By Cory Sklar
By Alee Karim
By Christina Li
By Dave Pehling
By Ian S. Port
By SF Weekly
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
A decade after its founding, the annual Mission Creek Music & Arts Festival is back to blow your senses, featuring a mix of mediums that includes literature, film, and, of course, a ton of great music. The festivities sprawl throughout the city from May 14 to May 22, during which our burg's coziest and classiest venues showcase top-shelf independent music. Below are a handful of critical picks from the lineup. For more information, visit www.mcmf.org.
Scandinavian chanteuse Ane Brun retains water weight in tears in her trembling folk ballads. Her lyrics hang delicately, quivering as if she's just moments from serious mourning, although she admits in song that crying into a bottle over a lost lover is one performance she rarely makes. Brun is a beacon for wayward souls lost in ashed passions, claiming that she's a hopeless romantic one moment and describing crawling around, "vomiting and defeated," the next. Her acoustic sessions are meant to break your mending heart. Jennifer Maerz
Ane Brun performs Sunday, May 14, at Argus Lounge at 8 p.m. Admission is $6.
If Tom Waits and Rickie Lee Jones had had a child, she would have sounded like Casey Dienel. The Massachusetts native describes herself as "Kurt Weill with a chill pill," and certainly you can hear her classical training in her fluid piano playing. But there's a boogie-woogie jaunt to her melodies as well, and her lyrics are beatnik all the way, full of cross-dressing psychiatrists, gun-toting teen lovers, and morose drunks. Top it off with a jazzy, angel-with-dirty-wings voice, and you've got a lil' bundle of joy for Waits/Jones fans. Dan Strachota
Casey Dienel performs on Tuesday, May 16, at the Hotel Utah at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $6.
Consume a dark, robust vino rosso from a silver-plated chalice when experiencing the electric mass that is a Sunburned Hand of the Man gig. Then allow god's blood to dribble off the precipice of your chin, staining your tight white tee because SBHOTM are a large ensemble from New England who build shattered, stoned, and most of all sacred free-rock grooves from psychedelic noise, hawdcore, dub, space rock, absurdist theater, free jazz, and even a Caucasian funk beat or two. Justin F. Farrar
Sunburned Hand of the Man performs on Tuesday, May 16, at the Hemlock Tavern at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $8.
John Dwyer rose to the top of the trash rock heap for cranking out in-your-face, noise-damaged garage punk at blistering volumes, inspiring hyperactive levels of physical activity. When Dwyer keeps his calm, though, his creative juices flow into freak folk and lullaby hums, as displayed on the blissful tunes delivered by the Ohsees (formerly "OCS"). I highly recommend the band's new release, The Cool Death of Island Raiders. Produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, the album moves from Animal Collective moments of communing with the birds to lo-fi, 2001-esque space-drone odysseys to Dwyer's random quip about the first time indie jack-of-all-trades Weasel Walter got baked. Per usual, there's a layer of distortion coating almost everything, but the hushed ambience and precious campfire singalongs display intriguing intimacy and restraint from a performer known for breaking bulbs and body parts with abandon. J.M.
The Ohsees perform on Wednesday, May 17, at the Hemlock Tavern at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $7.
Composer John Cage pioneered the concept of "noise," and whether generated naturally, by chance, or by design, music has never been the same since. John Wiese articulates his muse with collages and collisions of sound. Resonances of machines, armaments, architecture, voices, and even (on occasion) instruments are rapid-fire edited into airborne slabs and aural hemorrhages. Wiese's assaults are analogous to John Oswald's splice-and-dice plunderphonics, but where Oswald is Leonard Bernstein via Spike Jones, Wiese is Hüsker Dü via the Boredoms. Mark Keresman
John Wiese performs Thursday, May 18, at the Lab at 8 p.m. Admission is $7-$15.
In interviews and movies, actor/director Vincent Gallo comes off like a big jerk self-obsessed, sex-crazed, politically reactionary, more than willing to film Chloe Sevigny going down on him. But his musical compositions are a whole 'nother beast: a heartfelt, mournful kind of folk-prog that cries out for a bong and a hankie. Give Gallo some old-fashioned organs and a guitar, and he makes music that's as affecting as his movies are affected. Dan S.
Vincent Gallo performs on Friday, May 19, at Bimbo's 365 Club at 8 p.m. Admission is $20.
The Gris Gris
One of the best freak garage practitioners in the Bay Area, the Gris Gris provides ample psychedelic pleasures with zero pretense. The band's repertoire dances between ghostly waltzes, spaghetti westerns, and cracked-in-the-skull Jesus jams full of handclaps that invite the crowd to get in on the fervor. Live, the Oakland act tears it up, and tonight it shares the stage with Birdman labelmate Brian Glaze, whose hazy shades of Syd Barrett easily fit into the Gris Gris cosmic continuum. J.M.
The Gris Gris and Brian Glaze perform Friday, May 19, at 12 Galaxies at 9 p.m. Admission is $8.
The Tigerbeat6 label gets its night in the lineup at the Elbo Room, where Kid606 teams up with friends and rostermates to kick out the electronic jams. Alone, Kid606 is a brilliant audio collage artist, culling together the bright corners of electronic pop, ambient soundscapes, and reconfigured reggae; when he plays with brooding post-punk disco bashers Clipd Beaks (and more), the resulting collection of local-label talent moves into indie electro heaven. J.M.