Category Archives: Bay Area

Tennis Plays to Sold Out Crowd at Great American Music Hall

Tennis descended upon San Francisco’s classic Great American Music Hall with an animated sold out crowd in tow. Singer Alaina Moore stood behind her keyboard on one side of the stage, donning a black deep V-neck top with laced edges, singing songs off of Tennis’ recently released 3rd LP, Ritual In Repeat. Her husband and guitarist Patrick Riley commanded the other side of the stage, flanked by a drummer and bass player, ripping through riffs reminiscent of Dick Dale and just generally wowing the crowd throughout the night.

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Even before opening track “Solar On The Rise” began, the crowd was in a frenzy. “Wow…we haven’t even played anything yet!” An elated Moore said as they settled onto the stage to massive applause. Moore’s vocals were dialed in from the get-go and she carefully chose a few instances to come out from behind the keys to own the center of the stage. You got the feeling that pretty much everything about their live set was dialed-in this time around, where at a past show at The Independent, when they were touring debut LP Cape Dory, this wasn’t the case. There was an excitement and exuberance from Moore that was present from starts to finish.

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“Petition” off of 2nd LP Origins was a crowd pleaser, as was the Ritual In Repeat’s “Never Work For Free.” The new material was the most well-received and the crowd was well versed on the new record. On “Night Vision,” Reilly wowed with his twangy guitar riffs, that while reflect their signature doo-wop/pop, also evolve into dexterous solos. He managed to find his moments to shine, even with Moore’s lovely vocals being the welcome center of attention.

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Moore talked with the crowd just before going into “I’m Calling,” with the proclamation that “I wrote this next song..I’m serious…I wrote in a dream…that’s why the lyrics mean absolutely nothing.” It was a refreshing playfulness from a band that I’ve come to know as a stoic and methodical one. But this time around there was an element of fun infused into Tennis’ set.

The encore opened with “Bad Girls” and Moore explained that “We’re gonna play this last one exactly the way we wrote it.” As it came to a close, the crowd erupted and a nearby bro yelled “That was your best sooong!” Bros and teenagers alike were floored at the all ages event and Tennis gave the crowd what they came for: A polished set from a group that’s starting to settle into early stardom.

Opening Act

Portland’s Pure Bathing Culture churned out a solid opening set with songs from 2012’s self-titled debut and 2013’s Moon Tides. I had spent the afternoon relaxing peacefully with their discography and will be looking forward to their 3rd release in 2015 on Partisan Records.

Pure Bathing Culture's Sarah Versprille leading the charge on stage.
Pure Bathing Culture’s Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman leading the charge on stage.

 

Best Quotes From Culture Collide SF

Culture Collide descended on SF for the first time in it’s 5 year lifespan. The LA-based music/culture festival has a SXSW-style setup, with panels in the early part of the day, followed by happy hours and shows from the late afternoon into the evening. The festival was headlined by Cloud Nothings and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, along with a slew of bands from around the world. I was there for the panels, to try and get a feel for the nexus of music and business in San Francisco, but what I got was much more than that; Music, Burritos and Beer reigned supreme and here’s a slew of awesome quotes to help tell the story of the festival’s 1st year in SF.

On Music and Business

“Tech is human…Let’s use it to strengthen the human connection instead of use it in place of humans.” — Grammy award winning audio engineer Starita in his keynote address.

“Your tour is now navigated by your fan base” — Shazam’s Jeff Roberto speaking on artists and touring.

“15 years later, we’re still undecided on how we feel about streaming. It’s not doing it for the recording industry. I buy vinyl and listen to digital streaming, but fundamentally, its not working for artists. Its not perfect, theres a lot to be done, but i remain optimistic.” — NoisePop’s Kevin Arnold

“Asking how many pennies per stream misses the point. You have to engage fans.” BandPage’s Doug Scott

On Burritos

Question: What will Mission burritos looks like in 2067?

“They’ll be wrapped in gold”

“Hover burritos”

“Burritos cannons”

“Drones”

“Doctors will realize the health benefits of burritos” – Broke Ass Stuart takes the cake.

“Shrimp do not belong in burritos!” — @BurritoJustice

Continue reading Best Quotes From Culture Collide SF

Zola Jesus Opens Tour at Bimbo’s in San Francisco

Nothing made me happier than knowing Zola Jesus would be opening her US tour here in San Francisco the day after her stunning 5th LP Taiga was released on Mute Records. The term Taiga, refers to boreal, snow-covered forests in the northern hemisphere, typical of places like Russia, Canada and the Northern US. Zola Jesus is a child of Russian immigrants who grew up in Wisconsin, so we can see this record as an exploration into herself. Taiga hit me hard on a day where albums by Flying Lotus, Caribou and SBTRKT were also released. No easy task to stand out, but dammit if I wasn’t immediately blown away by her ambitious yet elegant electro-pop stylings and off to the show I was on Wednesday night.

Her stage set-up was extravagant. An ornate geometric mountain behind her, a 6 piece horn section to her left and a drummer and keys/synth to her right. She opened with the album’s title track, “Taiga” and thundering drums and her frenetic movement gave me the same chills I got when I first heard the track on the record. There’s a certain elegance to her presence…Like, this is electro-pop, but there’s a level of radiant class that Zola brings and I immediately started to question whether she was too big for this stage, despite the non-sold out crowd. I felt lucky to see her play at a venue this intimate.

She has a distinct ability to settle into the drums and often dances so furiously that her flowy black jacket nearly falls off. With her platinum bracelet tightly clad on her wrist matching her three finger ring, she took us into an energetic climax on the anthemic single “Go (Blank Sea).” There were times when she seemed to be conducting the orchestra, it was brilliant.

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I had some issues with the the way the sound booth was isolating her voice on certain tracks, or wasn’t. It could have come across more powerfully and I felt like the sound didn’t put her voice front and center at times. But to her credit, soon after the show started she thanked the crowd and said “This is our FIRST show! We have no idea what were doing right now! The album came out yesterday!” and laughed excitedly. I expect these types of issues to be tightened up as the tour progresses.

My favorite track of the night was “Long Way Down” from the new album. She’s quickly becoming the quintessential vocalist to accompany a harmonious blend of elements of both organic and electronic sound. This is what made her work so well with M83. She came down into the crowd for one of her 4 encore tracks and it was a special experience, when you realize that this larger than life voice is like MAYBE 5’4″ as she struts through the crowd with such sensuality and confidence.

The closing track was “Vessel” off of 2011’s Conatus, eliciting screams of approval from the crowd and ending a spectacular performance. I couldn’t help think of how much this reminded me of Banks’ performance at SXSW this last March and it really made me feel like Banks took A LOT of her style from Zola Jesus. It kinda made me angry at Banks for biting Zola’s style…except where Banks’ ascent has been ruthlessly fast, Zola has had a more controlled career path and it lends to sustainability. At one point, Zola told the crowd “This is strangely exhilarating,” but there was nothing strange about it. She killed it and there’re surely many great things on the horizon for Nika Roza Danilova (Zola Jesus.)

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More Violence At Bay Area Sporting Events – #StopTheHateSF

I woke up today to sickening footage of a fan being knocked out at yesterday’s 49ers game vs. the Chiefs at Levi’s Stadium.  This time, it was a 49ers fan attacking another 49ers fan, in the bathroom, allegedly over “impatience over an open stall.” Seriously? This has got to stop and the SF Bay area fan bases have to start taking responsibility. Caution, this video of the act in question is graphic, so please don’t click if you’re sensitive to graphic violence. (Video has since been removed, due to “youtube’s shocking and disgusting content policy” but this article sums up the incident well.)

In Week 3, a 49ers fan started a bloody brawl in the stands at Arizona, last season at Candlestick, a 29-year old fan beat a 15-year old boy, breaking his nose, arm and receiving a concussion. Another fan reported being assaulted by a 49ers fan at that same game as well. And let’s not forget the infamous shooting in the Candlestick parking lot for a 2011 Raiders vs. 49ers preseason game. This shooting sparked the now commonplace “no tailgating after kick-off” policy.

And this is just the football team. A woman was beaten following a Giants vs. A’s game at AT&T Park this season. A man was fatally stabbed outside of a Dodgers vs Giants game last season. He was wearing a Dodgers jersey.   This comes on the heels of the 2012 Bryan Stow beating at Dodger Stadium in LA. Where if you don’t know, Stow is a Giants fan who was exiting a game at Dodger Stadium and an altercation ensued that saw Stow be beaten nearly to death and suffer permanent brain damage. Stow won a negligence lawsuit against the Dodgers and suspects were apprehended in the case.

Dodgers and Giants players have spoken out against fan violence, yet incidents like yesterday’s at Levi’s Stadium keep happening. This has to stop. #StopTheHateSF. This is a call to all SF Bay area sports fans and beyond to #StopTheHateSF. We need to take a stand against against these senseless acts of aggression that are happening all too often and often involving SF Bay Area fans #StoptheHateSF.

This is just a simple blog post attempting to call attention to a massive issue. But my goal is to get #StopTheHateSF to trend, in hopes of making fan violence stop in the SF Bay Area and beyond. Help educate and raise awareness.

Please share this post, tweet, facebook, talk to your friends about #StopTheHateSF.

Follow @EcsctaticBlog on Twitter and like us on FaceBook too. Let’s make a difference.

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3 New Vids: FlyLo, Cathedrals & TVOTR

Man…three REALLY dope videos just dropped within the last 36 hours. This post is dedicated to their overall awesomeness:

First up to bat, is the freshest pressed of the three, from Flying Lotus and King Kendrick Lamar. “Never Catch Me” is already one of the best singles of the year and FLyLo’s You’re Dead drops next Tuesday. The vid addresses death in the ghetto and a pair of youngsters arise from the dead and dance with remarkable cadence to the ever-fluctuating beat of the song. Check it:

Next up is San Francisco’s very own, Cathedrals. They just dropped their Cathedrals EP and the stunning video for “Unbound” is nothing short of an artistic accomplishment. It’s the result of a slew of SF-based artists coming together and you can read more about in my piece for The Bold Italic. Watch the video highlighted by a mesmerizing ballerina dancing in front of an equally-mesmerizing light sculpture:

Finally, we have TV on the Radio, who included Pee Wee Herman himself, Paul Reubens, as a Speed Racer-type character on their video for “Happy Idiot” off of Seeds, which drops November 18th. You’ll have to visit Funny Or Die to watch this one, cause they don’t wanna let anyone embed it [sneer].

Enjoy. Peace!

 

 

I Went to La Taqueria The Day It Was Named “America’s Best Burrito”

The winner of Five Thirty Eight’s “Burrito Bracket” was crowned today and it was none other than my neighbor down the hill, La Taqueria in San Francisco. To have an idea of how meticulous this challenge was for correspondent Anna Barry-Jester, 67,391 establishments were evaluated and 64 were chosen for Jester’s cross country road trip. In the end, my local haunt was the winner and after seeing my Twitter feed dominated by burrito shout-outs, I decided to make my way down the hill (it’d be rude not to.)

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While I expected a massive line of techies and scenesters who wanted to instantly get a taste of America’s best burrito, the line was super tempered and it felt like just another lunch hour at La Taqueria.

I think I waited 3 minutes before I paid for my order.
I think I waited 3 minutes before I paid for my order.

I ordered the go-to carnitas burrito Dorado style (rolled on the grill for a bit after it’s complete):

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This is what America’s #1 Burrito looks like.

I made sure to congratulate the staff (I’m kind of a regular) and snapped a photo of two burritos just before they were rolled to capture what 538 called “A technical marvel”:

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I will say that the carne asada burritos that were on the line after these looked far meatier, but I ultimately have no complaints with the amount of carnitas in my burrito. Here’s an inside look:

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Also, the thing that I didn’t see talked about enough on the 538 coverage, was the heavenly green salsa they have. It’s one of the most perfect blends of spicy and flavorful smooth salsas I’ve ever had. I recommend using it liberally:

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If I had one knock on this particular trip, it’s that my burrito fell apart towards the end, but I can probably attribute that to my own user error in unravelling the foil to take the 3rd photo on this post and then wrapping it back up like shit:

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Lastly, La Taqueira’s owner Miguel Jara claims that “The atmosphere at the taqueria makes for a better tasting burrito.” And he’s not entirely wrong. There’s always a different slew of Mexican musicians in there playing and on this particular day,  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the musician get this many tips. EVERY table gave him multiple dollars. He killed it.

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And there you have it folks. America’s best burrito is officially at La Taqueria in San Francisco, even though their tacos are better (but you didn’t hear that from me.)

Hiero Day: As Told By T-Shirts

On Labor Day, the legendary Hieroglyphics crew put on their 3rd annual Hiero Day festival. Twas a day of hip-hop, food, beer, Hiero and Oakland. The Hieroglyphics closing performance featured all the hits (like “You Never Knew” and “Oakland Blackouts”), Deltron 3030 played a surprise 30 minute set before it and Adrian Younge, fresh off producing Souls of Mischief’s There Is Only Now, low-key almost stole the show with a dazzling DJ set, dropping so many classic funk/soul breaks that it brought the real hip-hoppers to their knees. But enough details, cause the story of Hiero Day 2014 is best told through the T-Shirts of the festival-goers:

 

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Hiero IS the truth. Straight up, this day was a celebration of hip-hop.
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Oh the weed was burning strong all day! You could even buy some ganja treats from The Green Team if you flashed your medicinal card.
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Every member of Souls of Mischief was there representin’ Hieroglyphics Crew. The Festival ended with them playing the CLASSIC “93 ’til Infinity.”
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The Warriors fans were in full force, after all, it’s Oakland. 
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As a Raiders fan, i fucking LOVE this shirt. The Raider nation was def representin’!
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And waddaya know? So were Niner fans! I like that…this fest was all-encompassing and everyone was welcome. No matter what their affiliation, cultural background, etc… It was a peaceful affair through and through.
Linden Street Brewery manned the beer area in front of their brewery which was incorporated into the festival. They were pouring the new Hiero Glo beer. It was a thick and cloudy pilsner. Loads of flavor. It was sweltering hot all day and i loved it.
Linden Street Brewery manned the beer area in front of their brewery which was incorporated into the festival. They were pouring the new Hiero Glo beer. It was a thick and cloudy pilsner. Loads of flavor. It was sweltering hot all day and i loved it.
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Like any good music festival, there were bros in basketball jerseys. This Rodman one took the cake.
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Hey…you can be an old school hip-hopper, an underground cat, or even the Trap heads. Hiero Day was for everyone.
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And if you needed any more evidence that this was a festival about different people coming together, here it is.
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And you just felt like you were in Oakland. It was dope.
Me too dogg. And Hiero Day reminded me so much about what it was like.
Me too dogg. And Hiero Day reminded me so much about how some of it is still alive.