The Revivalists, Jamestown Revival bring the heat to wine country at Robert Mondavi Winery

The Revivalists

The Revivalists

By James Nagel //

The Revivalists with Jamestown Revival //
Robert Mondavi Winery – Oakville, CA
July 14th, 2017 //

Last Friday, The Revivalists and Jamestown Revival echoed through a vineyard-covered valley for their sold-out show at Robert Mondavi Winery. Groups of stereotypical wine lovers poured through the gates, enjoying good food, good drink and of course, good music under the warm California sun at this Napa Valley outdoor venue.

Jamestown Revival incited sporadic dancing throughout their set, though most audience members chose to sit on the expansive lawn and take in the music from the ground. The crowd applauded the folk-rock duo’s performance, which included “California (Cast Iron Soul)” off their 2014 debut LP Utah as well as a James Taylor cover.

Jamestown Revival

Jamestown Revival

A beautiful sunset took center stage during the 30-minute changeover, followed by a killer set by The Revivalists that had fans on their feet from the start. People sang along to their favorite songs, including “Keep Going”, “It Was a Sin”, “Wish I Knew You” and an encore performance of “Hey Jude”, which brought them to the venue’s hard 10 p.m. curfew.

Don’t miss your next chance to catch either of these bands, and if you find yourself fortunate enough to call the Bay Area your home, treat yourself to a concert at Robert Mondavi Winery this summer.

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe expands at Terrapin Crossroads as Phil Lesh joins the party

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe with Phil LeshBy James Nagel //

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe //
Terrapin Crossroads – San Rafael, CA
March 27th, 2017 //

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe brought the funk to Terrapin Crossroads for a two-set, sold-out performance last Friday. Denson and company started things off slowly but eventually put fans into a frenzy with a jazzy cover of ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid”. After that, the show turned into an energizing dance party for the rest of the night.

Though it might have been a surprise to some, regulars at Terrapin Crossroads have come to expect frequent guest appearances by the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh. With three songs left in the first set, Lesh stepped onstage and helped out with a cover of “Shakedown Street”. All in all, it was a very fun, jammy, jazzy and smiles-all-around show.

ODESZA soar to new heights at Bill Graham Civic

ODESZABy James Nagel //

ODESZA with Bonobo, Big Wild //
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco
December 11th, 2015 //

After taking their live show to the next level at Mezzanine last year (read our review here), ODESZA returned to SF for two nights at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium last week. Fans trickled into the open venue on Friday with plenty of seating for all and the beer line still fairly short.

Los Angeles producer Big Wild (born Jackson Stell) served as the night’s first opener, and his entire set was played with four stationary red lights behind him. Stell was equally stationary, mostly drumming on a pad before breaking away from the monotony by sitting on one of the monitors and drumming on that.



Following Big Wild was British musician and producer Bonobo (born Simon Green), who engaged the crowd with a DJ set as more spectators filed into the room, anxiously awaiting ODESZA’s headlining set.

By the time the electronic music duo from Seattle arrived on stage, the venue was officially packed to the brim and ready to explode. Performing in front of a large five-panel display that was beautifully back-lit, ODESZA’s Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight had the crowd hooting and hollering during every break in the action. To close things out, their encore featured a waterfall of pyrotechnics that ended with an explosion of confetti, leaving us all thoroughly satisfied as we headed home for the night.

If the Greek Theatre Berkeley had a roof, Florence + The Machine would have blown it off

Florence + The MachineBy James Nagel //

Florence + The Machine with The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger //
Greek Theatre – U.C. Berkeley
October 22nd, 2015 //

Florence + The Machine spent two nights at the Greek Theatre Berkeley last week, and what a show it was on Thursday evening. Here are some thoughts from the performance:

• When I arrive at the venue, the place is packed. Opening the show, The Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger have just started playing to a near-capacity crowd. At least at this point, there is still some room to walk around.

• The Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger seems to be an odd choice to open for Florence + The Machine. Psychedelic and much less refined, the audience appeared rather indifferent while watching the band, which was founded by Sean Lennon (son of John) and Charlotte Kemp Muhl.

• The pit is closed for photo access, so looks like I will be shooting this show from the back of the bowl.

• More people file in, and there’s a ton of security. Any space open is quickly occupied. It’s like musical chairs when the music stops.

Florence + The Machine

• You might already know this, but Florence Welch has an amazing voice.

• You know those art installations made of hundreds of metal squares that move with the wind? They have those that are 30 feet by 30 feet, and they look pretty cool as the band continues to play.

• I have not seen this many people at the Greek before. Everyone is loving the show.

• Welch does a lap around the inside ring of the bowl, stopping briefly at the sound stage. What a cool moment.

• Damn, Welch has an amazing voice.

Cold War Kids, WATERS & Avid Dancer bring the fun to Fox Theater Oakland

cold-war-kids_postBy James Nagel //

Cold War Kids with WATERS, Avid Dancer //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
October 21st, 2014 //

Friday night’s show began with fans trickling in as the first opener, Avid Dancer, took the stage. Stoic front man Jacob Dillan Summers gave a solid performance that held the attention of the crowd, and even garnered loud cheers as the band returned to the stage after the set to retrieve their equipment. They seemed a bit stiff though, sticking close to their mic stands like a baby cub to its momma bear. This was especially evident as Summers concluded the show with a The Who-inspired guitar slam, which looked more like an apathetic drop. That said, they were still entertaining.


Local talent-on-the-rise WATERS was up next and actually drew more media to the photo pit than Cold War Kids. Flowers embellished the stage as the SF locals woo’ed the audience with their engaging banter. Towards the end of the set they led a sing along, encouraging fans to literally ‘Woo” to the tune of “I Feel Everything” – it was a nice touch. It was also a great set, and fun to shoot.

*Side note, someone left a water bottle on the stage so I tried to get the band and the bass drum in a shot together. See for yourself below. I thought it was super clever, though some may disagree.


After some time between sets, fans pried their eyeballs from their cellphones to take in the experience provided courtesy of Cold War Kids. The stage featured a backdrop of a giant Skeleton, which changed colors throughout the show. Things really picked up with “Hang Me Out to Dry”, which was played about halfway through the set.


Subsequent songs were met with loud cheers, which might lead one to believe the half-full (or half-empty, depending on your disposition) venue was actually sold out. For those who did make it out to the Fox Theater – Oakland on Friday night, they got exactly what they wanted.

Editor’s Note: James Nagel is a Bay Area Photographer that writes from a mostly visual POV because, well, that’s what he enjoys.

Digitalism take visuals next level in return to The Independent


By James Nagel //

Digitalism (Live) with Big Wild, MPHD //
The Independent – San Francisco
Friday November 7th, 2014 //

Digitalism returned to The Independent with a much bigger production compared to a year and a half ago. Projected lights lit up a semitransparent curtain, creating a wall of images at times, while other times the DJs were lit up to show through. “Pogo” was a big hit with the crowd as always to end the night, with everyone singing along in the confines of the sold out room.

Opener Big Wild barely coaxed a head bob from the crowd that anxiously awaited Digitalism’s live set.

PHOTOS: Foster The People, Sylvan Esso at Fox Oakland 11/8

foster-the-people_postBy James Nagel //

Foster the People with Sylvan Esso, Soko //
Fox Theater – Oakland, CA
November 8th, 2014 //

It was a night of slick pop, both established and emerging, in Oakland on Saturday.

Tight production, awesome lighting, dynamic and colorful. These descriptions dutifully describe Foster the People 2.0. Mark Foster has come a long way from writing commercial jingles. And now he sports blond hair à la Bart Simpson as he leads the People in continued support of the group’s second effort, Supermodel. Foster The People are as glossy as it gets in 2014, and the photos below help to inform this opinion.

2014 breakout act Sylvan Esso opened for FTP for the first time on Saturday at The Fox, and just as when they opened for tUnE-yArDs and headlined at The Independent, show goers responded without hesitation throughout, as Amelia Meath’s dancing inspires replication. Producer and passionate nob-turner Nick Sanborn flipped off the crowd in the middle of the song for no apparent reason — perhaps to elicit some kind emotive response.

Openers Soko were a bit awkward between songs, and the crowd of late teens seemed hesitant to embrace the unfamiliar early on in the night.

Sylvan Esso continue breakout ascent at The Independent


By James Nagel //

Sylvan Esso with Dana Buoy (of Akron/Family) //
The Independent – San Francisco
August 23rd, 2014 //

One of the biggest breakout acts of the year, Sylvan Esso returned to SF over the weekend to headline a massively sold-out show at The Independent. The electropop duo elicited a palpable crowd reaction when it opened for tUnE-yArDs in June at The Fillmore, but it’s still surprising to see tickets selling for over $100 on the secondary market for Saturday’s show. Sylvan Esso’s meteoric rise in popularity should have them headlining theaters in no time, and they’ll be back to open for Foster the People at Fox Theater Oakland in early November.

If you haven’t heard their hypnotically addicting self-titled freshman effort yet, give it a listen and view photos from Saturday’s show below.

PHOTOS: Ellie Goulding at Bill Graham Civic 4/19


By James Nagel //

Ellie Goulding with Conway
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium — San Francisco
April 19th, 2014

The lights dimmed, commanding thousands of deafening screams from the sold out crowd, reminiscent of the moment the Beatles graced the stage of the Ed Sullivan show… well, I just mean it was really loud.

Ellie Goulding saved most of her hits for the final songs/encore, but treated the crowd to her latest hit, “Beating Heart”, from the film Divergent, about halfway through the set. She left no mystery of what her last song would be, saving “Lights” and “Burn” for the very end.

If you weren’t able to make it to the show, emulate the experience by listening to her songs while clicking through the photos below!

PHOTOS: Flogging Molly at Fox Theater Oakland 3/14


By James Nagel //

Flogging Molly
Fox Theater Oakland — Oakland, CA
March 14, 2014

A sold out Fox Theater crowd gathered to see Flogging Molly at the tail end of their 10th and final Green 17 Tour. Lead singer and guitarist Dave King and company incited the audience with hits like “Drunken Lullabies”, turning the floor into a wave, with mohawk-clad crowd surfers riding their way to the front. Although the music itself was played so loud it was nearly inaudible, it was still successful in sending the fans into a frenzy of drunken cheers and ear-to-ear smiles.

Couldn’t get a ticket in time? Get the next best thing by clicking through the gallery below!

PHOTOS: Panic! at the Disco at Fox Theater Oakland 2/15

Panic!-at-the-Disco_postBy James Nagel //

Panic! at the Disco with The Colourist, X Ambassadors //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
February 15th, 2014 //

It was another full house at the Fox Theater Oakland last Saturday night, as fans eagerly awaited a headlining performance from Panic! at the Disco.

Notable opener The Colourist, led by Adam Castilla and Ellen Page doppelganger Maya Tuttle, offered an entertaining performance of their latest EP Lido, but it was obvious the audience was there to see one band and one band only.

I was pleasantly surprised by the performance offered by Panic! at the Disco. After sifting through several YouTube videos of their live shows and having seen similar bands like Fall Out Boy, All-American Rejects and Boys Like Girls over the years, I had come to expect the high-energy dancing at the expense of a great vocal performance. It may have been that extra burst of stamina that comes from an end to a long tour, but Brendon Urie and company met the standards set by their recorded albums for range and lyrical complexity.

Visually, Panic! at the Disco pleased the eyes of the crowd with giant screens as backdrops, platforms for the bassist and guitarist and smoke spouts at the front of the stage. As always, the Fox Theater provided excellent lighting. Check out the photos below to see what I mean.

The Flaming Lips & Tame Impala deliver a Halloween Bloodbath at Bill Graham Civic

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

Photos by James Nagel // Written by Mike Frash //

The Flaming Lips & Tame Impala with White Denim //
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco
October 31st, 2013 //

In many ways, the triple-bill event that took place at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in SF was the ideal Halloween gathering. The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala and White Denim all deal in the realm of psychedelic, weird music and the creation of lasting, memorable impressions.

Members from all three acts got into the spirit of the ghoulish holiday by getting into costume, with each band donning drag wear in some way. The crowd followed suit, displaying a variety of costumes from pink robots to requisite zombies and happy hippies.

Spending Halloween with one band on the rise, another that is fully realizing their potential and a headliner in the midst of artistic evolution proved to be a wonderful mental mind-fuck for the ages.

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

White Denim performed an abbreviated 7 p.m. set that featured tracks off their new LP Corsicana Lemonade. “At Night in Dreams” was a delight to hear live, but the Austin-based group could have used another 30 minutes to flesh out a couple more new songs and jam out to a couple favorites like “Street Joy” and “Drug”.

The Flaming Lips, meanwhile, have abandoned the cheerleaders, the oversized hands, the hamster ball and many of the elements of spectacle Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne and company have become known for over the years. The Heady Fwends release strongly hinted at a new direction last year, but their 2013 LP The Terror made it official — gone are the euphoric, melodic hyper-happy songs that illustrate visions of dancing on puffy clouds in the sky with Care Bears and unicorns, hello drone-filled soundscapes and slow building intensity!

A Halloween Bloodbath was promised and literally delivered by Coyne. Appearing to the “Halloween Theme” from John Carpenter’s films, Coyne took to his Matrix-style pedestal dressed as Carrie, pre-blood bath. After getting the bucket from a scantily clad woman on a bear, Coyne had a cinematic Jesus look for the rest of the show. Huge red balloons were unleashed and a visual stage production consistently delivered ‘wows’ that could likely surpass any dance show in the eye-candy department. The big red balloons didn’t quite fit the intense, drone-filled cuts the Flaming Lips played, but they served as a veil for all the folks who came for Yoshimi-era Flaming Lips.

Tame Impala

Tame Impala

Overall, there is much more audience member internalizing with songs like “Look…The Sun Is Rising” and “The Terror” and less singalong numbers at a Flaming Lips concert these days. But when songs like the encore ballad “Do You Realize?” show up, they are much more effective.

Since the previous 30 minutes of music could have lent itself to a horror movie soundtrack with its intense, stressful sound and effect, “Do You Realize?” delivered an imprinting, memorable moment. The same thing happened mid-set during “Race for the Prize” — placing happy, positive songs after a half hour of intense, repetitive sound truly allows for a strong feeling of release. Kevin Parker from Tame Impala joined for the beginning of the Lips’ set, adding a hypnotic electric guitar layer.

This new sound allows Coyne to take advantage of technology to modulate his vocals, which helps him play to his strengths as a passionate frontman. The drone-filled, intense mind-melting chaos can be surprisingly peaceful if it’s expected and embraced. In many ways, the Flaming Lips have come full circle as an introspective, psychedelic freak out of a live act.

Tame Impala

Tame Impala

If Tame Impala were to tour forever on Lonerism, it would be understandable and acceptable. They might be one of the best touring acts on the planet at the moment, and the project seems to be in the midst of realizing its full potential. This particular show marked the fourth time that the Australian band has performed in the Bay Area since last summer, and constant touring has made Parker and company better each time they come back to visit.

The grim reaper came on stage to introduce Tampe Impala as the Spice Girls, and sure enough the five guys looked the part. The set began with “Half Glass Full of Wine”, a song the group often encores with, signaling things weren’t quite normal. The group still play five or six cuts off InnerSpeaker live, and songs like “Solitude Is Bliss” and “It Is Not Meant To Be” have evolved magnificently over the years, allowing some of the riff heavy sound on Lonerism to spill over into earlier music.

“Elephant” got the Halloween treatment, transitioning a bit of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” into the mix. The set highlight had to be an extended acid-psych section in “Be Above It” that could officially be called a mind melter. The weird jumped another level when an octopus-like costume made its way on stage. If you ever have to chance to witness Tame Impala perform live, I implore you to go.


Halloween Theme
The W.A.N.D.
Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast
Silver Trembling Hands
Look…The Sun Is Rising
The Terror
Race for the Prize
Try to Explain
Gates of Steel (Devo cover)
Butterfly, How Long It Takes to Die
Turning Violent
A Spoonful Weighs a Ton

Do You Realize?
Always There, In Our Hearts


Half Full Glass of Wine
Enors Toi
Solitude Is Bliss
Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?
Why Won’t They Talk to Me?
Desire Be Desire Go
Mind Mischief
It Is Not Meant to Be
Elephant (Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” snippit)
Be Above It
Feels LIke We Only Go Backwards
Apocalypse Dreams