Phish announce 2015 summer tour and festival

phish-tour-2015Photo by Sam Heller // Written by Kevin Raos //

Jam-band titans Phish have announced their summer tour plans, including the annual Labor Day run at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado.

Additionally, they have announced their 10th festival, the Magnaball, to be held August 21st-23rd in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Tickets for Magnaball GO ON SALE THIS FRIDAY! All information for this festival can be found here.

All of ticketing information can be found here.


7/21 Les Schwab Amphitheatre, Bend, OR
7/22 Les Schwab Amphitheatre, Bend, OR
7/24 Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
7/25 The Forum, Los Angeles, CA
7/28 Austin360 Amphitheater, Austin, TX
7/29 Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, Grand Prairie, TX
7/31 Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood, Atlanta, GA
8/01 Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood, Atlanta, GA
8/02 Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, Tuscaloosa, AL
8/04 Riverfront Park Amphitheater, Nashville, TN
8/05 Starlight Theatre, Kansas City, MO
8/07 Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
8/08 Alpine Valley Music Center, East Troy, WI
8/09 Alpine Valley Music Center, East Troy, WI
8/11 The Mann, Philadelphia, PA
8/12 The Mann, Philadelphia, PA
8/14 Walnut Creek Amphitheater, Raleigh, NC
8/15 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
8/16 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
8/21 Magnaball at Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY
8/22 Magnaball at Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY
8/23 Magnaball at Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY
9/04 Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO
9/05 Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO
9/06 Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO


NOISE POP 2014: El Ten Eleven, Mattson 2 & Pale Blue Dot at the New Parish 2/28

el-ten-eleven_postPhoto by Chad // Written by Kevin Raos //

El Ten Eleven with Mattson 2, Pale Blue Dot //
The New Parish — Oakland, CA
February 28, 2014 //

Where to start with Friday night’s show at the New Parish. It was a dark and stormy night. No really, it actually was a dark and stormy night in Oakland for Noise Pop Festival at The New Parish, featuring a trio of really cool bands, headlined by El Ten Eleven. First up was Pale Blue Dot, a trio from the East Bay consisting of members of James & Evander, The Aimless Never Miss and B. Hamilton, who brought their “Carl Sagan-inspired disco” to those lucky enough to seek refuge from the blustery conditions outside.

Next Mattson 2 sported a suit and tie with their gazey hybrid of surfy jazz-rock. Mattson 2 even invited famed pro skateboarder and musician Tommy Guerrero to slap the bass for a few songs, including one titled “Cascade”. Consisting of drums and guitar, this duo, and sometimes trio, was got the crowd warmed up properly for the headliner.

Finally a packed Parish was ready for the main event, El Ten Eleven. The self-proclaimed “power duo” from Los Angeles created an immense sound with the aid of a looper and heavily modulated effects. Wielding a doubleneck guitar/bass combo, El Ten Eleven’s experimental sound was polished and fresh, never drifting into monotony, which looper pedals can sometimes do. Entirely instrumental, El Ten Eleven was highly danceable and funky, much to the approval of the what-appeared-to-be fervent fans.

Expectations are everything for me. I knew nothing about El Ten Eleven prior to the show and was incredibly impressed by their original sound and dramatic display of exceptional musicianship. According to a friend at the show, they played some of their most well known songs, even offering their take on Radiohead’s classic “Paranoid Android”. El Ten Eleven’s vibrant live show was highly technical, musically intelligent and infectiously groovy. They are a band that is not to be missed.

You know I will be at the show next time they come through the bay area.

Mayer Hawthorne swoons sold-out crowd in Oakland

Mayer HawthornePhotos by Kory Thibeault // Written by Kevin Raos //

Mayer Hawthorne with Quadron, Gavin Turek //
Fox Theater – Oakland
February 1st, 2013 //

The Fox Theater was the place to be in Oakland on Saturday night. Those lucky enough to have tickets to this sold out show were ready to groove to Mayer Hawthorne’s slick style of suit & tie neo-soul. It was the rapper-gone-soul-singer’s first trip to Oakland and he assured the adoring audience that it would not be his last.

Before the party got started, the crowd was offered a tasty treat that few probably saw coming, Quadron. Quadron is a Danish indie electro pop duo that has been making headlines with their 2013 album Avalanche. Quadron consists of vocalist Coco O and musician/producer Rodin Hannibal, who is also closely associated with the acclaimed group Rhye. The crowd was stunned by the immense power of singer Coco O’s voice, pausing from their mixed drinks and conversations with friends to turn towards the hypnotic performance on stage. Keep an eye and ear on this duo.

I had a few questions going in to the show, as this was my first soirée with Mr. Hawthorne. Would there be a full band? Would he play actual instruments, or would he DJ? Would he rap? How cheesy will it be? Well the answer is a little of all the above. Low expectations can lead to great experiences, but even if I did have any expectations Mayer Hawthorne, and his band he sometimes refers to as “The County”, surely would have exceeded them. Mayer Hawthorne proved to be a polished showman with musical talent that spans many genres, demonstrating an ability to not only swoon the crowd with his trademark soulful singing, but also his proficiency on a multitude of instruments.

There was a little of everything on Saturday night, from soul to rock to hip hop to reggae, music-lovers of all varieties would find an appealing morsel to munch on. This was easily the most diverse crowd I’ve seen at the Fox Theater. They were extremely well-dressed, lubricated and ready to party, and Hawthorne didn’t hesitate to get them involved. “Are you ready to have the greatest night of your life?” he asked after the “Physicality” opener, and during “Back Seat Lover” he pulled out the tambourine and invoked a call-and-response from the crowd. After just three songs Hawthorne commented that his hands were already bleeding.

After a honeymoon period of 4 or 5 songs, the crowd began to settle in to a groove for what I thought was the highlight segment of the show. A Hawthorne drum solo kicked off “Designer Drug” which segued into the Bell Biv DeVoe’s 90’s R&B classic “Poison”. Obviously the crowd thought this was incredible. Next was “No Strings” which featured a soaring synthesizer solo by keyboardist Quincy McCracy, a clear highlight as the music, lights and crowd completely jelled in one cohesive unit. The musical talents of the rest of his band continued to shine during “Green Eye Love” with a slap-tastic bass solo to start followed by a ripping guitar solo to close out the tune.

Mayer Hawthorne

Mayer Hawthorne appealed to the medical nature of Oakland by slowing it down with “Allie Jones”, a reggae number off his new album Where Does This Door Go, which was asserted by another spacey synth lead. The Oakland crowd ate up a rendition of “Fuck the Police” intertwined with his original song “Crime”, complete with sirens and strobe lights.

Throughout the night Mayer Hawthorne’s hip-hop side would appear in glimpses, but perhaps the most prominent display of his alternate musical ego came when with a cover of Aerosmith’s rap-rock anthem “Walk This Way”. Mayer played guitar and rapped a couple verses before the band kicked into their radio hit “The Walk”, which he dedicated to his “bitch ex-girlfriend.”

Another clear highlight, and one of my favorite Mayer Hawthorne tunes, came late in the set with “Corsican Rosé”. This infectious beat accented a very enjoyable set filled with what Mayer Hawthorne does best, a little of everything. Mayer Hawthorne may have found success with his neo-soul side but he will always stay true to his hip-hop roots. The marriage of both influences create a very diverse sound that throws back to the cigar smoke-filled lounges with Dean Martin all the way to the modern day suit & tie stylings of Justin Timberlake. Mayer Hawthorne walks a thin line between retro soul and modern hip hop as is evidenced by his outfit on Saturday night, a sport coat and sneakers.

Admittedly, this was my first time seeing Mayer Hawthorne, so I had no idea what I was getting in to. Going into the show I knew very little about Mayer Hawthorne, other than what I had heard on the radio (I.e. “The Walk” dozens upon dozens of times).

I knew I was in for a show, but not to which caliber, and although he is not Dean Martin or Justin Timberlake, he was still very impressive. Mayer Hawthorne had a charm about him that was genuine without being smug. His musical talent is apparent, blending genres old and modern to create something delightful. Although the $100 scalpers were charging outside might have been a little too steep, Mayer Hawthorne is still a surefire dance party that everyone can boogie down to.

Back Seat Lover
Reach Out Richard (might not be 100%)
Wine Glass Woman
Designer Drug (with POISON)
No Strings
The Innocent
Green Eye Love
Allie Jones
Get to Know You
Do It
Walk this Way > The Walk
The Stars Are Ours
Corsican Rose
Where Does This Door Go
The Ills

Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out
Her Favorite Song

Cloud Control blow through Rickshaw Stop

Cloud ControlPhotos by Kory Thibeault // Written by Kevin Raos //

Cloud Control with Body Parts, Wild Ones //
Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco
January 21st, 2014 //

Cloud Control blew through the Rickshaw Stop last Tuesday, performing a fully immersive show to a small, but dedicated crowd. Supported by Body Parts and Wild Ones, fans who stuck around late on a weeknight were rewarded with a whimsical, yet vociferous, set from a promising young group of rising stars in the indie scene.

The synth pop rockers from Australia demonstrated a polished sound that was spearheaded by the vocal intertwining of Alister Wright (guitar, vocals) and Heidi Lenffer (keyboards, vocals). It’s hard not to draw comparisons to Tame Impala, in that their psychedelic blend of synth rock will put you in a trance one moment and then jolt you awake with their unabashed force of rock and roll the next.

With only two albums under their belt, Crowd Control played a heavy dose of tunes off of their latest record, Dream Cave (2013). The show began the same way as the album with the 1-2 combo of “Scream Rave” and “Dojo Rising.” The band went on to play nearly everything from their new album while sprinkling several songs from their 2011 debut album Bliss Release.

The musical highlight of the evening was “Gold Canary,” when in the middle of the song they segued into the classic Butthole Surfers song “Pepper” and then back into “Gold Canary.”

To say it was loud on Tuesday would be an understatement. The Rickshaw Stop likes it loud, but this was one of the loudest shows I have been to. It was impossible not to be fully inundated by the sheer mass of sound barreling into the crowd.

Cloud Control has made a name for themselves in Australia and slowly the American audience is catching on. The potential is there for Cloud Control to get big in a similar vein as Tame Impala or M83. Jinx. They demonstrated an impressive ability across the spectrum of music, quiet at times and vehemently deafening at others. Cloud Control is definitely a band to keep an ear on as I would not be surprised to see them appearing on some festival lineups after their European Tour.

Word isn’t out about Cloud Control yet, but that could soon change.

Scream Rave
Dojo Rising
Island Living
This Is What I Said
Happy Birthday
Meditation Song #2 (Why, Oh Why)
Moon Rabbit
The Smoke
The Feeling
Gold Canary > Pepper > Gold Canary
Ghost Story
There’s Nothing in the Water We Can’t Fight

Dream Cave
Death Cloud

Rubblebucket triumph through celebration of life and love

Rubblebucket_1By Kevin Raos //

Rubblebucket //
The New Parish – Oakland, CA
November 7th, 2013 //

It has been quite a roller coaster year for Rubblebucket. Enjoying much success in 2012, Rubblebucket was poised for a breakout year in 2013. Then, in July of this year, the group announced lead singer and co-founder Kalmia Traver was diagnosed with Stage 1 ovarian cancer. Undoubtedly this was devastating news for friends, family, fans of the band and Kalmia herself. Fuck cancer, in any form.

In a statement released by Kalmia on July 22nd, she proclaimed the band would continue touring this fall and that she would be counting on their fans to be “my love line, my support groups and inspirations (as always).” Life reared its ugly head and Rubblebucket weren’t about the let it break them.

At the New Parish in Oakland Thursday Night (November 7), Rubblebucket’s performance was inspirational, to say the least. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, this was their first venture into the gritty Oakland wilderness. The seven-piece band brought their blend of dance, brass, and electro-synth to the small stage in Oakland to the adoration of their fans, who filled every square inch of the venue with positivity. Love and dance filled the room — not a negative vibe could be sensed in the building.

The affection and compassion Traver expressed in her July statement was evident as the band performed their songs with infectious enthusiasm that spread throughout the crowd like wildfire. Everyone lost themselves in the moment, a moment that was more like musical therapy than a concert.

Kalmia walked onto stage wearing a piece of cloth and hat on her head. The music began and all felt right in the world. So as not to restrain her unstoppable dancing, Kalmia eventually pulled her hat off to candidly reveal a completely bald head, a product of her recent rounds of chemotherapy.

This, however, would be the only sign that her entire world was turned upside-down just a few months prior. Not once did she talk about the offstage issues, but rather Traver focussed on the love in the room. Her smile had never been bigger as the asked the audience “Can you feel the love?”

The band played many of their hits, including the ever-popular “Came Out of a Lady” and the title track from their latest EP “Save Charlie”.

It’s evident that Rubblebucket is as strong as ever. They have been reminded of the fragility of our existence and now show an even greater appreciation for life and love. As Kalmia so eloquently stated in July, “Love your mind-spirit-bodies, be healthy, get checkups, eat well, laugh a lot, be kind to each other, be kind to this earth that we are made of.”

Rubblebucket’s fortuitous story is simply an inspirational reminder to be a better person and cherish every moment we have in our short time here.

Your guide to all the Phish after parties in Tahoe, SF

PhishPhotos by Sam Heller // Written by Kevin Raos //

Phish is currently in the middle of their West Coast swing. After slaying two nights at The Gorge, the caravan heads south to California for two nights in Lake Tahoe at Harvey’s Outdoor Arena and three nights in SF at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

Many people will want to keep the party going long after Phish has ended — that is why we have compiled this list of after parties (and one pre-party) to keep you twirling into the wee hours of the night (morning?). Most shows have a price tag, but a couple are FREE.

Enter below for a chance to win tickets to Conspirator at Mezzanine this Saturday, August 3rd.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay in the loop for more contest giveaways.

Contest ends Friday, August 2 at Noon. The winners will be picked at random & notified by email. Your email will be kept private – we will share your email with no one. 21+ only.


Tahoe After Parties:

Tuesday, July 30th

Horizon Casino Resort
Sam Bush Band w/ Polecat
ALO w/ Magic Gravy
Price: $35.00

Greensky Bluegrass – Blu
Price: $25.00 advance, $30.00 day of show

edIT w/ SubTripixxx & Coop da Loop – Opal Ultra Lounge
Price: $20.00 advance, $25.00 day of show

Harrah’s Lake Tahoe
The Meter Men – George Porter, Jr, Zigaboo Modeliste, and Leo Nocentelli with special guest John “Papa” Gros of Papa Grows Funk
Price: $62.50

Crystal Bay Club
FREE Reggae
Price: FREE

Wednesday, July 31st

Horizon Casino Resort
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe w/ The Pimps of Joytime
Hot Buttered Rum ft. Allie Kral of Cornmeal w/ Poor Man’s Whiskey
Price: $35.00

Emancipator – Opal Ultra Lounge
Price: $25.00 advance, $30.00 day of show

Moksha ft. Jen Hartswick & Skerik – Blu
Price: $20.00 advance, $23.00 day of show

Tahoe Steamer
Price: $45.00

San Francisco After Parties:

Friday, August 2nd

50 Mason Social House
Phish After Party with Garrin Benfield, Jordan Feinstein, Murph Murphy and Lucas Carlton!
Price: n/a

BooM BooM RooM
Moksha w/ Carlos Santana Horns
Price: $10.00

Saturday, August 3rd

Price: FREE?? WIN FREE TICKETS ABOVE. Or $20.00, here.

BooM BooM RooM
Price: $10.00

Sunday, August 4th
Jerry Day
Price: FREE

Tea Leaf Green leave The New Parish in its wake

tea-leaf-green-new-parishBy Kevin Raos //

Tea Leaf Green //
The New Parish – Oakland
July 20th, 2013 //

Jam-band veterans Tea Leaf Green returned to The New Parish in Oakland Saturday night, delighting the hometown crowd with a heavy dose of new material. As Bay Area natives, Tea Leaf Green have been making a name for themselves in and around San Francisco since the late 90’s, and despite a long career and a loyal fan base, they proved that they aren’t afraid to play on their own terms.

Formed in 1996, Tea Leaf Green have been a staple on the jam scene for ages. Their face-melting guitar and hypnotic keyboards have been a cornerstone to their sound, but it was the addition of bassist Reed Mathis in 2007 that has propelled the act to new heights.

The new direction of Tea Leaf Green was on full display Saturday at The New Parish as they ripped through tunes primarily selected from their previous three albums, including their most recent offering, In the Wake. It was no surprise the band showcased tracks from In The Wake, playing nearly the entire new album. However, it was surprising that the band broke into almost no older material for the hometown crowd. Only two songs performed were not from a Reed Mathis album, “Baseball Jam” and “Flowers and the Devil”.

Fans expecting to hear classic Tea Leaf Green songs such as “The Garden” and “Pansperdemic De-Evolution” may have been a tad disappointed with the song selections. However, take one listen to this band and any of those thoughts will be quickly thrown out the window. It is clear Tea Leaf Green is creating some of the best music of their career and they are not afraid to put it on display with ferocity. New tracks such as “Space Hero”, “Penny Saved” and “We Aren’t Done” have become instant crowd pleasers, and they demonstrate that they don’t need to reach for deep cuts to satisfy their fans. If the dancing of the crowd was any indication, the new tracks were incredibly well-received.

If there was anything to learn from this show or the general state of Tea Leaf Green, I think it is safe to say that the impact of Reed Mathis on Tea Leaf Green is creating waves, leaving the old Tea Leaf Green in their wake (see what I did there?). Yes, Josh Clark is a beast on guitar, and Trevor Garrod will always be the main voice of the band, but it is Reed Mathis’s presence on bass that takes Tea Leaf Green’s dynamic to the next level. At any moment, Reed is apt to go on a musical interlude, leading the band through an improvisational tangent. This is something Tea Leaf Green never did prior to Mathis joining. Founding bassist Ben “Milky” Chambers left the band in late 2007 to “pursue some of life’s other passions.” Chambers will always be an integral part of the group’s history, but Chambers’ departure transformed the band from a stoner jam band into a respectable improvisational rock band. Not only is a Reed a master on the bass, but he also brings a jazz element to the table and is likely to take just as many solos as Josh Clark on any given evening.

Another point of note, Tea Leaf Green did not play the traditional 2 set show that they, and many similar bands, have a tendency to do. Instead they performed one, longer set. It could have been a venue/curfew thing, but it’s noteworthy never the less.

In closing, Tea Leaf Green still has it. They’re as musically interesting as ever and still bring the heat, even when flexing their new album. They aren’t afraid to take risks and they clearly do what they love — it shows on stage.

Sigur Rós spellbind crowd & offer new material at The Fox

Sigur-RosPhotos by Marc Fong

A band amidst a reformation, Sigur Rós proved this week they are back in a major way after a four year hiatus and the loss of a core band member earlier this year. Their dreamy, ambient but oftentimes intense style of music remains intact, however they have evolved their sound to be more assertive than the direction they took with their extremely mellow 2012 album Valtari. Sigur Rós appears to be going in a new direction, which they put on display for a captive audience at The Fox Theater, Oakland Tuesday.

Making their second Bay Area appearance in less than a year (they sub-headlined Outside Lands 2012), Sigur Rós demonstrated this new sound immediately by opening the show with a new song titled “Yfirborð”. “Kveikur,” “Hrafntinna,” and “Brennisteinn” are also new songs that were performed throughout the show. “Brennisteinn” is a perfect example of their new, more “aggressive” sound – just watch the music video. In addition to these excellent new tracks, Sigur Rós demonstrated they still have the ability to nail their classics, despite the departure of keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson earlier this year. Sigur Rós delighted with fan favorites such as “Svefn-g-englar,” “Hoppípolla” and “Glósóli,” to name a few. Although they now call themselves a “trio,” there was an accompanying string and horn section, as well as a percussionist/keyboardist and backing guitars.

The magical, etherial sounds of Sigur Rós would not be complete without steller visuals to accompany the music. Abstract video and the band member silhouettes were projected on a giant transparent screen draped in front of the stage for the first few songs before it was dramatically dropped at a peak moment, revealing the entire band behind it. Behind the band was a massive, movable video screen that played accompanying video throughout the entire show.

Frontman Jónsi looks poised to take this band to new heights and nothing should stop him. Jónsi’s spellbinding voice and guitar have always been a signature of Sigur Rós, and that has not changed one bit. Sigur Rós held the audience captive Tuesday and delivered a knockout set.

We can expect a few of the new songs we heard on Tuesday to appear on their upcoming album Kveikur, which is scheduled to drop June 18.

Ný Batterí
Með Blóðnasir
Olsen Olsen


Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard roars as the new lioness of Rock

Alabama-ShakesPhotos by Marc Fong ~ View photo gallery & setlist below

Brittany Howard, the heart and soul of Alabama Shakes, affirmed her unmitigated eminence as the premiere lioness of rock and roll at Fox Theater Oakland Tuesday. Her raw, ferocious vocals and expressive demeanor mixed with her 50’s southern style, complete her cat eye glasses, gave her a vintage look that matches the Shake’s throwback sound. The only thing missing was an iconic unidyne microphone.

Alabama Shakes formed in 2009 while the members were still in high school (feel old yet?), and they have only been touring nationally for about a year. Recent Grammy nominees for Best New Artist, their astonishing rise to festival sub-headliner status hints Brittany and the gang are only at the beginning of a long and successful career.

The Shake’s breathtaking Brittany Howard somehow has already reached legendary status in this brief amount of time. In the tradition of American blues, Howard “ain’t afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve,” telling her life story through her music. Howard’s fervid vocals belt from the depths of her soul as she erupts with impassioned intensity. A native of Alabama (duh?), her southern roots are apparent in her quirky, grimy howls that reverberate from her brilliant spirit.


All the sold out shows should be attributed to the unparalleled vocal stylings of Brittany Howard. Her stage presence captivated and enthralled the ardent audience at the Fox Theater on this rainy night. Howard’s delivery gives her songs new life that’s isn’t apparent on their record, and perfectly timed smoke wisps float onto the stage to frame Brittany’s grit and determination.

Alabama Shakes satisfied the crowd by playing two of their more popular songs, “Hang Loose” and “Hold On,” early in the show, smartly getting the radio hits out of the way so the audience could focus on deeper cuts from their only album Boys & Girls. Brittany had strong command of the microphone as she belted out tunes like “I Found You,” “Be Mine” and “On Your Way.” Whether Howard was inspiring pin-drop silence during slower tunes, or creating upbeat, euphoric moments, Alabama Shakes sang to our hearts then rocked our souls.

Goin’ To The Party
Hang Loose
Hold On
Always Alright
I Found You
Rise To The Sun
Boys & Girls
Be Mine
Worryin’ Blues
On Your Way
You Ain’t Alone
Heavy Chevy

Gospel Song
I Ain’t The Same
Heat Lightning

Sailing away with Kishi Bashi at Great American Music Hall

Kishi-BashiPhotos by Mike Frash // Written by Kevin Raos //

Kishi Bashi with Tall Tall Trees //
Great American Music Hall – San Francisco
February 27, 2013 //

After releasing one of the top albums of 2012, it was hard not to have high expectations going into Kishi Bashi’s Tuesday night show at the Great American Music Hall. K Ishibashi, a blossoming solo artist who has adopted Kishi Bashi as his artistic moniker, made his full-length debut last year with 151a after years of touring with musicians such as Regina Spektor and Of Monteal, to name a couple.

K’s solo material is vibrantly upbeat and refreshing, and he has already been commissioned for numerous commercials. A virtuosic violin player, Kishi Bashi’s solo approach makes you wonder how the songs could be translated in a live setting. With the use of a looper and his own voice, both beatboxing and singing, K was able to recreate the layered complexity of 151a while still allowing enough room for exploration.

It cannot be stated enough just how good Kishi Bashi is at violin. His skills were on marveling display as he would effortlessly shred up and down the fret board, creating a cascade of sound akin to a De Beers commercial. After creating basic song structures with his looper, K is able to orchestrate an ascending symphony of violins. This unparalleled sound establishes a fascinating dichotomy between a boisterous blend of classical and contemporary, bridging the past with the present.

With the intermittent help of two other musicians, opening act Tall Tall Trees on the space banjo and Elizabeth Ziman on percussion and keyboard, K Ishibashi was able to create a thick sound at times without the aid of the looper. Don’t expect a carbon copy of his album live; the inclusion of Tall Tall Tree’s banjo lends a bluegrass sense to the live versions of Kishi Bashi’s music.


With only one full-length album and one EP under his belt, it was clear that K would need to add a little extra to his repertoire to satiate the audience. Boy did he not disappoint. Kishi Bashi played nearly his entire catalogue of songs this night at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. In addition to his two albums, K pulled out two covers during the show, Enya’s “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)” and U2’s “With of Without You.” “Orinoco Flow” was a clear evening highlight, and featured an extended jam/hoedown in which K and Tall Tall Trees dueled back and forth before finally segueing into “Bright Whites,” one of Kishi Bashi’s most popular tunes.

K’s friendly banter with the audience was a welcome contrast to the inflated egos many musicians possess. He mentioned his rising popularity in Japan for a commercial song he wrote called “Philosophize in it! Chemicalize with it!” “It’s charting,” he added with a smile.

He seems like an approachable person, someone you could have a beer with after the show, even with his recent success and growing popularity. Even when up on stage, you could feel the humbleness and kindness in his heart, something that does not come through with many musicians. In fact, he announced an after party at a nearby bar, and K challenged the audience to get him drunk by saying he was the designated driver.

As K mentioned toward the end of the evening, he has come a long way in his brief solo career. Kishi Bashi opened for Of Montreal at Slim’s in March 2012, and one short year later he has sold out Great American Music Hall. K earned this full circle moment by producing a classic album that he recreates sublimely live.

Intro/Pathos, Pathos
Atticus, in the Desert
Evalyn, Summer Has Arrived
Wonder Woman, Wonder Me
Chester’s Burst Over The Hamptons
Beat the Bright Out of Me
Conversations at the End of the World
I Am the Antichrist to You
Philosophize in It! Chemicalize With It!
Orinoco Flow (Enya cover)
Hoe Down
Bright Whites
It All Began With a Burst

With or Without You (U2 cover)

Electric Guest ignite The Independent

Photos by Mike Frash // Written by Kevin Raos //

Electric Guest //
The Independent – San Francisco
November 2nd, 2012 //

Indie/electro/dream/neo-psych/chillgaze/wave-tronica/pop sensation Electric Guest showed Friday night at The Independent that pure talent can still ascend you quickly to stardom.

In a music world filled with so much synth, it seems just about anyone can make a hit record with a keyboard and a laptop. Just look at, say, any DJ. However, Electric Guest demonstrated musical prowess and a refined ability to write a captivating pop song, and it was all materialized by front man Asa Taccone.

Singer, songwriter and mastermind behind Electric Guest, Taccone had the capacity crowd enchanted every moment he was onstage. His fluid dance moves and infectious smile attempted to distract the audience from his immaculate voice, to little success.

Asa Taccone’s voice alone is worth an entire paragraph, perhaps an entire article. Weaving effortlessly in and out of falsetto, Asa’s voice was soothing and inspiring. A master with the mic, Asa would cup the microphone to create a reverb effect that echoed through the expanses of The Independent.

Asa’s vocals were on display to the marveling crowd, who showed their complete and utter adoration of the band during the short but sweet set. A Bay Area local, Taccone showed his love for the audience, not only with the mandatory Los Angeles jab, but also by telling stories of times spent in SF.

One of these times was while recording their recently released album, Mondo. Record producer Danger Mouse and the band reached a creative standstill, and in order to reignite an inspirational spark Danger Mouse and Asa Taccone took a trip to SF, where they spent over a week doing whatever it is people do to regain their creative mojo.

It must have worked. They returned from SF and continued to create one of the best electro-pop albums of the year.

“Troubleman” was a highlight of the show, and we were told this was a song that came from a trip to SF with Danger Mouse.

For as many good things I have to say about this show, I must say it was very short. Taccone commented when returning from the encore break, “we only have 10 songs and we just played nine of them,” before kicking into their encore song. Before they find some more creative juices, a cover or two might bolster their repertoire nicely. Taccone definitely has the vocal ability to pull off Michael Jackson. Just sayin’.

In the end, the crowd got exactly what it was looking for: an upbeat dance party to some well-crafted pop songs.

It’s worth noting the opening band No. These kiwis probably had a longer set than Electric Guest and were great, blending rock and electronic. It’s equally astounding that they have rights to the twitter handle @NO!

All in all, Electric Guest killed it, but left the crowd thirsting for more. I eagerly anticipate their sophomore offering.

David Byrne & St. Vincent create a giant sound in SF

Photos by Pete Mauch // Written by Kevin Raos //

David Byrne & St. Vincent //
SHN Orpheum Theatre – San Francisco
October 15th, 2012 //

It all started with a gentle rain.

That was the sound we were greeted with upon entering the Orpheum Theater on a Monday night for a special evening with David Byrne & St. Vincent. Byrne, known for his work in the Talking Heads, and Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, created a fluid blend of two distinct, but very complimentary, musical styles and sounds.

Sitting in our seats, the rain began to intensify, building up to lightning and thunder until the storm finally subsided. After the storm had passed a sense of calm came over the theater. The lights dimmed, and out came the band. Immediately they kicked into “Who,” the single from their recently released collaborative album Love this Giant. Hearing this live gave me a greater appreciation for this song, and the entire album for that matter.

Live, the songs off Love This Giant had more depth, more intensity and felt more inspired. Maybe it was our particular evening, but the entire show had the audience on the edge of their seat, if not dancing in the aisle. A highlight was “I Am an Ape,” which, to me, was easily the best performance of a song off Love This Giant the entire evening.

A pattern began to develop early in the show: a song or two from Love This Giant, followed by a selection from Byrne and Clark’s previous musical ventures. After “Who” and “Weekend in the Dust” they played “Save Me From What I Want,” a track off St. Vincent’s 2009 album Actor. This bold selection made it obvious this was not going to be “The David Byrne Show,” but rather a celebration of both the musicians on stage. In fact, during several songs David Byrne was merely another member of the band, blending himself with the complex choreography prominent the entire evening.

The crowd knew they were in store for some classic Byrne/Talking Heads tracks, and were treated to several including “Strange Overtones,” “Like Humans Do,” “This Must Be the Place,” “Road to Nowhere” and “Burning Down the House.”

St. Vincent’s music clearly isn’t as well-known as David Byrne’s, however her applause was no less appreciative as the attentive audience ate up tracks such as “Save Me From What I Want,” “Marrow,” “Cheerleader,” “Cruel” and “The Party.”

David Byrne didn’t disappoint on stage banter this evening either. Before starting “I Should Watch TV” Byrne described all the music in his house as either being Fiction or Nonfiction, and that the next selection would be from the Nonfiction section.

Annie Clark spoke about the first time she was exposed to Byrne’s music, when she was a child watching the film Revenge of the Nerds, with the song “Burning Down the House.”

Byrne also had a sense of humbleness throughout the evening, giving the band and Annie much due credit. Mostly brass, the 10-piece backing band included many talented musicians, which Byrne never missed an opportunity to thank. Byrne introduced the band and spoke for a moment about each member’s side project or the full-time band they play in.

Byrne and Clark’s chemistry on stage was also very apparent. The entire evening the two weaved in and out of the planned choreography mixing in their own style of dance, Byrne sometimes looking very puppet-like in his movements, something Talking Heads fans are very familiar with.

It was clear from the outset that they wanted to create a special environment. A sanctuary of music and dance. Everything from the lighting, the stage setup, the choreography and the song selection was very deliberate, choreographed and rehearsed. This band practiced endlessly, and it showed.

Their mutual appreciation and admiration for each other shined through by the constant respect they had for one another’s music. Together Byrne and Clark, and their band, explored all styles of music, from the classics to the recently released. They even squeezed in a theremin duel.

If you have the opportunity to see this once in a life time spectacle, please do yourself a favor and indulge.

Weekend in the Dust
Save Me From What I Want (St. Vincent cover)
Strange Overtones (David Byrne cover)
I Am an Ape
Marrow (St. Vincent cover)
This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) (Talking Heads cover)
The Forest Awakes
Like Humans Do (David Byrne cover)
Cheerleader (St. Vincent cover)
Lazy (David Byrne cover)
I Should Watch TV
Northern Lights (St. Vincent cover)
The One Who Broke Your Heart
Outside of Space and Time

Cruel (St. Vincent cover)
Burning Down The House (Talking Heads cover)

Encore 2:
The Party (St. Vincent cover)
Road to Nowhere (Talking Heads cover)