Diet Cig don’t let a fever get the best of them in SF

Diet CigBy Norm de Veyra //

Diet Cig with Great Grandpa, The Spook School //
Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco
February 14th, 2018 //

A fever on Valentine’s Day couldn’t stop New York pop-punk duo Diet Cig from rocking out at Rickshaw Stop last Wednesday during their sold-out SF gig. Despite lead singer/guitarist Alex Luciano’s illness that night, she and her bandmate Noah Bowman on drums delivered one of their trademark, high-energy (and high-kicking) performances that featured songs from their 2017 debut LP Swear I’m Good at This.

Opening the show were Seattle’s Great Grandpa and Scottish four-piece The Spook School.

John Maus’ synth work captivates a sold-out Slim’s

John MausBy Norm de Veyra //

John Maus //
Slim’s – San Francisco
January 27th, 2018 //

Synthpop auteur John Maus enthralled a sold-out crowd last Saturday at Slim’s as the Minnesota native and his band blazed through songs from his expanding discography, including several from 2017’s Screen Memories.

Maus is expected to release his fifth LP Addendum later this year, and while his current U.S. tour runs through the middle of February, he’s also slated to be back in California this April for the 19th edition of Coachella.

Wafia makes her Bay Area debut at Rickshaw Stop

WafiaBy Norm de Veyra //

Wafia with Jaira Burns //
Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco
January 26th, 2018 //

Australian singer-songwriter Wafia marked her Bay Area debut last Friday with an engaging performance at Rickshaw Stop. The buzzworthy 24-year-old vocalist signed to Future Classic performed standout tracks “83 Days” and “Bodies” from her recently released EP XIII.

Los Angeles-based pop singer Jaira Burns opened the evening with a fun and energetic set.

Jessie Ware charms SF with an intimate show

Jessie WareBy Norm de Veyra //

Jessie Ware //
The Independent – San Francisco
November 1st, 2017 //

It’s a rare treat to catch one of today’s rising pop stars perform in an intimate setting like The Independent, but Jessie Ware made the most of it last Wednesday evening, delivering a truly special moment for her SF fans.

Showcasing some of the newest tracks off her recently released third LP Glasshouse, the UK pop-soul crooner breathlessly charmed the sold-out crowd with her grace, humor and vocal power. And while the gig marked only the second of three stops on Ware’s current U.S. tour, she promised to be back in the Bay Area (and the states) sometime again next year.

Tank and The Bangas deliver thrills at The Chapel

Tank and The BangasBy Norm de Veyra //

Tank and the Bangas with Sweet Crude //
The Chapel – San Francisco
October 3rd, 2017 //

With a capacity crowd gathered and the anticipation running high after winning NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest this year, Tank and The Bangas put on a rousing, high-energy performance at The Chapel last Tuesday.

Led by the powerhouse vocals and animated presence of frontwoman Tarriona “Tank” Ball, the New Orleans-based group had the sold-out crowd grooving to their genre-spanning set consisting of funk, soul, hip-hop, rock and R&B.

Fellow New Orleanians Sweet Crude, a six-piece that dropped their debut LP back in April, opened the show and were equally engaging.

Sheer Mag bring their feverish, high-spirited brand of rock ‘n’ roll to SF

Sheer MagBy Norm de Veyra //

Sheer Mag with Tenement, Marbled Eye //
The Chapel – San Francisco
September 29th, 2017 //

Sheer Mag brought a sold-out crowd at The Chapel to its knees with a blazing set last Friday. Led by Tina Halladay and her piercing growl, the Philly-based rockers unleashed a feverish set that was highlighted by their latest LP Need to Feel Your Love for the first of two shows in the Bay Area.

Marbled Eye, the local boys from Oakland, set a raucous tone early in the evening and were followed by Tenement, a Wisconsin-based rock trio, which nicely amped up the energy just prior to Sheer Mag taking the stage.

PLANETARIUM send fans at Fox Theater Oakland on an emotional journey to the cosmos

PLANETARIUMBy Norm de Veyra //

PLANETARIUM with Thao Nguyen //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
July 21st, 2017 //

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sufjan Stevens, guitarist Bryce Dessner of The National, classical music composer Nico Muhly and drummer James McAlister brought the lush and eclectic sounds of their collaborative, celestial-themed project PLANETARIUM to a sold-out crowd of 2,800 fans at the Fox Theater Oakland last Friday on the final stop of their very brief tour that spanned only four dates.

PLANETARIUM’s music, which channels Stevens’ reflections on astronomy, science and even the intricacies of human consciousness, is a fusion of styles from all four band members that evokes feelings of unity. The group’s performance was accompanied by otherworldly visuals that filled the backdrop as it traversed the Solar System with quite a few emotionally charged songs inspired by the planets and other celestial bodies like “Neptune” and “Jupiter”.


Stevens often spoke during the performance, charming the audience with his aforementioned reflections. The night closed out with a spirited tribute cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” that felt like an appropriate and poignant cap to the night as the audience contemplated the cosmos and its place within it.

Opening the evening was Thao Nguyen, sans her usual support from Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. Nguyen’s blistering performance was rife with experimentation and playfulness as it featured tracks such as “Astonished Man” and “Slash/Burn” off her latest album A Man Alive, which was recorded at SF’s Tiny Telephone Studios. Produced by tUnE-yArDs founder and bandleader Merill Garbus, the album was released back in March via Ribbon Music and explores some darker and more personal territory as it relates to Nguyen’s relationship with her estranged father, unlike her earlier songwriting.

Perfume Genius pours his heart & soul out in SF

Perfume GeniusBy Norm de Veyra //

Perfume Genius with serpentwithfeet //
The Independent – San Francisco
July 19th, 2017 //

Better known by his stage name Perfume Genius, Mike Hadreas stunned those who showed up at The Independent last Wednesday with his emotional and layered pop music for what was the second of two nights in SF.

The Seattle-based musician displayed both a quiet vulnerability and a forceful confidence as he performed tracks from his new album No Shape, which dropped back in May on Matador Records, to an enchanted, sold-out crowd.

Opening the evening was Serpentwithfeet, aka Baltimore singer Josiah Wise, who was joined by British electronic musician and producer The Haxan Cloak (born Bobby Krlic), as the duo delivered a hypnotic set of bare-bones, confessional R&B that had hints of both Frank Ocean and James Blake.

Con Brio close out SF Jazz Festival in style

Con BrioBy Norm de Veyra //

Con Brio //
SFJAZZ Center – San Francisco
June 18th, 2017 //

Con Brio’s scorching set offered no relief from the heat wave in SF last Sunday as the Bay Area band headlined two nights at the SFJAZZ Center, giving us a healthy helping of funk and soul to close out this year’s SF Jazz Festival.

Led by singer Ziek McCarter and his charismatic personality, the band effortlessly navigated multiple genres with songs from its latest release, 2016’s Paradise, that delighted the Father’s Day crowd.

Jagwar Ma incite a high-energy, psychedelic dance party for their Bay Area fans

Jagwar MaBy Norm de Veyra //

Jagwar Ma with NVO //
Mezzanine – San Francisco
May 24th, 2017 //

Australian psychedelic-dance outfit Jagwar Ma lit up the Mezzanine stage last Wednesday as they currently tour North America in support of their 2016 sophomore LP Every Now & Then.

Providing equal parts high-energy dance party and hazy, dreamy soundscapes, the Sydney trio straddled an exciting line in the current gamut of psych-indie bands.

NVO, another electronic-leaning three-piece from SF, got the crowd worked up with a funky opening set.

What Love
Loose Ends
O B 1
Give Me a Reason
Come Save Me

Say What You Feel
Colours of Paradise
The Throw

Woods lead an eclectic night of music at The Chapel

WoodsBy Norm de Veyra //

Woods with Peacers, Golden Daze //
The Chapel – San Francisco
May 21st, 2017 //

Bay Area music fans were treated to an eclectic evening at The Chapel as Brooklyn folk-rock band Woods performed for a Sunday night crowd in support their new album Love Is Love.

Hailing from Los Angeles, fellow indie rockers Golden Daze kicked off the show while SF outfit Peacers filled out the sounds for the evening with their buzzy, harder-edge tunes.

DIIV showcase their fuzzy riffs, hazy melodies in SF

DIIVBy Norm de Veyra //

DIIV with The Paranoyds //
Mezzanine – San Francisco
May 16th, 2017 //

Brooklyn indie rockers DIIV invaded Mezzanine last Tuesday for a strong set that heavily leaned on material from their 2016 LP Is the Is Are. Led by vocalist/guitarist Zachery Cole Smith, the five-piece obliged the amped-up SF crowd with plenty of fuzzy riffs and hazy melodies.

Opening the show were The Paranoyds. The young punk quartet from Los Angeles stormed the stage with great energy and impressed the audience with solid tracks from their recently released EP Eat Their Own.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness take a big leap at The UC Theatre with Atlas Genius, NIGHT RIOTS

Andrew McMahon in the WildernessBy Norm de Veyra //

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness with Atlas Genius, NIGHT RIOTS //
The UC Theatre – Berkeley, CA
May 6th, 2017 //

With pool inflatables and space suits in tow, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness played a rollicking show at The UC Theatre last Saturday to kick off a two-night run in the Bay Area. Seated center stage at his piano, the former frontman for Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin took command of the nearly sold-out crowd early with his boundless energy.

Highlighting the catchy, anthemic jams from their 2017 studio album Zombies on Broadway, McMahon and company delivered a rousing performance that found the lead singer leaping off pianos, stage diving and riding atop the crowd in an inflatable duck on several occasions.

NIGHT RIOTS from Southern California opened the evening with a strong set of dance-rock anthems from their latest release Love Gloom. Australia’s Atlas Genius followed, continuing the good vibes with their own brand of dance-infused indie rock.

Emily King dazzles a sold-out crowd at The Chapel with an intimate acoustic show

Emily KingBy Norm de Veyra //

Emily King //
The Chapel – San Francisco
April 21st, 2017 //

You know when a show starts off with the audience singing along to Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” over the PA system that it’s bound to be a special night. Such was the case last Friday as Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Emily King brought her stripped-down, acoustic “You and I Tour” to The Chapel.

With nothing but a couple of guitars, a desk lamp and her powerful voice, King hypnotized the sold-out crowd with pared-down versions of tracks off her 2015 studio album The Switch.

None of the songstress’ typical funk or groove was lost with the minimal production onstage. In fact, the exact opposite happened, with King’s star power shining even brighter while she navigated through her 90-minute set without the accompaniment of her full band or backup singers. King has shows lined up for May and August, and if she’s coming to a city near you, we recommend checking her out.

Petit Biscuit marks his Bay Area debut with a sold-out dance party at Rickshaw Stop

Petit BiscuitBy Norm de Veyra //

Petit Biscuit with shallou //
Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco
April 14th, 2017 //

At the age of 17, French DJ and producer Mehdi Benjelloun has certainly been productive since arriving on the scene in 2015 with his first single “Alone”. Better known by his stage name Petit Biscuit, the baby-faced musician entertained a sold-out audience last Friday at Rickshaw Stop during his Bay Area debut for POPSCENE.

Chicago-based electronic band Shallou got the party started with a solid set. If you happened to miss Petit Biscuit this time around, make sure to catch him when he returns to SF in August for a show at The Warfield as he continues to tour in support of his 2016 self-titled LP.

Vagabon proves at Rickshaw Stop that she has what it takes to make it big

VagabonBy Norm de Veyra //

Vagabon with Allison Crutchfield, joyride! //
Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco
March 23rd, 2017 //

Fresh off a week of shows at South by Southwest, Vagabon took the stage at Rickshaw Stop last night and dropped an incredible set after Allison Crutchfield, who performed with her backing band The Fizz, and joyride! opened things up.

There’s no doubt it has been one helluva month for musician and producer Laetitia Tamko, aka Vagabon. Her debut album Infinite Worlds, which she released last month, came with a whole wave of buzz and excitement for the promising young performer from New York City. Tamko brought a solid presence and powerful voice to SF, making it clear that all the buzz surrounding her first studio effort has been justified.

The Band Perry wrap up their pop-up tour with a sold-out show at Great American Music Hall

The Band PerryBy Norm de Veyra //

The Band Perry //
Great American Music Hall – San Francisco
March 22nd, 2017 //

The Band Perry closed their “Welcome to My Bad Imagination” pop-up tour with a sold-out show at the Great American Music Hall last night.

With the sibling trio set deep amid the crowd and playing in the round, the evening offered a special experience for friends, fans and family gathered at the historic theater. Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry made sure to provide a strong dose of the new “pop” sound that listeners can expect to hear on their forthcoming third LP My Bad Imagination, which they’ll drop later this year on Interscope Records.

The Coathangers leave an indelible impression in SF

The CoathangersBy Norm de Veyra //

The Coathangers with Girl Tears, The Heartlights //
Brick & Mortar Music Hall – San Francisco
March 10th, 2017 //

The Coathangers tore up SF last Friday with an impressive performance at Brick & Mortar Music Hall. The Atlanta punk trio dropped an infectiously energetic set for the first of two shows in the Bay Area as they continued the West Coast leg of their North American tour.

The all-female group was as cohesive of a band as I’ve ever seen, and this performance only further showcased The Coathangers’ great chemistry as they blazed through tracks off their latest LP Nosebleed Weekend after LA’s Girl Tears and The Heartlights from Oakland opened things up.

And although some may have left the venue a little banged up and bruised from the raucous crowd, I don’t think anyone was complaining after the show ended.

Lucius exhibit power, beauty at a sold-out Fillmore

LuciusBy Norm de Veyra //

Lucius with The Cactus Blossoms //
The Fillmore – San Francisco
November 17th, 2016 //

Lucius, the Brooklyn-based five-piece, dazzled on the first of two nights at The Fillmore last week. Led by the powerhouse vocals of Holly Lessig and Jess Wolfe, the ever-stylishly caped duo kept the sold-out crowd rolling high through its hour-and-a-half set that highlighted the funkier and harder-hitting tracks off Good Grief, Lucius’ third LP that was released back in March.

A definite highlight of the evening had to be “Gone Insane”, with Lessig and Wolfe slowly building the anguish in their voices to almost a crescendoing, cathartic final chorus — a masterful performance to a powerful song.

Accompanying the indie-pop outfit for the night were The Cactus Blossoms. Minnesotan brothers Page Burkam and Jack Torrey brought with them some solid, old-school country vibes as the duo warmed up the audience with a repertoire of slow-burning love songs and tight harmonies.

Låpsley shows at The Regency Ballroom why she continues to be one to watch

LåpsleyBy Norm de Veyra //

Låpsley with Aquilo //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
November 15th, 2016 //

The Brits turned up in SF last Tuesday and left The Regency Ballroom crowd swooning. Holly Lapsley Fletcher displayed exactly why she’s one to watch as a young, up-and-coming singer, showcasing her confident and powerful voice. The smooth coolness of Låpsley’s electropop ballads from her debut LP Long Way Home belie her mischievous and humorous personality, but the audience caught glimpses of it during her headlining set.

Låpsley’s fellow countrymen, Aquilo, were on hand to open the show, and the indietronica duo nicely established the vibes early on with their forlorn ballads. The group gave us a nice peek into what we should expect from its debut album Silhouettes, which is set to be released early next year.

Falling Short
Tell Me the Truth
Seven Months
This Woman’s Work (Kate Bush cover)
Love Is Blind
Operator (He Doesn’t Call Me)
Hurt Me (new outro chords)