Category Archives: TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots:
Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, and Deadly Apples at the Concord Pavilion, 8/28

Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, the self-ascribed “Twins of Evil” have reunited again for the aptly named “The Second Coming Tour,” hitting California’s Concord Pavilion for an evening of shock and roll.

Canadian industrial metal act, Deadly Apples kicked off as the crowd trickled in through the metal detectors out front and proceeded to blast through a fiery set that had the vocalist Alex Martel (better known as the kid that started the Montebello Rockfest at the age of 17) tossing mic stands around the stage only to have one of his crew fetch them, pick them up, un-bend and reset. Only to be tossed again.

Marilyn Manson

For Marilyn Manson’s set, an enthusiastic crowd had packed the front, but the back of the general admission section seemed surprisingly sparse. Set opener “Irresponsible Hate Anthem” got the floor moving but not so crazy as to disrupt the dude juggling balls in the middle of the pit. For his part, Manson can be unpredictable. What the Concord crowd got was tight, lucid, and engaged with the audience. Simply put, Manson at his best, really only showing his naughty side as he shared what appeared to be a joint with his guitarist before launching into “The Dope Show.”

The hour-long set featured multiple costume changes and several trips off the stage to the front of the crowd … the conclusion of each song punctuated by the loud thud of his mic drop. “Sweet Dreams” perfectly ended the set and teed things up for Rob Zombie to bring it on home.

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TVD Live Shots: Smashing Pumpkins
and Metric at the
Oracle Arena, 8/27

The Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins hit Oakland’s Oracle Arena on an otherwise quiet Monday night on their “Shiny and Oh So Bright Tour,” highlighting the return of original Pumpkins James Iha (guitar) and Jimmy Chamberlin (drums) to the stage.

Openers Metric kicked things off with a 45 minute set as the crowd slowly made their way into the arena. Never a line outside the venue and a slow but steady trickle belied what would eventually become a packed house as the Pumpkins 8:15 pm set time approached.

The Smashing Pumpkins

The set kicked off with a retrospective Smashing Pumpkins video on the enormous screens at the back of the stage as “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” played. The screens finally went black and parted in the middle as Billy Corgan stepped onto the stage with only an acoustic guitar and launched into a truly epic rendition of “Disarm.”

The rest of the band joined Billy on stage and they collectively proceeded to blow the roof off of the Oracle Arena with a 3 hour set that, not surprisingly, drew heavily from the band’s first five albums with special attention given to Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. In retrospect, it’s pretty amazing how much great music was produced in a less than 10 year period. For even the casual fan, the night’s setlist delivered favorite after favorite.

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TVD Live Shots: Slayer, Lamb of God, Anthrax, Testament, and Napalm Death at SAP Arena, 8/26

Slayer

Slayer may be officially calling it quits with their “Final World Tour” but they clearly have no plans to go quietly. The last date of the second leg of their North American tour wrapped up at San Jose’s SAP Arena and folks came from near and far to make sure they were part of what could (but hopefully won’t) be their last performance on US soil.

While not officially sold out, the arena was packed to the rafters and the diehards lined up early to get a close-up spot on the floor as Napalm Death kicked things off. In spite of the obscenely early start time of 5 pm, Napalm Death whipped the room into a spinning fury that only grew over the course of Testament’s, Anthrax’s, and Lamb of God’s sets, all three of which were at the top of their respective games after months on the road with Slayer.

Slayer

When Slayer’s set time finally arrived, the entire arena was on its feet as “Delusions of Savior” blasted over the PA as the band strode onto the stage and fire erupted behind a black curtain. And then the curtain dropped and chaos ensued.

Security scrambled as the floor spun out of control to “Repentless,” barely able to keep up with the crowd surfers … a few slipping through the cracks only to hit the floor hard enough to be heard over the din of Slayer’s “Disciple.” No harm, no foul. A few lumps are not unexpected at a Slayer show and they quickly dusted off and sprinted out to rejoin the pit.

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TVD Live Shots: Halestorm, In This Moment, and New
Years Day at the Warfield, 8/23

Halestorm

Halestorm, In This Moment, and New Years Day hit San Francisco’s historic Warfield Theatre for the second to the last day of their aptly named “The Witching Hour Tour” which had the fans lined up down block in spite of the relatively early start time.

New Years Day kicked things off at 7PM with a short but raucous 30 minute set that included a cover of Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile” which the band dedicated to fallen musicians including the recently departed Jill Janus of Huntress. The gathered crowd reflected the diversity of the bands … goth, metal, rock, old, young, male, female … they arrived early to soak it all in and experience a great night of rock and roll.

Halestorm

In a further sign of respect to fallen musical icons, In This Moment took the stage to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and proceeded to knock the socks off of the San Francisco audience. In This Moment is known for its theatrics and never disappoint. Fronted by the stunning Maria Brink, ITM wowed the San Francisco crowd with a 70 minute set that ticked both the eye balls as well as the ear holes in a way that few are likely to forget. Highlights of the set included Ash Costello joining Maria for a duet on “Black Wedding” after a Metallica riff-off by the band, a brilliant cover of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight,” and a set-closing rendition of “Whore” that had giant balloons bouncing around the venue as the crowd roared.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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