Gucci Mane brings his ‘Trap God Tour’ to the Bay

Gucci ManeBy Marc Fong //

Gucci Mane //
The Warfield – San Francisco
April 17th, 2017 //

If you mention trap in the context of Southern hip-hop, the first name that should come to mind is Gucci Mane.

The Atlanta native has been a busy man since being released from prison last year. Back in December, he dropped his 10th studio album titled The Return of East Atlanta Santa, which boasts collaborations with Drake and Travis Scott, and has been perfecting his live show in the meantime.

Hitting the road for his “Trap God Tour” in support of the new LP, Gucci paid a visit to SF in between his performances at Coachella and fans who made it to The Warfield on a Monday night weren’t disappointed with what they witnessed. To say the least, it was a show to be experienced and not just seen.

Classical (Intro)
1st Day Out Tha Feds
Play Video
Back on Road
I Think I Love Her (Greg Street cover)
I Don’t Love Her
Freaky Gurl
Pillz (I Might Be)
Black Beatles (Rae Sremmurd cover)
St. Brick
Trap House 3
Last Time
My Kitchen
Trap House
I’m a Dog
Vette Pass By
Pussy Print
Gucci Please
Make Love
Steady Mobbin
Nuthin’ on You
Fuck 12o
Make Tha Trap Say Aye (OJ da Juiceman cover)
Slippery (Migos cover)
Making Love to the Money
First Day Out

Weezer, Panic! at the Disco show they still got it in front of a packed house at Shoreline Amphitheatre



By Marc Fong //

Weezer & Panic! at the Disco with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness //
Shoreline Amphitheatre – Mountain View, CA
July 31st, 2016 //

Weezer and Panic! at the Disco played to a packed house of young and old at Shoreline Amphitheatre for the Bay Area stop of their “Summer Tour 2016” last Sunday.

While Weezer played to a huge crowd, a considerable amount of the younger fans in attendance left after Panic! stole the show with a fantastic set and an amazing energy onstage. Frontman Brenden Urie even performed flips! The Grammy-nominated band sounded tight and performed its hits in addition to some great covers such as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Panic! at the Disco

Panic! at the Disco

Weezer, on the contrary, was more subdued, but they still put on an amazing show, playing their usual fan favorites along with some tracks off their self-titled LP that came out earlier this year.

Opening the co-headline show and serving as the tour’s special guest was Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, the former Something Corporate frontman’s solo project that he started a couple years ago.


California Kids
Hash Pipe
My Name Is Jonas
(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
Pork and Beans
I Love the USA
Perfect Situation
Thank God for Girls
Beverly Hills (Preceded by snippet of “Come Together” by The Beatles)
Dope Nose / Back to the Shack / Keep Fishin’ / The Good Life / Surf Wax America
Undone – The Sweater Song
King of the World / Only in Dreams
Island in the Sun
Say It Ain’t So

El Scorcho (Piano intro, preceded by snippet of “We Are Young” by fun.)
Buddy Holly


Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time
Vegas Lights
The Ballad of Mona Lisa
Time to Dance
Emperor’s New Clothes
Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind)
Nine in the Afternoon
Crazy = Genius
Miss Jackson
Golden Days
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover)
LA Devotee
Death of a Bachelor
I Write Sins Not Tragedies
This is Gospel
Positive Hardcore

Chelsea Wolfe shows her dark side at The Chapel

Chelsea WolfeBy Marc Fong //

Chelsea Wolfe //
The Chapel – San Francisco
June 1st, 2016 //

Chelsea Wolfe is a dark woman.

At one of her two sold-out shows in SF this month, the 32-year-old singer-songwriter, who released her fifth and most recent LP Abyss last summer, crept onstage like a determined apparition in the murk.

Particularly dark for Wolfe’s performance, The Chapel proved to be a great venue for her gothic folk rock and was absolutely packed to the gills on this night.

Wolfe’s sound is unique and familiar. A lovely marriage of electronic, folk and metal, the California native’s music has a beautiful, yet lonely appeal.

MC YOGI gets personal at The Independent

MC YOGIBy Marc Fong //

MC YOGI with Noah Levine //
The Independent – San Francisco
April 24th, 2016 //

Hip-hop artist and yoga enthusiast MC YOGI (born Nicholas Giacomini) never fails to throw a fun party, and his show last Sunday in his hometown was no different. The SF native started on a poignant note with an introduction from Noah Levine, author of the 2003 book “Dharma Punx”. Part inspirational speech and part prayer, Levine’s talk was a slow opener but rather fitting when considering MC YOGI’s themes.

Giacomini’s set at The Independent started with a peek into his youth as photos and video clips accompanied him. The slight glimpse into his past added depth to the hip-hop music that would ensue.

MC YOGI’s sets are always a fascinating show of reality and hope. After listening to stories of his humble beginnings and finding his now wife-to-be, he gave the crowd what it wanted to hear. Since releasing his debut album Elephant Power in 2008, his transcendental brand of hip-hop is still energizing and heartfelt.

His performance in SF, meanwhile, was fantastically real and positive. He engaged with the crowd not just like a performer does with his fans but on a deeper, more personal level. As a result, the show was uplifting and an all-around fantastic time.

The Independent serves as the perfect setting for Baio’s moody electropop

BaioBy Marc Fong //

Baio //
The Independent – San Francisco
February 3rd, 2016 //

It wasn’t long ago that Baio, the solo project from Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio, came through the Bay Area.

Back in October, Baio made his SF debut, performing on the first day of Treasure Island Music Festival. Undoubtedly, TIMF was a great place for Baio to debut his live show for the Northern California crowd. The crème of the indie/hipster/backpack hip-hop scene, after all, definitely would have remissed not performing at the Bay Area’s premiere indie-pop festival. The oxymoron notwithstanding, TIMF does bring out some amazing acts which aren’t quite “there” in today’s music scene.

Baio happened to be one of those acts. Sure, he’s best known for his contributions with Grammy-winning Vampire Weekend, but the 31-year-old record producer is capable of a lot more. And though the audience may have chanced upon Baio at TIMF the first time, the smarties took note and kept an eye out for his return.


Unfortunately for Baio, tickets were still on sale the night of his show at The Independent last Wednesday. But, that’s OK. At TIMF, Baio was on point, even if his shining talent seemed to get lost in the glare of the sun and the overwhelming size of even the festival’s second stage.

In a more intimate environment like The Independent however, Baio’s moody electropop fit perfectly. Looking sharp in a white blazer, the Bronxville, N.Y., native opened his set slow and steady. His sound, for one, is a lot more dreamy than Vampire Weekend’s more dance-driven songs. Combine that with his mind-bending visuals onstage, and Baio’s live show the second time around was a slow, chill ride through an electronic soundscape.

STS9’s stunning live show transports their Bay Area fans to a magical world

STS9By Marc Fong //

STS9 //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
January 29th, 2016 //

“Livetronic” act Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) played more than just an awe-inspiring set at the Fox Theater Oakland last Friday, performing amidst a stellar light show that made the overall experience both ethereal and fantastic.

The last time the five-piece from Santa Cruz by way of Atlanta visited the Fox (read our review here), it was clear that bassist Alana Rocklin, who joined the band in early 2014, had sparked a creative revival for STS9 after the sudden departure of former bass player David Murphy.


STS9 offer a progressive dance beat that is both earthy and technologically-driven. In essence, their stunning live show transports an audience to a magical world filled with chill beats and booty-shaking rhythms.

The performance, which spanned more than three hours in length and featured no opening acts, included a 70’s-inspired light show that only added a layer of visual stimulation. After all, an STS9 show is something every live music fan should witness at least once in their life.

Set 1: MOD > Modular > MOD > Grow, Love Don’t Terrorize, Kaya > What Does Your Soul Look Like (DJ Shadow cover) > Click Lang Echo, Orbital, When the Dust Settles

Set 2: Walk to the Light, Hi-Key, Golden Gate > Looking Back on Earth, Totem, Awesome feat. Cool Kids (STS9 Remix) > The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature, Rent

Encore: You Don’t Say

Santa Cruz’s The Devil Makes Three return to the Fox Theater Oakland to rock a packed house

The Devil Makes ThreeBy Marc Fong //

The Devil Makes Three //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
January 23rd, 2016 //

Formed on the shores of Santa Cruz, Calif., more than a decade ago, Americana outfit The Devil Makes Three played two shows at the Fox Theater Oakland last month, nearly a year after their headlining gig at the historic Bay Area venue (read our review here). The trio, whose sound is equal parts bluegrass, old time, country, folk, blues, jazz, ragtime and rockabilly, rocked a packed house on the second of two nights.

For nearly two hours, fans enjoyed TDMT’s unique sound, a sound which over time has only gotten better. With guitarist Pete Bernhard, upright bassist Lucia Turino and guitarist/tenor banjo player Cooper McBean back at it, the band was on point, sounding well-rehearsed and not stale or bored. TDMT not only played some great music, but also had a fun party vibe that kept everyone dancing during the whole show.

Marina and the Diamonds get playful, sultry and more at the Fox Theater Oakland

Marina and the DiamondsBy Marc Fong //

Marina and the Diamonds with Christine and the Queens //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
October 21st, 2015 //

Indie-pop star Marina Lambrini Diamandis of Marina and the Diamonds played two shows at the Fox Theater Oakland last week. Known for her visually stimulating shows, she failed to disappoint.

The 30-year-old Diamandis had several costume changes throughout the show with stunning visuals constantly playing behind her. Each costume change showcased one of her personas, which ranged from playful to sultry.

Marina and the Diamonds

Diamandis is not only a talented performer, but also a superb singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Wales, she sounded phenomenal, breaking the group’s set into three acts based on its three albums Family Jewels, Electra Heart and Froot. With Diamandis’ beauty, talent and sound, it’s easy to see why Marina and the Diamonds are a huge success.

French singer-songwriter Héloïse Letissier’s musical project Christine and the Queens, which is known for combining music, art and photography into their live performances, opened the sold-out show, performing tracks from the band’s 2015 EP Saint Claude.

Act I: The Family Jewels
Mowgli’s Road
I Am Not a Robot
Oh No!

Act II: Electra Heart
Bubblegum Bitch
How to Be a Heartbreaker

Act III: Froot
Can’t Pin Me Down
I’m a Ruin


The Dean Ween Group show that even half of Ween is still a great thing

The Dean Ween GroupBy Marc Fong //

The Dean Ween Group //
The Independent – San Francisco
October 8th, 2015 //

It’s been a while since SF was lucky enough to watch Ween perform live, and even though only half of Ween made it out to The Independent last Thursday, The Dean Ween Group managed to put on a pretty amazing show.

Hardcore Ween fans packed the sold-out venue and exploded into cheering when The Dean Ween Group finally took the stage. Born Mickey Melchiondo, the 45-year-old Dean Ween and his bandmates — Dave Dreiwitz (bass), Claude Coleman, Jr. (drums), Roger Water’s son Harry Waters (keyboards), who was replacing Glenn McClelland, and Scott Rednor (guitar) — played the fan favorites with the same aplomb and humor that made the original duo great, showing that half of Ween is still a great thing.

Dâm-Funk is proving he’s out to change funk

Dâm-FunkBy Marc Fong //

DāM-FunK (Live) with Nite Jewel, Sweater Funk //
The Independent – San Francisco
September 6th, 2015 //

Dâm-Funk is out to change funk. Born Damon Riddick, his performance at The Independent on a Sunday night with openers Nite Jewel and Sweater Funk was more than just a show. It was a statement.

Dâm-Funk’s sound was reminiscent of your favorite 70’s tune but minus the kitch-ness. There was a meaningfulness to his show that made it not only great, but poignant. The vibe was not that of a cheesy wedding.

Rather, Dâm-Funk gave the packed house a dose of real funk enjoyed as it once was. There was soul to it — a genuine homage to something that now is generally a parody of itself. Well, maybe homage isn’t exactly the right word.


Anyway, Dâm-Funk’s version of funk is definitely more modern, as he combines synths and percussion with a unique sound while still retaining the spirit of funk. Consequently, his take on “modern funk” with real soul is fantastic to hear live.

At the same time, one can’t help but think about the traditional notion of funk as music that shakes the booty and bobs the head. All in all, it was another funky good time at The Indy.

Rey Pila shine in return to Fox Theater Oakland as opener for Brandon Flowers

Rey PilaBy Marc Fong //

Rey Pila //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
September 2nd, 2015 //

Mexico City natives Rey Pila returned to the Bay Area last Wednesday night to open for the enigmatic Brandon Flowers. The band, fronted by baby-faced lead singer Diego Solórzano, brought with them a familiar, yet distant vibe.

Rey Pila’s sound is dark and synth-filled. Solórzano’s voice is reminiscent of your favorite Tears for Fears track. And although the band might have gotten lost in the pop goth of the 80’s, it now flourishes with a great rock sound.

More polished than they were during their previous visit to Oakland when they opened for Interpol last year (read our review here), Rey Pila brought their distinct sound back to The Fox. The band’s onstage energy matched that of its latest album The Future Sugar, which was released in May. That is to say, the performance constantly kept your feet moving, while the music was sleek and hypnotic.

Rey Pila

Headlining the show, Brandon Flowers put on an amazing performance. Photos were not allowed during his set, so readers will need to imagine that The Killers lead singer was immaculately dressed as he sashayed with style and grace.

In the end though, Flowers sounded fantastic. While his solo stuff was fun to hear, the highlights, judging from the crowd, were The Killers songs that he played.

The show, as a whole, featured two jewels. Rey Pila remains uncut but wonderful, and Brandon Flowers is and always will be a precious gem.

Purity Ring, BRAIDS give a sold-out Fox Theater Oakland everything it could hope for and more

Purity Ring

Purity Ring

By Marc Fong //

Purity Ring with BRAIDS, Born Gold //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
June 19th, 2015 //

Canada took over the Fox Theater Oakland last Friday as Edmonton electronic duo Purity Ring and Calgary art rock band BRAIDS captivated a capacity crowd.

Serving as one of two openers on this night (the other being Born Gold, Canadian pop experimentalist Cecil Frena’s songwriting project), BRAIDS’ latest album Deep in the Iris presents a beautifully bittersweet audioscape. Their performance at the Fox was equally beautiful and bittersweet and far more compelling on stage. It was as if the band was on a rapid journey through spooky woods. As they played, there was a sense of walking down a dark path illuminated by the muted warmth of a solitary candle.

At first, BRAIDS’ haunting melodies lulled the audience into a safeness, and then through quick and tumbling turns, there was an urgent complexity that was not only heard, but also felt. Frontwoman Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s voice was production-perfect — eerie and wonderful all at once. On the whole, BRAIDS’ live show is indicative of greater things to come. Their sound, both in a recording studio and live, is sublime, fun and memorable.



Purity Ring’s performance, as always, was a dazzling audio adventure. However, whereas BRAIDS’ set was a quiet solo journey, Purity Ring’s was a full-blown epic. Known for its amazing light setup, the duo did not disappoint. In the past, vocalist Megan James would cross the stage as if she was afraid of the dark. Occasionally, she would hold a mechanic’s light in front of her as if she was trying to keep the monsters at bay.

By the end of the night, Purity Ring had shown how far they’ve come in less than three years. The stage had hanging lights. Instrumentalist Corin Roddick’s podium, once a small setup off to the side, was now center stage with giant crystals that lit up for punctuation, and the moon/drum that James plays sat high above Roddick, such that when she did play it, she needed a ladder to reach it.

Purity Ring

Purity Ring

James no longer feared the dark, but rather embraced it — just like she did during the performance and with gusto. She sang and stepped with purpose. The band’s sound was not small and fearful. Instead, it was epic and haunting. Not only that, but it also showed that it had more range. “Shrines” was a subtle blend of both the quiet and melancholy.

Purity Ring’s newest album Another Eternity (read our community review here) is a refined version of that sound but bigger. There’s a dance-y element to it that makes for a bigger, more engaging live show. One moment, the audience was fighting to keep the crawlers out. The next, they became crawlers themselves dancing until their bodies ached. Either way, it was an experience that should not be missed.

The Wombats rock the pants off a sold-out Fillmore

The WombatsBy Marc Fong //

The Wombats with Life in Film, Cheerleader //
The Fillmore – San Francisco
May 16th, 2015 //

The Wombats and fellow English rockers Life in Film played to a sold-out Fillmore this past Saturday night along with Philadelphia indie-pop band Cheerleader. A show at The Fillmore never disappoints, and Saturday’s was no exception.

Cheerleader started the party off with their unique sound serving as a fun mix of pop on a sunny summer afternoon. Jangle-pop wizards Life in Film kept the momentum going by performing songs off their debut album Here It Comes, which came out in March. To finish the night off, The Wombats arrived on stage around 10:15 p.m. and rocked the pants off the packed house. The trio sounded great and put on a fun show with their amazing English flair that did not fall short.

James Bay puts a spell on The Independent

James BayBy Marc Fong //

James Bay with Elle King //
The Independent – San Francisco
May 12th, 2015 //

It was a packed house, not only with excited fans, but also with raw talent from extremely talented artists last Tuesday at The Independent. Elle King, full of sass and skill, opened for the dynamic, 24-year-old James Bay. A Los Angeles native, King (whose real name is Tanner Elle Schneider and is the daughter of comedian Rob Schneider) was funny and soulful as well as engaging and personable. Her sound, a mix of deep-rooted bluegrass and pop rock, was upbeat and fun. She ultimately won over the die-hard James Bay fans in attendance.

Bay’s music, meanwhile, is compelling and sincere. The British singer-songwriter’s live show is full of the vibrancy you’d expect after listening to his debut album Chaos and the Calm, which was released in March. He hypnotized the crowd with his music and definitely put a spell on them. If you missed this show, Bay will be back in SF this August to play at Outside Lands Music Festival, and you won’t want to miss his return then.

Ministry are still preaching to the choir after more than 25 years

MinistryBy Marc Fong //

Ministry //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
May 10th, 2015 //

Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen took The Regency Ballroom stage for a Sunday night show with the ferventness of a late-night bible thumper. His zeal showed that after 25-plus years, the early 80’s industrial metal outfit still knows how to rock. The 56-year-old Jourgensen moved and danced around while guitarists Sin Quirin and Cesar Soto shredded and heavy synths blew the crowd away. Ministry live is part thrash, part punk and still all fun.

We Are Scientists are making rock fun(NY) again

We Are ScientistsBy Marc Fong //

We Are Scientists //
The Independent – San Francisco
April 28th, 2015 //

New York’s We Are Scientists returned to SF on Tuesday to play for a rambunctious crowd at The Independent. Part comedy and part rock show, lead singer/guitarist Keith Murray and bassist Chris Cain seamlessly went from comedic banter to fun rock.

The music was as expected, a familiar indie-rock sound, that you couldn’t name but could hum along with. It was the back-and-forth between the band and the audience that really made the show stand out. Cain chided the audience at one point for cheering when they said they were glad to be back in SF.

“You lower the bar when you cheer for that!” he said. “Hold us to a higher standard!”

We Are Scientists

Later, Murray told the audience it was all about having fun.

“If you’re not having fun, we’re not having fun and won’t play as well,” he said. “If you’re having fun, we still may not play well, but we’ll all be having fun.”

Murray left the stage at one point and with a beer in his hand, sang while surrounded by fans. Murray and crew sounded pretty good, and they certainly looked like they were having fun. On this night, it seemed like a win-win for both the crowd and the band.

Reptar don’t slow down in return to The Independent

ReptarBy Marc Fong //

Reptar //
The Independent – San Francisco
April 24th, 2015 //

Georgia alt-rockers Reptar were back in SF for another eclectic show last Friday. Their set was fast-paced, high energy and definitely worth seeing. The quintet has a party vibe as well as a complex sound that isn’t quite the same without its live show.

Damien Rice writes sad songs, but he looks plenty happy performing them live

Damien RiceBy Marc Fong //

Damien Rice //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
April 23rd, 2015 //

Damien Rice played the majestic Fox Theater Oakland last Thursday. Surprisingly, the show was not just a tear-filled two hours. Sure, the music was melancholic and sorrowful, yet live and in person, one truly gets an amazing glimpse into a great and multifaceted musician.

For the past few years, Rice has been pretty quiet on the show front. However, as hoped with the release his latest album My Favourite Faded Fantasy, Rice stepped out of those reclusive shadows and well, into the shadows of the Fox Theater.

Damien Rice

Rice began the show with only a dim spotlight illuminating his figure. The stage was dark and mostly bare, save for a piano and an awkward light mid-stage. He began to sing “Cannonball” like a ghost reaching from the shadows; his voice was distant and long, weighty with emotion. Standing five feet from the mic, his commanding, yet comforting sound filled the auditorium. The song ended, and the mesmerized audience broke the silence with a roar of applause.

Rice is known for his powerful, yet tortured songs and while listening to his debut album O sounds like the only way to mourn a matchless day of Tindering, one can likely find more cheery ways to spend an evening. Fortunately, Rice turns out to be as great of a performer as a singer-songwriter.

“A lot of people meet me and they say, ‘Hey, you’re not actually this sad man,'” he said during the show. There were giggles from the sold-out crowd, and Rice explained that sad songwriters are generally very happy people. “Getting out a sad song is like having a good vomit or shit after eating, you feel good,” he added.

Damien Rice

In between many of the wonderfully sad and heartfelt songs, Rice interacted and played with the audience. For example, Rice invited a young female audience member to sing with him on “Coldwater”. The young woman surprised the sold-out house and covered Lisa Hannigan’s part of the duet with a similar shaky, yet beautiful voice. For “Volcano”, Rice divided the venue into thirds and invited the audience to join in during various parts of the chorus. The din was at first unwieldy, but then the crowd caught Rice’s rhythm and the Fox Theater came together. The song ended with the multitude of voices breaking away like scattering birds, leaving us with only Rice’s soft whispers.

Rice’s live shows are unexpected. His music is dark and brooding, but watching him perform, one gets both the sweet and the sour that makes for a completely unique experience. Hence, the show was definitely this writer’s favorite of the year.

Deap Vally start their week off by rocking The Chapel

Deap VallyBy Marc Fong //

Deap Vally with L.A. Witch, Creep Beat //
The Chapel – San Francisco
March 23rd, 2015 //

Los Angeles female rock duo Deep Vally made their way north to SF for a Monday night gig at The Chapel. The twosome comprised of Lindsey Troy (guitar, vocals) and Julie Edwards (drums, vocals) met at a crochet class in Silver Lake and have been rocking music venues ever since. L.A. Witch and Creep Beat opened the show.

Deap Vally

Deap Vally

Deap Vally

Deap Vally

Deap Vally

NYC rappers Talib Kweli & Immortal Technique team up to take on The Fillmore

Talib Kweli & Immortal TechniqueBy Marc Fong //

Talib Kweli & Immortal Technique //
The Fillmore – San Francisco
March 22nd, 2015 //

East Coast hip-hop hit SF last Sunday as two of New York City’s finest, Brooklyn-bred emcee Talib Kweli and Harlem native Immortal Technique (born Felipe Andres Coronel), showcased “The Peoples Champions Tour” at The Fillmore to close out the weekend.

With their politically charged material and top-notch lyricism, both Kweli and Coronel have new music on the horizon. Kweli will be dropping his new album Radio Silence later in the year while Coronel also has plans to release a fourth LP entitled The Middle Passage. They were excited to be performing for their Bay Area fans, giving much love and respect to the crowd throughout the show.