Our favorite performances from 2018

Best live shows of 2018 - Foo Fighters, NxWorries, Pusha T & Courtney Barnett

Holy smokes, 2018 … you were a blur. Maybe it’s just us, but this year really did fly right by.

Before we officially say hello to 2019 though, it’s time for us to revisit the past 12 months at Showbams. Every year we have the great privilege of witnessing some amazing moments in live music, and this year was no different. While we can’t touch upon every performance we covered in looking back at the year that was, we still managed to see a wide variety of talent over the course of 2018.

Whittling down our list is never 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), all of whom we either covered at their own show and/or at a music festival this year:

Aaron Neville, A.CHAL, Alanis Morissette, Alina Baraz, Allen Stone, Amen Dunes, Aminé, A Perfect Circle, Ari Lennox, A$AP Rocky, Aquilo, BADBADNOTGOOD, The Bangles, Belle & Sebastian, The Beta Machine, Billie Eilish, BØRNS, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cashmere Cat, Childish Major, Chromeo, CHVRCHES, Cigarettes After Sex, Cloud Nothings, Cuco, Cut Snake, CyHi the Prynce, Daniel Caesar, Deap Vally, Destroyer, Diet Cig, Drab Majesty, DRAM, The Dustbowl Revival, Erykah Badu, Fantastic Negrito, Future, Garbage, George Fitzgerald, Gomez, Gov’t Mule, Great Grandpa, Griz, The Growlers, Gucci Mane, HAERTS, H.E.R., Hot Flash Heat Wave, Ibeyi, Iggy Pop, Irma Thomas, Isaiah Rashad, Jaira Burns, Jamie xx, Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, Jhené Aiko, John Maus, Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band, Joywave, JPEGMAFIA, Jungle, Kailee Morgue, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Kamasi Washington, Kauf, Kelela, Kikagaku Moyo, Kings of Leon, Kopps, Laff Trax, Lion Babe, Lizzo, Lophile, Lord Huron, Los Lobos, Lucy Dacus, Margo Price, Miguel, Mija, Milk Carton Kids, ModPods, Moses Sumney, The Mother Hips, Mura Masa, Neil Young, N.E.R.D, North Mississippi Allstars, ODESZA, Pale Waves, Paula Frazer and Tarnation, Phantogram, Pharoah Sanders, Pixies, Polo & Pan, POND, Portugal. The Man, The Pretenders, Quicksand, Ravyn Lenae, Rivers Cuomo, The Revolution, Robert Plant, Rory Phillips, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Sabrina Claudio, Salt-N-Pepa, Santigold, Sasha Sloan, Seu Jorge, Shakey Graves, Shame, Shana Falana, Sharon Van Etten, Silk City, Sleigh Bells, Snoh Aalegra, Soccer Mommy, The Specials, The Spook School, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Tame Impala, Tenacious D, Third Eye Blind, Tinashe, together PANGEA, TV on the Radio, Tycho, Typhoon, Uniform, Wafia, Waxahatchee, The Weeknd, Wet, William Tyler, Will Varley, Yen Yen, Zedd

Now, it’s time for The Bam Team to present our favorite performances from 2018.

The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2018

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2018:


Best of 2018 - Cut Copy

Cut Copy

Date: March 3rd
Location: Exposition Park – Los Angeles

For those in LA who missed Cut Copy 10 months ago when they visited the Shrine Expo Hall with De Lux, Palmbomen II and Cooper Saver also on the bill, their headlining performance last Friday at The Wiltern was another chance to dance the night away upon hearing several classics such as “Need You Now”, “Free Your Mind”, “Future”, “Hearts on Fire” and to close, “Lights & Music”. In fact, the last time that we caught them back in March, a mini downpour erupted at Shaun White’s Air + Style (read our festival review here), but it didn’t phase them. Who said playing — and dancing — in the rain isn’t fun anyway? -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Air + Style


Best of 2018 - Washed Out

Washed Out

Date: March 4th
Location: Exposition Park – Los Angeles

In what was easily the most visually stimulating (and pleasing) show we witnessed at Expo Park, Ernest Greene, who performs under the moniker Washed Out, entranced a completely packed crowd at the smaller Summer Stage with a slew of trippy visuals and his chilled-out tunes. We had been wanting to see Washed Out in SoCal for several months now, ever since Greene released the project’s third LP Mister Mellow last year, and after missing his gig with Nick Murphy at the Shrine Expo Hall in October, we were glad to finally hear him play “Hard to Say Goodbye” (one of our favorite songs of 2017) and “Feel It All Around” live as any loyal “Portlandia” fan would be. With Toro y Moi venturing away from the chillwave movement he helped pioneer, it’s up to Greene to lead the charge, and so far, he has done one hell of a job. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Air + Style


Best of 2018 - Phoenix

Phoenix

Date: March 4th
Location: Exposition Park – Los Angeles

After what we thought was an underwhelming way to wrap up Day 1, Air + Style closed with a bang thanks to Phoenix’s energizing, 16-song set. The French indie-pop outfit have headlined Coachella before, and it was more than worthy of that billing for this occasion. Kicking things off with the opening track “J-Boy” from their sixth studio album Ti Amo that dropped back in June, Thomas Mars and company gave us exactly what we wanted to hear: a hit-ladden show featuring singles like “Lisztomania”, “Trying to Be Cool”, “Too Young” and “1901”. No, there wasn’t a Daft Punk or R. Kelly appearance — not that we expected one — but Phoenix put an exclamation point on an otherwise successful weekend. We may not have known the quartet could rock that hard after the last time we saw them, but we definitely do now. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Air + Style


Best of 2018 - Moby

Moby

Date: March 26th
Location: Apogee Studio – Santa Monica, CA

His guitar playing, meanwhile, may be just as impressive, if not surprising to some. Less than two weeks before Moby stepped into Bob Clearmountain’s diminutive recording studio, I was fortunate enough to catch him the final of his three shows at The Echo, and it was there as he performed a variety of songs from Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt, Play and a few other albums, that I fully realized just how talented he is with a black Gibson SG in his hands. He may be an electronic musician, but unlike a lot of them today, Moby is a musician in every sense of the word. While his vocals at times sound more like spoken word than actual singing, he has found more than capable sidekicks in Julie Mintz (keyboards, vocals) and Mindy Jones (vocals) to assist him in that department. Jones’ ranging voice, in particular, is one that suits his music well, and when you hear her sing, her pipes elevate the song to a whole new level. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Brian Feinzimer


Best of 2018 - The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs

Date: April 13th
Location: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA

Weeks before The War on Drugs released their fourth LP A Deeper Understanding last year, we were fortunate enough to hear Adam Granduciel and company perform a handful of cuts from the new album in an intimate setting for KCRW. It was then and there that we knew the follow-up to 2014’s Lost in a Dream was another masterpiece, and that impression was only validated when A Deeper Understanding won the Grammy for “Best Rock Album” just a few months ago. On Day 1 of Coachella, the Philadelphia band brought some of those same songs we witnessed at Apogee Studio to life, though sadly, this time “Holding On” wasn’t part of the setlist. But we did get to experience “An Ocean in Between the Waves” in all of its glory, and we still have yet to come across another piece of music in more recent years that will make you want to play air guitar as much as the seven-minute track from Lost in a Dream does. Who said rock was dead? -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Goldenvoice


Best of 2018 - Jamiroquai

Jamiroquai

Date: April 13th
Location: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA

Thirteen years. That’s how long it has been since Jamiroquai last performed in the U.S. With that in mind, there was no way we were going to miss Jay Kay and the rest of his sidekicks in favor of The Weeknd’s headlining performance (sorry, Abel), and after what ended up being close to a 90-minute set from the London nu-funk/acid jazz group, we had no regrets about our decision. The only regret we have is that they ran out of time and didn’t get to play their smash hit “Virtual Insanity” in its entirety, and you could tell Jay Kay felt bad about it as he jumped down from the stage to greet some overjoyed fans after wrapping the show up with “Love Foolosophy” from 2001’s A Funk Odyssey. But while Weekend 2 attendees got the full version of the Travelling Without Moving single, we were treated to a massive surprise when Snoop Dogg came out to rap on “Dr. Buzz” with a huge blunt in his hand. It was the kind of collaboration you never expect to see, except at Coachella of all places. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella


Best of 2018 - Eminem

Eminem

Date: April 15th
Location: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Weekend 1 – Indio, CA

While we can’t say that we were completely thrilled with Goldenvoice’s choices for this year’s headliners, we were excited to see Eminem finally play Coachella (he had never performed in an official capacity before) and close out the festival on Sunday night. Sure, his newest album Revival didn’t exactly receive rave reviews from critics when it dropped at the end of 2017, but watching one of hip-hop’s most talented emcees run through his hits all while bringing out 50 Cent and Dr. Dre was undoubtedly THE highlight from Day 3. For this “stan,” just crossing Em off my concert bucket list would have been enough to send me home with a smile. Fortunately for those of us who were there though, the real Slim Shady lived up to the hype and more. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Coachella


Best of 2018 - Big K.R.I.T.

Big K.R.I.T.

Date: April 19th
Location: Echoplex – Los Angeles

At Echoplex, we were treated to the “rapper” and the man himself as bass-heavy party starters like the title-track opener and “Confetti” from 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time got everyone hyped, while Atlanta’s T.I. came out to perform his verse on “Big Bank”. After singling out one excited fan, who was wearing a shirt with a giant picture of his face, during the easygoing “1999” and paying homage to Southern rap pioneers UGK, Big K.R.I.T. took the latter half of his hour-long set to connect with the crowd. -Joseph Gray, photo by Joseph Gray


Best of 2018 - Soulwax

Soulwax

Date: April 19th
Location: The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles

While Soulwax’s recorded music has always been perfectly enjoyable, in person it becomes something else entirely. Their new, three-drummer lineup was the ideal format to hear new tracks like “Is It Always Binary” while giving older tracks such as “KracK” a newly textured and complex sound. Sitting stage right, drummer Victoria Smith, for one, offered the group some serious personality thanks to her animated facial expressions. -Zach Bourque, photo by Zach Bourque


Best of 2018 - NxWorries

NxWorries

Date: June 16th
Location: The Queen Mary – Long Beach, CA

I fall somewhere in the middle between those two age groups, so it was fitting that the uber-talented rapper/singer/drummer Anderson .Paak had just walked onto the “Free Your Mind” main stage when I showed up. .Paak, 32, wore a smile as expressive as his music, packaged with a bright nautical-themed ensemble. He effortlessly impressed with standouts “Suede”, “Another Time” and “What More Can I Say” off Yes Lawd!, his 2016 LP with Los Angeles hip-hop producer Knxwledge as part of their collaborative project NxWorries (pronounced “No Worries”). The duo’s set would eventually culminate in a playful dance-off between women, which fans showed their appreciation for before .Paak and Knxwledge said their goodbyes. -Joseph Gray, photo by Joseph Gray


Best of 2018 - The Roots

The Roots

Date: June 16th
Location: The Queen Mary – Long Beach, CA

However, anticipation for The Roots kept me at the main stage. It proved to be a wise decision, as their nearly hour-long performance reminded me why the Grammy-winning band is still so revered after more than three decades. Black Thought got the crowd riled up with a 10-minute barrage of lyrical proficiency that so many have come to know as his “Hot 97 Freestyle” after it hit the internet in December and quickly went viral, while his bandmates exuberantly jumped with sousaphones and guitars during “You Got Me” and a number of other hits. But providing a jolt like he only can, the one and only Busta Rhymes showed up for a quick-but-memorable performance of “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” and “Pass the Courvoisier, Part II”. -Joseph Gray, photo by Joseph Gray


Best of 2018 - Melvins

Melvins

Date: July 16th
Location: Great American Music Hall – San Francisco

I’m far from an expert on this kind of thing (because I’m not), but I didn’t expect to see the Melvins perform with the amount of energy that they showcased. For a band that has been touring and putting out new material for the past 35 years, they performed as if everything depended on it. You weren’t going to catch “King Buzzo” standing in one place for too long, with his signature fro whipping in the wind from the fans that were on the stage, McDonald and Pinkus holding it down on their own instruments, and Crover beating the living hell out of his drums. Fans were ready to receive the band and responded to the various sonic blasts coming from the amplifiers. During the thrashy songs, they formed a brutal pit, and during the sludgier songs, they lit up joints and bobbed their heads to the music. -Andrew Pohl, photo by Mike Rosati


Best of 2018 - Glassjaw

Glassjaw

Date: July 20th
Location: Observatory OC – Santa Ana, CA

Glassjaw’s show covered their entire discography, and very few fan favorites were left off the setlist. While it was to be expected that newer tunes like “Shira” and “New White Extremity” would rock, it was staggering how well their older songs held up in a live setting. Palumbo’s voice, though slightly less manic than it once was, is still unmatched in its vocal range and shear intensity. -Zach Bourque, photo by Zach Bourque


Best of 2018 - Weezer

Weezer

Date: August 8th
Location: The Forum – Inglewood, CA

That’s not to say that Cuomo isn’t a talented musician. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The Harvard grad shreds without question, something I never really realized until he uncorked a number of guitar solos, whether it was during “Buddy Holly” to open Weezer’s performance or “Say It Ain’t So” (with a snippet of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”) to put a bow on the show. And while there aren’t many lead singers who can do both, Cuomo certainly remains among some elite company, with Jack White, Trey Anastasio (Phish), Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) also immediately coming to mind. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2018 - Florence + the Machine

Florence + the Machine

Date: August 11th
Location: Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

There was a bit of controversy surrounding Saturday’s main slot as Florence + the Machine officially made the move to full-blown festival headliner. Some festivalgoers had their own doubts after FYF Fest 2018 was canceled with a near-identical top billing, but Florence and her bandmates proved, many times over, that she is more than capable of commanding any stage as her energy is unlike many others. She debuted a brand-new show, which featured “June” in the opening slot and was book-ended by “Big God” and “Shake It Out” for a two-song encore. -Kevin Quandt, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best of 2018 - Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe

Date: August 12th
Location: Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

The incomparable Janelle Monáe was a tad late to take the stage, as she was fighting off a stomach bug, but when she did, she captivated the masses with a suite of tracks from her most recent release Dirty Computer and tossed in a fair amount of costume changes over a nearly hour-long set. Monáe proved that she’s easily one of the best in the business at the moment and will only continue to climb upwards. -Kevin Quandt, photo by Norm de Veyra


Best of 2018 - Deafheaven

Deafheaven

Date: August 18th
Location: The Wiltern – Los Angeles

Fortunately, Deafheaven haven’t bowed to convention or criticism. Their fourth studio album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, which ANTI‐ released last month, is their arguably their most experimental to date, spanning more than an hour over seven songs. There’s a sense of angst and nostalgia in the music that leans far more positive and hopeful than their previous work. There are still echoes of black metal at times, but you can feel this is a band that’s embracing its differences instead of defending them. -Zach Bourque, photo by Zach Bourque


Best of 2018 - Jack White

Jack White

Date: August 19th
Location: Santa Barbara Bowl – Santa Barbara, CA

Yet, for as eclectic and wide-ranging as White’s output has been over two decades, it’s the unpredictable nature of his live shows that makes them so intriguing to see. This time, we were treated to a rare cover of The Stooges’ “T.V. Eye” from their 1970 album Fun House, as well as a number of fan favorites, from set closer “Ball and Biscuit” to an eight-song encore that featured “Icky Thump” (with some amusing “Icky Trump” messaging), “Steady, as She Goes” (with a snippet of Richard Berry’s 1955 song “Louie Louie”), and of course, what has easily become the biggest stadium anthem in the world, “Seven Nation Army”. And though the show didn’t conclude without a few hiccups during some of White’s improvised playing between songs, he hasn’t lost his unique ability to surprise an audience — whether it means bringing out his mother in Detroit to perform “Hotel Yorba” with him or covering Pearl Jam’s “Daughter” in Seattle — at any given moment, especially when we all aren’t staring down at our phones. -Josh Herwitt, photo courtesy of Jack White


Best of 2018 - David Byrne

David Byrne

Date: August 22nd
Location: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – San Francisco

As the show progressed into his songs “Here” and “Lazy”, Byrne’s band joined him onstage. The light changed and filled in the stage, giving the audience a happier tone and providing a seamless transition into a Talking Heads interlude. Then, later on during “Blind”, one of the more stunning visual elements was made possible by a simple lamp that was placed in front of the band, casting whirling shadows on the strands of beads hanging behind them. -Tim O’Shea, photo by Tim O’Shea


Best of 2018 - The National

The National

Date: September 20th
Location: Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles

Right before that final aforementioned single, they brought out Phoebe Bridgers to help them perform “Sorrow” from 2010’s High Violet, as Berninger and the 24-year-old singer-songwriter, who said during her brief opening set that The National were her favorite band, traded vocals on the tune they once played 105 times in a row, with the performance at an art installation in New York lasting all of six hours. We weren’t quite as fortunate to get that kind of show in LA, as The National opted for one of their more traditional, two-hour events. But whether you’ve been a fan from the start or one like myself who arrived rather late to the party, The National continue to make some of the most compelling music in rock, expanding their fan base with each and every album they release. That’s the sign of any good band these days, and though there’s only a handful of others that could even say the same right now, The National should take comfort in knowing they’re one of those select few. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2018 - Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear

Date: September 23rd
Location: Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles

Similarly, the gig also marked one of Grizzly Bear’s last performances in support of their fifth LP Painted Ruins, which they released last year on RCA Records, and having already played a two-night run at The Wiltern back in December, this was more of a victory lap than a coming-out party. Unfortunately for us, the five-piece had to cut things short due to the venue’s strict Sunday night curfew, ending on a rather sudden note. That’s just part of the deal at the Bowl, though. For those of us who have to work on Monday morning, it’s actually more of a blessing in disguise than a disservice to the overall concert experience as we’ve come to realize. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2018 - Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett

Date: October 5th
Location: Greek Theatre – Los Angeles

When she wasn’t sharing the spotlight with Waxahatchee, Barnett was sharing it equally with the rest of her stellar backing band, but it was mostly just difficult to take your eyes off of her. Everything she does feels casual, from her outfit to her guitar playing, slinging her instrument around like it was an extension of herself. Even her delivery of the wrenching reality that the 30-year-old Australian singer-songwriter articulates so well is casual, singing like the end of the world isn’t a mere 22 years away. -Rochelle Shipman, photo by Rochelle Shipman


Best of 2018 - Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet

Date: October 6th
Location: Glen Helen Regional Park & Festival Grounds – San Bernardino, CA

By the time we got through security and stepped inside the gates, Manchester Orchestra had just finished their 45-minute set on the main stage, which essentially was the 65,000-person Glen Helen Amphitheater that was constructed back in 1982 for the first US Festival. Next up was Greta Van Fleet, and boy, do these kids know how to rock. Zeppelin clearly runs deep in these four Michiganders’ veins, as they showcased songs off their forthcoming debut album Anthem of the Peaceful Army with frontman Josh Kiszka commanding the stage and offering his best Robert Plant impression. He even dresses the part, sporting some tight, white jeans with a water-colored blouse and necklace of feathers while his brothers Jake and Sam wore vests or shirts that looked like what you would find at a vintage clothing store. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2018 - Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters

Date: October 6th
Location: Glen Helen Regional Park & Festival Grounds – San Bernardino, CA

As the Foos left the stage for their encore break, we waited patiently for them to return. The crowd, by now, had been taken for a two-hour ride with Grohl firmly at the wheel, pumping adrenaline into our veins with every minute that passed as the Foo Fighters know how to do so well during their usual two-and-a-half-hour jaunts. The video screens on each side of the stage were black until suddenly some backstage footage appeared showing Grohl with Krist Novoselic and what looked like Joan Jett. All of that would end up coming true in the last 30 minutes of Cal Jam 18, but it was a six-song encore with Grohl on drums, Novoselic on bass, the Foo Fighters’ Pat Smear on guitar and Deer Tick frontman John McAuley on both vocals and guitar as Kurt Cobain’s fill-in who got us hyped. Nirvana fans have waited 25 years for a reunion since Cobain’s sudden passing, and when you put it in perspective, it will probably go down as one of the year’s biggest surprises, even at a time in music when many industry experts say that rock now stands in the shadows of hip-hop and EDM. -Josh Herwitt, photo by Josh Herwitt


Best of 2018 - Pusha T

Pusha T

Date: October 13th
Location: Middle Harbor Shoreline Park – Oakland

But U.S. Girls were the highlight of the weekend for us. A nine-piece experimental pop act, they put on a stunning 45-minute set that culminated in an entrancing rendition of “Time”, the closing track on their critically acclaimed studio effort In a Poem Unlimited, that lasted more than 10 minutes. The energy, instrumentation and vocal capabilities were absolutely stunning. Easily one of this year’s most exciting new acts, and we can’t wait to catch them again soon. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Brendan Mansfield


Best of 2018 - U.S. Girls

U.S. Girls

Date: October 14th
Location: Middle Harbor Shoreline Park – Oakland

But U.S. Girls were the highlight of the weekend for us. A nine-piece experimental pop act, they put on a stunning 45-minute set that culminated in an entrancing rendition of “Time”, the closing track on their critically acclaimed studio effort In a Poem Unlimited, that lasted more than 10 minutes. The energy, instrumentation and vocal capabilities were absolutely stunning. Easily one of this year’s most exciting new acts, and we can’t wait to catch them again soon. -Brett Ruffenach, photo by Josh Withers


Best of 2018 - Daniel Caesar

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Deafheaven continue their evolution at The Wiltern

DeafheavenBy Zach Bourque //

Deafheaven with Drab Majesty, Uniform //
The Wiltern – Los Angeles
August 18th, 2018 //

Bay Area black metal genre benders Deafheaven stopped through The Wiltern last Saturday in support of their latest album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. Echoing the band’s newly evolved sound were two unique openers that each brought something fresh to the table.

New York industrial-punk duo Uniform took the stage first, with the band’s striking logo of a crucifix intersected by a sickle serving as its backdrop. If that’s not “goth,” then I don’t know what is. The two-piece act composed of guitarist Ben Greenberg and vocalist Michael Berden belted out fast, energetic punk with an industrial twist. Adding to the overall experience was a live drummer who did his best imitation of a drum machine. What a time to be alive. While the venue was still mostly empty at this point in the night, Uniform undoubtedly made their mark on everyone in attendance with a startling sound that left a mark — even if it wasn’t to everyone’s liking.

Drab Majesty couldn’t have been more of a tone shift from the aggression of Uniform. Donning white face paint and platinum blonde wigs, the LA duo made up by Deb Demure and Mona D filled The Wiltern with a dense, 80’s-inspired new wave sound that remained dark and gothic. Drab Majesty were shrouded by giant flumes of fog throughout most of their set, which fueled an already dream-like atmosphere that felt at once out of place and right at home opening for Deafheaven. Slower tracks like “39 By Design” off their 2017 sophomore LP The Demonstration sounded particularly incredible live with The Wiltern’s high ceiling.

Uniform


Uniform

Few bands have evolved with the confidence of Deafheaven. What began as a twosome consisting of vocalist George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy has grown into a nearly undefinable force in heavy music that has gained popularity and notoriety worldwide. Deafheaven’s second album Sunbather in 2013 made many throughout the black metal community blush with its trademark bright pink cover art and quite a few unorthodox elements sonically, including post-rock ambience and emotional lyricism.

Fortunately, Deafheaven haven’t bowed to convention or criticism. Their fourth studio album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, which ANTI‐ released last month, is their arguably their most experimental to date, spanning more than an hour over seven songs. There’s a sense of angst and nostalgia in the music that leans far more positive and hopeful than their previous work. There are still echoes of black metal at times, but you can feel this is a band that’s embracing its differences instead of defending them.

Seeing Deafheaven live reinforces that notion. While vocalist George Clarke still dresses the part in all black with black gloves, sunflowers were placed carefully all across the stage and home movies played in the background. Clarke himself appeared liberated onstage as he ran around and banged his head with a newfound energy in sharp contrast to his rigid and stoic look from years past.

Drab Majesty


Drab Majesty

A headlining show at The Wiltern is nothing to sneeze at, and this particular one most likely marked Deafheaven’s biggest LA show to date. Fortunately, the venue’s early vacancies were filled by the time Deafheaven stepped onstage. The fans were just as eclectic as the opening acts, with a mixed crowd ranging from goths to hipsters and everyone in between.

Furthermore, it’s hard to call an eight-song setlist short when each song is nearly 10 minutes long. Fortunately, Deafheaven spread the love evenly across their catalog on this night before the quintet capped things off with a monster encore that concluded with fan favorite “Dream House” off Sunbather.

Few artists or bands could pull together to create such a unique lineup like this one, and it was refreshing to see a metal outfit such as Deafheaven take a chance on Drab Majesty and Uniform. It was a gig that had something for everyone, one that stood as a metaphor for the band’s evolution and the scope of its fan base. With an upcoming show at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown on October 19th, Deafheaven won’t be making their Southern California fans wait too much longer for another taste.

DEAFHEAVEN

Setlist:
Honeycomb
Canary Yellow
Sunbather
Brought to the Water
Worthless Animal

Encore:
You Without End
From the Kettle Onto the Coil
Dream House

DRAB MAJESTY

Setlist:
Induction
Dot in the Sky
39 by Design
Kissing the Ground
Not Just a Name
Too Soon to Tell
Cold Souls

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

Noise Pop 2017: Our top moments from the festival

Noise Pop 2017 - Temples


Temples

Photos by Norm de Veyra, James Pawlish, Kory Thibeault, Laura Tsu, Lisette Worster, Geoff Hong, Karen Goldman, Sarah Felker, Christopher Vigue & Jacqueline Moore //

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

Over the last 25 years, Noise Pop has gone from being the axis of arts and entertainment in the Bay Area to an iconic celebration of independent culture worldwide. Expanding each year to include a film program, photography retrospectives and live podcasts, the festival continued to cover more new ground this year with the introduction of a day-long event that featured a yoga program, dramatic readings, live performances and a record fair.

Spanning 11 days, Noise Pop 25 drew record crowds, selling out shows and festival badges faster than ever before with several intimate, one-off performances that gave its headliners carte blanche to demo their impending festival sets for this spring and summer. Noise Pop kept the lineup eclectic and fans on their toes; we never truly knew what to expect from the 2017 roster of talent.

In a matter of almost two weeks, The Bam Team frequented many Bay Area venues to catch a number of Noise Pop performances. Find out below which were our favorites, and make sure to tell us which ones were yours in the comments section.


Noise Pop 2017 - Dawes

Dawes

One of the first things Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith said when he came out onstage was, “We’re trying to be the hardest working band in America, and we’re going to prove that to you right now.” Sure, it was a bold statement, but from a band that has set out on a tour playing both its opening and main set, it was also logical. Dawes’ latest release We’re All Gonna Live, a live album follow-up to their 2016 LP We’re All Gonna Die, was a perfect lead-in to an all-out, balls-to-the-walls tour. Some bands you just have to see live to really appreciate, and Dawes is one of those bands. The real showstopper, though, was a surprise guest appearance by Lenny Goldsmith, as the show ended with the crowd finishing out the last verse of “All Your Favorite Bands” a capella to close out a three-hour set. I got the sense that everyone would have gladly taken another three hours, and if there was no curfew at The Fillmore, Dawes probably would have happily played another three hours as well. – Keeley Pedersen


Noise Pop 2017 - Electric Guest

Electric Guest

Performing one of the most sold-out Noise Pop shows this year at The Independent, Electric Guest played a soulful set that covered both of their studio albums as frontman Asa Taccone, the Berkeley native, intermittently took time between songs to give praise to the SF audience. He mentioned how it was sort of a homecoming for him and that he always enjoyed engaging such responsive audiences and at venues that allowed him to “bring life” to the band’s body of work. Though it was the first show with new touring members of Electric Guest, the crowd welcomed the novice arrangement with open arms. Kicking off the festival with a mid-week groove, the lineup kept audience members dancing and pumped them up for the marathon week ahead. – Molly Kish


Noise Pop 2017 - Hazel English

Hazel English

Hazel English is not your everyday rocker chick with loud, pungent sounds. She’s smooth, delicate, powerful and poised. She is also a whirlwind with either very loyal fans or those looking to discover her. But it was easy to make out in the crowd at Rickshaw Stop who the true fans were as they swayed to her music, gently singing her songs word for word without overpowering her sense of stride. Whether attendees knew of her before the show or came to discover some new music, she pulled them into her calmness and radiated a ghostly sound. Unveiling both of these qualities, English brought a mid-week breath of fresh air. Feet on the floor and eyes half closed, everyone looked like they were there to liberate themselves with her drifty sound. – Jacqueline Moore


Noise Pop 2017 - JJUUJJUU


JJUUJJUU

Desert Daze Caravan

After attending Desert Daze last year, it was a sheer delight to see the event and its organizers grow to a point where they could bring a hand-selected group of artists to SF and other West Coast cities. While JJUUJJUU and Froth warmed up the crowd at The Chapel, it wasn’t until Deap Vally began to pummel us with their thick, blues-rock fuzz that the evening started to truly take shape. Who Sold My Generation was a highlight release in 2016 from Night Beats, and on this night, the Seattle upstarts certainly won over more fans as their infectious stage presence, coupled with their weighty take on garage rock, could be akin to acts such as Black Angels and even Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Temples closed the show out, taking the daring route by opening their set with new material from their upcoming sophomore release Volcano. Though the capacity crowd was receptive to the handful of fresh tracks, it was songs such as “A Question Isn’t Answered” that ignited some vicious headbanging. – Kevin Quandt


Noise Pop 2017 - Diet Cig

Diet Cig

For their Noise Pop show at Brick & Mortar Music Hall that came in the middle of the work week, Diet Cig put on a hyperactive, energetic performance. The New York indie-rock duo got the sold-out crowd properly pumped up as they blazed through tracks from their forthcoming debut LP after local outfits Shutups, Joyride and Plush kicked off the evening with great sets. – Norm de Veyra


Noise Pop 2017 - The Palms

The Palms

A lineup featuring California-based talent from both the north and south ends came to SF’s Rickshaw Stop for one night during Noise Pop 25. Local act Nyre got things started with their reverberating brand of garage rock echoing throughout the venue, and LA outfit Warbly Jets followed by delivering their catchy alt-rock songs. The Young Wild, meanwhile, amplified the crowd’s enthusiasm with their upbeat, indie-pop tunes. As the evening drew to a close, The Palms took the stage, showcasing their poignant songwriting and frontman Ben Rothbard’s irreproducible voice. – Laura Tsu


Noise Pop 2017 - Kelis

Kelis

Seeing Kelis at Noise Pop proved to be something special. Even though it ended up being an early night at 1015 Folsom, it felt like any other late event that I’ve been to there. What was surprising was how many mashups she did with her own songs as DJ Nikki Beatnik and DJ Rashida had the room shaking, literally. Amid magical mashups featuring Migos, Daft Punk and more, the highlight of the night was definitely a remix of Gorillaz feeding into a couple verses and loops of “my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” before hearing the James Bond theme song. My biggest question going into the night was why someone would tattoo a portrait of someone else on their body (Kelis was married to Nas, who infamously tattooed her face on his arm). But walking out of 1015, I realized that she had me singing along and pulled in by her energy, dancing like crazy during her entire set. I guess I get it now. – Lisette Worster


Noise Pop 2017 - Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

For one of its Noise Pop shows, Swedish American Hall played host to 21-year-old Australian native Tash Sultana, best known for her musical multi-tasking, dynamic vocals and her story. At just 17, she slipped into a drug-induced psychosis. From there, she began busking, finding her way back to reality through music. It has been said that Sultana’s ultimate musical goal is to teach herself to “play every instrument ever made,” and the sold-out crowd certainly got a taste of her wide range of instrumental talent as Tash incorporated guitar, trumpet, mandolin and pan flute into her set, beautifully laid over her self-generated beats. This is a one-woman show reminiscent of the most talented street musicians you’ve ever seen — the kind that make you sit and watch for a while, the kind that compels you to throw $20 into their guitar case as you walk by. That raw presence has not left her to this day as she steps onto stages around the country and soaks in praise of her completely engaged audiences. – Hailey Hosler


Noise Pop 2017 - Deafheaven

Deafheaven

As one of the strongest Noise Pop bills with Emma Ruth Bundle, This Will Destroy You and Deafhaven, the three acts combined to make for a perfect sequence of post-rock into black metal that few tours are able to accomplish. This Will Destroy You, a band that commands silence as well as it does noise, found the right kind of audience for a Friday night, as fans stood entranced by the constantly inflating and deflating sense of space that their sound occupied. “Dustism”, in particular, made for a breathtaking performance by the five-piece from SF. Following TWDY, Deafheaven kicked the energy into high gear. From New Bermuda track “Baby Blue” to the title track on their 2013 LP Sunbather, the Deafhaven experience live is chaotic and calm, melodic and cacophonous all at once. Led by vocalist/conductor/hype man George Clark, the band has a remarkable ability for creating the loudest, fastest noise and melding it with beautiful guitar melodies and fascinating song compositions. After a week of live music, this night was a real highlight of Noise Pop 25. – Brett Ruffenach


Noise Pop 2017 - Julien Baker

Julien Baker

It’s pretty cool to see a musician take the stage alone and draw the kind of intense attention from an audience that Julien Baker can. I can’t recall a time when I’ve seen so few cell phones out and so little chatter in the crowd. After we got warmed up with brief sets from Bobey and Miserable, Baker stepped onstage and immediately had every eye and ear in the room locked on her. Opening with “Blacktop”, Baker’s set was mostly comprised of material from her 2015 release Sprained Ankle, though she peppered in a couple of new tracks from her upcoming album much to the delight of the audience. When someone in the audience shouted “YOU ROCK!!!”, she keenly replied, “Oh good. I’m always nervous that I have lost my punk cred,” which got a good laugh. She claimed that she was nervous to see such a large crowd (which was also confirmed by a friend of mine who spoke with her backstage), but that didn’t stop her from putting on a powerful performance, showcasing her prowess as a guitar player and her range as a vocalist. – Andrew Pohl


Noise Pop 2017 - Crocodiles

Crocodiles

NRVS LVRS, a band originating from SF with a powerful sound, turned enough heads to fill up the floor at Bottom of the Hill and were followed by another SF outfit in Hot Flash Heat Wave, maintained their strong sound and keeping fans stoked. AJ Dávila subsequently energized the crowd even more with the help of some members from Crocodiles, the San Diego-based band who headlined the night and kept the good vibes rolling. – Christopher Vigue


Noise Pop 2017 - Tennyson

Tennyson

Luke and Tess Pretty, the sibling duo behind Tennyson, delivered an electrifying performance at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall for Noise Pop. Opening support came from Qrion, Julia Lewis and Starfari, who brought out rapper Niko Brahman. However, the young Canadian electronic duo absolutely stole the show with their upbeat and bouncy performance. Tess crushed it on the drums while Luke displayed his talents on the keys and synthesizer. Those in attendance were lucky to witness Luke show off his live vocals, which he hasn’t done on previous tour stops due to illness. The performance was chock full of fun samples that fans have come to expect from Tennyson: dripping water, animal noises and the instantly recognizable alarm clock sound on their popular track “Lay-by”. Tennyson truly did not disappoint, delivering one of the most high-energy sets of Noise Pop 25. – Geoff Hong


Noise Pop 2017 - Matt Pond PA

Matt Pond PA

It’s funny when one single person or band can have control over an entire crowd. And This is exactly what Matt Pond PA did so perfectly. Not only have I never experienced a band play six rather slow, soft songs in a row while keeping the crowd at a hush, but have full awareness of each breath, stroke of a cello or pluck of a guitar. He delivered such intensity that you could actually see it in the eyes of crowd members. People were there for Matt Pond PA, and it was so evident in the way the audience danced, sang and laughed along with his entire set. This crowd knew him, and if they didn’t, they were a fan by the end of the night. ‘Specks’ was the crowd’s absolute favorite song of the night. The energy was high and bodies were moving! – Jacqueline Moore


Noise Pop 2017 - The Family Crest

The Family Crest

There may be few things that are more enjoyable than a good ol’ fashioned, foot-stomping dance party on a Saturday night. Those who made it to the Swedish American Hall for The Family Crest’s headlining show were in for a treat. The SF seven-piece kept the energy and spirits high as the crowd enthusiastically roared its approval during an hour-long set. Even though it felt short, the band delivered a fun and loose performance. – Norm de Veyra


Noise Pop 2017 - The Frights

The Frights

If you weren’t present for The Frights’ show at The Chapel, you were certainly missing out. Four indie bands played for an eclectic group of fans that ranged from the grungiest of teens to the hippest of dads. SF’s Dinosaurs opened the show and were followed by The Regrettes from SoCal. The Garden, hailing from Orange County, kept things going with a strange blend of what fans call “vada vada,” and the drummer took the opportunity to front flip twice into the crowd of ecstatic kids. To complete the night, The Frights hit the stage, performing a good number of their pop-rock songs and even taking the time to bust out a sick cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”. Safe to say, the show had something for everyone during what was a great night for celebrating music and genre diversity. – Courtney Blodgett


Noise Pop 2017 - The Radio Dept.

The Radio Dept.

Tickets to see Swedish band The Radio Dept. at Noise Pop sold out swiftly once their first U.S. tour since 2011 was announced last year, which also included the release of their follow-up to 2010’s Clinging to a Scheme. Their show at The Independent showcased plenty of new songs from Running Out of Love along with their beloved back catalog. Playing precisely, their set flowed organically with fully robust sentiment. With SF-based bands Future Shapes and The Bilinda Butchers opening things up in addition to the spunky duo that is Germans, it was a night to remember. – Laura Tsu


Noise Pop 2017 - BADBADNOTGOOD

BADBADNOTGOOD

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. Their setlist covered some older tracks but mostly focused on their latest album IV, including a dizzying rendition of “Lavender”, a track that was made in collaboration with electronic producer Kaytranada. Throughout the set, it was clear that the audience shared just as much enthusiasm as the band did in sharing an evening at the storied SF venue as one member in the crowd earnestly yelled, “Hey, you’re doing a great job!” in between songs — and a great job they did. As I grabbed my apple and poster on the way out, it reminded me why we should be so thankful for nights like these at The Fillmore. – Brett Ruffenach


Noise Pop 2017 - The Hip Replacements

The Hip Replacements

The Mother Hips are one of those acts who have been a Bay Area staple, having shared their indie-folk tunes for 27 years since forming in 1990. Due to an ongoing injury, frontman Tim Bluhm was unable to perform, so to switch things up, Greg Loiacono, John Hofer and Scott Thunes invited Bob Reed (Overwhelming Colorfast, Oranger), Johnny Irion and Dave Zirbel (San Geronimo) to join them. They played a mixture of songs by The Mother Hips and The Replacements, calling themselves The Hip Replacements on this night, which also featured an opening set from Scary Little Friends, the psychedelic-rock trio comprised of Chris Jones, Jon Payne and Charlie Knote. Since they formed in early 2013, the band has been recognized by KQED Arts and The Deli Magazine SF. – Karen Goldman


Noise Pop 2017 - Tennis

Tennis

The anticipation and excitement was high at the Great American Music Hall for the return of Denver indie-pop outfit Tennis. Just weeks before the release of the husband-and-wife duo’s fourth LP, the sold-out crowd was offered a glimpse of what is to come as Alaina Moore and Patrick Wiley performed the newest singles from their forthcoming Yours Conditionally. Also, props must go to twin-brother duo The Mattson 2. The late addition to the Noise Pop lineup made the most of their time by delivering a wildly entertaining and raucous set just prior to Tennis taking the stage. – Norm de Veyra


Noise Pop 2017 - Radical Face

Radical Face

This was by the best performance I saw at Noise Pop. The crowd was so excited before Radical Face even walked onstage, and my jaw was left wide open by the end. The band knew how to build up each song and slow them down in just seconds. The entire show felt like a cinematic adventure, as if lyrics were unneeded and all that the crowd wanted was the beautiful sounds they were making. Conversations about suicide, domestic abuse, loneliness and depression were some of the issues discussed in between songs, which made this show truly remarkable because the band was able to share so much with us. But they also counteracted these serious issues with jokes and laughter. You could tell that Radical Face are a brotherhood. Needless to say, everyone in the audience left The Fillmore with a radiance on their face and I know that I wasn’t the only one leaving with a warm feeling inside. – Jacqueline Moore