Category Archives: TVD San Francisco

TVD Live Shots: Danny Elfman with Symphony San Jose at the Frost Amphitheatre, 9/16

PALO ALTO, CA | Back in 2013 Danny Elfman took the stage at the Royal Albert Hall in London to perform for the first time in 18 years. The occasion? What would prove to be a legendary performance by the BBC Concert Orchestra of Danny Elfman’s scores from Tim Burton movies. According to conductor John Mauceri, both Elfman and Burton reacted enthusiastically when he initially approached with the concept. Fast forward to 2022 and the San Francisco Bay Area was treated to this incredible performance backed by Symphony San Jose and the Symphony San Jose Chorale.

Hosted by the Frost Amphitheatre on the Stanford University campus on a perfect Friday evening, the eclectic crowd arrived early and settled in as the orchestra kicked things off at about 6:45 pm. Families with their kids and picnics settled in on the lawn while the uber-Burton fans dressed as their favorite movie characters made their presence known as they obliged pictures with other members of the audience.

Danny Elfman has scored over 100 movies in his career, but this evening was all about his long-standing partnership with Tim Burton dating back to Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure in 1985. What that meant for the evening’s performance was over two hours of legendary music from 15 different films including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, Mars Attacks, Big Fish, Batman, Planet of the Apes, Corpse Bride, Dark Shadows, Frankenweenie, Edward Scissorhands and Alice in Wonderland. Tim Burton got in on the fun too, creating the content that was shown on the big screen behind the orchestra which featured not only scenes from the movies but also amazing concept art for many of the projects.

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TVD Live Shots: The Psychedelic Furs and X at the Masonic, 8/11

Like many bands amid the Covid era, The Psychedelic Furs had their post-album touring plans abruptly thrown out the window as live music ground to a screeching halt. With things getting back to some semblance of normalcy, the Furs’ San Francisco stop on their “Made of Rain” tour was admittedly long overdue.

Keeping with their successful 2018 run, The Furs brought along openers X for good reason—their dedicated fans show up early and the band puts on a heck of a show. Their 60-minute set proved why this band of all-original members has withstood the test of time: stellar musicianship and those perfectly matched John Doe/Exene harmonies simply can’t be replicated. And for many X fans in the room, this was likely the first time hearing material off their fantastic 2020 release Alphabetland live. While it might be their first studio album in 27 years, it successfully nails that classic X sound.

A quick clearing of the stage and The Psychedelic Furs were ready to roll in front of a near-capacity crowd. With one of the most distinctive voices of the ’80s, Richard Butler was all smiles as he took a bow and launched into their classic “Love My Way.” To be honest it was nice to get that one out of the way because, as the name of the tour suggests, X wasn’t the only band that had been looking forward to busting out some new tunes for the fans and Made of Rain was clearly worth the 31 year wait. Sure, the classics weren’t going to be ignored, but hot damn it was great to hear a healthy dose of new tunes in the mix with “Wrong Train” being a clear standout.

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TVD Live Shots: Machine Gun Kelly, Avril Lavigne, and Willow at Oakland Arena, 7/19

In a sign that his trajectory shows no sign of slowing, Machine Gun Kelly brought his “Mainstream Sellout” tour to the Oakland Arena for an over-the-top rock show that left nothing to be desired.

Soft-spoken but with a big voice, Willow Smith kicked things off to an enthusiastic crowd. Clearly trying to shed her “Whip My Hair” origins, the twenty-one-year-old is making a big step towards recasting her image through her latest release Lately I Feel Everything, an opening slot for MGK and a few between-song f-bombs no doubt helped in this regard.

Next up was Avril Lavigne who, with a new album out earlier this year, arguably could have been given a longer set time. As it was, she only had around 30 minutes to cram a pair of new tunes off of Love Sux in with the expected fan favorites. Given the crowd response, the Bay Area is likely hoping for a proper headlining date in support of the new album.

The Oakland crowd started to get a good glimpse of what was to come as the crew made quick work of the stage, assembling a sloped circular checkerboard section of stage with sections cut out for the drums and keyboards. Of course, the helicopter not-so-subtlety positioned directly above the stage was hard to miss from the beginning of the night, but its purpose was not so obvious.

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TVD Live Shots: Tenacious D and
Puddles Pity Party at
the Warfield, 6/24

In the spirit of “the show must go on,” Tenacious D miraculously orchestrated a relocation of their Palo Alto show as a local wildfire impacted electricity to the Frost Amphitheater. With short notice, The D split their one Bay Area show into a Friday show in San Francisco at the Warfield and a Saturday show at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, each serving ticket holders on a first come basis. 

With doors opening at the Warfield at 6PM for an 8PM show, whether this would prove to be an epic save or colossal shitshow was no doubt top of mind for attendees trying to make sense of the last-minute change of plans, but by 7PM the Warfield was packed to the rafters and outside there was a nervous mass of folks on the sidewalk looking hopeful that somehow they could get squeezed in.

The switcheroo most definitely worked in the favor of opener Puddles Pity Party who took the stage to an absolutely packed house, the better part of which had been spending the last hour or two availing themselves of the Warfield bar (notably killing a few taps before the Puddles set even ended). With a few cocktails down, the San Francisco crowd was clearly stoked for 45 minutes of sad clown cover songs which included some elegant mashups of Metallica/Celine Dion and The Who/Johnny Cash (twice!).

Those that managed to upgrade their GA lawn ticket at the Frost Amphitheater for a spot on the rail were chomping at the bit with signs and official Tenacious D c*m rags in hand (“because everything else is just a c*m rag”). And when The Big D took the stage at 9:15 and launched into “JB JR RAP,” the Warfield completely lost its shit.

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TVD Live Shots: Bauhaus and Vinsantos at the Masonic, 5/21

Apparently May 22nd was World Goth Day. Oh, you didn’t know such a thing existed either? Well apparently, someone at San Francisco’s Masonic Auditorium was on top of the holiday and had the foresight to celebrate with a pair of concerts by the legendary purveyors of gloom, Bauhaus.

Night one of the weekend double-header was kicked off by Vinsantos, the self-described “witch drag artist” who kept the mood dark as the crowd gathered for what would prove to be nothing short of memorable for fans young and old that dared to think that the opportunity to see Bauhaus live again would ever come to pass.

Taking the stage a hair past 9PM, the original four piece took the stage and launched right into “Rosegarden Funeral of Sores,” the band stepping in and out of the shadows as the bass line dirged on as Peter Murphy’s vocals pierced through the din. A commanding presence on stage, Murphy worked the crowd like a pro, engaging the front row directly without sacrificing the carefully curated vibe.

For their part the crowd soaked it all in and gave it right back, helping the band out on the chorus of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” without prompting and were rewarded by Murphy with fistfuls of red rose pedals. The set peaked with “Dark Entries” that seemed to have the general admission floor on the verge of a mosh that never quite materialized.

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TVD Live Shots: Blondie and The Damned at the Masonic, 5/17

Benefiting from the previous weekend’s Cruel World festival in Pasadena, San Francisco got a special spillover visit from Blondie with support from The Damned where The Masonic Auditorium was packed to the rafters.

The Damned kicked things off with “Wait for the Blackout” which got their fans up front moving around before kicking into a mellower groove.  Greatly missed from the evening’s show was Captain Sensible who chose to sit out these handful of shows, but Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens Of The Stone Age) proved to be an excellent replacement minus the on-stage antics that fans of the Captain have come to expect.

The Damned is a rare case of a band that only seems to get better with age. With Paul Gray back on the bass and new drummer Will Taylor behind the drum kit, the bottom end is as tight and heavy as it’s ever been, giving Vanian plenty of space to wow, although he always seems to overdress for a performance, gradually removing layers throughout the set as the room (and the crowd) heated up, reaching a peak for “Love Song” and continuing through to the set closer, “New Rose.”

While The Damned clearly left a mark on The Masonic, it was pretty obvious that most of the fans were here to see Blondie and when the band finally strolled out on the stage people lost their minds. A quick glance at the Blondie lineup and you may have been surprised to see none other than Glen Matlock of Sex Pistols fame filling in on bass for Chris Stein.

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TVD Live Shots: Pearl Jam with Pluralone at the Oakland Arena, 5/12

OAKLAND, CA | Two years in the making, Pearl Jam’s “Gigaton” tour finally made it to Oakland, and it was undoubtedly worth the wait. Pearl Jam fans are known for their supreme dedication, showing up early and sticking it out to the end, and those who did so were treated to a couple of solo cover tunes by Eddie Vedder before his introduction of Josh Klinghoffer (aka Pluralone) as the opening act which had Stone Gossard joining in on the fun.

The room lit up when the band took the stage a smidge ahead of 9PM and busted right into Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” followed quickly by “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” which had the crowd singing right along. Hearing an arena sing “I just want to scream hello,” with that little extra oomph on “hello,” was magical at that scale. It was at this point that Eddie answered the question that was in pretty much everyone’s mind—where the heck was Matt Cameron? Sidelined by COVID, the band decided to go forward with the show tapping Josh Klinghoffer and Richard Stuverud as fill-ins.

With the band-audience mind meld complete, Pearl Jam kicked things into high gear. “Why Go” had people losing their minds while Eddie went off, jumping from the drum riser, generally rocking the hell out and proving once again just why Pearl Jam continues to sell out arenas for over 30 years.

The band set a measured tone, clearly pacing themselves for what would prove to be an epic 2 ½ hour set. Between songs Eddie regaled the room with stories about the band and went off on tangents based on guests in the house (Angels manager Joe Maddon) and signs held by the crowd (the pro-choice banner got a tambourine). Mid-set Eddie even mused out loud about having online drum auditions for a fan to play a song with them the following night. Enter Josh Arroyo—getting Eddie’s attention with the help of some friends in the 100s section, he was invited backstage to get tested (more on Josh later).

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TVD Live Shots:
The Go-Go’s at the Masonic, 3/24

While we were away.Ed.

After reschedulings, venue changes, cancellations, and postponements, the show that never seemed to quite make it to a Bay Area stage finally came to pass. That’s right, Belinda, Jane, Kathy, Charlotte, and Clem (yes, you read that right—Clem Burke of Blondie on drums) hit San Francisco’s Masonic Auditorium for what would prove to be well worth the wait.

With no opening act and a no-frills stage setup, The Go-Go’s stormed the stage at 8:15 and proceeded to wow the near-capacity crowd of mostly Gen X’ers apparently out for date night from the first notes of “Beatnik Beach.” Belinda was the “punk rock ballerina” spinning around barefoot mid-stage while Kathy, Charlotte, and Jane held down the backup harmonies and Clem showed why he was the perfect stand-in behind the kit for Gina Schock.

And where was Gina you might ask? Sitting right there on the side of the stage enjoying the show as much, if not more than the most enthusiastic fans in the house. If you were worried you’d miss out on Gina’s flair for the hype, not to worry—she happily borrowed the mic from Belinda a few times to intro the band and unnecessarily point out how great the band sounded (everyone there already knew).

With a 90-minute set, The Go-Go’s were able to easily cover all the bases in their catalog with most of Beauty and the Beat peppered amongst hits from their other three albums as well as “Club Zero,” released in 2020, the band’s first new song in nineteen years!

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TVD Live Shots: Yungblud, Palaye Royale, Upsahl, and poutyface at the Warfield, 3/17

While we were away.Ed.

Anyone driving down Market Street in San Francisco this past Thursday evening could not have possibly missed the line snaking from under the entrance of the Warfield down the street and around the corner onto Turk Street. Emblazoned on the marquee, “Yungblud” who was set to take the city by storm on his Life on Mars Tour. If you’ve been wondering what the emo kids have been listening to while waiting for MCR to finally play some shows, step right on it.

Openers poutyface and Upsahl kicked things off with a battle of the power trios that had the packed house more than happy to appreciatively play along. But when Palaye Royale took the stage, things kicked into overdrive with their incredibly energetic set that had the now-packed pit area up front losing their shit.

With a scrim draped across the front of the stage, the crowd got antsy waiting for Yungblud to take the stage and things only got more tense when lights finally went down, the house music was turned off, and the crowd waited in silence for what seemed like forever. Talk about building anticipation.

When the curtain finally dropped all that bottled up energy was finally released and holy crap if the place didn’t go full-out nuts. Yungblud was out of the gates like a man possessed, sprinting from one end of the stage to the other feeding off the hyped-up crowd. Well, more like feeding off each other—not two songs into the set and Yungblud was gobsmacked, almost (but not quite) at a loss for words. Perhaps that’s what inspired him to plant a big smacking kiss on guitar player Adam Warrington’s mouth.

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TVD Live Shots:
Gary Numan and
I Speak Machine at
the Fillmore, 2/24

It’s hard to believe that Gary Numan has been at it for over 40 years and with a new album (Intruder) and North American tour in flight, it’s clear that he has no intentions of slowing down or letting up. And why should he? A Thursday night in San Francisco proves that his followers are more than happy to continue showing up as evidenced by the Fillmore which was absolutely packed, even by pre-pandemic standards.

I Speak Machine kicked things off with Tara Busch’s one-woman show who, in referring to herself as “we” no doubt was including the laptops, keyboards, buttons, knobs, gadgets and electronic doodads that surrounded her on stage. It seemed things could go one of two ways and thankfully Tara was able to step out from behind her equipment and absolutely crush her 30-minute set.

Gary and his band took the stage a few minutes after 9PM and launched straight into “Intruder” from his latest release. If you’ve never seen Numan before, what befell the Fillmore stage at that moment would likely be nothing like your mental image. Pushing past 60 years, Numan belies his age between the full shock of black hair and his incredible on-stage energy. Couple that energy with the thump of his music as well as a carefully crafted production and aesthetic and you have what proves to be one of the best shows you may ever see.

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TVD Live Shots: Turnstile, Citizen, and Coco & Clair Clair at Regency Ballroom, 2/22

There’s a bit of a hubbub over Turnstile’s latest LP Glow On. Released in August of 2021, the album quickly hit the radar of music fans old and new, making many “best of” lists and charting all over the place. With their North American “The Turnstile Love Connection Tour” kicking off in San Francisco with a pair of shows at the Regency Ballroom, it was the perfect time to catch the band live and see if all the hype is warranted.

Having somehow failed to have ever given Glow On a spin amidst the incessant brouhaha, the drive over the bridged served as the perfect opportunity to pull it up and see what was afoot for the upcoming evening. Let’s just say that there’s a lot to unpack in Glow On. Melodic with chorus-laden guitars, overdriven hardcore breakdowns, synths and some percussive creativity … one drive over the Bay Bridge was certainly not enough time.

The Regency filled up quickly and despite tickets still for sale at the door, the place was absolutely packed for openers Coco and Clair Clair who received an overly polite response from the crowd but fell in the category of “I don’t get it” for this dude. Next up was Citizen, with a fiery but brief 35-minute set that got the pit churning and had those that arrived early to grab a spot on the rail for Turnstile holding on for dear life in order to keep their spot.

A little Whitney Houston blasting over the PA got the crowd warmed up for Turnstile’s 9:45 entrance at which point all hell broke loose. Vocalist Brendan Yates literally attacked the stage—spinning, jumping and lunging as the band tore into “Holiday” in front of blinding strobes. The energy on the stage matched by the mob that packed the general admission floor, singing and dancing along, the hullabaloo punctuated by the occasional overly priced beers sailing overhead.

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TVD Live Shots: The Struts, World’s First Cinema, and Charming Liars at The Fillmore, 1/18

Proving that they can be knocked down but not knocked out, The Struts successfully navigated their way through COVID infections and restrictions to bring their rescheduled “Strange Days Are Over Tour” to San Francisco’s Fillmore.

While some fans might have understandably opted out, The Struts managed to assemble a large and rather cheery crowd, happy to sip their cocktails and dole out some deserved appreciation for openers Charming Liars and World’s First Cinema. But when the lights finally dimmed, and The Struts took the stage and those that had been waiting patiently for this moment—completely lost their shit.

Tearing right into “Primadonna Like Me” it was clear that the band hadn’t missed a beat during the last few months off and was ready to pick right back up where they left things with frontman Luke Spiller … bedecked in floofy pink showing off his legendary swagger. The crowd ate up every note and when Luke demanded they jump, the floor noticeably flexed and when he demanded they sing …well, that was completely unnecessary because they already were.

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TVD Live Shots: Metallica at Chase Center, 12/17

Metallica turns forty! If band years were calculated similarly to dog years, that would make Metallica (breaks out calculator) pretty freaking old. Let’s face it, the Four Horsemen have defied all odds by endured the ups and downs of being a band. From line-up changes to experimental music projects (LuLu) to putting all their shit out there for everyone to see (Some Kind of Monster) they’re seemingly bigger than ever, so it’s not a surprise that they’ve taken this as an opportunity to thank their loyal fans.

Unlike the series of intimate gatherings that marked their 30-year anniversary, Metallica decided to be more inclusive this time around, literally taking over San Francisco for the weekend with a series of events, gatherings, and community projects peppered between two mega-arena events at the Chase Center. All told, the festivities had fans traveling from around the world to participate.

Without an opening band, Metallica relied on comedian Dean DelRay and DJ Lord (Public Enemy) to warm up the crowd as they got their first glimpse of the stage. Historically big fans of playing in the round, Metallica unsurprisingly stuck with their tried-and-true approach, augmenting the production with massive curved LED screens of various sizes on which videos queued the arrival of the band. But there’s nothing quite like “The Ecstasy of Gold” to trigger that pavlovian response in every Metallica fan’s brain knowing that the band is about to take the stage as they join in singing.

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TVD Live Shots: Foo Fighters and Kills Birds at Golden 1 Center, 12/7

SACRAMENTO, CA | Freshly-minted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Foo Fighters brought the fire to the Golden 1 Center that had the streets of downtown Sacramento buzzing on a Tuesday night. And why not … with twenty-six years as a band, they were about to show the crowd why they’re one of the greatest bands of this generation. Oh, and if you ever wondered whether there were any perks to being Dave Grohl’s new favorite band, just ask Kills Birds who kicked the night off.

The band took the stage with little fanfare while Grohl, dimly lit by a spot, opened the evening a cappella with “Times Like These” as the crowd sang along. The lights kicked in when the band launched into the chorus, and it was immediately clear that the night’s show was not going to be a mellow affair as Dave dashed from one end of the stage to the other. In fact, the opening salvo of the setlist that went straight into “The Pretender” and “Learn to Fly” set the perfect tone for the evening’s festivities.

The sold out Golden 1 Center was absolutely packed top to bottom and front to back. And as the band settled into their groove, Dave claimed to be genetically programmed to scream for hours and promised to cover all the bases before cracking a joke about the smell of popcorn that permeated the venue. The guy literally doesn’t have an “off button,” injecting humor into even the most basic of moves. Case in point: blending right in with the vintage looking amps was a Marshall mini fridge, easy to dismiss as another piece of gear until Dave nonchalantly opens it to grab a cold one.

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TVD Live Shots: Rival Sons, Reignwolf, and Jameson Burt at the Warfield, 11/11

Rock and roll is back and Rival Sons are carrying the torch across America, stopping at the historic Warfield to give the San Francisco crowds a much needed booster shot.

Openers Jameson Burt and Reignwolf kicked off the evening with guitars and rock and roll appetizers. Jameson’s one man show drew the gathering crowd in from the lobby and Reignwolf’s raucous set made sure they weren’t going anywhere, especially after guitar player Jordan Cook booted a perfectly good drummer from behind his kit to play both instruments.

Not that any band really needs an excuse to get back on the road as concerts finally open back up, but Rival Sons does indeed have reason to celebrate. 2021 represents the 10-year anniversary of their 2011 breakthrough album Pressure & Time.

For a band that has toured with mega-acts and has commanded a considerable buzz, the attendance on this particular night was criminally low. But that didn’t keep the band from bringing their all. With drummer Mike Miley and keyboardist Todd Ögren set up at the back of the stage along with some vintage looking amps, there was plenty of room for vocalist Jay Buchanan to work. And work he did. Sporting a black three piece suit, Jay delivered an inspiring performance that had the crowd singing along.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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