Showbams Photography 2013: A year in review

Purity-Ring

Purity Ring // Marc Fong
First City Festival // 8.25.13


The power and impact of a great photo is undeniable. Striking photos take you to another place, inserting you into a spectacular moment from the past.

The photographers in the Bam Fam have produced many memorable, inspiring live music photos in 2013. Feast your eyes on 50 of our best shots from the past year.

Click a band or artist name to view the original article.

Fiona-Apple-and-Blake-Mills

Fiona Apple & Blake Mills // Sam Heller
Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley //10.8.13


Killer-Mike

Killer Mike // James Nagel
The Independent // 7.31.13


Crystal-Castles

Crystal Castles // Marc Fong
Fox Theater Oakland // 4.27.13


Phantogram

Phantogram // Marc Fong
Treasure Island Music Festival // 10.19.13


Warpaint

Warpaint // Marc Fong
The Independent // 9.17.13


Cut-Copy_

Cut Copy // James Nagel
Fox Theater Oakland // 11.2.13


Geographer_post

Geographer // Sterling Munksgard
Bimbo’s 365 Club // 11.23.13


Thee-Oh-Sees

Thee Oh Sees // Pedro Paredes
Great American Music Hall // 12.18.13


Grouplove

Grouplove // James Nagel
The Independent // 9.14.13


James-Blake

James Blake // Marc Fong
Treasure Island Music Festival // 10.20.13


Matthew-Dear

Matthew Dear // Mike Frash
Mezzanine // 5.22.13


Palma-Violets

Palma Violets // James Nagel
The Independent // 4.23.13


Polyphonic-Spree

Polyphonic Spree // Marc Fong
The Chapel // 8.19.13


Zedd

Zedd // Marc Fong
Fox Theater Oakland // 10.9.13


Robert-Randolph

Robert Randolph // Steve Kennedy
Notes For Notes Benefit // 12.6.13


Savages1

Savages // James Nagel
The Independent // 9.27.13


Steve-Aioki

Steve Aoki // Sterling Munksgard
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium // 11.16.13


The-Flaming-Lips

The Flaming Lips // James Nagel
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium // 10.31.13


The-xx

The xx // Marc Fong
The Greek Theatre // 6.1.13


Atoms-For-Peace

Atoms For Peace // Marc Fong
Treasure Island Music Festival // 10.19.13


Thundercat1

Thundercat // James Nagel
The Independent // 11.13.13


Trey-Anastasio-Band

Trey Anastasio Band // Sam Heller
Fox Theater Oakland // 4.20.13


Alabama-Shakes

Alabama Shakes // Marc Fong
Fox Theater Oakland // 3.5.13


AlunaGeorge

AlunaGeorge // Marc Fong
The Independent // 9.11.13


Autre-Ne-Veut

Autre Ne Veut // Mike Frash
The Independent // 3.11.13


chk-chk-chk

!!! // James Nagel
Great American Music Hall // 2.28.13


CSS

CSS // James Nagel
The Independent // 6.16.13


Danny-Brown

Danny Brown // Marc Fong
Treasure Island Music Festival // 10.19.13


Father-John-Misty

Father John Misty // Marc Fong
First City Festival // 8.24.13


HAIM

Haim // Marc Fong
Treasure Island Music Festival // 10.19.13


How-To-Dress-Well

How To Dress Well // Sam Heller
The Independent // 8.26.13


Jagwar-Ma

Jagwar Ma // James Nagel
The Independent // 12.11.13


Jamie-Lidell

Jamie Lidell // Sam Heller
The Independent // 3.29.13


Primus

Primus // Sam Heller
High Sierra Music Festival // 7.5.13


Run-The-Jewels1

Run The Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike) // James Nagel
The Independent // 7.31.13


Toro-Y-Moi

Toro Y Moi // James Nagel
Fox Theater Oakland // 11.15.13


Wild-Belle

Wild Belle // Eldon Christenson
The Independent // 9.26.13


alt-J

Alt-J // Sam Heller
Fox Theater Oakland // 8.29.13


Andrew-Bird

Andrew Bird // Sam Heller
Congregation Sherith Israel // 12.16.13


Andrew-WK

Andrew W.K. // Marc Fong
The Independent // 10.12.13


Anna-Calvi

Anna Calvi // Marc Fong
The Independent // 11.17.13


Big-Boi

Big Boi // Mike Frash
Mezzanine // 5.17.13


Deerhunter

Deerhunter // Marc Fong
First City Festival // 8.25.13


MS-MR

MS MR // James Nagel
The Independent // 6.16.13


Phoenix

Phoenix // Chaya Frash
The Independent // 4.1.13


Rogue-Wave1

Rogue Wave // Marc Fong
The Independent // 7.12.13


Sigur-Ros

Sigur Rós // Marc Fong
Fox Theater Oaklnad // 4.16.13


STS9_Post

STS9 // Sam Heller
Fox Theater Oakland // 3.1.13


Washed-Out

Washed Out // Marc Fong
First City Festival // 8.25.13

Jamie Lidell’s hybrid funk party at The Independent

Jamie-LidellPhotos by Sam Heller

Did I just step out a party from the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’s interpretation of the future? I mean, I see the trench-coat, hear the vintage funk beats and am experiencing the linear visuals, but I certainly don’t feel like I am in 2013. So is the barrage of a show that is Jamie Lidell and his full on soul-funk, electronic throw-down which pulled into San Francisco’s own Independent on March 29th.

The equation of Lidell’s music is rather basic, as it entails multiple layers of drum and synth sequencing layered with his rich, largely augmented vocals singing sultry soul songs. “I’m Selfish” opened the evening, as it does on his new self-titled release on Warp, and Lidell jumped out of the gates grooving and crooning along to his infectious tracks. Comparisons to Prince are hard to ignore on his latest album, but this does not detract from the unique act Jamie has cultivated over the past decade. The capacity crowd gradually loosened up as the headliner bounced between his older, more house influenced tracks and the soul funk bangers that brought more gyrating to the dance floor.

Lidell is a rather charming character on stage, prone to silly banter with the crowd, as well as rocking a smile that will not leave his face. The same could generally be said for the crowd who ate up this hybrid genre that is difficult to not enjoy, whether singing in the shower or on a Friday night with your friends.

New Music Tuesday: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds • Atlas Genius • STRFKR • Beach Fossils • Jamie Lidell • Iceage • Mark Kozelek • Matmos

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away

Every Tuesday, we focus on new music releases by naming our top tracks, album highlights, lowlights and important takeaways for select albums.


Nick Cave and the Bad SeedsPush the Sky Away

2-BamsTop Tracks:
“Higgs Boson Blues”
“We No Who U R”
“Waters Edge”

Album Highlights: Nick Cave sets his dark tone right away with the haunting opener “We No Who U R.” The song, and really the whole album has very little guitar work, but instead focuses on percussion, violin, and Caves’ uncanny lyrics. In “Higgs Boson Blues,” Cave sings about how “Miley Cyrus floats in a swimming pool in Toluca Lake”, and there are plenty of gems like that throughout the album.

Album Lowlight: Nick Cave was definitely not making a rock ‘n’ roll album this time around, and that’s fine, but it barely changes tempo and didn’t captivate me until the second to last song “Higgs Boson Blues.”

Takeaway: One of Caves’ main themes is water, and the song “Mermaids” gives a sense of the whole album in one track. It references many different types of water and captures the overall feel of love and despair between a man and this mermaid. This is a borderline concept album that is very dark and lyric-heavy. This record would play nicely with headphones on in a dark room, but I wouldn’t play this on a sunny Saturday.

~Pete Mauch


Atlas GeniusWhen It Was Now

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Back Seat”
“Trojans”
“Symptoms”

Album Highlights: It is no surprise that “Trojans” would be the lead single of the album, as Atlas Genius has impeccably crafted a pop gem. A subtly sexy radio friendly hit, the song is infectious and will have you singing and clapping along from first listen. As a bona fide plan B, the track is strong enough to keep Atlas Genius relevant on the one-hit wonder circuit at least for years to come. Although, “Back Seat” will most likely prevent Atlas Genius from the one and done career.

Album Lowlight: An awkward departure from the New Wave sound of the rest of the album, the acoustic guitar-driven track “Through the Glass” gets muffled amongst the excess production as the band tries to blend the song’s elements into cohesion. The lyrical structure is off beat, trying to figure out its place within the composition’s confusion, and the meaning is lost amongst the noise.

Takeaway: “When It Was Now” is most exemplary of what Atlas Genius is capable of creating. The album definitely came off as a debut, full of potential stabs at mainstream airplay. The talent is there, and “When It Was Now” best dictates their strongest songwriting technique, and the direction their sophomore effort will most likely head toward.

~Molly Kish


STRFKRMiracle Mile

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“While I’m Alive”
“I Don’t Want to See”
”Leave It All Behind”

Album Highlights: STRFKR gets funky on its opening track “While I’m Alive”. Still tying in their signature Casio dance beats, they throw it back a couple generations with thumping bass lines, harmonizing falsettos and disco laden guitar riffs. Branching out from their standard indie rock formula, the boys embrace several different approaches to create a successful pop album. “While I’m Alive” opens their most ambitious effort to date with a pulsating hit ready for any dance floor.

Album Lowlight: Except for the lyrical mention of the album’s title, “Fortune’s Fool” serves little to no significance on the album. The track isn’t cohesive with the album’s composition or STRFKR’s overall sound. Furthermore, it is an awkward track that causes a division between the album’s experimental first half and more pop-centric second act.

Takeaway: Effortlessly segueing out of “Golden Light”, “Nite Rite” keeps you lingering for an entertaining seven-minute journey to the close out the album. More of prolonged jam than the typical STRFKR crafted track, the band plays with a mélange of audio effects accompanying a steady bass line, drum beat and tension building breaks. The effect is a wall of sound destined to stun in the capacity of a live show.

~Molly Kish


Beach FossilsClash the Truth

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Careless”
“Shallow”
“Crashed Out”

Album Highlights: It’s another decent slice of shoegazing pop from Dustin Payseur and company, perfect for a rainy day inside or a sunny drive down the coast. Personnel changes marred the band in the past year, so the fact that Payseur soldiered on shows great dedication to this act, even while it splintered. Songs like “Burn You Down” demonstrate their knack for a precious sound that one can easily get lost in.

The inclusion of singer Kazu Makino on the song “Vertigo” is a pleasant surprise, as the absence of Zachary Cole Smith displays the lack of melody that was a key part of this group in previous years.

Album Lowlight: Honestly, for the amount of time taken since the release of their heralded self-titled release some three years ago, this album falls a little flat. Maybe it was that many other similar bands like Wild Nothing and Real Estate released solid sophomore efforts well before Beach Fossils did. Maybe the departure of Zachary Cole Smith to form DIIV put a crutch in the writing and recording process of Beach Fossils.

Takeaway:Fans of this band will enjoy this listen, but likely still go to previous releases more often than this effort. Sometimes great stretches of time between recording can muddle the writing process, and this may be the case for Clash the Truth.

~Kevin Quandt


IceageYou’re Nothing

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Ecstacy”
“Morals”
“Wounded Hearts”

Album Highlights: The follow-up to 2011’s New Brigade does not disappoint, full of blistering angst-ridden Danish post-punk in all it’s youthful glory. Songs like “Everything Drifts” showcase a more musical focus with clearer sounding vocals by Elias Rønnenfelt and more in depth guitar chords. The blistering thrash of their debut has made way for a fuller, dare I say more mature sound overall. There is also a sonic richness which is more prevalent on their Matador label debut.

Lyrics have not deviated much from the societal gloom these young-ins have demonstrated on “Ecstasy”: “But bliss is momentary anyhow / Yet worth living for — take me now”.

Album Lowlights: Fans who prefer the more thrashed-out side of this band may grumble at it taking a more commercial, emotive direction, comparatively. Yes, this album comes across as less detached than the previous, but it’s with this growth that the excitement is bred. You’re Nothing is still a rough-edged album, but this new depth will please many as they make their way to comparisons of Black Flag and Fugazi.

Takeaway: How awesome is it that a bunch of Danish teenagers are the face and sound of some of the more progressive punk and hardcore in the past few years? And with their first release on Matador, they’re showing that with a few extra resources, they can bring their game to the next level while not compromising their integrity.

~Kevin Quandt


Jamie LidellJamie Lidell

3-BamsTop Tracks:
“Do Yourself a Faver”
“Blaming Something”
“So Cold”

Album Highlights: Jamie Lidell’s self-titled release is funky and soulful, yet takes a couple listens to grow on you. His first album since 2010, Lidell’s 2013 offering has an interesting flair. Most of this record sounds like a 21st century funk-infused disco that Prince commissioned to write for the Ghostbusters III soundtrack. It combines elements of 80’s R&B funk with contemporary elements of dubstep without getting too “wobbly.”

Fans of Lidell might be displeased with this departure, as electronic pop dominates over his signature soulful sound.

Album Lowlight: Jamie Lidell is at his best when he is channeling his inner Prince. (Aren’t we all?) Unfortunately, that channel breaks signal several times throughout the album, slowing down the upbeat pace of most of the songs. It’s a shame that the first single from the record is “What A Shame,” one of the weakest tracks on the record, in my opinion.

Takeaway: This album definitely has it’s moments, and for the most part, it is a very soulful funktronica album. The highlights outweigh the lowlights, which are sprinkled in just enough to cause this album to fall short of greatness.

~Kevin Raos


Mark KozelekLike Rats

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Free for All” by Ted Nugent
“Silly Girl” by Descendents
“Carpet Crawlers” by Genesis

Album Highlights: Mark Kozelek continues with the tone that made his 2012 record as Sun Kil Moon Among the Leaves such a success. Kozelek’s hypnotic acoustic guitar repetitions and soft baritone voice combine to strike emotional depth unmatched by most contemporary artists. And with Like Rats, Kozelek takes a diverse collection of tracks from other artists to create a record that completely transforms the songs into Kozelek’s wheelhouse — moaning sentiments of self-reflection and loathing “what could have been” feelings.

Album Lowlight: My personal lowlight is just realizing I missed Kozelek on Sunday evening at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco by one day, but seriously, this guy can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. His songs grow on you easily if you let them, and even the dark cover of “I Killed Mommy” by Dayglo Abortions works well enough, assuming you like tales of killing your family members.

Takeaway: Mark Kozelek, the prodigious singer songwriter also known as Sun Kil Moon, has embarked on a record featuring covers from other artists. The attempts at covers are wide-ranging and mostly successful; how many singer-songwriters could nail covers by Ted Nugent, Descendents and Genesis in one album? It’s worth a listen or two, but it’s hard to give Kozelek full credit since he is such an accomplished songwriter.

~Mike Frash


MatmosThe Marriage of True Mind

3.5-BamsTop Tracks:
“Tunnel”
“Mental Radio”
“Teen Paranormal Romance”

Album Highlights: Electronic duo Matmos run the gamut of music genres with The Marriage of True Mind, and it somehow does it successfully without any obvious unified theme, other than vocalizing its love of “Triangles.” This record has influences in deep house music, jazz, blues, space glitch and everything in between. “Tunnel” builds tension with a growing chorus of bees and alarm sounds — and it starts as a jungle-influenced world music track but progresses to spoken word over didgeridoo that builds to a cacophony of sound, ultimately breaking to an outro release that finishes with a hacking-bong rip cough. It’s a busy track and record, but triumphs like “Tunnel” make this LP addictive.

Album Lowlight: Attempts at Amon Tobin-like ambient space jams in “Ross Transcript” put forth a good effort but work better as a transition as opposed to a listenable song.

Takeaway: The Marriage of True Mind is a crazy blast of noise mixtures. It is experimental in nature and not beholden to any one sound aesthetic. It feels like one long jam, as if the idea of making individual songs didn’t cross the creator’s minds. It works as a cinematic soundtrack, and it is fun to see Matmos toy with genre-mixing. This LP’s obsession with the triangle, combined with alt-J’s geometric dogmatic worship of the shape, shows that triangles are so hot right now.

Matmos is not afraid to fuck with any sound, and the record contrasts light and dark tones, as well as mellow beats and intense builds.

~Mike Frash

Coachella 2013: Predictions, wishes & rumors vs. reality

Coachella 2013By Mike Frash //

With a casual tweet, festival season is about to begin. Anticipation over the imminent 2013 Coachella lineup is building, and recent history shows the festival lineup could come this week.

Do you have your accommodations set? Hopefully your ticket is taken care of, because Coachella 2013 could already be close to sold out.

Presale ticketing for this year’s Coachella sold out within hours of going on sale both weekends last May, and it was the first time pre-sale sold out in such a quick fashion. The Coachella 2012 general on-sale sold out within an hour for both weekends a year ago, and if you weren’t ninja-quick at getting into the waiting room, you were shit out of luck. Take all this into account, and there might be a very limited amount of tickets available after the 2013 lineup drops. Is it possible Coachella 2013 is completely sold out from presale ticketing?

Coachella

Headliners: Reality vs. Rumors
The headliner rumors arrived early this year, with speculation over The Rolling Stones and Daft Punk dominating the conversation. At this point The Rolling Stones seems like the more likely of the two to be headlining, even though they haven’t played a whole lot of festivals since Altamont in 1969. Besides, Coachella rumors about Daft Punk and David Bowie playing Coachella are a yearly running gag at this point — we’ll believe it when we see it. Bowie even has a confirmed album coming out in the spring, but his bandmates are saying Ziggy has ruled out performing live … forever.

Reunions are a big part of Coachella’s top-notch lineups, and last year saw the regrouping of At The Drive-In, Pulp and Refused. This year it looks like The Postal Service and My Bloody Valentine could happen. Blur would also make sense since they reunited at the Olympics last year. Black Sabbath was reportedly on board to headline last year until they had to pull out at the last moment, and they have a new album coming out in June. Outkast would be the perfect hip-hop headliner, but that seems unlikely with Big Boi pushing his new LP. Wu-Tang Clan seems like the most likely rap act to play the main stage, but are they big enough to headline one of the three days each weekend?

Last year saw The Black Keys headline Friday along with Swedish House Mafia, and most people thought The Black Keys weren’t worthy of headliner status. But Coachella is good at king-making groups and artists, elevating them to the top level simply by making them headliners. Goldenvoice could repeat last year’s Friday concept by crowning Phoenix, The xx or Mumford and Sons headliners while putting deadmau5 on the top line to satiate the EDM masses.

Reality (likely headliners):
The Rolling Stones, The Postal Service, deadmau5, My Bloody Valentine, Black Sabbath, Pearl Jam, Phoenix, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wu Tang Clan, No Doubt, Mumford & Sons, The xx

Rumors (probable wishlist-fiction):
Daft Punk, Outkast, David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails (How to Destroy Angels is likely)

Artists to see before they get big:
Last year, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Death Grips, Azealia Banks, First Aid Kit, and lots of other artists performed at Coachella before getting exponentially bigger by the end of 2012. Possible contenders for 2013 include Angel Haze, AlunaGeorge, FIDLAR, Foxygen, Wilde Belle, & Earl Sweatshirt, although the hype for Earl is already tremendously loud.

Coachella

Best EDM acts most likely to not perform in the Sahara Tent:
• deadmau5
• Bassnectar
• Tiesto
• Simian Mobile Disco
• Andy Stott
• Nicolas Jaar
• Dan Deacon
• John Talabot
• Disclosure
• Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

Artists most likely to return for second consecutive year:
Kendrick Lamar and Dawes, because Dawes somehow plays every festival.

Headlines we’d like to see:
“Frank Ocean, Tyler The Creator join Earl Sweatshirt’s first solo set”
“Progressive-house trend baffles Sahara tent candy-kids”
“Thom Yorke, Bradford Cox & Trent Rezner play a combined 9 sets each weekend”
“Katie Perry attends Coachella again, never considered for performing duties.”

Plausible Acts We’d Like to See:
Alabama Shakes
alt-J
AlunaGeorge
Andy Stott
Angel Haze
Animal Collective
Atlas Sound
Atoms for Peace
Bassnectar
Bat for Lashes
Beach House
Ben Howard
Big Boi
Bjork
Black Sabbath
Blur
Cloud Nothings
Chromatics
Crystal Castles
CHVRCHES
Dan Deacon
Divine Fits
Disclosure
Die Antwoord
Django Django
Ducktails
Earl Sweatshirt
Father John Misty
Fiona Apple
Frightened Rabbit
Grimes
Grizzly Bear (Added 1.17.13)
Haim
Hot Chip
How to Dress Well
James Blake
Jamie Lidell
Japandroids
Jessie Ware
John Talabot
Jim James
Kendrick Lamar
Kishi Bashi
Killer Mike
Local Natives
New Order
Nicolas Jaar
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Major Lazer
Matthew Dear
Mumford & Sons
Passion Pit
Penguin Prison
Phoenix
Pretty Lights
Sigur Ros
Skrillex
Spiritualized
Stars
STRFCKR
Tame Impala
The Faint
The Joy Formidable
The Knife
The Postal Service
The Rolling Stones
The Walkmen
The xx
Toro Y Moi
TNGHT
Ty Segall
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Vampire Weekend
Warpaint
Wavves
Wild Belle
Wild Nothing
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Yeasayer
Yo la Tengo
!!!

Coachella