Category Archives: TVD San Francisco

TVD Live: Mötley Crüe and Alice Cooper at the Shoreline, 7/23

Alice Cooper Performing Live at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View (1 of 13)

Last week I saw one of my favorite bands on the planet perform on their final tour. I’ve seen Mötley Crüe 6 or 7 times over the years and I could easily see them play many more times. It’s been a good run for the bad boys of rock having sold over 80 million records, sold out countless tours across the globe, and spawned more than 2,500 Mötley Crüe branded items available in over 30 countries.

They’ve built a heavy metal empire and along the way set the bar very high for what defines the best and the worst elements of being a rock star. But, you have to respect these guys for knowing when to call it a day. Leaving the fans with a lasting memory while they are arguably at their finest, this show was everything I had hoped it would be and more—a mind-blowing mix of fire, explosions, and musicianship set to a stellar choice of cuts from the band’s extensive catalog.

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In between it all, Nikki Sixx would get intimate with the crowd and talk about the band’s formation and the early days. I wouldn’t be surprised if his eyeliner might have smudged with a few tears because he was starting to get emotional.

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TVD Live: Filter, Helmet, and Local H at the Independent, 7/15

Filter Performing Live at The Independent San Francisco

“The Anti-Folk Revival Tour in Drop-D” stopped by San Francisco last week. Filter, Helmet, and Local H, three bands that need no introduction, combined their raucous brand of hard rock into one enormous sonic boom of an evening at the Independent.

Each of these bands have left their signature on the post-grunge scene of the mid-nineties and continue to leave their mark through touring and releasing new records. I never thought I would see these three artists sharing the same stage, but it happened, and it was a brilliant night of both old and new favorites jam-packed into a club that was accommodating, but way too small in regard to the enormous talent that would pummel the stage.

Filter Performing Live at The Independent San Francisco

Kicking off the night was Chicago duo Local H. Scott Lucas has kept this band going since 1987 and recently released new music in the form of The Another February EP. Back when I worked at Sony Music, I had spent some time with Scott during the promotional stage of the terribly underrated 12 Angry Months album. Lucas is an incredibly down-to-earth guy, and contradictory to his ferocious stage presence, a pretty fun guy to hang out with, but that’s another story.

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TVD Live: KISS at the Concord Pavilion, 7/2

KISS

The hottest band in the land celebrates 40 years the only way they know how—with a show so over the top it should be mandatory for all rock ‘n’ roll fans. Visiting more than 40 cities, the tour celebrates KISS’ 40th year in music, as well as the band’s induction this year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer, and Eric Singer, took to the stage at the Concord Pavilion and showed the Bay Area why they are the kings of the nighttime world. Opening up the evening with “Psycho Circus,” the entire band descended down from what looked to be an incredibly intricate giant robotic spider with enough explosions and fire behind them to dwarf any fireworks display on the planet.

KISS

“Deuce,” “Shout it out Loud,” into “War Machine,”—I don’t want to give away the entire setlist but let’s just say it was EPIC. Chock full of classics both old and new and clocking in at around 75 minutes (which could have easily gone on for another hour) fans were hanging on every note and awed by every theatrical and over the top visual. This was not just a rock ‘n’ roll show folks, it was an experience.

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TVD Live: Vaudeville Etiquette at the Milk Bar, 6/22

Vaudeville Etiquette

I can’t say for sure if the Friday night crowd at San Francisco’s hipster laced Milk Bar had any idea the magnitude of talent that would grace the stage that night, but I can say for sure that it was a spectacular show. Vaudeville Etiquette hit the stage close to the witching hour and dazzled the audience who were hanging on every single note this stellar band of gypsies would deliver.

Falling somewhere between the Civil Wars, Fleetwood Mac, and Conway and Loretta, Taylor Lynn and Bradley Laina are one hell of a singing duo. It’s really difficult to pin any one comparison on this incredibly talented duo since their sound is so dynamic. From folky, boot stomping, down and dirty numbers all the way to candlelight dinner jazz at midnight type pieces, it’s something for everyone with a taste for stellar songwriting.

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The rest of the band consisting of a drummer Bryce Gourley and bassist Sander Vinberg locked solidly into every groove and laid the foundation perfectly while a well-played steel guitar by Matt Teske added just enough flavor to round out a familiar but original twist on a classic sound.

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TVD Live: King Buzzo
at the Great American Music Hall, 6/15

King Buzzo

The Melvins’ Buzz Osborne, a.k.a. King Buzzo, might have unplugged for his solo debut, This Machine Kills Artists, but he hasn’t mellowed in the slightest. If you haven’t noticed his incredibly fun Twitter and Facebook posts documenting his solo acoustic tour, you are missing out. This guy knows how to connect with his fans and he does it better than almost anyone else out there.

With a barren stage that hosted a small amp and a road beaten guitar case, Buzzo came to the stage, set himself up, and began to strum. Opening with the Melvins’ classic “Boris,” Buzzo crept across the empty stage grinding out the heavy-duty riff on an acoustic guitar that knew it was in trouble. Slowly, he took a close look at the crowded room of fans on both sides…and then he came alive.

King Buzzo

In one burst of Buzzo vocal superiority, the entire crowd knew that this was not going to be your average acoustic show. This was some sort of new genre being invented before my eyes. It was like Black Sabbath recording a soundtrack to the apocalypse—during MTV Unplugged set; powerful, a bit eerie at times, but incredibly well done.

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TVD Live: Guided By Voices with Bobby
Bare, Jr. at the Regency Ballroom, 6/11

It was my first time seeing Guided By Voices live, and it was a long time coming. Most of my hipster indie rock friends have been praising this band over the past decade, plus calling it a show for the ages. There was an enormous beer cooler on stage in front of the drum kit, which halfway through the show started to make sense. “We get drunker, better and younger as we go along,” exclaimed frontman Robert Pollard just before he twirled his microphone round and round Roger Daltry Style.

The “classic lineup” of guitarists Mitch Mitchell and Tobin Sprout, bassist Greg Demos, and drummer Kevin March ruled the stage at the Regency Ballroom. I haven’t spent much time celebrating the band’s impressive 20-plus studio albums, and I had no idea that the average length of their songs was about two minutes. “What a fantastic approach to songwriting,” I told my wife who was in attendance with me as it was her first time ever hearing the band. I followed up, “If you don’t like the song they are playing, at least you know there’s another one coming up in about 90 seconds.”

I thought the band was fantastic though. There was a certain Robin Zander/Rick Neilson chemistry between Pollard and guitarist Mitch Mitchell, with a bit of Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious thrown for attitude. Having never seen them live before, it would have been very easy to think they are from the UK, as their songs borrowed greatly from the sound of the ’60s British Invasion, and I swear I heard an English accent happening at one point.

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TVD Live: Rodriguez and LP at the Warfield, 5/27

Rodriguez and LP on stage together could very well be the best matched tour of the year. One artist is celebrating the twilight of his career after a much deserved resurgence. The other at the beginning of what is sure to be one of the most celebrated new artists on the planet.

If you haven’t seen the 2012 Academy Award-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, then you are missing out on a remarkable story. Sixto Diaz Rodriguez (also known as just Rodriguez) is an American folk musician from Detroit, Michigan. His career initially proved to be short lived with two little-sold albums in the early 1970s. Unknown to him, however, his work became extremely successful and influential in South Africa and at one time he was more famous than Elvis Presley, although he was mistakenly rumored there to have committed suicide.

LP Live (3 of 6)

If you have listened to pop music over the last several years, you have likely heard LP’s stellar songwriting talents being performed by some of the biggest names in music. The Los Angeles by way of New York City singer/ songwriter has been bouncing around from major label to major label lending her songwriting efforts to others for close to a decade—all the while leading up to her magnum opus, Forever For Now which hits stores this week. And by no surprise it’s one of the best records you will hear this year.

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Six questions with Taking Back Sunday

Taking Back Sunday Live (1 of 9)

Taking Back Sunday are currently touring North America alongside fellow emo/ alt rock staples The Used in support of their spectacular new record Happiness Is. It’s arguably the strongest record of their career and the live show supports the fact that these guys are on a tear.

It’s as if they have something to prove to the droves of loyal fans who pack into the theaters to sing along with every single word, when in reality the original gang is back together—and the chemistry is explosive.

Taking Back Sunday Live (1 of 8)

Instead of the traditional long form interview, I thought it would be fun to drop 6 questions in front of TBS bass player Shaun Cooper and get his unfiltered responses. Think of it as a lightning round that cuts right to the chase. Here we go…

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TVD Live Shots: Failure at the Great American Music Hall, 5/15

“For the upcoming Tree of Stars tour, since people have not seen us play in so long, we want to be able to play a wide breadth of material from all three of our albums. Having an opening act would cut down our set list options significantly. Therefore in lieu of the traditional opening band we will be playing a short opening film followed by an extended set of Failure songs. We hope this meets with your satisfaction.”

This is the message that Failure put on their website to set expectations for the band’s first tour since 1997, and it’s genius.

But really, who goes to artist websites anymore, right? Regardless, the Los Angeles trio are having one hell of a year so far. First an opening slot on the Tool tour, then their epic celebration of Maynard James Keenan’s 50 at the Greek, followed by the announcment of a full US tour, and finally the new studio material in the form of Tree of Stars. Does it get any better than this?

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Joe Elliott:
The TVD Interview

Joe Elliott is one of the most recognizable and accomplished artists on the planet. As the voice of Def Leppard he’s led the band through triumph and tragedy to become one of the most successful rock bands of all time. Elliott moonlights in a side project called Down ‘n’ Outz where he shares his passion for Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople alongside fellow musicians from the London Quireboys and Raw Glory.

The band was formed to open for Mott the Hoople on the last night of the ensemble’s tour at London’s Hammersmith Apollo in 2009 . After a successful debut album called My Regeneration, Down ‘n’ Outz return with their follow-up, The Further Adventures of…

I was fortunate enough to get some time with Elliott on the phone last week to chat about the new Down ‘n’ Outz record, the upcoming tour with KISS, and some fun moments from Def Leppard’s incredible legacy.

I’m a huge fan of Mott the Hoople and I love all of the songs on the new release. How did you go about choosing the songs for this specific record?

It’s pretty easy really. I couldn’t do Hoople songs on the first Down ‘n’ Outz album because it was a case where we recorded the songs that we played live when we opened for Mott. I wasn’t going to play Hoople songs only though—I thought that would be disrespectful and quite ridiculous. On this album, I could go anywhere I wanted. If I was creating a playlist or some “desert island disc” situation, these are pretty much at the top of the list. So, it wasn’t that difficult having lived with these songs for the best part of 40 to 45 years—they prioritize themselves in your mind.

I mean there isn’t really a bad song in the whole catalogue in my eyes anyway, but certain songs…they are just inappropriate and I wasn’t going to go with the obvious things like “All the Young Dudes” and you know, “All the Way from Memphis.” I wanted to dig a little deeper and shine a brand new light on some lost gems.

Why do you think the Mott or Ian’s solo stuff wasn’t bigger in the States?

The usual thing, the songs were always good, the production was always right, but most of the time when an artist doesn’t really break huge they have some form of bad luck—which is any combination of management, record company staff… I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve read about an artist who gets signed to a major label by a big fanatic and by the time they get the first album recorded, that person has either quit or being fired.

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