The Stone Foxes
Annie Girl & The Flight, French Cassettes
November 8, 2014
@ The Chapel
Better Than: Eating those delicious pupusas off the streets of the Mission.
Talk about your local dream teams: First off, Annie Girl and The Flight, who played after the French Cassettes (a surfy, twangy, indie rock band donning headbands and button-ups, tastefully buttoned-down for the occasion), was completely and utterly shocking. She’s a young woman, beyond her years in talent, by far, with what seemed like an experienced group backing her. Annie, with wild curls covering her eyes and most of her face, was the epitome of completely raw and exposed talent on stage. No smiles had, just a deep, sensual voice and lyrics that you could tell really meant something.
[jump] Her second guitarist seemed like he hailed from the original punk scene, Black Flag tattoo stamped on his arm, Melvins t-shirt, and get this — those “barefoot” modern comfort shoes by Merrell I spotted pushing down on a dozen pedals at his toes. Punk meets comfort: So hardcore. Oh, and he was playing his guitar completely upside-down — Jimi Hendrix style, but he literally just took the guitar and flipped it upside down, not just a switch up with the strings. And at one point her drummer grabbed a pair of green, red, and white maracas he shook around and then used them as drumsticks. Her music was slow and mesmerizing, putting me in a spell as I listened to her profoundly deep lyrics. There was no flashy show, she didn’t need to. Just by her voice and energy and the powerful story that I knew she had, it was enough. It left me wanting to sit down and hear her experiences and learn about where this music comes from. Although young, she is a rising star, and definitely someone that will be on my radar in the future.
And then the headliners, San Francisco's own Stone Foxes, returning for night two of their November residency at The Chapel. The six-member band, most members sporting matching shoulder-length hair, is hard to quite classify as any genre, but I really freakin’ enjoyed it. They’re fronted by a high-energy performer that stole the audience, lead vocalist Shannon Koehler, totally playing the crowd, brushing fingertips with the ladies, jumping off and on the stage, while showering us in a sea of sweat. Their guitar riffs and heavy rock sounds mixed with blues as they jammed on harmonicas, tambourines, and a violin. It was the kind of performance that makes you know without a doubt that they live for this stuff. Not recording in a studio, but actually being on stage and stomping, jumping, dancing, singing, squeezing their eyes shut, and grinning from ear to ear. They went so wild during the very first song that each and every one of them were dripping in sweat by the end of it.
Later I saw the return of Annie as she ambles on stage, still masked by her locks, backed by two of The Stone Foxes — guitarist and violinist — for an insanely good cover of “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).” Then their friend Eric Shea, singer in heavy-rock band Hot Lunch and the country-rock band Sweet Chariot, came on stage for the encore — in a floor-length hooded cape, with one arm hiding his face — and successfully got the crowd rocking more than they had all night. But sensing an aggressive mosh pit on the edge of unleashing, vocalist Koehler repeatedly warned the crowd “that they better be nice.” During the cover of “I Put A Spell On You,” handfuls of confetti were thrown in the air. Lead singer, ever the ladies man, pulled up a girl next to me on stage to shake the tambourine around and dance her butt off in front of cheering fans.
They seemed genuinely nice guys though — not that I have much to go off of, but they weren’t cold, detached, egotistical rockstars that rushed through their sets barely addressing their fans. They were clearly there for us and only us, and gave this show all they had. It seemed like all they wanted in was to interact with the live bodies in the room and having a fucking blast while doing it. And the best part? Nothing seemed rehearsed. Each song was adapted while they were unfolding in front of our eyes. Switches on instruments and vocals was common, non-band members joining them on stage to add to their musicality was natural. Each song was completely different and it just worked in an inspiring, rhythmic, natural flow. It’s obvious they know how to play, they know how to write and they definitely put on one hell of a good show. At times during the encore they had 10 people on stage; it was the kind of jumping up and down, getting low, shouting into mics and slamming on instruments finale, all in outrageous fun.
And a toast to the audience: “Here’s to you, San Francisco.” They have their last show of their November residency month at The Chapel next Saturday. Trust me, you’re definitely not going to want to miss it. I might go again, just 'cause it was that kind of show.