SF Shows of the Week // GO4FREE to Ghostface Killah, EOTO or Dream Police

EOTO & Ghostface KillahWritten by Josh Herwitt & Scotland Miller //

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

EOTO: December 5th (FRI) @ The Independent
Dream Police: December 6th (SAT) @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall & December 7th (SUN) @ Leo’s Music Club
Ghostface Killah: December 7th (SUN) @ The Independent

EOTO: December 5th (FRI) @ The Independent // BUY TICKETS
The livetronic side project made up of two String Cheese Incident members — multi-instrumentalist Michael Travis and drummer/percussionist Jason Hann — returns to The Independent for a Friday night headlining slot as part of their nine-date “Outer Orbit” mini-tour during a busy two-week stretch. Travis, who incorporates keyboards, bass, guitar and vocals into EOTO’s songs, and Hann haven’t actually released a studio album in five years, but they’ve come to be known as two serious road warriors, having gone on to play more than 100 shows a year since forming in 2006. If you want to groove your way into the weekend, The Independent is where you’ll want to spend your Friday night this week. -JH

Contest ends Friday, December 5th at Noon.

Dream Police: December 6th (SAT) @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall and December 7th (SUN) @ Leo’s Music Club // BUY TICKETS (Brick and Mortar show) // BUY TICKETS (Leo’s show)
Dream Police will be on patrol for this weekend in the Bay Area starting on Saturday night at Brick and Mortar in SF and then at Leo’s Music Club in Oakland on Sunday. Serving as a cauldron of sonic leftovers from their main project The Men, Nick Chiericozzi and Mark Perro released an LP earlier this year by the name of Hypnotized. Care to bounce around to some psychedelic electro-dance rock? -SM

Contest ends Friday, December 5th at Noon.

Ghostface Killah: December 7th (SUN) @ The Independent // BUY TICKETS
OG member of The Wu-Tang Clan Dennis Cole, aka Ghostface Killah, aka Tony Starks, aka Starky Love, aka Ghostdini, aka The Wallabee Kingpin is out on tour in support of his new album (and accompanying comic?!) entitled 36 Seasons. It is an exciting time for fans of the Wu, as they are preparing to once again deliver an undoubtedly masterful album called A Better Tomorrow. Drop by The Independent and get your lean on with the Bam Fam on Sunday night. -SM

Contest ends Friday, December 5th at Noon.


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: Outside Lands 2014 night shows

Outside Lands fansWritten by Molly Kish //

This weekend in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Bay Area will celebrate the seventh annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. After each day at the grounds, post-festival activities are being scattered throughout the electrified 7×7 cityscape, and we have your tickets for some of the best after-parties happening all weekend long!

View the 2014 festival schedule and create your custom grid to share with friends!
View our 2014 beer/artist pairings!



Winners will be picked at random and notified by email. Your email will be kept private — we will share your email with no one.


Those Darlins

Those Darlins and Diarrhea Planet @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

It’s going to be a dual-headliner, Nashville rock throw down Thursday night at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. With Those Darlins founding members meeting at the Southern Girl’s Rock & Roll Camp in Tennessee, country roots run deep in the musical history of this band. Formed in 2006, releasing their alt-country debut in 2009, the band fluctuates between traditional southern instrumentation, rockabilly and garage rock. Partners on the bill, fellow Nashville natives and six piece rock band Diarrhea Planet complement the foursome perfectly with their explosive guitar shredding, pop-laden “drunken sing-along” spectacle of a performance. Fresh off of touring their volatile live show to this past year’s South By Southwest, Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball and various other festival stages (we reviewed their inspiring show at The Indy in 2013), the band brings their energetic ensemble to Brick and Mortar Music Hall for another exclusive night show only performance. Be sure to grab your tickets here. 18+ only.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Thursday, August 7th at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Thursday, August 7th at Noon.

Mikal Cronin

Mikal Cronin and Bear Hands @ The Independent // Buy Tickets

Two separate OL acts for the price of one! Mikal Cronin and Bear Hands, both performing day one of the festival, will be headlining The Independent in a one-off warm up session on Thursday night. Cronin, having released his self-titled debut in 2011, has had a busy few years questioning long term relationships, moving to San Francisco, touring and recording with musical counterpart Ty Segall, forming his own band and releasing his sophomore album MCII as a Merge Records artist. A multi-instrumentalist, Cronin’s gritty garage rock sound blends perfectly with co-headliner Bear Hands’ post-punk influenced indie rock. Fresh off the release of their second studio album, Distraction, Bear Hands’ “New York buzz band” reputation precedes them, gaining the group national attention on several music blogs and entertainment websites. Be sure to grab your tickets here. 21+ only.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Friday, August 8th at The Independent in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Friday, August 8th at Noon.

Glen Hansard

Glen Hansard @ Fox Theater Oakland // Buy Tickets

Irish songwriter, actor, vocalist and guitarist Glen Hansard will headline the Fox Theater in Oakland on Thursday night with Sean Hayes opening the show. A founding member of The Frames and half of the critically-acclaimed duo The Swell Season, Hansard has been creating seminal folk rock internationally for more than a decade. Gaining attention in the states initially for his role in the 1991 film The Commitments, Hansard recorded his first solo album in 2006 with the help of Czech singer and multi-instrumentalist Marketa Irglova, whom he would go on to co-star with in the 2006 Sundance winner Once and form The Swell Season together that same year. Hansard has since then recorded and produced various songs on film scores and compilations, lent opening support for Eddie Vedder’s U.S. solo tour, guest starred on American prime-time sitcoms and released his solo debut Rhythm and Repose in 2012. Hansard is not performing at Outside Lands this year, so this performance at the Fox is an exclusive after-party date! Be sure to grab your tickets here.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Thursday, August 7th at the Fox Theater Oakland by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Thursday, August 7th at Noon.


The Soul Rebels

The Soul Rebels @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

Bringing the NOLA funk to Friday’s Outside Lands festival lineup, The Soul Rebels plan to keep the party going well into the evening at Brick & Mortar Music Hall that evening. Fate brought together original members Derrick Moss and Lumar LeBlanc when they met as percussionists in Dejean’s Young Olympia Brass Band. Although trained in New Orleans jazz fundamentals, the two opted to take the traditional brass band sound they were raised on to the next level, incorporating their love for contemporary R&B, funk and hip hop. Branching off in a new direction, the duo left to form their own group, quickly winning over local audiences and officially being christened the “Soul Rebels” backstage before their opening slot for the Neville Brothers, by Cyril Neville himself. Since then the band has released several full lengths albums, set up a residency at Uptown NOLA club Le Bon Temps, have become a staple act at festivals throughout the globe and most recently released a mixtape Power=Power, premiered by Noisey, including brass band renditions of Jay-Z, Drake, Kanye West, Daft Punk and more. Easily the most funky of post festival Friday night festivities, this show will be the dance party of the weekend. Be sure to grab your tickets here. 18+ only.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Friday, August 8th at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Friday, August 8th at Noon.


Gold Panda

Gold Panda @ Mezzanine // Buy Tickets

Multi-faceted producer Gold Panda returns to Mezzanine on Friday night with his genre-bending take on electronic music. With the rise of producers such as Flying Lotus and Flume, many other similar artists are breaking out to larger crowds and stages as forward-leaning electronica garners a new level of popularity and appreciation. Gold Panda represents a vast amalgam of electronic music, borrowing influences from all over the world to weave an upbeat, futuristic tapestry. His latest release Half of Where You Live has been critically hailed as his third stab at a comprehensive full-length album. Tracks like “Brazil” demonstrate his use of South American rhythms in a contemporary manner while consistently maintaining a dance beat. There are no ‘drops’ or huge frills to his dance ethic, but rather a rapturing, constant beat that listeners can lose themselves in rather easily. Ghostly International only signs the finest in contemporary dance music, so it’s no surprise that Gold Panda reps the prolific label. Teamed with local opener Doseone, this after party will keep the positive energy flowing from Saturday night straight into Gold Panda’s festival set that closes out the weekend on Sunday. Purchase tickets for the only electronic night show announced for Saturday here. 21+ only.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Saturday, August 9th at Mezzanine in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Saturday, August 9th at Noon.


Woods @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall // Buy Tickets

Brooklyn-based Americana, neo-psychadelia outfit Woods will be headlining Saturday night at Brick and Mortar Music Hall ahead of their festival set on the final day of OL. The trio have released eight albums since their formation in 2005, which have garnered them both critical acclaim across the board. Dubbed “pop shamanism”, the band is currently on tour celebrating the release of their new album, With Light and with Love, exploring “expanded sonic palettes” heavy with percussion, altered vocals and experimental guitar riffs. Their latest release on their self-run record label, Woodsist, is described as distinctly different from their previous work, “showcasing a more sophisticated brand of contemporary drug music,” relatable to the Beatles iconic Magical Mystery Tour, catering to a “new age of searchers, of Don Juan and Animal Chin alike.” Easily the biggest head trip of the OSL night show options, if you’re looking to get weird Saturday night, you’re going to want to buy your tickets here. 21+ only.

Discover our Outside Lands beer pairing for Woods.

Enter to win if you can attend this show on Saturday, August 9th at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in SF by submitting your full name and email address in the contact form above. Contest ends Saturday, August 9th at Noon.

The Fresh & Onlys lead SF surf rock showcase at Brick & Mortar for Noise Pop Fest

The-Fresh-&-Onlys_postBy Katy Meacham //

The Fresh & Onlys with Cool Ghouls, Sandy’s, Luke Sweeney
Brick & Mortar Music Hall – San Francisco
February 26th, 2014

NoisePop Fest has begun. All over San Francisco, people scatter from venue to venue to hear sets from bands big and small. On Wednesday, February 26th, Brick and Mortar Music Hall hosted a nice array of authentically San Franciscan surf rock. With the four bands on the line up, Luke Sweeney, Sandy’s, Cool Ghouls and the headliners, The Fresh and the Onlys, the crowd stumbled in from the rain and warmed up to the retro feel of the evening.

Luke Sweeney started off the night with a nice mix of catchy pop-meets-70’s garage. With a full band and fun stage presence, they set the tone for a good time. Up next was the Sandy’s. Its hard not imagine yourself beachside watching the sun gleam off the ocean while listening to the Sandy’s. Alexi Glickman, of the Botticellis, allows his soft voice to hit with plenty of reverb over interesting melodies. The band has great stage presence and clearly enjoys playing together. They ended their set with some classic surf tunes, almost the sounds of Dick Dale, which was a perfect segue into Cool Ghouls’ set. Cool Ghouls continued the general theme of beach rock. They tend to be a more brash than that of Sandy’s. They’re deeply rooted in the sounds of the 70’s but have touches of 60’s Beatles-esque harmonies and guitar riffs. The three singers exchange duties seamlessly, adding a nice variance.

Last but not least were the Fresh and the Onlys. It was a later show, but the crowd did not seem to mind the wait. Lead singer, Tim Cohen, strangely reminiscent of Danny McBride in his humor, cracked jokes between songs. As expected the band gave a great set, playing popular singles like “Waterfall” early on and mixing in newer songs throughout. The locally beloved band declared, “We are San Francisco, or we were San Francisco, or San Francisco was us.” The crowd seemed to eat up the commentary on the general culture shift happening around them in the City. It was perfectly appropriate for this show, for a band imbedded in SF music and part of an independent-minded Bay Area music festival.


WIN TICKETS: No Age with Cheatahs, GRMLN & Straight Crimes at Brick & Mortar 3/1


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

No Age with Cheatahs, GRMLN, Straight Crimes
Brick & Mortar Music Hall — San Francisco
March 1st, 2014 (Saturday)

Brick and Mortar Music Hall, along with Noise Pop, will be hosting a post-rock showcase Saturday night that features an incredible mix of old guard and the new school. Los Angeles’ noise-punk duo, No Age, will make their return to San Francisco after a couple of years, so get ready for songs off of their 2013 Sub Pop release, An Object. A whirlwind of drums and guitar await those who make the plunge to B&M on Saturday.

As thrilling as No Age will be UK up-starters Cheatahs, maybe the band to not miss on this night as these young Londoners’ debut release has been making waves for it’s “revival” of 90’s alternative punk-rock. Their self-titled album has been flying under the radar, but this subsequent US tour is sure to put them on the map, so get there a little early for something fresh. Moody rocker GRMLN will also be featured on this bill, along with Straight Crimes.

Buy tickets if you know you want to go!


Enter to win if you can attend this show Saturday, March 1st at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco.

Submit your full name and email address below.
Contests end Friday, February 28th 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.

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Cheatahs – “The Swan”

WIN TICKETS: Dead Winter Carpenters at Brick & Mortar October 4 & 5


Enter your name and email address below for the chance to win 2 free tickets.

Tahoe’s own Dead Winter Carpenters return to hold bluegrass court over the weekend in the Mission at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. After the success of their Hardly Strictly weekend residency at the same venue last year, it only seems fitting for them to make it a tradition. This time around, with some slight personnel change, they are ready to turn even more heads with their renegade folk-grass sound. They will hosting some unique friends to open the night, featuring Lonesome Locomotive and Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah on Friday as well as Ocha la Rocha and Jigsaw Night on Saturday. Expect an energetic crowd looking to dance hard to this showcase of California roots music.

BUY TICKETS for the Friday, October 4 show.
BUY TICKETS for the Saturday, October 5 show.

Win 2 Free Tickets! Enter to win if you can either show Friday, October 4 or Saturday, October 5 at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco.

Submit your full name and email address below.
Contests end Thursday, October 3 at 5pm. 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.


WIN FREE SHOWS: Mykki Blanco at The New Parish • The Moondoggies at Brick & Mortar


Ready to witness live music at it’s best this week in the Bay Area?

WIN FREE TICKETS to these kick-ass shows:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay in the loop for more contests.
Check out our show previews below.

Enter to win tickets to these shows by submitting your full name, email address & by choosing the show you would like to attend in the drop down. All contests end Wednesday, September 11 at Noon. Winners will be notified via email Wednesday. Please choose one contest.

Mykki Blanco
The New Parish ~ Wednesday, 9/11

What’s “Acid Punk Rap” you may be asking yourself? Well, win tickets to Mykki Blanco to get the answer first-hand. This NYC MC is a mixed bag of fun, hitting on all sorts of styles of popular music and culture, including rave, trip-hop and rap. The New Parish will host this new-comer Wednesday, September 11 alongside Matrixxman, DJ Larry B, Boychild, Psycho Egyptian. If eclectic party vibes are your thing, this will be a great way to end hump day.

For fans of: Danny Brown, Die Antwoord, Odd Future

The Moondoggies
Brick & Mortar Music Hall ~ Thursday, 9/12

Start your weekend a night early with a diverse look at the state of West Coast rock at Brick and Mortar. Mahgeetah starts off a packed bill with an adventurous take on American rock and roll, bringing a weighted sound overflowing with harmony, rhythm and soul. Come support these local up-and comers, along with Pacific Northwest stalwarts the Maldives. The Moondoggies hail from the NW, and have successfully translated the muted beauty of the region into a folk-driven, vocally rich soundscape. Having recently wrapped up opening duties for Seattle’s superstar act, Pickwick, these guys are primed to take the stage as the top billed act on this large tour.

For fans of: Fleet Foxes, The Cave Singers, Futurebirds

FREE SHOWS: Smith Westerns & King Tuff at Brick & Mortar


Brick and Mortar Music Hall in the Mission is hosting two prime Outside Lands Night Shows this week, and we’ve got your free tickets.

WIN FREE TICKETS to these Outside Lands Late Night Shows:

  • Smith Westerns – Thursday 8/8
  • King Tuff // The Men – Saturday 8/10

This week it’s first come, first serve! If you see the show you would like to attend still available below, hurry up!!! You don’t want to barely get beaten out! Winners will be notified by 1PM Thursday 8/8, most likely earlier.

Please be sure you can attend the show. You may only go for one show this week.


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

Smith Westerns‘ Outside Lands set begins at 12:45pm Friday, so odds are you’ll still be working or on the bus heading to the venue. Instead of it going down like this, head to Brick and Mortar Music Hall Thursday night.


King Tuff is up against Daryl Hall & John Oates on Sunday — now you can do both. Plan on going to the King Tuff late night show Saturday night at Brick and Mortar.


Best live music venues in San Francisco // Bay Area

Photos by Sam Heller, Marc Fong, Maggie Corwin, James Nagel & Mike Frash

Photos by Sam Heller, Marc Fong, Maggie Corwin, James Nagel & Mike Frash

San Francisco is one of the best live music cities in the world — if an act is touring the western United States, they will most likely swing through SF. Packed into 7×7 square miles, the City by the Bay offers some kind of concert nightly. The East Bay, Oakland and Berkeley, respectively, is home to a growing number of live music options as more and more folks flee the City for better living costs.

Here are the best places to catch a show in or near San Francisco.


The Independent

628 Divisadero St. San Francisco, CA 94117
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: The Independent boasts the best sound, artist curation and lighting in the Bay Area for any room close to it’s 500-person max capacity — and you can count on 3-5 shows per week. It’s a great venue to catch artists on the rise from virtually every music genre, and already-established groups such as Phoenix, Green Day, TV on the Radio and Band of Horses have performed at this intimate musical oasis.

Best Features: The general admission venue is a conveniently-shaped square; no matter where you watch the show, the sound is stellar and you can see what’s happening on the lifted stage. The staff is professional, friendly and drinks are easy to procure. The Independent is simple and perfect, an ideal platform to witness bands and DJs live before they get bigger.

Drawbacks: Bring earplugs and sunglasses if sensitive to sound and light. Arrive early to secure a parking spot if driving — if possible, take public transportation and grab a drink nearby before the show. Get there when doors open if you need a seat.


Fox Theater – Oakland

1807 Telegraph Ave. Oakland, CA 94612
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: Fox Theater Oakland is a premium, large theater-style venue with a general admission floor and sizable, assigned-seated balcony overhead. The renovation of this historic site was masterfully achieved in 2009, conserving the stellar artwork and design features.

Best Features: No expense was spared in this renovation. Cool air rises from hundreds of vents in the floor, keeping attendees comfortable. The multitude of bars are fully staffed and efficient.

Drawbacks: In order to accommodate BART travelers, the venue has a pretty strict curfew, with shows ending well before midnight.


The Fillmore

1805 Geary Blvd. San Francisco, CA 94115
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: The Fillmore is nondescript from the outside, but a classic gem once you enter and climb the stairs. Expect a warm welcome, a selection of free fresh apples in the tradition of Fillmore founder Bill Graham and a free poster of the evening’s show (if the event sold out three weeks in advance usually).

Best Features: A large general admission floor area (1,200 capacity), surrounded by adult-beverage facilitators, is overshadowed by the venue’s iconic chandeliers that add a touch of sophistication to any affair. There is an additional saloon upstairs with ample seating away from the stage, and live acts will perform here on occasion before and during the opening act. Also, be sure to head upstairs to view previous show posters.

Drawbacks: If having a seat is on the agenda, arrive early and head for the poster room. Snag a seat and cozy up to the balcony rail for the best view in the house, but the best sound can be found on the floor.

*Bonus Venue: The BooM BooM RooM across Geary Blvd. is an excellent place for a pre-show martini and to keep the party going once The Fillmore has wrapped for the evening. This room focuses on jamming into the late night, often until 4 a.m.


Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell St. San Francisco, CA 94109
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: This historic space has been a beloved jewel for live music for well over 100 years, able to house some 600 attendees on any given night. As SF’s oldest nightclub, the Great American Music Hall can transport music fans to a more elegant era with its ornate balconies, soaring marble columns and elaborate ceiling frescoes.

Best Features: The Great American features a great variety of acts over the year and offers something for everybody. The space, sound and staff are top-notch. Opt for dinner and a show (quick tip: the food is great) to secure a seat on the balcony rail upstairs.

Drawbacks: The location is rather central to many areas of the city, though it’s not the safest in the the City. The venue’s lights are rather basic, but they aren’t needed in a room with such grand decor.


The Greek Theatre – UC Berkeley

2001 Gayley Rd. Berkeley, CA 94720
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: A seasonal venue from the Spring to the Fall at the top of the UC Berkeley campus, The Greek Theatre can pack 8,500 folks into their popular, yet infrequent concerts. Constructed after the ancient Greek theater of Epidaurus in 1903 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, this space often inspires magical performances.

Best Features: The sound from within the bowl provides incredible acoustics, but get there early for a spot in the seated steps or within the pit. If all seats are taken, get closer and stand in the general admission area as close as possible for a memorable live music experience.

Drawbacks: Don’t retreat to the grass — the magic is lost outside of the main bowl area. Getting to the venue (and back) requires walking up the campus, or driving to the top. Parking near the theater also means it will take forever to leave, and it will cost you $20 or more. Give yourself plenty of time and plan on walking. Shows won’t go past 11 p.m. due to the campus’ curfew, and be sure to head to the top of the grass for the quickest bathroom lines.


The Warfield

982 Market St. San Francisco, CA 94102
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: A 2,300-capacity theater located on Market Street, The Warfield beckons a near century-long history as a premier downtown music venue. Ornate gilding and details are found throughout this lovely space, and a recent renovation upgraded many areas in need of a little help.

Best Features: The tiered floor has become a staple for California mid-size venues like The Fox in Oakland and The Wiltern in Los Angeles, allowing an array of sight-lines for attendees. It’s in an easily accessible location with decent bars and restaurants within proximity.

Drawbacks: Mid-Market is trying to revive itself from a once-peppered history. Similar to many other “overhang” theater venues, the sound can leave a bit to be desired if in the middle or back of the general admission floor.

Bimbos 365 Club

Bimbo’s 365 Club

1025 Columbus Ave. San Francisco, CA 94133
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: Bimbo’s 365 Club, located on the fringes of North Beach, offers one of the most unique live concert settings in SF. Red velour curtains and exquisite details lend to an entirely classy experience in this 685-capacity, theater-like live performance space.

Best Features: It’s not like any other venue in the City in regards to location and style — side rooms and bars create an ideal pre-show place to socialize and imbibe. The low stage creates an intimate atmosphere with the limited acts that grace the stage over the year.

Drawbacks: The North Beach location is not the easiest venue to reach in comparison to others, and the booking leaves much to be desired as folks love this space.


Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell St. San Francisco, CA 94102
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: This recent hot-spot hosts many up-and-coming indie acts bursting onto the scene before they graduate to larger rooms. Expect a hip crowd sipping on strong drinks in a no-frills room, enjoying heat-seeking artists from across the globe. Shows start late, even on weekdays.

Best Features: Rickshaw Stop has very dynamic booking, bringing in all sorts of parties to utilize this Civic Center area venue. The bar is efficient for a small-ish room that can fill up nicely, but not overly.

Drawbacks: It’s basically a long narrow room with a small “balcony”, therefore sight-lines can be rough for those who are vertically challenged on the main floor.



444 Jessie St. San Francisco, CA 94103
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: Mezzanine specializes in up-and-coming club scene shows, hosting DJs from all over the world and bands that incorporate electronic elements into their music. Expect young people ready to party in a rectangular room that can hold up to 1,000 people.

Best Features: DJs will perform on the ‘side stage’, cultivating a dance-centric environment before and after live acts. A great choice for birthdays, bachelor parties and other special occasions, secure a table and bottle service on the floor or in a private area upstairs.

Drawbacks: Ins and outs are not permitted, and it can get a bit crunchy near the front and in the smoking area. Getting drinks can be a challenge during peak times.

Brick and Mortar

Brick and Mortar Music Hall

1710 Mission St. San Francisco, CA 94103
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: An intimate, square space for live music, Brick and Mortar Music Hall in the Mission hosts concerts almost nightly, and they are always affordable. Rock, bluegrass, funk, soul and many more types of shows go down here.

Best Features: Brick and Mortar has that “neighborhood rock/club” feel — if you are in the ‘front row’, then you are basically on the stage — and it just became the new home of outcast swine-house Bacon Bacon during lunchtime.

Drawbacks: Cash only at the box office. It can get a little tight during capacity shows unless you squiggle to your left against the wall.


The Chapel

777 Valencia St. San Francisco, CA 94110
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: The newest venue in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, The Chapel opened in 2012 and includes an attached restaurant and bar. The building was originally built as a mortuary, so the funeral home’s Chapel was converted to the music room upon renovation. There is a mezzanine above the floor level of the Chapel for bird’s-eye view observing.

Best Features: The restaurant and bar is brand-new and swanky, and the high ceilings and beams in the formerly sacred space give it a unique, striking feel for live music. More acts are booked with each passing month, and bigger names becoming more frequent too. Artists usually have a rootsy and indie sound aesthetic, but The Chapel recently had their first DJ night.

Drawbacks: It’s a great location for nightlife, but not for parking. The stage is small, and it can be tough to secure a drink at peak moments.


The New Parish

579 18th St. Oakland, CA 94612
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: This unique venue has recently sprouted up in the East Bay, and many are taking notice of their recent success. With a courtyard and large, wrap-around balcony, The New Parish offers many options for patrons to get down, watch the act or be social with friends.

Best Features: A plethora of national touring acts are opting to stay east of the bay and hold court in this ever-rising space. Securing a view of the stage isn’t terribly tough with a less traditional venue setup. Proximity to the Fox Theater makes it a popular place to keep the night going.

Drawbacks: The design of the space is unlike any other, and this has a few negatives regarding access to the bar or sound being optimal. It’s in Oakland and goes late, so not great for SF-bound BART riders.


Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

99 Grove St. San Francisco, CA 94102
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: As big an open, indoor floor space that exists in the Bay Area (not including arenas), the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium can fit 7,000 people into its vast confines.

Best Features: There’s plenty of floor space — and plenty of seats upstairs if you arrive early enough. The location adjacent to City Hall makes it easy to get to via public transportation. When the Civic Auditorium is packed and full of energy, it comes alive.

When the venue isn’t sold out, there’s an empty, hollow feel to live music here. The sound can seriously lack at times, especially from the sides. The best bet is to get in front of the large speaker banks (duh). Some acts, like Phish, bring additional sound equipment to fill out the copious space in the building.


Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St. San Francisco, CA 94107
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: This legendary little rock club at the foot of Potrero Hill has room for 350 partygoers of varying ages. It’s a well-oiled and well-regarded space that breeds lively shows by bands of all sizes and eras.

Best Features: Not exclusively a 21-and-over club, Bottom of the Hill allows patrons of all ages the chance to enjoy a high-energy show in this wacky space. Ample parking, a large smoking section and reasonably priced drinks as well as tickets make it an ideal spot to rock out.

Drawbacks: The booking doesn’t veer terribly far off the path of rock ‘n’ roll. The lights are simple, as one might expect from a venue like this.


Cafe Du Nord

2170 Market St. San Francisco, CA 94114
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: Walking down the stairs into the main room lends the vibe of a classic speakeasy with red velour and classical seating in the back. It’s yet another historic space to enjoy some fresh artists of the 21st century in an intimate setting.

Best Features: Located rather conveniently on Market Street makes Cafe Du Nord both accessible and flush with pre-show drink options. Cafe du Nord is amazing for the fan hoping to engage with his or her favorite artists.

Drawbacks: The room has an odd shape with a bar, seating and even a pool table in the back, while the front is slightly sectioned off for live music.



333 11th St. San Francisco, CA 94103
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What To Expect: Slim’s is located in a lively section of SOMA, and the venue hosts a vast array of lively acts for an all-ages crowd with a maximum capacity of 400. A high-ceiling room with few frills makes it a good option for dedicated fans.

Best Features: A large bar makes grabbing a beer or cocktail a snap, and they offer dinner with premium, upstairs seating if that’s your thing. The sound is just fine to accommodate either hardcore punk-rock or some of the Bay’s finest hip-hop.

Drawbacks: Oddly-placed pillars can obstruct attendees’ views and make a sold-out room that much more less appealing.


Public Works

161 Erie St. San Francisco, CA 94103
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What To Expect:
Expect two venues in one. Public Works offers a live music space and a separate room dedicated to dance music curated by some of the best DJs around. A separate ticket is needed for each option.

Best Features: The location is pretty central to most of the City. The live venue offers a balcony overhang — get there early for the best spot in the house. The staff is friendly.

Drawbacks: There are a few columns that make the live space a bit cumbersome at times, and the mobility at sold-out shows can be tough.


The Regency Ballroom

1290 Sutter St. San Francisco, CA 94109
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What To Expect: The large, well-worn ballroom with a horseshoe-shaped, wrap-around balcony and teardrop chandeliers can hold plenty of people at The Regency Ballroom. Most shows are general admission.

Best Features: There are plenty of seats to grab upstairs if sitting is a must.

Drawbacks: Shows here are infrequent, and the sound can get drowned out at times by the massive space of the ballroom, especially from the seats. Drinks are priced astronomically.