Category Archives: TVD San Francisco

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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TVD Live Shots: The Dandy Warhols at the Independent, 4/23

I remember the first time I heard the Dandy Warhols back in 1997. A promo rep from Capitol Records came into the record store I was working at with a stack of promo CDs. There was a black and white advance copy of The Dandy Warhols Come Down piled in between Starsailor and a few other bands that were supposed to be break out artists around that same time. I remember the Dandy Warhols for two reasons—one, the rep didn’t say anything about the band (which usually meant no hype) and two, it was due to be released on July 15, my birthday.

I remember putting this record on the overhead sound system in the store and hearing “Be In” for the first time blasting straight into “Boys Better” and I was hooked. It was pretty surprising to hear “shoegaze ” happening in the late ’90s, let alone “pop shoegaze,” as I call it.

It was as if ELO had a bastard child with Sonic Youth and a fetish for pop culture icons while deciding to kick the current Dave Mathews Band obsessed music scene right in the nuts. This would quickly become my favorite album of the entire decade and begin my 17 year love affair with the band—and to this day I still celebrate the Dandy’s entire catalog.

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TVD Live: Queens of the Stone Age at Bill Graham Auditorium, 4/17

Queens of the Stone Age (1 of 19)

The past couple of weeks have been a cornucopia of amazing shows thanks to San Francisco being a strategic pit stop on the way to Coachella. The true standout of the mass pilgrimage to the Southern California desert turned out to be the almighty Queens of the Stone Age. The capacity crowd that night at Bill Graham Auditorium was about to witness the performance of a lifetime.

The show kicked off with an old-school, movie-style countdown, and the moment the numbers ran out, I think the Earth moved, as in the big one had actually hit the West Coast. That very second Josh Homme and company made a defining statement through a blast of pummeling rock ‘n’ roll. (Think Maxell-tape-guy-in-the-chair kind-0-blast.) That statement was, “Put your f**king seat belts on because you’re in for a wild ride.”

Queens of the Stone Age (1 of 5)

Holy hell, these guys delivered the goods. Opening up with the classic “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire,” I thought that Satan himself was about to make a guest appearance by popping out of the stage and condemning us all to hell. Luckily that didn’t happen, and the band quickly jumped into another masterpiece, “No One Knows” which continued the celebration of the modern masterpiece, Songs for the Deaf.

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Five absolutely amazing female singers you need to hear right now

Nicole Atkins (1 of 1)

Every once in a while I take a break from my favorite genre—metal—and go on a singer-songwriter kick. This one came after witnessing a slew of incredibly talented female vocalists hit all at once and who filled up my playlist very quickly. These are five stand-out artists that I have high hopes for in 2014.

I think this is the best of the best in the current new crop of records delivered so far in 2014 and I encourage you to check out each one of the amazing songs below. I’m not sure it’s going to get much better than this, my fellow music lovers. So let’s get started.

Nicole Atkins | So yes, it really doesn’t get any better than this. Nicole Atkins is by far the best female singer of the past decade.

Her voice is simply stunning. A mix of Billie Holiday and Fiona Apple with the power of Janis Joplin, no one can touch her, period. Her new album Slow Phaser is her best work yet and a clear front-runner for album of the year, even this early in 2014.

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TVD Live: The Cult at Regency Ballroom, 4/3

The Cult is one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time, in my opinion.

Born in 1984 out of the ashes of the UK post-punk scene, they are one of the few bands that successfully reinvent themselves while staying consistent to their roots. It’s a tough thing to do in this current sea of irrelevant music that is watered down and reliant upon a viral, social-media flash-in-the-pan for defining success. But The Cult have continued to record and tour while keeping their devoted fan base energized with a steady stream of new music and stellar live performances.

When I heard that Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy were making a stop in San Francisco on the way to Coachella, I marked my calendar and cleared my schedule. I have seen the band over a dozen times, and they never get old. This time, though, was something really special, as the band would debut their Coachella set, which they are calling A New Wilderness. In addition to a few select US dates, they will perform in the desert for the first time at Coachella on April 11 and April 18.

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TVD Live: Jackie Greene at the Fox Theater, 3/21

Jackie Greene (1 of 1)

Jackie Greene and The Mother Hips together on one stage make for a magical night in the San Francisco Bay Area. Even better, the show was at the beautiful Fox Theater (and yes, apparently every city has a Fox Theater). For those of you not familiar with Jackie’s work, his resume reads like a who’s who of bluesy jam band music, but not so far down the Grateful Dead rabbit hole that you have to be high as a kite to enjoy it.

Jackie recently finished up touring with The Black Crowes and now word is that he’s focused on touring and recording a new solo record. It’s about time since his last record; the brilliant, critically acclaimed Til the Light Comes came out in 2010.

Jackie Greene (4 of 5)

Back to Jackie’s resume, this guy plays with the best of them around town and beyond, including the current supergroup Trigger Hippy which includes Joan Osborne, Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes), Tom Bukovac (Renowned Session Guy), and Nick Govrik. He’s also jammed time and time again with Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and Chris Robinson calling themselves the Weir, Robinson, Greene trio. They should probably work on that band name a bit.

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