey Havok seemed charmed to be playing a space as small as Great American, a contrast from the larger venues necessary to house fans of AFI, the dark pop-punk outfit he’s been fronting for nearly 20 years. At one point, he scaled an amp to grab the hand of a fan reaching down from the balcony. His charisma was infectious as he paraded through a series of new songs.

The No Doubt section of the group seemed equally enthused. Bassist Tony Kanal wore a genuine smile for much of the evening as he laid down the rhythm for songs that often found their kindred spirit in the ether between Duran Duran and Tears for Fears. If forced to decide, the music was closer to AFI’s brand of emotionally saturated punk than the bouncy ska of No Doubt, but in all honesty, Havok wasn’t bluffing when he told Billboard last year that this music “doesn’t sound like AFI or No Doubt.”

Instead, what echoed through Great American for a scant 45 minutes (that includes the encore) was something more in-line with New Wave by way of Live 105. It’s the kind of music fans of Fitz and the Tantrums will likely love, a brash but friendly melding of genres that invokes the ’80s without alienating the Hot Topic set.

Hopefully those younger listeners have spent the past year getting reacquainted with the late David Bowie, because one of the short evening’s highlights was a cover of the Thin White Duke’s “Moonage Daydream.”

“How about a song by a guy who made everything cool?” Havok asked at one point. Given the rapturous response of fans who had clearly grabbed tickets for their chance to get up-close-and-personal with the AFI frontman, it wasn’t immediately apparent whom Havok was referring to.

Credit should also be paid to the two backup singers and the saxophone player, who were all female and did a phenomenal job. You know Dreamcar is down with the 1980s when the sax solos start flying, and if Sunday night was any indication of what to expect from their album, it might be time to get your DeLorean out of storage.

Still, the question remains: How do we judge that which is still beginning to form?

After all, Dreamcar’s San Francisco show marked only their third live performance ever, part of a six concert warm-up run to their performance at Coachella later this month.

The answer, it seems, is to be forgiving and to exercise patience, but in truth, those efforts were entirely unnecessary.

Dreamcar took the stage like a band that has been at this for a long while, and in truth, they have. Sure, the name may have changed, but the players are all familiar. This is still the bassist with a Mohawk who wields his dexterity with furious abandon. This is still the lead singer who can seemingly touch the heart of every fan he sees, even if only for a moment, even when that moment is soaked in sweat and reverb.

They’re called Dreamcar now, but you know them. Or at least you will soon. - Zack Ruskin / SF Weekly

Nature And Falling In Love With Synthesizers: An Interview With R Beny

Bay Area musician Austin Cairns aka R Beny is a true ambient wizard. To be honest, I only discovered him about 6 months ago thanks to his fantastic Youtube channel, but he's been inspiring the modular synth community for some time now. His debut album 'Full Blossom of the Evening' was one of the best surprises of 2016 (I listed it as #3 in my Best Albums of 2016 list) and a wonderful glimpse into his hypnotic ambient world, reflecting on nature and emotion. For those new to R Beny's music, his music is a powerful, mesmerising mix of sounds that layer and mingle, harmoniously combining, disassembling, and submerging into one another. Fans of Stars of the Lid, Oval and Tim Hecker will absolutely love R Beny.

In this interview R Beny talks about how Nature plays a big role in his creativity and how falling in love with synthesizers helped him recover his creativity after hitting a wall creatively and quitting making music for nearly a year.

Click HERE for his interview with That Special Record, and be sure to head to GAMH this Sunday (April 16) to see him open for Bing & Ruth!

Chuck Prophet On KQED

San Francisco singer and songwriter Chuck Prophet has been entertaining audiences for decades. He talks to KQED’s Marisa Lagos about his new album, Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins, and the tension between gentrification and the arts in his hometown. He closes the interview with a performance of one of his new songs, “A Bad Year for Rock and Roll.”

Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express + Cocker Power perform at GAMH on Sat. April 15!

My Breakfast with Bowie – Slim’s 1997

I had just started working at Slim's (in the box office) in 1997. The ladies of the office (Dawn and Dana) had somehow managed to keep it QUITE a secret that Live 105 was planning a Breakfast with Bowie morning here at the club. The day I found out, I nearly fell out of my chair. I offered to do anything to help... serve bagels, pour coffee, etc.... whatever it took. That's exactly what I did (at the rather ungodly hour of 7am!)To be in a room with just a couple hundred lucky fans... and Bowie... was amazing. I also decided to be brave and brought along my copies of Ziggy Stardust and The Hunger soundtrack on vinyl. Having only worked here at Slim's a few months, I had no idea if I might be crossing any lines, but I was ready. So ready.

The interview & performance were (of course) amazing. A car was parked and waiting in the alley and Bowie was soon to leave. I knew I had the green light when Dawn said "if you're going to do it, now is the time." I met him at the top of the stairs, said hello, thanked him for a wonderful morning and asked if he wouldn't mind signing my records. He joked that he had never seen The Hunger on vinyl - so of course I offered him my copy. Thankfully I got to keep it.

Needless to say, it was one of the best days... ever. I think of that morning quite often. The audio of that amazing morning surfaced on YouTube a couple of years ago and I've made it a habit of posting it on FB every year for his birthday.

Thank you, David Bowie, for... everything.

~ Tracey Buck


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