Our favorite performances from 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Best of 2017 - Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels

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

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


Best of 2017 - BADBADNOTGOOD

BADBADNOTGOOD

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

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


Best of 2017 - Spoon

Spoon

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

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


Best of 2017 - Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós

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

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


Best of 2017 - DREAMCAR

DREAMCAR

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

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


Best of 2017 - A Perfect Circle

A Perfect Circle

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

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


Best of 2017 - Radiohead

Radiohead

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

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


Best of 2017 - Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar

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

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


Best of 2017 - The xx

The xx

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

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


Best of 2017 - Moderat

Moderat

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

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


Best of 2017 - The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

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

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


Best of 2017 - Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

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

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


Best of 2017 - Jay Som

Jay Som

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

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


Best of 2017- AIR

AIR

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

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


Best of 2017 - PLANETARIUM

PLANETARIUM

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

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


Best of 2017 - The Drums

The Drums

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

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


Best of 2017 - Miguel

Miguel

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

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


Best of 2017 - The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs

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

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


Best of 2017 - Gorillaz

Gorillaz

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

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


Best of 2017 - Cage the Elephant

Cage the Elephant

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

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


Best of 2017 - J.I.D

J.I.D

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

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


Best of 2017 - SZA

SZA

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

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


Best of 2017 - Bonobo

Bonobo (Live)

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

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


Best of 2017 - Coldplay

Coldplay

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

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


Best of 2017 - Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene

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

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

Best of 2017 - Jim James

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Phono del Sol turns the heat way up in 2017

2017 Phono del Sol Music FestivalPhotos by Emmeline Munson // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Phono del Sol //
Potrero del Sol Park – San Francisco
June 17th, 2017 //

You want your Saturday to be served up scorching hot? Well, that’s what the masses at the seventh annual Phono del Sol got, and few in attendance had any issue with the literal and figurative heat that hit Potrero del Sol Park.

This little event has blossomed into one the most anticipated festivals in SF and is a true gem for those who live in the Mission, Potrero Hill and surrounding areas. Attendees this year were treated to one of the more diverse lineups Phono del Sol has assembled in its growing history, as both local and national acts of varied styles and genres joined together under an insanely pristine sky to toast the culture that makes this place what it is.

Early-arriving patrons were treated to some of Northern California’s buzziest up-and-coming acts such as Never Young and Rayana Jay, but it was Oakland’s own Bells Atlas that began to kick things up a notch and got some toes tapping with their soulful, pop-tinged flavor.

Next up was Bay-Area-via-South-Central upstart DUCKWRTH who aptly brought his infectious dance-rap stylings and was backed by a live band rather than simply a DJ. Local legend Sean Hayes held court on the smaller Mission Stage but commanded a considerable crowd as the park’s pulse continued to raise with the headliners in sight.

2017 Phono del Sol Music Festival - Jay Som


Jay Som

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

Atlanta’s own badass punk bitches, The Coathangers, closed the smaller of the festival’s two stages with a generously ruckus helping of garage punk. The group’s three members, who all donned matching outfits, brought some seriously impressive vocal interplay as they all lent a hand in that department, complete with falsetto and the always-awesome singing drummer. The Coathangers have been doing this whole rock ‘n’ roll thing for more than a decade now, and it’s clearly evident when they deliver songs like “Down Down” with surgical precision. “Make it Right” was another set highlight as heads began to bob and nod, with fans starting to loosen up those muscles for the closing onslaught.

I’m sure many folks can recall the days when you could catch Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer playing a show in the City on a near-weekly basis. Those were exciting times, and though SF has lost one of their most prolific artists to the cheap(ish) rent of Southern California, Dwyer is still welcomed with open arms, as well as the crowd-surfing skate punks in attendance.

The newly minted Oh Sees (the band just changed its name earlier this month) took the fest’s main stage in their usual whirlwind fashion and then proceeded to tell everyone to jump the barriers and join them onstage before they desecrated the generally sleepy park. While fans saw the two-drummer format in action once again, we also saw some fresh faces onstage — and more importantly, we got some new music later in their set that bordered on something akin to amped-up Fugazi. “Contraption / Soul Desert” closed out the nine-song set, and just like that, it was done. Those in attendance took a minute to catch their breath, and we were heaved into the Mission to complete one of those perfect summer days in SF.

Phono del Sol 2017: Our list of do’s & don’ts

Phono del SolWritten by Molly Kish //

Phono del Sol //
Potrero del Sol Park – San Francisco
June 17th, 2017 //

SF’s premiere community-centered, non-profit music and food festival returns to Potrero del Sol Park this weekend for its seventh year.

Organized by Bay Area online music publication The Bay Bridged along with local legend John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone recording studio, Phono del Sol has held its own as a haven for independent and DIY culture that’s been otherwise lost amid the mainstream.

Dishing up an eclectic sample of Bay Area entertainment and culinary flavor, this year’s lineup features 10 burgeoning indie, punk and hip-hop acts as well as some of the city’s premiere food trucks and restaurants, lots of craft beer and cocktails, a playground and skatepark, and even a flamingo fountain.

In order to make sure you bring your best self at this year’s Phono del Sol, Showbams has concocted a list of do’s and don’ts curated our own playlist below so that you can have the best time.

BUY TICKETS HERE!


Do: Grab your ticket while they’re still available to purchase! You’ve got a variety of admission options to choose from and all for less than what you’d typically spend on a round of avocado toast and mimosas at the terribly basic, competing brunch plans you’ll be avoiding.

Don’t: Be that person holding up the entry line because you forgot to print out your ticket or download the Ticketfly mobile app before you get to the festival’s entrance.

Do: Arrive early for “Happy Hour” specials from Noon to 2 p.m. in the beer/cocktail gardens, catch early performances and stake you claim on prime real estate for viewing the remainder of the festival.

Don’t: Forget to grab cash before you enter! Avoid the long lines and surcharge fees at the limited amount of ATMs on site and make a pit stop before you head over to the fest. Phono del Sol is a cash-only event, and there are no in’s and out’s or refunds, so be prepared.

Do: With limited shade available, make sure to wear sunscreen. Shade is limited and the rays will be coming in strong this Saturday. Avoid being as pink as the flamingos at Phono del Sol and actively hydrate at the water refill stations throughout the park.

Don’t: Bring weapons, fireworks, explosives, chains, lasers, illegal substances, alcohol, large containers, coolers, picnic baskets, instruments, professional cameras, records or a stank-ass attitude. No one has time for amateur-hour smuggling efforts — leave the obvious contraband at home.

Do: Take advantage of the first come/first serve bike parking and copious amount of public transportation options to and from the festival grounds. BART riders can walk to Potrero del Sol from the 24th St. and Mission St. station, and Muni riders can use the 9, 10, 19, 27, 33 and 48 lines.

Don’t: Forget portable chargers and power chords in case you need to Venmo, PayPal or want to jump on a ride-share after the fest.

Do: Get acquainted with the lineup through our curated Phono del Sol playlist and check out the festival’s list of food trucks here to plan your munchies for the day!

Don’t: Forget to print out the day’s schedule for those important set times! There will be two stages timed out to prevent performances from overlapping, but we know that you don’t want to run the risk of missing your new favorite band, getting lost in a sea of vendors and traffic.

Bay Area talent shines at Phono del Sol in 2016

2016 Phono del Sol Music Festival - Born Ruffians


Born Ruffians

By Norm de Veyra //

Phono del Sol Music Festival //
Potrero del Sol Park – San Francisco
July 9th, 2016 //

It was all chill vibes and good tunes last Saturday as The Bay Bridged held their sixth annual Phono del Sol Music Festival in SF.

Brooklyn synthpop duo Chairlift headlined the event with an energetic, golden-hour set that produced a synchronized-swaying dance party from the crowd. Equally as impressive were Canadian indie rockers Alvvays, who may have provided far fewer dance moves with their tunes but still delivered an engaging show.

Yet, the real notables from the fest were the more homegrown acts like Dick Stusso, Adam Vida, Hot Flash Heat Wave, The Seshen and The She’s. Highlighting up-and-coming local talent has always been part of the Phono del Sol mission statement from the start, and last weekend proved yet again you don’t have to venture far to find great music in the Bay Area.

Phono del Sol goes bigger and better in 2015

2015 Phono del Sol Music Festival  - King Tuff


King Tuff

Photos by Diana Cordero // Written by Ava Bernard //

Phono del Sol Music Festival //
Potrero del Sol Park – San Francisco
July 11th, 2015 //

The Bay Bridged teamed up with John Vanderslice of Tiny Telephone recording studio for their fifth installment of Phono del Sol Music Festival at Potrero del Sol Park last Saturday. This surprisingly affordable festival (advanced tickets were $30 and tickets at the door were $35) brought quite the diverse crowd. Fans and families alike were able to soak up the sun on a hot day while getting a chance to see some pretty epic bands and munch on plenty of tasty gourmet treats from some of SF’s favorite food trucks.

With the festivals grounds covered with an abundance of flamingo decorations, Lagunitas beer gardens and the backdrop of skateboarders set the mood for the event. Between sets from some noteworthy local and East Coast bands, festival attendees were able to enjoy tunes from LIVE 105 DJ Aaron Axelson in the beer garden all day.

2015 Phono del Sol Music Festival - Tiaras


Tiaras

The festival included 11 bands on the bill and kicking off the day was Scary Little Friends, whose psychedelic guitar riffs were showcased during favorite cuts like “We Are Young”. Opening the Potrero Stage, the garage-pop supergroup Tiaras have succeeded in becoming a Bay Area favorite, drawing in the early-afternoon crowd with their harmonious, dreamy mirage sound thanks to the vocals of lead singer/guitarist/keyboardist Ryan Grubbs. The afternoon continued with an array of different bands, such as Oakland-based psychedelic rock outfit Everyone Is Dirty, which brought a packed crowd and captured the hearts and ears of nearby passersby.

As the day went on and the sun started going down, the bands continued to keep everyone entertained. A majority of them, including Vérité, Tanlines and Generationals, shifted the music heavily toward electropop. One band on the rise is HEARTWATCH (fka The Tropics), which will also be performing at Outside Lands this year. The five-piece brought fans to their feet as people of all ages danced to Claire Georges’ sweet, happy-go-lucky vocals.

2015 Phono del Sol Music Festival - Tanlines


Tanlines

To round out the night, King Tuff and Tanlines closed both stages. Tanlines, the electropop duo out of Brooklyn, is a fun group that will make you literally “just wanna dance.” With their upbeat tracks, they proved to be an afternoon delight for everyone at the park.

Meanwhile, over on the Potrero Stage, King Tuff’s heavy garage rock was a favorite of the day, with Kyle Thomas’ nasal vocal stylings almost comparable to that of T. Rex and other bands like SF’s Thee Oh Sees. Both fun and memorable, King Tuff’s unadulterated rock had those at the front of the crowd in the middle of a mosh pit, and even some skaters hopped the fence in hopes of crowd surfing. Thomas definitely immerses a crowd with his music and succeeds in making you feel like you’re experiencing some real rock ‘n’ roll. It’s just another reason why Phono del Sol once again was a major success this year.

SF locals Cool Ghouls add horn section at Phono del Sol

Cool-Ghouls By Nikki DeMartini //

Phono del Sol Music Festival //
Potrero del Sol Park – San Francisco
July 13th, 2013 //

This past Saturday was a picture-perfect day to catch some rays, see local bands and grub on fare from food trucks at the third annual Phono del Sol Music and Food Festival. The festivities started at noon, and by the time Bay Area natives Cool Ghouls hit The Potrero Stage at 12:50 p.m. a small, yet-good sized crowd had gathered to catch their act. Though most people who went to watch Cool Ghouls enjoyed the set from afar atop one of the grassy knolls in Phono del Sol Park, a handful of fans got right up front where the sound quality was way better.

Coll Ghouls’ usual four-piece ensemble had an additional three-piece horn section, and after all the guys got situated, bassist Pat Thomas, lead guitarist Ryan Wong and Pat McDonald each said hello to the crowd before opening with the track most likely to be found on a summertime playlist, “Natural Life”.

The guys of Cool Ghouls are young and they look it, which is sort of surprising since their sound in is undeniably retro with a modern surf-rock twist. Within the first three songs of their set, Thomas, McDonald and Wong each took over lead vocals while their sweet harmonies highlighted every song.

Cool Ghouls filled the afternoon air with seven cool tracks off their self-titled debut EP, including “Grace” and “Queen Sophie”, in their own youthful retro fashion. Their performance paired perfectly with the unseasonably warm SF weather while their laid-back, inviting vibe created that sought-after feel festivalgoers appreciate at the beginning of a long day of music. Well played, Cool Ghouls.

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Nikki de Martini spoke with Pat Thomas, bassist and singer for Cool Ghouls before their Phono del Sol set.


Showbams: I understand that the name Cool Ghouls is derived from George Clinton’s funky banter. Can you elaborate on why you chose the name Cool Ghouls and what the name means to you collectively as a band?

Thomas: Well, Pat McDonald came up with the idea. I dunno. We thought it had a nice ring to it. It rhymes. It’s ghastly. I like ghosts. I wrote a song called “Ghost Song”.

Showbams: Do you consider yourselves ghouls? Do you consider yourselves cool?

Thomas: Yes and yes.

Showbams: Are you fans of George Clinton? His music? Fashion sense? What he stands for?

Thomas: I don’t have a lot of George Clinton knowledge really. I like the whole far-out vibe that Parliament had/has. Maggot Brain is a killer album. On every road trip “Can You Get to That” gets bumped at least once.

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Showbams: Congratulations on releasing your self-titled debut EP this past April. Some reviews that I’ve come across consider your sound as rather retro circa a 60’s psychedelic sound. I personally picked up on a throwback to old-school surf-rock with a modern twist. How would you say you perceive the sound of Cool Ghouls and why?

Thomas: Well, it’s pretty much impossible to imagine what other people’s ears are gonna hear when your music hits them. We just play the kind of music we’ve always played. When I’m writing or playing a Cool Ghouls song, I’m not thinking within a framework like “garage” or “60’s.” I’m just trying to channel the sounds and vibes in my brain. Certainly 60’s-type shit finds its way into what I do because all that shit is somewhere in there, in my brain. Especially with bass, Motown subconsciously finds its way into my fingers.

Showbams: I dig the cover artwork on the LP — it looks part hand-drawn/painted with a some photography up in there…who’s the artist who did the work?

Thomas: Thanks! I did the cover art myself! Yeah, it’s a canvas that I painted with watercolors. Then I taped all the other images on top. They’re all found pieces, except the rooster, which I painted. Oh, and the picture of us up in the clouds was taken by my friend Matt at one of our shows.

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Showbams: Did all three of you grow up in San Francisco? If so what area of SF, and how did you meet each other?

Thomas: Well, there are four of us. None of us grew up in SF. Both Pats and Ryan grew up in Benicia, which is in the East Bay, about 40 minutes outside the city. Alex is from Sacramento. We met Alex through SF State. The other Pat, Ryan and Alex all went to SF State.

Showbams: Were your parents hippies?

Thomas: Definitely not! My parents were born about 15 years too late to be a part of the proper baby-boomer hippy generation. They went to college in the 80’s and were into Reagan. Suburban family folk. I don’t think any of our parents were what you’d call hippies. Pat McDonald’s dad probably comes the closest. He fought in Vietnam. But I don’t think he was a long-hair or anything. He had and has a passion for rock ‘n’ roll, though.

Showbams: Do you consider yourself hippies?

Thomas: I don’t think so. Although I could imagine someone might look at us and call us hippies. I like the Grateful Dead. But no, I wouldn’t call myself a hippie. I don’t really use the word “hippie” at all actually.

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Showbams: What is your favorite album of 2013 so far?

Thomas: Finding the Meaning in Deference by The Mallard!

Showbams: How stoked, on a scale from 1 -10, are you guys to be on a bill with the likes of YACHT, Thee Oh Sees, K-Flay and a bunch of other independent local acts at the 3rd Annual Phono del Sol Music Festival this Saturday? Is this the first music festival Cool Ghouls has played?

Thomas: 10! Just to play a festival of this caliber … is definitely a first for us. Totally stoked. We will have a lot of family and friends there.

Showbams: If you could play with one band/artist who would it be?

Thomas: Can I choose four? Wyatt Blair, Meat Market, Corners and Froth. And if I could play with them at Brick & Mortar Music Hall, it would be a dream come true!


Phono del Sol gets rowdy with Thee Oh Sees & YACHT

Thee-Oh-SeesPhotos by Nikki de Martini & Mike Frash // Written by Mike Frash //

Phono del Sol Music Festival //
Potrero del Sol Park – San Francisco
July 13th, 2013 //

Phono del Sol Music and Food Festival got a bit rowdy this year, but it’s not a huge surprise with local juggernauts Thee Oh Sees topping the music bill for the fest’s third incarnation. The first two years of Phono del Sol, which also took place at Potrero del Sol Park in the Mission District of SF, offered decisively mellow indie fare.

But this year, Phono del Sol curators The Bay Bridged and John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone took things up another notch, adding a second stage and party-starting acts YACHT, Bleached, K. Flay, Marnie Stern and Painted Palms. For the first time at Phono del Sol, people raged.

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The main stage’s built-in band shell was packed tightly by the time Thee Oh Sees were ready to begin. As K. Flay continued on with her set at the Mission Stage, Dwyer grew impatient once Thee Oh Sees were ready to go. The powerless stage manager did his best to hold Dwyer off from initiating the performance, but after one false start, Dwyer said, “Fuck it” and launched the first song. Indie moshing, crowd surfing and stage diving would frame the headliners for the entire show, just as frontman John Dwyer always inspires.

Dwyer is one of the most interesting characters in music today, and his manic stage presence and antics are just as entertaining as Thee Oh Sees’ excellent post-punk sound. Dwyer spits, pounds beers, sticks his tongue out and plays his guitar near his neck, which has quickly become his iconic go-to move. And it’s obvious how he’s a local hero, drawing scores of dedicated fans that mimic Dwyer’s moves at every show The Oh Sees play.

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Most of the tunes performed Saturday were from Thee Oh Sees’ relentless 2013 LP Floating Coffin, but the most entertaining highlight of the late-afternoon performance happened when Dwyer invited everyone on stage for the final two songs.

The energy transferred to the final act of the festival, YACHT. Props to the festival organizers for placing YACHT last after the headliners — there’s no better way to end a day of music then to dance your ass off. Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans have honed their electopop jams into a tight show. Songs segued seamlessly, feigning a DJ set, as Evens commands you to pay attention and shake your booty at the same time. The set ended with “Le Goudron” and “Second Summer”, a super-fun way to bring Phono Del Sol to a close.

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