Category Archives: TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: All
Time Low, SWMRS, The Wrecks, and Waterparks at The Fox Theater, 7/8

The Young Renegades Tour featuring headliners All Time Low hit Oakland’s Fox Theater along with SWMRS, Waterparks, and The Wrecks for a Saturday night pop punk extravaganza that started with the kids lining up early and packing the general admission floor as soon as the doors opened.

Clearly in the mood for a party, the kids, few of whom admitted to having heard of them before, lapped up The Wrecks opening set which kicked things off ridiculously early at 6:50 pm to the already packed house. Next up, Waterparks, which already had some clear momentum with the Bay Area crowd, leading vocalist Awsten Knight to remark that the biggest mistake of their career was waiting so long to come to Oakland.

While All Time Low was the headliner, there was a palpable eagerness for hometown boys SWMRS’ set. This band is absolutely blowing up and Oakland was supremely pumped to see them again, even after a couple of recent festival appearances over the last few months including BottleRock. Clearly well-tuned from the road, SWMRS ripped it up on stage as the crowd went absolutely bonkers.

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TVD Live Shots: Duran Duran at Fox Theater, 7/7

Nearly 2 years after the release of Paper Gods, Duran Duran shows no sign of letting up, returning to the San Francisco Bay Area with a pair of headlining shows including a Friday night at Oakland’s historic Fox Theater.

Oakland’s Uptown District’s “First Friday” found throngs of people celebrating on Telegraph Avenue, largely oblivious to what was going on just past the doors of the Fox where the sold out crowd absolutely packed the house as they waited patiently for Duran Duran’s scheduled 9 PM set as a DJ spun records.

When the band finally took the stage at 10 past the hour to “Paper Gods,” the crowd of mostly women erupted in screams. With the spotlights trained on frontman Simon Le Bon, perched on the riser between the drums and keyboards, the show was finally on.

While Duran Duran’s greatest commercial success came in the ’80s, from the looks of the Oakland crowd, Paper Gods has clearly made an impression. For those that may have been not so familiar with the new stuff, “The Wild Boys” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” quickly sealed the deal for what would prove to be an amazing evening of music.

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TVD Live Shots: Ghost
at Oracle Arena, 7/5

The band Ghost may be one of the most polarizing bands in metal. There are those who embrace the shtick and rejoice in the opportunity to worship at the altar of Papa Emeritus III and his Nameless Ghouls, and then there are those who simply don’t get it.

Only three days earlier, Ghost had delivered an epic headlining performance across the bay in San Francisco and here they are on a Wednesday night at Oakland’s Oracle Arena opening for the mighty Iron Maiden, a band that could quickly and easily sell out any venue of this size with no opener at all.

Ghost

While there were folks still pre-partying in the parking lot when Ghost kicked things off at 7:30, the arena was respectfully packed with a combination of Ghost diehards packing the barricade and curiosity seekers who no doubt wanted to see what all the hubbub was about.

With a generous 45+ minute set and their own stage production, Ghost tore through the highlights of their catalog, a chatty Papa Emeritus repeatedly sexualizing their transparent homages to Satan. The current batch of Nameless Ghouls proved to be way more energetic than their predecessors, giving off the impression that this is a band that’s truly found their groove.

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TVD Live Shots:
Poison and Tesla at Oracle Arena, 6/13

Less than 24 hours after the Golden State Warriors sealed the deal for the NBA Championship, Oakland’s Oracle Arena re-opened its doors for another sort of event. Poison is currently on tour with Def Leppard but somehow managed to squeeze in a headlining show.

Any sign of the previous night’s festivities were gone from the arena by the time openers Tesla took the stage at 8PM for a generous 60 minute set. Hailing from just down the road in Sacramento, Tesla is pretty much treated as a local band in the Bay Area and the crowd this night was definitely on its feet and singing along.

The stage crew made quick work of the change-over and had Poison taking the stage a few minutes ahead of their scheduled 9:30PM set time. While small, the crowd was enthusiastic and, when the band finally took the stage to “Look What the Cat Dragged In,” pushed forward from their seats to crowd the barricade and stage extension.

Billed as a 30th anniversary reunion of the original lineup, Brett Michaels (vocals), Rikki Rockett (drums), Bobby Dall (bass), and C.C. DeVille (guitar) let loose from the first notes of what proved to be a high-energy set with everyone in the band making full use of the space available and giving plenty of attention to the folks up front. These guys clearly were enjoying themselves.

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TVD Live Shots: U2 at Levi’s Stadium, 5/17

U2 is currently on the road on a massive stadium tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree album. Wednesday night found them in the heart of the Silicon Valley at Levi’s Stadium in front of a sold-out crowd, certainly a far cry from the Cow Palace where they played just over 30 years ago.

The 50,000 or so fans that packed Levi’s Stadium seemed patient, yet celebratory, as they waited for U2 to finally take the stage after Mumford & Sons opening set. At 8PM sharp, Larry Mullen finally emerged onto the massive stage, made his way down the ramp to the Joshua Tree-shaped extension, quietly sat behind his kit, and launched into the familiar rat-a-tat-tat of “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” The crowd erupted as, one by one, The Edge, Bono, and Adam Clayton each made the same walk.

Playing in the middle of the general admission crowd, U2 kicked off the evening with a handful of classics from the War and The Unforgettable Fire albums, creating a surprisingly intimate experience for those on the field while still captivating those in the nosebleeds as they were blasted with dramatic lighting from all sides as fog wafted around them.

The core of Wednesday show came in the form of a front-to-back run through of The Joshua Tree which the band ushered in by strolling together up the ramp to the main stage and pausing under the massive screen lit with a giant Joshua tree.

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TVD Live Shots:
The xx and Sampha at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 4/16

Mid-April, the time of year when the San Francisco Bay Area avails itself of the between-weekend touring by Coachella artists. 2017’s Coachella spill-over brought The xx to San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for not one, not two, but a whopping three nights of shows.

Hailing from London, The xx are running high on their latest release I See You which dropped in January to critical acclaim. So it came as no surprise that the fans packed the front of the 7,000 capacity venue on Easter Sunday as the DJ warmed things up before opener Sampha’s 45 minute set.

The crowd went nuts when The xx finally took the stage at 9:40 and launched into “Say Something Loving” off of I See You. Fresh off playing in front of the massive Coachella crowds, The xx were downright giddy and nearly speechless over the reaction from the San Francisco crowd.

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TVD Live Shots: The Kills and Dream Wife at the Fox Theatre, 3/22

The Kills are on the road supporting their 15th anniversary with a handful of West Coast dates that wrapped up at Oakland’s Fox Theater.

Those who arrived early were treated to an amazing set by Dream Wife. Based in London with an Icelandic vocalist (who spent the first 10 years of her life in the Bay Area and was clearly stoked be back), the band tore through a generous 40 minute set that showed why The Kills have tapped them for this tour. Crunchy, searing guitars juxtaposed with dreamy, charged vocals made for a set that few will forget.

Sufficiently primed for the headliners, the anticipation for The Kills 9:30 set was palpable as the crew transformed the stage, finally revealing a giant Ash & Ice backdrop. Strolling out onto the stage and blasting into “Heart of a Dog,” The Kills quickly demonstrated that they meant business.

Jamie Hince played muse on guitar to Alison Mosshart’s vocals … the stone-faced yin to her wild, hair-flinging yang. Near-perfect opposites that together were a combined force on stage that had the crowd ecstatic and rapt with attention.

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TVD Live Shots: Bon Jovi and Thadeus Gonzalez at the SAP Center, 3/1

With a new album and a new tour, Bon Jovi paid a visit to San Jose’s SAP Center for a Wednesday night of rock and roll.

The lights finally went down in the arena around 8:30 and people scurried to their seats as the band broke into “This House Is Not For Sale” and a scrim dropped across the front of the stage. Immediately on their feet and arms in the air, the capacity crowd was clearly familiar with and no doubt pumped to hear the new material.

After a few moments, the scrim was removed and the arena lit up, revealing the full extent of the production. While the stage was predictably set up at one end of the arena, it was left open on all sides allowing for great views from the seats behind and to the side of the stage. Early on Jon joked that those folks would be forced to look at his rear for the next two and a half hours but shortly thereafter took advantage of catwalks to give those folks some love during “We Got It Goin’ On.”

What was unique about the show’s production was that lighting was hung all the way around the venue pointed at the audience. What that meant for the show was that it felt much more intimate than one would expect for an arena show … like you were watching it with 15,000 of your friends. Bon Jovi took maximum advantage of this, relishing in his interaction with the crowd as the lighting above the stage literally reconfigured itself differently for each song.

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TVD Live Shots: Ty Segall, Shannon and the Clams, White Fence, and Axis: Sova at the Fox Theater, 2/27

Now in its 25th year, San Francisco’s Noise Pop Festival shows no signs of letting up. Its ten days of live music from dozens of bands across numerous Bay Area venues finally culminated at Oakland’s Fox Theater with a headlining set by Ty Segall.

The crowd at the Fox was sparse for the 7pm start of Axis: Sova’s set but the room filled quickly and by the time White Fence took the stage, the floor was packed and the house was clearly ready to party.

With the atmosphere properly teed up, hometown heroes Shannon and the Clams stepped on stage and knocked it out of the park. If you live in the Bay Area you’ve no doubt seen this band play all shapes and sizes of stages, so it was inspirational to see them truly shine on the big stage where their garage-punk doo-wop had the floor noticeably bouncing beneath the capacity crowd.

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TVD Live Shots: Alter Bridge and Nonpoint at the Regency Ballroom, 2/20

Alter Bridge is out on the road for their The Last Hero Tour, aptly named after their most recent release on Napalm Records. While the band last passed through the Bay Area in 2016 with Breaking Benjamin, they haven’t done a proper headlining set since 2014, so the San Francisco fans turned out early and in force … even Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach was on hand for the good time.

Nonpoint has been around for the better part of a decade but seeing them Monday night in San Francisco was like seeing them for the first time. Drummer Robb Rivera had his kit up sideways and, along with the rest of the band, radiated energy during the 40 minute set. They kept their crushing set light, however, jokingly introducing themselves as Korn and slipping in a cover of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” before being joined by Machine Head’s Phil Demmel to close the set with “Bullet With A Name.” No doubt a tough act to follow.

With the Regency Ballroom now packed to the rafters and the front row lined with women, Alter Bridge finally took the stage. One word to sum up their performance … heavy! With The Last Hero out only since late last year, it was clear from the crowd’s reaction that this is an album with a lot of legs. Busting out the new material straight-away with “The Writing on the Wall,” it was clear that the new album had already made its rounds in the Bay Area. No one was standing around waiting for the old stuff … the crowd jumped right in as Tremonti and Kennedy laid down some of the heaviest riffs of the night.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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