Category Archives: TVD San Francisco

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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TVD Live Shots: Lucero and Esmé Patterson at the Fillmore, 2/18

Memphis, Tennessee’s very own country-punks Lucero made a return visit to San Francisco’s Fillmore for a Saturday night throw down.

The crowd, which had been chatty during opener Esmé Patterson’s set, grew impatient as Lucero finally took the stage and frontman Ben Nichols set about methodically tuning his acoustic guitar. But once the music kicked in, the heavily flannelled and bearded crowd quickly settled into the deliberate groove. It was going to be a long night at there was certainly no rush from the band’s perspective as Ben took time to chat between tunes and frequently consult with pianist Rick Steff on the setlist.

The drinks flowed liberally as Ben repeatedly promised to break out the electric guitar and kick things up a notch or two. Unfortunately there were a few casualties during the 45 minute acoustic portion of the set with a few dudes being manhandled by friends to the lobby where they ultimately succumbed to the drink. Ah well, more Lucero for the rest of us.

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TVD Live Shots: Reel Big Fish and Anti-Flag at the Regency Ballroom, 2/15

In what has to be one of the most unexpected touring pair-ups so far this year, Reel Big Fish and Anti-Flag have teamed up for a co-headlining tour across North America along with support from Pkew Pkew Pkew and Ballyhoo! So what happens when you combine the good time party vibes of RBF’s ska with the punk political activism of Anti-Flag? Well according to San Francisco, the answer is good times.

Coincidence or not, both Reel Big Fish and Anti-Flag are celebrating the 20th anniversaries of milestone releases—Turn the Radio Off by RBF and Die for the Government by A-F. As such, both bands took the opportunity to recognize their respective milestones including a front-to-back run through by Reel Big Fish.

Anti-Flag delivered one of those crushing hour-long sets for which they are well-known. The front rows were seething with crowd surfers as the rest of the general admission floor left ample room for a large and enthusiastic pit. While likely a little more physical than they’re used to, AF’s infectious performance clearly drew in the RBF fans as Chris#2 and Pat Thetic ended the set on the floor in solidarity with the crowd for “Brandenburg Gate.”

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TVD Live Shots: Adam Ant and Glam Skanks at the Fillmore, 2/7

Adam Ant made his triumphant return to San Francisco on a wet Tuesday night at the historic Fillmore in support of the 2015 re-mastered anniversary release of the classic Kings of the Wild Frontier. After extensive touring in Europe, the enthusiasm has clearly followed him across the pond and by the time the doors opened at 7 PM, the line to get in was already down the block and around the corner.

The evening kicked off with an opening set from Southern California’s very own Glam Skanks. Equal parts New York Dolls and The Runaways, it’s hard to know if the “skanks” label applies, but no doubt there was plenty of “glam” to be had. Frontwoman Ali Cat ruled the stage, fringes a-flutter as the band tore through a brief but well-received set.

9 PM rolled around and Adam Ant and his band triumphantly took the stage to his intro music which visibly fueled the already anxious crowd, many who had come in Ant-inspired costumes. But when the dual drum kits finally hit the thundering opening beats to “Dog Eat Dog,” the sold out crowd flat-out went nuts.

For those following the “Kings” theme, the setlist should not have come as a surprise. Adam and the band proceeded to blast through the 1980 Adam and the Ants classic from front to back without missing a beat. Looking lithe and energetic, hitting every note as he commanded the stage, Mr. Ant defied his 62 years of age.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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