Maribou State feel the love at The Regency Ballroom

Maribou StateBy Karina Kristensen //

Maribou State with Sea Moya //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
October 16th, 2019 //

On a Wednesday evening in SF, a packed crowd at The Regency Ballroom showered English electronic act Maribou State with love. The duo that consists of Chris Davids and Liam Ivory received quite the reception for a mid-week performance.

While Maribou State released their debut album Portraits in 2015, this tour was specifically in support of their sophomore LP Kingdoms in Colour, which dropped more than a year ago now and features long-standing collaborator Holly Walker on the tracks “Nervous Tics” and “Slow Heat” as well as Texas-based three-piece Khruangbin on “Feel Good” (and yes, it does).

Serving as support was Sea Moya, a kraut-beat combo that energized us with their German-styled aesthetic. Their music was the good kind of weird — the different, yet perfect fun for warming up a crowd.

Maribou State

When Sea Moya concluded, the lights illuminated the crowd that had subtly grown to fill the space and continued to show the sea of bodies getting denser toward the front of the stage as Davids and Ivory began.

Joining Maribou State for much of their set was London-born multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Obi Franky, whose vocals sounded nothing short of incredible and fit perfectly with the feelings you get while listening to Davids’ and Ivory’s music. Past the midway point of the show, she returned to perform “Midas” off Portraits on a stage that radiated pink and we couldn’t have been happier to see Franky do her thing again.

When Maribou State walked off stage for their encore break, it was almost as if the crowd immediately expected an encore. But no one left until they came back out and performed “Turnmills” from Kingdoms in Colour in honor of the London club that closed in 2008. We really couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend a fall night in The City by the Bay.

Setlist:
Feel Good
Nervous Tics
Steal
Glasshouses
Wallflower
Kingdom
Beginner’s Luck
Vale
Midas
November Nights
Rituals
The Clown
Kama

Encore:
Turnmills

Empire of the Sun are walking on more than just a dream after selling out three straight shows in SF

Empire of the SunBy Karina Kristensen //

Empire of the Sun //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
June 25th, 2019 //

As they continue to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut album Walking on a Dream, Australian synthpop outfit Empire of the Sun hit the West Coast hard during the latter half of June with three-night stands in three different cities, including a trio of sold-out shows in SF at The Regency Ballroom.

We showed up for the second of three Bay Area performances only to find the crowd anxiously awaiting the group’s arrival onstage. When lead vocalist/guitarist Luke Steele finally emerged through all the smoke donning his usual headdress and face paint however, it quickly came to life. Complemented by a pair of backup dancers and plenty of eye-catching on-screen visuals, Empire of the Sun kicked things off appropriately with “Standing on the Shore” and between multiple costume changes and instrument swaps, completely blew us away before uncorking the LP’s title track to close their headlining set.

With fans screaming for more music during a short break, Steele and his cohorts returned to the stage for a two-song encore. Of course, how could they call it a night without performing “Alive” from 2013’s Ice on the Dune?

Naturally, Empire of the Sun couldn’t so they delivered one last taste of Walking on a Dream with “Tiger by My Side” and then sent us home feeling totally “Alive” after only 90 minutes, further proving that they have been walking on more than just a dream for the past decade.

Setlist:
Intro (video segment)
Standing on the Shore
Old Flavours
Half Mast
Breakdown
We Are the People
Way to Go
The World
Chrysalis
High and Low
Delta Bay
(Unknown) (instrumental)
Between Me and You (Brandon Flowers cover)
This Land Is Your Land
Swordfish Hotkiss Night
Without You
Walking on a Dream

Encore:
Tiger by My Side
Alive

Blonde Redhead deliver a poignant performance at The Regency Ballroom

Blonde RedheadPhotos by Karen Goldman // Written by Omar Amador //

Blonde Redhead with Porcelain Raft //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
July 22nd, 2017 //

The last time Blonde Redhead came to the Bay Area, they introduced us to Canandian indie rockers Wintersleep. On this night, they gifted us with Porcelain Raft, a New York-based solo artist armed only with a Fender Telecaster and a set of samplers.

Mauro Remiddi’s staccato-rich voice floated along to the rhythm of his samplers, setting the mood for the night. The Italian singer-songwriter’s compositions were a mix of pre-recorded, downtempo bass and percussions, a clean guitar sound and his vocals with reverb.

Porcelain Raft’s performance paired perfectly with The Regency Ballroom’s dim lights and turn-of-the-century architecture, though his music can pair well with just about anything. Many live music fans often choose to skip an opener, but with Blonde Redhead billed as a headliner, one can expect to be introduced to something profound — and Porcelain Raft is definitely one you’ll want to keep an eye on down the road.

Despite being around for more than 20 years, Blonde Redhead is anything but stagnant. Their sound encompasses a wide range of styles that draw on various emotions: somberness, anger and euphoria. It is no wonder that the band continues to draw a major and diverse following, ranging from “scenesters” who hem their own clothing to frat-boy types with cargo shorts and tilted baseball caps.

Blonde Redhead

The trio composed of Kazu Makino and brothers Amadeo and Simone Pace began in the early 90’s and has released nine studio albums, each with a unique sound and narrative. All three musicians are fluid in their compositions, with Makino and Amadeo Pace switching between guitars, synthesizers and vocals throughout their live performance. Blonde Redhead are also relentless in their art as just last year, they visited SF and were already back this summer on a Saturday night to introduce their brand-new EP 3 O’Clock.

Blonde Redhead kicked things off with “Equally Damaged”, the subtle, yet powerful vorspiel to their 2000 LP Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons. Although it was less than a minute, the quant organ loop was at first melancholic before it spiraled into the playful “In Particular”.

The group played much of its crowd-pleasing songs from Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons, with a few tracks from 2014’s Barragán, 2007’s 23 and 2004’s Misery Is a Butterfly. Makino and the two Pace brothers barely interacted with the audience, but instead focused on playing one song after the next.

The highlight of the night was the memorable performance of “For the Damaged”. Makino sat at the edge of the stage and serenaded the audience with the beautifully somber song. Had it not been for the onslaught of camera phones that were recording the moment, it would have been a powerfully emotional experience. Unfortunately, I was interrupted by two tall, girthy men in front of me that thought it was necessary to hold up their phones, though I did find some humor in overhearing someone contemplating whether to confront the men, only to stop themselves with, “Fuck, it’s so fucking beautiful,” before pulling out a phone, too.

Setlist:
Equally Damaged
In Particular
Melody of Certain Three
Hated Because of Great Qualities
Loved Despite of Great Faults
Ballad of Lemons
This Is Not
For the Damaged
Mother
Where Your Mind Wants to Go
Doll Is Mine
Elephant Woman
Dripping

Encore:
3 O’Clock
Give Give
23

Låpsley shows at The Regency Ballroom why she continues to be one to watch

LåpsleyBy Norm de Veyra //

Låpsley with Aquilo //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
November 15th, 2016 //

The Brits turned up in SF last Tuesday and left The Regency Ballroom crowd swooning. Holly Lapsley Fletcher displayed exactly why she’s one to watch as a young, up-and-coming singer, showcasing her confident and powerful voice. The smooth coolness of Låpsley’s electropop ballads from her debut LP Long Way Home belie her mischievous and humorous personality, but the audience caught glimpses of it during her headlining set.

Låpsley’s fellow countrymen, Aquilo, were on hand to open the show, and the indietronica duo nicely established the vibes early on with their forlorn ballads. The group gave us a nice peek into what we should expect from its debut album Silhouettes, which is set to be released early next year.

Setlist:
Cliff
Falling Short
Heartless
Tell Me the Truth
Painter
Burn
Seven Months
Dancing
Brownlow
This Woman’s Work (Kate Bush cover)
Love Is Blind
Station
Operator (He Doesn’t Call Me)
Hurt Me (new outro chords)

The Faint highlight their history for one night in SF

The FaintBy Norm de Veyra //

The Faint with Gang of Four, Pictureplane //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
October 23rd, 2016 //

Those seeking an all-out dance party last Sunday were in luck when The Faint dropped by The Regency Ballroom.

With a career spanning nearly two decades, the Nebraska-born dance rockers showcased tracks from their recently released retrospective album CAPSULE:1999-2016.

Post-punk predecessors Gang of Four and electronic artist Pictureplane opened the show.

At The Regency Ballroom, Danny Brown sets himself apart from all the other rappers in the game

Danny BrownPhotos by James Pawlish // Written by Brett Ruffenach //

Danny Brown //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
October 11th, 2016 //

Daniel Swell, better known as Danny Brown, came to The Regency Ballroom last Tuesday in support of his critically acclaimed album Atrocity Exhibition.

As an emcee with a cartoonish, high-pitched voice as well as a humorous lyrical style, it can sometimes be hard to take Brown seriously. This is the deceptive genius of the Detroit-based rapper — in between the lewd sexual acts and illicit drug use described in his music, there’s a deeper look into addiction, poverty and mental illness. As he opened the show with “Die Like a Rockstar” from his second LP XXX, The Regency’s bouncing floor started moving and didn’t stop for the next hour.

Danny Brown

Diving into earlier tracks and moving forward chronologically from there, Brown managed to cover a large breadth of his catalog, even for a set as short as his was on this night. Dropping bangers like “Blunt After Blunt”, “Dip” and “25 Bucks”, perhaps the most impressive aspect about Brown’s performance is the cadence he’s able to keep up, song after song after song. And no matter what the track is, the speed and flow he is able to maintain is something few rappers can keep up with (I’m looking at you, ScHoolboy Q).

Although he only performed a couple of tracks from his new album, tragically skipping over “Ain’t It Funny”, Brown still managed to prove that he is a rapper in his own lane. No one can be compared to Danny Brown because well, there’s no one like Danny Brown.

Danny Brown

Danny Brown

Danny Brown

A$AP Ferg, Tory Lanez rise above with MadeinTYO at The Regency Ballroom

A$AP FergPhotos by Lisette Worster // Written by Molly Kish //

A$AP Ferg, Tory Lanez with MadeinTYO //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
June 7th, 2016 //

An epic trio of hip-hop heavyweights took over The Regency Ballroom earlier this month, and Showbams was there in the thick of it, literally watching both the crowd and performers hang from the venue’s balcony rafters.

MadeinTYO kicked off the night with a short set in front of a jam-packed, sold-out audience that was ready to rage for all three acts. Rising hip-hop star Tory Lanez performed his own slot as the second billed artist on “The Level Up Tour,” leaving Bay Area fans pleasantly surprised to see the Canadian booked as a co-headliner alongside A$AP Ferg. But as they traded off on the mic in SF, both dug into their career-spanning setlists together.

Tory Lanez


Tory Lanez

More than just a simple hip-hop set, the show featured several guest appearances from fellow A$AP Mob members and their actual relatives, who came onstage and helped provide back-up lyrics and hype-inducing antics. A lot of the performance also involved A$AP Ferg or Lanez, if not both of them, stage diving and crowd surfing throughout the venue, mic in hand and not missing a single bar. Though at points the tactic seemed a bit overused, those at The Regency Ballroom came hard, supporting the talent both through their unfazed enthusiasm and by holding the traveling emcee’s weight with their hands, heads and whatever other body part was available to keep their footing.

At the evening’s apex, Lanez rode above the sea of fans, who feverishly directed the rapper to the side of the venue. Using a door frame to boost himself up into the arms of spectators in the balcony, he was able to climb upstairs before the track was over. And in what appeared to be almost a reverse stage dive, Lanez playfully mentioned how he is the clown of the Level Up crew, bringing new meaning to the tour’s name by taking the notion of “getting lifted” to a new level, literally.

Hippie Sabotage know how to work a crowd, but are they bringing anything new to the table?

Hippie SabotagePhotos by Lisette Worster // Written by Brett Ruffenach //

Hippie Sabotage with Alex Wiley, Kembe X //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
April 7th, 2016 //

“Who’s ready to get turnt on a Thursday?” was the question of the night at The Regency Ballroom last week.

Even with a crowd that couldn’t bring the venue to 50 percent capacity, the clear answer was, well, everyone. With support from Kembe X and Alex Wiley, Northern California hip-hop duo Hippie Sabotage brought all the energy they could to engage a young, enthusiastic collection of ravers, hipsters and stoners alike.

Leading up to Hippie Sabotage’s performance, Wiley, in particular, put on a surprisingly fantastic set. I would attempt to describe what it looked like, but the entire thing took place in the dark. No lights, whatsoever. Occasionally you could catch a glimpse of the illusive rapper in the light of a camera flash, but it was clear that he would rather stay in the shadows.

Putting on a set filled with smooth flows and heartfelt singing, Wiley demonstrated he wasn’t some no-name rapper here to warm up a crowd. Toward the end of the set, the Illinois-based emcee spent some time spinning a few beats he told us he had been working on while on the road. Rapping over his loose, glitchy, Flying Lotus-inspired beats, Wiley sure did set the bar high for the artists he was opening for.

Depending on your music interests, you could say Wiley was the top talent of the night. Shortly following his 35-minute set, Hippie Sabotage took the stage, armed with several square LED screens and a whole lot of attitude. Composed of two brothers hailing from Sacramento, the roles that make up Hippie Sabotage were quickly established for the audience: Jeff runs the music and Kevin runs the crowd.

Hippie Sabotage

Riding a wave of success born out of Ellie Goulding’s decision to share their remix of Tove Lo’s “Habits” — with enough “STAY HIGH” apparel being sold at the merch booth to make this truth uncomfortably apparent — Hippie Sabotage spent an hour and a half shuffling every 90 seconds between generic, two-step “trap” beats. As Jeff ran through drop after drop on his laptop, Kevin engaged the crowd, telling them when to jump, sharing blunts and even jumping down to the guard rail to take selfies with fans.

Admittedly, this was a remarkably effective technique by the duo, and with each song, from “Your Soul” to “Ridin Solo (Njomza Remix)”, the crowd would jump, dance and cheer, eagerly awaiting the next drop. As the set began to wind down, Kevin invited the crowd to join them onstage as they played their hit remix “Habits” — and the crowd excitedly obliged.

Does Hippie Sabotage bring something new, innovative or unique to their music? After releasing six albums in the last two (TWO!) years, I’d say probably not. Did this show bring anything new to that music? Definitely not. But regardless, as the group’s generic hip-hop beats boomed and its generic visuals looped through the set, I couldn’t help but stand there and be amazed by the level of energy coming from the crowd.

Standing toward the rear of the venue with a sense of pretentiousness hanging over my unimpressed attitude, I asked myself, “If most of the crowd is clearly having fun, is the concert actually bad? What is a concert but an opportunity to hear music you enjoy with people you care about, and dance to that music with those people?” At the very least, the smiles on their faces made it clear that most felt like their money was well-spent.

Noise Pop 2016: Relive the festival frame by frame

Noise Pop 2016 - Heartwatch


Heartwatch

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

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

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

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

Emancipator returns to SF with a new album and a full band at his side

Emancipator EnsembleBy Kory Thibeault //

Emancipator Ensemble //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
November 19th, 2015 //

Last Thursday night saw the return of Emancipator Ensemble to SF, this time in support of the recently released Seven Seas. Portland-based electronic music producer Douglas Appling, aka Emancipator, is known for his ambient, downtempo style and has garnered serious attention over the years for tracks such as “First Snow” and “Minor Cause”. One of his newest creations “Land and Sea” follows suit in this tradition. The show at The Regency Ballroom saw Appling being backed by a tight four-piece ensemble, which at times grew to six. For a fan like myself, it was a beautiful experience seeing his musical visions fleshed out.

Neon Indian debut new material at SF’s newest venue Social Hall

Neon IndianBy Justin Yee //

Neon Indian //
Social Hall SF – San Francisco
September 23rd, 2015 //

In what was the second show of a two-night run at SF’s newest concert venue Social Hall, electronic four-piece Neon Indian stuck with new material from their forthcoming album VEGA INTL. Night School with a few fan favorites thrown in for good measure. The new record, which is out October 16th via Mom + Pop Music, is Mexico-born frontman Alan Palomo’s first release since Era Extraña came out in 2011.

I was excited to finally see the band live, not to mention check out what the Social Hall had to offer. This “new” venue, which resides on the lower level of The Regency Ballroom — Mac Miller was actually performing upstairs — isn’t actually new to hosting concerts. I caught a STRFKR and Will Call show at this same spot when it was called The Lodge in 2012, so this feels like more of a re-branding than a grand opening.

Neon Indian

Though I can’t speak to how the first sold-out show was the prior night, my expectations for both the band and venue were not met. I was a little salty when I found out that I purchased a $30 ticket off Ticketmaster, only to find out people got in for free through a sponsorship by upstart music app Jukely. I had never heard of this app before, but I would have loved to put that money toward the overpriced drinks I was consuming. The drinks did little to help the muffled sound that was bleeding through the speakers, as I struggled to recognize which songs the band transitioned into without them saying “this song’s called …” before beginning to play. I couldn’t tell if it was the band or the venue’s sound system and its acoustics that were to blame, but I’d give Neon Indian the benefit of the doubt.

The stage setup itself gave off a high school gym vibe that was highlighted by the primarily young, all-ages crowd — the type of crowd that was yelling for the band to play their hit single “Polish Girl” a quarter of the way into their set and was not all that happy I was taking photos with my camera. As expected, the crowd got the rowdiest for “Deadbeat Summer” and “Polish Girl”, which the band played back to back to close out their set and begin their two-song encore. I grabbed a spot near the back left to see the failed crowd-surfing attempts, and a girl dancing on top of a guy’s shoulders. It was easy to maneuver around the venue, which seemed half full, but it was difficult to catch a glimpse of the band due to the low stage.

Neon Indian

It will be interesting to see what Goldenvoice is able to do with Social Hall as it tries to attract shows that are on a slightly lower scale in size than The Regency Ballroom. Due to the venue’s underground feel that you get from its low ceilings, I think a DJ or EDM act would be a good fit, turning the place into a “Rave Cave” of sorts. Social Hall will have to compete with the likes of Mezzanine, which is tough to beat, but it’s always nice to have another option in SF.

Setlist:
Dear Skorpio Magazine
Annie
The Glitzy Hive
Terminally Chill
Street Level
61 Cygny Ave
C’est La Vie (Say the Casualties!)
Mind, Drips
Slumlord
Slumlord’s Re-lease
Baby’s Eyes
Deadbeat Summer

Encore:
Polish Girl
News From the Sun

Neon Indian

Neon Indian

Neon Indian

Neon Indian

Ratatat turn The Regency Ballroom into a multi-instrumental dance party

RatatatPhotos by James Nagel // Written by Brett Ruffenach //

Ratatat with Despot //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
August 3rd, 2015 //

Waiting in line to enter The Regency Ballroom, I heard one Ratatat fan say, “Kind of weird it’s not Friday … sure feels like it.”

In a way, this summed up what the evening had in store for us. Due to an unfortunate logistics issue, Ratatat were not able to make their scheduled Friday night show last weekend but managed to quickly recover and put on a performance that certainly felt like a Friday night for a sold-out crowd.

As the duo took the stage, guitarist Mike Stroud began with a glimmering guitar riff to open “Pricks of Brightness”. Evan Mast joined in on bass to along with their familiar thumping, drum-machine rhythms, and the most exciting element of their live show was revealed — at both ends of the stage were two thick, plexiglass displays behind which objects were projected, creating a stunning 3D effect. The projection technique combined with the duo’s anything-but-lacking light and laser production created a thrilling show that perfectly accompanied Ratatat’s crunchy, high-energy electronic tracks.

Ratatat

Thoroughly covering their entire catalog and diving into older tracks like “Loud Pipes” and “Kennedy”, one particularly exciting part of Ratatat’s production is their ability to change up what’s being produced live. Earlier in their set when playing “Grape Juice City”, Stroud manned both a small melodica and his guitar while Mast filled the room with textured percussion and a groovy bass line. With its shimmering chords and foot-stomping beat, “Falcon Jab” was among the most high-energy moments of the night. In the eyes of the crowd, these two could do no wrong — between each track, there was nothing but roaring applause for them.

Ratatat are particularly great at keeping your attention. With nothing more than the occasional “thank-you” in between songs, the band moves quickly from track to track. One notable highlight was near the end of their set when a slide guitar was used as the lights were dimmed, which turned out to be an excellent choice — the slide guitar is a beautiful extension of Ratatat’s sound. Transitioning into the final tracks of the set with “Supreme”, Ratatat showed that they are not limited to one style.

Closing the set with “Seventeen Years” — a track, which to no one’s surprise, everyone went crazy for — served as a nice way to show that Ratatat have always been true to their sound, even now as they approach the 15-year mark. Near the end of the song, Stroud even threw in a small “Aerodynamic”-esque homage that served as a nice touch considering the ever-present influence of Daft Punk in the group’s music.

Ratatat

The pair left the stage briefly only to come out for a two-song encore, closing with nothing but Ratatat’s adrenaline-fueled, slot-machine dance party known as “Shempi”. As a huge fan of this track, I was immensely satisfied with their choice to close the show with this song.

As we all left the insanely hot and sweaty venue, a sense of amazement pulsed through the crowd only to realize that, though Ratatat made it feel like it was, it certainly was not a Friday, and we all got work tomorrow.

Ministry are still preaching to the choir after more than 25 years

MinistryBy Marc Fong //

Ministry //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
May 10th, 2015 //

Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen took The Regency Ballroom stage for a Sunday night show with the ferventness of a late-night bible thumper. His zeal showed that after 25-plus years, the early 80’s industrial metal outfit still knows how to rock. The 56-year-old Jourgensen moved and danced around while guitarists Sin Quirin and Cesar Soto shredded and heavy synths blew the crowd away. Ministry live is part thrash, part punk and still all fun.

Bad Religion excavate their 20th-century roots at The Regency Ballroom

Bad ReligionPhotos by Greg RaMar // Written by Molly Kish //

Bad Religion with Adolescents, 5 Days Dirty //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
April 19th, 2015 //

Bad Religion’s “Battle of the Centuries” tour hit The Regency Ballroom this past Sunday for the first of two nights in SF. Pitting the punk band’s early-era (1980-2000) material against its modern-day equivalent, Bad Religion’s current tour will extend through the end of June and revolves around a series of dates scheduled as a two-night bill as a way to highlight tracks from their extensive 35-year catalog.

5 Days Dirty


5 Days Dirty

Warming up the sold-out crowd, local act 5 Days Dirty opened the evening off with a somewhat confusing set filled with angsty pop punk. Donning Taylor Swift and mock tuxedo shirts, the band, although vocally charged and technically proficient, seemed a bit out of place in preceding two of hardcore punk’s most iconic bands. Whether the decision to book the group was an intentional tongue-and-cheek nod to the genre’s current state of affairs or simply a local spotlight, it provided the perfect amount of distaste in the crowd salivating for raw, old-school punk.

Adolescents


Adolescents

Up next on the bill was SoCal supergroup Adolescents. Mirroring a legacy similar to that of Bad Religion — though much more fractured — the band has also remained a part of the hardcore punk-rock scene for more than 30 years, serving as an influence for many of the genre’s contemporary artists and fans. It was during this set full of ear-splitting distortion that not only the speakers blew out, but also the crowd finally started to kick it into high gear. Filling out the main ballroom was an audience of middle-aged punks who started to stir, anxiously awaiting the perfect time to unleash amongst their punk-rock peers.

About halfway through their set of two-minute thrash anthems, Adolescents seized the moment. Recognizing the crowd was at a boiling point, lead singer Tony Cadena launched into an extended “Aaaaaaah …”, coursing the audience into a full-blown scream during the band’s quintessential call-to-arms track “Amoeba”. A huge circular mosh pit exploded on the main floor and remained rampant throughout the show.

Bad Religion


Bad Religion

With the energy at an all-time high and the venue packed to the brim, Bad Religion finally took the stage. With its token Crossbuster logo banner back lit and hanging high, the band entered stage right in dramatic fashion to the “Jesus Christ Superstar” soundtrack blaring through the Regency’s re-calibrated speakers.

A true showman, lead singer Greg Graffin immediately commanded the crowd, raising the collective energy to a fever pitch before the six-piece broke into an explosive 34-song set. Hearing the LA band rip through some of the most impassioned punk-rock ballads still contextually pertinent to this day felt near spiritual at times, especially when I stopped to look around and witnessed the audience’s reaction to such hyper-evocative material.

Bad Religion lead singer Greg Graffin


Bad Religion lead singer Greg Graffin

Only ever breaking pace to joke about the absurd amount of songs they were covering on their current tour, Bad Religion recognized how each night has been a dually cathartic process, playing hard and sounding just as flawless as ever. Each song they performed inspired crowd banter and shared choruses amongst complete strangers who were euphorically lost in the moment.

After Sunday’s show, it’s safe to say that in SF, the spirit of the 20th-century punk-rock scene never left and was justifiably resurrected at The Regency Ballroom.

Setlist:
Spirit Shine
Recipe for Hate
We’re Only Gonna Die
Stranger Than Fiction
Against the Grain
Sowing the Seeds of Utopia
You Are (The Government)
1000 More Fools
How Much Is Enough?
Suffer
Delirium of Disorder
Do What You Want
The Gray Race
Part III
The Hopeless Housewife
Modern Man
Skyscraper
No Direction
Change of Ideas
Big Bang
I Want to Conquer the World
Sanity
Henchman
Billy
You
Struck a Nerve
Slaves
The Handshake
Infected
Generator
American Jesus

Encore:
Along the Way
New America
Fuck Armageddon… This Is Hell