Showbams’ best live music photography of 2012

Ultraísta at The Independent – By Michael Frash
Ultraísta

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M83 at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
M83

Future Islands at The Independent – By Maggie Corwin
Future Islands

Die Antwoord at The Fox Theater – By Marc Fong
Die-Antwoord

Charles Bradley at Royce Hall – By Pete Mauch
Charles-Bradley

Santigold at The Fox Theater – By Michael Frash
Santigold

The Lumineers at The Chapel – By Marc Fong
The Lumineers

Best Coast at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
Best-Coast

The Faint at Regency Ballroom – By Michael Frash
The-Faint

Yeasayer at The Fox Theater – By Marc Fong
Yeasayer

Japandroids at The Fillmore – By Michael Frash
Japandroids

How To Dress Well at Rickshaw Stop – By Michael Frash
How-to-Dress-Well

Blondfire at Rickshaw Stop – By Maggie Corwin
Blondfire

The xx at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
The-xx

Geographer at Bonfire Sessions – By Michael Frash
Geographer

Gossip at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
Gossip

Simian Mobile Disco at Mezzanine – By Michael Frash
Simian-Mobile-Disco

Devine Fits at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Marc Fong
Devine Fits

Knife Party at The Fox Theater – By Marc Fong
Knife-Party

Red Baraat at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – By Michael Frash
Red-Baraat

Of Monsters and Men at Not So Silent Night – By Michael Frash
Of-Monsters-&-Men

Electric Guest at The Independent – By Michael Frash
Electric-Guest

Bloc Party at The Fox Theater – By Michael Frash
Bloc-Party

Bombay Bicycle Club at The Fillmore – By Chaya Kranz
Bombay-Bicycle-Club

Tame Impala at The Fillmore – By Michael Frash
Tame-Impala

Matthew Dear at Treasure Island Music Festival – By Michael Frash
Mathew-Dear

Father John Misty at Bonfire Sessions – By Michael Frash
Father-John-Misty

Rufus & Martha Wainwright at The Fox Theater – By Marc Fong
Rufus-Wainwright

Bassnectar at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium – By Marc Fong
Bassnectar

Jack White at Not So Silent Night – By Michael Frash
Jack-White

Sea Wolf at The Independent – By Marc Fong
Sea-Wolf

The Shins at Not So Silent Night – By Michael Frash
The-Shins

Wilco at The Greek Theater – By Michael Frash
Wilco

White Fence at Bonfire Sessions – By Michael Frash
White-Fence

Django Django at The Independent – By Michael Frash
Django-Django

Justice at The Warfield – By Michael Frash
Justice

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead at The Independent – By Marc Fong
You Will Know Us...

Ultraísta reveals Nigel Godrich’s influence on Radiohead & his star-making ability

The accomplished Nigel Godrich came to San Francisco Monday night to perform at the very undersold Independent with his new 3-piece synth & loop heavy group Ultraísta. Godrich has produced every Radiohead album since OK Computer and tours with the group as their unofficial 6th member. He’s also in Thom York’s side project, Atoms for Peace, along with Ultraísta drummer Joey Waronker, and has produced albums for U2, Pavement, Paul McCartney, amongst others. His work with Ultraísta continues the musical sound he’s developed with Thom Yorke over the last 5 years, but his biggest accomplishment with his new group is recruiting newcomer Laura Bettinson.

Bettinson exudes a confidence and swagger that is youthful and real, and her hypnotic voice plays as an instrument, much like Thom Yorke’s, and it matches her strikingly attractive look. But, the night was not perfect by any means. Upon the first notes of the night, Nigel had to abort the opening song due to a technical issue. They pleaded for 3 minutes, left the stage, and restarted. They came out to 100, maybe 150 people total. The projector, which plays as the one and only (and extremely effective) visual effect, went off kilter for the first couple songs. You could tell there was a slight bit of frustration with Bettinson.

After a lukewarm applause, or the fact that not many turned out the night of a Giant’s pennant clinching game, a presidential debate & pouring rain, she said “It’s very quiet. It’s like playing in someone’s living room.” That got a certain perturbed audience response, but she replied “It’s not a bad thing!” Bettingson’s subtle frustration didn’t really matter, as her stage presence, sex appeal and technical proficiency with her vocals & dexterity in looping them packaged well.

Ultraísta has no overhead lighting in their live show, and they defer to a stage-facing projector that exhibits flat light, and this replicates their music videos. They project a technicolor kaleidoscope of drenched light directly onto Bettingson, and it makes for a washed out yet very cinematic aesthetic. But the lighting effect ultimately starts to feel familiar as you adjust to it, and it lines up with the repetition of the vocal loops, synth & rhythm. It all adds up to a live musical experience that puts you into a trance.

VIDEO: Ultraísta ended their set with a drawn out version of “Easier.”

This repetitious formula is one that reflect’s Thom York’s solo project The Eraser and the most recent Radiohead album The King of Limbs, and it reveals Nigel Godrich’s influence on Thom Yorke and the gang.

Ultimately Ultraísta is a band with much potential. They played a 7 or 8 song set that wasn’t over an hour. It seemed they didn’t play a full show since there weren’t many people present, and because they didn’t get a huge reaction throughout the night. But Ultraísta has a leg up with Nigel Godrich on board leading the ship; it ensures they can secure venues and people will usually come. But to get bigger, they need to make the people that do come to see them perform leave the show with a sense of discovery, and then feel the need to tell their friends. This didn’t exactly happen on Monday night, but the group most likely could ‘wow’ their audience on a different night.

Two things were confirmed watching Ultraísta’s set: Nigel Godrich is the influence we all think he is on Radiohead, and Laura Bettinson is a star in the making, with or without Ultraísta.

New Music Tuesday: Muse • Kendrick Lamar • The Vaccines • Flying Lotus • Matt & Kim • The Mountain Goats • Beth Orton • Moon Duo • Dark Dark Dark • Taken by Trees • Ultraísta

Muse - The 2nd Law

Every Tuesday, we focus on new music releases by naming our top tracks and supplying the latest videos for select albums.


MuseThe 2nd Law

Top Track: “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable”


Kendrick LamarGood Kid, m.A.A.d City

Top Track: “Swimming Pools”


The VaccinesCome of Age

Top Track: “No Hope”


Flying LotusUntil the Quiet Comes

Top Track: “Puddy Boy Strut”


Matt & KimLightning

Top Track: “Let’s Go”


The Mountain GoatsTranscendental Youth

Top Track: “Transcendental Youth”


Beth OrtonSugaring Season

Top Track: “Magpie”


Moon DuoCircles

Top Track: “Sleepwalker”


Dark Dark DarkWho Needs Who

Top Track: “Tell Me”


Taken by TreesOther Worlds

Top Track: “Dreams”


UltraístaUltraísta

Top Track: “Small Talk”