The first time Randy Cordero covered a Neil Diamond song, he did it as a lark, never dreaming that it would become his full time job for the next 20 years. "In 1988, I was the singer and songwriter of a regular rock band," Cordero recalls. "Sometimes I'd do open mics, playing my own songs solo, with an acoustic guitar. One night, at a club that drew a lot of punks and alternative music types, I dropped 'Sweet Caroline' into the set. I didn't think I'd get a response, except maybe to piss people off. Everybody loved it. I did it again at the next open mic and it kind of snowballed from there." Cordero did his Diamond impression with his acoustic guitar for a few years as Surreal Neil, and the reaction was always positive. In 1993, he put together Super Diamond, a full-on rock band, and they've been going strong ever since. They're still one of the top draws at Bay Area clubs, not to mention the casinos of Las Vegas, and making a comfortable living. Ahead of the band's 20th anniversary show at Bimbo's 365 Club tonight, we spoke with Cordero about how Super Diamond came to be, his approach to interpreting Neil Diamond's songs, and the time Diamond himself unexpectedly came out onstage.
Hey, look! Another exercise in presumptive list-making! This edition comes from your rock godfathers at Rolling Stone, who have just declared San Francisco's Great American Music Hall the No. 6 club in America.
Great American Music Hall, you will recall, is the stunning former bordello at 859 O'Farrell St. with the ornate balconies, the long, narrowish wood floor, and the excellent sound. The club hosts both headlining sets from rising local bands, pricey fundraisers played by the likes of Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, an lots of artists in between. (Including, to name a few, Animal Collective, Jeff Tweedy, and Jonathan Richman.)
330 Ritch, a SOMA nightclub that often hosted live hip-hop shows and DJs, closed indefinitely yesterday after three people were shot in and around the club early Sunday morning.
The shooting victims -- two men in their 20s and one man in his 30s -- are expected to live, according to the SF Examiner. But the Ritch Street club, which is tucked away in an alley between Brannan and Townsend streets, surrendered its entertainment permit to the city on Monday, meaning it will no longer operate.
The Red Bull Thre3style Contest, featuring DJs D-Sharp, Dstrukt, J. Espinosa, Mei-Lwun, and Richie Panic
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013
Better Than: Being stuck in a crowded arena of people sucking on pacifiers wondering whether you are baby-sitting or just better off never going out again.
In a region that has helped launch the careers of such superstars as DJ Qbert, Mark Farina, and Kaskade, there always remains the question: Who will be the latest up-and-coming DJ talent to emerge from The Bay?
Thankfully, the Red Bull Thre3style competition, which has quickly supplanted the DMC as the world's preeminent DJ battle, exists to answer this question for fans in the Bay Area and across the globe.
Lisa Marie Delgadillo hasn't owned The Lucky Horseshoe bar in Bernal Heights very long. "April first will be two years," she says. "I opened the doors and started cleaning."
Before that, the place was known as Skip's, and it was controversial, attracting both lovers and haters. Supporters called it a friendly place with live blues and soul music. Detractors didn't like the aroma or the decibel level. Opinions among neighbors seemed polarized at cultural extremes -- it was "yuppie" versus "detritus of the neighborhood."
Fortunately, Delgadillo and her partner Eric Embry appear to be doing the impossible: splitting the difference via hard work, a love of the neighborhood, and an impressive commitment to live music.
Hosting the bounce of UK bass and the grit of contemporary techno, Icee Hot is one of a handful of parties on the forward edge of San Francisco nightlife. It's been that way since it first started as a project of XLR8R editor Shawn Reynaldo, producer Ghosts on Tape (a.k.a. Ryan Merry), DJ Rollie Fingers (a.k.a. Will Fewell), and Lazer Sword member Low Limit (a.k.a. Bryant Rutledge). Always one step ahead, the party celebrates its third anniversary this weekend and next with a two-part party at Public Works that features Martyn and Jacques Greene on Saturday, Jan. 19, and Basic Soul Unit and Space Dimension Controller on Saturday, Jan. 26. We caught up with the boys behind the party and asked them a few questions in anticipation of their big week ahead.
Regular readers of this blog will know that we're huge fans of the soundsystem over at newish S.F. club Monarch. The huge, gold-plated horns of the Void Acoustics system look incredible -- and they sound even better, leading us to name Monarch's soundsystem the best in all of San Francisco.
Turns out we aren't the only fans of Monarch's clear treble and thundering bass. The folks over at online giant Beatport just ranked the 10 best soundsystems in the U.S., and chose Monarch as No. 7 -- the only S.F. club to make the list.
Back in March, former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh opened a picturesque restaurant and bar called Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael. Since then, it's come to be known as a home for Lesh and friends (and, um, Phil Lesh & Friends) to play live whenever the whim strikes. In two weeks, the complex, named after the pivotal 1977 Dead album Terrapin Station, celebrates its official grand opening with two weeks of events, including a gala unveiling of the remodeled Grate Room, a new club for live music, on Nov. 29. General tickets are sold out for the evening with Lesh, Bob Weir, Jackie Greene, and secret guests, but there are still a few VIP tickets left. A free celebration set for Dec. 3-5 promises never-before-seen Dead memorabilia, storytelling sessions, and live music.
San Francisco's downtown club scene just got a little emptier: After 14 years of hosting hip-hop, dancehall, reggae, and house music -- and even some live bands -- Club Six, at 60 Sixth St., has just announced its immediate closure.
Via Eater SF, we hear that owner Angel Cruz sent out a note to the club's email list announcing the big end. A message went up on Facebook an hour ago:
Nightlife in San Francisco is a big deal -- we live in the kind of town that takes its partying seriously. Naturally, then, there's a near-obsessive level of detail when it comes to club sound. Look back, and the history of the city is littered with acoustic temples and stories of wild club owners on the hunt for the perfect installation. To go out in the city today is to be in the enviable position of being able to pick between a variety of excellent venues, all of which hold high sonic quality as a virtue. Yet, amidst the influx of new spaces (not to mention renovations of old ones), it can be hard to keep track of the city's most euphonic clubs. So, without further ado, here are San Francisco's 10 best club sound systems.