The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2019

Kali Uchis at Smokin Grooves Fest - Rochelle Shipman


Kali Uchis at Smokin Grooves Fest // Showbams’ Photo of the Year, by Rochelle Shipman

Um, that’s it? Another year in the rear-view mirror? Where the hell did the last 12 months go? Time sure does seem to fly when there’s so much good new music out there to enjoy.

With that said, it’s once again time for us to share our annual “Best of” lists like we have done the past few years (see our 2018 picks here). From new emerging artists to reunion tours to the return of rock ‘n’ roll, this year had a little bit of everything for both the casual and passionate music fan. And even if you didn’t have the time to listen to every album that came out (neither did we), that’s why we’re here: to help point you in the right direction whenever you do finally get the chance to dig in.

So, without further ado, Showbams presents The Bam Team’s five favorite shows, albums and songs from 2019.

See our favorite performances from 2019 here.

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2019:


The Chemical Brothers at Shrine Expo Hall - Josh Herwitt


The Chemical Brothers at Shrine Expo Hall // Photo by Josh Herwitt

Josh Herwitt // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. Tool at Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA – October 20th & 21st
Unlike the delay on Tool’s fifth album Fear Inoculum, I thankfully didn’t have to wait 13 years to see my favorite band perform live. It was only a couple of years ago when I caught the boys at The Gorge, earning top honors as my favorite show in 2017, and subsequently a week later at Glen Helen Amphitheater for an all-day affair with Primus, Clutch, Fantômas, Melvins and The Crystal Method. Perhaps my tastes haven’t changed all that much since then, but even in a year that saw me attend half as many concerts as I usually do, Tool are still finding new and innovative ways to enhance their live show. Whether it’s tinkering with their stage production to incorporate a see-through curtain at times or adding surround sound throughout the arena, a Tool performance has evolved into a spiritual, meditative and almost out-of-body experience over the last decade. It’s no wonder why scoring tickets remains a trial of good fortune.

2. The Raconteurs at Santa Barbara Bowl – Santa Barbara, CA – July 27th
3. The Chemical Brothers at Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles, CA – May 15th
4. Jim James & The Claypool Lennon Delirium at The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA – July 3rd
5. Foals at Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles, CA – March 24th

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Tool – Fear Inoculum
When a three-time Grammy-winning band takes more than a decade to release its next album, it’s only natural for expectations to go through the roof. And I’ll be the first to admit that there was a small seed of doubt in my mind when it came to just how epic Tool’s latest sonic voyage in the studio could and would be. But upon first listen, any uncertainty I had about the merits of Fear Inoculum was quickly dispelled. The title track lures you in from the onset, building to a higher place as Maynard James Keenan (vocals) and company — Adam Jones (guitar), Justin Chancellor (bass) and Danny Carey (drums, percussion) — take listeners on an 80-minute rite of passage that holds up as some of the quartet’s best material in its entire catalog. I just hope they got at least one more LP in them, even if it takes another 13 years to make.

2. The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger
3. Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1
4. The Chemical Brothers – No Geography
5. Black Pumas – Black Pumas

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. Tool – “Descending”
If you’re still reading, you’ve probably gotten the hint by now that I’m a big fan of Tool. After all, it only seemed fitting that my top song in 2019 should also come from my No. 1 album of the year by my favorite band over the last two decades. I have seen Tool perform a shortened version of “Descending” several times since 2014, before it ever had an official title, so when Fear Inoculum arrived back in August, there was no track I anticipated hearing more. In fact, at more than 13 minutes long, it’s one that requires your full, undivided attention, which can be a significant amount of time to dedicate in a world of three-minute pop songs and endless distractions now. But for prog-rock enthusiasts like myself who are more than willing to take the ride, “Descending” delivers a total rush of blood to the head that ultimately leads to pure unadulterated euphoria.

2. Bon Iver – “Hey, Ma”
3. Hot Chip – “Hungry Child”
4. Foals – “On the Luna”
5. Karen O and Danger Mouse – “Turn the Light”


Cate Le Bon - Reward

Kevin Quandt // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. Stereolab at Primavera Sound – Barcelona, Spain – June 1st
Primavera Sound has always had a knack for booking reunions (i.e. Pulp, The Avalanches and Pavement) to its “musical mecca” on the Balearic Sea. 2019’s iteration featured the first proper show in nearly a decade from the anti-capitalist art-pop darlings Stereolab. “Come and Play in the Milky Night” on 1999’s Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night would open the evening to the international consortium of aging music nerds who undoubtedly knew that they were about to be treated to a “best of” set from the English-French outfit. Better yet, their politically themed lyrical content seemed more relevant in 2019 than it was around the time of their creation a quarter-century ago.

2. Mike Dillon’s New Orleans Punk Rock Percussion Consortium at The Music Box Village – New Orleans, LA – April 26th
3. BLACK MIDI at Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA – November 21st
4. Amen Dunes at August Hall – San Francisco, CA – January 10th
5. Ween at Desert Daze – Perris, CA – October 12th

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Cate Le Bon – Reward
What a banner year for the Welsh artist as she created her most highly acclaimed LP to date. Le Bon has truly honed her craft over the last decade as she has collaborated with a laundry list of indie-music royalty before writing the whimsical and austere Reward that employs an array of fresh sounds swirling around her haunting, pixie vocals. 2020 will see Cate jump on tour alongside Kurt Vile in a solo capacity, but we can’t wait to see what she produces next.

2. Wand – Laughing Matter
3. (Sandy) Alex G – House of Sugar
4. The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears
5. Omni – Networker

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. Foals – “Sunday”
As Foals teeter on the edge of being rock’s next big headliner, the British group semi-quietly unleashed a pair of albums entitled Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 and Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2. While their style continues to hover around math, dance and indie rock, they dig into a deeper realm of sonic atmosphere as frontman Yannis Philippakis questions, even laments, the state of our current times. “Sunday” tends to borrow a tad from the grandiose nature of their fellow Brits in Coldplay before dropping into a four-on-the-floor section that was rather well-received during their March stop at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

2. Crumb – “Ghostride”
3. Vampire Weekend – “Sunflower” feat. Steve Lacy
4. Oh Sees – “Henchlock”
5. Allah-Las – “In the Air”


Rochelle Shipman // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. slowthai at Lodge Room – Los Angeles, CA – September 4th
Shortly after releasing his debut album Nothing Great About Britain in May, Tyron Frampton played a few intimate U.S. shows several months later. My guess is that those were probably the last ones he’ll do if the UK rapper out of Northampton continues to rise and deliver, just like he did for much of 2019. Part Johnny Knoxville-type grime smart ass, part brilliant gritty-crust punk, slowthai shook the roof off LA’s Lodge Room, which turned out to be a warm-up show before he returned to play Camp Flog Gnaw in November. Frampton certainly came to please, setting the energy level at 11 and even performing his rowdy hit “Doorman” twice in the set. He could’ve run through it 15 times and the crowd would’ve left just as satisfied.

2. Little Simz at The Echo – Los Angeles, CA – June 13th
3. Taking Back Sunday at Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles, CA – April 11th
4. Night Moves at The Echo – Los Angeles, CA – September 21st
5. Usher at Smokin Grooves Fest – Long Beach, CA – June 15th

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Little Simz – GREY Area
The production. The flow. The bars. The BALLS. Little Simz absolutely brings it on GREY Area, leaving no space for second-guessing, sexist bullshit or honestly anyone else at all. This latest studio album from the British emcee is all her, and you can feel it with every breath she takes. We should all be so lucky to come into our confidence the way that she did on this record, but most of all, we should just be grateful “Simbi” trusts us to keep her deepest secrets — and that they sound so, so good.

2. slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
3. Shura – forevher
4. Ari Lennox – Shea Butter Baby
5. White Reaper – You Deserve Love

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. slowthai – “Doorman” (with Mura Masa)
This song technically dropped in 2018, but its spotlight was shone even wider with slowthai releasing his debut LP this year. The Mura Masa-assisted cut pulses with adrenaline, carries the air of a movie soundtrack in only three minutes and has a beat that will take you all the way to the moon and back. In the words of Lizzo, it’s a whole damn meal!

2. Kari Faux – “Latch Key”
3. Billie Eilish – “bury a friend”
4. Little Simz – “Venom”
5. Smino – “Trina”


Tool - Fear Inoculum

Andrew Pohl // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. IDLES – Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – October 10th
After putting out one of my favorite albums from 2018 and missing their show earlier this year, I was thrilled to finally catch IDLES live. To say that these English punk rockers put on a good performance would be a true understatement. They had the energy of an out-of-control freight train but were able to contain it while proving to be an incredibly fun act to see live. Frontman Joe Talbot engaged with the audience in a very authentic way, talking and singing to fans, not just at them. There were crowd-surfing guitarists, mosh pits and sing-a-longs … it was wild.

2. Punk Rock Bowling 2019 – Las Vegas, NV – May 23rd-27th
3. Judas Priest at The Warfield – San Francisco, CA – June 24th
4. Van’s Warped Tour 2019 at Shoreline Amphitheater – Mountain View, CA – July 20th-21st
5. ITCHY-O at Cornerstone – Berkeley, CA – November 23rd

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Tool – Fear Inoculum
Well, after all of the waiting and speculation, Tool have done it again, in a really big way. Fear Inoculum is everything that I was hoping it would be, and then some. HUGE-sounding drums, guitars and bass wrap your head in a warm prog blanket while Maynard does what he always has so well. It takes the best parts of their previous albums and combines them to showcase a band that has clearly not missed a step in the 13 years since 10,000 Days.

2. Bad Religion – Age of Unreason
3. Brittany Howard – Jaime
4. Catbite – Catbite
5. Plague Vendor – By Night

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. The Hammerbombs – “I Hate Cars”
The Hammerbombs are an undersung Bay Area pop-punk group that have written some of the catchiest and fun songs I have heard from the East Bay scene in a long time. Their 2019 release Goodbye, Dreamboat made my top 10, and this track is the hands-down standout on an album chock-full of toe-tappers. It’s a heartfelt song written by singer and bassist Jen Louie, who has a knack for crafting some really fantastic tunes. The chorus is saccharine sweet, and you can’t help but sing along.

2. Lizzo – “Juice”
3. Bad Religion – “Do The Paranoid Style”
4. Ceremony – “In The Spirit World Now”
5. Lagwagon – “Surviving California”

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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.

Missy Elliott, Björk, Frank Ocean & Nine Inch Nails to headline FYF Fest 2017

FYF Fest - 2017 lineup

FYF Fest //
Exposition Park – Los Angeles
July 21st-23rd, 2017 //

Year after year, FYF Fest has continued to pull bigger and better artists. And this summer, that trend will continue as FYF moves up a whole month and expands from two to three days with Missy Elliott, Björk, Frank Ocean and Nine Inch Nails set to headline the festival’s 14th annual edition after last year’s impressive lineup.

Now in July but still returning to Exposition Park near downtown LA, FYF will also include performances from A Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu, Iggy Pop, Solange, Run the Jewels, Flying Lotus, .Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals, MGMT, Nicolas Jaar, Slowdive, Angel Olsen, Little Dragon, Kehlani, Majid Jordan, King Krule, 6lack, Sleep, Thundercat, Blonde Redhead, The Drums, Grandaddy, The Black Madonna, Mura Masa, Ty Segall, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, The Faint, Cap’n Jazz, BADBADNOTGOOD, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Noname, John Talabot, Beach Fossils, DJ Harvey, Temples, Perfume Genius, Thee Oh Sees, Whitney, Tiga, Hundred Waters, Moses Sumney, Mitski, Joey Purp, S U R V I V E, Horse Meat Disco, Kamaiyah, Cherry Glazerr and more. Check out the poster above for the rest of the lineup.

This will be the first time performing at FYF for all four headliners, though some might recall that Frank Ocean had to cancel the week of the fest in 2015 (and was replaced by Kanye West) after originally earning top billing next to Morrissey. Missy Elliott and Björk will co-headline Friday’s bill, while Frank Ocean and Nine Inch Nails will serve as the main acts for Saturday and Sunday, respectively. For the record, FYF marks Elliott’s only scheduled show so far this year while Blonde Redhead will use their set to perform their 2000 album Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons in its entirety. It will also be Motor City Drum Ensemble’s first show in the U.S. since 2010 as well as the U.S. debuts of Helena Hauff and Nadia Rose. And as you might have noticed from scanning the lineup, comedy will be back at the festival for the first time since 2013 compliments of Hannibal Buress.

Produced in association with LA concert promoter Goldenvoice, FYF will sell weekend passes for $299, with single-day passes also available for $125 and weekend VIP passes available for $549. Tickets can be purchased starting this Friday, March 24th at 12 p.m. here, and payment plans will once again be offered — this time in four stages.

2017 FYF Fest postcard

Was FYF Fest 2015 the ‘best weekend of summer’? Here are 10 highlights from this year’s festival

FYF Fest 2015By Josh Herwitt //

FYF Fest //
LA Sports Arena & Exposition Park – Los Angeles
August 22nd-23rd, 2015 //

The 12th annual FYF Fest returned to the LA Sports Arena and Exposition Park last weekend, and from everything we witnessed over two action-packed days, it felt like a major success. For starters, we didn’t have to wait in a three-hour security line and it didn’t take 20 minutes to walk from one end of the festival grounds to the other (it was more like 10 minutes), which already made this year a huge improvement compared to last year.

It should also go without saying that FYF has come a long way since its early beginnings as a punk fest, and teaming up with Coachella promoter Goldenvoice back in 2011 hasn’t hurt its rep by any means. If anything, it’s only made it more accessible for mainstream music fans (though there are still plenty of “indie” acts to come by). That couldn’t have been any more apparent than this year with Kanye West replacing Frank Ocean as Saturday’s headliner less than two days before the gates officially opened. And yet, somehow FYF didn’t end up selling out. We’re still not sure how that didn’t happen.

But the festival’s well-publicized slogan has long been that it delivers the “best weekend of summer,” and such a proclamation certainly sets the bar pretty high, especially in Southern California, where there is no shortage of ways to keep oneself preoccupied on a late-August afternoon. So, whether FYF was or wasn’t (it was one of our eight California music festivals you won’t want to miss before the end of 2015), here are our top 10 highlights from its 2015 edition.


FYF Fest 2015 - Battles

10. Battles

New York City trio Battles have been creating some of the most interesting rock music in the business for more than a decade, bordering on prog while throwing a heavy dose of math rock into the equation. With their third full length La Di Da Di due out September 18th (and thanks to Ableton, fans can get a behind-the-scenes look at the band’s writing and recording process for the album here), Ian Williams (guitar, keyboards), Dave Konopka (bass, guitar, effects) and John Stanier (drums) debuted some new material on Sunday evening for their Southern California fan base, most notably “The Yabba”, which gradually navigates its way through sonic peaks and valleys over the course of seven minutes. Meanwhile, Stanier, the glue that holds it all together for Battles, is still proving to be an absolute beast on the skins at age 47.


FYF Fest 2015 - FKA twigs

9. FKA twigs

British singer-songwriter Tahliah Debrett Barnett, better known as FKA twigs, has been all the rage lately after performing at Coachella in April, and she closed out FYF in style, donning an elaborate burgundy- and gold-colored robe for her Sunday night set. Just the week before, the 27-year-old fiancée of actor/musician Robert Pattinson released her brand-new EP M3LL155X, and with it receiving high marks from a number of music outlets, there were quite a few fans who stuck around after 11:30 p.m. on a “school night” to watch her perform some of them, including the opening track “Figure 8”, “In Time” and “Glass & Patron”. FKA twigs might be one of the most compelling live acts out there right now, and after scheduling Purity Ring to close out The Lawn the night before, FYF seemed to make a point of letting women rule that stage in the late-night hours this year.


FYF Fest 2015 - Simian Mobile Disco

8. The Arena

While there hasn’t been much use for the LA Sports Arena these days with The Forum and Staples Center serving as LA’s two primary large-scale music venues now, FYF made sure to utilize the 56-year-old stadium as best it could in conjunction with Exposition Park — and surprisingly enough, it actually ended up being our favorite stage this year. With space to roam on the floor — except during Flying Lotus’ DJ set from what we were told — and the seated area upstairs providing a nice respite from more standing, The Arena felt very much like a different world when you walked inside its doors. Plus, it had one of the most visually stunning stage backdrops and lighting setups that we’ve ever seen at a music festival.


FYF Fest 2015 - Unknown Mortal Orchestra

7. Unknown Mortal Orchestra

After capitalizing on the success of their 2013 sophomore album entitled II, UMO have been trending upward as one of indie rock’s buzziest bands this summer thanks to the release of their third full length Multi-Love in May. Led by singer and guitarist Ruban Nielson, the New Zealand/Portland, Ore., quartet creates an intriguing mixture of lo-fi, psychedelic rock with garage, funk and R&B elements thrown in for good measure. After a long and tiring first day at FYF, UMO served as an uplifting way to start Day 2, and the turnout was pretty impressive with a large crowd arriving at The Lawn on Sunday for their 4:30 p.m. set.


FYF Fest 2015 - BADBADNOTGOOD

6. BADBADNOTGOOD

Instrumental jazz/hip-hop trio BADBADNOTGOOD was high on our list of artists to catch at FYF this year, holding down a relatively early slot in The Arena on Saturday. Evoking almost a free-jazz spirit at times, Matthew Tavares (keyboards), Chester Hansen (bass) and Alexander Sowinski (drums) put their chops on display for close to an hour. Within minutes of arriving at the festival’s only indoor stage, it was fairly easy to see just how talented they are when it comes to playing their instruments, and together their sound had us wanting to hear more the next time these three Torontonians come to town.


FYF Fest 2015 - Chet Faker

5. Chet Faker

When we saw Chet Faker perform in LA following the release of his debut album Built on Glass last year, we were underwhelmed by Nicholas Murphy’s stage presence and a cast of sidekicks who didn’t add much to his overall sound. But a lot has changed since that early June night at The Roxy Theatre, and Murphy’s live show has grown leaps and bounds from 2014 to 2015, in part because he’s surrounded himself with some very skilled players lately. Though Murphy didn’t drop his newest single “Bend” into a nine-song set on Saturday, the FYF mainstay gave us every reason to believe why he belongs on the festival’s main stage.


FYF Fest 2015 - Flume with Andrew Wyatt

4. Special guests

Ever since FYF founder Sean Carlson teamed up with Goldenvoice, his festival has felt more and more like a mini Coachella each year. That trend continued in 2015 on a number of levels, with one of them being the fact that quite a few artists introduced special guests during their sets, something that has become rather synonymous with Coachella over the past few years. Chet Faker brought out BANKS, Travi$ Scott joined Kanye, Flume handed the mic right over to Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt (pictured above) and then later danced with Lorde, and Run the Jewels gave Zack de la Rocha and Travis Barker their moment to shine onstage, too. If that doesn’t sound like a typical weekend at Coachella, then we don’t know what does.


FYF Fest 2015 - Kanye West

3. Kanye West

Yeezus was all the talk less than two days before the festival kicked off, and we must say that we were pleasantly surprised by the last-minute Kanye-West-for-Frank-Ocean trade that FYF was able to pull off in the end. The headlining performance, nonetheless, delivered on all fronts, as Kanye ran through a career full of hits, eventually playing one every minute as his set went down to the very last second. We won’t go as far as to say that it was the best show of the weekend, but an impromptu performance from Rihanna on “Four Five Seconds” and “All of the Lights” after she was pulled onstage by Yeezy himself will have us remembering that moment for quite some time.


FYF Fest 2015 - D'Angelo & The Vanguard

2. D’Angelo & The Vanguard

One of the most anticipated sets of the weekend was none other than D’Angelo’s — and for good reason. The R&B/neo-soul singer-songwriter hadn’t released an album in 14 years (yes, really) until he suddenly dropped his 2014 masterpiece Black Messiah last December, so you knew that getting the rare opportunity to see Michael Eugene Archer work a crowd, much like the one that assembled for his set at FYF, would be something special. Sounding more like a youthful James Brown than a wannabe Prince (we still don’t totally understand where those comparisons are coming from), D’Angelo and his eight-piece backing band that he now calls The Vanguard took the audience for a ride as they doled out new and old hits such as “Really Love” and “Brown Sugar” over an eight-song setlist.


FYF Fest 2015 - Run the Jewels

1. Run the Jewels

It’s hard to find a more entertaining and raucous show in hip-hop right now than Run the Jewels’. Yes, El-P and Killer Mike have been making the festival rounds this year much like Outkast did in 2014, but one actually released an album last year and the other hasn’t since 2006. Never ones to hold back, RTJ’s post-sunset show on the festival’s main stage was both highly provocative and hilarious, getting the adrenaline pumping within the first few minutes and setting the tone for the rest of Day 1.

Kanye West to replace Frank Ocean as headliner at FYF Fest 2015 this weekend

FYF_post

FYF Fest //
LA Sports Arena & Exposition Park – Los Angeles
August 22nd-23rd, 2015 //

FYF Fest sent shock waves across the Internet less than two days before the festival takes place at the LA Sports Arena and Exposition Park, announcing that Kanye West will replace Frank Ocean as this Saturday’s headliner.

The festival officially released the news around 4:30 p.m. PT on Thursday, stating that Ocean had “decided on his own terms to cancel his appearance.”

FYF, now in its 12th year, changed its schedule in 2015, with music slated to go all the way up until 2 a.m. on Saturday and as late as 12:30 a.m. on Sunday.

The Frank-Ocean-for-Kanye-West trade isn’t the first shake-up to this year’s lineup. Earlier on Thursday, Resident Advisor reported that Ben UFO was forced to cancel his upcoming shows with Joy Orbison in Canada and the U.S., including his Saturday evening set in The Arena at FYF, due to visa issues. Orbison’s set had been extended by 80 minutes as a result, meaning that he was scheduled to perform for a total of two hours and 40 minutes, which might have been the longest festival set in the history of the modern-day music festival (or at least that we’ve ever seen). However, he is also dealing with visa issues — both him and Ben UFO are from London — and will now miss his FYF set after canceling his Friday night show in San Francisco at Public Works a few hours earlier.

UPDATE: FYF Fest announced the replacements for Ben UFO and Orbison on Friday evening. LA experimental producer Flying Lotus will perform a DJ set in The Arena from 8:10-9:10 p.m. on Saturday, followed by one of our favorite electronic musicians, Bonobo, hitting the decks from 11:15 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Both performances will be DJ sets.

Here is the updated schedule for this weekend’s festival:

SATURDAY SET TIMES

FYF Fest 2015 set times with Bonobo & Flying Lotus - Saturday

SUNDAY SET TIMES

FYF Fest 2015 set times with Bonobo & Flying Lotus - Sunday

Meanwhile, just last week, the two-day festival also announced that Deerhunter had canceled their performance, replacing the Atlanta indie-rock band with dance-punk outfit !!! (Chk Chk Chk), who we recently caught open for Hot Chip (read our review here) at the Greek Theatre.

Other big names performing at this year’s FYF Fest include Sunday headliner Morrissey, Bloc Party, D’Angelo and The Vanguard, Chet Faker, The Jesus and Mary Chain, FKA twigs, Purity Ring, Belle & Sebastian, Flume, Run the Jewels and Solange.

With all those acts already on the bill and now the late addition of Kanye, we have to say that we’re feeling pretty good about picking FYF as one of our eight California music festivals you won’t want to miss before the end of 2015. Single-day passes for FYF have long been sold out, but GA and VIP weekend passes can still be purchased for $175 and $329, respectively, here.

2015 FYF Fest lineup with Flying Lotus & Bonobo

FYF Fest unveils 2015 set times with later end times

2015 FYF Fest

FYF Fest //
LA Sports Arena & Exposition Park – Los Angeles
August 22nd-23rd, 2015 //

As the summer winds down, the 12th annual FYF Fest is almost upon us. With Frank Ocean and Morrissey set to headline the two-day festival near downtown LA next weekend, FYF has released its set times for both Saturday and Sunday. You can take a look at them below.

SATURDAY SET TIMES

2015 FYF Fest - Saturday set times

SUNDAY SET TIMES

2015 FYF Fest - Sunday set times

After ending the festival at midnight in previous years, FYF is taking things up a notch in 2015 with the music going all the way until 2 a.m. on Saturday. That should boast well for English analog electronic duo Simian Mobile Disco, who will put a stamp on Saturday’s festivities in The Arena after Frank Ocean finishes up on the Main Stage. The fun will come to an end a little bit earlier on Sunday, as FKA twigs will close up shop on The Lawn at 11:30 p.m. and is scheduled to play until 12:30 a.m. That’s still pretty late for a Sunday night at a music festival if you ask us. It’s why FYF Fest is one of our eight California music festivals you won’t want to miss before the end of 2015.

In other news, the festival announced yesterday that Atlanta indie-rock band Deerhunter have been forced to cancel their performance. In their place will be dance-punk outfit !!! (Chk Chk Chk), who we caught open for Hot Chip (read our review here) at the Greek Theatre earlier this week. !!! is scheduled to play The Lawn at 8:25 p.m. on Saturday.

While single-day passes for FYF have long been sold out, GA and VIP weekend passes can still be purchased for $175 and $329, respectively, here.

FYF Fest

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.

Skipping FYF Fest? You can still see all these shows

2015 FYF sideshows

FYF Fest returns to the LA Sports Arena and Exposition Park this August for its 12th edition with an amalgam of trending indie in tow. It’s also one of our eight music festivals taking place in California that you won’t want to miss before the end of 2015.

But if you’re not keen on catching headliners Frank Ocean and Morrissey yet still want to see sub headliners like Bloc Party or The Jesus and Mary Chain without shelling out $175 for a two-day GA pass (single-day passes have already sold out, by the way), well then, you’re in a bit of luck.

FYF and Goldenvoice have announced a series of sideshows around the festival’s August 22nd-23rd dates, which include performances by Toronto experimental hip-hop/post-bop trio BADBADNOTGOOD, Northeastern legendary alt-rockers Dinosaur Jr. and even NorCal industrial hip-hop group Death Grips, who, if you can remember, broke up not all that long ago, reneging on an opportunity to tour with 90’s rock heavyweights Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden last summer.

The sideshows start later this month, with LA’s own HEALTH kicking things off at The Echo before London-based post-punk revival band Savages finish the run off with a headlining gig at The Roxy on August 26th. It’s worth noting, however, that none of the sideshows will take place over the weekend of FYF, much like what Goldenvoice does in April by booking high-profile shows in and around Coachella’s two weekends.

Tickets for the sideshows go on sale at FYFpresents.com this Friday, July 10th at 10 a.m.


Here is the schedule for the festival’s upcoming sideshows with links to purchase tickets:

July 24th: HEALTH at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

August 19th: The Jesus and Mary Chain with A Place to Bury Strangers at The Fonda Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 19th: Bloc Party at Glasshouse // BUY TICKETS

August 20th: The Jesus and Mary Chain with A Place to Bury Strangers at The Fonda Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 20th: Bloc Party at The Roxy Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 20th: METZ at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: BadBadNotGood with Show Me the Body at The Regent Theater // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: NAILS at Echoplex // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: The Drums with Froth at Glasshouse // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: Lower Dens with Empress Of at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: Dinosaur Jr. at The Roxy Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 25th: Death Grips at Glasshouse // BUY TICKETS

August 26th: Savages at The Roxy Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 26th: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

2015 FYF Fest lineup

FYF Fest reveals 2015 lineup

FYF_post

FYF Fest //
LA Sports Arena & Exposition Park – Los Angeles
August 22nd-23rd, 2015 //

The 12th annual FYF Fest once again promises a delicious distillation of trending indie music, whether in the vein of electronic, rap or rock acts. Although, this year seems to be pretty lean in the traditional rock department.

Frank Ocean and Morrissey will headline the festival’s 2015 edition, while D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Deerhunter, Run the Jewels, Flume, Jon Hopkins, Spiritualized, FKA Twigs, Nicolas Jaar, Mac DeMarco, Thee Oh Sees and many more are also on the docket.

Produced in conjunction with LA concert promoter Goldenvoice, FYF will sell weekend passes for $175 and single-day passes for $109. Buy tickets starting this Friday, May 8th at 12 p.m.

FYF Fest

Thee Oh Sees pummel fans in return to SF

Thee Oh SeesPhotos by Pedro Paredes // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Thee Oh Sees //
The Chapel – San Francisco
December 5th, 2014 //

This past week, the City was graced by a pair of sold-out shows from former SF music royalty. John Dwyer’s Thee Oh Sees returned to the Mission to pummel old fans and the new kids with a mix of old and new. This reasonably new trio (Tim Hellman on bass and Nick Murray on drums) configuration has their chops well dialed-in at the moment as they blazed through favorites like “I Come From the Mountain” and newer tracks such as “Encrypted Bounce”.

As any savvy local fan could deduce, there was a cavalcade of the usual rowdy antics that accompany this show. Some highlights were a crowd surfer who may have been collecting Social Security checks and bartenders showering those lucky enough to be in the back with assorted carbonated beverages. Dwyer rewarded attendees with a wide smattering of new, unreleased material that was plentiful in the driving guitar sound that has recently put him on the map. San Francisco loves, and misses, Thee Oh Sees.

Decanting BottleRock 2014 before its return to Napa

BottleRock_post1Photos by Susan J Weiand // Written by Molly Kish //

BottleRock Napa Valley //
Napa County Fairgrounds – Napa, CA
May 30th-June 1st, 2014 //

After a rocky start to their inaugural year, BottleRock Napa Valley is back with an even bigger lineup of artists, vendors and something to prove. Distancing themselves from the legal woes of 2013’s dramatic aftermath, the festival is moving forward under a team of new, local management calling themselves Latitude 38 Entertainment. With roots in the community and genuine concern for the Napa Valley resident’s concerns regarding Bottle Rock, the team took on millions of dollars in outstanding debts and made promises that the 2014 festivities will provide a mutually beneficial boost for the local economy.

The festival will be running three days — Friday, May 30 through Sunday, June 1 — and tickets are available to purchase as a single day, three day pass, VIP, Platinum and group rate packages.

Each day’s line up is uniquely billed and arguably draws some of the largest and most genre-diversifying names currently touring. Although garnering some critical slack for the pronounced representation of late nineties buzz bands, there’s one undeniable truth that Bottle Rock has over every other Northern California-based festival for the remainder of the season…they won the bidding war for OutKast! The duo of André 3000 and Big Boi will be lighting up the Napa Valley Fairgrounds with one of the West Coast’s most anticipated tour stops of 2014.

Showbams recommends the following performances:

Friday:
-The Cure
-TV On The Radio
-Mayer Hawthorne
-Robert De Long
-Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
-Railroad Earth
-Delta Rae
-Empires

Saturday:
-OutKast
-De La Soul
-Third Eye Blind
-No Age
-Weezer
-Blues Traveler
-Tea Leaf Green
-The Soft White Sixties

Sunday:
-Deerhunter
-Thee Oh Sees
-Black Angels
-LL Cool J with DJ Z-Trip
-Camper Van Beethoven
-The Stone Foxes

Check out a full rundown of the Bottle Rock daily schedule.

BottleRock_post2

While general admission will gain you access to all of the festival stages, wine tasting tents and gourmet food court, if you’re feeling like dropping a few extra dollars, the VIP perks this year have significantly upgraded.

Beyond the parking, ins-outs, shaded bars and private bathroom areas, VIP ticket holders have an entirely separate area to catch live music with the addition of the 2014 VIP Lounge. The lounge offers comfortable seating paired with access to private food and wine experiences, available strictly to VIP ticket holders.

Platinum Passes take it one step further with on stage viewing spots, meet and greet opportunities, on-site concierge service, catering by Napa Valley celebrity chefs, premium cocktails/boutique wine selections and parking on the event site.

The opportunity to indulge in gourmet food, artisan spirits, craft beers and clink glasses with local vintners plays a unique role in the distinctive BottleRock experience. Unlike other festivals nationwide, the location of the fairgrounds truly allows for the community to showcase what they are known for worldwide on an incomparable scale. Highlighting elite members of Napa’s award winning food and beverage industry, concert goers are awarded the unique opportunity to meet and greet local celebrities, excited to introduce the fruits of their labor with the festival community.

Ultimately, BottleRock Napa prides its sophomore year on creating an entirely new and hopefully opinion-altering experience. Under new management, the festival is aiming to please! With a little bit of something for everyone, BottleRock’s eclectically impressive line-up, craft libations and finger licking festival fare, tickets are dwindling and rightfully so. Get on it!

bottle-rock

Thee Oh Sees shock SF with a blazing show, startling news

Thee-Oh-SeesPhotos by Pedro Paredes // Written by Kevin Quandt //

What started as just another Thee Oh Sees show at Great American Music Hall December 18th ended up being more than the sum of its parts as the band announced some sudden news that shook up local music fans. The Annual Benefit for the Coalition of the Homeless has become a mid-December tradition, as well as one of the premier psychedelic rock shows to end the calendar year. John Dwyer organizes this show annually, and this year he hand chose Ty Segall, Synthetic ID and Breakarts to get the evening off to a blazing start. It wasn’t until the last fifteen minutes when the crowd began to wonder what this specific show would signify for this burgeoning music scene.

After the smaller support bands had whipped the youthful crowd into a healthy frenzy, Ty Segall brought an exciting duo set which had fellow Orange County-bred musician Mikal Cronin as his musical partner for the next 35 minutes. This set was not quite acoustic, but not yet electric as the duo ran through short, punchy rockers from all over Segall’s extensive catalogue. Ty was both lead vocalist, guitarist and drummer as he had a single kick drum to keep the beat steady, and was his head-banging metronome, as well. “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was the lone cover and showed that these guys can have fun when making deadly serious rock music.

Thee-Oh-Sees1

Dwyer and cohorts setup their stage quickly and jumped right into the deep end, as is tradition for these vets. As far as the main set went, it was a reasonably standard showcase of new tracks off of Floating Coffin with “Come From the Mountain” and “Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster” making early appearances. An impressive pogo-pit broke out immediately as this all-ages show brought more youthful energy to the room; crowd-surfing and stage-diving followed soon thereafter. “Meat Step Lively” and “I Was Denied” represented some of the more popular old tunes that we all come to expect, and cherish, in most shows. It wasn’t till the end of the set when Dwyer announced, “This will be the last Oh Sees show for awhile, so dig in.” At the time most assumed they might go back into the studio to follow-up Floating Coffin, but the next day the news had spilled that the legendary San Francisco act would be taking a (somewhat) indefinite hiatus.

News that Dwyer would be moving out of the City and making the trek down south to Los Angeles was pure shock to the scene he had literally built over the past decade. Ty Segall had made the same move in 2013, and with the gentrification of San Francisco, music and culture lovers can only fear what other side effects the new ‘Tech Boom’ could have to the elements that make this place so special. Luckily, all is not lost as the band announced the release of a new album in the coming months. The live future of the group is still in limbo, however a well-deserved break is what is more important to these garage rock pioneers. Luckily, San Francisco has some bright spots on the psych-radar in the form of the POW!, Spyrals, Tiaras and Grass Widow (to name a few).

So, what was a successful show and benefit (20 bags of coats and $6100 raised) had a deeper meaning to the San Francisco scene, but as things change, one can only be optimistic to the musical future in 2014.

Showbams Photography 2013: A year in review

Purity-Ring

Purity Ring // Marc Fong
First City Festival // 8.25.13


The power and impact of a great photo is undeniable. Striking photos take you to another place, inserting you into a spectacular moment from the past.

The photographers in the Bam Fam have produced many memorable, inspiring live music photos in 2013. Feast your eyes on 50 of our best shots from the past year.

Click a band or artist name to view the original article.

Fiona-Apple-and-Blake-Mills

Fiona Apple & Blake Mills // Sam Heller
Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley //10.8.13


Killer-Mike

Killer Mike // James Nagel
The Independent // 7.31.13


Crystal-Castles

Crystal Castles // Marc Fong
Fox Theater Oakland // 4.27.13


Phantogram

Phantogram // Marc Fong
Treasure Island Music Festival // 10.19.13