Back on the road, Broken Social Scene rock The Fox with a career-spanning set

Broken Social ScenePhotos by Norm de Veyra // Written by Brett Ruffenach //

Broken Social Scene with The Belle Game //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
October 26th, 2017 //

To cap off a stellar “Rocktober” season in the Bay Area, one of the true titans of early-aughts indie rock brought their All-Star lineup of musicians to the Fox Theater Oakland as Toronto’s Broken Social Scene headlined with support from The Belle Game.

With the venue beginning to fill up, The Belle Game arrived onstage. Their music combines rock-band sensibilities with a dreamy, ethereal pop sound to create a powerful effect. It was quite clear that Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear and other heavy hitters from the mid-2000’s were a major influence on their sound.

A five-piece act hailing from Vancouver, The Belle Game’s greatest asset — the stunning vocal range of lead singer Andrea Lo — became clear from their rendition of “Spirit”, the lead single off their sophomore LP Fear/Nothing. Through soaring synths and reverb-heavy guitar effects, they certainly garnered a few new fans in Oakland this time around.

Broken Social Scene

After a short break, Broken Social Scene took the stage as an eight-piece band backed by a six-piece horns section. They kicked things off with the thumping and fast-paced “KC Accidental” from 2002’s You Forgot It in People, which quickly demonstrated the roles of all four guitarists onstage and the unstoppable power of drummer Justin Peroff.

Racing through the first three tunes of what would be a career-spanning, 20-song set, BSS eventually revealed what the rush was all about — the horn section joining them featured members of the Brooklyn-based afrobeat band Antibalas, and they had a gig to play just a block away at The New Parish later that night. Nevertheless, it was a special way to get the show started.

In my head, I counted 22 different people taking stage at one point or another. It was one of those shows where the crowd roared in excitement at the opening notes of each song, from older tracks like “Fire Eye’d Boy” on their 2005 self-titled LP to newer material off their 2017 studio effort Hug of Thunder, including a booming version of “Halfway Home”.

Broken Social Scene

At The Fox, BSS’ newest female vocalist, Ariel Engle, was able to confidently fill the shoes of her predecessors Emily Haines and Leslie Feist. For “Stay Happy”, the first track demanding two female vocalists, The Belle Game’s own Andrea Lo joined Engle onstage. This song was a personal highlight of the set for me; not only is it one of BSS’ best cuts off of Hug of Thunder, but they cleverly turned the glitchy, staccato guitar lick into a cool saxophone melody.

As the night went on, Lo joined Engle onstage once again to sing one of the Canadian outfit’s most famous songs: “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl”. But instead of using the studio version’s heavy vocal distortion, Lo and Engle sang, perfectly in sync, contrasting harmonies that produced a repetitive, swelling effect. It was truly a breathtaking moment to witness.

BSS were certainly feeling the love, too. After closing their set with “It’s All Gonna Break”, they returned for an encore, informing us that they had time for only one more song.

Broken Social Scene

But in an attempt to decide whether to play “Lover’s Spit” or “Cause = Time” by the crowd’s applause, BSS founding member and bandleader Brendan Canning said that they were just going to have to do both. I initially took this as an (admittedly successful) attempt to rile up the crowd, but after later seeing a picture of the setlist, it looked like the band chose to play an additional three songs due to the energy in the room.

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.

Fortunately for those who didn’t make it to this incredible show, word on the street is they’ll be heading back to The Fox early next year for Noise Pop 2018.

Setlist:
KC Accidental
7/4 (Shoreline)
Halfway Home
Protest Song
Fire Eye’d Boy
Texico Bitches
Stars and Sons
World Sick
Stay Happy
Hug of Thunder
Sweetest Kill
Skyline
Almost Crimes
Major Label Debut (Fast)
Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)
Looks Just Like the Sun
Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl
It’s All Gonna Break

Encore:
Lover’s Spit
Play Video
Cause = Time

The 25 best live music acts of 2016

Best live music acts of 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #25 - Tycho

25. Tycho

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #24 - Isaiah Rashad

24. Isaiah Rashad

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #23 - Bob Moses

23. Bob Moses

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #22 - Floating Points

22. Floating Points

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #21 - Ty Segall

21. Ty Segall

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


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

20. Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem

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


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

19. RÜFÜS DU SOL

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #18 - Rudimental

18. Rudimental

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #17 - BØRNS

17. BØRNS

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #16 - Flying Lotus

16. Flying Lotus

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


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

15. The Last Shadow Puppets

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #14 - Miike Snow

14. Miike Snow

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #13 - Young Thug

13. Young Thug

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #12 - Pretty Lights

12. Pretty Lights

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #11 - Mac DeMarco

11. Mac DeMarco

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #10 - Moderat

10. Moderat

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #9 - Foals

9. Foals

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #9 - Tame Impala

8. Tame Impala

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #7 - Jim James

7. Jim James

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #6 - The National

6. The National

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


Coachella 2016 - Guns 'N Roses

5. Guns N’ Roses

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


Coachella 2016 - Sia

4. Sia

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


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

3. Chance the Rapper

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


Best Live Music Acts of 2015 #2 - LCD Soundsystem

2. LCD Soundsystem

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


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

1. Anderson .Paak

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

Outside Lands 2016

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

Noise Pop 2016: Relive the festival frame by frame

Noise Pop 2016 - Heartwatch


Heartwatch

Photos by Mike Rosati & Benjamin Wallen // Written by Molly Kish //

Noise Pop //
Bay Area venues – San Francisco & Oakland
February 19th-28th, 2016 //

With the impending storm of summer festival traffic washing away the last remnants of Noise Pop, it’s time to look back at the best highlights from this year’s lineup. Serving up a bill that celebrates the diversity of contemporary independent culture, 2016’s roster was as eclectic as ever, ranging from pop stars to cowpunks (aka country punks), free-form jazz prodigies and indie-rock veterans. Bay Area venues were at capacity on a nightly basis, with crowds braving brisk weather conditions in order to experience the one-of-a-kind performances Noise Pop has spent nearly 25 years curating.

Navigating through more than 100 acts during this year’s festival, we dove right into the thick of it, capturing shots from some of our favorite Noise Pop shows. Check out our photo gallery below as well as more coverage from our friends over at DoTheBay.

Metric, Joywave drop a double dose of electro rock on their fans at Hollywood Palladium

Metric


Metric

By Josh Herwitt //

Metric with Joywave //
Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles
February 25th, 2016 //

Coincidence or not, Toronto’s music scene was surprisingly well-represented in LA last week. The Great White North’s largest city has been its largest cultivator of electronic music since the early 2000’s, boasting some of EDM’s biggest and brightest names, whether it’s DJs and producers like DeadMau5 or live improvisational bands like Holy Fuck, who we saw debut brand-new material from what will be their first studio album in six years last Thursday night (read more about the show here). But if Holy Fuck’s hour-long set at Los Globos was simply there to serve as the undercard for Toronto’s aural invasion in LA over a brief 24-hour period, then the main event belonged to a different Queen City quartet the following night: Metric.

The indie/new wave four-piece fronted by Broken Social Scene’s Emily Haines has been at it for almost two decades now, with six studio albums to boot, including 2015’s Pagans in Vegas that dropped this past September. But with their last visit to LA seeing them perform only nine songs as opening support for Imagine Dragons at The Forum, Metric had yet to play a proper show in LA since unveiling Pagans. And as evidenced by the near-capacity crowd at the Hollywood Palladium last Friday for the band’s first headlining performance in quite a while, dating all the way back to 2012, many fans were ready to get their weekend started as they arrived early to catch Joywave’s opening set.

Joywave


Joywave

For as mainstream as Metric have become — and it’s only fitting considering that Haines and guitarist James Shaw originally named the group “Mainstream” when it first formed in 1998 as a duo — Joywave have garnered their own commercial success in their rather short career, though much of it can been attributed to “Dangerous”, the Big Data hit that peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. But the electronic-inspired, indie-rock act that calls Rochester, N.Y., home harnessed that momentum to write and release its debut LP How Do You Feel Now? on Hollywood Records, so it only seemed appropriate that Joywave were here in Tinseltown to perform material from the album.

Evidently, frontman Daniel Armbruster came ready for the moment, bringing what felt like a Red Bull’s worth of energy to the stage while working the crowd in between songs with some unorthodox, yet comedic stage banter. He mentioned the group’s upcoming performance at Coachella this April and joked about LA being the ninth-most-privileged city to hear its new track from the Alice in Wonderland movie that’s due out May 27th. In the end, it was one of those exceptionally strong sets from an opener — even with only 45 minutes to work with — and we can only wonder what Armbruster and his sidekicks could do with another album or two under their belt and their own headlining gig at a large LA venue like The Palladium.

Metric


Metric

When it came time for Metric to take the stage, the audience had been properly warmed up and was hungry for more. To kick off their 23-song set that lasted almost two hours, Haines, Shaw, bassist/keyboardist Joshua Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key transported us all the way back to 2003 with “IOU” from their debut album Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? But while it was fairly safe to assume that at least part of the reason why they were embarking on a 24-date tour across the U.S. was to support their latest album, Metric only unveiled a handful of songs — five to be exact — from Pagans.

Instead, the Canadian rockers put together a career-spanning performance, whether it was “Empty” from 2005’s Live It Out, “Raw Sugar” from 2007’s Grow Up and Blow Away, “Sick Muse” from 2009’s Fantasies or “Youth Without Youth” from 2012’s Synthetica. Yes, singles like “Dead Disco”, “Poster of a Girl”, “Monster Hospital”, “Help, I’m Alive”, “Front Row”, “Stadium Love” and their most recent hit “The Governess” were left off the setlist, yet that didn’t stop them from throwing in a few wrinkles, including an a cappella intro for “Hustle Rose” and some audience assistance for “Dreams So Real”, the latter of which didn’t quite deliver as planned.

Nevertheless, it was these slight deviations that kept fans on their toes throughout the show, proving that Metric are more than just the sum of their studio cuts. Their four-song encore continued along that path, as Haines and Shaw performed an acoustic rendition of “Gimme Sympathy” before Winstead and Scott-Key made their return and closed things out with the group’s 2012 single “Breathing Underwater”. And with all four members singing their hearts out until the night’s very last note, it was easy to see why Metric have become the critically acclaimed band that they are today.

Setlist:
IOU
Help I’m Alive
Youth Without Youth
Twilight Galaxy
Cascades
Raw Sugar (a cappella intro)
Hustle Rose (a cappella intro)
Too Bad, So Sad
Artificial Nocturne
Dreams So Real (audience participation)
Blind Valentine (instrumental intro)
Sick Muse
Collect Call
Other Side
Black Sheep
Synthetica
Combat Baby (a cappella portion)
Gold Guns Girls
The Shade

Encore:
Empty
Celebrate
Gimme Sympathy (Emily & James acoustic)
Breathing Underwater

Noise Pop 2016 Shows of the Week // GO4FREE to Metric, Parquet Courts, Cayucas, DIIV & more

Metric


Metric

Written by Molly Kish //

Noise Pop //
Bay Area venues – San Francisco & Oakland
February 23rd-28th, 2016 //

Noise Pop is upon us, and the Bay Area is playing home to some of the best independent artists around the globe this week. Talent is running rampant around the city, showcasing their music, art and passions in our favorite bars and venues — and we want you to get out there and participate!

Most Noise Pop shows are sold out at this point or quickly on their way to being so. However, we have you covered with tickets to a wide variety of shows. Pick your favorite show from the list below and enter to win tickets.

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

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


Win-2-Tickets

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

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

CONTESTS CLOSED.

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

Noise Pop 2016: Daily picks & flavors of the week

Noise Pop 2016Written by Molly Kish //

Noise Pop //
Bay Area venues – San Francisco & Oakland
February 19th-28th, 2016 //

Noise Pop 2016 is here! To get you ready for all the Noise Pop festivities throughout the Bay Area, we present our daily picks and flavors of the week.

Plus, make sure to brush up on this year’s bill with our Noise Pop playlist and don’t miss your opportunity to take part in the festivities.

GO4FREE: Win tickets to Noise Pop 2016 shows all week here!


Monday, February 22nd

Noise Pop 2016 - David Bowie Tribute Party

Ziggy Stardust Tribute Party with Everyone Is Bowie: February 22nd (MON) @ The Independent, 8 p.m., 21+ (SOLD OUT)

Paying respect to the Star Man himself, film and concert enthusiasts alike can trip out to “The Spiders from Mars” at The Independent for David Bowie tribute night. The venue will be participating in the Noise Pop film series by showing a digitally remastered version of “Ziggy Stardust and “The Spiders from Mars”. After the screening, make sure to stick around for a live performance from Oakland’s own conceptual tribute band Everyone Is Bowie, including visuals by local film production company White Light Prism. There’s even a pre-party at San Franpsycho (505 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117) with live screen printing, face painting, a Bowie costume contest and free beer (yes, you read that right) from Mavericks Brewing Company.


Tuesday, February 23rd

Metric


Metric

Metric with Joywave: February 23rd (TUE) @ The Masonic, 8 p.m., All Ages // WIN TICKETS

No strangers to the the Bay Area music scene and Noise Pop’s illustrious history, 15-year-old indie-rock veterans Metric headline The Masonic on Tuesday with support from New York dance-pop quartet Joywave. Serving as one of the main headliners at this year’s festival, Metric is one band you’ll want to catch early in the week — and we have a pair of tickets just for you.

“Fucked Up But Beautiful” (Noise Pop art reception): February 23rd (TUE) @ Bender’s Bar & Grill, 5 p.m., 21+

Celebrating the flawed and accentuating the negative, “Fucked Up But Beautiful” showcases some of the work of the Bay Area’s most prominent independent artists that was never meant to be seen. Marred by sundry, footprints, bent corners and beer spills, Bender’s Bar & Grill will be hosting a full gallery of glossy disasters, which in turn have taken on a new appreciation of their own. Stop by Bender’s to reflect on mistakes and check out the labors of unrequited love from Amy Jo, Boss Construction, Bureau of Print Research and Design, Crosshair, The Decoder Ring, Drug Factory Press, Alan Forbes, Furturtle Prints, Kollective Fusion, Lil Tuffy, Methane Industries, PinkBikeRalph, Powerslide Design, Tooth and more.


Wednesday, February 24th

Andrew Jackson Jihad


Andrew Jackson Jihad

Wild Ones, Palehound with Two Sheds, False Priest: February 24th (WED) @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall, 7 p.m., 21+ // WIN TICKETS

Spanning the spectrum of everything Noise Pop, this lineup includes Wild One’s heavy synth and ethereal R&B, singer-songwriter Ellie Kemper’s solo project Palehound and local modern rock outfit False Priest. If you’re looking to shake things up on Wednesday and truly get a full taste of the Noise Pop 2016 lineup, stop by the intimately accommodating Brick & Mortar Music Hall and check out this exceptional lineup.

Andrew Jackson Jihad with BATTLEHOOCH, Owl Paws: February 24th (WED) @ The Chapel, 7 p.m., 21+

Maybe you’re looking to let loose mid-work week? If being an adult has got you down, come through The Chapel on Wednesday night and get weird with the prominent wild card’s of Noise Pop 2016. Are you into the collective craze of Andrew Jackson Jihad’s folk-punk antics or daydreaming of being swaddled in the illustrious locks of Grant Goodrich, the bass player of SF’s own BATTLEHOOCH? Regardless of your motivation, we recommend you get there early for Owl Paws’ set and go pile-driving into the second half of your work week.


Thursday, February 24th

Kamasi Washington


Kamasi Washington

“Gin N Jazz” feat. Kamasi Washington in conversation with David Katznelson: February 25th (THUR) @ Swedish American Hall, 4 p.m., 21+ (RSVP required)

As part of Noise Pop 2016’s “HQ Culture Hour” series, Bay Area music veteran and Birdman Recording Group founder David Katznelson will be chatting with saxophonist Kamasi Washington about all things jazz over gin libations sponsored by UK independent spirit purveyor Sipsmith. Signed as an accomplished protégé and part of the label’s early roster while playing as a teenager in The Young Jazz Giants, Washington has a storied history with plenty to discuss about the origins and ever-growing complexities of jazz in mainstream art and culture. Touching upon Washington’s roots, recording process and musical journey, this conversation will be a great opportunity to get an in-depth look at the band leader outside of his sold-out show later that evening.

Antwon with Alexander Spit, Unlikely Heroes: February 25th (THUR) @ The New Parish, 8 p.m., 21+ // WIN TICKETS

This lineup depicts a hometown love letter to Bay Area hip-hop. Throwing down this Thursday is a full lineup of performers looking to turn up The New Parish in Oakland. Bay Area native and world-renowned lyrcist Antwon headlines the night with his cross-over brand of indie hip-hop and will be supported by locally raised rapper and producer Alexander Spit. Kicking off the party will be SF Battle of the Band’s winner Unlikely Heroes, the hip-hop/punk outfit that promises to get the crowd pumped up.


Friday, February 26th

Parquet Courts


Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts with Chris Cohen, The World: February 26th (FRI) @ The New Parish, 8 p.m., 21+ // WIN TICKETS

Want to go to the heaviest lineup Noise Pop has to offer? Are you into sludgy, low-fi garage rock and sweaty, eardrum-rattling rock shows? No? GTFOH! But seriously, if you’re looking to do something Friday night that will leave you invigorated (more than likely wet and quite possibly with a couple of mystery bruises), look no further. The New Parish is hosting the dream lineup of prog rock and punk with Parquet Courts headlining a sold-out show with openers Chris Cohen and Emotional. If you slept on the opportunity to tear it up this Friday, you’ll still have a chance to go for free on us. Stay tuned!

Beacon with Natasha Kmeto, Running in the Fog, Frugal Father: February 26th (FRI) @ Bottom of the Hill, 8 p.m., 21+

Besides getting the chance to see some of the most promising up-and-coming artists right on the cusp of a major breakthrough, one of the perks of going to Noise Pop is that all the show are being hosted in venues that are known and loved throughout SF’s music scene. This Friday, darkwave electronic duo Beacon will take over the shoulder-grazing space of Bottom of the Hill for a truly special, one-off performance. With Beacon debuting material off of their brand-new EP, this guaranteed dance party with support from Natasha Kmeto, Running in the Fog and Frugal Father will be bursting at the seams inside this favorite venue among punk and hard-rock locals.


Saturday, February 27th

Escort


Escort

Escort with MOBLEY, COLLAJ, Push the Feelings DJs: February 26th (FRI) @ Rickshaw Stop, 8:30 p.m., 18+

Pulling influences from the legendary discos in New York, Chicago and Detroit while claiming the headlining spot on Noise Pop’s Saturday night roster at Rickshaw Stop is Brooklyn’s very own Escort. Hailed as a type of “disco orchestra” with a live show comprised of anywhere between a 5-11-piece roster, the East Coast “funktronica” outfit will be debuting new music from there yet-to-be-released sophomore album. Supported by Austin trip-hop artist MOBLEY, SF’s COLLAJ (formerly 8th Grader) and Push the Feelings DJs, this will be one of the fiercest dance parties of the entire weekend.

Song Exploder podcast with Carly Rae Jepsen: February 26th (FRI) @ Swedish American Hall, 2:30 p.m., All Ages (RSVP required)

Continuing its second year as a part of Noise Pop, Hrishikesh Hirway hosts his live storytelling “Song Exploder” podcast from the confines of the Swedish American Hall this Saturday with Carly Rae Jepsen. Dissecting her latest album Emotion and the creative thought process behind composing lead single “I Needed You”, Jepsen will sit down for a candid interview with Hirway that will lead into her performance that evening at The Warfield.


Sunday, February 28th

DIIV


DIIV

DIIV with Dirty Ghosts, Creative Adult, Fine Points @ The Independent, 7:30 p.m., 21+ (SOLD OUT) // WIN TICKETS

Closing out the festival this year with a final punctuation of raw indie-rock talent, Sunday night’s bill at The Independent highlights some of the biggest names on this year’s lineup. Headlining the showcase will be DIIV, a side project from the former members of Beach Fossils and Smith Westerns, celebrating the release of their critically acclaimed new album Is the Is Are. Paired with local female-fronted rock powerhouse Dirty Ghosts and North Bay punks Creative Adult, this show will be having you question the validity of your Sunday and whether or not a lineup of this magnitude holds much relevance when accessing your upcoming work week.


See the full list of Noise Pop 2016 events here, and you can still purchase festival passes here. Keep it here at Showbams and on our Twitter account here throughout the week for a chance to win tickets to this year’s shows.

2016 Noise Pop - full lineup

Jack White, The Shins, Metric & OM&M shine at Live105’s Not So Silent Night Friday

Jack White headlined Not So Silent Night 2012 Day 1 at Oracle Arena.

Jack White headlined Not So Silent Night 2012 Evening 1 at Oracle Arena.



Bay area radio station Live 105 put together a top-notch lineup for their annual holiday festival Friday at Oracle Arena. Night one featured a couple proper headliners, a special surprise due to a gear snafu, and a group of talented Icelandic youngsters that got a huge reaction from the stadium crowd.

Jack White anchored the evening with his all female band The Peacocks. White played most of the best tracks from his 2012 LP Blunderbuss, but the majority of the songs played were from other Jack White groups and collaborations. “Steady, As She Goes” from The Raconteurs was a main set highlight, and “Blue Blood Blues” by The Dead Weather made an appearance during the encore. Also “Two Against One” from the Danger Mouse record Rome was a treat.

Six different White Stipes songs were performed, including “Hotel Yorba,” “I’m Slowly Turning Into You,” “The Hardest Button to Button” and “Ball and Biscuit.” And as usual, White ended the night with “Seven Nation Army.”

It’s easy to consider Jack White a music legend, even at his age. He’s a an artist that carefully constructs the world around him. His crew is as sharp as they come, and they look dapper with their fedora hats and ties. This sets a professional and throw-back tone before White comes on stage. He gives it his all every time out, playing his songs with passion and swagger. Combine this with his disdain for twitter and concert photography, and Jack White creates a mysterious persona and a live music experience that is special and memorable.

Jack-White

Jack-White

The Shins performed an even mix of new tracks and classics.

The Shins performed an even mix of new tracks and classics.

About half the songs The Shins played were from their most recent album Port of Morrow. “The Rifle’s Spiral” started with the band not completely in synch, but they got it together quickly. “Simple Song” completely delivered and it sounded even better live than on the record. “Port of Morrow” slowed things down too much, to the point where the energy was zapped for “New Slang” and “Sleeping Lessons.”

James Mercer seems happy with his new bandmates, and his energy was upbeat and engaged Friday night.

The-Shins

The-Shins

Metric's gear was stuck in Miami, so they played a stripped-down acoustic set.

Metric’s gear was stuck in Miami, so they played a stripped-down acoustic set.

Metric turned lemons into lemonade since all their gear was somehow stuck in Miami. The Live 105 people set Emily Haines and James Shaw up with an acoustic guitar and piano to play a short, stripped-down set. It was a blessing in disguise for most people close to the stage.

The really drunk girl adjacent to me was super bummed she wasn’t dancing to her favorite Metric tunes, but this special treatment of Metric’s songs isn’t something that happens very often. Recently released tracks “Breathing Underwater” and “Youth Without Youth” were very pretty when the focus was on Haines’ vocals

Metric

Metric

Of Monsters and Men's anthems got a big reaction as their following gets larger.

Of Monsters and Men’s anthems got a big reaction as their following gets larger.

Of Monsters and Men’s meteoric rise continued to show as they made their forth swing through the bay area in 2012. When they played the 450 capacity venue The Independent in March before their first LP was released, it was immediately clear their anthems could fill a stadium setting. It was pretty incredible to see this materialize less than nine months later.

The Icelandic breakthrough band of 2012 might have gotten the biggest positive reaction of the night, other than Jack White. “Six Weeks” was a great way to finish the the short set. Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir is truly talented, and she comes across as extremely sweat and genuine.

Of-Monsters-and-Men

Of-Monsters-and-Men

Gaslight Anthem played a solid set as many people were still arriving.

Gaslight Anthem played a solid set as many people were still arriving.

The Gaslight Anthem mostly played tracks from their 2012 LP Handwritten, and people were still arriving during this set. They got a pretty lukewarm reaction compared to the rest of the acts, but the New Jersey group put on a solid set.

Gaslight-Anthem

NSSN