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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Best Shows in San Francisco This Week

Posted By on Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 12:25 PM

click to enlarge Marissa Nadler performs Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Chapel
  • Marissa Nadler performs Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Chapel

Low End Theory @ Mighty, Friday, Jan. 4

Here's one thing that's changing in 2013: Low End Theory, the local offshoot of the L.A. bass music party that's helped launched the careers of Flying Lotus, Nocando, Thundercat and others, is moving venues from 1015 Folsom to Mighty. We'll call that good news, since Mighty is renowned for, among other things, having one of the sweetest sound systems in all of S.F. And for its very first 2013 edition, the party is rolling out bass (string, not button) wunderkind Thundercat, plus Brainfeeder artists Teebs, Mono/Poly, and residents Daddy Kev, Nobody, D-Styles, and Nocando. You, uh, can't do much better this Friday than hearing how all that boom will sound through the tall stacks and brick walls at Mighty. -- Ian S. Port

Marissa Nadler @ The Chapel, Saturday, Jan. 5

"I suppose I have always gravitated towards the dark and melancholy, aesthetically speaking, in both music and fine art," painter/singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler said in a 2010 interview, throwing an early front-runner into the Understatement of the Century contest. Boston-based Nadler specializes in "dream folk slowcore" that speaks of human misery -- depression, illness, addiction, death, etc. -- on illuminating and intimate levels. While her work primarily draws from the personal and philosophical, she could easily take inspiration from her professional life, too: Nadler's one-time label Kemado Records liked her enough to name an imprint after one of her songs ("Mexican Summer") yet ended up dropping her, creating serious acrimony between the two parties. The musician upended that negative with a 2011 Kickstarter campaign that resulted in the launch of Box of Cedar Records. 2012's The Sister, Nadler's sixth record overall, marks her second release on the label. -- Reyan Ali

Thomas Gold @ Ruby Skye, Saturday, Jan. 5

Berlin producer/DJ Thomas Gold makes and plays the type of tunes that make club light techs feel like they earned their paychecks. Gold's selections -- an assortment of original productions, bootleg edits, and mashups -- are a style of build/climax/breakdown/climax progressive house tunes that practically beg the control-booth staff to ride the strobe lights. Gold plays it unabashedly populist, melding swatches of pop-leaning dance music (Lady Gaga, Calvin Harris, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii) with more aggressively driving electro-house inflections, finished with trance's climbing melodies and playful synth stabs. Explorative moments of minimal tech-house or soulful deep house will be absent, but fans of stadium-sized, pounding tracks will find Gold's enthusiasm contagious. -- Tony Ware

Reel Big Fish @ Regency Ballroom, Sunday, Jan. 6

Third-wave ska was last in vogue when people still thought Y2K was a threat, but the passage of a decade hasn't changed the fact that many of these bands still make an awfully accessible and enjoyable racket onstage. See: well-vetted Huntington Beach six-piece Reel Big Fish, at the top of the Candy Coated Fury 2013 Tour. The tour takes its name from Candy Coated Fury, RBF's most recent record and a phrase that aptly encapsulates the group's sarcastic, semi-seething lyrics wrapped in fun, bouncy tunes. Down the bill is self-described "raggacore" unit the Pilfers, a New York City quintet that has been in business intermittently since 1997. And rounding it out is a solo performance from Dan Potthast, the prolific Santa Cruz citizen best known for fronting the sensational MU330. If you've ever needed a reason to pull your ratty checkered Vans out of the closet, this is it. -- Reyan Ali

Cannons and Clouds @ Amnesia, Tuesday, Jan. 8

Sweet, soothing, bucolic indie-folk. Can we ever get enough of it? Well, yes, we can, but Cannons and Clouds are unlikely to be the outfit that sends you (or us) over the edge. The San Francisco six-piece deals in an especially lovely blend of acoustic guitars, classical harp, and lush harmonies. More importantly, they also manage to write good songs: Note the lulling warmth of "Will a Rainstorm Save Us All From the Wrath of God" and the energetic, wistful love tune "Where Reality Has Me." The group headlines Amnesia this week for the second installment of local label 20 Sided Records' monthlong residency, which continues every Tuesday in January at this favorite Mission club. -- Ian S. Port


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