The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2019

Kali Uchis at Smokin Grooves Fest - Rochelle Shipman


Kali Uchis at Smokin Grooves Fest // Showbams’ Photo of the Year, by Rochelle Shipman

Um, that’s it? Another year in the rear-view mirror? Where the hell did the last 12 months go? Time sure does seem to fly when there’s so much good new music out there to enjoy.

With that said, it’s once again time for us to share our annual “Best of” lists like we have done the past few years (see our 2018 picks here). From new emerging artists to reunion tours to the return of rock ‘n’ roll, this year had a little bit of everything for both the casual and passionate music fan. And even if you didn’t have the time to listen to every album that came out (neither did we), that’s why we’re here: to help point you in the right direction whenever you do finally get the chance to dig in.

So, without further ado, Showbams presents The Bam Team’s five favorite shows, albums and songs from 2019.

See our favorite performances from 2019 here.

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2019:


The Chemical Brothers at Shrine Expo Hall - Josh Herwitt


The Chemical Brothers at Shrine Expo Hall // Photo by Josh Herwitt

Josh Herwitt // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. Tool at Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA – October 20th & 21st
Unlike the delay on Tool’s fifth album Fear Inoculum, I thankfully didn’t have to wait 13 years to see my favorite band perform live. It was only a couple of years ago when I caught the boys at The Gorge, earning top honors as my favorite show in 2017, and subsequently a week later at Glen Helen Amphitheater for an all-day affair with Primus, Clutch, Fantômas, Melvins and The Crystal Method. Perhaps my tastes haven’t changed all that much since then, but even in a year that saw me attend half as many concerts as I usually do, Tool are still finding new and innovative ways to enhance their live show. Whether it’s tinkering with their stage production to incorporate a see-through curtain at times or adding surround sound throughout the arena, a Tool performance has evolved into a spiritual, meditative and almost out-of-body experience over the last decade. It’s no wonder why scoring tickets remains a trial of good fortune.

2. The Raconteurs at Santa Barbara Bowl – Santa Barbara, CA – July 27th
3. The Chemical Brothers at Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles, CA – May 15th
4. Jim James & The Claypool Lennon Delirium at The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA – July 3rd
5. Foals at Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles, CA – March 24th

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Tool – Fear Inoculum
When a three-time Grammy-winning band takes more than a decade to release its next album, it’s only natural for expectations to go through the roof. And I’ll be the first to admit that there was a small seed of doubt in my mind when it came to just how epic Tool’s latest sonic voyage in the studio could and would be. But upon first listen, any uncertainty I had about the merits of Fear Inoculum was quickly dispelled. The title track lures you in from the onset, building to a higher place as Maynard James Keenan (vocals) and company — Adam Jones (guitar), Justin Chancellor (bass) and Danny Carey (drums, percussion) — take listeners on an 80-minute rite of passage that holds up as some of the quartet’s best material in its entire catalog. I just hope they got at least one more LP in them, even if it takes another 13 years to make.

2. The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger
3. Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1
4. The Chemical Brothers – No Geography
5. Black Pumas – Black Pumas

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. Tool – “Descending”
If you’re still reading, you’ve probably gotten the hint by now that I’m a big fan of Tool. After all, it only seemed fitting that my top song in 2019 should also come from my No. 1 album of the year by my favorite band over the last two decades. I have seen Tool perform a shortened version of “Descending” several times since 2014, before it ever had an official title, so when Fear Inoculum arrived back in August, there was no track I anticipated hearing more. In fact, at more than 13 minutes long, it’s one that requires your full, undivided attention, which can be a significant amount of time to dedicate in a world of three-minute pop songs and endless distractions now. But for prog-rock enthusiasts like myself who are more than willing to take the ride, “Descending” delivers a total rush of blood to the head that ultimately leads to pure unadulterated euphoria.

2. Bon Iver – “Hey, Ma”
3. Hot Chip – “Hungry Child”
4. Foals – “On the Luna”
5. Karen O and Danger Mouse – “Turn the Light”


Cate Le Bon - Reward

Kevin Quandt // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. Stereolab at Primavera Sound – Barcelona, Spain – June 1st
Primavera Sound has always had a knack for booking reunions (i.e. Pulp, The Avalanches and Pavement) to its “musical mecca” on the Balearic Sea. 2019’s iteration featured the first proper show in nearly a decade from the anti-capitalist art-pop darlings Stereolab. “Come and Play in the Milky Night” on 1999’s Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night would open the evening to the international consortium of aging music nerds who undoubtedly knew that they were about to be treated to a “best of” set from the English-French outfit. Better yet, their politically themed lyrical content seemed more relevant in 2019 than it was around the time of their creation a quarter-century ago.

2. Mike Dillon’s New Orleans Punk Rock Percussion Consortium at The Music Box Village – New Orleans, LA – April 26th
3. BLACK MIDI at Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA – November 21st
4. Amen Dunes at August Hall – San Francisco, CA – January 10th
5. Ween at Desert Daze – Perris, CA – October 12th

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Cate Le Bon – Reward
What a banner year for the Welsh artist as she created her most highly acclaimed LP to date. Le Bon has truly honed her craft over the last decade as she has collaborated with a laundry list of indie-music royalty before writing the whimsical and austere Reward that employs an array of fresh sounds swirling around her haunting, pixie vocals. 2020 will see Cate jump on tour alongside Kurt Vile in a solo capacity, but we can’t wait to see what she produces next.

2. Wand – Laughing Matter
3. (Sandy) Alex G – House of Sugar
4. The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears
5. Omni – Networker

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. Foals – “Sunday”
As Foals teeter on the edge of being rock’s next big headliner, the British group semi-quietly unleashed a pair of albums entitled Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 and Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2. While their style continues to hover around math, dance and indie rock, they dig into a deeper realm of sonic atmosphere as frontman Yannis Philippakis questions, even laments, the state of our current times. “Sunday” tends to borrow a tad from the grandiose nature of their fellow Brits in Coldplay before dropping into a four-on-the-floor section that was rather well-received during their March stop at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

2. Crumb – “Ghostride”
3. Vampire Weekend – “Sunflower” feat. Steve Lacy
4. Oh Sees – “Henchlock”
5. Allah-Las – “In the Air”


Rochelle Shipman // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. slowthai at Lodge Room – Los Angeles, CA – September 4th
Shortly after releasing his debut album Nothing Great About Britain in May, Tyron Frampton played a few intimate U.S. shows several months later. My guess is that those were probably the last ones he’ll do if the UK rapper out of Northampton continues to rise and deliver, just like he did for much of 2019. Part Johnny Knoxville-type grime smart ass, part brilliant gritty-crust punk, slowthai shook the roof off LA’s Lodge Room, which turned out to be a warm-up show before he returned to play Camp Flog Gnaw in November. Frampton certainly came to please, setting the energy level at 11 and even performing his rowdy hit “Doorman” twice in the set. He could’ve run through it 15 times and the crowd would’ve left just as satisfied.

2. Little Simz at The Echo – Los Angeles, CA – June 13th
3. Taking Back Sunday at Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles, CA – April 11th
4. Night Moves at The Echo – Los Angeles, CA – September 21st
5. Usher at Smokin Grooves Fest – Long Beach, CA – June 15th

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Little Simz – GREY Area
The production. The flow. The bars. The BALLS. Little Simz absolutely brings it on GREY Area, leaving no space for second-guessing, sexist bullshit or honestly anyone else at all. This latest studio album from the British emcee is all her, and you can feel it with every breath she takes. We should all be so lucky to come into our confidence the way that she did on this record, but most of all, we should just be grateful “Simbi” trusts us to keep her deepest secrets — and that they sound so, so good.

2. slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
3. Shura – forevher
4. Ari Lennox – Shea Butter Baby
5. White Reaper – You Deserve Love

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. slowthai – “Doorman” (with Mura Masa)
This song technically dropped in 2018, but its spotlight was shone even wider with slowthai releasing his debut LP this year. The Mura Masa-assisted cut pulses with adrenaline, carries the air of a movie soundtrack in only three minutes and has a beat that will take you all the way to the moon and back. In the words of Lizzo, it’s a whole damn meal!

2. Kari Faux – “Latch Key”
3. Billie Eilish – “bury a friend”
4. Little Simz – “Venom”
5. Smino – “Trina”


Tool - Fear Inoculum

Andrew Pohl // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. IDLES – Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – October 10th
After putting out one of my favorite albums from 2018 and missing their show earlier this year, I was thrilled to finally catch IDLES live. To say that these English punk rockers put on a good performance would be a true understatement. They had the energy of an out-of-control freight train but were able to contain it while proving to be an incredibly fun act to see live. Frontman Joe Talbot engaged with the audience in a very authentic way, talking and singing to fans, not just at them. There were crowd-surfing guitarists, mosh pits and sing-a-longs … it was wild.

2. Punk Rock Bowling 2019 – Las Vegas, NV – May 23rd-27th
3. Judas Priest at The Warfield – San Francisco, CA – June 24th
4. Van’s Warped Tour 2019 at Shoreline Amphitheater – Mountain View, CA – July 20th-21st
5. ITCHY-O at Cornerstone – Berkeley, CA – November 23rd

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Tool – Fear Inoculum
Well, after all of the waiting and speculation, Tool have done it again, in a really big way. Fear Inoculum is everything that I was hoping it would be, and then some. HUGE-sounding drums, guitars and bass wrap your head in a warm prog blanket while Maynard does what he always has so well. It takes the best parts of their previous albums and combines them to showcase a band that has clearly not missed a step in the 13 years since 10,000 Days.

2. Bad Religion – Age of Unreason
3. Brittany Howard – Jaime
4. Catbite – Catbite
5. Plague Vendor – By Night

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. The Hammerbombs – “I Hate Cars”
The Hammerbombs are an undersung Bay Area pop-punk group that have written some of the catchiest and fun songs I have heard from the East Bay scene in a long time. Their 2019 release Goodbye, Dreamboat made my top 10, and this track is the hands-down standout on an album chock-full of toe-tappers. It’s a heartfelt song written by singer and bassist Jen Louie, who has a knack for crafting some really fantastic tunes. The chorus is saccharine sweet, and you can’t help but sing along.

2. Lizzo – “Juice”
3. Bad Religion – “Do The Paranoid Style”
4. Ceremony – “In The Spirit World Now”
5. Lagwagon – “Surviving California”

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CALICO 2019: The perfect weekend getaway in Point Reyes with Allah-Las & friends

CALICO 2019 - festival lineupWritten by Kevin Quandt //

CALICO //
Love Field – Point Reyes Station, CA
August 3rd, 2019 //

As the Bay Area squeaks into the month of August and eventually into something that might resemble summertime, the outdoor event calendar gets dusted off as we hope to get that late-season tan with some of our favorite artists and friends. One growing event that will turn the heat up on this summer is held in Point Reyes and goes by the name CALICO. (((folkYEAH!))) and Reverberation Radio will be co-presenting this all-day festival, which is highlighted by a banner headlining set from Allah-Las.

Love Field in Point Reyes Station comes alive for these performances, in large part due to the stunning setup that’s featured on this outdoor site. Performances are held on a stage crafted of reclaimed wood under the cool shade of a lunar parachute in a coastal meadow. It doesn’t get much more Cali than that if you ask us. Add a slew of local vendors who will be slinging tacos and grilling up oysters, followed by an after-party later that evening at the Old Western Saloon just down the road, and you got all the makings for a prime weekend getaway. While we’re on the subject of weekend getaways, we should also mention that there’s a pretty nice selection of campgrounds nearby, including Olema Campground (other options listed here).

We can certainly expect to hear a handful of new Allah-Las tracks before the band releases its fourth album LAHS on Mexican Summer this October. One among them will most likely be the Los Angeles quartet’s bakery-fresh single “In the Air”, which just fell like manna from heaven. CALICO will also boast sets from Allah-associated acts such as PAINT and Tim Hill, along with Sachiko Kanenobu, The Tyde, Sugar Candy Mountain and Host Family, as well as an extended DJ set from Reverberation Radio in between each act. Farmer Dave & The Wizards of the West, meanwhile, will play the after-party at Old Western Saloon.

CALICO begins on Saturday, August 3rd at 1 p.m., with music running from 2-10 p.m., and is suitable for all ages. Tickets can still be purchased here for $44 (before fees).

CALICO 2019 - festival details

Desert Daze 2017: Another stellar year for one of California’s premier music festivals

Desert Daze 2017Photos by Zach Roth, David Evanko, Sheva Kafai & Zane Roessell // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Desert Daze //
Institute of Mentalphysics – Joshua Tree, CA
October 12th-14th, 2017 //

There’s something special about climbing the hills of Big Morongo Canyon Preserve cresting into Yucca Valley that removes one’s self from what exists to the east and west. Gone are the masses of cars and people all across Riverside County or the ticky-tack of Palm Desert, both replaced by the rugged personality of Joshua Tree and the surrounding area.

It’s always a treat to visit these nether regions, but it’s even better when a slew of today’s most exciting rock acts converge on this positively charged piece of land many have fondly come to know as the Institute of Mentalphysics. Plenty of attendees didn’t quite realize how fortunate we were to be able to return to this desert sanctuary for a second year, and just like any good thing, the word had spread about Desert Daze after the music festival’s run last year.

Desert Daze promoter Moon Block really pulled off quite a doozy for the sixth installment of California’s premier psychedelic and garage-rock extravaganza, which occupied more than 400 acres of wild desert earth. With the four-day festival continuing along an up-and-to-the-left trajectory, it was no real surprise to followers that Desert Daze founder Phil Pirrone and crew upped their booking to include legends like Iggy Pop and John Cale. Though the lineup was a shining star for the weekend, it was the amalgamation of the venue, attendees and art that put an extra layer of buttercream on the fest, cementing Daze’s status as a stellar event.

An expanded program featured added stages and a cavalcade of programs, including Sacred Plant Medicine, Modular Sound Baths, Black Metal Yoga and a Women’s Moon Lodge. 2017’s edition also included screenings from comedy duo Tim & Eric such as their Adult Swim series “Bedtime Stories”, which suited those who were looking for a quick chuckle. As far as the art went, there was no shortage of intriguing installations dotted across the Institute. One of the larger, more immersive artworks was Cristopher Cichocki’s “Circular Dimensions” piece as it took over the Sanctuary Hall space with 3-D projections and a variety of dronal soundtracks.

Desert Daze 2017

As stated, Daze attendees could have easily filled their day and night with the programming described above, but the majority of them rarely had much expendable time for those sort of extracurricular activities as the festival consistently churned out a veritable smorgasbord of garage, psych and various other outlying subgenres of rock ‘n’ roll across three stages. While the last statement is generally true, this year saw an expansion into more jazzy areas thanks to BADBADNOTGOOD’s showing on the event’s first day.

Other highlights on Friday saw a wildly energetic performance from French cold-wave band La Femme. These exports don’t cross the Atlantic a bunch, so it was a rare treat for the early arrivals that culminated with set closer “Antitaxi”. Tim Presely (White Fence) and LA-based singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon brought their collaborative project DRINKS to the desert and whipped through a set of angular-leaning art rock. Japanese experimental juggernauts Boris put on a spectacle worthy of the big stages at European metal festivals, as they have for well over two decades. Day 1 also saw Ty Segall and his Freedom Band obliterate the larger Moon Stage, opening with “Alta” and later covering DEVO’s “Gut Feeling”. Courtney Barnett, Kurt Vile and the Sea Lice played just their third headlining show, and while it was evident they were still working out a few kinks onstage, they still managed to dazzle with a mix of songs from both of their catalogs.

It was rather evident early on Saturday that Desert Daze was ramping up for its most popular day in the event’s short history with a combination of legends, today’s hottest acts and a few rarities that peppered the schedule. Detroit stalwarts The Gories offered their Michigan-bred take on garage rock in a powerful display of dual guitars coupled with a sparse drum set. At the Moon Stage, the Marshall amps were stacked high for doom-metal outfit Sleep’s banner performance of their 1992 opus Holy Mountain. Al Cisneros and associates delivered a lead-heavy set to wafting plumes of smoke, playing such classics as “Dragonaut” flawlessly, but the new sound ordinance imposed by the local community became a factor for the San Jose trio that’s known for its abuse of volume.

Brooklyn three-piece Sunflower Beam drew a sizable crowd in the Wright Tent as bassist Julia Cumming commanded the stage better than most while barreling through a set that included “I Was Home”. Elsewhere, it wasn’t surprising to see King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have a wild and energetic crowd assembled well prior to their hit time. A rabid following continues to grow for the Australian septet that is capping off a massive year filled with multiple studio releases and lengthy tours. Of course, That Fucking Panda made sure to take advantage of the ruckus crowd, getting in a solid crowd surf, as is tradition.

Desert Daze 2017 - Iggy Pop


Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop is a fucking legend, one who is still a ball of energy onstage even as he gracefully creeps into his 70’s and destroys expectations on a near-nightly basis. His setlist at Desert Daze was rather standard, but his persona continues to be anything but.

Meanwhile, those looking for something different were treated to a rare live performance by Black Moth Super Rainbow. With Desert Daze marking only their second show in more than four years, the TOBACCO-led group dazzled on tracks like “Sun Lips”. Sure, a large chunk of the set was reserved for TOBACCO tracks, but their sound had more oomph behind it as they were fleshed out by a full band rather than one man. Nearing the 30-year mark, Tortoise held closing duties for the night, shooting out darts of experimental post-rock before they were cut short at the stroke of 12:30 a.m.

Sunday saw a sustained crowd that was doing its best to shake off a big night after the fest’s second day. Luckily, the mellow sounds of the Allah-Las, plus a few drinks, got fans back into prime form for the closing evening. L.A. Witch followed on the Block Stage, forcefully proving that females belong on this lineup just as much as the opposite sex.

While Eagles of Death Metal continue their domination at the hands of Jesse Hughes and his not-so-merry band of pranksters, it must have felt truly amazing for the Palm Desert band to play Desert Daze. The highlight of the set was undoubtedly their prime cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”.

Desert Daze 2017

The tent hosted something a tad more on the mellow side as Texas’ own Khruangbin served up their patented combination of surf rock and Thai funk. Tracks like “Mr. White” sounded sublime as the Sunday evening sets were a tad more toned-down than what we witnessed at the same time during the festival’s previous nights. K-Bin’s set led into an equally beautiful one by Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions, as the Mazzy Star vocalist and her sidekicks set the vibe perfectly for the final headliner.

Spiritualized are truly an ideal band to close out the main stage at Desert Daze, and similar to Television last year, these longtime UK legends still know how to thrill a crowd with their pea soup-thick wall of sound. Jason Pierce and company delivered a truly epic performance under the desert stars that opened with “If I Were With Her Now” from their 1992 debut album Lazer Guided Melodies, was punctuated by Laurie Anderson’s “Born, Never Asked” and concluded with “Oh Happy Day”. Classic hits like “Come Together” seem to have a stronger message in these times, and Desert Daze is truly one of those events where the bullshit of reality quickly gets washed away, if only for a long weekend.

Although Cigarettes After Sex are a band on their way to bigger things, we opted to close the weekend with Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Having played the event in 2014 when it was held in Mecca, Calif., UMO were warmly welcomed back. Ruben Nielson was ready to close things out with a bang as they rattled through their current set with highlights such as “Ur Life One Night” and even debuted a new track entitled “American Guilt”.

Growth is generally seen as positive for any sort of event, but Desert Daze remains one of those hidden gems you want to announce from the mountaintops yet also don’t want it to outgrow its unique place in the festival stratosphere. Regardless, Moon Block is carrying a bright torch for how boutique festivals are supposed to be produced, and we applaud their staff with high hopes that they continue to set the bar high.

Outside Lands 2015: Elton John, Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Kendrick Lamar are your headliners

Outside Lands

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 7th-9th, 2015 //

The eighth Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival has unleashed its 2015 lineup, and it’s a winner. At first glance, this looks like the best lineup in the history of the fest.

The headliners are Elton John, Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys, Sam Smith, Kendrick Lamar & Wilco.

Other notable acts include Tame Impala, D’Angelo and the Vangaurd, St. Vincent, Hot Chip, Caribou, Mac DeMarco, Toro y Moi, Dan Deacon, First Aid Kit, ODESZA, Laura Marling, Sky Ferreria, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Classixx, Leon Bridges, Strand of Oaks, Green Velvet & Claude VonStroke, Natalie Prass, Django Django, Glass Animals, Speedy Ortiz, Shakey Graves, Lake Street Dive, Giraffage, Allah-Las, Benjamin Booker, METZ, DJ Mustard, The Revivalists, Iration, The Devil Makes Three, Twin Peaks, The Family Crest, Alvvays & Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

Outside-Lands-Beer_Artist-Pairings

Also playing at Outside Lands 2015 are Axwell Λ Ingrosso, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Billy Idol, Porter Robinson, G-Easy, Slightly Stoopid, Chet Faker, Misterwives, DJ Mustard, Angus & Julia Stone, Robert DeLong, Ryn Weaver, James Bay, RL Grime, Milky Chance, GIVERS, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, SZA, The Sam Chase, Langhorne Slim & The Law, George Ezra, Fantastic Negrito, Broods, Lindsey Stirling, Nate Ruess, DMA’s, Alex Bleeker & The Freaks, Devon Baldwin, & The Tropics.

Watch the announcement video at Funny or Die and see the full lineup here.

Get your tickets starting Thursday at 10 a.m.

Outside-Lands-2013

Allah-Las close 2014 with festive vibes at The Chapel

Allah-LasBy Pedro Paredes //

Allah-Las with The Tyde, Light Fantastic //
The Chapel – San Francisco
December 30th, 2014 //

Following the release of their second album Worship the Sun this past September, Los Angeles’ own Allah-Las made their way to Northern California for their two-night New Year’s Eve residency at The Chapel. While it may have been December 30th on this particular night, it already felt like New Year’s Eve inside the diminutive venue.

Outside The Chapel, the streets remained empty, but inside, there was definitely a party going on. The vibes, for one, certainly felt festive for a Tuesday night, as openers The Tyde and Light Fantastic got things started slowly. Yet, once it was time for the Allah-Las to start, the sold-out crowd quickly showed its enthusiasm for the garage rock four-piece. With two projectors flanking the room, the band dug into its latest material as trippy shapes and colors lit up the stage. The mostly 20-somethings in attendance dug it all, making for quite a memorable ending to 2014.

SF Shows of the Week // GO4FREE to Anti-Flag, STRFKR or Allah-Las

Anti-Flag & STRFKRWritten by Josh Herwitt & Molly Kish //

With the final days of 2014 approaching, the Bay Area music scene saved some of its best shows for last. As a holiday bonus, we here at Showbams are having a ticket blowout for several of the hottest year-end celebrations taking place.

Win a pair of free tickets to one of our SF Shows of the Week by entering your name and email below.

STRFKR: December 29th (MON) & 30th (TUE) @ The Independent
Allah-Las: December 30th (TUE) @ The Chapel
Anti‐Flag: January 2nd (FRI) @ Slim’s




STRFKR: December 29th (MON) & 30th (TUE) @ The Independent // BUY TICKETS (Dec. 29)
Tuesday’s show (December 30th) is already sold out, and special guest Blackbird Blackbird, hailing from Honolulu, will be opening both nights for these Portlanders.

Contest ends Monday, December 29th at Noon.

STRFKR




Allah-Las: December 30th (TUE) @ The Chapel // BUY TICKETS
This will be Night 1 of the LA band’s New Years residency with surf/psych/pop rock outfit They Tyde and homegrown act Light Fantastic opening things up.

Contest ends Monday, December 29th at Noon.

Allah-Las




Anti‐Flag: January 2nd (FRI) @ Slim’s // BUY TICKETS
Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their seminal album The Terror State, these Pittsburgh punk rockers will be playing the 2003 LP in full on this night.

Contest ends Thursday, January 1st at Noon.

Anti-Flag


Win-2-Tickets

Pick the show you would like to attend from the dropdown, then enter your name (First and Last) along with your email. If you win a contest, you’ll be notified on the day the contest ends (details above).

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WIN TICKETS: Allah-Las at Great American Music Hall 6/22 (SUN)

Allah_las_post

Enter to win a pair of free tickets to this show below.

Allah-Las with Dream Boys, Old Testament //
Great American Music Hall — San Francisco
June 22nd, 2014 (Sunday) //

What better way to celebrate the USA’s win over Portugal in the World Cup (it’s gonna happen) than by spending Sunday evening jamming out to the surfed-out, garage-rock sounds of the Allah-Las at the Great American Music Hall. This Los Angeles-based band have pumped out some massively catchy singles off their debut LP from a few years back – a self-titled release on Innovative Leisure Records. Recently, these throwback psych-rockers announced the release of their sophomore effort, set to release in September. Fans are sure to hear a handful of these fresh tracks while they are joined by Dream Boys and Old Testament. -Kevin Quandt

Buy tickets if you know you want to go!


Win-2-Tickets

Enter to win if you can attend this show Sunday, June 22nd at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

Submit your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Friday, June 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.

Like Showbams on Facebook and follow Showbams on twitter to be eligible to win.

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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: 10 best ‘Hardly Bluegrass’ shows

Hardly-Strictly-Bluegrass-2013_post

The artist lineup for the best free music festival (in the world?), Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, has been released and it’s as strong as ever. The festival began as “Strictly Bluegrass Festival” in 2001 through the hard work of Warren Hellman, the sole benefactor and founder of HSB who passed away in late 2011. Hellman has made sure the festival will continue on long after his death — the investment mogul, banjo performer and all around music fan routinely referred to his festival as a “selfish gift.”

After three years of “Strictly Bluegrass,” Hellman changed the name of the Festival to its current moniker and started inviting acts that strayed from pure bluegrass. In the past few years, San Francisco has witnessed performances from Buckethead, MC Hammer, and Broken Social Scene at Hardly Strictly, so clearly the fest has evolved over 13 years.

And this year there are plenty of acts that are “Hardly Bluegrass” — here are the 10 best looking non-bluegrass shows (and a bonus wildcard) October 4-6, 2013 in Golden Gate Park.


Father John Misty

For a guy that gained traction as ‘the drummer from Fleet Foxes,’ things have certainly changed in the course of 1.5 years for Father John Misty. Now, FJM is more well-known than the group that helped catapult him into contemporary culture. This entire conversation is a moot point as J. Tillman has presented himself as the twenty-first century troubadour, mixing a mentality dripping in Bohemianism with over-the-top stage theatrics. The result is a debaucherous yet beautiful live music performance that should fit nicely into HSB.

And his fall tour promises a new experience — it’s billed as a “Solo Variety Show” featuring comedian Kate Berlant. Doesn’t a Father John Misty show already seem like a solo variety hour? FJM’s San Francisco shows in October will kick off this fall tour, so if you can’t bear the possibility of showing up late to Golden Gate Park and settling on a poor spot, reserve a ticket for his Thursday pre-HSB show at Slim’s. -MIKE FRASH



Sonny and the Sunsets

With such a vast array of acts present on the many stages over the 3 days, it’s a wonder so many local artists are able to be present on the lineup. Well this year, Sonny Smith, and his band the Sunsets, is likely to win over many new fans with his infectious take on folkified psych-pop with a flair for catchy lyrics and a rousing stage presence. The multifaceted front-man connects to his audiences in very intimate ways, so try to catch this rising star before he’s out of reach. -KEVIN QUANDT



First Aid Kit

For a duo whose greatest single (so far) revolves around “Emmylou,” “June,” “Gram” & “Johnny”, it’s really not too surprising to see the sisterly Swedish group First Aid Kit on the Hardly Strictly bill. If the schedule doesn’t preclude them, the ladies from First Aid Kit can catch Emmylou Harris’ set in the flesh at Hellman Hollow (most likely on Sunday).

When thinking about future Hardly Strictly mainstays amongst the new offerings this year, First Aid Kit just seems like the perfect fit going forward. And who would be more perfect than third year “Friday Friends” curator of the Rooster stage Conor Oberst to introduce the group to the festival?

Oberst made a cameo on the final track of First Aid Kit’s excellent 2012 LP The Lion’s Roar, and Klara Söderberg spoke about the experience last year: “People say you should never meet your idols. But for us it’s been the opposite, but that’s because our idols are the coolest, sweetest people.” Klara was referencing Oberst & company, so be sure to get to Golden Gate Park early Friday to secure your spot in Marx Meadow. Expect Oberst to make an appearance with First Aid Kit. -MF



The Evens

Ian MacKaye is not a name most would consider to be present on the bill for Hardly Strictly, but alas Conor Oberst invited the former Minor Threat/Fugazi frontman and his wife Amy Farina to his showcase on Friday. The Evens have a stripped-down punk-folk sound delivered in a guitar and drums format with husband and wife handling vocals equally. McCaye’s most consistent project after Fugazi demonstrates that a mellowed out sound is where his passions are now after years of hardcore and punk. You won’t be the only one calling in sick on Friday, October 4th. -KQ



Gogol Bordello

Gypsy-punk ensemble Gogol Bordello certainly fall into the “Hardly Bluegrass” category of this quintessential SF music fest. Eugene Hütz is the lead force of the bombastic, ecstatic curators of weird and crazy, but as many as five performers step into the spotlight to contribute vocals throughout any given song. A Gogol Bordello performance boarders on surrealism, projecting a humorous party atmosphere that is irresistible to join in on — just ask anyone in their small but loyal (and rabid) fan club near the front. -MF



Allah-Las

Hopefully the throngs of attendees will be rewarded with one of those perfect Indian Summer weekends; sun shining, a few patchy clouds and a steady on-shore breeze from the Pacific. Essentially a perfect storm to enjoy the lo-fi, surfed-out sound of LA band, the Allah-las. These garage rock wunderkids have been blazing a trail across the Western US with their melancholic, yet optimistic, take on traditional rock and roll. Tinges of psychedelia will certainly nod to the origins of loud, outdoor music events in Golden Gate Park. -KQ



The Wood Brothers

The Wood Brothers, Oliver and Chris Wood, procure roots-influenced folk rock that is simple and effective. The focus here is on straightforward lyricism, along with basic acoustic guitar and upright bass with simple rhythm backing. Chris Wood is better known as the bassist from Medeski, Martin & Wood, a jazz-fusion trio that has often included John Scofield in recent years. While you won’t hear a lick of vocals with MMW, The Wood Brothers should get music fans swooning and swaying come October.-MF



Low

These Minnesotan slow rockers have been mystifying their audiences for 20 years with a blend of muted tempos and minimized song stylings. Low are considered ‘slowcore’ mavericks, and have been heralded for dynamic stage shows that reach exploratory levels, especially in reinterpretations of cover songs from Toto to Outkast. An “anything goes” attitude is needed for the large crowds and distances at HSB, so might as well take another chance with indie demigods, Low. -KQ



Calexico

Named after the border town of Calexico California, Calexico aren’t your typical indie group. Aspects of Latin, country, jazz & rock can be gleaned from this band that has been going at it for about 15 years — but the overall product sounds mysterious and rambling. Joey Burns & John Convertino are the two constants in Calexico, who continue to tour on their 2012 LP, Algiers. Calexico will also be performing at Slim’s Friday night. -MF



Betty LaVette

50 years of soul singing makes Betty Lavette one of the vets in the industry, even if she is still a relatively new name to music lovers. A wide range of influences also lends to a truly unique voice and writing style, which is likely to thrill patrons of all ages. Her rise to fame was relatively late in her career, but she has since graced many of the biggest stages and collaborated with a “who’s who” of legends such as Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. A sunday morning slot could be a perfect way to ease into the final day. -KQ


WILDCARD BONUS:

String Cheese Incident

String Cheese Incident and the circus that follows the group on the road will most likely bring their joyful sound to the Satr Stage. Kyle Hollingsworth, keyboardist of SCI, appeared last year alongside Steve Kimock, Keller Williams & Bernie Worrell Sunday evening at the Star Stage — so maybe Hollingsworth (and Keller) convinced the rest of the group that HSB is a worthwhile festival to contribute to, for all the right reasons.

Will SCI play to the roots of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass by honing in on bluegrass numbers like “Good Times Around the Bend” & “Restless Wind”, or will the group curate a ‘normal’ show by incorporating jamtronica classics like “Rivertrance” or mind-melters like “Miss Brown’s Teahouse” or “Jellyfish”? -MF

THANKS-WARREN

BottleRock Napa Valley: 5 reasons to get there early

BottleRock-2013Written by Mike Frash & Molly Kish //

BottleRock Napa Valley //
Napa County Fairgrounds – Napa, CA
May 9th-12th, 2013 //

The inaugural BottleRock Napa Valley, a new music festival that also features a diverse selection of food, wine, comedy & beer, is set to launch next week. Situated on four stages spread over 26 acres on the grounds at the Napa Valley Expo in the city of Napa, more than three dozen chefs and restaurateurs will join more than 50 wineries and artisan brewers during BottleRock. The comedy choices are stellar, with Daily Show correspondents and veterans Wyatt Cenac, Assif Mandvi, Kristen Schall and Demetri Martin providing depth — and most likely plenty of laughs. But let’s be honest, the main reason folks will be heading to Napa next week is for the music.

The music lineup is stacked with A-List headliners and plenty of living legends like The Black Keys, Further, Jane’s Addiction and Primus. And there are also plenty of fast-rising contemporary mega-bands like The Avett Brothers, Alabama Shakes and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.

And it’s not too late to buy 4-day, 3-day and single-day passes!

While there are plenty of well-known, top-notch rock groups playing at BottleRock, there is also a surprisingly strong undercard. We present five excellent early performers — five reasons to get to Napa early during the festival.

Delta-Spirit
Delta Spirit ~ 1:45 p.m. Thursday

Touring steadily this past year in support of their self titled third album, Delta Spirit hits the stage Thursday, kicking off the festival with their infectious brand of alternative folk. Riding off the success of their breakthrough single “California”, which Amazon Music named best song of 2012, the band has been bringing their unique sound to intimate venues, sold out festivals, top syndicated television/radio shows and every fan filled stage in between. This is their only west coast stop on their summer tour so far, and BottleRock Napa will provide the perfect setting to become acquainted with the local flavor Delta Spirit brings to the stage.


allah-las
Allah-Las ~ 1:15 p.m. Friday

Clangy guitar riffs, rattling drum rolls, echo chamber vocals all in perfectly off-pitch harmony: the Allah-Las transport you back to a time of lo-fi production at its finest. Writing and recording most of their material in a dug out basement along the California coastline, the guys embody the quintessential garage rock sound of the late 60’s with a west coast flare. Effortlessly mezmerizing, the band’s performance will cater to an early Friday crowd, luring fans into the festival grounds. This set will be a great soundtrack for a sun soaked afternoon, allowing crowds to leisurely assimilate to the remaining festival weekend.


Sharon-Van-Etten
Sharon Van Etten ~ 1 p.m. Saturday

Sharon Van Etten has finally gotten the attention she deserves following her 2012 breakthrough record Tramp. Her swooning voice and slow-building song arrangements have a pied-piper effect; it’s easy to close your eyes and drift away to Etten’s hypnotic sounds. Her lyrics often seem like longing cries for love lost, but her voice is utilized more as an instrument than a methodology for storytelling – her siren call is one that shouldn’t be missed live.


Allen-Stone
Allen Stone ~ 2:45 p.m. Saturday

Landing directly in the middle of the weekend’s line up, soulful powerhouse Allen Stone will reinvigorate the wine-weary crowds with his energetic live show and electrifying vocal range. This serial vagabond is coming straight off a two-weekend stint at Coachella, an appearance at the Food and Wine Festival in Austin, and he’s working his way back down the coast from Seattle to kick of his summer touring schedule right here in Napa. Selling out nationwide shows on a nightly basis, Stone lives for the live performance and brings the crowd literally to their feet in his signature crowd participation dance-offs. A welcomed burst of energy to the mid-day agenda, this show will undoubtedly get the audience moving and ready for the rest of the fest.


Rogue-Wave
Rogue Wave ~ 2:15 p.m. Sunday

East Bay indie rockers Rogue Wave will be releasing their 5th LP Nightingale Floors June 4th, and BottleRock Napa will be hosting the duo’s only live performance before the new record releases. Some of the best tracks from their forthcoming LP will be previewed alongside their mostly acoustic-based catalogue of songs. This will be a lovely, mellow set early on Sunday.