Outside Lands 2022: Tough conflicts, must-see acts, what to drink & our very own scavenger hunt

Outside Lands 2022Photo by Marc Fong // Written by Molly Kish & Kevin Quandt //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 5th-7th, 2022 //

Outside Lands takes over Golden Gate Park this weekend in celebration of its 14th year. Growing in fans and footprint since 2007, it has become a pilar of the Bay Area music scene and remains widely known as one of the country’s top-rated festivals. OSL kicks off August with three-jam packed days of music, food, art and magic, and this year’s edition aims to maintain its legacy while also continuing to diversify the fest’s roster of genre-expanding talent.

Changes for this year include several new lounges, an expanded SOMA Tent and augmented-reality installations throughout the festival grounds. Food vendors appear to have a larger presence, and the Outsider Art showcases have returned with live painting, balloon art and crowd-controlled AV pathways.

With the lineup being stacked, there are definitely plenty of tough conflicts, many of which are forcing attendees to make some tough decisions. To help you navigate OSL 2022, we put together a guide of recommendations and scavenger hunt (PRINT HERE) so you can get the most out of the experience.

Plus, don’t forget to create your own schedule here!

Outside Lands 2022 - SOMA Tent

Tough Conflicts

Like death and taxes, one thing is for certain at any given music festival: the dreaded schedule conflicts that can dampen many attendees’ plans to see all their favorite artists. Unless you plan to work on your GGP sprinting skills, you’ll likely be forced to make some rather difficult decisions. Below, you’ll find a few of our toughest conflicts.

Dayglow (Friday, 5:20 p.m. Twin Peaks) vs. Washed Out (Friday, 5:20 p.m. Sutro)

This is kind of an interesting conflict as sonically, these two artists aren’t super far away from each other, yet a decade separates their rise to success. Dayglow, aka Sloane Struble, is a young Texan that continues to build his brand of throwback indie-pop in exciting ways that has been making waves with the younger demographic that is likely to be in strong attendance. His earworm tracks certainly bear influence from bands like Phoenix and Foster the People. I also have to believe Struble is keen on Washed Out in his formative years, hence why this conflict will be tough for the crowd and artist alike.

It’s been a couple years since the release of Washed Out’s last album, but that doesn’t mean the “godfather of chillwave” still can’t draw a crowd. It has been 13 years since this artist cemented his hipster status with “Feel It All Around” being featured as the opening track to the TV series “Portlandia”. Will we see a “generational divide” in the crowd between these two sets?

Green Day (Saturday, 8:25 p.m. Lands End) vs. Polo & Pan (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. Sutro)

It’s no big surprise that GD is up against one of the more popular dance acts on the bill for this year. The tricky part here is that both acts are simply crushing it with their current live show., Billie Joe and company put on one helluva headline performance at Lollapalooza over the past weekend, and you can surely bet they’ll only want to top it for their hometown crowd. That’s no easy feat as the power trio is widely known for their crowd interplay, covers and wall-to-wall energy.

Strike that 90’s punk angst against the French swagger of Polo & Pan, and we’ve got a real “Sophie’s choice” on our hands here. The Saturday party crowd is sure to be assembled in Lindley Meadow to hear the tropical-laced French house that is simply infectious.

Dixon (Sunday 3:30 p.m. SOMA Tent) vs. Wet Leg (Sunday 4 p.m. Sutro)

Sure, these two artists bring radically different music, so many fans of these acts won’t see this as a conflict. However, German powerhouse DJ Dixon is always worth catching, especially in the newly expanded SOMA Tent. Expect a pummeling mixture of techno and house, chock full of dramatic emotions that may transport you to the storied Berghain in Berlin. On the other hand, Wet Leg continue their dominant year as the tongue-in-cheek indie darlings hailing from Isle of Wight. Sure, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers are still earning confidence onstage, but if you’re looking for more light-hearted guitar rock, head to Sutro.

Outside Lands 2022 - Illenium

Must-See Acts

Artist: Robert Glasper
Set date/time: Saturday, 2:50-3:40 p.m.
Location: Sutro

We’re thrilled to see some jazz make its way onto the OSL bill in 2022, and Glasper was a keen choice as he steps out to make a bigger name for himself after being a sideman for far too long. Even if the name isn’t recognizable, there’s little doubt that you’ve heard his playing on many of your favorite hip-hop releases of the past 10 years. He recently made waves at the Blue Note Jazz Festival in Napa this past weekend, playing in multiple configurations with various jazz and hip-hop stars. It wouldn’t surprise us if Dave Chappelle or Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) made a brief appearance for this afternoon set.

Artist: Illenium
Set date/time: Sunday, 8:20-9:35 p.m.
Location: Twin Peaks

It hasn’t been more than four years since we’ve seen Illenium grace the OSL bill, and we’ve included this selection as it’s billed as a “Special Hometown Performance.” What exactly does this mean? To be honest, we aren’t sure but are certainly curious to see what added production or even special guests Illenium may include. His bass-heavy selections that run the gamut of future bass to beat-driven pop-punk will certainly please the younger crowd, but his recent prevalence in the Las Vegas nightclub scene could pull the 30-something tech crowd to finish their weekend at Twin Peaks. Wonder who will have more lasers: Illenium or Posty? A laser battle in Golden Gate Park is the stuff we dream of, right?

Outside Lands 2022 - Beer Lands

Beer Lands

There’s little doubt that the masses that will stampede Golden Gate Park over the next three days will arrive thirsty. Literally. The beer-swilling variety know where to go for all things craft brews, and this year is no exception as the ever-changing list of breweries offers all our local favorites alongside some fresh choices. Also, don’t be fooled by the name, as Beer Lands offers options for cider (i.e. Ace and Golden State) and hard kombucha (i.e. Strainge Beast).

New to the “Beer Lineup” this year is a nice mix of up-and-coming local breweries. Santa Cruz’s buzzy Humble Sea will make their debut and are likely to offer some of their DDH hazy IPAs that have put them on the map in the past couple of years. SF’s Laughing Monk has no shortage of varieties to offer to attendees, but we think their Peach Kettle Sour or Prophetess Blonde Ale would go down easy in the polo fields. Old Caz Beer, out of Rohnert Park, are a young brew crew with a lot to offer, so keep your eyes peeled for potentially pouring their RPX Pale Ale and maybe they’ll even bring their Lavender Radler or Pineapple Seltzer. Golden State Cider of Sonoma will make their debut in 2022, yet the question remains if they will bring their Mighty Dry, Brut, Jamaica, Ginger Grass or maybe something exclusive to the festival. Come thirsty, my friends.


Outside Lands - updated 2022 lineup

Treefort Music Fest 2022: Here’s (almost) everything you need to know as Boise’s best festival turns 10

Treefort Music Festival 2022 - crowdPhotos by Matthew Wordell, Amanda Morgan & Christina Birkinbine // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Treefort Music Fest //
Downtown Boise – Boise, ID
March 23rd-27th, 2022 //

2022 is looking to be a “return to normality” in many sectors of life compared to the last two lengthy years, and as we notice more shows and festivals returning to their previous capacity and success, it’s no surprise that Idaho’s premier indie music event is poised to be an overwhelming standout early in the season. This year’s lineup is truly a cornucopia of up-and-coming artists coupled with some of the best established alternative acts spread across Boise’s charming and extremely navigable downtown area.

There’s a lot to dig into for this five-day event, and while many know Treefort as the Northwest’s iteration of South by Southwest, it has begun to grow out of that singular reputation in its 10th year of existence. We’ll do our best to touch on as many areas, or Forts, below.

The Forts

Treefort Music Festival 2022 - beer

Alefort: Beer has increasingly become a sizable part of the Boise community in the past few years with the town home to nearly 20 breweries. Toss in a few distilleries, and you have a recipe for beverage success. While Alefort will offer a plethora of local beers and cocktails, the introduction of Future Pub will see Boise’s favorite foods reimagined as plant-based and sustainable eats.

This Fort will offer around 70 different selections from the area. Here’s a sneak peek of a few offerings:

• Lumberbeard – Cody’s Red Couch (West Coast IPA collaboration with Treasure Valley Beer Buyers)
• Odell – Barreled Treasure (Barrel-Aged Imperial Horchata Stout)
• Barbarian – Cry of the Blackbirds (Blackberry and Boysenberry Barrel-Aged Sour)
• OEC – Coolship Lager (a Lager with a character all its own)
• Von Ebert – Volatile Substance (2021 GABF gold medal winner for American IPA)
• Rodenbach – Red Tripel (celebrating a 200-year anniversary from a classic Belgian brewery)
• Fremont – Coconut Cacao BBADS (Barrel-Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout with coconut and cocoa)

Getting thirsty yet? If so, we highly recommend you consider the Alefort Buzz Pass, as it’s essentially an affordable “Beer VIP” add-on to your festival pass that comes with eight beer tokens, front-of-line privileges and assorted swag. Cheers!

Artfort: Expect to see various artistic selections throughout the streets of downtown Boise as local muralists, performers and visual artists pepper the site with their creative output. Longtime musical puppetry ensemble The Fungineers will be on hand to showcase their bizarro skills, playing a late-night set at The Egyptian Theatre on Friday, March 24 from 12-1:30 a.m.

Comedyfort: Looking for a little break from the music and more importantly, some serious laughs? (Is that an oxymoron?) Comedyfort, held on Friday and Saturday at the Owyhee and FireFusion Studio, is your destination for both passholders and the general public. This two-day showcase features nearly two dozen comics from across the country and will be anchored by co-headliners Chanel Ali and Chris Garcia.

Dragfort: Treefort thrives as an all-inclusive event, and Dragfort showcases this in FABULOUS form. Dragfort is a shining celebration of all things LGBTQ+, building community through performance and dialogue. Various troupes will be performing across the event, such as the Corevette Collective, a group of queer fae performers. Start your Sunday in grand style at “It’s Brunch Bitch”, which will be held at Alefort on Sunday from 12-2 p.m.

Filmfort: This cinema-centric Fort will present an array of independent film screenings coupled with DIY panels and Q&A sessions with many of the featured filmmakers. Zambia’s Zamrock heroes WITCH (We Intend To Cause Havoc) are in the U.S. this spring, and we should be thrilled they are hitting Treefort on this tour. They’ll be performing both Saturday and Sunday, as well as having a screening of their seminal documentary. Another standout film event will be anchored by 90’s alternative-rock stalwarts Mercury Rev as they present a rare performance of their Clear Light Ensemble. This iteration of live film soundtracking will take place on Friday at 12:30 a.m. (late Thursday night) at The Egyptian Theatre. The 1962 cult-horror film “Carnival of Souls” will be live scored by Mercury Rev alongside John Dwyer (Osees), Mimi Goese (Hugo Largo), Ryley Walker, Brett Netson (Caustic Resin, Built to Spill, Earth, Scram Signal), Luke Wyland (AU, Methods Body), Andrew Dixon, Michael Mitchell (Jeff Crosby, Floating Witch’s Head).

Foodfort: Should be one of the more self-explanatory spaces at the event. The list of gastronomic superstars is impressive as Foodfort serves up our chef du fest Hugh Acheson, Food & Wine’s 2021 Best New Chef Carlo Lamagna and James Beard Award-winning podcast “Copper & Heat”. While Foodfort Tastes are ticketed events, all Foodfort Talks are open to pass holders.

Hackfort: For those attendees who live for the next tech innovation, there is indeed a Fort for you. Workshops will touch upon such popular topics as AI, gaming, 3D printing, animation and music tech to name a few. Admission to Hackfort is included with Treefort passes, yet a singular pass for this Fort is also offered.

Kidfort: Hey, Treefort is for all ages, so naturally some fun offerings for the lil’ festival-goers had to be present. Even better is the fact that kids 12 and under get a totally free wristband for the entire festival. These focused events for the kiddos include art projects, puppetry, workshops, family dance parties, sing-a-longs and even a youth variety showcase.

Skatefort: This single-day exhibition of all things skateboarding, roller skating, music and the intersecting communities. All are welcome to skate the park on this Saturday offering, advocating youth and at-risk youth to enjoy this growing sport.

Storyfort: Not being the type of all-inclusive arts event to leave out the written word and the process of telling a compelling story, this fort focuses on authors, poets, journalists, spoken word artists, refugee storytellers, podcasters and much more.

Yogafort: After three days and nights of various shows and programming, some attendees may need a little healthy stretching and movement. Well, Treefort has got you covered on Saturday, March 26th with their holistic Yogafort program at the Adelmann Building, which will offer a radiant heart flow, queer-guided meditations, dancing, musical yoga pairings and a bunch more. Much like Hackfort, a Yogafort-specific pass can be purchased.

Treefort Music

Treefort Music Festival 2022

As you can clearly see, Treefort offers attendees no shortage of auxiliary offerings, but the majority of pass holders will surely be focused on the music programming that is extensive, inclusive and very deep. We’d be here all day if we highlighted even half of the hundreds of acts that are present on the lineup. Much like South By, Treefort’s curation leans heavily on breaking the next banner acts as they jump onto the radar of industry and fans alike. There are plenty of accolades to be showered on headliners such as former Sonic Youth founder Kim Gordon, psych demigods Osees and buzzworthy upstarts Men I Trust. We’ll focus on more mid-tier, up-and-coming and rare acts as they make a visit to the edges of the Northwest.

Artist: Nubya Garcia
Set date/time: Thursday, March 24th 9:10 p.m.
Location: El Korah Shrine

London-based Nubya Garcia has been making serious waves in the past couple years, and it’s a treat to have her make a visit to Treefort after a handful of support dates with Khruangbin out east. The critical acclaim has been raining down on the saxophonist/composer quickly after her debut Concord Jazz release, and has become a key figure in the rising UK jazz scene alongside Kamaal Williams, Ezra Collective and Kokoroko. Garcia’s sultry groove is not to be missed for fans of free-flowing jazz.

Artist: Vanishing Twin
Set date/time: Friday, March 25th 7:30 p.m.
Location: El Korah Shrine

Thankfully the Treefort booking team was able to re-secure this UK psych-pop consortium after 2020’s event was punted. The group is made up of members from the HAHA Sounds Collective, an assembly of London vocalists and instrumentalists who all generally share the same vision on creating jazzy, atmospheric tunes that occasionally sound better suited as a soundtrack for an obscure French film.

Artist: Magdalena Bay
Set date/time: Friday, March 25th 10:20 p.m.
Location: Egyptian Theatre

This duo serves up a heaping slice of futuristic indie-pop that will surely stick with you as they deliver shining electronic tunes coupled with eye-grabbing visuals. Their knack for delivering content via multiple online formats has created a unique commentary of the state of tech and the shifting music industry, which is soundtracked by some seriously catchy electropop. Fans of acts such as Spelling, Dorian Electra and the late SOPHIE should prioritize this evening performance.

Artist: Dummy
Set date/time: Saturday, March 26th 7:10 p.m.
Location: Sonic Temple Blue

An emphasis on minimal UK noise rock coupled with haunting, melodic vocals has never sounded so refreshing as this LA group expertly displayed on their Trouble in Mind Records debut Mandatory Enjoyment. This aptly named release found its way onto a handful of “Best of 2021” album lists for good reason, as their organ-heavy sound paired with female vocals heralds comparisons to Stereolab.

Artist: Deradoorian
Set date/time: Saturday, March 26th 9:00 p.m.
Location: KIN

Many tuned-in indie music fans are most likely to recognize Angel Deradoorian from her tenure with Dirty Projectors. However, it’s under her solo moniker that the art-pop goddess shines brightest. Equal parts spooky indie pop coupled with krautrock-leaning flourishes has yielded some truly impressive releases. 2020’s Find the Sun is worth a spin before making the pilgrimage to Boise in the coming week.

Artist: Ducks Ltd.
Set dates/times: Saturday, March 26th 10:10 p.m. & Sunday, March 27th 5:20 p.m.
Locations: Linen Building (March 26th) & Radioland (March 27th)

Tom McGreevy and Evan Lewis are vetted pros at serving up gleeful pop rock, which somehow equally sounds both nostalgic and newfangled. The Toronto-based jangle-pop duo’s 2021 Carpark release Modern Fiction is one to throw on before heading to Boise in the coming week for fans of Luna, Real Estate and Chime School.

Artist: PAINT
Set date/time: Saturday, March 26th 10:30 p.m.
Location: The District

While not a new side project for LA band Allah-Las songwriter/guitarist Pedrum Siadatian, PAINT can fly under the radar of Allah fans. Luckily, their surf-inspired jangle rock is rather akin to Siadatian’s main project, full of piercing guitar leads coupled with washed-out vocals. While PAINT’s overall vibe may be supremely suited for a sunny beach day, it’ll win over those in attendance for their Saturday showcase. Fans of this sound and act should also heavily consider catching fellow LA act The Spyrals.

Artist: Geese
Set date/time: Sunday, March 27th 10:50 p.m.
Location: Sonic Temple Blue

These uber-buzzy NYC teenagers might be on your radar as they’ve garnered a slew of critical acclaim since the release of their sensational debut single “Disco”. While they have only recently begun to tour, they have already taken the U.S. and globe by force with relentless touring and press. Post-punk bands have become pretty plentiful with a renewed emphasis on the genre, but these young lads have stood out with their guttural vocals, impressive guitar interplay and introspective-beyond-their-age lyrics.

As you can likely surmise, Treefort offers a ton of options to every demographic and tough decisions will need to be made as you zig zag through Boise’s city center for five days. You should currently be trying to put your game plan together assuming you already have a pass in hand. If not, you still have plenty of time to book travel to this highly accessible and very financially reasonable locale. There’s little doubt that every attendee won’t walk away with a handful of new artists to dig into this spring as we ramp back up to live shows and festivals. Why not get the ball rolling in late March at Treefort?

Tickets to Treefort Music Fest 2022 are available here.

Treefort Music Festival 2022 - lineup

Fruit Bats are back together and hitting the road this fall on My Morning Jacket’s latest U.S. tour

Fruit BatsPhotos by Annie Beedy // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Since their early beginnings in Louisville, My Morning Jacket have toed the line between the indie and jam worlds better than any other rock ‘n’ roll band out there. But they’re also now partially responsible for reviving an early pioneer of the post-millennial, folk-rock boom that stormed the U.S. music industry more than a decade ago.

Conceived by Eric Johnson while working as an instructor at The Old Town School of Folk Music in his native Chicago, Fruit Bats first served as an outlet for the 39-year-old singer-songwriter to experiment writing songs with his 4-track recording device.

“My ultimate goal was to play the local club on a Tuesday night,” Johnson tells me by phone. “I was coming from this very shrewd indie-rock era. My goal was just to have a couple people hear it, and I didn’t even think that would happen.”

Johnson, nevertheless, would go on to befriend James Mercer of The Shins and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse while touring as a member of Califone, gaining the support of both bands before signing Fruit Bats to Sub Pop Records in 2002 and releasing a new LP on the Seattle label the following year.

“It took going on tour and seeing those guys do well to realize it doesn’t take magic,” Johnson says with regard to the role The Shins and Modest Mouse played in helping Fruit Bats reach a wider audience during the early 2000’s. “You get to see how the wheels start to turn and how it can work.”

Fruit Bats subsequently released three more studio albums on Sub Pop, with Johnson joining The Shins during part of that time as a multi-instrumentalist. But more than two years after putting the final touches on the band’s last full length Tripper, Johnson announced that Fruit Bats would be no more. He was set on taking his career solo, and if that meant calling it quits on the band he founded and led for more than 15 years, then that’s what he had to do.

It was a decision that Johnson still doesn’t regret making now almost two years later, largely because it has completely flipped his perspective on playing in a band, something he started to miss as a solo artist. And after much thought, he came up with a “new” concept for a band, only to realize that it was exactly what Fruit Bats had been all along.

“I formulated this whole plan in my head that seemed like such a great idea, and when I looked at it all on paper, I said, ‘I did that already,'” he says.

Around this same time, My Morning Jacket came calling, asking Johnson if he wanted to open for them as a solo act over a two-week stretch — starting on Sunday at the Santa Barbara Bowl and continuing Tuesday in Los Angeles at the Shrine Auditorium before hitting San Francisco for three straight nights at The Masonic a couple days later — on their current U.S. tour.

“My Morning Jacket asked if I wanted to do the tour and open solo,” he says. “I thought, ‘That would suck to open solo for those guys.’ I felt like I would be swallowed up by those rooms.”

Fruit Bats

So, rather than turning them down, Johnson proposed another idea.

“I asked them, ‘What if I reunited Fruit Bats for these shows?'” he says. “And they were like, ‘That would rule! That would be awesome!’ So, I got the My Morning Jacket seal of approval.”

Shortly thereafter, Johnson wrote on the band’s Twitter page that he would be performing as Fruit Bats again, but the accomplished film scorer (his credentials include working on “Our Idiot Brother” in 2011 and “Smashed” in 2012) would also reveal two months later that he had begun writing the band’s next album, which is slated for release in early 2016.

Still, after 16 years fronting Fruit Bats, he never expected that he would be taking the band on the road as an opener.

“I don’t do opening tours ever,” says Johnson, who splits his time between Portland, where he now calls home, and LA, where he’s currently recording the latest Fruit Bats album. “I’ve said ‘No’ to a lot of them because it’s hard. It’s a bus-chasing tour as they call it.”

But opening for My Morning Jacket, even with the prospect of doing it while traveling from state to state on a bus, was an opportunity that Johnson, whom has been friends with Jim James for a number of years now, couldn’t pass up when the offer was presented to him.

“My Morning Jacket would be on the very short list of people I would chase around because talk about one of the great rock ‘n’ roll bands of our time that is making super relevant and timeless music,” he says. “It seemed like a no-brainer. If you want to talk about a big band with that reach that I would want to get in front of, they’re definitely one of them.”

From California to Arizona to Texas, Fruit Bats will take on some fairly large venues this month, even if it means doing it as an opener despite having been around the block like Johnson has by now.

“It can be a pretty thankless gig,” he says when it comes to opening shows.

If there’s one thing Johnson can be thankful for though, it’s that phone call he got earlier this year from My Morning Jacket.

Fruit Bats

We don’t burn … we swym! Symbiosis is not another Burning Man pretending to be a music festival

Symbiosis Gathering 2015Written by Nik Crossman //

Symbiosis Gathering //
Woodward Reservoir – Oakdale, CA
September 17th-20th, 2015 //

As the “Burners” venture back to a reality absent of playa-dust bikinis and Mad Max gear, another breed of community-driven enthusiasts get ready for one of the world’s most unique music festivals: Symbiosis Gathering 10 Year Re:Union.

Since its inception in 2005, Symbiosis Gathering has brought together individuals from all over the world to celebrate the power of music, art and education. With humble beginnings that saw less than 1,000 people attend the festival, the enlightening success of the first Gathering set the stage for years to come. 2015 marks the 10-year Re:Union of The Gathering, and as co-producer Kevin KoChen explains, “Nobody is prepared to witness what happens. And when it does, it makes all the planning worth it.”

Symbiosis is not another music festival, and it’s not another Burning Man. Similar to Lightning in a Bottle (read our review of this year’s festival here) now based in Central California, it’s something in between. With community contributions from chocolatiers, astrologers and nutritionists as well as yogis hosting a variety of talks and workshops, The Gathering aims to educate just as much as entertain over four days at Oakdale’s Woodward Reservoir. Symbiosis, furthermore, intends to gather many facets of the counter-culture movement and provide a collective environment to foster symbiotic relationships among those who wouldn’t normally cross paths.

Beyond a stellar music lineup (pictured below) impressively influenced by international trends, Symbiosis offers a variety of shenanigans ranging from the popular shows like Tourettes Without Regrets and Chaos Karaoke to Kidzbiosis, which are focused workshops dedicated to children.

Alas, no music festival/Burning Man hybrid would be complete without the presence of some mind-blowing art installations. For its 10th year, The Gathering sets itself apart even more by leveraging the sandy beaches and cooling waters of Woodward Reservoir and introducing art boat installations. From stationary sculptures to human- and wind-powered cruising vessels to motor-powered ferries, the art boats at Symbiosis will be as diverse as the attendees. In the traditional “Contribute to the Community” mentality, The Gathering encourages everyone to build and bring their own art boat with them, presenting participants with an interactive, aquatic escapade not seen at any other music festival. It’s just another reason why Symbiosis is one of our eight California music festivals you won’t want to miss before the end of 2015.

Experience Passes are still available online for $280 and at participating ticket vendors. Festival walk-in camping is included and car camping passes are also available for purchase.

2015 Symbiosis Gathering lineup

Beat Connection are embracing their next challenge

Beat Connection

Beat Connection (from left to right): Tom Eddy, Mark Hunter, Reed Juenger and Jarred Katz.

Photo by Avi Loud // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Reed Juenger isn’t one to shy away from a challenge.

Ever since he started Beat Connection with his fellow dormmate Jordan Koplowitz at the University of Washington, it has been one challenge after another to keep the musical project alive, let alone see it blossom into what it has become today.

“It’s certainly gone through quite a few changes,” says Juenger, who also oversees the graphic design and marketing for Capitol Hill Block Party, a three-day summer music festival over in Seattle’s hip Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Juenger was born and grew up in the greater Boston area before his parents moved cross-country to Washington when he was 12 years old. But it wasn’t until college, when he met Koplowitz on the first day of school and the two eventually began DJing house parties, that he considered making music for a living.

As Juenger illuminates, he and Koplowitz at the time were trying to learn how to “write music naïvely and spirited in a way,” an idea that the producer/keyboardist still believes remains paramount to Beat Connection’s identity (the group’s name serves as a direct reference to the LCD Soundsystem song) despite Koplowitz no longer being a part of the equation.

“A large part of Beat Connection is having an attitude of ‘I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, but I’m going to do it anyway,'” Juenger says. “That has been our guiding force.”

By the time Koplowitz had left the group in early 2013 to pursue other interests, Beat Connection had released 2010 EP Surf Noir and 2012 LP The Palace Garden while expanding to a four-piece band with Tom Eddy on guitar/vocals and Jarred Katz on drums. But Koplowitz’s departure left Juenger, Eddy and Katz with a crucial decision to make: should they continue as Beat Connection in their current iteration or should they start from scratch as a completely new project?

With little doubt in their minds, the three remaining members continued to work on new music while bringing in Mark Hunter, who had performed with Juenger and Koplowitz when Beat Connection was strictly an electronic music duo, to play bass. The shakeup signaled a major turning point for Juenger, but also one that he has no regrets about as he looks toward the future.

“To me, that’s when this band really started, which is counterintuitive because we have this body of work from the past under the same name,” he explains. “It’s a different thing now, and I feel like it’s what it was meant to be the whole time.”

Even with Koplowitz out of the picture, Beat Connection is still very much a college band — not when it comes to describing their sound per say, but simply in tracing their formation. All four members met at the University of Washington, and it’s at least in part why Juenger refers to his bandmates as his “best friends” now.

“Those guys, we’re a team,” he adds. “We are always trying to be the best version of a band that we can be and the best version of us that we can be when creating art.”

But for all the challenges that Juenger has endured since forming Beat Connection in 2010, he can finally breathe a sigh of relief after months of uncertainty regarding the band’s record label status. That’s because the group, despite releasing The Palace Garden through Moshi Moshi imprint Tender Age almost three years ago, had remained independent until late last month when it struck a deal with ANTI- Records, a sister label of Epitaph that will release Beat Connection’s forthcoming album this fall.

In the meantime, the Seattle quartet has already debuted four songs from what will be its second full-length record, including the synthpop-heavy “Illusion” and the funk-flavored “So Good” most recently. The new material has been a long time coming for Beat Connection, which has been writing and recording much of it since 2012. But despite finishing the album in November, there has been no rush by the band to put it out until its 100 percent ready.

“We are trying our best to deliver a work of art to an audience, which sounds pretentious — and it is,” says Juenger, who doesn’t mind calling himself a perfectionist when it comes to the creative process. “But we’re trying our best to make sure we have everything fully in line.”

What excites Juenger just as much as the prospect of releasing a new album, though, is the chance to finally get back on the road. Outside of performing at South by Southwest this past spring, it has been quite a while since Beat Connection has toured, with their last appearance in California coming in October at Culture Collide Festival (read our review of the festival here).

“I can’t believe it has been that long,” Juenger admits.

They’ll end that nearly 10-month drought on Thursday night in Los Angeles when they open for British art rockers Django Django at the El Rey Theatre amid an 11-date tour that saw them play Lollapalooza last weekend and includes upcoming festival appearances at MusicFestNW and Austin City Limits with an ever-important hometown date sandwiched in between.

And with those opportunities in place, the band knows now is the time to seize the moment and take its game to the next level.

“We have everything we need,” Juenger stresses. “There’s always a fear that there’s something better out there, but part of figuring things out is knowing that we are a team and these are my best friends.”

20 predictions for Grateful Dead’s ‘Fare Thee Well’

Grateful Dead 50 - "Fare Thee Well"By Andy Magnes //

With “Fare Thee Well” upon us and everyone dancin’ in the streets, it’s time to make some predictions for this one final run to be grateful for.

We’re not saying all of these are going to happen, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed!

Prediction #20: There will be no Phish or Bruce Hornsby songs.

This is a Dead affair. Although the devout “Phans” might hear a tease or two, if Trey played a Phish song, I’m pretty sure first generation Deadheads would have a heart attack. Having said that …

Prediction #19: We will hear a Beatles cover.

From one core four to the next.

Prediction #18: For better or worse, the whole run will be one huge singalong.

Time to start warming up those pipes!

Prediction #17: Having said that, there will be a few jams that go DEEP.

We’re predicting “Eyes of the World” goes long.

Grateful Dead 50 - "Fare Thee Well" - Santa Clara

Prediction #16: Santa Clara will be a Sunshine Daydream.

The driest state in the country looks like it’s going to pay off this weekend.

Prediction #15: Soldier Field could be a “Box of Rain”.

The forecast isn’t looking great, but we’ve seen stranger things happen.

Prediction #14: Jeff Chimenti will be the unsung hero of “FTW”.

Out of everyone on stage, he’s the guy in his prime who is the most familiar with the Dead catalog right now.

Prediction #13: Deadheads will feel much better about Trey after Santa Clara.

Trey’s reverence for everything the Dead stood for and his soaring leads will win over many old hearts.

Jay Cutler - cigarette

Prediction #12: “Fare Thee Well” will be the happiest moment at Soldier Field in 2015.

Sorry Jay Cutler, but look on the bright side — this at least gives you an opportunity to smoke cigs on the field.

Prediction #11: Trey will use at least three different guitars.

This is not going to be a Languedoc-heavy affair. After Jerry’s guitar mysteriously disappeared from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, expect some legendary axes to accompany some legendary music.

Prediction #10: Bobby will sit in on at least one late-night show. Trey will not.

These days, Big Red goes to bed while the rest of us rage!

Trey Anastasio - daisy dukes

Courtesy of Phish.net

Prediction #9: To symbolize the passing of the torch, Bobby will bequeath his daisy dukes to Trey.

Our sources tell us this is the main reason they didn’t choose Warren.

Prediction #8: This isn’t the last we’ll see of Trey and Bruce on stage together.

Bruce’s style is a perfect match for Trey’s guitar — like an even more bluesier Page — and after their chemistry shines, we can only hope to see more of this pairing.

Rahm Emmanuel

Prediction #7: Antelope Greg and Mayor Rahm Emanuel will get into a fistfight.

With his turf threatened by the influx of the scene, Raging Rahm will have no choice but to throw down.

[Fun fact: Rahm’s got a Jerry hand!]

Prediction #6: Chicago will open with “Box of Rain”.

It was the last song Jerry played live, in that very stadium, and the core four will no doubt tribute the late, great guitarist.

Prediction #5: “And We Bid You Good Night” will close the Chicago run … and the era.

Not the boldest prediction, but the thought of the whole crowd singing “Good Night” with the core four one more time already gives us the chills.

The Merry Panksters - bus

Prediction #4: There will be at least three Furthur buses on the lot in Chicago.

Probably more. If you have a Furthur bus, you’re coming to the Windy City. Having a geo-centric location will at least pay off in this way.

Prediction #3: Obama in attendance?

The Dead campaigned for him in 2008, it’s in his hometown and he’s officially entering the “IDGAF” portion of his presidency. O-bong hits for Obama!

Prediction #2: Mike Gordon will be raging the Chicago pit … with an enormous cactus rage stick.

You’ll be able to see his scarf for miles.

Prediction #1: Three generations of Deadheads will be in attendance.

It’s more of an observation than a prediction, but wow, what an incredible 50-year ride!

Even though this represents the end of an era, the tradition and spirit of the Grateful Dead is as fresh as ever. Whether you’re seeing Phil Lesh and Friends or Bob Weir & RatDog or you’re taking a new spin on the Dead’s songbook with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead or The Motet’s “Funk Is Dead” tribute, one thing’s for certain: even after the last note rings at Soldier Field, the music will never stop!

Grateful Dead 50 - "Fare Thee Well" - Soldier Field

SF honors its musical history at City Hall’s Centennial Celebration with Sun Kil Moon, Vetiver & more (6/19)

San Francisco City HallPhotos courtesy of San Francisco City Hall // Written by Molly Kish //

San Francisco City Hall Centennial Celebration //
City Hall — San Francisco
June 19th, 2015 //

This Friday, SF City Hall celebrates its 100th anniversary in euphonious fashion. Ringing in its centennial year, The Hellman Family and San Francisco Giants co-chair a symphonic tribute to the rich culture and history of the SF music scene over the past 100 years.

The celebration will take place on two stages in the Civic Center Plaza, as emcee Ben Fong Torres shares the spotlight with musical director/savant Chuck Prophet and an eclectic lineup of both locally curated and globally recognized talent. A thematic program, highlighting some of SF’s most iconic anthems, will be performed live by a full band, choir, classical string octet and horns section. Paying homage to the diverse range of musical influence the SF music scene has become known for over the past 10 decades, performers include Sun Kil Moon vocalist/guitarist Mark Kozelek, Vetiver singer-songwriter Andy Cabic, former Dead Kennedys lead singer/songwriter Jello Biafra, singer Lavay Smith, singer-songwriter/producer/musician Tim Bluhm, singer-songwriter Kelly Stoltz and more.

San Francisco City Hall - projection

Obscura Digital will be debuting its brand-new projection system at the celebration.

Aside from the live entertainment on both stages, HUSHconcerts will be on site with their HUSHcast silent disco lineup, including DJ Apollo, DJ Dials, Motion Potion and several others from the Bay Area’s electronic elite. The plaza itself will be transformed into a carnival of delight with Anon Events’ roaming droves of circus performers, side-show entertainers, contortionists, sword swallowers, interactive art installations, a light sculpture garden, a children’s wonderland and an after-dark cabaret of exotic stage performances, burlesque and LED light dancers.

Obscura Digital will be displaying its brand-new projection system, which is set up to cast light and images on City Hall’s facade year round, at 9:30 p.m. sharp. Aimed to “take the audience on a visual and creative journey through the history and stories behind the building,” the light show is two years in the making and looks to make City Hall an active installation and dynamic piece of public art.

The celebration is free and open to the public from 6-11 p.m. For more information, please visit sfcityhall100.com.

Miami Horror cover all bases on ‘All Possible Futures’ before their sold-out show in LA

Miami HorrorPhoto by Dylan Reyes // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Growing up, Benjamin Plant had always seen Melbourne as his home. As a native of the Australian city, he immersed himself in its music scene at a young age, DJing at house parties and clubs around town.

But a lot changed for the Miami Horror founder and bandleader when he moved to Los Angeles nearly three years ago — and for the better.

“I think life is a lot groovier and easier,” he says about his LA lifestyle now. “People are just a lot nicer and happier, so it allows you to find your own space when you’re away from your scene.”

Plant wasn’t the only one in the band who chose to leave the dreary streets of Melbourne for the sunny beaches of Southern California. At this point, all but one member in Miami Horror lives in LA, where the majority of the quintet’s second full-length album All Possible Futures was recorded and where they’ll play to a sold-out crowd when they take the stage at The Roxy Theatre this Friday night (June 5th).

“This is our reintroduction tour,” Plant says about the 17-date run that ends in Chicago on June 30th and includes an appearance at Electric Forest. “It’s our opportunity to show what we’ve got and what we’ve become. We’re a lot more mature now.”

It’s been quite a bit of time — almost five years, in fact — since the indietronica outfit released its debut Illumination on British multinational label EMI, and things were much different back then.

Plant, for one, wrote most of the songs that appeared on the 12-track LP that came out in 2010, including “Sometimes”, the first single off Illumination that put Miami Horror on the map with frequent radio play and numerous remixes around the club circuit.

The songwriting process for All Possible Futures, on the other hand, was revamped. This time around, the entire band was involved rather than only Plant coming forward with song ideas. What results is a record that boasts plenty of futuristic pop and uniquely combines elements of both house and funk in a more traditional rock band setting.

“We wanted to make sure we made an album that covered all bases,” Plant says. “You have to keep fans, impress old fans, make new fans and be happy with yourself. There are so many things going on that you have to cover everything.”

It had Miami Horror — made up of Plant (production, synthesizers, bass), Josh Moriarty (guitars, vocals), Aaron Shanahan (co-production, guitar, synthesizer, vocals), Daniel Whitechurch (piano, synthesizer) and Kosta Theodosis (drums) — shedding their producer-centric approach to study bands like Talking Heads, as they aimed for the stars during the recording sessions in LA and Melbourne.

“We were definitely more inclined to writing a flashy kind of hit,” Plant admits. “We were almost imagining and hoping we could do that. For quite a while, every song we made was directed as a single.”

Coincidentally enough, two of the first three tracks on All Possible Futures were tabbed as singles, with “Real Slow” and “Love Like Mine” setting the stage for other dance-pop hits “Wild Motion (Set It Free)” and “Colours in the Sky” later on. That said, with 15 tracks and over an hour in run time, the finished product remains more comprehensive than one that simply will be remembered only for its singles.

“We wanted an album that you could listen to for five years rather than two months,” Plant says. “We focused a lot more on songwriting, like learning about chord progressions, changes and structures of songs. We just really wanted to push ourselves there.”

Looking toward the future, after all, is something that has always preoccupied Plant, to the point that it largely became the inspiration behind the band’s new studio effort.

“I’m constantly thinking about the future, every different direction you can go and every way your life can turn out,” he says in discussing the meaning of All Possible Futures. “There are always a million directions to go, and you have to choose what the right one is.”

So far for Plant, that direction has been east — Melbourne to LA while never looking back.

Howl at the moon at The Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans for the 2015 Bayou Rendezvous

bayou-smallBy Steven Wandrey //

Satisfied Productions presents the 13th annual Bayou Rendezvous //
The Howlin’ Wolf – New Orleans, LA
May 1st, 2015 //

On Friday, May 1st at the Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans, many of the country’s finest musicians will come together during Jazz Fest to bring you an all-night live music event featuring nine bands on two simultaneous stages. The Bayou Rendezvous will go all night from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. and is always one of the most memorable and unique night shows during Jazz Fest. This year’s diverse lineup brings several varieties of funk and dance music flavored with soul, afro-beat, jazz fusion, electronica and rock.

The Bayou Rendezvous All-Stars will make their debut to open the night with a stellar lineup of musical legends forming a supergroup that is not to be missed. Col. Bruce Hampton (ret.), the Godfather of Southern alternative jam fusion and his Aquarium Rescue Unit bandmate and Allman Brothers Band bassist Oteil Burbridge will be joined by local New Orleans legends Ivan Neville and Johnny Vidacovich, along guitar masters Eric McFadden (Parliament-Funkadelic, The Animals) and Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys). Further solidifying the rhythm section will be Duane Trucks, the 26-year-old drumming sensation currently touring with Widespread Panic, and Doug Belote, who recently won Offbeat‘s award for Best Jazz Album for his solo release Magazine Street.

The second set of the night will be brought to you by SF Bay Area psychedelic soul-funk masters Monophonics. Touring in support of their timeless new album Sound of Sinning, Monophonics’ set will morph into the set of their longtime West Coast collaborators Orgone. This Los Angeles deep soul, rare funk and afro-disco rock powerhouse is also touring behind their brand-new release Beyond the Sun. Both of these bands will also be joining forces for a Jazz Fest exclusive set, Orgone VS. Monophonics, in which both bands will play together with all members on stage at once.

Kung Fu, hailing from New Haven, Conn., will perform a high-energy, late-night set in the main room. Kung Fu has quickly become one of the hottest funk bands in the new-funk movement, Kung Fu is blurring the line between intense electro-fusion and blistering dance arrangements. Making fusion music “cool” again, the band draws on influences such as early Headhunters and Weather Report and merges those ideas with a contemporary EDM-informed sensibility. Imagine 70’s funk-fusion meets a modern dance party!

The Den stage, next door to the Main room, will start off with a bang, as Polyrhythmics, an 8 piece original hard-driving, modern afro-beat and syncopated, horn-driven funk band from Seattle, brings the heat.

The California Honeydrops, hailing from Oakland, will be up next, drawing on diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues and New Orleans second line. The Honeydrops will bring vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes to the evening.

Out of the Northeast, TAUK will keep the dance party moving with their New York City style of heavy instrumental rock fusion. The transcendent four-piece seamlessly brings together genres as diverse as melodic rock, fusion, gritty funk, progressive rock, ambient, hip-hop and jazz.

New Orlean’s own Gravity A will continue the festivities, bringing their unique funktronica and eclectic sounds into their late-night set. As the sun rises, local New Orleans funk outfit Gravy will finish the night by hosting the sunrise breakfast jam with special guests.

Event Information:

Nine bands, two stages
Doors: 8 p.m.
Show: 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Buy tickets for $30 in advance.

Artist Lineup:

The Bayou Rendezvous All-Stars are: Ivan Neville, Johnny Vidacovich, Col. Bruce Hampton, Oteil Burbridge, Eric McFadden, Roosevelt Collier, Duane Trucks, Doug Belote and special guests!

Orgone VS. Monophonics (playing full sets each, plus a special set together)
Kung Fu
The California Honeydrops
Gravity A
Gravy (Sunrise Breakfast Jam)

Schedule of Events:

Main Stage
9 p.m.: The Bayou Rendezvous All-Stars
11:30 p.m.: Orgone VS. Monophonics
11:30 p.m.: Monophonics
1 a.m.: Orgone
3 a.m.: Kung Fu

Den Stage
10 p.m.: Polyrhythmics
Midnight: The California Honeydrops
2 a.m.: TAUK
4 a.m.: Gravity A
6 a.m.: Gravy
Sunrise Breakfast Jam with special guests

*All times local Central Standard Time

For more information, go to Bayou Rendezvous’ Facebook page or Facebook event page, Twitter and Spotify playlist.


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Showbams Exclusive: Tuesday’s Spirits May schedule

Fred Torphy and The Spirits

Fred Torphy and The Spirits

Written by Kevin Quandt //

Tuesday’s Spirits, a free, weekly showcase of some of the Bay Area’s rising musicians held at Doc’s Lab in North Beach, returns in May with another compelling lineup of local talent.

Hosted/curated by Fred Torphy, Tuesday’s Spirits has steadily built a reputation as a go-to event for local music fans and artists alike. Since it’s inception in January, the residency has gained a stellar reputation as a place for fans and musicians to congregate midweek.

“Lots of new faces in May- it’s going to be a blast”, predicts Torphy. “We’re bringing in a bunch of artists we’ve had our eyes on since starting this series, and I’m tickled we were able to get The Coo Coo Birds and Quinn DeVeaux on the same night.” (May 12th). “We also have Scary Little Friends playing the opening night with my pal Ryan McCaffrey from Go By Ocean.”

Aside from curating the series, Torphy also anchors each show with a set from his new band, unofficially named The Spirits. “When we started the residency, we had to pad the set with some covers and older material. We were still getting our sea legs. Last month was a benchmark for us- I had started writing songs specifically for this band, and we committed to adding new material every week of the March run. Those tunes have become the centerpieces, and we’re working on more new stuff for May.”

Showbams is proud to roll-out Tuesday’s Spirits’ May schedule:

May 5th: Scary Little Friends, Fred Torphy & The Spirits, Ryan McCaffrey (Go By Ocean) // DETAILS

May 12th: Coo Coo Birds, Fred Torphy & The Spirits, Quinn DeVeaux // DETAILS

May 19th: Fred Torphy & The Spirits, Trevor Garrod (Tea Leaf Green), Drunken Barn Dance, Tim Tyson (Mahgeetah) // DETAILS

May 26th: Midnight North, Fred Torphy & The Spirits, Charley Paul // DETAILS

MAY_TuesSpirits_SQUAREweb (1)

Tuesday’s Spirits announce a stellar March schedule at Doc’s Lab

(left to right) Dave O'Dell, Fred Torphy, Cochrane McMilan, Eric DiBeradino

Dave O’Dell, Fred Torphy, Cochrane McMilan, Eric DiBeradino (left to right)

Written by Kevin Quandt //

Former Big Light frontman Fred Torphy returns to Doc’s Lab in March for Tuesday’s Spirits — a free, month-long weekly residency. In addition to anchoring each Tuesday with his own band, Torphy will also act as curator, bringing an exciting mix of both up-and-coming artists as well as Bay Area staples to the intimate North Beach venue each week.

“Tuesday’s Spirits was conceived as an excuse to bring together a bunch bands and solo artists I’ve worked with or have wanted to work with, but with no agenda other than to play music and try new things,” Torphy explains. “It’s fitting this is happening at Doc’s Lab, since it’s felt a bit like a laboratory over there. We’ve had punk, avant-garde and dream-pop bands in the past, all on the same night, and we’re trying to keep things a little bit weird and unpredictable in that regard.”

That said, Torphy has also been working hard to ensure variety doesn’t supersede quality.

“This month we have Alexi Glickman from Sandy’s and Alan Sparhawk from Low both playing solo sets as the openers on different shows,” he says. “You won’t see that anywhere else in town, let alone for no cover charge.”

March 3rd: Midnight North, Fred Torphy, Alexander Nelson (of Walking Spanish) // DETAILS

March 10th: Fred Torphy, Sioux City Kid, HOLLY with Alan Sparhawk (of Low) // DETAILS

March 17th: The Over Overs (feat. members of Tea Leaf Green), Darren Nelson (solo), Drift Control // DETAILS

March 24th: Fred Torphy, Banditos, Hunter S. Thompson Twins // DETAILS

March 31st: Peachelope, Fred Torphy, Sandy’s // DETAILS

Spirits logo

Peter Matthew Bauer breaks out at Bottom of the Hill

Peter Matthew BauerPhotos by Matt Barrick and Nikki de Martini // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Peter Matthew Bauer //
Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco
July 9th, 2014 //

Though The Walkmen have proclaimed that they are on a “pretty extreme hiatus”, it doesn’t mean they have slowed their creative output as the majority of members have released solo albums within a few months of their demise. Hamilton Leithauser channels Sinatra and other old school crooners on his lush sounding release, Black Hours. On the other hand, Walter Martin wrote a batch of songs for his young family to enjoy — singing joyful songs about animals and The Beatles on “We’re All Young Together”. Yet, it’s Peter Matthew Bauer’s debut solo album Liberation! that took the spotlight on a mid-week evening down at the base of Potrero Hill alongside Skyler Skjelset and new-to-the-City band, Tabernacle.

Liberation! is Bauer’s first romp into being the lead man, the songwriter and even full-blown guitarist, as Bauer manned the bass and organ in The Walkmen for a decade. The album is a worldly collective of musings focusing primarily on the emotions that inevitably arose from when his mainstay hung it up. It touches on a lack of previous restraint that comes from band life, as well as the fear of the unknown, as he begins his own endeavor. For his first tour, Bauer didn’t go with a streamlined band, but rather, he brought out a merry bunch of his friends from Philly, including Skyler Skjelset of Fleet Foxes and Bauer’s wife to sing backup vocals.

Peter Matthew Bauer

As the seven-piece band strutted on stage dressed to the nines, it was evident that even with the light turnout, this burgeoning project was here to play its heart out to its early supporters. “I Was Born in an Ashram” was the biographical opening track, on both the album and at the show, and set an energetic performance pace from the pompadoured frontman. He channeled Orbison, Harrison and other legendary impresarios early on as he battled religion and the choices one makes in this life — pretty deep stuff for a guy who is new to this role on stage. This opening number, and even the album as a whole, kind of feels like Sun Studios went on vacation and eventually opened shop in Bangladesh, drawing influence from both the Eastern and Western worlds to create a kaleidoscopic effect.

The album’s title track, “Liberation!”, picked up the rhythm a bit and transported the crowd to a far-off place as the dual backup singers did their best Lijadu Sisters impression to toss some African influence into the melting pot. Between songs, Bauer drew the crowd in with both praise of support and a few stories relating to the current tracks — “Scientology Airplane Conversations” being a prime example. Matt Oliver (guitar), Mickey Walker (bass) and Jess Mcintosh (drums) demonstrated they were the right friends to bring on the road as the core band shined brightly on the newly-penned ensemble tracks, such as “Miracle Mile”. Bauer’s vocal range was impressive, a surprise to this writer who saw him in the background of countless Walkmen shows. Even though it was a fresh sound from what Bauer had been focusing on for the past decade, the influence from his former project was evident while also being refreshing to longtime fans — a well thought-out balance that seemed to flow quickly from Bauer. As the set wrapped up with the mantra-esque album closer, “You Are the Chapel”, the band casually walked off, knowing it had wrecked house.

Peter Matthew Bauer

Ronin: The Warrior Princess Benefit Show at Make-Out Room in SF 4/13


Ronin: The Warrior Princess Benefit Show //
Make-Out Room — San Francisco
Sunday, April 13th: 3pm-close //

This Sunday, local artists, musicians and hospitality industry veterans invite you to come out and celebrate for a great cause at San Francisco’s very own Mission District staple, Make-Out Room! Party with a purpose and help support the toughest little lady in the land, Ronin Bigart, as she continues her combat with leukemia as only a warrior princess can!

The benefit event features a killer line up of local talent including:

Nova Albion

The Pleasure Kills

Jay Nothington (and Sunny Jim Brown)

The Kegels

The Started-It’s

Along with $1000’s of dollars in raffle prizes from:

Cable Car Clothiers
Green Apple Books
House of Prime Rib
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
Q Restaurant
Beach Chalet
R Bar
Mission Hill Saloon
One Market Restaurant
Bar Tartine
Buckshot Bar and Gameroom
Park Tavern
Alex Shonkoff Photography
Moxie Parlour
Tee Off Bar and Grill
The San Francisco Giants
Walt Disney Family Museum
Scala’s Bistro
The Warfield
The Bill Graham Civic
The Regency Ballroom

Entry to the show is just a mere $15 and tickets will be available at the door, until the venue reaches capacity. Raffle tickets are being sold on site and custom t-shirts and tote bags (which are already flying off the shelves), can be purchased here.

ronin shirt

To donate directly to our Warrior Princess through the established Ronan’s Journey to Recoveryland Fund contribute via paypal using the email address roninwarriorprincess@gmail.com.

Click here For more info or contact Miki Matsuda at stonetablet@facebook.com.

Arts in Conversation: Son Lux (Ryan Lott) & Magik*Magik Orchestra Performance, Q&A Monday in SF


Minna Choi photo by Sam Heller //

Arts In Conversation with Ryan Lott of SON LUX & Magik*Magik String Quartet //
The Verdi Club — San Francisco
March 3rd, 2014, 8PM (Monday) //

The Son Lux performance with San Fermin at The Chapel March 4th may be sold out, but a treat of equal or greater value is in store for fans of Ryan Lott of Son Lux and the Magik*Magik Orchestra Monday, March 3rd in SF.

The event will consist of a performance by Son Lux, a short performance by Magik*Magik String Quartet performing his original compositions, and a 45-min on-stage interview with Ryan Lott conducted by Minna Choi, the music director of M*M, about his creative work, process and life.

Last month we were blown away by Magic*Magic’s 5-year anniversary gala at Fox Theater Oakland, and Son Lux’s 2013 record Lanterns is a breathtaking exercise in contemporary genre-amalgamation. Ryan Lott also has a booming side project with Sufjan Stevens called Sisyphus (formerly s/s/s) that’s obviously worth checking out.

Presented by City Church San Francisco (let’s note that this is not a religious event), this is a showcase for those interested in how artists think, create and draw inspiration. There will be a cash bar available. Doors are at 7:30pm and the Show will be at 8pm. It will be at the Verdi Club at 2424 Mariposa.

There is much to glean from this combination of today’s indie-elite. Audience members will have a chance to ask a question to Ryan, so get those question concepts cooking! This behind-the-scenes intimate event will only have a capacity of 100 people, so be sure to get on this while you can!

Monday, March 3rd at 8pm at the Verdi Club in SF


Poster designed by Steven Starfas on behalf of official presenter: City Church San Francisco.

Why I will still go and see Morrissey in San Jose (Or at least buy tickets and see if he shows up)


By the Festival Lawyer //

So Morrissey just announced the start of another tour. This one kicks off in San Jose May 7th at City National Civic.

As you might expect, the announcement was not exactly greeted with enthusiasm in the Bay Area. Headlines like “Morrissey is pretending to play the Bay Area again” or “Morrissey announces tour dates he will probably later cancel” were the most common reaction.

You can’t really blame people for being pissed. Morrissey has cancelled six consecutive shows in the Bay Area. The last time Morrissey actually played a scheduled gig in the Bay Area was in 2009 in Oakland. Although some of last year’s cancellations were due to health issues, what really pissed people off was Morrissey playing shows either right before or right after the dates he missed for health reasons. It seemed less like he was sick and more like a deliberate snub to the Bay Area. In fact, a local SF store actually started selling “Fuck Moz” signs.

Comments on social media sites were varied, and ranged from, “No I won’t be buying Morrissey tickets” to “Oh HELL NO I won’t be buying Morrissey tickets.”

So having said all that, why am I telling people to “Buy” when it comes to the Morrissey stock market when everyone else is telling their investors, “Sell”?

It’s the start of the tour

Unless Morrissey is trying to invent new ways to mess with us, it just seems super unlikely that he would cancel the very first show of the tour. Also, the first show of a tour is pretty exciting. What’s on the playlist? Which Smiths songs will make the cut? Any new stuff from the upcoming album? And let’s not forget about the bragging rights that come from seeing the first show of a tour.

It’s in San Jose

Morrissey hasn’t performed in San Jose since the 90s. Because of how long it has been and how far south it is, he may not even realize that he is playing in the Bay Area. Plus, if Morrissey cancels we can all head over to Original Joe’s and have a late night dinner and bitch session.

He is one of rock’s great icons

Despite all the drama, Morrissey remains a huge rock icon. Music magazine NME called Morrissey “one of the most influential rock artists ever”. In 2004, Pitchfork Media called him “one of the most singular figures in Western popular culture from the last twenty years.”

A few years back the BBC produced a show called “The Importance of Being Morrissey”. If you haven’t seen it, it is less a documentary and more a 45 minute love letter from the people of England. Suffice to say that most stars have to be dead before reaching the level of hero worship people have for him.

You need to change your perception of what a “ticket” is

Most people would define a “ticket” as a contract to see a certain performer at a certain time perform for you. Morrissey concerts are more akin to a “Morrissey Lottery” than a traditional ticket. The fun part of buying a ticket to a Morrissey concert is that you literally have no idea what will happen. I have a friend who was walking into one of his shows when it was abruptly cancelled. I have another friend who went to a bar after Morrissey cancelled a show and saw Moz there having the time of his life. I’ve been at shows where Morrissey was close to openly fighting with the audience.

On the other hand, he can be a superb live performer when he feels like it. When I saw him in 2012, he whipped the mic around like a pro, sounded great and mixed older and new material with ease. When security kept the crowd from coming on stage, Morrissey announced “It’s your stage, don’t let them tell you what to do.” The response from the audience was close to what I expect you might see from one of those revivalist church in the south. It was fantastic.

2014 could be Morrissey’s year

I asked Tom Hastings why in the world any fan would go see Morrissey after the way he has treated the Bay Area. Tom has been a Morrissey fan for 25 years, and has seen over 50 Morrissey shows. (He also has a cameo in the Coachella documentary and his own chapter in the book, The Day I Met Morrissey.) He thinks 2014 will be a big year for Morrissey.

I am still going to take my chances and get these tickets to see a true legend, an icon really, perform live. I think 2014 is going to be Morrissey’s comeback year. He recently released his critically acclaimed autobiography and he is recording his new album. Moreover, his health problems seem to be behind him now. I can’t wait to see this show, especially on opening night…not knowing the setlist and all. I predict this show will sell out FAST! ~VIVA MOZ!

The idea of a Morrissey comeback may seem crazy to you. But remember, this is a guy who has had at least 4 major comebacks in his career. (Example, in 2004 he went from having no record deal to a top ten album in the UK and top eleven on Billboard.) So a comeback is not at all farfetched.

The Smiths aren’t getting back together anytime soon

Listen, we have to collectively let the dream of a Smiths reunion go. They’ve supposedly been offered insane sums to do it, from UK festivals, and Moz just won’t. Coachella makes a try at a Smiths reunion every year. It’s not happening. The fact is that if you ever want to hear and sing along with classics like “How Soon is Now” or “There is a Light that never goes out”, it’s going to have to be at a Morrissey concert.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking that Morrissey is a tribute band or will be doing some kind of “Greatest Hits” reunion tour. Remember, he had a critically acclaimed and commercially successful album as recently as 2009. This is a chance to see a great live performer working through a few decades of great material.

(Speaking of tribute bands, if the Blank Club doesn’t book “This Charming Band” for a combination “After party and/or cancellation party” that same night they are crazy.)

The bottom line is that if you are a fan it’s probably worth the risk of getting burned in exchange for the chance that you will see something truly special. Or as Tom Hastings put it, “if you haven’t experienced a Moz cancellation, and then taken a chance on seeing him again, you are not a true fan.”


Presale: February 20 from 10am to 10pm. Use password ARSENAL to buy tickets. Tickets for general public on sale Friday, February 21 at 9am.

Get tickets here.

Kick off your weekend early with the House of Mezzanine launch party!


Enter to win a pair of free tickets to this show below.
Click here to buy tickets if you know you want to go!

Mezzanine Presents HOUSE OF MEZZANINE //
Museum of Love featuring Pat Mahoney (LCD Soundsystem) and Dennis McNany (The Juan Maclean), with Curses, Eug, Richie Panic, Kevin Meenan //
Mezzanine — San Francisco
February 20th, 2014 (Thursday) //

San Francisco’s premiere live music venue, known for bringing some of the most innovative and ground breaking names within the electronic and dance music community, debuts their brand new monthly showcase House of Mezzanine this Thursday night! To kick off the HOM series, Mezzanine proudly presents the SF unveiling of DFA legends Pat Mahoney and Dennis McNany’s brand new musical venture, Museum of Love. Supported by a packed bill of talent including New York’s own Gotham House enigma Curses and guest DJ sets by EUG, Richie Panic and DJ Kevin Meenan, this is going to be one hell of a housewarming!


Renowned musicians in their own right, having risen to individual fame through two separate DFA super groups LCD Soundsystem and The Juan Maclean, the Museum of Love duo of Pat Mahoney and Dennis McNany are an audible force to be reckoned with. Combining pristine electro-pop production with both members’ penchants for funky baselines and disco-house beats, Museum of Love features an amalgamation of two of the top tastemakers in the electronic industry’s palates in musical matrimony. Slated to drop their debut album this upcoming April, the pair released lead single “Down South” in October of 2013 to a highly anticipatory fan base and critical acclaim. Enthusiastic for their West Coast debut, Museum of Love will be taking over the Mezzanine Thursday night with an infectious groove, “fixing to blow some doors completely off.”

After a five-year hiatus from his original debut on Istibubes in 2008, East Coast native and “goth-house” godfather Curses revives his unique flow as a supporting agent in this stellar DJ lineup. Attributing his resurrection on the decks to the evocation of his creative spirit during after-hours parties in Brooklyn, Curses decided it was due time to get back on the scene in 2013. After chalking up some studio time while working on several new tracks, Curses debuted a brand new single at last year’s Miami Winter Conference which took off via Radio 1 airplay shortly thereafter and landed him an opening slot on Tensnake’s full North American Tour. Pulling from his repertoire of both original tracks and remixes, Curses’ set will be the perfect segue into his east coast counterparts headlining time slot, warming up the crowd with his provocative nu-industrial dance tracks and ominous vibe.

Other highlights of this stacked bill include guest DJ sets by local staples EUG, Richie Panic and resident DJ on the “Lady Mezzanine” turntables, Kevin Meenan! Offering an eclectic sample of up and coming Bay Area talent from electronic outlets FACE, Lights Down Low and Epicsauce, House of Mezzanine’s launch party covers the latest and greatest of both coastline’s, bringing to you the best in ground breaking dance music, nationwide. There is no better way to start your weekend off early than dancing into the final hours of February 20th, with this line up of electronic elite.

For your chance to partake in the inaugural evening of San Francisco’s hottest new monthly dance party, register to win a pair of tickets below.


Enter to win if you can make it to the House of Mezzanine launch party February 20th at Mezzanine in San Francisco.

Submit your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Thursday, February 20th at Noon. 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.

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SF Beer Week Events + Close Shows = Best Week of the Year!


For beer lovers, San Francisco Beer Week is one of the finest weeks of the year. Okay, let’s be honest: It IS the best week of the year! So how can we make the best week of the year even better? By combining primo beer week events with great music.

These tastefully selected pairings have been curated specifically with the intention for you to enjoy a unique beer week offering and follow it up with a show within walking distance. That way, you can (responsibly) enjoy all the libations of your choosing and make it to the show safely. Beer will be flowing like the salmon of Capistrano all over San Francisco from February 8th through the 16th, and here are my picks for perfect beer and music matches:


Date: Sunday, 2/9
Show: Delorean @ The Independent
Beer: Barleywine Night @ Noc Noc
Distance: 13 minute walk

Our first night will find you at the Noc Noc for their Barleywine night. If you’ve never had a barleywine, they’re big, bold, fruity, intense, and very high in alcohol. Sounds great, right? Noc Noc will be serving five in particular from Northern California Breweries, including Marin Brewing’s Old Dipsea and Sierra Nevada’s Barrel Aged Big Foot (don’t miss this one). When you’re done you can walk 13 minutes up Haight and down Divisadero to the Independent where you can hit Delorean. They’re a four piece combining dance music and indie pop who had to cancel their last show at the Independent due to being kidnapped in South America. Let’s hope they make it safely to the show this time. Hopefully everyone else that goes to Noc Noc makes it to the show safely, too, because I have my doubts after all that barleywine.


Date: Tuesday, 2/11
Show: Hospitality @ Rickshaw Stop
Beer: Oskar Blues Night @ The Beer Hall
Distance: 4 minute walk

If you’re in the mood for infectious indie pop and heady northern Colorado brews, buy your tickets for Hospitality right now (only $10!). The Beer Hall is hosting this stellar lineup of forward-thinking Oskar Blues and it’s only a four minute walk to Rickshaw Stop. Oskar Blues have been a pioneer in the craft canning movement, and for good reason. Cans are lighter (cheaper to transport), impermeable by light (stays headier longer), more easily recyclable, and they get cold faster. There won’t be any cans here though, as the offerings will be on tap, starring Oskar the Grouch (smoked IPA), Merlow BA Chaka (Belgian Strong Ale), and Old Chub ON NITRO. At the Rickshaw you’ll be ready to ingest Hospitality, this peppy stripped down trio has been on the rise for over a year now.


Date: Wednesday, 2/12
Show: Boombox @ The Independent
Beer: Coronado Brewing Takeover @ Noir Lounge
Distance: 7 minute bus ride

Get your groove on and dance for a couple hours with Boombox at the Independent. Slinky, sultry, sexy strutting beats await you after your trip to the Noir Lounge for Coronado Brewing’s Tap Takeover. This California mainstay has been impressing craft beer lovers for a few years now but only recently has the brewery seen more of a national exposure. One sip of their Idiot IPA and you’ll realize why. Give it a try along with all of the other selections and then step on the 21 for a 7 minute bus ride up Hayes to the Independent.


Date: Friday, 2/14
Show: Blackalicious @ Slim’s
Beer: Sierra Nevada 62 Tap Takeover @ Zeitgeist
Distance: 13 minute walk

If you’re in the mood for some hip hop, Blackalicious is a must see on this Friday Valentine’s Day. It may not be the best for getting your romantic vibe on, but it’ll be great if you want to dance and shake your ass. And what else is better than shaking your ass with that special someone? Shaking your ass AND drinking beer! I’m straight up befuddled by the beer week listing this night at Zeitgeist: Sierra Nevada SIXTY-TWO TAP TAKEOVER. That’s not a typo. I was never even aware that they had 62 unique beers. We’ll see if this is some tomfoolery on 2/14. If it truly is 62 beers, you’d better believe the place will be loaded with hard to find rarities from the cellar. Supposedly they’re tapping the “extra special” kegs in the later afternoon/early night time, so if you hit this event before before you head to Slim’s you’ll be in good standing to sip on the best the brewery has to offer.

Bonus Pick!!!Because I have extra love for Valentine’s Day.

Date: Friday, 2/14
Show: Quilt @ Bottom of the Hill
Beer: Beer Tasting + Sweets @ Blueprint Tap Room
Distance: 15 minute walk

Maybe some gentle psych rock is more your style on the country’s most romantically manufactured holiday of the year. Quilt has made a big impression lately with their pseudo-sixties revival indie rock. While sometimes soothing in its swaying pop melodies, on occasion it necessitates a full-body psych rock freak-out. Blueprint Tap Room is doing a dessert and beer pairing that is making my mouth water as I type this. Coffee and chocolate bread pudding with salted caramel sauce will be paired with Anderson Valley’s fantastic Bourbon Barrel Stout, and olive oil citrus cake will be paired with Buzzerkeley’s Belgian Strong Pale Ale. And there are more pairings. There are also a wide variety of West Coast breweries being featured, such as Deschutes, Ninkasi, Lost Abbey, Ballast Point, Green Flash, and Calicraft. When it’s beer week, these guys and gals don’t come unprepared. There will be some really great beer getting tapped here.


Date: Saturday, 2/15
Show: Jerry Garcia Band featuring Melvin Seals @ Great American Music Hall
Beer: Midnight Sun Brewery @ Amsterdam Cafe
Distance: 3 minute walk

Any night with the Jerry Garcia Band feat. Melvin Seals ends in a sweaty tired mess, and it’s great. It’s so soulful and cathartic that you’ll feel like you’re at church, but with only half the guilt. Midnight Sun is a brewery from Alaska that you may not have heard of, but they have been on point for years now. I’ve only been largely impressed with everything I’ve tried from them, and this beer lineup looks to be stacked with special releases. They’ve got a dark strong ale with spices and chilies, oak-aged T.R.E.A.T. (imperial chocolate pumpkin porter on nitro), and XXX-Black Double IPA. This pair is sure to impress – you’ll be having fun all the way through the midnight moonlight!

11 reasons to celebrate five years of Magik*Magik Orchestra at Fox Theater Oakland


Photos by Sterling Munksgard //

Led & conducted by Minna Choi, Magik*Magik Orchestra and their many contemporaries have prepared an evening for the ages at Fox Theater Oakland January 31. A dynamic group of mostly local performers will join forces over three 45 minute acts to deliver a gala concert to revolve around the theme of childhood, and “collaboration” will be the word of the evening.

Here are 11 reasons why celebrating 5 years of Magik*Magik Orchestra should be in your plans this month. Secure your seats here.


11. Two Gallants
SF-based duo Two Gallants will be joining the festivities — “Fly Low Carrion Crow” from their self titled record might flourish with symphonic backing…

10. The Lonely Forest
The Lonely Forest and Magik*Magik joined forces on “Be Everything”, the first track from the group’s first track on their debut album Arrows. The band has confirmed John Van Deusen will be playing this song and a Peter Gabriel cover with M*MO.

9. Zoe Keating
The one-woman orchestra teamed up with the Magik string section in 2011 for two shows at Great American Music Hall, so Keating should be pretty locked in with the headliners.


8. Geographer
The City’s very own Geographer performed with M*MO at Stern Grove Music Festival last summer, where they opened for Kronos Quartet. Will they simply add a tasty layer of electronic sound or will songs like Geographer’s “Original Sin” get full orchestral support? Maybe both…

7. The event benefits Magik-For-Kids, Outreach & More
Magik-For-Kids is Magik*Magik’s key community project, giving local children access to brass instruments. The initiative also allows kids to compose their own string quartet, build a band, and more. So that’s pretty cool.


6. Rogue Wave
Oakland-based Rogue Wave seem like an obvious choice to include in the experience, and classics like “Eyes” or “California” seem like solid song bets. “Everyone Wants to Be You” from last year’s Nightingale Floors might be a tremendous selection for full Magik backing.


5. The Dodos
Magik have backed The Dodos on their last two records and they performed together at Noise Pop 2010, so they are probably able to send subliminal mind messages to each other at this point. Watch them perform “Substance” below with the stars of the night at Tiny Television in San Francisco.

4. How To Dress Well
Tom Krell is one of the best singers around, and his double mic technique to control vocal echo combined with minimalist, digitized R&B is remarkably haunting. We’ve been promised “Cold Nites” from Total Loss, and the 30-piece Pacific Boychoir will join a 30-piece M*MO for it. Also, let’s hope we get “Talking To You”. Expect goosebumps.


3. Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers
Nicki Bluhm will lend the sole female vocals to the affair, so in this way she is key to the proceedings. Uber-popular locally yet under the radar nationwide, the group’s California Soul will sweeten the overall sound.

2. John Vanderslice
Local luminary & Tiny Television recording studio owner John Vanderslice has collaborated with Minna Choi and Magik*Magik for years — in fact M*MO is the official house orchestra of Tiny Television.

They recorded 2011’s White Wilderness together over 3 days, and joined together again last year on Vanderslice’s incredibly underrated Dagger Beach. Here’s hoping for a glorious live version of “Song for David Berman”. Watch “Promising Actress” from Cellar Door.

1. Celebrating 5 years of Magik*Magik
It’s the Orchestra’s night to shine after five years of providing auditory pleasure backing to over 100 projects. A lineup has been curated that highlights some of the ensemble’s strongest partnerships, so the comfort level and past experiences should set the table for a night to remember.

*BONUS: It’s at Fox Theater Oakland — can you imagine a better setting?


Sam Bush to join Greensky Bluegrass at The Fillmore

Greensky Bluegrass

So, the weekend is rapidly approaching in the City, and like normal, there are lots of amazing options for your weekend nightlife. Might we suggest checking out the blistering renegade string band named, Greensky Bluegrass on Friday, March 15th at the Fillmore San Francisco. This isn’t just any night of picking and strumming helmed by the Kalamazoo native string quintet, but rather a spotlight on a rising acoustic force that will be welcoming none other than legendary San Bush onto the Fillmore stage. Opening duties will be held by folk-funk group, Ryan Montbleau Band.

Greensky do things a little different than their contemporaries as demonstrated by their poignant rural ballads, clean dobro tone, use of distortion pedals and true road warrior status. When you add the virtuosic mandolin and fiddle playing of Sam Bush to the mix, it can only produce some serious string action. It’s gearing up to be a huge year for Greensky Bluegrass with slots at some of the premier festivals; Electric Forest, DelFest, Northwest String Summit even a gig at Red Rocks.

Buy tickets to the Fillmore Show.



Check out the Greensky Bluegrass Facebook page.