SF Show of the Week // GO4FREE to The Detroiter: Block Party at Heron Arts 7/30 (SAT)

Matthew Dear


Matthew Dear

Written by Brett Ruffenach //

The Detroiter: Block Party feat. Matthew Dear, Shigeto, Lusine, Christopher Willits //
Heron Arts – San Francisco
July 30th, 2016 //

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival is just a little over a week away if you can believe it, (see our 10 favorite features of the festival here), but to hold you over until next weekend’s festivities at Golden Gate Park, Heron Arts has assembled an impressive lineup of artists for “The Detroiter” summer block party this Saturday.

Located in SOMA on Heron St., the gallery will open its doors and put on a showcase of more than 50 artists from around the globe, curated and brought to SF by Detroit-based Inner State Gallery. Joining the swaths of visual artists will be members of the Detroit-based record label Ghostly International, including electronic music producers Matthew Dear (who founded the label), Shigeto, Lusine and Christopher Willits.

Dear is a musician and artist that cannot be bound to a single genre. With a range of styles, the Texas native has worn a number of hats, from avant-garde electronic producer to house DJ to rock bandleader. He has made a name for himself through his work released under his own name as well as through various side projects like Audion, False and Jabberjaw. The release of Dear’s debut LP Leave Luck to Heaven in 2003 immediately caught the attention of dance and experimental artists alike, most notably receiving praise for his hit single “Dog Days”.

Over the last decade, Dear has continued to expand on his production style, incorporating African-influenced rhythms with elements of ambient noise and pop. This progression has culminated in the form of his most recent album, 2012’s Beams, a bold, unrestrained dance party that brings his vocals and songwriting to a centered, more personal level that are best demonstrated through the gothic vocals and foot-stomping rhythm of “Her Fantasy”. Dear’s prolific career as a producer, songwriter, visual-arts designer and record label executive has established him as a leader in the next generation of Detroit-based electronic music.

Shigeto


Shigeto

Shigeto is a project that would surprise you to learn it’s actually managed by only one person: Zachary Shigeto Saginaw. With a musical style that features hip-hop beats among a dizzying number of ambient sounds and manipulated samples, the Ann Arbor, Mich., native has found a unique place in today’s beat-driven music scene by incorporating his formal training in jazz drumming into his intricately woven sets.

Saginaw gained considerable popularity stemming from his 2013 album No Better Time Than Now, that featured unpredictable, poly-rhythmic tracks like “Detroit Pt. 1” and “Ringleader”. Now, after the release of his 2015 LP Intermission, Shigeto has really hit his stride, expanding the rhythmic possibilities of his style, using the framework of dance music as a petri dish to integrate in his own unique jazz and funk influences. As a producer and as a live performer, Shigeto brings a style to the electronic music scene that is set apart from the rest.

Joining Dear and Shigeto this Saturday afternoon and evening at Heron Arts will be Lusine, an experimental electronic music producer from Texas who now resides in Seattle, and SF-based musician Christopher Willits, who frequently collaborates with Tycho composer/bandleader Scott Hansen. Tickets are available for $35, or you could win a pair of tickets by submitting your full name and email below.

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.

The Detroiter - Block Party


Follow Showbams on Twitter for more contest giveaways throughout the week. Be the first to respond to our contest tweets to GO4FREE to these shows:

Moving Units: July 27th (WED) @ The Independent
Black Milk: July 28th (THUR) @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall
Pam the Funkstress: July 29th (FRI) @ Slim’s
Club Cheval: July 30th (SAT) @ Mezzanine


Win-2-Tickets

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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

Showbams’ top shows of 2013

Top-Shows-of-2013

It’s been a rich year for music, but since most artists no longer rake in as much cash as they did in the past from record sales, performing live has become more essential. Easy access to streaming and torrents has created a world where music fans cultivate an increasingly wide-ranging palette. In turn, festivals have become exponentially more popular, out of necessity and due to the communal, diverse experiences festivals offer.

Most of the Showbams Team lives and frequents concerts in the Bay Area music scene (that’s what the “BAMS” in “Showbams” stands for), so many of our staff picks for best shows of 2013 took place in or around San Francisco.

The best live music performers blow minds on a nightly basis as they zig zag across the world, so if an act made our list, they probably left a lasting impact near you as well.

Click the links below to view the original show review.

El-P & Killer Mike as Run The Jewels - Photo by James Nagel

El-P & Killer Mike as Run The Jewels // Photo by James Nagel

Mike Frash // Founder, Editor, Columnist // @MikeFrash

01. El-P & Killer Mike (Run The Jewels) – The Independent – July 31st
El-P & Killer Mike provided the most engrossing live performance I witnessed this past year, both in their opening solo sets and their combined tour de force as Run The Jewels. Killer Mike, perhaps the most fascinating rapper on the planet, had the audience in the palm of his hands by enforcing crowd participation while performing “R.A.P. Music” and an a cappella version of “Reagan”. El-P’s set contrasted perfectly with Mike’s more message-driven set, but the the most magical moments occurred when the duo donned their “36” Chains”. The super-clever spits came at machine gun pace, faster than brains can process, and El-P’s weird, abrasive-yet-fun production work kept the show flowing at a delightfully hyperactive pace. The future is blindingly bright for Run The Jewels as they aim to take the throne.

02. Nine Inch Nails – Outside Lands – August 10th
Nine Inch Nails triumphantly returned this summer after a couple last minute personnel changes, but in the end it felt as though Trent Reznor knows exactly what he is doing. Far from feeling like a greatest hits nostalgia show (while they did play nearly all their big singles), Nine Inch Nails guided the uninitiated (including myself) by unfolding the performance in segments. Starting with “Copy of A” from this year’s Hesitation Marks, the first portion was distinctively electronic as shadows silhouetted the players onto the background of the stage. Then the stage opened up to reveal a live drum set, and a handful of pure rock tracks took over. From there, the mix of crunchy, industrialized rock and alternative metal that NIN is known for, including “March of the Pigs” and “Head Like a Hole”, became the focal point. In all honesty, show closer “Hurt” elicited some tears. The experience was intense, surprisingly dance-oriented and breathtakingly emotional.

03. Savages – The Independent – September 29th
Savages made a big splash this year with their album Silence Yourself, and much of the publicity for the all female foursome out of London came from their phone “ban” at concerts. The idea behind this was to instill the idea of immersion into concert goers. Savages successfully put on a show that exhibited a “live in the moment” mentality through their songs and stage presence, and in turn the audience followed Jenny Beth and company to be hypnotically entranced. Savages curated a wholly attentive experience through the use of contrast, most notably in their look, their use of black and white, and the way Savages ultimately contrast with every other group that performs live.

04. Foals – Coachella (Weekend 1) – April 12th
05. Atoms For Peace – Treasure Island Music Festival – October 29th
06. Deerhunter – FYF – August 24th
07. Bassnectar – Fox Theater Oakland – September 19th
08. Alt-J – Not So Silent Night at Oracle Arena – December 7th
09. The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala with White Denim – Bill Graham Civic – October 31th
10. Eric Prydz – Coachella (Weekend 1) – April 14th


Phoenix // Photo by Chaya Frash

Phoenix // Photo by Chaya Frash

Molly Kish // Artist Relations Manager, Columnist // @MollyKish

01. Phoenix – The Independent – April 1st
Preceding the release of their arena-filling 2013 smash album Bankrupt!, Phoenix stopped by San Francisco’s very own 500 person capacity venue to debut the new material. A last minute performance hosted a packed crowd of industry professionals and die-hard fans alike, and the setting felt more like a jam packed album release party than legitimate rock show. The French foursome dynamically performed their brand new tracks, fully engaging the attention of the audience through an intense stage show which fully used the venue’s limited space. Lead singer Thomas Mars even went as far as to stage dive, crowd surf, scale the back wall and return back full circle mid-encore without missing a beat. Catching a band of this magnitude, in a venue this size, performing yet to be released material was a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that anyone lucky enough to experience will undoubtedly remember forever.

02. Fiona Apple and Blake Mills – Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkely – October 8th
The only Bay Area stop on their “Anything We Want Tour”, guitar prodigy Blake Mills and the combustible Fiona Apple headlined an intimate performance this past October at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall. Billed as joint headliners, Mills and Apple playfully supported and challenged each other for command of the completely improvised set list and cohesively chaotic stage show that unveiled. The lecture hall audience was treated to a concert that highlighed both artists individuality, and as a collaborative duo, exercising complete creative control over an occasionally uncomfortably raw, extremely uncensored and truly unique live music experience.

03. Matthew Dear – Mezzanine – May 22nd
Catching the Ghostly International co-founder and experimental dance artist Matthew Dear in the spatial dimensions of the Mezzanine is amazing enough, however if the dance floor is nowhere near half capacity, you’re in for an unforgettable, private performance. Accompanied by a four person live band, Matthew Dear took the stage this past May with the bravado of a veteran rock star. Playing as though he were performing to a sold out arena, he dramatically danced and belted his way through crowd rousing favorites from his entire catalogue. Stage show theatrics involving the dismemberment of dozens of white roses and passionate crowd interactions stunned the unassuming audience members. The band dynamics, amazing set list and impeccably charismatic Matthew Dear ultimately enticed the intrigue of the entirely undersold venue, prompting everyone to actively participate in the spectacle that evening.

04. Major Lazer – The Independent – March 28th
05. Moving Units – DNA Lounge – September 11th
06. Washed Out – Rickshaw Stop – August 29th
07. Toro Y Moi – The Independent – March 2nd
08. The Postal Service – The Greek Theater Berkeley – July 27th
09. Yeasayer – Mezzanine – April 12th
10. Muse – Oracle Arena – January 28th


Arcade Fire as The Reflektors // Photo by Kevin Quandt

Arcade Fire as The Reflektors // Photo by Kevin Quandt

Kevin Quandt // Assistant Editor, Columnist // @KJQuandt

01. Arcade Fire as The Reflektors – Hollywood Palladium – October 31st
When I was lucky enough to score a ticket to this Halloween extravaganza, I knew I would be in for something special as I was in the process of falling in love with Reflektor. After donning a sharp suit and heading to Hollywood Boulevard, my show companion and I began to realize this was gonna be something special. The Palladium was alive as soon as you walked though the doors as revelers danced, socialized and admired each others outfits worn on this night. Obviously the band played heavy on the new tracks and the crowd was eating out of their hand for the duration with highlights such as “Here Comes the Night Time” and “We Exist”, to name a few. The evening didn’t end once the performance was done as the band joined the crowd for a post-show dance party to rival most. By the time we cruised out into the chilly night we were pretty thoroughly damp from the sweat that had amassed inside, and all was right on a Halloween in Hollywood.

02. Tame Impala – Coachella (Weekend 1) – April 14th
The continuously impressive Australian act delivered a loaded 40 minute set displaying their ability to crush, and expand, tracks on stage like rock and roll champs. Blustery winds blew through the Empire Polo Fields,  shaking the rows of palm trees behind the stage as if nature was swaying to the psychedelic goodness being enjoyed by the sizable crowd. The conditions may have led to some minor issues with a MIDI keyboard, but that didn’t phase them in the least and powered into a different direction without missing a beat. “Elephant” had an extended interlude before closing with old classic, “Half Full Glass of Wine”. Optimism at it’s finest.

03. Paul McCartney – Outside Lands – August 9th
A Friday night set just shy of 40 songs punctuated the first day of Outside Lands as living legend Paul McCartney captivated a packed crowd. Though not my first time seeing Sir Paul show, it was a special one in many ways on a foggy summer evening. The tenderness of “Blackbird” is always a thing of beauty, and the recently road-approved Beatles tune “Lovely Rita” were just a few of the highlights from this banner set. Macca has got it, straight up. I have preached to the power of his show since I was 15 years old, and on this night many got to experience that power first hand.

04. Phish – Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys – July 31st
05. Holy Ghost! – Treasure Island Music Festival – October 19th
06. Mac DeMarco – FYF – August 25th
07. David Byrne & St. Vincent – Fox Theater Oakland – July 21st
08. Thee Oh Sees – The Independent – January 11th
09. Pickwick – The Getty Center – Los Angeles, CA – July 13th
10. The Walkmen & Father John Misty – The Fillmore – January 24th


Sigur Rós // Photo by Marc Fong

Sigur Rós // Photo by Marc Fong

Pete Mauch // Festival Manager & Columnist // @PeteMauch

01. Sigur Rós – Coachella (Weekend 2) – April 20th
Icelandic rockers Sigur Rós closed out night two of Coachella and put on an amazing performance that was highlighted by one of the most impressive visually striking stage set ups that I’ve seen. In addition to the mesmerizing video screen portrayal of various beautiful landscapes, the stage also had lamps with exposed bulbs that would light up in time to the music. The band was joined by a string and horn section for this unique experience, adding great texture to their already layered sound. The set was heavy on newer songs from their most recent album Kveikur with older tracks sprinkled in, which pleased new and old fans alike.  Sigur Rós provide a truly amazing experience.

02. M83 with Hollywood Bowl Orchestra – Hollywood Bowl – September 22nd
French indie-pop rockers stepped it up at the Hollywood Bowl this year with a little help from the in house orchestra.  It’s always tricky when mixing string instruments with electronic synthesizers, not to mention the full band, but M83 found the perfect medium. The band worked through most of their big hits like “Midnight City” and “Wait” with serious ambition and the subtle compliments from the orchestra really made the overall sound fuller.

03. Tame Impala – Fox Theater Pomona – May 30th  
This Australian Psychedelic band had a banner year as they played all over the world, but on this particular night in Pomona they showcased why they are going to be one of the biggest bands around. Their sound is pure psychedelic bliss that oozes ever so sweetly over your ears. The band weaved effortlessly between older tracks like “Desire Be Desire Go” and newer songs like the ever so popular “Elephant” and “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”. After a solid two plus hour set, Tame Impala walked off the stage and I found myself standing there speechless. 

04. Phish – Dicks Sporting Goods Arena – Commerce City, CO – August 31st
05. Medeski Martin & Wood – UCLA Royce Hall – April 26th
06. Eric McFadden with Nels Cline and Mike Watt  –  The Mint – Los Angeles, CA – January 16th
07. Femi Kuti and The Positive Force – The El Rey Theater – Los Angeles, CA – January 18th
08. The Rolling Stones – Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA – May 3rd
09. Jim James – The Fonda Theater – Los Angeles, CA – May 11th
10. Anders Osborne with Neal Casal and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe- The El Rey Theater – Los Angeles, CA – October 24th


Alt-J // Photo by Sam Heller

Alt-J // Photo by Sam Heller

Kevin Raos // Columnist // @Semirec

01. Phish – Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys – July 31st
In late July Phish performed two concerts at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena. Night 2 of the run contained one of the most infamous moments in recent Phish history: The Tahoe Tweezer. This 36 minute jam odyssey has already found it’s place in Phish lore as one of the defining moments of the current era of Phish. It’s not just the length that makes this jam so impressive, but also the song’s content, as Phish and the audience interact back and forth driving the jam deeper and deeper. Magical moments of improvisation like this do not come around very often. WOO!

02. Bjork – Craneway Pavilion – Richmond, CA – May 28th
This was my first time having the pleasure of seeing Bjork live, and she fully lived up to the hype. The entire crowd was on pins and needles as she performed her 2011 album, Biophilia, in it’s entirety. It was an audio/visual experience unlike any other concert, complete with a Tesla Coil instrument controlled by iPads and a series of sound-generating pendulums to accompany Bjork’s majestic voice. Bjork is a talent unlike anything I have ever seen live.

03. Tom Waits – Bridge School Benefit (Shoreline Ampitheatre) – October 27th
Checked a big one off the bucket list with this performance at Neil young’s annual Bridge School Benefit. It’s a wonder why Mr. Waits doesn’t tour more often as he is as talented, and as much of a showman, as he ever was. His voice sounded great, including the usual gritty and rawness that you can expect. One of the longer sets of the evening, Waits plucked tunes from his entire catalogue, yet he pulled mostly from his latest record Bad As Me. Don’t miss a chance to see Tom Waits as his shows are few and far between these days. A truly special individual and unique talent to behold.

04. Tame Impala – Fox Theater Oakland – May 29th
05. Sigur Ros – Fox Theater Oakland – April 16th
06. Alt-J – Fox Theater Oakland – August 29th
07. Nine Inch Nails – Outside Lands – August 10th
08. Rhye – Outside Lands – August 9th
09. Alabama Shakes – Fox Theater Oakland – March 5th
10. Bassnectar – Hangout Music Festival – Gulf Shores, AL – May 18th


Shpongle // Photo by Mike Frash

Shpongle // Photo by Mike Frash

The Festival Lawyer // Columnist // @FestivalLawyer

01. Shpongle – Sea of Dreams at Concourse Exhibition Center in SF – December 31st (2012)
Just a really interesting, weird and exotic New Year’s Eve show. He had a performance art group that accompanied him that night as well as a live violinist. This combo led to a really trippy, trance inducing sight and sound experience. So cool.  

02. The Cure – Austin City Limits – October 12th
When I first saw the Cure I was an eyeliner-wearing 80’s Goth kid. ACL has a 10 o’clock curfew, so when their set got close to 10 o’clock, Robert Smith announced, “Listen, we are going to play all the hits that we can until they shut us down.”  What followed next was just a very cool trip down memory lane.  Funny how music can just instantly take us back to a time or memory in our life.

03. Muse – Oracle Arena – January 28th
It’s always weird to see how much shit people talk about Muse. They seriously have a stage act only rivaled by groups like Swedish House Mafia (I still call SHM’s set at Coachella “The Night of a Million Lasers.”)  Muse combines moving TV sets, lasers, even robots all combined with the stage bravado of legendary UK acts like Queen. If you can’t sing along with me at the top of your lungs to “Uprising” then you just are really missing out on a terrific experience. 

04. Yeah Yeahs Yeahs – Coachella (Weekend 2) – April 19th
05. Bassnectar – Coachella (Weekend 2) – April 19th
06. Father John Misty – Fillmore – June 21st
07. Iggy Pop and the Stooges – C2SV Festival – St. James Park – San Jose, CA – September 28th
08. Disclosure – Treasure Island Music Fest – October 19th
09. Paul McCartney – Outside Lands – August 9th
10. Arctic Monkeys – Coachella (Weekend 2) – April 19th


Thundercat // Photo by James Nagel

Thundercat // Photo by James Nagel

James Nagel // Photographer // @JdropsKnowledge

01. Thundercat – The Independent – November 13th
Stephen Bruner delivered a performance that felt truly unique, deviating from the standards set on his album by slapping some soulful, jazzy rhythms on his epic bass. He wrapped the entire audience with the warm embrace of his music in the most personal, improvesed way. 

02. Savages- The Independent – September 27th
Jenny Beth is a goddamn rockstar. Period. 

03. The Flaming Lips with Tame Impala and White Denim – Bill Graham Civic – October 31st
This show was truly a surreal experience and did not disappoint when it came to the scope of the production. Confetti and balloons rained down endlessly it seemed, while the visual and lighting components completely enhanced this drone-filled yet enlightening event. 

04. Toro Y Moi – Fox Theater Oakland – November 15th
05. Cut Copy – Fox Theater Oakland – November 2nd
06. Digitalism – The Independent – May 7th
07. !!! – Great American Music Hall – March 1st
08. El-P and Killer Mike (Run The Jewels) – The Independent – July 31st
09. Grouplove – The Independent – September 14th
10. Palma Violets – The Independent – April 25th


The Black Keyes // Photo by Sterling Munksgard

The Black Keyes // Photo by Sterling Munksgard

Sterling Munksgard // Photographer // @sterlingmphoto

01. The Black Keys – Bottle Rock – Napa, CA – May 10th 
Bottle Rock was a first-year festival situated in the Napa wine country, and it featured a lineup which rivaled many well-established festivals. The Black Keys brought their in-your-face attitude and rocked the crowd good and hard. Bottle Rock was my fourth Keys show and they still had me singing along and dancing. 

02. Empire of the Sun – Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas, NV – October 27th
When I got home from this festival and showed my photos to friends and family, many people asked, “what kind of music was Empire of the Sun?” The only thing I could come up with was the showmanship of Kiss and the sound and style of Phoenix. But classification aside, this band was not only one of my favorites to watch on stage in 2013 but one of my favorite to photograph. Next time they are in town I will for sure be at their show.  

03. Dave Matthews Band and Gogol Bordello – Jiffy Lube Live – Bristow, VA – July 27th
DMB keeps me coming back for more. At 60+ shows they still keep turning out new tunes and bringing back songs that haven’t been played in years. This show had many highlights including a show opening “Ants Marching”, something that band hadn’t done since 2004.  The band also busted out fan favorites such as “Granny”, “Spoon”, “Long Black Veil”, “Crazy Easy”, and “#41”.  

04. Tedeschi Trucks Band and The Black Crowes – Bill Graham Civic – December 14th
05. Imagine Dragons – Life is Beautiful – Las Vegas – October 27th
06. JJ Grey & Mofro – The Fillmore – November 15th
07. Grateful Grass feat. Keller Williams, Keith Moseley, Michael Kang and Jeff Austin – Rex Benefit – The Fillmore – December 7th
08. Sleigh Bells – Treasure Island Festival – October 20th
09. The Lumineers and Dr. Dog – The Greek Theater Berkeley – April 19th
10. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Portland Rose Festival – Portland, OR – May 25th


!!! // Photo by James Nagel

!!! // Photo by James Nagel

Dara Shulman // Columnist

01. David Byrne and St. Vincent – Fox Theater Oakland – July 21st
Byrne’s eclectic and eccentric sound, coupled with St. Vincent’s own quirkiness and talent, proved to be a fantastic performance. Creating rich, warm sound, the eight-piece brass band was as impressive as the two talented singers themselves. Playing mostly off their solid album, Love This Giant, the combination of choreography and Talking Heads songs turned out to be the icing on the cake.

02. Paul McCartney – Outside Lands – August 9th
It’s not every day you get to see a Beatle play a three-hour set complete with fireworks. McCartney wowed the packed main stage playing his hits from the Beatles, Wings and his solo efforts. It’s hard to determine which was more impressive, the acoustic set which included a beautiful “Blackbird” or the set-closing sing-along that was “Hey Jude”. Eight more songs over two encores only helped to make this an all-time show.

03. !!! – Great American Music Hall – March 1st
Vocalist and dance machine Nic Offer never fails to entertain the crowd. Offer and the band were on fire when they debuted songs such as “Slyd” off their fifth-album release Thr!!!er. Their upbeat, dance rock kept the crowd moving throughout the show.

04. Foals – Outside Lands – August 11th
05. Atoms for Peace – Treasure Island Music Festival – October 19th
06. Vampire Weekend – Outside Lands – August 11th
07. Primus – High Sierra Music Festival – July 5th
08. Holy Ghost! – Treasure Island Music Festival – October 19th
09. Cut Copy – Fox Theater – November 2nd
10. Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters – High Sierra Music Festival – July 4th


View the Showbams 40 Best Albums of 2013
View the Showbams Contributor Picks for Best Songs of 2013
View the Showbams picks for Best Live Music Venues in 2013

Matthew Dear’s captivating theatrics woo intimate crowd at Mezzanine

Matthew-DearPhotos by Mike Frash ~ Written by Molly Kish

White rose petals littered the stage and dance floor Wednesday May 22 after the amazing, underrated Matthew Dear headlined at Mezzanine in San Francisco. Playing to a crowd nowhere near half the capacity of the SOMA venue, the Brooklyn native gave an electrifying performance accompanied by an equally charismatic live band. Playing as though they were in front of a festival crowd, the group held nothing back, delivering a stunning set that covered material spanning his entire catalogue with a focus on dance-inducing crowd favorites and most of the material off of his 2012 album Beams.

The magic of Matthew Dear’s live performance was set up by the meticulous details and artistic ingenuity he has crafted through years of touring. Dimly lit stage lights achieved a minimalist ambiance and five bouquets of white roses were strategically tied to each of the member’s bandstands.

Matthew-Dear

The band hit the stage ready to get people moving with four back to back tracks off Beams, providing steady, understated beats before segueing into “Slow Dance”, a stand out track from 2010’s Black City. Each track was knitted together perfectly, entrancing the intimate audience and setting a perfect early pace for the crowd to assimilate into the inevitable dance party at their own leisure.

Absent of stage banter, Dear instead spoke to the audience through his theatrical stage presence and intense energy. As a front man, he commanded the stage with his expressive movements and unrestrained dance moves. Equally as enthralling, his band members’ passionate intensity permeated through their facial expressions and delivery.

Matthew-Dear

The stand out jam of the evening toned down the BPM and brought the set to a standstill. With the house lights completely down except for a blinding spotlight silhouetted directly on Matthew, he broke into a riveting, angst filled rendition of “Shake Me” for the second to last song of his set. Playing off of the several bouquets of freshly picked white roses that had been added to his stage design, Dear slowly began picking apart one of the buds as soon as he uttered the opening line of the song. About mid way through the emotionally charged tune, he had plucked the petals off at least three to four different stems, then he accentuated the song’s big breakdown by de-flowering an entire dozen all over the stage. Tearing apart the rosebuds feverishly and throwing their debris into the polarized audience, Matthew Dear honed in on the disparity of the track, taking the evening to a darker place emotionally.

He encored the night powerfully with a duo of dance hits, “Her Fantasy” and old school favorite “Don and Sherri”, leaving the initially timid crowd reeling for more.

Matthew-Dear

It’s no surprise that this Ghostly International co-founder is capable of captivating audiences on the regular, and that he’s had a steady career as a DJ, producer and experimental dance artist. Matthew Dear’s raw talent and charisma showed at Mezzanine; he took immediate command of the room upon entering, has an undeniable, enrapturing presence and is responsible for breaking some the best talent currently running the EDM scene. One question I have is, why wasn’t this show packed to the brim with people to have the same experience I did? He might be in that last sliver of time where he can claim to be slightly under the radar as a tastemaker in the indie scene.

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

Showbams’ best live music photography of 2012

Ultraísta at The Independent – By Michael Frash
Ultraísta

Click a photo to view full size.
Click the band and venue link to view the photo’s full article.
Click the photographer name to view more photos.

M83 at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
M83

Future Islands at The Independent – By Maggie Corwin
Future Islands

Die Antwoord at The Fox Theater – By Marc Fong
Die-Antwoord

Charles Bradley at Royce Hall – By Pete Mauch
Charles-Bradley

Santigold at The Fox Theater – By Michael Frash
Santigold

The Lumineers at The Chapel – By Marc Fong
The Lumineers

Best Coast at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
Best-Coast

The Faint at Regency Ballroom – By Michael Frash
The-Faint

Yeasayer at The Fox Theater – By Marc Fong
Yeasayer

Japandroids at The Fillmore – By Michael Frash
Japandroids

How To Dress Well at Rickshaw Stop – By Michael Frash
How-to-Dress-Well

Blondfire at Rickshaw Stop – By Maggie Corwin
Blondfire

The xx at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
The-xx

Geographer at Bonfire Sessions – By Michael Frash
Geographer

Gossip at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
Gossip

Simian Mobile Disco at Mezzanine – By Michael Frash
Simian-Mobile-Disco

Devine Fits at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
Devine Fits

Knife Party at The Fox Theater – By Marc Fong
Knife-Party

Red Baraat at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – By Michael Frash
Red-Baraat

Of Monsters and Men at Not So Silent Night – By Michael Frash
Of-Monsters-&-Men

Electric Guest at The Independent – By Michael Frash
Electric-Guest

Bloc Party at The Fox Theater – By Michael Frash
Bloc-Party

Bombay Bicycle Club at The Fillmore – By Chaya Kranz
Bombay-Bicycle-Club

Tame Impala at The Fillmore – By Michael Frash
Tame-Impala

Matthew Dear at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Michael Frash
Mathew-Dear

Father John Misty at Bonfire Sessions – By Michael Frash
Father-John-Misty

Rufus & Martha Wainwright at The Fox Theater – By Marc Fong
Rufus-Wainwright

Bassnectar at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – By Marc Fong
Bassnectar

Jack White at Not So Silent Night – By Michael Frash
Jack-White

Sea Wolf at The Independent – By Marc Fong
Sea-Wolf

The Shins at Not So Silent Night – By Michael Frash
The-Shins

Wilco at The Greek Theater – By Michael Frash
Wilco

White Fence at Bonfire Sessions – By Michael Frash
White-Fence

Django Django at The Independent – By Michael Frash
Django-Django

Justice at The Warfield – By Michael Frash
Justice

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead at The Independent – By Marc Fong
You Will Know Us...

Best tracks of 2012

Some of our favorite tracks in 2012 are from The Lumineers, Tame Impala, Japandroids, Father John Misty, & Electric Guest.

The Lumineers, Tame Impala, Japandroids, Father John Misty, & Electric Guest created classic songs in 2012.

Showbams contributors have listed their favorite tracks of the year.
What were your favorite songs in 2012? Leave a comment below.

View our Best Shows of 2012
View our Best Albums of 2012


Mike Frash San Francisco @MikeFrash
Subscribe to Mike’s “Best Tracks of 2012” Playlist on Spotify.

1. Sun Kil Moon “Among the Leaves”

When a song get’s it’s 50th play and just gets better, you know you’ve found something special. This song showcases Mark Kozelek’s voice and songwriting perfectly, and is so good he named the album after it. With every spin the descriptive lyrics evolve in the mind of listener. Kozelek tells the tale of a girl he sees around town and wants to help. And when the wind instruments kick in, the song takes off and flies.

2. Tame Impala“Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”

This track might me the most simple song from Lonerism, but it is also the most memorable. It’s plenty trippy like the rest of the album, and it’s also the most catchy song – the one that’s still bouncing around your head a day later. “It feels like we only go backwards, but every part of me says go ahead.” This refrain so basic yet effective, and Kevin Parker’s familiar vocals blend seamlessly into Tame Impala’s psychedelic fuzz rock.

3. Passion Pit“It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy”

Once Michael Angelakos’s bi-polar disorder disorder and attempted suicides were made public, this album and track worked on a higher level. It may be the most biographical song on Gossamer (that says a lot), and the penultimate track steps into anthem territory with confessional optimism. It’s like Michael is telling himself, repeating over and over, that he’s going to make it. Knowing the context of the song makes it more effective, but the biographical background is not needed to know this song is great.

4. Japandroids“Fire’s Highway”
5. Frank Ocean“Pyramids”
6. The xx“Angels”
7. John Talabot“Destiny” feat. Pional
8. Fiona Apple“Every Single Night”
9. Tanlines“Brothers”
10.House“Kindness”

Honorable Mention:
Killer Mike – “Reagan”
The Presets – “Fall”
Wild Nothing – “Paradise”


Pete Mauch Los Angeles @PeteMauch

1. Father John Misty“Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”

2. Neil Young“Walk Like a Giant”

3. Trey Anastasio“Scabbard”

4. Tame Impala “Apocalypse Dreams”
5. Neil Young“Ramada Inn”
6. Kendrick Lamar“Swimming Pools”
7. Alabama Shakes“Hold on”
8. Lumineers“Ho Hey”
9. Gary Clark Jr.“Numb”
10.Jack White“Freedom at 21”


Molly Kish San Francisco @MollyKish

1. Lumineers “Ho Hey”

Due to the incredible commercial success of the Lumineers self-titled debut, you couldn’t escape this song in 2012. Infectiously simple both in lyrics and structure, this song’s basic pop composition grabs it’s audience’s attention immediately and has you singing along from the first listen. An instant crowd pleaser and multi-format radio hit, I still have yet to change the dial.

2. Azealia Banks“212”

A Hard hitting hip hop club hit, this song’s dirty beat and even filthier flow is an immediate dance party call to arms. Bursting onto the scene with this track produced by Lazy J, Azaelia Banks jumped into the female rap game spitting fire. Incorporating the repetitive use of the word cunt into a chorus and making it contagiously catchy and not crude: genius.

3. The Presets“Youth in Trouble”

The Presets came back to the EDM scene after a four year hiatus and did so with authority. Starting off one of this year’s best dance albums, this standout track is a club banger. With its extreme builds, relentless bass line and scream along party lyrics, the Presets win my “drop of the year” award in this bar setting track.

4. Electric Guest“This Head I Hold”
5. Fiona Apple“Hot Knife”
6. The xx“Reunion”
7. Kishi Bashi“Bright Whites”
8. Dr. John“Locked Down”
9. Yeasayer“Reagan’s Skeleton”
10.Bloc Party“Octopus”

Honorable Mentions
Passion Pit“I’ll be Alright”


Kevin Raos San Francisco @kevinraos

1. Tame Impala“Apocalypse Dreams”

Best track on the best album of the year. The more I listen to this album the more my opinion of it morphs and shifts. That’s one of the best things about an album like this – you hear something new every time you listen.

2. Electric Guest“This Head I Hold”

This song sounds like it could have been written 50 years ago. Classic sound, classic song. One of my favorites of the year.

3. Lana Del Rey“Born to Die”

I put this in my top 3 simply because I want to comment about my love/hate fascination with Lana Del Rey. Lana Del Rey’s fragile demeanor and futile resistance towards fame make her one of the most interesting artist of 2012. I’m not a giant fan of her music as a whole, but I LOVE this song.

4. alt-J “Fitzpleasure”
5. Stepdad“My Leather, My Fur, My Nails”
6. Django Django“Default”
7. Passion Pit“Carried Away”
8. Memory Tapes“Thru the Field”
9. Trey Anastasio“Scabbard”
10.Matthew Dear“Her Fantasy”


Eric Shaden San Francisco @3ricShaden

1. Major Lazer feat. Amber of Dirty Projectors“Get Free”

2. Kendrick Lamar“Swimming Pools (Drank)”

3. Passion Pit “Constant Conversations”

4. MIA“Bad Girls”
5. Santigold“Disparate Youth”
6. Hot Chip“Motion Sickness”
7. Purity Ring“Lofticries”
8. Frank Ocean“Thinkin Bout You”
9. Chairlift“Sidewalk Safari”
10.RAC feat. Penguin Prison“Hollywood”


Kevin Quandt San Francisco @KJQuandt

1. TNGHT“Higher Ground”

The duo of Hudson Mohawke and Lunice brought their unique brands of production into one insanely big release this year. This highlight track, among others, features chopped vocals, a plethora of hand-clapping and a massive bass tuba beat that has been destroying dance floors the better part of 2012. Higher Ground begs to be properly rhymed over, but in the meantime the production is the shining light of the year.

2. Pond“Eye Pattern Blindness”

What an epic rock track these Aussies churned out this year. Taking notes from Floyd and Zeppelin equally have helped these lads write and perform a rock masterpiece full of twist and turns, not to mention it clocks in at a rare 6 minutes. Syd Barrett is smiling down from above.

3. Japandroids“House That Heaven Built”

From the distorted wall of guitar to the infectious chorus, epitomizing the sound of Brian King and David Prowse, this track has angst and energy slathered all over it. These guys don’t write typical rock and roll songs, and it is refreshing to see their hard work paying off in dividends. A true rock gem for the ages.

4. Father John Misty“Hollywood Cemetery Forever Sings”
5. The Allah-Las“Tell Me What’s on Your Mind”
6. How to Destroy Angels “Keep it Together”
7. Cloud Nothings“Wasted Days”
8. Jack White“Love Interruption”
9. Clark“Secret”
10.Woods“Size Meets Sound”

Honorable Mentions:
Liars – “No. 1 Against the Rush”
Thee Oh Sees – “Lupine Dominus”
Chromatics – “Kill For Love”


Sean Little San Francisco @splittle

1. Nikki & The Dove“Mother Protect” (Goldroom Remix)

Nikki & The Dove are great as is, but what Goldroom does with this track is reinvent it in a way that’s thoughtful and massive all at once. It’s one of those rare remixes that you hear after the original, and never listen to the original again. It’s that good. Goldroom has really blown up over the last year, touring the globe and this is the track that arguably started it all as it was supported by Aeroplane and The Magician among others giving it, and him, serious credibility. Keep him on your radar and expect more of this for a long time to come.

2. Bicep“Vision of Love”

This is stripped down, essential house. This track could be thrown into any 90’s house set and not skip a beat, which is a testament to Bicep and how they hone their craft. Two dudes from Ireland that just seem to constantly pump out hits and push the party and boundaries. This is the song that shows less can be more, and stripped down production can have a big impact especially when compared with many of today’s overproduced tracks. When the pianos come back in at 3:39 it’s all over.

3. Moonlight Matters“Come For Me” (Might Mouse Remix)

This is huge. It’s just euphoria in a song. I’ve ended more than a few sets with this and hands are in the air, drinks are being tossed around and people are just losing their shit. Don’t sleep on this stellar remix as many people have and it’s a shame. Words don’t do it just so just listen and wait for it to kick in.

4. Waze & Odyssey“Love that (Burns Hot Enough)”
5. ColeCo“Rickey Smiley”
6. Moon Boots“Off My Mind”
7. Presets“Ghosts”
8. Van She“Jamaica”
9. Lykke Li – “I Follow Rivers” (The Magician Remix)
10.Chris Malinchak“The Fourth”

Treasure Island Music Festival: 10 best sets

Treasure Island Music festival has a lot going for it. It’s smack dab during the nicest time of year in San Francisco, and the weather obliged this year. No sets overlap – you can see every single there if you can manage to get there in time – and the two stages are right next to each other. The view of the city by the bay never gets old, and many artist rightfully pointed out how great the view is. And the music curation delivered, as this year was a bit of a sleeper.

Scroll down to view the 10 best sets of the weekend, along with 10 more great sets.
What was your favorite set of the weekend? Leave a comment below.

1. The xx

Sunday was more crowded than Saturday, which is a testament to the rising worldwide power of The xx. Their newfound headline status was re-confirmed, as they were anything but mellow or boring. From the first notes of “Angel,” the festival crowd was rapturously involved. They were loud during the blasts & dance parts, and quiete during the subtleties. And the fan girls – The xx now has a screeching contingency of fangirls as if we were watching The Beatles or Justin Bieber.

The surprisingly respectful crowd added to a mind-blowing live show. Jamie xx has had a clear impact on The xx’s live show. Mid-set there was a string of songs that included “Reunion,” “Sunset” & “Swept Away” and was bridged by Jamie xx’s micro-house beats. A 20-30 minute dance sequence was not expected but certainly invited. And Romy Croft & Oliver Sim have such great voices live, and they play the parts well that they have invented in their songwriting. They were worth the price of admission Sunday.

2. The Presets

Aussie-Pop dance duo The Presets returned the US friday to play an epic show at The Independent. They were just as entertaining the second night in a row at TIMF. Their new live show melds dance beats and drops, live instrumentation, apocalyptic Aussie-charm vocals, and a killer light and video show that will satisfy most contemporary music fans. Their live show, which featured many new songs from Pacifica, turned into a dance party in no time.

They proved they are ready for the festival circuit just as it wraps up in the northern hemisphere. They’ll return come 2013 to headline Coachella, Bonnaroo, and everywhere in between if they’d like. After putting out one of the best albums of the year and showing the Bay area this past weekend that they put on a stellar show that plays both to small and large audiences.

3. M83

M83 has been touring on “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” forever. And why not, it’s one of the best albums of the last decade. The best part about the epic touring schedule is that they’ve gotten much better live. Last November at the Mezzanine they performed “Midnight City” without a saxophone solo and killed the momentum of the set with a poor performance of the wonderful slow song “Wait.”

About a year later, they have crafted a spectacular festival set that features songs that turn into dancey remixes of themselves and no slow songs. The group’s energy was infectious sunday, with Anthony Gonzalez, Yann Gonzalez & Morgan Kibby blasting off with kinetic energy nonstop. The 50 minutes passed by and the show ended with Anthony spraying the crowd with champagne as if they’ve reached the finish line. M83 indeed has come a long way in a year.

4. Matthew Dear

Matthew Dear put on a rock & roll set that showed off his dance moves, voice & stage presence. He stays away from adding many effects or relying heavily on digital music with his live group, and the super bassy vocal effect he uses on his voice on the newest LP was almost missed on tracks like “Headcage” & “Her Fantasy.” But their reconstruction of digital-sounding dance tunes worked well live, even though the crowd was sparse and Matthew Dear’s set would play better at night or inside (with lights).

5. araabMUZIK

AraabMUZIK is a beat machine. The thought “this guy is so completely unique and talented” crept into thought at least 5 times during this set that flew by Saturday. Abraham Orellana is a button pusher but damnit he’s probably the best there is (sorry Girl Talk). He controls and performs every live sound live on the fly with his MIDI pads and collection of mixers and effects. AraabMUZIK is pioneering a subgenre of spinning that micromanages the sound and adds a higher level technical proficiency needed to execute in the live setting. And by putting more on the line, it actually feels like a live performance because it is.

6. Los Campesinos!

7. Divine Fits

8. SBTRKT

9. Tycho

10. Youth Lagoon

10 more great sets

Public Enemy

Toro Y Moi

K Flay

The Coup

Grimes

Girl Talk

Wild Belle

Gossip

Joanna Newsom

Best Coast

Treasure Island Music Festival: 10 best-looking sets

Looking at the artist lineup for the sixth annual Treasure Island Music Festival, a couple things are obvious right away. Saturday’s lineup resembles the Sahara Tent with DJs dominating the bill, and the first day lacks a true headliner. And Sunday’s lineup looks slightly more upbeat and dancey than in past years with the inclusion of M83 and Gossip, but Best Coast and The xx will help keep a mellow tone to Sunday.

As usual, TIMF will offer 26 sets of music over two days and stages, with no music overlapping. And as TIMF begins to adapt to changing live music & festival trends – namely that beats sell out shows and rock generally doesn’t anymore — let’s examine the 10 best-looking sets from artists that perform with instruments, computers and both.

10 best looking sets

The xx

The xx recently released their second album “Coexist,” and it’s been listend to a lot. The new album provides many songs that should have an interesting live interpretation (Reunion, Swept Away), and this is the first time the bay area gets a chance to see The xx support their sophomore album. One could argue M83 should be the Sunday headliner, but The xx are certainly deserving of the top spot after releasing two albums of stellar material.

The Presets

The Presets released their new album “Pacifica” in mid September, and it’s compulsively listenable. It’s catchy, diverse from track to track, and loaded with Aussie desperation and charming apocalyptic undertones. The Presets kick off their tour at home down under, headlining a handfull of shows at the Parklife tour. Then it’s off to TIMF. But before sub-headlining in the bay, the electronic duo of Julian Hamilton & Kim Moyes will play the 450-pax capacity The Independent in SF the night before TI. That should be a loud, intimate affair.

M83

M83 has been on tour supporting “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” for over a year, and they must be close to wrapping it up. Only Bon Iver has toured longer on a recent album. M83 will be visiting the bay area for the 3rd time on this tour, but the good news is they’ve been getting better live as the tour goes on. They are playing different setlists from show to show, utilizing slick transitions, and extending songs into drawn out dance jams.

Matthew Dear

Matthew Dear is a DJ, dance-music producer, & live musician. He’s produced microhouse & electronic music for a decade, and he leads a band when performing live. As his bio states, “He maintains four aliases (Audion, False, Jabberjaw, and Matthew Dear), each with its own style and distinct visual identity.” So is Matthew Dear a character or the man himself? One certain thing is Matthew Dear’s new album, “Beams.” Most of the tracks are electro-house pop gems, built on repetition but get more addictive with each listen (See “Her Fantasy,” “Headcage,” & “Up & Out”). It’s all weird in a very good way.

Grimes

Claire Boucher, or Grimes, has had a busy year. News of her Tom Sawyer-like adventure established her as a free spirit, and as someone unafraid to be different. Her synthed-out beats have a weird syncopation, and the vocal delays make Claire’s voice seem angelic. It’s all oddly pretty and pretty innovative. In her music video for “Oblivian,” it’s hard to take eyes off of her, even with all the distractions in the video. Grimes recently toured on a train through Canada with Skrillix & Diplo, and Diplo tweeted a photo claiming to show Claire on MDMA. When the year began, it looked like Lana Del Rey would be the breakout female star of 2012. It’s now looking like a toss-up between Grimes & Azealia Banks. Matthew Dear should come out & perform with Grimes to see how weird Saturday can get.

Divine Fits

They’re not a supergroup, but Divine Fits is a new band that consists of Britt Daniel from Spoon, Dan Boeckner from Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs, Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks, and keyboardist Alex Fischel from Papa. They sound like a super-charged Spoon, and that’s fine because Spoon was sounding pretty stale on their last tour. Their album “A Thing Called Divine Fits” provides a strong listen the first time, as the songs are well crafted and ooze with personality.

araabMUZIK

Ladies and gentlemen, araabMUZIK is the hardest working DJ in show business. He spins for AS$P Rocky and over-uses the “this is araabMUZIC” sexy audio stamp. And while he’s technically a button pusher, look at him push those buttons! This man is the current king of MIDI. Abraham Orellana, aka araabMUZIK, exhibits serious skill and utilizes crafty editing of his video feed in a live festival setting. At Coachella this year, the video feed cut to different cameras shots exactly when he taps a new button. This creates a dizzying and overwhelming feeling which enhances the beats and overall experience.

Toro Y Moi

Chazwick Bundick is Toro Y Moi, and he gained success in 2010 with his chillwave sensibilities. But since last year, Chazwick has beefed up his band, and their live sound today is much closer to progressive rock. Treasure Islands will be an ideal setting for this psychedelic and spacey set.

Gossip

Gossip will surely pick up the tempo Sunday. Singer Beth Ditto once proclaimed, “Our mission is to make you dance, and if you’re not gonna dance, just stay at home and listen to the oldies station.” We’ll see if Gossip can get the Sunday indie crowd dancing. This would be an impressive feat following a Best Coast set.

Sbtrkt

SBTRKT (subtract) is the stage name for Aaron Jerome, a musician and producer from London. When performing live, he brings frequent collaborator Sampha along to belt out live vocals, play keyboards, & trigger vocal loops. Jerome plays drums while triggering samples and mixing elements live.

5 More not to miss:
-Public Enemy
-Los Campesinos!
-Tycho
-Best Coast
-The Coup

NIGHT SHOWS
Thursday October 12th
•Shigeto ~ California Academy of Sciences
•Willie Nelson ~ The Fillmore
•Anders Osborne ~ The Independent

Friday October 13th
•The Presets / K. Flay ~ The Independent
•The Raveonettes ~ Bimbo’s 365 Club
•Das Racist ~ DNA Lounge
•The Oh Sees ~ Great American Music Hall
*Housse de Racket ~ Rickshaw Stop

Saturday October 14th
•Araabmuzik / Five Knives ~ The Independent
•SBTRKT (DJ Set) ~ Mezzanine
*Elite Gymnastics ~ Monarch
•Juno What?! ~ Boom Boom Room

Sunday October 15h
•Jamie xx / John Talabot ~ Public Works

Subscribe to the Treasure Island Music Festival Spotify playlist.

New Music Tuesday: Swans • Wild Nothing • Matthew Dear • Dan Deacon • Divine Fits

Swans - The Seer

Every Tuesday, we focus on new music releases by naming our top tracks and supplying the latest videos for select albums.


SwansThe Seer

Top Track: “Mother of the World”


Wild NothingNocturne

Top Track: “Nocturne”


Matthew DearBeams

Top Track: “Her Fantasy”


Dan DeaconAmerica

Top Track: “True Thrush”


Divine FitsA Thing Called Divine Fits

Top Track: “My Love Is Real”