PHOTOS: REEVES PEELER | In its tenth and final year on Treasure Island, the Treasure Island Music Festival redefined my understanding of “agoraphobia.” Weather, location, communication and transportation were all stacked against Treasure Island, and I wasn’t the only Sunday festival-goer looking for a marginally convincing reason to stay in my pajamas. Yet somehow, on Sunday night I boarded a packed tour bus—cold, wet and dirty—with a big smile that reflected confidence in my decision to have made the trek.
This year, the festival had to move from one end of the island to the other, eliminating the insane city view that so many festival-goers hope to Instagram (a new location that festival organizers spun as offering “picturesque views of Oakland”). Rain and high winds set the tone for the entire weekend, forcing major festival draws like How to Dress Well and Ice Cube to play much-abbreviated sets, and bands on both days, including Flight Facilities and James Blake, to cancel their sets altogether.
Weekend ticket holders took to social media in droves demanding refunds after Saturday’s weather-induced fiasco (which apparently included a vending machine injury). But Sunday was a slight redemption for Treasure Island, as the crowd adjusted its expectations, adapted to the environment, and hunkered down on a mission to enjoy day two.
Car Seat Headrest was the start to my Sunday on Treasure Island. Admittedly not an objective review, this was my fourth Car Seat show since they played The Independent in January 2016. Each time I’ve seen Will Toledo and his band play, I catch something new that keeps me coming back for the next show. It’s the type of set that forces you to focus on one band member at a time, exposing something real about each musician in the context of a stunningly cohesive set.
After more than a month break, Gwen Stefani’s “This Is What The Truth Feels Like Tour” returned to the road with a Saturday night show at Mountain View, California’s Shoreline Amphitheatre along with opener Eve.
With a crowd that appeared to be about 70% women, the party started well in advance of Eve’s energetic set which had the packed amphitheatre on its feet and dancing along. As the crew set up the stage for Gwen’s set, it was clear that she was pulling out all the stops for this show. Criss-crossing ramps, platforms, giant screens, and oodles of lights set the tone for the balmy fall evening and what amounted to nearly a two-hour set.
Not surprisingly, the setlist drew heavily from her most recent release, but in spite of pulling a whopping 10 songs from her somber “breakup record,” Gwen kept things light. Clearly relishing in the crowd reaction, Gwen didn’t hesitate to get up close and personal with the fans that packed the front of the stage and at one point even invited a member of the audience up so that she could sign a tattoo.
Torrance, CA’s Joyce Manor took the stage at the Great American Music Hall on a crispy autumn night in San Francisco’s Tenderloin for the first stop on their US tour. With the release of their 4th studio album, Cody on October 7 and the hype that ensued with the releases of its first two singles, “Fake I.D.” and “Last You Heard of Me,” pre-show anxiety was heightened by the tenor that Joyce Manor is on the verge of something big.
Their matured, yet still emotional pop-punk sound, which was made a daily part of the average 80s baby’s life by artists like Saves the Day, Brand New, and Alkaline Trio during the early 2000s, is back in a big way with bands like Touche Amore, Modern Baseball, and The Hotelier (one of tonight’s supporting acts) rising to prominence as we speak.
The sold-out crowd packed the creaky oak floor and left no elbow room to spare underneath the grand columns and ceiling frescoes of this hallmark tenement of the city’s rich music history. Great American’s relatively ancient (built in 1907) structure stood in stark contrast to the young crowd bullying their way to the stage front and center. One female fan who looked to be about 19 inquired publicly, “Why is everyone jockeying? Joyce doesn’t allow any stage diving!”
The second of two Bay Area ZZ Top dates landed at San Francisco’s The Warfield on a Sunday night with opener The Kenneth Brian Band for 90 minutes of Texas blues rock from “Los Tres Hombres.”
Drummer Frank Beard took the stage without fanfare, settling in behind his tiki-themed kit with a cigarette in his mouth and cold beverage close by. Even though the stage lights were off, the Warfield knew what was about to take place and the fans started cheering even before the lights came on and Dusty and Billy strode out, all smiles.
After kicking the crowd into the party mode the opener “Got Me Under Pressure,” the band sailed through the set with an ease than only comes with 45+ years together. Musically they were spot on but, just as importantly, looked to be having a great time on stage together.
Addressing the crowd between songs, Billy Gibbons asked the room if they liked the band’s new jackets before recounting the story of when they wore “Future Farmers of America, Hollywood California” shirts. According to Billy, a friend of his exclaimed, “There ain’t no farmers in Hollywood!” To which Billy replied, “Oh, I know a few,” as he whipped a joint out of his pocket. With the spliff deposited carefully back into Billy’s pocket for later, it was back to the music.
Blink-182 is back on the road for their “California Summer Tour” with a new singer/ guitarist (Matt Skiba) and a new album. Hitting amphitheaters across the country along with A Day to Remember and All Time Low, this punk rock extravaganza found itself at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.
With the opening notes of All Time Low’s set, the crowd streamed to their seats so as not to miss a note. And while ATL would normally find themselves peppered with ladies undergarments by the time they wrapped their set, there was nary a thong nor bra to be found, but the place was on its feet and primed for more tunes.
Next up was A Day to Remember which pulled out a surprisingly robust stage setup considering supporting act status. As if that was not enough to get the audience’s attention, over the course of their 45 minute set, they proceeded to pull out giant beach balls, a t-shirt cannon, dozens of rolls of toilet paper, and streamers blasted across the front rows. This band clearly came to crush it and no doubt left the stage after closing out with “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle” feeling the love.
Jane’s Addiction is currently wrapping up the current leg of their “Sterling Spoon Anniversary” Tour commemorating the 25th anniversary of both the release of Ritual de lo Habitual and Lollapalooza. This past Wednesday night found lineup Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Stephen Perkins (drums), and Chris Chaney (bass) in San Francisco in front of a packed house at the Masonic.
But before the Ritual could begin, there was 45 minutes of antics from one of the hardest working bands out there, Fishbone. Hailing from Los Angeles, Fishbone almost feels like a hometown band to the San Francisco crowd that has become accustomed to their regular visits. Kicking things off with a powerful version of “Sunless Saturday” before tearing through the classics. By the time the set ended with “Party at Ground Zero,” frontman Angelo Moore was dripping with sweat and the crowd was sufficiently primed for Jane’s Addiction.
Between the large scaffolding set up at the rear of the stage and Perry’s mysterious box of knobs, the stage looked small and the show felt intimate despite the 3,000-ish in attendance. Kicking right into “Stop!,” the lead track from Ritual de lo Habitual, was like solid punch in the face … zero to 60 in 4 seconds flat … pulling G’s off a space shuttle lift off. You’d have thought the crowd would have been blown back by the blast, but instead they surged forward.
There must have been a run on baby sitters this past Saturday night because by all appearances it was date night at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheatre where couples gathered to let loose without the kids for hometown favorites Counting Crows and Rob Thomas as support.
After a brief opening set by K Phillips, Rob Thomas took the stage for a generous hour and fifteen minute set backed by a full stage production that had the crowd on their feet all the way back to the lawn for a career-spanning set that included a smattering of Matchbox Twenty favorites (highlighted by an acoustic rendition of “3 AM”), a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and of course Santana’s “Smooth” (which Thomas dedicated to “Uncle Carlos” who was sadly not in town to join on guitar).
As if the enthusiastic crowd wasn’t already riled enough, Rob’s trip through the 100’s section of the amphitheater turned the ladies into giddy schoolgirls at which point everyone around was happy the kids weren’t around to witness that.
Counting Crows kicked things off on a decidedly mellower note, frontman Adam Duritz strolling casually onto the stage during the intro music to take a seat on one of the risers as the band settled into position. Looking calm and relaxed, Adam stepped up to his mic as the band kicked into “Round Here” and wowed the already-standing crowd with his soaring vocals.
Twenty years after the release of his debut solo album, Zakk Wylde is back with his much-anticipated follow-up, Book of Shadows II, as well as a headlining tour.
A good portion of the crowd, many sporting their Black Label Society patches, opted for the bar over tight opening sets by Jared James Nichols and Otherwise. But as Zakk’s scheduled set time came and passed, the bars were empty and the general admission floor was packed as the fans impatiently waited for their hero.
All was forgiven when Wylde finally took the stage and tore through what amounted to a nearly 15 minute rendition of “Sold My Soul” that had Zakk ditching his bowler hat halfway through his extended solo and dripping sweat by the end. Backed by his Black Label Society band, it was immediately clear that these guys have all played together for some time as they locked in, John DeServio grooving on the low end as Dario Lorina kicked off on piano before picking up the six string.
Hip-hop superstars Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa have teamed up for their first ever “The High Road Tour” with support from Kevin Gates, Jhene Aiko, Casey Veggies, and DJ Drama. The tail end of the run found the touring group hitting up the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California for a Sunday night hip-hop extravaganza.
As one can easily imagine, a tour with the word “high” in the name that includes Snoop and Wiz is going to place a heavy emphasis on the weed. Well, the NorCal stoners rolled in late and lit up early. By the time the alternating Snoop/Wiz set came up, the Pavilion was packed with people and a thick haze floated over the crowd, fed by billows of smoke popping up all over the place as ads for Khalifa Kush filled the side stage screens.
Not one to be left out of the party, Snoop took the stage with a giant blunt in hand for “Smoke Weed Everyday” before swapping duties with Wiz who strolled out similarly equipped. What followed was ninety minutes of hip-hop, weed smoking, songs about weed smoking, and good times that best be appreciated stoned.
The “Rock Hall Three For All” tour packed the Shoreline Amphitheatre on a balmy Wednesday night for what proved to be one of the can’t-miss rock tours of the summer. Featuring headliners Heart along with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and Cheap Trick, the tour name gave nod to each band’s recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Cheap Trick in 2015, Joan Jett in 2015, and Heart in 2013). Collectively and individually, these three bands have sold millions of albums, played thousands of shows, and left an indelible mark on music.
First up was Cheap Trick, taking the stage for their hour-long set as the sun set behind the amphitheater lawn. A respectable number of people wisely beat the weeknight traffic to make it out early and pack the amphitheater for a band that never disappoints live. As the band kicked things off with their standard opener, “Hello There,” lead guitarist Rick Nielsen did double duty as hype man, encouraging the audience and peppering the crowd, the crew, cameramen, and anyone else who came into his view with expertly aimed guitar pics, sometimes by the fistful.
Not to be outdone, Tom Petersson impressed on the 12 string bass and vocals on a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for the Man.” And then there was Robin Zander who soared on his vocals mixed with the showmanship that comes with over 40 years of experience.