Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven Close Out 2017 in San Francisco (Sat. 12/30 & Sun. NYE at GAMH!)

We absolutely dig Camper Van Beethoven, the great indie-rock act responsible for such ’80s gems as “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” “The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon” and, of course, “Take the Skinheads Bowling.”

We also adore Cracker, the alt-rock juggernaut behind such 90s classics as “Low,” “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now),” “Get Off This” and “Euro-Trash Girl.”

Thus, not surprisingly, we highly recommend those two acts’ co-headlining tour, which rolls into the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco Dec. 30-31.

The busiest man in the house, of course, will be David Lowery, who is a member of both bands. And that’s cool with us, since we’re always in the mood for a double dose of that terrific singer-songwriter-guitarist. - Jim Harrington / San Jose Mercury News

Scott Amendola and Orchestra di Pazzi Ready to let Fly at Slim’s (Sat. 12/30)

One of the Bay Area’s indispensable musicians, drummer Scott Amendola can often be found in stripped-down settings, duking it out in his long-running duo with Hammond organist Wil Blades in Amendola vs. Blades or investigating spacious soundscapes in his new duo with bassist Zach Ostroff, Turning Into a Butterfly.

But as one year gets set to metamorphosize into the next, Amendola is assembling a formidable collection of improvisers in Orchestra di Pazzi (which could translate as crazy orchestra), which includes vocalists Aurora Josephson and Pamela Z; guitarists Henry Kaiser, Fred Frith and John Schott; ROVA saxophonists Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin, Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams; vibraphonist Mark Clifford; cellist Crystal Pascucci; violinists Alisa Rose and Christina Stanley; and percussionists William Winant, Robert Lopez and Jordan Glenn. Whether splitting up into various smaller configurations or playing all together, the ensemble is conceived as a vehicle for impromptu exploration of sonic textures, dynamics, and interplay.

The gang will perform Dec. 30 at Slim’s in San Francisco. - East Bay Times

SF Weekly: Two Shows to See This Weekend: Ekali and Myles Parrish (See Myles Parrish Fri. 12/22 at Slim’s!)

25-year-old Myles Parrish has been top-charting in the pop-rap scene for more than three years now. The Bay Area-born singer-songwriter is best known for his work years ago as a duo with Kalin White called “Myles and Kalin.” That ran its course in early 2016, and since then Myles has released the youthful, energetic mixtape Vomac and toured alongside house-name rappers Hoodie Allen and Luke Christopher on the recent “Hyphy Holidays Tour.” (For those who don’t know, “Vomac” refers to the name of the street that Parrish grew up on as a kid in Dublin, Calif.) On the introductory track of the same name, he raps about where he came from and where he is now, hoping his listeners also walk in the direction of their dreams and pursue what they love. Each track has a kick-back-and-relax feel alongside themes of reflection and an appreciation for the challenges and payoff Parrish has received during his career. The road ahead is only becoming brighter for him as we continue to see both his fan base and album listens across streaming services grow. - SF Weekly

***Please bring an unwrapped toy to donate to Mistah Fab's Toy Drive!***

Best Music Docs Of 2017 (See Turn It Around: The Story Of East Bay Punk Here At Slim’s On Sat. 12/23!)

Long before Green Day and Rancid became household names and 924 Gilman St. morphed into a West Coast CBGB's, the Bay Area's not-quiet-on-the-Eastern-front cities were churning out punk rock groups by the dozens. Corbett Redford's surprisingly thorough doc traces the scene's evolution from its early days crawling out of San Francisco's shadow to being dubbed the Next Seattle. Worth its weight in tattered Xeroxed 'zines. - Rolling Stone

Song Premiere: “Fireflies” by The Minnesota Child (Playing Thurs. 2/1 at GAMH)

The Minnesota Child is the moniker of Oakland, California-based, multi-faceted musician Ethan Buckner. His songs channel classic songwriters like Paul Simon and Justin Vernon, while not giving into overt nostalgia. Instead, The Minnesota Child transforms indie folk into something new, something larger and more immersive for their listeners. The production on “Fireflies” is lush, adding a sweet, delicate feel to their thoughtful instrumentation. The Minnesota Child is just getting started with “Fireflies” and it will be exciting to see what’s next for the inspired folk mastermind.

““Fireflies” is a call to remember that we all have the strength to get through whatever life in these crazy times throws at us. It is so common to feel broken, isolated, and alone, despite living in a time when we supposedly are more connected than ever. “Fireflies” is a reminder that we are actually not alone, that many have dealt with similar challenges before us, and that we can find our way in the darkness”, states Buckner.

The Minnesota Child will be releasing a new EP, titled Fireflies, on February 1st. - The Big Takeover


New Year’s Eve plans? Here are 14 awesome options in the Bay Area (don’t miss Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven at GAMH on 12/30 & NYE!)

Get ready for a double dose of David Lowery, as the accomplished singer-songwriter-guitarist leads both of his best-known bands — Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven — into the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco for a two-night stand, Dec. 30-31.

It will be good to hear Camper Van motor through such indie gems as “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” “The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon” and, of course, “Take The Skinheads Bowling.”

But it should be even better to catch Cracker crank up “Low,” “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)” and other rockers. We just can’t get enough of Johnny Hickman’s lead guitar work. - San Jose Mercury News

Songs of Praise and Generosity from a Beloved Bay Area Institution (Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Ensemble Performs Christmas Eve at Slim’s – 2 shows!)

The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir’s December concerts are a Bay Area holiday tradition with a lot to say about why we love it here. The choir welcomes people of all faiths, colors and gender to sing the gospel of praise and generosity. The choir just got back from a tour of the South where they joined the San Francisco’s Gay Men’s Chorus for concerts raising money and awareness for LGBTQ equal rights — so these holiday shows should feel like a triumphant homecoming. LeVar Burton, former host of the PBS series Reading Rainbow, emcees the concert Dec. 2 at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. They’re also doing two shows with the San Francisco Symphony, one with the Oakland Symphony, another show at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, and capping it off with a Christmas Eve show at Slim’s. - KQED The Do List

Dirtybird’s Justin Jay Is Back, This Time With A Band (Fri. 11/24 at GAMH)

Dirtybird’s Justin Jay has predominantly been a solo DJ. From what started around as a group of friends jamming out, his band has morphed into a full-time musical endeavor. He spoke to SF Weekly about his newfound love of choir and opera, the Tame Impala reference on the cover art for his new album, Home, and the differences between touring as a DJ and as a member of a band.

Click HERE for the SF Weekly's interview!

Kishi Bashi On Turning Pain Into Art And His Secret Love For Smooth Jazz (Playing Sun. 11/19 at GAMH – SOLD OUT!)

Kishi Bashi doesn’t go into things lightly. On his latest album, “Sonderlust,” the classically trained violinist and Berklee College of Music alum combines his love of jazz, funk, electronic pop and psychedelic rock, coming up with a complex meditation on a particularly difficult period of his life. Having toured with left-field acts like Regina Spektor and Of Montreal, the 42-year-old musician (born Kaoru Ishibashi) is used to working on the fringes, and in the five years since going solo with 2012’s “151a” he has built up his own cult following. He spoke to us during rehearsals at his home in Athens, Ga.

Click HERE for his interview with the SF Chronicle!

Q&A: Patterson Hood On Drive-By Truckers’ Angry Political Anthem “The Perilous Night” (Playing GAMH on Wed. 2/7 & Thurs. 2/8)

Like many of us, Patterson Hood is mad as hell and has been for a while now. The Drive-By Truckers co-frontman has spent the past year-plus watching the rise of Donald Trump and all its attendant consequences with horror and frustration. Yet even coming off an album as overtly political as 2016’s American Band, for months he struggled to put his feelings into words. And then white supremacists marched through Charlottesville and murdered a counter-protester, and the president had the gall to say there were some “very fine people” among their ranks. Very quickly after that it all came pouring out.

The resulting song is called “The Perilous Night.” It’s a raucous barroom rocker with pessimistic lyrics expressing the frustration many of us have felt while watching so many Americans — including people we love — bend over backwards to justify the unjustifiable. The Truckers started performing it on tour immediately. Now, on the first Election Day since last year’s debacle, they’re releasing a studio version as a reminder to get out and vote.

Click HERE for the rest of the Stereogum article!

Track Premiere: Cannibal Corpse, “Red Before Black” (Playing Tues. 11/14 & Wed. 11/15 at Slim’s)

We haven’t had a chance to dive into the lyrics of the title track from Cannibal Corpse’s new album Red Before Black yet, but we would like to imagine that Corpsegrinder and crew are suggesting that red, and not black, is the most brutal color of all. Cannibal Corpse know a thing or two about being brutal — this is the band that popularized death metal and once named an album Kill (all other bands should just stop trying; that is THE definitive death metal album title, QED) — so perhaps we should listen to them and just start wearing all red all the time instead of black. Black is so boring anyway!

MetalSucks is pleased to premiere “Red Before Black” to the world today.

Take a listen HERE!

Lebanese Icon Yasmine Hamdan Comes to Great American This Weekend (Sun. 11/12)

Yasmine Hamdan — appearing at the Great American Music Hall on November 12 — is a Lebanese icon. Known internationally for her enchanting, emotionally and politically-charged pop music, Hamdan blends her Arabic roots with her former musical life as half of the indie electro-pop duo Soap Kills. Rising out of the rubble of a nation ravaged by civil war, Soap Kills was one of the first bands of its kind in the Middle East.

Hamdan continues innovating. Between performing her song “Hal” in Jim Jarmusch’s gorgeous Only Lovers Left Alive, collaborating with Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, and writing an original soundtrack for Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannous’s play Rituel pour une métamorphose, Hamdan is consistently creating new sounds with a piercing lyrical poetry, all while singing in Arabic and not conforming to the global music standard of English.

One has to wonder: At what point will we start calling Hamdan simply an icon?

Click HERE for her interview with The Bay Bridged!

Phoebe Bridgers On World Cafe (Opening for Noah Gundersen at GAMH on Thurs. 11/9)

Phoebe Bridgers has one of those voices that can make a rowdy arena crowd go silent and then leap to its feet. I saw it happen when she joined Conor Oberst on stage this past summer at the WXPN XPoNential Music Festival. I can't imagine many people in the crowd knew who she was before they heard Conor invite her on stage for a duet. By the time she was done — standing ovation.

No surprise that when Ryan Adams heard Phoebe sing, he invited her to come to his studio the very next day and ended up producing her debut EP Killer, which came out in 2015. Apparently, that involved being showered with a lot of snacks from 7-Eleven, and being gifted a guitar that Phoebe still uses — in fact, it's the one she's using for our session to play songs from her debut full-length album Stranger In The Alps. She starts us off with a live performance of "Motion Sickness."

Click HERE for her NPR performance!

SoCal Stoner-Rock Pioneers Return To San Francisco (Fu Manchu Play Slim’s Tonight – 11/7)

Along with fellow late ’80s and early ’90s East Coast heavyweights Monster Magnet and Palm Desert heroes Kyuss, Southern California quartet Fu Manchu helped foster the downtuned, psychedelic style of heavy stoner rock that rose to popularity during the 1990s and remains influential to this day.

While the Orange County band got it’s start in the mid-1980s as a hardcore punk outfit called Virulence, a number of personnel changes would lead to a shift in sound that incorporated elements of classic rock, metal and proto punk that nodded to everything from Hendrix and Black Sabbath to Blue Cheer and the Stooges. With longtime guitarist Scott Hill taking over on lead vocals shortly after the band changed it’s name to Fu Manchu and released it’s first single in 1990. Hill quickly developed into a commanding frontman, leading the group through the recording of several more singles before they produced their debut album No One Rides For Free in 1994.

Click HERE for the rest of the CBS preview!

Midnight North Adds Bob Weir To Guests Including Phil Lesh For San Francisco Show (TONIGHT – Fri. 11/3 at GAMH)

Tonight (Friday, November 3), Midnight North will play a guest-filled hometown show at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. A number of guests had already been announced and now Bob Weir has been added to the list of those expected to sit-in.

Midnight North had previously performed a handful of times with Grateful Dead band mates Phil Lesh and Bob Weir and both will be on hand tonight. Other confirmed guests include Mihali Savoulidis and Ryan Dempsey of Twiddle. - Jambase