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Sizzle & Fizzle: Highs and Lows from the Last Week in S.F. Music 

Wednesday, Apr 17 2013


• This year's Outside Lands lineup – going on hints dropped by press time – looks like a scrambled iPod time machine, or maybe a fantasy out of Inception. Baauer and Willie Nelson? Paul McCartney and Jurassic 5? Youth Lagoon and Red Hot Chili Peppers? The musical eras are all collapsing in on one another!

• Not to brag, but yes, we were at that secret basement show Franz Ferdinand played at S.F. vintage shop Vacation, and yes, it was every bit as awesome as you'd expect. We always knew the Scottish dance-rockers' "Take Me Out" was a great song, but it's even better when you're standing three feet from a sweat-drenched Alex Kapranos.

• Nineties-themed DJ night Debaser has a new offshoot: Last Nite, a party that looks back lovingly at 2000s-era indie rock and pop. It shows there's no limit to the recentness of the past we can romanticize – and also that decade-old Arcade Fire and Gwen Stefani tracks can still rock a dancefloor.


Chi Cheng, bassist for Sacramento rockers Deftones, died early Saturday at the age of 42. Cheng had been in a partially conscious state since a car accident in 2008, but recently showed signs of recovering. Tributes poured in from all over the world of heavy music — even Slash expressed his sadness.

• We're sad to report that S.F. garage-punk band the Mallard decided to call it quits. The band had made waves nationally with its Castle Face Records debut, but frontwoman Greer McGettrick said she grew disenchanted with its material after South by Southwest.

• Dumb songs about racism have a history that goes far beyond "Accidental Racist" – although few of them are quite as bad as what Brad Paisley and LL Cool J released. Remember the simple-minded Black Eyed Peas tune "Where Is the Love?" or Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder's "Ebony and Ivory"? All forget that racism is a hugely complex and touchy topic – and that no one is going to fix it with a pop song.

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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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