Our favorite performances from 2017

Best live shows of 2017 - The xx, Miguel, Moderat & Coldplay

2017, where the hell did you go? It just felt like the other day that we were ringing in a new year, and yet, here we are again as we plow straight ahead into 2018.

But before we officially put a bow on 2017, it’s time for us to revisit the past 12 months at Showbams. This year, we had the opportunity to capture many amazing moments in live music, and while we couldn’t pay homage to every single performance we witnessed, we made a conscious effort to include a wide range of talent spread across the industry.

Whittling down our list, though, was not that easy. Those who didn’t make the cut but still deserve to be mentioned here include the following artists, DJs and bands (in alphabetical order) whom we either covered at their own show and/or at a music festival this year:

21 Savage, The Accidentals, Action Bronson, Alice Cooper, Alina Baraz, alt-J, Amber Mark, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Animal Collective, Atlas Genius, The Avalanches, The Band Perry, Beach Slang, Belle and Sebastian, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Bleachers, Blonde Redhead, Bob Moses, Car Seat Headrest, Cate Le Bon, Cigarettes After Sex, Circles Around the Sun, City of Caterpillar, The Coathangers, Claude VonStroke, Chris Robinson, Con Brio, Conor Oberst, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, Crystal Castles, The Crystal Method, Daniel Caesar, Dawes, Dead Meadow, Deafheaven, Deep Purple, Diet Cig, DIIV, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dr. Dog, Dr. Octagon, Duke Dumont, Eagles of Death Metal, Electric Guest, Emancipator, Emily King, Empire of the Sun, Foxygen, Future Islands, Gabriel Garzón-Montano, Gatecreeper, Girl Talk, Gone Is Gone, Grizzly Bear, Gucci Mane, Hamilton Leithauser, Hazel English, Hinds, The Hip Replacements, Hiss Golden Messenger, How to Dress Well, Iggy Pop, Isaiah Rashad, Jack Johnson, Jagwar Ma, Jamestown Revival, Jamie Isaac, Jay 305, Jen Cloher, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, Jessie Ware, Jim James, JR JR, Julie Byrne, Julien Baker, Justice, Karen Elson, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, KAYTRANADA, Kelis, K. Flay, Khalid, Khruangbin, Kilo Kish, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Kurt Vile, La Femme, LANY, Lauv, L.A. Witch, Lettuce, Lil Yachty, Little Dragon, Lo Moon, Lorde, Lord Huron, Miike Snow, Milky Chance, Minus the Bear, Mister Heavenly, MØ, Mondo Cozmo, Neon Indian, Nicki Bluhm, Norah Jones, North Mississippi Allstars, NVO, Oh Sees, OK Go, Once and Future Band, Pallbearer, The Palms, Passion Pit, Peaches, Perfume Genius, Petit Biscuit, Phoebe Bridgers, Playboi Carti, Pond, Porcelain Raft, PRAYERS, The Radio Dept., Real Estate, The Revivalists, Royal Blood, Sampha, ScHoolboy Q, Sheer Mag, serpentwithfeet, Silversun Pickups, Sleep, Sleigh Bells, SOFI TUKKER, Solange, Spiritualized, Styles P, Sunflower Beam, Talib Kweli, Tank and The Bangas, Tash Sultana, Tei Shi, Temples, Tennis, Tennyson, Thou, Thundercat, TOBACCO, Touché Amoré, Tool, Tove Lo, Travis Scott, Twin Peaks, Ty Segall, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Vagabon, Vance Joy, Vic Mensa, Warpaint, Weezer, White Fence, Woods, YG, Young the Giant.

Now, it’s time for The Bam Team to present our favorite performances from 2017.

The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2017

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2017:


Best of 2017 - Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels

Date: February 1st
Location: Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles

Yet, in just four years, Run the Jewels have already reached hip-hop’s mountaintop with their politically charged lyrics and hard-hitting beats. Just take last Wednesday’s sold-out show in LA for example. With the duo’s third studio album still only a few weeks old, 5,000 or so fans poured into the spacious Shrine Expo Hall to watch El-P and Killer Mike fuck shit up (for lack of a better term). And that’s exactly what they did after opening sets from The Gaslamp Killer, Nick Hook, Gangasta Boo and CUZ. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2017 - BADBADNOTGOOD

BADBADNOTGOOD

Date: February 23rd
Location: The Fillmore – San Francisco

As one of the bands to take the coveted headlining spot for NoisePop25, BADBADNOTGOOD seemed as — perhaps more — excited as all of the fans who made it to their sold-out show at The Fillmore. Combining consummate instrumentation with classic MC-style showmanship led by drummer Alexander Sowinski, the Canadian jazz-rock quartet has mastered the art of keeping the audience guessing where they’re going. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by James Pawlish


Best of 2017 - Spoon

Spoon

Date: March 7th
Location: Apogee Studio – Santa Monica, CA

In total, Spoon performed five songs from the new record, including “First Caress” to open a brief encore that left us eager for more. But as the five-piece rocked “Rainy Taxi” from 2014’s They Want My Soul to close, I couldn’t help but think to myself that this is one band I never should have slept on. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Larry Hirshowitz


Best of 2017 - Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós

Date: April 8th
Location: Greek Theatre – Berkeley, CA

Now a trio, Sigur Rós have been delivering goosebumps for over two decades — and it’s a delight to hear Jónsi’s voice-as-an-instrument this clear, this powerful and as confident as ever. It would be a wonderful treat to check in on this outfit every 5-10 years going forward and realize they are still going strong. -Mike Frash, photo by James Nagel


Best of 2017 - DREAMCAR

DREAMCAR

Date: April 9th
Location: Great American Music Hall – San Francisco

Fresh off a stop at Berkeley’s Hearst Greek Theatre the night before, Adams showcased some older favorites and a slew of new tunes from his 16th and latest studio album Prisoner, which came out in February. SoCal fans were treated to some extended full-band jamming, a couple of solo acoustic performances and Adams’ usual witty banter over the course of the evening.
-Jared Stossel, photo by Jared Stossel


Best of 2017 - A Perfect Circle

A Perfect Circle

Date: April 13th
Location: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco

In the world of rock supergroups, there are few that have sprung up in the last few decades that can hold a candle to A Perfect Circle. From the onset, APC have been a powerhouse on the senses, combining members from bands such as Tool, The Smashing Pumpkins, Failure, Primus and more over the years. Their body of work has been met with high praise across the board, and they have been able to solidify themselves as one of the most unique and tenured groupings out there, as opposed to bands like Zwan and Velvet Revolver. -Andrew Pohl, photo by Mike Rosati


Best of 2017 - Radiohead

Radiohead

Date: April 14th
Location: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA

Yes, the sound problems (all three instances) put a real damper on what was easily one of the most anticipated performances of the weekend. This was the third time Goldenvoice called on Radiohead to headline Coachella, and for one of rock’s most important bands over the last 30 years, it certainly wasn’t a charm as the saying goes. In that moment, it was pretty hard not to feel bad for Thom Yorke, who could only make light of the situation by cracking a joke even if it wasn’t supposed to be one — or so he claimed. But Radiohead more than made up for it with a masterful setlist that opened with A Moon Shaped Pool cuts “Daydreaming”, “Desert Island Disk” and “Ful Stop” before circling back to older hits such as “Everything in Its Right Place”, “There There”, “Idioteque” and even “Creep”. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella


Best of 2017 - Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar

Date: April 16th
Location: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA

All hail, King Kendrick! Or should we say “Kung Fu Kenny?” The Compton rapper reached hip-hop’s mountaintop more than two years ago with his Grammy-winning masterpiece To Pimp a Butterfly, but headlining Coachella was still on his to-do list. In fact, it was only the second time he had ever been booked to perform at Coachella after being listed on the last line of the 2012 poster. Closing out the fest is no short order for any artist, let alone one who dropped his new album less than 48 hours before taking the stage, but K-Dot lived up to the billing with a show that provoked as much thought as it entertained. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella


Best of 2017 - The xx

The xx

Date: April 17th
Location: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco

Playfully alluding to their material’s emotional sentiment, Romy Madley Croft (vocals, guitar) and Oliver Sim (bass, vocals) managed to entrance all of us with their tension-filled gazes and syncopated dance moves. Prolonging vocal arrangements, especially during their accelerated live interpretation of “Infinity”, were also stunning to witness. About halfway through the set, Jamie Smith (beats, MPC, production), aka Jamie xx, took the lead and transformed the room into a giant disco party thanks to an onslaught of consecutive dance hits before finishing with “Loud Places” from his 2015 solo LP In Colour. -Molly Kish, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best of 2017 - Moderat

Moderat

Date: April 20th
Location: Mayan Theater – Los Angeles

Moderat subsequently circled back to III, performing “Intruder” before exiting the stage to a rousing applause. Yet, when the house lights didn’t come on right away, the suspense began to build once again. Less than a minute later, the three-piece reemerged, giving the audience more than its money’s worth. Two-encore shows are usually reserved for high-profile groups with extensive catalogs like Radiohead, but Moderat have never played by any rules. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2017 - The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

Date: May 9th
Location: The Theatre at Ace Hotel – Los Angeles

The Lips, of course, made sure to play that song, and even though it was without Watts, it still proved to be an unforgettable moment due to the fact that Coyne rode a life-size unicorn from one end of the stage to the other as he belted out lines like “Yeah, there should be unicorns / The ones with the purple eyes / It should be loud as fuck / Hope the swans don’t die” to open the tune while wearing a big smile across his face. If that’s not psychedelic to you, then I don’t know what is. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2017 - Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Date: June 3rd
Location: Greek Theatre – Los Angeles

Fresh off a stop at Berkeley’s Hearst Greek Theatre the night before, Adams showcased some older favorites and a slew of new tunes from his 16th and latest studio album Prisoner, which came out in February. SoCal fans were treated to some extended full-band jamming, a couple of solo acoustic performances and Adams’ usual witty banter over the course of the evening.
-Stephanie Port, photo by Stephanie Port


Best of 2017 - Jay Som

Jay Som

Date: June 17th
Location: Potrero del Sol Park – San Francisco

Melina Duterte’s band goes by the name Jay Som and hails from Oakland. Do yourself a favor and remember this name: Jay Som. The Polyvinyl-signed songstress bathed the crowd at the Potrero Stage in her dreamy vocals and inanely catchy tunes that appeal to a wide-range of music fan; her songs could feel just as viable in the 90’s college rock area as they do today. Highlights from the set included a vibe-soaked rendition of “Baybee” as well as “The Bus Song”, arguably the artist’s first real “hit.” -Kevin Quandt, photo by Emmeline Munson


Best of 2017- AIR

AIR

Date: June 23rd
Location: The Masonic – San Francisco

AIR’s live performances focus on capturing the crisp, detailed production style that the duo has honed over two decades. It’s a vibrant, textured sound. Centered around acoustic guitar, synthesizers and the breathy timbre of the duo’s immaculate harmonized vocals, the use of live drums helped round out the contrast between both the artificial and acoustic sounds in songs like “Cherry Blossom Girl”. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Steve Carlson


Best of 2017 - PLANETARIUM

PLANETARIUM

Date: July 21st
Location: Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland

PLANETARIUM’s music, which channels Stevens’ reflections on astronomy, science and even the intricacies of human consciousness, is a fusion of styles from all four band members that evokes feelings of unity. The group’s performance was accompanied by otherworldly visuals that filled the backdrop as it traversed the Solar System with quite a few emotionally charged songs inspired by the planets and other celestial bodies like “Neptune” and “Jupiter”. -Norm de Veyra, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best of 2017 - The Drums

The Drums

Date: July 21st
Location: The Fillmore – San Francisco

By the time The Drums took the stage, the intimate venue was packed to the brim with fans. The Brooklyn outfit made as much of an impression as it did when frontman Jonathan Pierce and company exploded onto the scene in 2009 with their initial EP Summertime! From then on, it became glaringly obvious with their eccentric band members and seemingly effortless style that they possessed an energetic presence. And at their SF show, it didn’t take long for the capacity crowd to fall into a groove as the venue’s whole atmosphere lit up. -Jacqueline Moore, photo by Jacqueline Moore


Best of 2017 - Miguel

Miguel

Date: July 23rd
Location: Annenberg Space for Photography – Los Angeles

Once the sun set and Miguel stepped onstage, the audience was transported somewhere else entirely. Born and raised in LA, the 31-year-old’s silky-smooth voice floated through the cool evening breeze over the twinkle lights in the trees, giving the impression of an island retreat rather than a concert in the park. -Rochelle Shipman, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best of 2017 - The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs

Date: August 5th
Location: Apogee Studio – Santa Monica, CA

Granduciel’s raspy voice, as well as his driving (no pun intended) guitar rhythms and reverb-laden riffs, are largely what separates The War on Drugs from the rest in a crowded indie-rock scene, but the sum of the band’s parts — Charlie Hall (drums), David Hartley (bass), Anthony LaMarca (guitar, keyboards), Robbie Bennett (keyboards) and finally Jon Natchez (saxophone, keyboards) — also creates a sound that while familiar, still feels uniquely different. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Larry Hirshowitz


Best of 2017 - Gorillaz

Gorillaz

Date: August 11th
Location: Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

Easily one of the most anticipated acts of the weekend, Gorillaz’s Humanz tour made its West Coast debut on Day 1 at OSL. After a six-year hiatus, expectations ran extremely high for this headlining performance. On previous tours, the band’s members had played second fiddle to the cartoon projections of their alter egos onstage, but everyone was visible this time around. Several collaborators from Gorillaz’s previous albums, including Kali Uchis, Yukimi Nagano and Del the Funky Homosapien, came out to join them, and the Damon Albarn-led group still pulled some even bigger surprises with cameos appearances from De la Soul and Pusha T. -Molly Kish, photo by James Pawlish


Best of 2017 - Cage the Elephant

Cage the Elephant

Date: August 12th
Location: Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

While the cancellation of Queens of the Stone Age was a blow a week prior to the event, the replacement that was lined up more than delivered a blistering set of rock ‘n’ roll. Cage the Elephant are now being widely considered festival-headliner material, and frontman Matt Shultz is making a strong claim for that accolade as he continues to elevate his stage act to near-Mick Jagger levels of pomp and energy. “Come a Little Closer” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” received hearty sing-alongs from a decidedly youthful crowd as Cage have become a favorite of Generation Z. -Kevin Quandt, photo by Marc Fong


Best of 2017 - J.I.D

J.I.D

Date: September 9th
Location: Day N Night Fest, Angel Stadium – Anaheim, CA

While the headliners thrilled as expected, it was at the side “Day” and “Night” stages where the festival’s biggest highlights were generated. J.I.D, the rising Atlanta rapper who is signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville imprint, absolutely thrilled during his set. Dazzling with his rapid-fire and agile flow, J.I.D showed off his ability to command a crowd with songs such as “General” and “EdEddnEddy” before jumping into the crowd for the tempo-changing hit “Never” that left the crowd chanting for “one more song!” -Joseph Gray & Rochelle Shipman, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best of 2017 - SZA

SZA

Date: September 9th
Location: Day N Night Fest, Angel Stadium – Anaheim, CA

Saturday, meanwhile, featured the vintage gospel spirit and warm vibes that have elevated Chicago emcee Chance the Rapper to superstardom. Earlier in the day, SZA, this summer’s breakout star, delivered her first festival performance since the release of her well-received debut album Ctrl. Swaying, spinning and singing her raw emotions and shortcomings while coming of age, the Top Dawg Entertainment songstress didn’t disappoint. -Joseph Gray & Rochelle Shipman, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best of 2017 - Bonobo

Bonobo (Live)

Date: September 27th
Location: Greek Theatre – Los Angeles

The real reason things felt different this time around, though, was the music. Extending and reimagining his tracks for easily one of the largest crowds he has ever performed in front of, Bonobo followed an uplifting opening set from Canadian electronic duo Bob Moses with an array of soothing sounds that paired beautifully with his lighting setup and entrancing stage production in the same way Scott Hansen (aka Tycho) creates an awe-inspiring audio-visual experience during his live-band performances. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2017 - Coldplay

Coldplay

Date: October 4th
Location: Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, CA

Coldplay took the stage shortly before 9 p.m. as a video montage of fans who introduced them as “the biggest band in the world” played onstage. While I’m pretty sure there are a few other artists or groups from their side of the pond (ehem, U2) who might take issue with that claim, they certainly did nothing during their electric, almost two-hour performance to dissuade that sort of thinking. Chris Martin and company, in fact, wasted no time getting down to business, flooding the stadium with confetti and firing off pyrotechnics at a steady clip while opening with “A Head Full of Dreams” and subsequently all throughout the night. -Steve Carlson, photo by Steve Carlson


Best of 2017 - Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene

Date: October 26th
Location: Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland

Here’s the thing about BSS — after 15 years, the web of musicians that makes up the collective have created their own individual projects, from Metric to Stars to Feist to Do Make Say Think to Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton. And while many of the band’s members who have gone on to find success in their own solo careers didn’t happen to join the group on this particular tour, the sense of professionalism built into the BSS live experience remains prevalent. Every person who stepped onstage demonstrated consummate abilities in their own realms, never missing a beat or a note. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Norm de Veyra

Best of 2017 - Jim James

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

Dirtybird Campout 2017: Here’s why you don’t want to miss this year’s festival

Dirtybird Campout 2017Photo courtesy of Daniel Zetterstrom // Written by Lindsay Alamillo //

Dirtybird Campout //
San Antonio Recreation Area – Bradley, CA
October 6th-8th, 2017 //

Festival season is coming to an end, but we can’t think of a better way to close out 2017 on a high note than with a trip to Dirtybird Campout. If you need a heavy dose of house, techno or bass, look no further — this camping party is getting a whole lot bigger and better.

One of the best things about Dirtybird events is the San Francisco record label’s loyalty to their fans. The artists always take time to hang out with fans and connect with those who bring the heat to the dance floor.

This year, don’t miss Brooklyn house duo Walker & Royce as they do their best to provide all the answers to life’s questions. You can also visit the Dough Lab to catch the pizza godfather himself, Justin Martin, and take a chance spinning the Wheel of Pizza (no dough needed).

There have been several special performances over the last couple of years, including an annual late late night/early morning drum ‘n’ bass set by the Martin brothers (Justin and Christian), and 2017’s lineup is bigger and better than ever before with some great b2bs.

For instance, don’t miss Dirtybird favorites Kill Frenzy and Will Clarke b2b or Ardalan and Worthy b2b on Friday night. On Saturday, there will be a special Soulection showcase at the Bass Lodge where the Los Angeles-based collective is sure to play its silky-smooth and sexy house sounds. And then on Sunday night, don’t miss the festival’s final performance as the entire Dirtybird family takes the stage.

But don’t worry — when you need a break from the action and want to entertain yourself with something different, there are a number of alternatives to choose from. The campout crew has amped up the activities this year just in case they hadn’t done enough already. Yoga, lectures and open archery will all be offered, and there will be a special science lab from BrainScratch where festivalgoers can dive into discussions about inter-connectivity and the complexities of nature. Pretty heady, right?

Also, when you need a break from the dance floor at night, head over to the great late-night Bingo Revival. It’s a 70’s-themed game show, so come dressed to impress or ready to win (or just come hang out). None of these tickle your fancy? There’s more, including timeless camp activities like tie dyeing, potato sack racing, water balloon tossing, volleyball, kickball and Simon Says.

If you need a little more convincing or another reason to sway your decision on a last-minute ticket purchase, listen up. On Saturday, different teams of our favorite artists will compete in Giant Jenga games to raise money for a cause. Proceeds from the games will go to Give a Beat in hopes of building a bigger bridge between the dance community and those who have been impacted by incarceration. The non-profit organization is aiming to provide education to the community, DJ workshops for youth and mentor programs. Be sure to stop by and check out the games, which will take place on Saturday between 2-6 p.m.

Let’s also not forget to mention that Claude VonStroke was crowned “America’s Best DJ” last year, and this year, Dirtybird was named the decade’s No. 1 label by Mixmag. So, to state the obvious, it has been a great few years for the Dirtybird crew and we honestly can’t wait to see what they have in store for us this October. Passes to Dirtybird Campout are still available to purchase here, but don’t wait because this is one party you don’t want to miss.

Dirtybird Campout - 2017 lineup

Dirtybird BBQ celebrates summer in its return to SF

Dirtybird BBQ 2017Photos by Lisette Worster // Written by EJ Bernardo //

Dirtybird BBQ //
Treasure Island – San Francisco
June 4th, 2017 //

After what seemed to be a long winter filled with a mixture of rain from El Niño and the nearly endless rolling fog that blankets SF, a strong taste of summer finally hit the Bay Area just days after Memorial Day weekend.

On this early June afternoon, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and a certain dirty flock of birds landed on Treasure Island with a purpose. Upon landing, these birds brought with them their speakers, headphones, massive amounts of BBQ fare and hundreds of people who were ready to get down and dirty.

Dirtybird BBQ 2017 - Claude VonStroke


Claude VonStroke

The annual Dirtybird BBQ, a new SF tradition for the city’s EDM community, was back in the Bay where it all started. Much like last year’s event (read our review here), the BBQ was held on the island’s more spacious east side and featured specialty cocktail vendors, a variety of food trucks, contests/games and of course, BBQ.

And although the venue provided a large number of locations to sit and eat a plate of food on a bail of hay, the best place to be on the island was definitely on the dance floor with a lineup that included Justin Martin, Worthy, Christian Martin, J.Phlip, Ardalan and Claude VonStroke.

Dirtybird BBQ 2017: Get ready for the SF edition with our Spotify playlist

Dirtybird BBQ San Francisco 2017Written by Lisette Worster //

Dirtybird BBQ //
Treasure Island – San Francisco
June 4th, 2017 //

The Birds are heading back to their home base where it all started this weekend as Dirtybird’s BBQ series returns to SF on Sunday with performances from Justin Martin, Worthy, Christian Martin, J.Phlip, Ardalan and of course, the godfather of it all, Claude VonStroke.

There’s sure to be plenty of house music mixed with hip-hop, techno and funk being played throughout the day on Treasure Island, and to get you ready for the big party, we’ve curated our own playlist below.

In addition to some saucy sets, Dirtybird will be firing up the grills once again in 2017 and providing another tasty food lineup. The SF record label is also bringing back its “Best In Show” contest, so get those costumes and totems ready and don’t forget to purchase your ticket to the 21-and-over event here before it’s too late.

Getting excited for all the festivities? Make sure to check out our coverage from last year’s Dirtybird BBQ in SF here.

Dirtybird BBQ 2017

Noise Pop 2017 Shows of the Week // GO4FREE to Weyes Blood, Desert Daze Caravan, Kelis & more

Noise Pop 2017Written by Molly Kish & Brett Ruffenach //

Noise Pop //
Bay Area venues – San Francisco & Oakland
February 17th–27th, 2017 //

Noise Pop is officially here, and the Bay Area is serving as home to some of the world’s best independent artists this week. There’s so much to see and hear in some of our favorite bars and venues — and we want you to get out there and participate!

While most Noise Pop shows are sure to sell out, we have you covered with tickets to a wide variety of them. Pick your favorite show from the list below and enter to win tickets.

Hint: Those who directly tweet @showbams or tag us on Instagram with their personal requests will have that much better of a chance of winning!

Contests for all weekday shows end at 3 p.m. on the day of show. Contests for all weekend shows end at 3 p.m. this Friday.


Weyes Blood

Weyes Blood: February 21st (TUE) @ Swedish American Hall // BUY TICKETS
GunkTVRecords founder as well as longtime Ariel Pink collaborator Weyes Blood brings her ethereal edge to the Swedish American Hall. Accompanied by Half Waif, Young Moon and a celebration of 20 Minute Loop’s record release and 20th anniversary, this singer-songwriter showcase will be one for the books. – MK

Contest ends this Tuesday at 3 p.m.


Hazel English

Hazel English: February 21st (TUE) @ Rickshaw Stop // BUY TICKETS
Females are holding it down on Tuesday at Rickshaw Stop as Aussie-turned-Oakland-resident Hazel English gets top billing thanks to her interspersed, dreamy and melodic vocal abilities. Joined by sister artists Elsa y ElMar, Tanukichan and Maggie Y/O, the lineup offers a stacked bill that beautifully spans indie rock, shoegaze and pop. – MK

Contest ends this Tuesday at 3 p.m.


Desert Daze Caravan

Desert Daze Caravan: February 22nd (WED) @ The Chapel // BUY TICKETS
Desert Daze, the innovative psychedelic-rock festival that took place last October in Joshua Tree, is bringing a special showcase to Noise Pop that’s led by UK experimental-rock outfit Temples, who bring their 60’s vibes to The Chapel alongside intriguing up-and-comers like psych-R&B group Night Beats and the fast-and-fierce female rock duo Deap Vally. – BR

Contest ends this Wednesday at 3 p.m.


Kelis

Kelis: February 22nd (WED) @ 1015 Folsom // BUY TICKETS
Kelis is one of New York’s most famous female hip-hop acts over the last decade. Best known for her 2006 smash hit “Milkshake”, Kelis is surely one of the bossiest artists to take the stage at Noise Pop this year. Grab your diamonds and grills, folks. – BR

Contest ends this Wednesday at 3 p.m.


Julia Holter

Julia Holter (solo): February 22nd (WED) @ Swedish American Hall // BUY TICKETS
Singer, songwriter, director, composer and artist, Julia Holter continues to wear a number of different creative hats. Headlining a show full of baroque pop and ambient music, she’ll be joined by Midnight Sister, Madeline Kenney and Doncat for what should be a unforgettable night at the Swedish American Hall. – MK

Contest ends this Wednesday at 3 p.m.


Moon Duo

Moon Duo: February 23rd (THU) @ The Chapel // BUY TICKETS
Portland-based psychedelic-rock group Moon Duo combine the entrancing nature of shoegaze with the transcendent feeling of psych-rock and enough flange to satisfy even the most ardent Tame Impala fans. Touring in support of their new album Occult Architecture Vol. 1 & 2, Moon Duo’s visceral synth and entrancing guitar work is surely not something to miss. – BR

Contest ends Thursday, February 23rd at 3 p.m.


Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast: February 23rd (THU) @ Rickshaw Stop // BUY TICKETS
Thursday is all about avant-garde folk, with a roster featuring experimental fusions of pop, indie rock and world music. Philadelphia’s own Japanese Breakfast (born Michelle Zauner) headlines the show, which includes opening acts Miya Folick, Dante Elephante and Flying Circles for what is easily one of Noise Pop’s most unique lineups. – MK

Contest ends this Thursday at 3 p.m.


Barclay Crenshaw

Barclay Crenshaw: February 23rd (THU) @ 1015 Folsom // BUY TICKETS
As it turns out, Claude VonStroke’s real name is even cooler than his fake one. From the man behind the Bay Area’s favorite record label Dirtybird, Barclay Crewshaw is a new project that turns from VonStroke’s thumping upbeat house beats that we’ve come to love to the exciting world of experimental hip-hop, sometimes known as West Coast bass. His production skills are out of this world as he takes you on a spacious, booming and psychedelic journey that’s sure to satisfy any bass head’s appetite. – BR

Contest ends this Thursday at 3 p.m.


Crocodiles

Crocodiles: February 23rd (THU) @ Bottom of the Hill // BUY TICKETS
Hitting Bottom of the Hill with a wave of garage rock and punk, Crocodiles will be hitting the stage for a raucous warm-up on the final leg of their cross-country tour. They’ll be taking the stage alongside Hot Flash Heat Wave and NRVS LVRS, making it one of Noise Pop’s strongest and most compelling bills. – MK

Contest ends this Thursday at 3 p.m.


Kevin Abstract

Kevin Abstract: February 23rd (THU) @ The New Parish // BUY TICKETS
Kevin Abstract is a jack-of-all-trades. Filmmaker, writer, singer and songwriter, Abstract has managed to achieve quite a bit before he celebrates his 21st birthday this year. With a smooth flow and pop sensibility, he’s sure to deliver a powerful performance at The New Parish. – BR

Contest ends this Thursday at 3 p.m.


Deviation

Deviation: February 24th (FRI) @ 1015 Folsom // BUY TICKETS
With a lineup featuring Hudson Mohawke, Francois K, Teklife, Seven Davis Jr., Jay Daniel, and Benji B and Judah performing back to back, it’s hard to capture how much good music will be blaring through 1015’s numerous rooms during Deviation. Hudson Mohawke is likely the main draw for all future-beats fans, but it’s Teklife and BBC Radio 1’s Benji B who you should really stick around for. This should be a good one. – BR

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable (acoustic): February 24th (FRI) @ Swedish American Hall // BUY TICKETS
Welsh alt-rock powerhouse The Joy Formidable return to the Bay to take over the Swedish American Hall with some help from Emily Jane White and Everyone Is Dirty. All three acts bring their own blend of pop, hi-fi, garage rock and post-punk, this is a true blend of local and international talent that knows how to push the envelope. – MK

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


Mothers

Mothers: February 24th (FRI) @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall // BUY TICKETS
Emerging from the tried-and-true arts and music scene in Athens, Ga., Mothers started as singer-songwriter Kristine Leschper’s solo project before morphing into a four-piece band. Combining Leschper’s haunting vocals and drummer Matthew Andregg’s punchy rhythms, Mothers have found an entrancing sound that is sure to captivate fans of female rock stars like Courtney Barnett and Angel Olsen. – BR

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


The Mother Hips

The Hip Replacements: February 24th (FRI) @ The New Parish // BUY TICKETS
One of the West Coast’s longstanding jam-rock bands, The Mother Hips are a California rock ‘n’ roll institution, touring the world and writing songs as both consummate instrumentalists and seasoned songwriters before Bill Clinton entered the White House. With singer/guitarist Tim Bluhm unable to perform due to an ongoing injury, the rest of the band — Greg Loiacono (guitar, vocals), John Hofer (drums) and Scott Thunes (bass) — will join forces with Bob Reed (Overwhelming Colorfast, Oranger), Johnny Irion and Dave Zirbel (San Geronimo) to unveil a mixture of songs by The Mother Hips and The Replacements on this night. – BR

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


The Family Crest

The Family Crest: February 25th (SAT) @ Swedish American Hall // BUY TICKETS
An evening of ensemble acts headlined by The Family Crest comes to the Swedish American Music Hall on Saturday, bringing an audible range of local talent to the stage at the intimate venue. In what promises to be a night of orchestral indie-rock bliss, all four acts will present their own unique genre-melding style, making for a neo-symphony on Saturday night. – MK

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


Ceremony

Ceremony: February 26th (SUN) @ The Chapel // BUY TICKETS
Ceremony are a no-nonsense punk band from Sonoma County. Both focused and at times sonically explosive, Ceremony have found their own sound and set themselves apart from similar-sounding groups such as Black Flag and Dillinger Escape Plan. They’re capable of balancing melody and musicianship with that intangible, white-knuckled feeling that can only be described as pure rock ‘n’ roll. – BR

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


Win-2-Tickets

Enter your name (First and Last) along with your email below. If you win a contest, you’ll be notified on the day the contest ends (details above).

Like Showbams on Facebook, follow Showbams on Twitter and follow Showbams on Instagram. Subscribe to our social channels for a better chance to win!

CONTEST CLOSED.

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

The 25 best live music acts of 2016

Best live music acts of 2016

As we officially place 2016 in the history books, it’s time to look back at all the live music we experienced this year. Last year we shared our 25 favorite live performers of 2015, so this year we thought we would do it again while excluding any artists we named in 2015. After all, who really wants to see the same acts listed two years in a row? That said, now that we’re two years removed, our 25 favorite live performers of 2014 were once again fair game.

After covering many excellent bands, musicians and DJs over the past 12 months, trimming our list down to 25 wasn’t easy and as usual, some difficult decisions had to be made. Those who didn’t make the cut but still deserve to be mentioned here include the following artists, DJs and bands (in alphabetical order) whom we either covered at their own show and/or at a music festival this year:

Adrian Younge, Air, Alessia Cara, Alina Baraz, AlunaGeorge, Alvvays, The Arcs, A$AP Ferg, Atlas Genius, Aubrie Sellers, The Avett Brothers, Bag Raiders, Baio, Banks & Steelz, Bas, Battles, Beats Antique, Beach House, Best Coast, Big Freedia, Big Gigantic, Big Grams, Big Wild, Bloc Party, Bob Mould, The Boxer Rebellion, Brand New, Brett Dennen, The California Honeydrops, Capital Cities, Cate Le Bon, Chairlift, Chelsea Wolfe, !!! (Chk Chk Chk), Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Chuck Mosley, Chromeo, Claude VonStroke, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Cold War Kids, The Crux, Dan Deacon, Danny Brown, Deftones, The Devil Makes Three, Dirtwire, Disclosure, DMA’s, DMX, Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors, Duran Duran, Every Time I Die, Emancipator Ensemble, Ezra Furman, Faith No More, The Faint, Fantastic Negrito, Femi Kuti, Florence + the Machine, Flume, Fruition, The Gaslamp Killer, Geographer, Glass Animals, Gorgon City, Grimes, Halsey, The Head and the Heart, Heartwatch, The Heavy, Highly Suspect, Hippie Sabotage, Holy Fuck, How to Dress Well, Hudson Mohawke, Hundred Waters, IAMX, Ibeyi, Ice Cube, Iggy Pop, The Infamous Stringdusters, Jack Beats, Jack Garratt, Jack Ü, James Bay, Jamie xx, J. Cole, Jimmie Vaughn, Jhené Aiko, The Joy Formidable, Joywave, Julia Holter, Julien Baker, Kaki King, Kamaiyah, Kamasi Washington, Kehlani, K.Flay, The Kills, Kurt Vile, Lafa Taylor, Lana Del Rey, Låpsley, Les Sins, Lettuce, Lionel Richie, Lord Huron, Little Scream, Lucius, M83, Major Lazer, Marian Hill, Mayer Hawthorne, MC YOGI, Methyl Ethel, Metric, Miami Horror, Mick Jenkins, Midi Matilda, Miguel Migs, Modest Mouse, Moon Taxi, M. Ward, Nahko & Medicine for the People, The Naked and Famous, Nas, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Neon Indian, Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker), Nite Jewel, Panic! at the Disco, Parliament-Funkadelic, Peaches, Petite Noir, The Pharcyde, The Polish Ambassador, Porches, Prince Rama, Purity Ring, Pusha T, Radiohead, Ra Ra Riot, The Regrettes, The Revivalists, RJD2, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Rogue Wave, Rubblebucket, Run the Jewels, The Russ Liquid Test, Ryan Adams, The Sam Chase & The Untraditional, Saosin, Sarah Neufeld, The Seshen, Shabazz Palaces, Shlohmo, Silversun Pickups, Snakehips, Solange, Son Little, St. Lucia, Stormzy, The Struts, STS9, Sturgill Simpson, Sufjan Stevens, Summer Cannibals, Sunflower Bean, Sigur Rós, St. Germain, Sylvan Esso, Tacocat, Taking Back Sunday, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, This Will Destroy You, Thomas Jack, Thundercat, Toro y Moi, Tortoise, Tory Lanez, Tourist, The Trims, Troye Sivan, Umphrey’s McGee, Viceroy, Vince Staples, Vokab Company, Walk the Moon, Warpaint, Wavves, Weezer, Wheeler Walker Jr., White Denim, Wild Belle, Wild Nothing, Years & Years, Yeasayer, YG, Young Fathers, Yuck, ZHU, Ziggy Marley.

Now, it’s time for The Bam Team to present our 25 favorite live performers of 2016.

The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2016

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2016:


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #25 - Tycho

25. Tycho

For as much as Epoch was a surprise, so were Tycho’s two most recent shows in LA last week. It was the first time Hansen and company had played The Fonda Theatre since the Awake tour back in 2014, and Thursday’s sellout, which was announced less than a week before the show, along with the subsequent need to add a second date the next night, made it clear that more than ever, Angelinos have a strong appetite for what Hansen is doing on both a musical and visual level. It helps, too, that KCRW Music Director Jason Bentley, who opened the shows at The Fonda with a DJ set, has helped expose Tycho to a broader audience, whether through the “Morning Becomes Eclectic” theme song or live, in-studio performances by the band. Even nowadays with an abundance of streaming sites, you can’t underestimate the power of radio in a city with a driving culture as large as LA’s. And truth be told, Tycho is some of the best music to drive to, especially when you’re surrounded by nature. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #24 - Isaiah Rashad

24. Isaiah Rashad

And when it did, Rashad torpedoed onto stage and turned the restlessness in the room on its head with “Smile”, the apropos homecoming banger he released after years of uncertainty that followed his 2014 EP Cilvia Demo. It was fitting because prior to his reemergence, which was sparked by the song, Rashad admitted to being addicted to Xanax and alcohol, and it almost led to him being dropped from his West Coast record label on several occasions. From his issues with substance abuse to the tears he shed while listening to Kid Cudi’s music and his open-book thoughts on the humanizing of mental-health issues, Rashad’s journey from being the contemplative unknown in superstar Kendrick Lamar’s crew to a complete artist deserving of your attention has been steeped in honesty. -Joseph Gray, photo by Joseph Gray


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #23 - Bob Moses

23. Bob Moses

Needless to say, worn-out axioms failed to apply in this scenario. Bob Moses silenced anyone attempting to pass them off as yet another contrived electropop outfit aiming to please the masses. At Mezzanine, both Howie and Vallance proved their prowess as EDM innovators, bringing more to the stage than a couple of laptops and a pretty light show. Surprising those unfamiliar with their work or expecting to be underwhelmed, Bob Moses have elevated the live electronic game for their respective contemporaries and succeeded in defining a new chapter for the genre — an innovative sound standard that’s all their own. -Molly Kish, photo by Lisette Worster


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #22 - Floating Points

22. Floating Points

The band continued building on its rhythms and melodies, creating a hypnotic feeling that was filled with textured synthesizers, guitar pedals and consummate percussion, as laser patterns reflected each rise and fall during its lengthy jam sessions. As Sheppard and his sidekicks progressed through each track, the complexity of the laser projections grew into optical illusions that, almost like another musical instrument onstage, intertwined with the style and progression of the band’s production perfectly. With each song reaching a climax and eventual denouement, the artwork remained untouched for a few minutes so that fans could observe each piece before their very own eyes. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Alister Mori


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #21 - Ty Segall

21. Ty Segall

But Segall is no doubt a showman himself, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who expends as much energy onstage as he does in merely 90 minutes. His passion simply rubs off on his fans, who wasted little time climbing onstage and taking the plunge into a sea of hands for a couple of minutes. Segall, of course, also got in on the action at one point, as his shows are often known to feature crowd surfing from both band and audience members, and he made sure to take the mic stand with him while he horizontally slithered across the room. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #20 - Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem

20. Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem

One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind coming into Outside Lands was, “Who were Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem?” For those who knew, it was, “How in the hell were the Muppets going to fill a Sunday slot on the main stage?” Because the band had never played a show of such magnitude or outside the context of a TV/film studio, no one had any clue what to expect during this early-afternoon slot. Though some festivalgoers (mistakenly) decided to forego the experience altogether, those present will not forget the incredible feat that Another Planet Entertainment and Jim Henson Enterprises were able to pull off for what was one of the most emotionally nostalgic, blissfully complex and once-in-a-lifetime festival performances maybe ever. The Muppet house band both effortlessly managed to pluck the heartstrings of multiple generations of fans while delivering the most conceptually beautiful “love letter” to the city of SF, blanketing the grounds in a sea of love and collective euphoria for a brief, yet unforgettable moment. -Molly Kish, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #19 - RÜFÜS DU SOL

19. RÜFÜS DU SOL

By the time RÜFÜS made their entrance, the excitement in the room was at a fever pitch. The crowd was ready to dance from the very first beat (thanks to the excellent warm-up from Kllo and Yuma X), and they did just that. Lead singer Tyrone Lindqvist took center stage with great energy and proceeded to do the customary water bottle toss shortly after. Lindqvist set the tone right from the get-go for a high-energy, high-audience-participation set. The crowd responded in kind by getting down much harder than expected for a Wednesday night. Notably, there were surprisingly very few phones out as most attendees put away their cameras to make the most of every song. The intimate setting of The Fillmore could almost have been mistaken for the polo grounds of Coachella, given how many girls-on-shoulders could be seen around the venue. -Geoff Hong, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #18 - Rudimental

18. Rudimental

Through Rudimental tracks like “Not Giving In”, “Free” and “Waiting All Night”, the most unique element of the group’s live production was their charisma. Simply put, they look like they’re having fun. These aren’t tortured artists or cathartic performers — Rudimental are a band that loves the music they make. Even the band’s drummer, Beanie, easily one of the hardest working rhythmists on tour right now, managed to keep a smile on his face, racing through Rudimental’s repertoire of songs that were anywhere from 145 to 160 BPMs. The septet’s de-facto leader, DJ Locksmith, was surprisingly more in the background than you would expect from a typical DnB hype man. As Rudimental wrapped up their set with their chart-topping hit “Feel the Love”, the crowd joined in as the song ended, creating a shared moment at The Fox that perfectly reflected the intention of Rudimental — to spread the love. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Marc Fong


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #17 - BØRNS

17. BØRNS

On this night, that proverbial phrase seemingly rang true. It wasn’t just that BØRNS most likely amassed the largest attendance in the history of the Twilight Concert Series, but also the fact that it was easily one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed at the Santa Monica Pier. One could certainly point to the opening of the Expo Line extension as a reason for the larger crowds so far this summer, which wasn’t all that noticeable during the series’ opening night with Mayer Hawthorne just the week prior, but that would simply be underestimating the exponential rise of Garrett Borns’ eponymous project. Since he relocated to Los Angeles in 2013 and signed with Interscope Records, the Michigan native has gone from supporting modest indie bands like MisterWives to selling out shows as a headliner in a matter of a year. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #16 - Flying Lotus

16. Flying Lotus

Brainfeeder founder, producer and unapologetic cultural mouthpiece Flying Lotus (born Steven Ellison) ended the night with a mildly controversial headlining set. Walking onstage and making what any FlyLo fan would recognize as an off-colored comment on the current presidential race may have proven too brazen for those not used to his brand. He let Captain Murphy out of the box a little early and road the wave of confusion into a heady, bass-driven assault on the conflicted crowd, providing the distinct audio punctuation point for the night’s bill of artists. Playing several tracks off of his 2014 LP You’re Dead! as well as various hits from high-profile hip-hop emcees like Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar that he has produced over the years, Ellison stunned us all with his double-screen, audio-visual stage setup and plenty of bone-rattling bass drops. -Molly Kish, photo by Marc Fong


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #15 - The Last Shadow Puppets

15. The Last Shadow Puppets

TLSP brought a strings section to their show, an added element that helped keep things fresh and new. The show began with the beautiful sounds of violins and cellos, but the moment TLSP got onstage, the whole floor at The Fillmore lit up in billows of smoke. I’m sure the band was stoned by the end of the show if it hadn’t been already, appearing beyond excited to be playing on a Sunday night in SF. Turner and Kane must have yelled out something about SF every few minutes and incorporated SF into some of their songs. They were so incredibly tight, and I felt their set in some ways was a bit better than what I had witnessed years ago — the mix and order of the songs felt more succinct at The Fillmore. -Rachel Goodman, photo by Diana Cordero


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #14 - Miike Snow

14. Miike Snow

Sunday’s roster at Coachella last year was significantly weaker in comparison to Friday’s and Saturday’s. This year was much of the same, though Calvin Harris somehow proved to be an even worse headliner than Drake (we didn’t know that was possible). But one of the bright spots on Day 3 was no doubt Miike Snow’s 9:45 p.m. slot in the Mojave Tent, the same place where I discovered the Swedish trio back in 2010 during my first Coachella. Andrew Wyatt, Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg have come a long way since then, and with three studio albums in their catalog, including their latest effort iii, they have more than enough material to fill out a 50-minute set and leave you wanting to hear more. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #13 - Young Thug

13. Young Thug

Fresh off releasing the latest — and final — installment of his Slime Season mixtape trilogy, Young Thug took his place on the stage. Arriving in a white blouse, multicolored sequined jacket, dark shades, a polka-dot head scarf and remarkably slim, golden pants, he aligned such a rangy and vibrant uniform with his performance. There wouldn’t be any towering LED lights, stunts or stage diving. However, Young Thug, who for the majority of his roughly hour-long set played the lone wolf, delighted the crowd with his animated and bright delivery while running through thundering Slime Season 3 favorites like “With Them”, “Digits” and “Slime Shit”. The audience, ranging from high school seniors to seasoned workers likely with mortgages, strikingly recited every uncanny, controversial lyric and Ric Flair-esque “Woo!” like they had been analyzing them for years. -Joseph Gray, photo by Joseph Gray


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #12 - Pretty Lights

12. Pretty Lights

Touring with a live band for the first time in 2013 — something that few other EDM artists have done to this day — he quickly changed the way electronic music can be experienced live. Fast forward to last Thursday, and we were once again treated to an electrifying Pretty Lights show that was more than just Smith behind a pair of Macbook Pros and two Akai MPD32s. Making his debut at the majestic Santa Barbara Bowl, he once again showed why he isn’t your typical EDM act. With Chris Karns and Big Wild providing support, Smith hit the stage at 8 p.m. with his bandmates — Karns, Borham Lee, Brandon Butler and Alvin Ford, Jr. — and put on a show that dazzled both sonically and visually. What was most impressive, though, was seeing how much of the performance was improvised, as the band transitioned from one jam to another while dropping in a number of remixes here and there. And as I looked on from my seat in the stands, I couldn’t help but think about how much the show reminded me of all the times I’ve seen STS9 perform live. It only seemed fitting considering that the livetronia band helped give Smith his start back in the day, and with the “EDM bubble” about to burst (that is, if it hasn’t already), it’s hopefully an approach more electronic artists will gravitate toward in the future. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #11 - Mac DeMarco

11. Mac DeMarco

The 26-year-old king of slacker rock, who over the past few years has become a fan favorite of many Bay Area audiophiles, never seems to hold back when he comes to town. His first night in SF last week saw him jump from The Indy’s balcony into an awaiting crowd (a feat that was later imitated by a female audience member at The Warfield the next night), run around half naked while playing new songs and perform a 25-minute cover of Eric Clapton’s 1971 hit single “Layla” with fart solos sprinkled throughout. -James Pawlish, photo by James Pawlish


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #10 - Moderat

10. Moderat

Easily the most anticipated set of the weekend from this spectator’s vantage point, Moderat hadn’t toured since dropping a pair of EPs in 2014. But with the release of its third full-length album, aptly titled III, the Berlin-based supergroup comprised of Apparat’s Sascha Ring and Modeselektor members Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary were primed to make their mark on the final day of LIB — and that they did. Beginning with “Ghostmother” off their latest LP, Moderat ran through a good chunk of new material, but nothing ignited the crowd more than their new single “Reminder”, which remains one of our favorite songs of the year so far. As we witnessed a few days earlier at The Fonda Theatre in LA, the group’s dark, minimalist stage setup with psychedelic flourishes paired nicely with Ring’s ethereal vocals. Of all the other performances throughout the weekend, Moderat’s 90-minute set undoubtedly stood as one of the brightest moments of LIB 2016. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #9 - Foals

9. Foals

Foals closed out their rambunctious set with a killer take on the title track “What Went Down” that brought lead singer/guitarist Yannis Philippakis diving into the crowd, giving fans one hell of a selfie and proving their rock credentials for good. After all, any band that can unite 20-something bros with 50-something grandparents gets a gold star in our book. Rock brings people together, and those who made it out to see this unicorn of a band won’t live to regret it. -Zach Bourque, photo by Steve Carlson


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #9 - Tame Impala

8. Tame Impala

As they opened with the dream-inducing interlude “Nangs” from their latest studio album Currents, Tame Impala gave the crowd an ample minute and a half to commit to the spatial surroundings before jumping full throttle into an explosive rendition of lead single “Let It Happen,” playing the tracks in reverse order than they are on the LP. By the third song (as promised), the sky, having just turned black, was filled with a stadium’s worth of rainbow confetti as the band played the opening chords of 2012’s psuedo love ballad “Mind Mischief”. Followed by a rare performance — only the second time in three years — of “Music to Walk Home By” from 2012’s Lonerism, Tame Impala played a wide range of emotive classics while scrambling the brains of more than 8,500 audience members with their intense onslaught of sensory-overloading imagery and hypnotic light show. -Molly Kish, photo by James Pawlish


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #7 - Jim James

7. Jim James

James is in rare company these days, amid a dying breed of guitar-rock gods like Jack White and Josh Homme who are not only capable of playing anything on six strings, but also on a myriad of instruments. And while Eternally Even feels in some ways like an opportunity for him to finally experiment more with keyboards, James made sure to remind his fans at the 90-year-old Orpheum Theatre last Friday that shredding is still a priority. Performing in his new hometown after officially moving to LA this year, he assumed the role of lead singer for much of the show as he and his bandmates from Twin Limb (also opening for James on this tour) played all of Eternally Even and half of Regions. But propped up by a stand onstage the whole time was James’ black Gibson axe, and you knew at some point during a two-hour set that he was going to unload some sick riffs like we have become accustomed to seeing from him at Jacket shows. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #6 - The National

6. The National

The real headline from The National’s performance was hands down the new material that was debuted, pretty much across their entire set, encore included. A rather standard opening of “Don’t Swallow the Cap” and “I Should Live in Salt” led into our first taste of the band’s upcoming LP in the form of “Checking Out”. Though many locals likely recognized this track from last year’s Treasure Island Music Festival (read our review here), it has tightened up over the past year and even begins to sound familiar as the Brooklyn-based five-piece begins to weave in more electronic, synth-like elements. -Kevin Quandt, photo by Steve Carlson


Coachella 2016 - Guns 'N Roses

5. Guns N’ Roses

There may have been no more talked-about act in Coachella’s 17-year history than Saturday’s headliner — and for good reason. Going back to 1993, it had been 23 years since Axl Rose and Slash last performed on the same stage together, and though some of that allure had worn off by the time they reached Indio thanks to a surprise show in LA and back-to-back nights in Las Vegas in prior weeks, Guns N’ Roses were still the talk of the town leading up to Coachella. In fact, all you had to do was look around on Saturday and see just how many GNR T-shirts were traversing the polo field before their 10:30 p.m. set. When it came time to deliver, the original trio of Axl, Slash and bassist Duff McKagan most certainly did, while rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus and drummer Frank Ferrer proved to be more than suitable fill-ins for Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler/Matt Sorum. Meanwhile, the surprise appearance by Angus Young couldn’t have come at a much better time after the announcement was made minutes before GNR’s set that Rose will be filling in for Brian Johnson on AC/DC’s remaining tour dates this year. GNR have always been one of my biggest bucket-list bands, and even if a broken leg prevented Axl from strutting and slithering across the stage like he once did as a brash, slender 21-year-old rock star, seeing one of my favorite childhood bands perform for two and a half hours felt all too surreal as I left the Empire Polo Club that night. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella


Coachella 2016 - Sia

4. Sia

From the very beginning, Sia set herself apart from every other artist who took the Coachella Stage this year. With the Australian artist standing in the back of the stage, her set was more performance art than it was pop music. While her face was hidden thanks to her trademark wig, Sia’s voice stood front and center as she belted out every note to hits like “Diamonds”, “Bird Set Free” and “Titanium”. Throughout it all, different dancers and actors would come on stage, abstractly embodying the themes her songwriting often conveys: fear, anticipation, stress, anger, joy, love and most of all, doubt. As Kristen Wiig and Paul Dano contributed to the overall performance, the height of Sia’s conceptual masterpiece reached its peak with a breathtaking rendition of “Breathe Me”, bringing some of the audience to tears. It was the true headliner of Sunday night and among the top performances of the entire weekend. -Brett Ruffenach, photo courtesy of Coachella


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #3 - Chance the Rapper

3. Chance the Rapper

In one of the few transcendent moments of the weekend, a set that had everyone throughout the fairgrounds hyped into an anticipatory frenzy, Chance the Rapper performed at the Lands End stage on Sunday afternoon for easily the largest crowd of the entire weekend. Even those who stood their ground through Third Eye Blind’s preceding set felt the drastic change in both crowd size and personal space as the Polo Fields flooded and temperatures rose. Even though Chance could have used this to his advantage and conducted an explosive show, igniting the tightly configured crowd into a combustive state, he instead took his fans “to church” with a spiritually centered gospel set, making sure everyone was attentive and of course, that “his part” resonated among the masses. -Molly Kish, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #2 - LCD Soundsystem

2. LCD Soundsystem

Over the last couple of years, it’s hard to think of a band I have wanted to see more than LCD Soundsystem. Deeply tied to my formative years in college, the Brooklyn outfit’s return after a five-year hiatus was nothing short of stunning. Opening with the undeniably groovy “Us vs. Them” and covering a good chunk of their catalog over almost two hours, LCD certainly met the expectations of an eager crowd. James Murphy kept the banter between songs fairly short, and these indie heavyweights demonstrated a true dedication to their craft, starting fast with songs like “Movements” and “Yeah” before moving to more deep, tightly wound rhythms on “Someone Great” and “Home”. Though “Losing My Edge” was written more than 10 years ago, Murphy’s part-improvised, part-proclamation, part-perfectly-delivered rendition of the track seemed to really capture the attention of more casual LCD fans. Nearing the end of its set, the band covered “Heroes” by late collaborator David Bowie. I have seen many concerts as well as attended many festivals in my life, but this was truly among the most beautiful moments in live music I have ever experienced. Wrapping up their headlining performance with “All My Friends”, LCD Soundsystem proved to be among the top artists to ever grace the festival’s main stage. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #1 - Anderson .Paak

1. Anderson .Paak

I’m going to be completely honest: I went to SXSW this year to see .Paak because I knew once he played it, tickets to his shows would be impossible to get. Six months later, $30 tickets to his show in San Francisco at The Fillmore resold for upwards of $400. If you didn’t have another way to get into that show or rent to pay, it was worth it. The energy that comes out of .Paak while he’s performing is charming, infectious and unmatched. He splits his time roaming every inch of the stage and behind his drum set, often singing and rapping without missing a beat. At .Paak’s December show at the Hollywood Palladium in LA, Stevie Wonder came out not to sing, but to tell the crowd what a big fan he is. So basically, Stevie Wonder dropped by. OK, Anderson … we see you. -Rochelle Shipman, photo by Norm de Veyra

Outside Lands 2016

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

Dirtybird BBQ bumps the bass on Treasure Island

Dirtybird BBQ 2016Photos by Lisette Worster // Written by EJ Bernardo //

Dirtybird BBQ //
Treasure Island – San Francisco
August 13th, 2016 //

It was that time of the year again last weekend as BBQ season was in full effect on Treasure Island — and it definitely got dirty.

A tradition for SF’s native DJ’s since 2002, the Dirtybird BBQ never fails to deliver. Venturing to the east side of the island where the event was being held proved to be quite a trek for those who drove, as only Lyft and Uber drivers were allowed to drop off passengers directly in front. With this venue well-known for hosting the annual Treasure Island Music Festival, it was a bit of a homecoming of sorts for the legendary BBQ party.

The crowd, meanwhile, was diverse to say the least. A crowd full of weirdos. A crowd full of ratchets. A crowd full of hungry mouths and hungry ears. And everyone ate it up!

Slaying on the decks was a cast of Dirtybird All-Stars that included Ardalan, Worthy, Christian Martin, J.Phlip, Claude VonStroke and lastly Justin Martin, who closed out the festivities with hot fire. With no disrespect to the prior performances, the bass really got the crowd bumping during J.Phlip’s set. Some may recall people getting down so low that people were literally on the ground wiggling to the beat. A man was also seen earlier in the day patiently dancing with a large birthday cake that he was ready throw in the air as soon as VonStroke’s track “Make a Cake” came through the speakers. It was a memorable thing to do to get others as dirty as the tunes that were being dropped onstage.

Dirtybird BBQ 2016 - Claude VonStroke


Claude VonStroke

As Justin Martin finished up a day full of music, the sun slowly faded in and out behind the evening fog. The Dirtybird co-founder’s signature style, which mixes trap beats with more traditional house music, brought the crowd closer together for warmth as well as an epic dance experience.

Being that this was the second year attendees couldn’t bring their own coolers filled with booze into the venue, there were plenty of food and beverage options to satisfy the masses. And though the lines may have been a bit long as expected, they were organized enough to keep things moving along at a decent pace. Plus, the ability to socialize with strangers was something one may not get the chance to do as easily at a club or concert. Whether you were waiting for the ever-crowded porta potties or hitting the jam-packed dance floor, the Dirtybird BBQ once again brought friends and family together.

Along with the familiar sounds from the Dirtybird crew, this year’s BBQ took on the theme of a county fair with old-fashioned activities that included ring tosses, balloon tossing and various opportunities to score a blue ribbon. As many did their best to occupy their inner child for the day, the continuous bump of the bass kept the crowd’s energy level high.

On the whole, the party consisted of reuniting with familiar faces, connecting with new souls, booty shaking to bass music, cake dodging, reminiscing with Jesus Christ in the flesh and the constant search for the lost pink-haired princess named Olive.

HARD Summer reveals new location, lineup for 2016

HARD Summer 2016 lineup

HARD Summer Music Festival //
Auto Club Speedway – Fontana, CA
July 30th-31st, 2016 //

After moving out of Los Angeles and changing locations the past two years, HARD Summer Music Festival has found a new home for 2016.

The two-day, electronic-focused music festival, which occupied LA State Historic Park for four years starting in 2010, spent 2014 at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in South El Monte and 2015 at the Fairplex in Pomona. Now, HARD founder and CEO Gary Richards’ annual event is headed farther east this year with NASCAR race track Auto Club Speedway playing host a la Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Much like last year’s lineup, which saw the fest move away from strictly EDM acts with The Weeknd serving as a headliner, this year’s bill welcomes several major hip-hop acts like Ice Cube, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Travis Scott, Ty Dolla $ign and Desiigner amid electronic heavyweights like Major Lazer, Flosstradamus, Dillon Francis, Zeds Dead, Porter Robinson, Claude VonStroke, Madeon, Baauer and Boys Noize. Other noteworthy acts set to perform include Vancouver live electronica duo Bob Moses and British synthpop/R&B outfit AlunaGeorge, both of whom we caught at Coachella less than two weeks ago. We also can’t help but laugh at seeing Fat Joe sandwiched in between Green Velvet and Brodinski on the festival’s hot pink poster.

UPDATE: Colorado electronic producer Pretty Lights has been added to Saturday’s lineup, marking just the second HARD appearance for Derek Vincent Smith. Earlier this month, the Fort Collins native released new music for the first time in nearly three years, sharing “Only Yesterday” in conjunction with a new music video that features footage from last summer’s two-night run in Telluride, Colo., where Smith will return this August for two more shows. HARD organizers announced the news on Thursday night, just two days after releasing its initial artist lineup.

For the first time in HARD Summer’s history, camping will be permitted to allow for easy ins and outs of the festival grounds, which span more than 500 acres this year. Two-day passes to the 18-and-over event can be purchased here for $129 starting this Friday, April 29th at 9 a.m. PT, and additionally, single-day tickets will be available for $79.

CRSSD kicks off festival season on the West Coast

CRSSD Festival 2016Photos by Felicia Garcia, Skyler Greene, Glenn Silva & Gabe Tiano // Written by Josh Herwitt //

CRSSD Festival //
Waterfront Park – San Diego
March 5th-6th, 2016 //

This past weekend officially signaled the beginning of festival season as several major music festivals across the country hit the ground running, including both Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival and AURA Music Festival in Florida.

Out here on the West Coast, CRSSD Festival returned to San Diego’s picturesque Waterfront Park, serving as the perfect warm-up for Coachella with the renowned desert festival only six weeks away. CRSSD, which was started by Southern California promoters FNGRS CRSSD and Goldenvoice last March, originally presented itself as an indie-electronic music festival with Empire of the Sun and Chromeo leading the way as headliners (read our review here). But last October for its second edition, CRSSD turned its attention toward more rock-centric acts like The Flaming Lips and TV on the Radio for top billing while targeting a number of electropop bands, including St. Lucia, AlunaGeorge and Big Data, to also play over two days.

Boasting a more electronic-focused lineup this spring, CRSSD welcomed back Seattle duo ODESZA, who climbed to headliner status in leading a Saturday bill that featured sets from Cirez D (aka Eric Prydz), Gesaffelstein, John Hopkins, Ryan Hemsworth, Ben UFO, Poolside and Damian Lazarus. While 2016 marked the second straight year that Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight performed on the festival’s main stage, Sunday’s card saw two sets (DJ and live) from North London garage duo Gorgon City as well as the CRSSD debuts of Claude Von Stroke, Hi-Lo, Tycho and headliner Chet Faker. After returning to its indie-electronic roots for this latest installment, it will be interesting to see if CRSSD continues down the same path it’s on after two sold-out days or once again tries to bring more rock-based bands into the fold.

CRSSD shares second phase of Spring 2016 lineup

CRSSD Festival Spring 2016 lineup

CRSSD Festival //
Waterfront Park – San Diego
March 5th-6th, 2016 //

After releasing the first phase of its 2016 lineup in late December, CRSSD Festival in San Diego has added the remaining artists to the bill.

Among the new artist additions for CRSSD are Swedish DJ/producer Eric Prydz (aka Cirez D, one of his two stage names that the festival refers to him as), English electronic music duo Bondax, London-based house/techno DJ Damian Lazarus, English producer/musician Jon Hopkins, Swiss techno/house duo Adriatique, Canadian DJ/producer Ryan Hemsworth and Los Angeles “Daytime Disco” duo Poolside. Other acts named as part of the festival’s Phase II lineup include Tom Trago, Lane 8, Walker & Royce, Kidnap Kid and REZZ.

CRSSD Festival 2016 - Phase II lineup

CRSSD made a big splash in its debut last spring and followed it up with another go-around this past October. Now, it will return to Waterfront Park this March for its third edition with a lineup that leans even more heavily toward electronic music than before.

Check out the poster above for the entire Phase II lineup. The 21-and-over event has GA tickets available here for $135 before increasing to $145 and then $155.

CRSSD shares first phase of Spring 2016 lineup

CRSSD Festival Spring 2016

CRSSD Festival //
Waterfront Park – San Diego
March 5th-6th, 2016 //

CRSSD Festival in San Diego made a big splash in its debut last spring and followed it up with another go-around at Waterfront Park this past October.

Now, the two-day, electronic-leaning music festival put on by promoters Goldenvoice and FNGRS CRSSD will return this March for its third edition after announcing its initial lineup, which includes ODESZA and Chet Faker as headliners along with Gorgon City (Live and DJ set), Tycho, Gesaffelstein (DJ set), Hi-Lo, Jamie Jones, Claude VonStroke and many more.

CRSSD Festival - Spring 2016 lineup

Check out the poster above for the rest of the lineup. The 21-and-over event has advanced tickets available here for $125 before increasing to $135 during the general sale.