Doors Open: A Bay Area Reopening Series – Public Works

Public WorksBy Molly Kish //

Public Works – San Francisco

As the Bay Area continues to move into the least restrictive of COVID-19 tiers, many SF music venues remain optimistic for the months ahead. Public Works, much like The Midway, is another multifaceted space that has taken the outdoor approach for its event programming, converting an adjacent alleyway into a DIY lounge that also offers its own dining experience.

Continuing our “Doors Open” coverage of the Bay Area music and entertainment scene, we spoke with Public Works general manager Rob Casanovas to see how he and his team have been creatively adjusting the past year to survive the pandemic.

“Public Works is a very community-oriented venue. It does a very good job at trying to be as inclusive as possible and really putting that in the forefront in terms of how we book, present ourselves and the types of organizations we bring in and try to help out. It doesn’t really matter how big or small a promoter is, we’re really just trying to lay the fertile ground for them to grow.” – Rob Casanovas, General Manager

Public Works - alleyway

Walking into the SOMA venue during the morning hours feels more like you’re entering an art collective in the middle of a renovation. Naturally lit by giant skylights, Public Works’ main room is filled with houseplants, construction and stage equipment that otherwise would be tucked away or in use during normal operating hours.

Casanovas apologizes for the state of things, explaining that aside from being in the middle of internal restructuring and hiring back many original staff members, he has been working on several projects to retrofit the venue’s interior. But even after being employed at both 111 Minna Gallery and Mezzanine, Casanovas wasn’t sure if he was even ready to jump back into things when Public Works hired him to be its new GM in September.

“COVID wiped out the staff completely. When I came in, there was the bar manager and owner and that was it. When it happened we kind of kept people around for like two months, thinking that was going to be it and that we’d get back into it in June (2020). Then after going into a COVID depression for a bit, I got a phone call that Public Works was trying to do an outdoor thing and they needed somebody to run it. I was like ‘Alright, I could do that for a little bit.’ I wasn’t really ready to get back into the nightlife right away, after Mezzanine … I was like ‘I don’t know if I really want those hours anymore’ and I was really more interested in trying to help out with the art scene up here. But then I came in and I met Jeff the owner and he was just super rad. He cares about the community and really cares about the arts in the city, which was a big soft spot for me.”

Public Works - building

Located at the foot of a dead-end alleyway, Public Works is in a unique location to capitalize on the “shared spaces” legislation that Mayor London Breed put into effect on March 16th. As part of SF’s crisis response strategy to sustain the locally owned small-business sector, the venue was able to transition into an outdoor dining experience by acquiring a “Just Add Music (JAM)” permit that allows for arts and culture activities to be the primary use of the space.

“When I came in September, we were like ‘Let’s try to do this outdoor thing,’ and the first week, it was absolutely terrifying. That weekend there were Friday and Saturday shows, and at points I literally had my hands on my head staring and thinking, ‘How am I going to control these people?'”

Public Works - decorative shelf

Facing the ever-changing entertainment regulations and hearing about other failed, early-pandemic events, Public Works made sure to tread very lightly in cooperation with COVID-19 guidelines and local municipalities. Though the venue doesn’t have an attached kitchen or commissary, it enlisted local pop-ups and food trucks while staffing servers and bartenders to ensure that all food service was run legally and seamlessly.

“The whole switching to outdoor dining wasn’t the hardest, but it was just adding another cog to the wheel. Making sure everyone remained distant, had a meal and taking the time to explain all the new rules to everyone. Like in order for this to happen it needs to be a dining experience. Explaining that to some people who aren’t used to it was kind of difficult. But I would take the time to really break it down for them and let them know that we’re not breaking the bank here. Whatever the food vendors sold, they took home — they made all their money. We’re literally trying to run this to cover operations, and if we can make an extra $500-1,000 to put towards rent, then we’re stoked.

Eventually people started getting it, knowing that ultimately we wanted to bring value to what we’re doing. We weren’t just trying to throw a DJ out there with some tables and call it a day. I mean, we load everything in and out, every single night. We put out all the plants, tables, decor, stanchions … we built and painted the palettes! We’re really trying to transform that alleyway, so that it has a good vibe.”

Public Works - DJ booth

Aside from having to change their business model and battling undeterminable factors such as rising COVID-19 rates and Bay Area weather, Casanovas says the venue’s main concern throughout the past year was making sure that their guests’ comfort levels were respected and maintained.

“What really changed for us was how we approach putting on events and take into account everyone’s comfortability levels. The spectrum of who believes in COVID and who cares about masks, that all exists. But in order to throw an event you have to be able to make sure that it’s comfortable for everybody and be able to enforce the rules in a very manageable and happy way. The service-industry aspect really starts ringing true a lot more. When we’re in a nightclub, not saying you can just be an asshole to somebody, but you have to be way more gentle now.

If me putting on a mask makes someone else comfortable then I’m good with doing it. That’s kind of where we’re at. Until they say that we don’t have to wear them anymore, at Public Works if you’re standing then you have to wear a mask. Mask on, dance on! We have people that will book like three tables, so of course they’re going to want to hang out. All we say is to make sure that you have the correct amount of people at your table who can physically sit there. Just don’t be in a circle, masks off, chopping it up. Most everybody that comes by is super receptive and really nice and understanding. The return really is how grateful everybody is. Everyone sees the work that we put in, and it’s nice. It’s fun to even interact with people again, so it’s all worth it.”

Public Works - tables

With COVID-19 restrictions starting to ease up in California this spring, Casanovas says it’s pretty much full steam ahead from this point on. Although the transition has been nerve-wracking, tireless and even a bit overwhelming at times, he and his crew are beyond excited for the endless possibilities in the months to come.

As we walk through the building, Casanovas points out the various projects he’s working on and you can physically see his face light up when explaining what he envisions as the end result. He mentions how he looks forward to transforming the space, bringing in new types of talent and using this moment as a jumping-off point to expand upon Public Works’ identity as a communal space and venue.

“Honestly we feel like we have a pretty big responsibility right now. Our team is getting rebuilt and we’re kind of seeing who wants to be a part of it. I mean how many people get to come out of a pandemic and usher in a new scene? It’s gonna be crazy.

We really wanted to do something to keep it alive and really get ground level with the people who want to keep doing stuff. To see who’s out there and who wants to play! Right now we’re doing this for scraps, but we ARE doing it. Music has always been up in the forefront and everything else always trailed in the back, so now we’re really trying to close that gap. We really want to come out a lot more art forward and are going to try and bring in a lot more visual and theatrical elements. We’re talking about exactly what we can do to kind of give a little more. I don’t want to come back and just be a DJ in a room and like that’s it.

The only reason we are in this business is to throw a party and make sure that everybody can kind of let loose and bring the chill back into the world really. That’s what we’re really trying to think about now. Like how do we do this and in the right way.”

Check out Public Works’ event calendar for tickets here.

DOORS OPEN: MORE COVERAGE HERE

SF Show of the Week // GO4FREE to James Murphy 3/12 (THUR)

James MurphyWritten by Molly Kish //

James Murphy (DJ set) with Eug (FACE) //
Public Works – San Francisco
March 12th, 2015 //

World-renowned musician, producer, DJ, filmmaker, composer, actor and Blue Bottle Coffee espresso muse James Murphy returns to Public Works this Thursday night for a rare DJ set with Eug (FACE) serving as support. Known as the electro-punk archetype from his seminal career as the frontman for LCD Soundsystem, Murphy has played a key role in the evolution of modern-day dance music over the past two decades.

Forming his own record label (DFA Records) in 2001 with co-founders Jonathan Galkin and Tim Goldsworthy, Murphy provided a home for prolifically like-minded artists as well as a launching pad for some of today’s hottest touring acts: Hot Chip, Holy Ghost!, Factory Floor, Yacht, The Juan Maclean and more. After LCD played their last show ever at Madison Square Garden in 2011, Murphy continued branching out as a hands-on producer, getting involved in both Arcade Fire’s 2014 hit album Reflektor as well as several other creative projects including Despacio, remixing sound samples from the 2014 US Open, directing a short film for Canon’s Project Imagination and collaborating with the co-owner of Blue Bottle Coffee to inspire his own blend of espresso.

Contest ends Thursday, March 12th at 3 p.m.


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

Hucci: March 12th (THUR) @ Mezzanine
Howlin Rain: March 13th (FRI) @ Leo’s Music Club
The Sam Chase: March 14th (SAT) @ Slim’s
Electric Six: March 14th (SAT) @ The Independent


Win-2-Tickets

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

CONTEST CLOSED.

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

WIN TICKETS: Peaking Lights & Mister Lies at Public Works 5/21 (WED)

Peaking-Lights_post

Peaking Lights & Mister Lies //
Public Works – San Francisco
May 21st, 2014 //

Indra Dunis & Aaron Coyes, the wife & husband duo better known as Peaking Lights, will be bringing it back to where it started on Wednesday in San Francisco. Formerly bandmates in the Bay Area band Rahdunes, the two coupled in the mid-aughts and enveloped themselves in home recordings with a lo-fi sensibility. They’ve continued to grow as artists and as a family (they now have two children together), and Peaking Lights’ recording process has grown more studio-friendly as well.

Some songs, like “Beautiful Son”, give the affect of an existential feel, one of floaty, disembodied possibilities. Others like “All the Sun That Shines” vibe out into herb-induced mellow territory, as if Island Records brought in Ennio Morricone to produce a record for Memory Tapes. Dub with a dash of a spaghetti western soundscape is just one applicable genre-mashup comparison for Peaking Lights.

The group’s sound is fairly labeled as psychedelic pop, and it’s accomplished through non-traditional form (many songs run over six-minutes on record) and hypnotizing drum & bass, all at a mid-tempo pace. Beyond the singing, there’s a kaleidoscopic invasion of pleasantly-irregular sounds that act as the core melody. Think amorphous textures bathing in sunlight on a pleasant getaway to an isolated island. It’s a bit like that. Also remix specialists, Peaking Lights’ re-works for other groups including Gold Panda, Nite Jewel & Wooden Shjips make for pleasant morning listening.

They’re jumping on tour with Panda Bear from Animal Collective after this show, naturally. There’s no word on new material at this point, but these live dates speak to something in the works. Indie-electronic amalgamator Mister Lies will be opening with his captivating experimental ambiance on Wednesday at Public Works, so be sure to get there on the early side of things. -Mike Frash

Buy tickets if you want to go!


Win-2-Tickets

Enter to win if you can attend this show Wednesday, May 21st at Public Works in San Francisco.

Submit your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Wednesday, May 21st at Noon. Winners will be picked at random & notified by email. Your email will be kept private – we will share your email with no one. 21+ Only

CONTEST CLOSED

Peaking Lights

WIN TICKETS: Pete Tong at Public Works 5/2 (FRI)

Pete-Tong_post

Pete Tong with Tim Green, Ardalan //
Public Works – San Francisco
May 2nd, 2014 //

The legendary Pete Tong is coming to town and you need to see him at Public Works. You may know him from putting in over twenty years at BBC Radio 1 where he hosts “The Pete Tong Show”, and “The Essential Mix Show”, which has helped to jump start the career of many amazing producers and DJs. You may know him from his most recent three new compilations, which were mixed alongside Riva Starr, Booka Shade, and Felix Da Housecat. You may know him as part of the history of acid house and electronic dance music. Maybe you know him from his Ibizian residency, headlining festivals, or music production. However you know him, make sure your Friday night is a legendary dance party by going to see Pete Tong at Public Works. Tong will be joined by Tim Green (Cocoon), Ardalan (Dirtybird), and more, plus visuals by allofitnow. -KRYSTAL BEEZ

Buy tickets if you want to go!


Win-2-Tickets

Enter to win if you can attend this show Friday, May 2nd at Public Works in San Francisco.

Submit your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Friday, May 2nd at Noon. Winners will be picked at random & notified by email. Your email will be kept private – we will share your email with no one. 21+ Only

CONTEST CLOSED

1912523_631277896925404_1850841703_n-300x388

WIN TICKETS: Public Works Loft and ISIS present Kele Okereke (Bloc Party) 2/8

Kele Okereke

Kele Okereke (Crosstown Rebels / Bloc Party)
Public Works [Loft] – San Francisco
February 8, 2014 //

Legendary front man and solo artist extraordinaire Kele Okereke is celebrating the release of his latest EP Heartbreaker out on Crosstown Rebels, this Saturday at Public Works in SF. As part of the monthly conjuring of love and self, presented by Isis, Okereke brings his blend of indie rock and classically inspired house grooves to ignite the loft dance floor with help from Hi, Today and host Brittany B. of High Fantasy.

Gaining international success over the course of a decade-long career as both the lead man of the alternative rock archetype Bloc Party and as a distinguished solo artist, Okereke is no stranger to sold-out festivals and amphitheater crowds. To be able to celebrate such a talent on this intimate of a scale amongst a gathering of minds, spirits and booty shaking benevolence will be an in inimitable experience for the ages. Highlighted by a midnight crowning of Vogue and Tone’s own Saturn Jones, Isis’s Church of House welcomes all to come worship at what will be one of the most spiritually invigorating ceremonies of 2014. Amen!

Buy tickets if you know you want to go!


Win-2-Tickets

Win 2 Free Tickets!

Enter to win if you can attend this show Saturday, February 8th at Public Works in SF.

Submit your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Saturday, February 8th at Noon. Winners will be picked at random & notified by email. Your email will be kept private – we will share your email with no one. 21+ only.

Like Showbams on Facebook and follow Showbams on twitter to be eligible to win.

Best live music venues in San Francisco // Bay Area

Photos by Sam Heller, Marc Fong, Maggie Corwin, James Nagel & Mike Frash

Photos by Sam Heller, Marc Fong, Maggie Corwin, James Nagel & Mike Frash

San Francisco is one of the best live music cities in the world — if an act is touring the western United States, they will most likely swing through SF. Packed into 7×7 square miles, the City by the Bay offers some kind of concert nightly. The East Bay, Oakland and Berkeley, respectively, is home to a growing number of live music options as more and more folks flee the City for better living costs.

Here are the best places to catch a show in or near San Francisco.

The-Independent

The Independent

628 Divisadero St. San Francisco, CA 94117
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: The Independent boasts the best sound, artist curation and lighting in the Bay Area for any room close to it’s 500-person max capacity — and you can count on 3-5 shows per week. It’s a great venue to catch artists on the rise from virtually every music genre, and already-established groups such as Phoenix, Green Day, TV on the Radio and Band of Horses have performed at this intimate musical oasis.

Best Features: The general admission venue is a conveniently-shaped square; no matter where you watch the show, the sound is stellar and you can see what’s happening on the lifted stage. The staff is professional, friendly and drinks are easy to procure. The Independent is simple and perfect, an ideal platform to witness bands and DJs live before they get bigger.

Drawbacks: Bring earplugs and sunglasses if sensitive to sound and light. Arrive early to secure a parking spot if driving — if possible, take public transportation and grab a drink nearby before the show. Get there when doors open if you need a seat.

The-Fox

Fox Theater – Oakland

1807 Telegraph Ave. Oakland, CA 94612
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: Fox Theater Oakland is a premium, large theater-style venue with a general admission floor and sizable, assigned-seated balcony overhead. The renovation of this historic site was masterfully achieved in 2009, conserving the stellar artwork and design features.

Best Features: No expense was spared in this renovation. Cool air rises from hundreds of vents in the floor, keeping attendees comfortable. The multitude of bars are fully staffed and efficient.

Drawbacks: In order to accommodate BART travelers, the venue has a pretty strict curfew, with shows ending well before midnight.

The-Fillmore

The Fillmore

1805 Geary Blvd. San Francisco, CA 94115
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: The Fillmore is nondescript from the outside, but a classic gem once you enter and climb the stairs. Expect a warm welcome, a selection of free fresh apples in the tradition of Fillmore founder Bill Graham and a free poster of the evening’s show (if the event sold out three weeks in advance usually).

Best Features: A large general admission floor area (1,200 capacity), surrounded by adult-beverage facilitators, is overshadowed by the venue’s iconic chandeliers that add a touch of sophistication to any affair. There is an additional saloon upstairs with ample seating away from the stage, and live acts will perform here on occasion before and during the opening act. Also, be sure to head upstairs to view previous show posters.

Drawbacks: If having a seat is on the agenda, arrive early and head for the poster room. Snag a seat and cozy up to the balcony rail for the best view in the house, but the best sound can be found on the floor.

*Bonus Venue: The BooM BooM RooM across Geary Blvd. is an excellent place for a pre-show martini and to keep the party going once The Fillmore has wrapped for the evening. This room focuses on jamming into the late night, often until 4 a.m.

Great-American-Music-Hall

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell St. San Francisco, CA 94109
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: This historic space has been a beloved jewel for live music for well over 100 years, able to house some 600 attendees on any given night. As SF’s oldest nightclub, the Great American Music Hall can transport music fans to a more elegant era with its ornate balconies, soaring marble columns and elaborate ceiling frescoes.

Best Features: The Great American features a great variety of acts over the year and offers something for everybody. The space, sound and staff are top-notch. Opt for dinner and a show (quick tip: the food is great) to secure a seat on the balcony rail upstairs.

Drawbacks: The location is rather central to many areas of the city, though it’s not the safest in the the City. The venue’s lights are rather basic, but they aren’t needed in a room with such grand decor.

The-Greek

The Greek Theatre – UC Berkeley

2001 Gayley Rd. Berkeley, CA 94720
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: A seasonal venue from the Spring to the Fall at the top of the UC Berkeley campus, The Greek Theatre can pack 8,500 folks into their popular, yet infrequent concerts. Constructed after the ancient Greek theater of Epidaurus in 1903 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, this space often inspires magical performances.

Best Features: The sound from within the bowl provides incredible acoustics, but get there early for a spot in the seated steps or within the pit. If all seats are taken, get closer and stand in the general admission area as close as possible for a memorable live music experience.

Drawbacks: Don’t retreat to the grass — the magic is lost outside of the main bowl area. Getting to the venue (and back) requires walking up the campus, or driving to the top. Parking near the theater also means it will take forever to leave, and it will cost you $20 or more. Give yourself plenty of time and plan on walking. Shows won’t go past 11 p.m. due to the campus’ curfew, and be sure to head to the top of the grass for the quickest bathroom lines.

The-Warfield

The Warfield

982 Market St. San Francisco, CA 94102
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: A 2,300-capacity theater located on Market Street, The Warfield beckons a near century-long history as a premier downtown music venue. Ornate gilding and details are found throughout this lovely space, and a recent renovation upgraded many areas in need of a little help.

Best Features: The tiered floor has become a staple for California mid-size venues like The Fox in Oakland and The Wiltern in Los Angeles, allowing an array of sight-lines for attendees. It’s in an easily accessible location with decent bars and restaurants within proximity.

Drawbacks: Mid-Market is trying to revive itself from a once-peppered history. Similar to many other “overhang” theater venues, the sound can leave a bit to be desired if in the middle or back of the general admission floor.

Bimbos 365 Club

Bimbo’s 365 Club

1025 Columbus Ave. San Francisco, CA 94133
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: Bimbo’s 365 Club, located on the fringes of North Beach, offers one of the most unique live concert settings in SF. Red velour curtains and exquisite details lend to an entirely classy experience in this 685-capacity, theater-like live performance space.

Best Features: It’s not like any other venue in the City in regards to location and style — side rooms and bars create an ideal pre-show place to socialize and imbibe. The low stage creates an intimate atmosphere with the limited acts that grace the stage over the year.

Drawbacks: The North Beach location is not the easiest venue to reach in comparison to others, and the booking leaves much to be desired as folks love this space.

Rickshaw-Stop

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell St. San Francisco, CA 94102
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: This recent hot-spot hosts many up-and-coming indie acts bursting onto the scene before they graduate to larger rooms. Expect a hip crowd sipping on strong drinks in a no-frills room, enjoying heat-seeking artists from across the globe. Shows start late, even on weekdays.

Best Features: Rickshaw Stop has very dynamic booking, bringing in all sorts of parties to utilize this Civic Center area venue. The bar is efficient for a small-ish room that can fill up nicely, but not overly.

Drawbacks: It’s basically a long narrow room with a small “balcony”, therefore sight-lines can be rough for those who are vertically challenged on the main floor.

Mezzanine

Mezzanine

444 Jessie St. San Francisco, CA 94103
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: Mezzanine specializes in up-and-coming club scene shows, hosting DJs from all over the world and bands that incorporate electronic elements into their music. Expect young people ready to party in a rectangular room that can hold up to 1,000 people.

Best Features: DJs will perform on the ‘side stage’, cultivating a dance-centric environment before and after live acts. A great choice for birthdays, bachelor parties and other special occasions, secure a table and bottle service on the floor or in a private area upstairs.

Drawbacks: Ins and outs are not permitted, and it can get a bit crunchy near the front and in the smoking area. Getting drinks can be a challenge during peak times.

Brick and Mortar

Brick and Mortar Music Hall

1710 Mission St. San Francisco, CA 94103
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: An intimate, square space for live music, Brick and Mortar Music Hall in the Mission hosts concerts almost nightly, and they are always affordable. Rock, bluegrass, funk, soul and many more types of shows go down here.

Best Features: Brick and Mortar has that “neighborhood rock/club” feel — if you are in the ‘front row’, then you are basically on the stage — and it just became the new home of outcast swine-house Bacon Bacon during lunchtime.

Drawbacks: Cash only at the box office. It can get a little tight during capacity shows unless you squiggle to your left against the wall.

The-Chapel

The Chapel

777 Valencia St. San Francisco, CA 94110
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: The newest venue in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, The Chapel opened in 2012 and includes an attached restaurant and bar. The building was originally built as a mortuary, so the funeral home’s Chapel was converted to the music room upon renovation. There is a mezzanine above the floor level of the Chapel for bird’s-eye view observing.

Best Features: The restaurant and bar is brand-new and swanky, and the high ceilings and beams in the formerly sacred space give it a unique, striking feel for live music. More acts are booked with each passing month, and bigger names becoming more frequent too. Artists usually have a rootsy and indie sound aesthetic, but The Chapel recently had their first DJ night.

Drawbacks: It’s a great location for nightlife, but not for parking. The stage is small, and it can be tough to secure a drink at peak moments.

The-New-Parish-why

The New Parish

579 18th St. Oakland, CA 94612
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: This unique venue has recently sprouted up in the East Bay, and many are taking notice of their recent success. With a courtyard and large, wrap-around balcony, The New Parish offers many options for patrons to get down, watch the act or be social with friends.

Best Features: A plethora of national touring acts are opting to stay east of the bay and hold court in this ever-rising space. Securing a view of the stage isn’t terribly tough with a less traditional venue setup. Proximity to the Fox Theater makes it a popular place to keep the night going.

Drawbacks: The design of the space is unlike any other, and this has a few negatives regarding access to the bar or sound being optimal. It’s in Oakland and goes late, so not great for SF-bound BART riders.

Civic-Center

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

99 Grove St. San Francisco, CA 94102
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: As big an open, indoor floor space that exists in the Bay Area (not including arenas), the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium can fit 7,000 people into its vast confines.

Best Features: There’s plenty of floor space — and plenty of seats upstairs if you arrive early enough. The location adjacent to City Hall makes it easy to get to via public transportation. When the Civic Auditorium is packed and full of energy, it comes alive.

Drawbacks:
When the venue isn’t sold out, there’s an empty, hollow feel to live music here. The sound can seriously lack at times, especially from the sides. The best bet is to get in front of the large speaker banks (duh). Some acts, like Phish, bring additional sound equipment to fill out the copious space in the building.

Bottom-of-the-Hill

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St. San Francisco, CA 94107
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: This legendary little rock club at the foot of Potrero Hill has room for 350 partygoers of varying ages. It’s a well-oiled and well-regarded space that breeds lively shows by bands of all sizes and eras.

Best Features: Not exclusively a 21-and-over club, Bottom of the Hill allows patrons of all ages the chance to enjoy a high-energy show in this wacky space. Ample parking, a large smoking section and reasonably priced drinks as well as tickets make it an ideal spot to rock out.

Drawbacks: The booking doesn’t veer terribly far off the path of rock ‘n’ roll. The lights are simple, as one might expect from a venue like this.

Cafe-Du-Nord

Cafe Du Nord

2170 Market St. San Francisco, CA 94114
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: Walking down the stairs into the main room lends the vibe of a classic speakeasy with red velour and classical seating in the back. It’s yet another historic space to enjoy some fresh artists of the 21st century in an intimate setting.

Best Features: Located rather conveniently on Market Street makes Cafe Du Nord both accessible and flush with pre-show drink options. Cafe du Nord is amazing for the fan hoping to engage with his or her favorite artists.

Drawbacks: The room has an odd shape with a bar, seating and even a pool table in the back, while the front is slightly sectioned off for live music.

Slim's

Slim’s

333 11th St. San Francisco, CA 94103
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: Slim’s is located in a lively section of SOMA, and the venue hosts a vast array of lively acts for an all-ages crowd with a maximum capacity of 400. A high-ceiling room with few frills makes it a good option for dedicated fans.

Best Features: A large bar makes grabbing a beer or cocktail a snap, and they offer dinner with premium, upstairs seating if that’s your thing. The sound is just fine to accommodate either hardcore punk-rock or some of the Bay’s finest hip-hop.

Drawbacks: Oddly-placed pillars can obstruct attendees’ views and make a sold-out room that much more less appealing.

Public-Works

Public Works

161 Erie St. San Francisco, CA 94103
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect:
Expect two venues in one. Public Works offers a live music space and a separate room dedicated to dance music curated by some of the best DJs around. A separate ticket is needed for each option.

Best Features: The location is pretty central to most of the City. The live venue offers a balcony overhang — get there early for the best spot in the house. The staff is friendly.

Drawbacks: There are a few columns that make the live space a bit cumbersome at times, and the mobility at sold-out shows can be tough.

The-Recency

The Regency Ballroom

1290 Sutter St. San Francisco, CA 94109
View Current Show Listings

What To Expect: The large, well-worn ballroom with a horseshoe-shaped, wrap-around balcony and teardrop chandeliers can hold plenty of people at The Regency Ballroom. Most shows are general admission.

Best Features: There are plenty of seats to grab upstairs if sitting is a must.

Drawbacks: Shows here are infrequent, and the sound can get drowned out at times by the massive space of the ballroom, especially from the seats. Drinks are priced astronomically.

Django Django, Night Moves pack in Public Works

Django-DjangoBy Mike Frash //

Django Django with Night Moves //
Public Works – San Francisco
March 22nd, 2013 //

London-based Django Django returned to SF to play Public Work last Friday. The show sold out months in advance, an indicator that the hypnotic headliners have become increasingly popular since their first SF appearance in September.

Vincent Neff is the frontman for Django Django, and he did a top-notch job getting the crowd pumped up, but this foursome that met at University in 2009 is clearly a tight unit. Drummer David Maclean produced their self-titled debut record, which was nominated for the 2012 Mercury Prize. As they normally do, all members of the group wore matching outfits and are connected through someone synchronized movements on stage.

One of the most impressive aspects of Django Django is how they create sounds and make them work in a live environment. As the show was set to start Friday, about 30 noise-making devices were placed next to a swath of pedals and loopers at the foot of the stage. Django Django creates their unique sound through a plethora of methods, using claves, coconuts, cowbells and much more. Then, they loop the sounds and modulate the noises to recreate their cuts in a live environment.

The featured group out of Minneapolis Night Moves kicked off the evening with John Pelant’s beautiful, even angelic voice taking center stage. Night Moves presented songs that came off as more palatable Portugal. The Man — they are worth checking out. Night Moves will be performing with Poliça at Mezzanine in April.

Noise Pop preview: Indie music, film and art take over SF

Noise-Pop-2013

“I think our tag line “Championing Independent Culture” is an accurate description of what we are.” ~Julie Zielinski, Assistant Producer of Noise Pop

Written by Mike Frash & Molly Kish //

Noise Pop, an indie music festival that features emerging artists and living legends, is poised to take over 25 San Francisco venues from February 26th-March 3rd. It began as a one-night affair at The Independent 21 years ago, and has expanded to incorporate independent film and a wider range of art into the sphere of the week-long event.

The artist curation has also evolved over the years. “We’ve definitely extended Noise Pop as a concept. It started out so much as indie rock like Built to Spill and White Stripes,” said Julie Zielinski from Noise Pop headquarters. “But since we began Treasure Island Music Festival, we have expanded to electronic music and even hip hop a little bit.”

Subscribe to our Noise Pop 2013 Spotify playlist.

As you’ll see below, some of the best looking Noise Pop shows have already sold out. But fear not! You can purchase a Festival Badge, which is a super value for show hoppers & concert addicts. The badge grants access to all general admission (non-seated) shows, films, happy hours, Culture Club and other events during the festival.

Noise-Pop-2013

“We try to curate really unique shows and while we often have big headliners, it’s super important to us to have local bands and West Coast representation in all of the supporting acts.” ~Kelleyann Schilke, Noise Pop Production Coordinator

Noise Pop Headliners
toro-y-moi
Toro Y MoiFriday & Saturday March 1 & 2 @ The IndependentSOLD OUT Buy a badge

Coming off the recent release of his third studio album Anything in Return, Toro y Moi (aka Chaz Bundwick) brings the sexy to this year’s Noise Pop lineup. Bundwick is a “chill wave” innovator rooted deeply within the genres of R&B, Soul and Funk and now dance with the new LP. Toro Y Moi, Bundwick’s full band, will be heating up The Independent for two sold out nights. With support from Sinkane and Dogbite, prepare to leave a sweaty mess with no tread left on the soles on your shoes.

Best show to boogie your way into some baby making.


!!! (Chk Chk Chk)
!!! (chk chk chk)Thursday February 28 @ Great American Music HallBUY TICKETS

Kicking off the weekend early with some movement, bi-coastal dance-punk party starters Chk Chk Chk will be bringing down the house at Great American Music Hall. With their fifth studio album Thr!!!er dropping April 30, which the band describes as “auricular magic,” one can anticipate !!!’s first show of their tour to include a healthy dose of new material along with crowd favorites. Festival veterans, Chk Chk Chk know how to motivate crowds to get asses shaking. Nic Offer’s ecstatic outfit has the ability to continuously satisfy long term fans and blow the minds of first time witnesses. Combine that with the added support of three up and coming acts led by White Arrows, and this show is one not to miss.

Best show to gain a new appreciation for booty shorts and leave with some stellar dance moves.


Amon-Tobin
Amon Tobin (DJ set)Friday March 1 @ Public WorksBUY TICKETS

After a widely successful and rigorous schedule promoting his 2011 album ISAM, Amon Tobin brings his special blend of performance art & gritty beats to Public Works. His latest work, coming in the form of a Two Fingers album Vengeance Rythym and remixes of “Chaos Theroy,” is bound to be front and center at his Noise Pop performance, bringing to life his unique vision of “dub step built on an interplanetary level.” Accompanied by hard hitting openers Maus Haus, Naytronix and Group Rhonda, this show displays the diversity of Noise Pop 2013 by slapping you across the face with dirty electronic talent.

Best show to attend ready to rage and leave with enough optical stimulation to inspire the completion of your visual arts thesis.


Starfucker (STRFKR) Friday March 1 @ The RegencySOLD OUT Buy a badge

Polyvinyl darlings and favorites amongst the electro-indie scene, Starfucker (aka STRFKR) make their way back to the Regency Ballroom for one of the most anticipated shows of the Noise Pop 2013 Festival weekend! Celebrating the release of their forth LP Miracle Mile February 19, the boys took some risks with their songwriting and produced what is being hailed as their most ambitious effort to date. In addition to their infallible dance-floor-ready discography, expect to hear some of their recent successful experiments with funk, psychedelic pop and disco. Taking the stage after one of the strongest opening acts of the festival, Blackbird Blackbird, this show will leave you ready to take the city by storm (on your way to 1015 Folsom).

Best show to find yourself singing, jumping, dancing and/or making out with someone, whether you know ’em or not.


Rogue-Wave
Rogue WaveFriday March 1 @ Bottom Of The HillSOLD OUT Buy a badge

East Bay indie rockers Rogue Wave are headlining an intimate show with Wymond Mills, Mwahaha, and Brainstorm at Bottom of the Hill. On the heels of a cryptically announced LP that is in the works, this one of two shows Rogue Wave has on their touring calendar. Eager to debut new material and backed by a killer local line up, Rogue Wave play chaperone to a bar mitzvah of local Bay Area talent. Welcome back to Zach!

Rogue

Best show to avoid your ex that you see across the room. The one that stole your copy of Out of the Shadow and is still sporting your Rogue Wave T-shirt. Awkward …


YACHT
YACHTSaturday March 2 @ SlimsBUY TICKETS

YACHT began as Jona Bechtolt’s solo project, but at a live show you are more likely to have your eyes on singer Claire Evans. Evans officially made YACHT a twosome in 2008, and they haven’t looked back since. YACHT is much more than a creative duo that tours with a full band and recreates their digital sound with live instruments. YACHT is a movement, even a borderline religion. I’m not kidding.

Best show to Overcome Humanity and Become Your Own God


thermals
The ThermalsFriday March 1 @ Rickshaw StopSOLD OUT Buy a badge

The Thermals bring their infectious post-punk energy to Rickshaw Stop for Noise Pop 2013. Aiming to tear shit up with Bay Area bad asses Dirty Ghost’s, The She’s and EV Kain, this lineup is bursting with with raw talent and youth. The central core of Noise Pop is to feature bands on the rise in venues known for breaking new artists – to call attention to burgeoning talent, ya dig? Get on it!

Best show to watch a female spill her drink on you while pogo dancing, make fun of you for how ridiculous you look and buy you a shot in place of an apology.


Kim-Gordan
Body/HeadTuesday February 26 @ Rickshaw Stop • BUY TICKETS

One of the most anticipated and exciting acts of the Noise Pop 2013 line up, Body/Head has even the most seasoned of music professionals’ tongues wagging with predicative prose. Noise Pop Assistant Producer Julie Zielinski says, “We have some fun shows like Body/Head, Kim Gordon’s side project. The thing about this one is that really none of us have heard it, so it’s going to be this huge surprise.” An experimental project formed by indie rock legend and founding member of Sonic Youth Kim Gordon and free noise guitar superstar Bill Nace, this outfit is one that falls nicely into the Noise Pop realm.

Best show to arrive with absolutely no expectations, except that you are seeing a new act before everyone else.


Damien-Jurado
Damien JuradoSaturday March 2 @ The ChapelBUY TICKETS

Those with a proclivity toward singer-songwriters might want to check out Damien Jurado at San Francisco’s newest venue The Chapel in the Mission. Lately Jurado has been been releasing new records at a yearly clip, and he’s currently touring on his 2012 effort Maraqopa. Jurado is certainly an under-the-radar talent; his songs and discography greatly outweigh his overall success.

Best show to discover a hidden musical gem.


Catch Em Before They Blow Up
thao

“I’ve been with Noise Pop for about five to six years now, and I remember the first year I said ‘Wow, I don’t even really know a lot of these bands,’ and I consider myself pretty well versed. Then from the progression of Noise Pop, to SXSW to the next set of festivals you would see bands like the Fleet Foxes play second of four at the Bottom of the Hill, then all of the sudden they are on the front cover of all of these magazines. It’s interesting to see how people are able to trampoline onto the next thing.” ~Julie Zielinski, Assistant Producer of Noise Pop

Thao & The Get Down Stay DownSaturday March 2 @ Great American Music Hall
SOLD OUT Buy a badge

Thao Nguyen, the spark-plug front-woman for The Get Down Stay Down, is ready for the spotlight and even mainstream radio-play with the release of We the Common on February 5. Title track “We the Common (For Valerie Bolden)” will be a hit – and for a good reason. The track plays on multiple genres successfully, contrasting a bluegrass/jazz based-sound with synth hits, alt-rock beat transitions and poppy, Regina Spektor-like accessible lyrics. By the time the refrain kicks in (“Whooo-a-hooo, haha), it becomes easy to speculate that Thao and The Get Down Stay Down could have a big year.

Ty-Segall-Fuzz
FUZZFriday March 1 @ The KnockoutSOLD OUT Buy a badge

When Trouble in Mind Records received an anonymous submission by a heavy psych rock band last year, the mystery of FUZZ was born in a wall of sound. When the veil was raised, it turned out to be Ty Segall and his long-time collaborator Charlie Moothart were the creators of this new ruckus. The plot thickened when it was learned that Ty was manning the drumkit while Moothart banged out riffs heavy enough to make Sabbath blush. Bongs across America rattled as this is no average stoner rock band. The vocals are unmistakably Segall, which couldn’t fit the limited tracks any better.

Having the pleasure of seeing this band at tiny Hemlock Tavern got me excited that this was not a waste of Segall’s increasingly valuable time and effort. Having known that Ty is competent on all instruments lends perfect sense to him truly wanting to try it all, and sooner than later.
-Kevin Quandt

DIIVFriday & Saturday March 1 & 2 @ Brick & Mortar Music HallSOLD OUT Buy a badge

Beach Fossil’s Zachary Cole Smith released a whopper of a solo effort in 2012 under the aquatic-name, DIIV (Dive). Heavy on the reverb and not lacking any quality of pop shoe-gaze mentality, DIIV’s sound has a way of grabbing you and holding on as the infectious guitar hooks play over and over in your skull. Apparently the secret is out, as two Noise Pop shows sold out rather quickly. The attention is deserved.

Nosaj-Thing
Nosaj ThingThursday February 21 @ California Academy of Sciences

Nosaj Thing produces subtle yet contemporary beauty at it’s finest. It was well worth the wait for Jason Chung’s new album Home under his Nosaj Thing monicker, as this fresh batch of progressive down-beat tracks is full of his unique sound. Nosaj Thing is headlining the weekly California Academy of Sciences Nightlife February 21, the Thursday before Noise Pop week.

Scene-Unseen
Washed Out, Toro Y Moi, Young Magic Scene Unseen II • Friday March 1 @ 1015 FolsomFree with RSVP

Did you see all the sick shows happening Friday March 1st? The place to be afterwards will be at 1015 Folsom, where Washed Out (Ernest Greene) and Toro Y Moi (Chazwick Bundick) spin at this free after-party.

Culture-Club-Logo

“The Culture Club, it is what all of these musicians and artists do outside of just making music…” ~Kelleyann Schilke

Culture Club Presented by Bay Bridged • Saturday @ Swedish American Music HallBUY TICKETS

Culture Club, now in its third year of celebrating this process and DIY spirit, gives you the rare opportunity to see and hear your favorite artists in the music, film, art, design, food and technology communities show in an interactive way how, why and what inspires them in creating their work(s). In addition to talks and unique performances, there are hands-on opportunities for participants to delve into their own creativity as well. Culture Club creates an all-around immersive experience to get in touch with your favorite creatives on a deeper and more insightful level.

“One thing we’re highlighting this year is Olek, who is a famous crochet artist that does “crochet bombing.” She’s going to come in a teach crochet workshops and talk about that aspect of public movement which is pretty cool.”

“Also highlighting music, we’ll be featuring Dust & Grooves: For the Love of Vinyl, whom are going to come in and take photographs of local musicians and their record collections, then talk about how people are influenced by music and how vinyl has continued to effect really popular music. The concept itself is really just to highlight how much music really effects artistic movement and movement in the world.” ~Kelleyann Schilke

Culture-Club

Noise-Pop-Film
Noise Pop Film SeriesBuy a film series badge

See a Little Light: A Celebration of the Music and Legacy of Bob Mould
Q&A with director Justin Mitchell & Bob’s manager Jordan Kurland
February 27 / Roxie Theater / 9 p.m. / $10

Last November at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, some of today’s most influential artists gathered to celebrate the music of Bob Mould. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Britt Daniel (Spoon), Ryan Adams, No Age, Craig Finn and Tad Kubler (The Hold Steady), Margaret Cho with Grant Lee Phillips, and Jessica Dobson (The Shins, Deep Sea Diver) all performed songs from Bob’s historic catalog. Fortunately, the entire evening was captured in stunning audio and high-quality video quality by filmmaker Justin Mitchell. Justin and his camera crew followed Bob and the other artists meticulously throughout their day catching the rehearsals, preparation, interactions—and of course the night’s unforgettable performances.

“We also have a lot of great films I’m excited about like See a Little Light, A Celebration of the Music and Legacy of Bob Mould. Shepard Fairey is going to be there as well as Jordan Kirland, our boss in honor. Also the Bad Brains film, I’m excited about that as well.” ~Julie Zielinski

Noise-Pop-Art

Strom Thorgerson & Hipgnosis Taken by Storm: Iconic Album Art
Pre-screening Reception: Thursday, February 28, 2013 / 5–8 p.m.
San Francisco Art Exchange; February 28th-March 16th

For over 40 years using album covers as his canvas, Storm Thorgerson has created some of the most iconic images in the history of music from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, Peter Gabriel, Black Sabbath, Paul McCartney to Biffy Clyro, Muse, The Mars Volta—in fact possibly 80% of your classic vinyl collection! Eschewing digital manipulation in favor of building massive sets and tableaus, staging performances and actions and ‘doing it for real’, Storm has deliriously confounded expectations of the relation of images and music, hyperrealism and the everyday, and the role of the record sleeve at the intersection of art and commerce.

Taken by Storm, with Storm Thorgerson is really being hyped and will be accompanied by a champagne toast down at the SF Art Exchange downtown, which has the world’s largest collection of Rock and Roll Art, which is really neat as well and such an honor to have that as part of the festival.” ~Kelleyann Schilke

San Francisco Rocks! Noise Pop & Treasure Island Photography (2007–2012)
Opening: Thursday, February 7, 2013 / 7 p.m.
Festival Reception: February 26th, 2013 / 5 p.m. / Hotel Biron

In the past five years Noise Pop has brought the Bay Area some incredible live music from local bands. And, while most of us were just getting off on the music itself, a select group of some of the world’s best music photographers were taking some spectacular shots of these shows. This exhibition is a rare treat as we get a unique look at what’s been happening onstage here in our own backyard over the past half a decade.

TIMF

Bear in Heaven deliver at The Bay Brewed Rock & Roll Beer Festival

Bear-in-Heaven

Bear in Heaven, touring currently in promotion of their new album I Love You, It’s Cool, made their only west coast stop this past weekend at the Bay Brewed Rock and Roll Beer Festival.

Headlining the event’s second annual bill, Bear in Heaven played an intimate set for local fans saturated in the finest craft brews from around the Bay Area. Highlighting songs off of their latest release and their 2010 LP Beast Rest Forth Mouth, the band catered to a small crowd that was probably filtered out by the inconvenient weather and previous 5 hours of unlimited tastings.

Bear-in-Heaven

Public Works, which is known for large scale electronic shows, art installations and burning man decompressions is a venue that many indie rock outfits might find difficult to command. However, other than the few sound glitches in the opening tracks of the set, Bear in Heaven was able to hold even the most distracted of audience member’s attention.

Bear-in-Heaven

Jon Philpot’s vocals were pristine, and the band’s encompassing arrangements filled the space effortlessly. Philpot’s presence as a lead singer and multi-instrumentalist was impressive yet understated, allowing for the entire band to share the spotlight equally. Amidst his escalating crescendos and sassy dance moves, the band performed as a finely-tuned minimalist unit. Bear in Heaven delivering a performance that was equal parts professionally executed and an intimate jam session. The band seemed to derive as much joy playing for the audience as they did for each other.

The three-piece produces a sound that when listened to on record, seems like a large scale production. I was pleasantly surprised to watch a mostly stripped down set, absent of excessive frills and lighting distractions. The focus was on the band’s varied instrumentation and musicianship, and this was evident during their execution of tracks such as “Sinful Nature” & “Beast in Peace.”

Bear-in-Heaven

Bear in Heaven entranced the audience through audible resonation over dramatic visual inundation. They kept their fans entertained simply by performing material rather than hiding behind a curtain of smoke and lights. It won’t be long before they end up playing larger venues, and I’ll be stoked to have caught them in this intimate environment.