The Changing Face of Drag: Jader’s Otherworldly Drag Busts the Art Form Wide Open (A KQED Arts Series)


The Changing Face of Drag, a KQED Arts story series running June 18–22, spotlights five Bay Area drag artists at the vanguard of their genre, pioneering new styles and evolving the idea of what drag can be. This part of the series shines the spotlight on GAMH's very own Jader!

Jader is a drag performer, but he's not a drag queen per se; his style is typically more phantasmagorical and gender-neutral than the high-femme looks most people associate with the medium. And it's certainly much weirder than anything seen on RuPaul's Drag Race, the reality show that's become drag's most mainstream platform since moving to VH1 last year.

"I'm appreciative that queer art is so international now, but because of it, there are certain people who believe drag has to be done a certain way," says Jader. "But it's really awesome, because with all this interest in this art form, there are so many people who are really challenging the structures of drag, and challenging that narrative and pushing it further—especially in the Bay Area."

Click HERE to read more!

 

SF Sonic: Interview with Jello Biafra


Jello Biafra, founder of seminal punk band Dead Kennedys and one of the most influential figures in the Bay Area music scene, burst into the spotlight in 1978 when he unleashed his quivering voice and biting social commentary on the masses with the release of “California Uber Alles,” followed by “Holiday in Cambodia,” on the band’s own label, Alternative Tentacles. His frantically dramatic and maniacal stage presence, coupled with the sardonic humor he used to convey the sheer truth of his words, solidified him as an instant punk rock legend. After four albums with Dead Kennedys, and subsequent collaborations on over a dozen more with bands like The Melvins and D.O.A., he is now three albums deep with his current band, Guantanamo School of Medicine. Known as much for his political perspectives as his outrageous stage antics, Jello is a sought-after speaker well-known for his spoken word art and revered for his notoriously tongue-in-cheek – but legitimate –1979 campaign for San Francisco mayor at age 21.

Just days away from his 60th birthday, Jello spoke with SF Sonic about the importance of voting in local elections, just how the 2016 presidential election was rigged, how the right could be on the verge of legally rewriting the Constitution, and how “staying mad” is the key to lasting idealism.

For his birthday, Jello put on a terrific show at the Great American Music Hall. The photos here are from that show. (Photos by Raymond Ahner)

Click HERE to read SF Sonic's interview!

CBS SF Talks To Brownout’s Beto Martinez About New Public Enemy Tribute (Catch their tribute to Black Sabbath – Brown Sabbath – here at Slim’s this Fri. 6/22!)


The instrumental counterpart of celebrated Grammy Award winning Latin groove ensemble Grupo Fantasma, Austin, TX-based band Brownout has been cultivating a reputation for both fiery live performances and the gritty funk sounds heard on such releases as Homenaje and Aguilas and Cobras that mix heavily fuzzed-out guitars with percolating percussion and intricate horn work reminiscent of ’70s heroes like Mandrill and War.

During a residency at an Austin club, Brownout decided to dedicate certain nights to covering the material of specific artists including a rendition of James Brown’s classic blaxploitation soundtrack “Black Caesar” and an evening dedicated to the music of heavy metal godfathers Black Sabbath.

CBS SF recently spoke to guitarist Beto Martinez about making Fear of a Brown Planet (their recently released tribute to Public Enemy), Brownout’s plans to retire its popular Brown Sabbath guise and plans for new original material. The talk happened just ahead of a string of Bay Area concerts by the band that will showcase both the Public Enemy covers (in Santa Cruz and San Jose) and their funky, horn-powered versions of Black Sabbath’s bruising catalog (in San Francisco and Sacramento). - KPIX CBS San Francisco Bay Area

You definitely don't want to miss this Friday's show! Money Chicha will be getting the night started, and tickets are still available. Read the interview HERE!

Alexis Taylor: A Block off the Old Chip (Playing GAMH on Sat. 6/9 with Annie Hart)


The history of Fleetwood Mac is such a maelstrom of addiction, bankruptcies, and bitter lovers’ spats that it’s hard to pin down exactly what led to their early-1980s hiatus and subsequent limbo. But it’s safe to say that after Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, and Stevie Nicks released solo albums in 1981, the overall band had an increasingly challenging time holding things together.

Although Hot Chip’s precision beats sound rather different from Fleetwood Mac’s brand of dad-rock, the acts share one trait in common. They’re multipolar projects whose respective members have embarked on solo careers only to return to the mothership, and for Hot Chip co-frontman Alexis Taylor, a piano-centric independent career is now four albums strong. While Beautiful Thing, released in April, is certainly not a Hot Chip record — based on its dramatis personae alone — it bends back toward the source. Taylor’s unmistakable, affect-less voice can give listeners the false impression that he’s an art-school scenester having a laugh, but Beautiful Thing is set up as a vehicle for his unabashed love of pop schmaltz. It’s very circa-1980 Paul McCartney, with the synths that open “Oh Baby” sounding like the ex-Beatle’s “Temporary Secretary” before diving right into Wings territory.

Click HERE for the SF Weekly's interview!

Three Must-See Acts This Weekend: Drama, Nightmares on Wax, and Iceage (Playing GAMH on Fri. 6/8 with Mary Lattimore)


Once referred to by Iggy Pop as “the only current punk band I can think of that sounds really dangerous,” Iceage has proven in their decade of existence that there is more substance to their brooding post-punk than their rough and detached exterior would lead one to assume. The Copenhagen quartet formed in 2008 when all four members were frustrated teenagers who found inspiration in New York no-wave groups like Mars and avant-punk bands like Crass. Iceage’s 2011 debut album New Brigade introduced listeners to the blistering exuberance this young band could provoke, mixed with moody goth undertones. The group soon gained a reputation for their proudly chaotic and occasionally violent live shows, along with infamously awkward interviews, all of which earned frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt the title of “Rock’s Most Difficult Frontman” by The Fader. Iceage’s newly released fourth album Beyondless hears the band expanding into new sonic territory that incorporates elements of jazz and pop, but not at the expense of their now trademark ferocity. The band’s eagerness to develop their sound shows how Iggy Pop’s proclamation of Iceage being the only “dangerous” punk band is true, but perhaps in a different manner than he originally intended. - SF Weekly

Psychedelic Drone Revivalists Play Hometown Show (Wooden Shjips Play Slim’s on Fri. 6/8 with Terry Gross & Carlton Melton)


One of the leading players in the Bay Area’s revival of psychedelic sounds that emerged in the wake of Comets on Fire and Six Organs of Admittance in the late ’90s, Wooden Shjips play their first San Francisco show in several years at Slim’s Friday. - KPIX / CBS Bay Area

Read more here!

Sheer Mag, the Best Arena-Rock Band on the DIY Circuit (Playing GAMH Thurs. 5/31 with Power Trip, Fury, Red Death)


The Philadelphia band Sheer Mag channel the classic rock of the ’70s with the mustaches to prove it—and their live shows are out of this world. When I saw them a few years ago in the lobby of a tattoo shop, both guys and girls danced topless in the front row.

One thing about Sheer Mag is that despite sounding like 1976 Cleveland arena rock, they’re staunchly punk in spirit; they refuse to sign a record deal, they book their own tours, they put out their own records—and I like to think it’s paid off by preserving a lot of the fun that makes them special. - KQED Arts

SAINt JHN – SF Weekly: Three Must-See Acts This Week


While still a relatively fresh name in hip-hop, elusive Brooklyn rapper SAINt JHN is no stranger to the music industry. Since 2010, he has lingered in the shadows, writing lyrics for the likes of Usher, Jidenna, and Hoodie Allen before taking the stage himself in 2016 with his debut single “1999.” Born in Brooklyn, JHN spent much of his formative years in Guyana, which influenced his artistry and flow, claiming in an interview with Billboard, “To have the background of being in Guyana gave me a really specific type of influence. Because dancehall music is really melodically driven. Sometimes, the subject matter is a bit harsh, so I can borrow from both of those things.” Collection One, JHN’s debut studio album released in March, is just as much of a reflection of JHN’s upbringing as it is of his career in the music industry. Stylistically, JHN’s flow balances rapping and singing, with standout track “Reflex” exemplifying the strength of his voice. Lyrically, JHN bounces between braggadocio and confessional thoughts, never giving the false pretense he is rapping as a character. - SF Weekly

Ferocious Punk-Metal Quartet Plays Great American (Dead Cross Plays Wed. 5/2 with Mamaleek)


An all-star punk-metal quartet that reunited two virtuoso members of the legendary experimental band Fantômas returns to the Bay Area when Dead Cross takes the stage at the Great American Music Hall Wednesday night.

The quartet performed its first live shows last summer, headlining small theaters (including its local debut at the UC Theatre in Berkeley) and making several festival appearances that earned Dead Cross kudos for ferocious blasts of intensity the band delivers from the stage. The group plays the Great American Music Hall Wednesday night ahead of a scheduled date in Mexico and a planned summer tour through Europe. Opening the show will be Mamaleek, a shadowy, experimental black metal outfit allegedly made up of two anonymous brothers who arrived in San Francisco via Beirut and mix elements of jazz, electronic and Middle Eastern music into their eclectic, menacing stew.

Click HERE for the rest of CBS SF Bay Area's preview & pick up your tickets soon!

British art rockers Django Django performing new tunes (Sat. 4/28 at GAMH with Ofelia K)


British art rock quartet Django Django appears at the Great American Music Hall on Saturday, April 28, hot off the heels of two weekends in the desert at this year’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (or the first-ever Beychella, if you will). The group — producer-drummer David Maclean, vocalist-guitarist Vincent Neff, bassist Jimmy Dixon and keyboardist Tommy Grace — is known for its genre-bending ethos, featuring strong rockabilly, Jamaican dancehall and pop influences.

The band is on tour following the release of its third full-length album, “Marble Skies,” which recalls much of the homespun charm that characterized Django Django’s 2012 self-titled debut, an album recorded in Maclean’s bedroom. With the latest work, the group steps away from the expansive sound of its second album, “Born Under Saturn,” to create new material that is well-honed and attentive. Los Angeles indie pop artist Ofelia K supports. - SFGate

Alice Glass now solo, seeing herself and music more clearly (Sat. 4/28 at Slim’s with Zola Jesus + Pictureplane)


Near the end of a 20-minute phone call from Los Angeles, Alice Glass, the former frontwoman of the electroclash band Crystal Castles, goes quiet. She says she has been feeling “a little bit frazzled” throughout the interview.

(That’s only been occasionally apparent with a few hesitant pauses and asides like “Does that make sense?” or “No, wait …” or “I’m just trying to put into words ...”)

“I really didn’t do a lot of interviews before,” Glass says. “It’s just something I really want to do more of because I remember reading different music magazines and things when I was a kid, and it made me really interested to learn about new music.”

Given the circumstances under which she left Crystal Castles, that sentiment has a deeper significance: Alice Glass has found her voice, and she’s ready to use it.

Click HERE for the rest of SFGate's interview!

Three Must-See Acts This Week: Ho99o9 (Playing Wed. 4/25 at GAMH with 3TEETH & Street Sects)


Hip-hop relies on constant experimentation, and the brutally intense punk hip-hop duo Ho99o9 (pronounced horror) sound unlike any other artist either in hip-hop or punk. Rappers and longtime friends theOGM and Eaddy formed the group in Newark around 2012, equally influenced by figures like Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Rob Zombie — and these unlikely antecedents can be heard in the duo’s blistering releases. Ho99o9 earned a cult following with two thunderous EPs in the years leading up to their 2017 debut album, United States of Horror. It’s 45 minutes of unhinged aggression, with a sonic range that includes hardcore punk anthems to heavy industrial beats, with both theOGM and Eaddy taking turns spitting violently unforgiving bars. Although technically a hip-hip duo, Ho99o9’s mosh-friendly sound is likely to appeal to those who follow hardcore punk rather than hip-hop. But hip-hop fans should still give the duo a listen, as Ho99o9’s shocking and socially critical lyricism along with their boisterous presence make them unique in either genre. - SF Weekly

Heavy Doom Band Headlines Great American Music Hall (Windhand plays Sun. 4/22 with Ruby the Hatchet)


Windhand returned to action earlier this year with a new split album with fellow Virginians and occult rockers Satan's Satyrs that ramped up the hypnotic psychedelic elements to the band’s sound. In addition to reuniting with Jack Endino in Seattle to record their forthcoming fourth album Eternal Return slated for release this fall.

For the group’s current tour to promote the split album, Windhand returns to San Francisco to headline the Great American Music Hall Sunday night. The group is joined by thunderous Philadelphia-based heavy prog/psych crew Ruby the Hatchet, who released their latest effort Planetary Space Child on Tee Pee Records late last summer. - Dave Pehling

Click HERE for the rest of CBS SF Bay Area's preview!

SF Sonic: Russian Circles Captivate the Great American Music Hall


Russian Circles put on another one of their mind-blowing live shows to the delight of the sold-out crowd at the Great American Music Hall on a Thursday night. The trio of bassist Brian Cook, guitarist Mike Sullivan, and drummer Dave Turncrantz have developed into one of the most interesting and captivating live bands in the rock/metal underground: combining raging heavy metal, atmospheric post-rock, and deep electronic textures.

Click HERE for the rest of SF Sonic's review!

All photos by Elizabeth Gohr.

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