Author Archives: Alan Snodgrass

TVD Live Shots: Weezer, Pixies, and Sleigh Bells
at the Shoreline, 8/7

Weezer

One of the hottest summer tours is the odd mash-up of two alternative rock bands that have somehow managed to sell oodles of tickets after decades in the business. Weezer and Pixies are those two bands and they hit up Mountain View, California’s Shoreline Amphitheatre on a balmy Tuesday night with Sleigh Bells in tow.

Pixies frontman Black Francis stepped onto the stage while sipping from a blue mug, gloriously unimpressed with the massive crowd in front of him. The band was set up by the backline and glowered at the crowd as “Gouge Away” thumped on. Spartan and raw yet incredibly polished, the Pixies focused on the rock and laid it all out there during their 60+ minute set. Sure they played before Weezer but they no doubt were worthy of that co-headlining slot.

Pixies

Where the Pixies kept things bare-boned, Weezer swung the pendulum to the other end of the spectrum with maximum camp value. The black curtain which had been hoisted across the stage as the crew went about swapping the set dropped during the Happy Days intro to find the band queued and ready to rock in a mockup of Arnold’s Drive-in. Not surprisingly, the set kicked off with “Buddy Holly.”

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots: X at
the SOMO Village Events Center, 7/25

X

There aren’t many bands that can claim to have been around for 41 years, even less with all original members. John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Bill Zoom, and DJ Bonebrake are X, and they’ve been tearing up stages this summer with The Psychedelic Furs.

Thursday night found them at the SOMO Village Events Center, an odd location in Rohnert Park that resembles a courtyard in the middle of an office park. Coming from the local Sonoma Country towns, the fans seemed to know the drill and showed up early to settle into the low-key yet comfortable venue for an evening of music. With the temperature dropping as the sun set, the fire pit became an especially popular spot to view the action.

X

X finally strolled on stage at 7PM in front of fans eager for the show to start. Launching right into to “Beyond & Back” got the crowd bouncing and singing but nowhere near moshing … the crowd appeared old enough to have enjoyed X during their early years and clearly saw no need to stir things up when there was music to be enjoyed.

In spite of not having released a studio album in 25 years, X’s music is timeless and those trademark Doe/Cervenka harmonies frankly can’t be beat. Zoom has since traded his signature wide stance for a stool but remains all smiles as he interacts with the front row while DJ locks it in and pounds it out behind the kit. This is a band that is tight from touring and still playing at the top of their game … X simply doesn’t know how to phone in a performance.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots:
Imagine Dragons and Grace VanderWaal at Concord Pavilion, 7/24

Imagine Dragons are still riding high on last year’s release of Evolve. Wednesday night market their return to the San Francisco Bay Area on their “Evolve World Tour” with a sold out show at the Concord Pavilion.

In spite of the notorious weekday traffic to get to Concord, the fans planned accordingly and by the time doors opened at 6PM, lines to get in already snaked the length of the parking lot … folks bravely bearing the heat which was still pushing into triple digits even at that late hour.

The evening kicked off with a generous 40 minute set by Grace VanderWaal, best known as the winner of the eleventh season of America’s Got Talent in 2016 at the age of 12. Now 14, this little lady with a big voice proved that maybe every once in a while those TV talent competitions gets it right. With a maturity in her songs and tenor that belies her age, Grace is sure to have a long career ahead of her.

By the time Imagine Dragons set time rolled around, the amphitheater was absolutely packed front to back with a markedly more diverse audience than one might remember. Sure, the millennials were expectedly out in force, but new this time around were the number of smaller children and adults. It’s pretty rare to see a band span such a broad demographic, but most certainly explains why Imagine Dragons only gets bigger and bigger.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots:
Thirty Seconds to Mars, Walk The Moon, K.Flay, and Welshly Arms at
the Shoreline, 7/18

Thirty Seconds to Mars is back with a new album, America, and a new tour, “The Monolith Tour,” which hit the San Francisco Bay Area’s Shoreline Amphitheater on a balmy Wednesday evening with touring veterans and fan favorites Walk The Moon, K.Flay, and Welshly Arms.

The evening kicked off early with a bluesy ripper of a set by Welshly Arms as the setting sun beat down on the amphitheater stage in front of a respectable number of fans who braved the rush hour traffic to catch their 6PM set. Channeling the likes of Hendrix and Prince, front man Sam Getz tore through their brief set that no doubt grabbed the attention of the gathering crowd.

Next up, K.Flay, an artist who has been touring relentlessly for the last several years while continuing to evolve as a singer, songwriter, and performer, and seemingly now really hitting her stride. Genre bending and raw, K.Flay always demands attention and never disappoints.

Headliners in their own right, Walk the Moon picked up the direct support slot as the sun finally set on the Shoreline. With spastic lighting and an infectiously energetic set, WTM had everyone on their feet and singing along from the first notes. Those not familiar with their latest release were likely shocked by a surprisingly heavy rendition of “Headphones” that cut through the pop and lingered in the air through their set closer and breakout hit, “Anna Sun.”

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots:
Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth,
and Testament at Papa Murphy’s Park, 5/13

What do Paul Simon, Elton John, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joan Baez, and Slayer all have in common? They have all announced that 2018 will usher in the end of touring. Of those artists, one hits particularly hard on the metal community … Slayer … the band that has been consistently active and releasing new material since the early ’80s. Accompanied on their North American tour by heavyweights Testament, Anthrax, Behemoth, and Lamb of God, Slayer clearly intend for their “Final World Tour” to go out in the biggest way possible.

The Sacramento tour stop seemed to get off to a rocky start with Testament’s opening slot being pushed from its original set time to 5:55 pm. Then, as the crew raised the Testament’s backdrop as the band was about to take the stage, the banner became untied and fell where the crew quickly snatched it up. Testament carried on regardless and delivered a crushing set to start the day.

With the show already running behind, Behemoth, Anthrax, and Lamb of God all delivered rapid-fire sets that stuck to the hits and whipped the sold-out crowd of 13,000 into a heavy metal frenzy. The set change between Lamb of God and Slayer coupled with the setting sun gave the crowd a much-needed respite after the non-stop pummeling of the previous four bands. But when the house music shifted from AC/DC to “Delusions of Saviour” as the stage crew tested the pyro, the energy level peaked.

Strolling casually onto the stage, the band quickly launched into “Repentless,” frontman Tom Araya looking slim and smiling broadly as Kerry King and Gary Holt head banged furiously on either side of the stage. And then came the throng of crowd surfers which kept the massive security detail busy as bodies came pouring over the barricade.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots: Descendents, Radkey, and Audio Karate at
the UC Theater, 5/6

Nearly two years after the release of their latest LP Hypercaffium Spazzinate, Descendents show no sign of slowing down their touring juggernaut, most recently wrapping up a 4 date West Coast run in Berkeley, California.

The San Francisco Bay Area clearly has a soft spot for the Descendents, packing the UC Theatre to capacity for a Sunday night of dancing, singing, and crowd surfing that kept the agile security team fielding bodies with an approximate 95% success rate as they came over the barricade. There was a bit of blood spilled and a few hard landings that even had the band visibly wincing, but all-in-all the Berkeley crowd let loose and had a good time. The band similarly was all smiles, clearly enjoying themselves as well.

Descendents crammed a whopping 42 songs into their 90 minute set, literally leaving no stone unturned in their catalog. A healthy dose of Hypercaffium, Milo Goes to College, and Everything Sucks was to be expected but “Good Good Things,” “Hey Hey” and “Pep Talk” were rare treats for the diehards. And Milo, voice already a bit blown from the run, gave it his all (pun intended) as the band pulled “Marriage” and “Jean Is Dead” out for the encores in response to requests shouted from the crowd.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots: Taylor Swift, Camila Cabello, and Charli XCX at Levi’s Stadium, 5/11

It’s been nearly two and a half years since Taylor Swift paid the San Francisco Bay Area a visit and with a new multi-platinum album—Reputation—in the wild, the Swift team made sure that her “Reputation Stadium Tour” would be one to remember.

Openers Charli XCX and Camila Cabello kicked the show into high gear as the sun set on the balmy Santa Clara evening, each dwarfed by the massive stage that towered 110’ over one end of the stadium. By the time Swift’s set rolled around, the sold out crowd of 55,000 people took to their feet as Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” appropriately blared over the PA. When Taylor finally emerged from center stage bathed in light, the stadium erupted. Wasting no time with the pleasantries, Swift dove right into the new material with “…Ready for It?” as dancers appeared and joined the fun.

Whatever price for tickets, the fans no doubt got their money’s worth; as one of the biggest artists on the planet (maybe even the universe), Swift spared no expense on an absolutely stunning production. The massive stage was backed by giant LED screens that shape-shifted and transformed from song to song over the course of the two-hour set.

Two mini stages were set up at the back of the field and Taylor took a turn up and close and personal on each, first performing “Shake it Off” joined by Charli XCX and Camila Cabello before picking up her guitar for a few acoustic numbers as inflatable snakes loomed over her.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots: The Darkness and Diarrhea Planet at the Regency Ballroom, 3/31

The Darkness

The Darkness’ eagerly anticipated “Tour De Prance” has finally reached American soil. Announced back in September, the tour hit San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom for its third show on a balmy Saturday night.

Kicking off the evening was Diarrhea Planet from Nashville, Tennessee charging through a 30 minute strobe and haze-soaked set that no doubt riveted the gathering San Francisco audience with a blast from a whopping four guitar players. Calling their set attention grabbing would be a huge understatement.

By the time The Darkness’ 9 pm set time rolled around, the floor was absolutely packed and the crowd erupted in cheers as the band took the stage, frontman Justin Hawkins sporting a cheetah patterned cape that complemented his skin-tight body suit.

The band launched into “Open Fire” from their 2015 release, Last of Our Kind, Hawkins all smiles as the crowd responded with glee, the pomp underscored every time he hit a pedal on his board and tearing through a ripping solo.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots: Michael Schenker Fest at City National Civic, 3/24

When legendary guitarist Michael Schenker decides to put his name on a fest, he sure as hell goes all out. The touring Michael Schenker Fest featured a whopping 2 hour and 45 minute career-spanning set that featured four different singers (Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley, and Doogie White) who rotated through the set, sometimes even trading off vocal duties on the same song. It was great to see them all having a good time on stage together.

Schenker was in top form, all smiles and showing no sign of slowing down as the crowd rocked along to their favorite era. The backing band of Chris Glen (bass, who at one point thanked “San Antonio” for having him), Ted McKenna (drums), and Steve Mann (guitar) held it all down, giving Schenker and vocalists plenty of room the shine. The guitar solo during UFO’s “Rock Bottom” was truly inspired and underscores the influence that Schenker has had on the world of heavy metal and hard rock.

While it was a treat to hear the new material live (Michael Schenker Fest studio album Resurrection in stores now), it was the encore of UFO tunes that really got the room singing along. Overall a great night of music.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots:
Flogging Molly, Jon Snodgrass, Scott Biram, at the Catalyst, 3/20

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day may have come and gone, but with Flogging Molly in the house the party never ends. So it was on a rainy Tuesday night that The Catalyst in Santa Cruz opened its doors for a rare 21 and over show that sold out the room, kept the beer flowing, and the pit circling.

Openers Scott Biram and Jon Snodgrass & Friends squeezed themselves into the spare space on the small Catalyst stage and whipped the crowd into a celebratory mode. But when The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” starting blasting over the PA, the room smooshed forward and cheered in anticipation of Flogging Molly. And then it was on.

It didn’t really matter to the crowd as they raged through the hits, a new tune (“The Days We’ve Yet To Meet” with bassist Nathan Maxwell on vocals) as well as a ripping guitar solo by Dennis Casey for “Black Friday Rule” which found him alone on stage bathed in red. Truly epic.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots: Roger Daltrey at the Fox Theater Oakland, 3/15

What does the legendary Roger Daltrey do in his time off from The Who? Apparently he spends it with members of The Who’s touring band including Simon Townshend (younger brother of Pete), Frank Simes, Jon Button, Loren Gold, and Scott Devours.

Billed as playing “The Who hits, rarities and solo hits,” the seated show kicked off with The Who’s “Overture” from Tommy before the familiar furious acoustic guitar strumming of “Pinball Wizard” brought the Fox to its feet as Daltrey did his signature mic spin.

Between songs, Daltrey was more than happy to chat up the room. From dedicating “Another Tricky Day” to Donald Trump Jr. (whose wife had recently filed for divorce) to sharing the story behind the recording of “Athena,” Roger gave the show an intimate feel that the fans clearly appreciated as they hung on his every word.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots:
Stone Temple Pilots
and The Dirty Hooks
at the Fillmore, 3/12

Stone Temple Pilots is back with a new singer, a new album (in stores now), and a new tour which included a Monday night stop at San Francisco’s historic Fillmore with support from The Dirty Hooks.

Let’s just cut to the chase and address the question that is most certainly on everyone’s mind. How did STP’s new vocalist Jeff Gutt measure up? A fair question given he’s stepping into the shoes of not one, but two iconic front men for a band that has seen its first four albums (all now classics of the ’90s grunge era) go platinum at least once, if not many times over. In short, he nailed it better than almost anyone could and that’s a feat of accomplishment. Still obviously getting comfortable in those big shoes, Gutt no doubt has the pipes to do these songs justice, showing off his vocal range straight out of the gate with “Wicked Garden.”

For their part, brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz absolutely blew the doors off the Fillmore. Crushingly heavy when called for (“Still Remains”) and subtle and smooth when needed (“Lounge Fly”). These three guys were clearly invigorated by Gutt and the prospect of an STP that can carry on without the cloud of addiction or your lead singer’s main music project. It felt like a new beginning for the band.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots:
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at the Fox Oakland, 3/10

Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds are currently on the road for their “Stranded on the Earth World Tour” in support of their November, 2017 release Who Built the Moon?, pulling out all the stops by bringing along a huge band including backup singers and a horn section.

The Oakland, California show found every chair at the seated show full, at least until the band took the stage at which point many probably wondered why the chairs were necessary, especially up front where the loyal fans appeared slightly perturbed by the empty space between them and the stage where there wasn’t even a barricade.

The set started with the new material, pulling the first 4 songs off of Who Built The Moon? where the expanded band really shined. Gallagher tended to pause between every few songs to initiate banter with the first few rows. With his tone ranging for light to downright sarcastic, his dry humor came across as, dare I say, endearing.

At one point early in the set, he read aloud a sign being held by a girl (Ella) in the front row, asking Liam to invite her on stage to introduce a song because Liam (his brother and fellow Oasis band member with whom he has endlessly feuded) had done the same. Noel’s response, “was it one of mine?” was met with a roaring laugh from the audience.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots: Exodus, Municipal Waste, and Hell Fire at the Regency Ballroom, 2/25

You don’t have to watch Adult Swim or be a fan of their TV show Mr. Pickles to know that with Exodus and Municipal Waste sharing a bill, the result is going to be “Thrashtacular.” Well that’s precisely what Sunday’s show at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom shaped up to be.

The crowd initially seemed slow to gather but by the time openers Hell Fire wrapped their set, the Regency was pushing capacity and people were ready for some action. Enter Municipal Waste who proceeded to absolutely blow the roof off the Regency with their tongue-in-cheek brand of Virginia thrash that had the floor spinning and two hapless security guards fielding the unending flow of crowd surfers. Front man Tony Forresta reveled in the chaos, expressing admiration for the young hasher who managed to dodge security to stage dive at least a half-dozen times.

Let’s face it, the average age of Exodus and their fans exceeds that of Municipal Waste fans by at least a decade and a half (and that’s being generous). Coming out of the haze from Municipal Waste’s set, it was hard to imagine that Exodus and their crowd could deliver similarly. If that’s what you thought, you could not have been more wrong.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Live Shots: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Fox Oakland, 2/22

Every February, San Francisco’s Popscene carpet-bombs the Bay Area’s favorite music venues, large and small, with dozens of indie acts spanning several days. Thursday night found Popscene hosting local favorites Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the historic Fox Theater in Oakland for a headlining set supported by Night Beats in what would amount to an evening of fuzz from a pair of power trios.

Out front, Telegraph Boulevard was calm as concert goers trickled into the Fox to be met by blasts of distortion-heavy psychedelic garage rock from Night Beats whose ample 40 minute set warmed up the room on this unseasonably cold night.

With little fanfare, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club took the stage to hoots and hollers from around the room as they tore into their set. Moody, and plodding yet musical, the dark set was punctuated by frequent blasts of light that revealed Peter and Robert, both sporting black leather, trading vocal duties while drummer Leah Shapiro kept things tight on drums.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text