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Fall Out!: How to Navigate the Grooviest Time of the Year for Bay Area Concerts 

Tuesday, Sep 2 2014
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It's September, which means San Francisco summer is here, the local tourist population is rapidly declining, and it's time to get to some concerts. Possibly the best time: After slogging it out on the festival circuit all summer, and with new albums planned from here to Christmas, your favorite pop musicians are happy to get inside and play in the dark, cool confines of an Actual Venue. Here are our picks for the fall's most notable concerts.

September

3: BFF.fm First Birthday Bash with Happy Fangs, Nanosaur (DJ set), Night Genes, DJ Cosmic Amanda @ The Chapel

6: Shock the Party: San Quinn, The Jacka, Equipto, and more @ Slim's

8-9: Swans and Carla Bozulich @ The Independent

11: Mark Eitzel @ The Chapel

12: Owen Pallett @ Great American Music Hall

13: Summersalt 2014 with Big Gigantic, G-Eazy, The Gaslamp Killer, Salva, and more @ Pier 70

13: The Breeders @ The Fillmore

14: GBH @ Oakland Metro

16: Drake vs. Lil Wayne @ Shoreline Amphitheatre

Drizzy and Weezy are pals, but even pals can battle — and this high-concept live pairing is about as close to a rap battle as you're going to see the Young Money stars get anymore. The audience gets to cheer (and, via a Capcom videogame installation, fight) for either the hard-bodied NOLA yapper or the too-cool-for-anyone-but-himself Canuck, and a winner is announced at the end of the show — after which each star rhymes on the other's biggest hits.

18: Chvrches @ Fox Oakland

19: Beck @ The Masonic

It's the very first show at the renovated Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium (now known as simply "the Masonic"), and it's big one: Beck, performing in support of Morning Phase, a sequel to the even-more-melancholy Sea Change that many have called his finest work. The new songs' intricate layers of guitars, harmonies, and sighing will provide an excellent test for the room's new sound system, and with its new, flat-fronted stage, everyone in the house should get a good view of Sad Beck himself.

20: Interpol @ Fox Oakland

22-23: Katy Perry and Tegan & Sara @ SAP Center

24: Allo Darlin' @ Rickshaw Stop

25: KMEL Legends of Summer Jam with T.I., E-40, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and more @ Oracle Arena

26: Bob Mould @ The Fillmore

26: Modest Mouse @ The Masonic

26: Hercules & Love Affair @ Mezzanine

27: The Orwells @ Slim's

Some performances are clumsy, capable, and canny all at once. In January, a mostly unheard-of Midwestern rock band went on David Letterman's stage and massacred a song called "Who Needs You," with frontman Mario Cuomo writhing across the floor and seating himself clumsily in one of the guest chairs while ignoring most of his lyrics. Messy, yes, but it worked: Letterman was thrilled, Paul Shaffer kicked the Late Show band into an immediate reprise, and nine months later, we're still wondering what a group that sounds like a rougher, duller version of the Strokes might do next.

27: Wu-Tang Clan @ The Warfield

29: King Tuff @ Great American Music Hall

October

2: Pinback @ Bimbo's 365

2-3: Lorde @ Greek Theatre

3-5: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass @ Golden Gate Park

4: Conor Oberst at the Fillmore

4: DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist @ Mezzanine

5: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers @ SAP Center San Jose

5-6: The War on Drugs With Cass McCombs

7: Thurston Moore and Sebadoh @ Great American Music Hall

8-9: Kygo @ Mezzanine

Proving that no one in EDM is too young to be a major influence, Norwegian pianist Kygo picked up electronic production after hearing Sweden's blazing young phenom Avicii. But unlike Avicii, Kygo is beloved online for his remixes of pop, electronic, and even "Sexual Healing," where he pastes liquid textures and effervescent melodies inside spirited — if not exactly throbbing — rhythms. The upstart isn't known as a DJ, but this is S.F.'s first chance to see him in person.

9: White Fence @ Rickshaw Stop

10: Calle 13 @ The Warfield

11: Christopher Owens @ GAMH

After he left Girls, Christopher Owens' first solo album, Lysandre, was a disappointment. His second sounds a lot more promising: On A New Testament, Owens returns to classic pop with shades of country, a sound for which his compact songwriting and thin voice is well suited. Early singles "Nothing More Than Everything to Me" and "Never Wanna See That Look Again" hint that Owens may have recovered whatever muse made that first Girls album so addictive. If you didn't catch the San Francisco resident at Outside Lands — or even if you did — Great American Music Hall should make an ideal setting for him.

11: Pomplamoose @ The Fillmore

10-11: The Weeknd @ Bill Graham Civic Center

18-19: Treasure Island Music Festival @ Treasure Island

10-17: SBTRKT @ Fox Theater

18: Screaming Females @ Hemlock

19: Nas Illmatic performance and screening @ Fox Oakland

Nas's first album, Illmatic, is about as close to an unassailable hip-hop classic as they come — even his onetime rival, Jay Z, praised the record in a dis track. Over two nights in October, the Fox Oakland will host a screening of Nas: Time Is Illmatic, a new documentary about the rapper's life and the making of his most famous album. Afterward, Nas will perform Illmatic in full. For diehard fans of New York hip-hop, this is a chance to immerse in one of its most celebrated works.

23: The Afghan Whigs @ The Fillmore

November

4: Frankie Rose @ Bottom of the Hill

6-8: The Matches @ GAMH and Slim's

Perhaps more than any other successful '90s East Bay pop-punk band, the Matches expanded the horizon of what pop-punk could be: Its most acclaimed album, Decomposer, featured the work of nine producers and veered from three-chord snot to roiling electronica. Members of the notoriously hardworking group went their separate ways in 2009, but will reunite for three shows this fall around the 10-year anniversary of the Matches' debut album.

8: Foster the People @ Fox Theater

9: Rhye @ Fox Theater

8: Rebirth Brass Band @ Mezzanine

9: Julian Casablancas and the Void @ Regency Ballroom

11: Mac DeMarco @ The Fillmore

11-12: Slayer @ Fox Theater

13: First Aid Kit @ Fox Theater

15: Sohn @ Mezzanine

20: FKA twigs @ The Warfield

The new internet darling of arty, minimalist R&B is a little less mysterious after the release of her debut album LP1 this summer, but only a little: Her breathy music still seems to conceal as much as it makes intimate. FKA ("formerly known as") twigs' August show in S.F. was sold-the-fuck-out, but curious Pitchfork second-guessers will have a chance to see whether her live presence lives up to the hype later this fall.

22: Justin Timberlake @ Oracle Arena

20-22: Sturgill Simpson with Drive-By Truckers @ The Fillmore

When they introduce him at the Grand Ole Opry, the announcers note that Sturgill Simpson isn't a by-the-books country singer. Which is partly why he's so good: Simpson's voice is a timeless, weary honk, but his arrangements can conjure psychedelic rock, and the inspirations for some songs (like "Turtles All the Way Down") are deep questions about physics and God and the meaning of life. So there's still plenty for fans of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson to like.

22-23: Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Allen Toussaint @ SFJAZZ

23-24: Sky Ferreira @ The Independent

25: Fleetwood Mac @ SAP Center

December

3: Fleetwood Mac @ Oracle Arena

18: Dillon Francis @ The Fox Oakland

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Ian S. Port

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