Friday, August 1, 2014

Outside Lands: More Water, Safer Totems, and Surveillance Cameras This Year

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 1:36 PM


With Outside Lands quickly approaching, we spoke briefly with Allen Scott, executive vice president of Another Planet Entertainment, about a few updates and changes to the 2014 festival.

In addition to Outside Lands, Another Planet Entertainment produces the Treasure Island music festival (now in its eighth year), and the Life is Beautiful festival in Vegas (happens in October, now in its second year). They are the exclusive operator of Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, the Fox Theater in Oakland, the Independent in San Francisco, and Harveys Lake Tahoe.

SF Weekly: The Canadian music festival Bass Coast decided to ban Native American headdresses – common at outdoor music festivals – this year, calling them offensive. Have you considered the same?

Allen Scott, Another Planet Entertainment: We don't have any policy on headdresses.

Are there any bans or restrictions festival attendees should know about?

We don't allow weapons, illegal substances, large backpacks, strollers, fireworks, lawn furniture, umbrellas, or video equipment. One thing that came up this year is totems, those flags that people carry into the festival. It's a way to express yourself but also a way for people to find you. They're very prolific in Glastonbury. This year we decided that totems can be no taller than six feet, half an inch thick, and must be made of light material like swim tubes, light plastic, or balloons. No wood or metal or PVC.

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This Week: Lars Ulrich Gets Cold, DMX Gets Scared, Jack White Hangs Out With Santa

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 9:37 AM


"We were recording at night and it was freezing sometimes. We had big gas heaters heating up the drum room so Lars wouldn't catch a cold. That studio is now somebody's apartment, by the way. Somebody's living room is where Lars actually sat and recorded Ride the Lightning."
Flemming Rasmussen, production assistant for Metallica's Ride The Lightning album, on the harsh conditions the metal classic was recorded in. (Rolling Stone)

“You couldn’t have big, fluffy long hair. You had to have fucked up shorter hair and a plaid shirt. You couldn’t be walking around the gas station in spandex anymore.”
Mike D on the death of hair metal, thanks to grunge. (Vanity Fair)

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

DJ Mikey Lion on House, Techno, Love, and Top Hats

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 2:05 PM

For producer and DJ Mikey Lion, the recipe for success as a performer comes from continually following your passion and not being afraid of change. While in his teens, Wu-Tang and Biggie records were among his go-to selections. Mikey Lion’s college years turned him onto the world of house and techno, a love solidified by a residency at Barcelona’s Sala Razzamatazz.

Today he is the leader of DJ collective Desert Hearts, with Marbs, younger brother Porkchop, Deep Jesus, DJ Lee Reynolds, and Kristoff. Like a group of renegade house music rebels, the crew aims to bring back the simpler days of big dance festivals, with their mantra of “house, techno, and love.” We spoke with Mikey Lion about Desert Hearts, magical moments, and his signature top hat.

The Desert Hearts crew takes over Audio SF this Sunday, August 2.

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Aethere on Progressive Death Metal and World of Warcraft

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 10:15 AM

  • Jose Hackbarth
  • Aethere
Aethere formed in late 2009 in Salinas, Calif. with the intention of melding the melodic details of the progressive metalcore band Misery Signals with the brutality and chaos of the death metalcore act Between the Buried and Me. Since, the group has seen members come and go, but the sound and mission stays constant.

Just thirty seconds into "Wave Existence", the first track from Aethere's 2013 EP, Demons, the progressive death metal band accomplishes dizzying harmonies while transitioning between carefully articulated blast beats, devastating breakdowns and drop-tuned grooves.

The group toys with tempos and divided meters causing a disorienting panic that sets the tone for the songs that follow: Even when harmony and time signatures are established, they could be disrupted at any time. Ultimately, Aethere blends the most dramatic aspects of hardcore and death metal occasionally ornamenting it with triads and ringing riffs.

With their current lineup (guitarist Garrett Wasson, drummer Josh Slater, guitarist Chris Tognetti, bassist Seph Herrera and vocalist Cody Fuentes) scattered from Castro Valley to Salinas, the band claims the Bay Area as its home. This Sunday, Aethere opens a five-bill show headlined by the instrumental prog-metal band, Scale the Summit, at the Oakland Metro.

We spoke with guitarist Garrett Wasson of Aethere on how to keep progressive metal progressive, finding a home in the Bay Area and how World of Warcraft played a role in the band’s beginning. Stream the 2013 EP, Demons, while you read.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Michelle Shocked Records Album for Dogs. Oh Dear...

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 12:19 PM


Last year, All Shook Down editor, Ian Port, attempted an interview with Michelle Shocked as she was in the process of trying to recover from having an onstage outburst that many construed as homophobic. In the June 26, 2013 blog, Port details repeated interactions with Shocked, in which she is so opposed to him audio-recording an interview with her, he eventually concludes that "Michelle had a paralyzing fear of the microphone." And judging from this week's development, that observation has proved to be startlingly accurate.

Michelle Shocked has just recorded an album that is, for all intents and purposes, completely silent. (She asserts that dogs can hear it, but we'll get to that nonsense later...)

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How Arcade Fire, the Hugest Band in Indie Rock, Stays Grounded

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 10:18 AM

From the latest SF Weekly:

An interview with Will Butler of Arcade Fire
: One of the more interesting things about Arcade Fire — maybe as interesting as its music — is the way the band challenges the scope of what so-called indie rock bands are supposed to be.

It did this early on with its notoriously intense and emotionally gigantic shows, in which members eventually came to wear helmets to protect themselves from their own onstage antics. It did this with its consistent financial and public support of the cause of Haiti, the struggling Carribbean nation from which the family of member Régine Chassagne hails.

And it did this also by becoming huge itself — Grammy-winningly, culture-eclipsingly, arena-playingly huge, which brainy guitar bands from Montreal are rarely able to do, even if they want to. (There is also, of course the hugeness of Arcade Fire bandleader Win Butler, who is 6-foot-4, plays aggressive basketball, and is well aware of his cultural stature, to put it mildly.)

Ahead of Arcade Fire's show this week at Shoreline, we spoke with Win's younger brother, Will, about how the band deals with its vastness, including the massive paper heads it wears onstage during this tour for Reflektor, Arcade Fire's big, dancey, James Murphy-produced fourth LP....  [Continue Reading]

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Angelo Moore: On Fishbone, Solo Projects, and Lawsuits

Posted By on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 2:09 PM

A 2010 documentary, "Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone," made it abundantly clear that despite the accolades, the Los Angeles band Fishbone never achieved the high level of success of bands like No Doubt, Jane's Addiction, and Sublime — who cited them as a strong influence — and suffered deeply from inner-band turmoil and depression.

The band's ironic sense of humor, lyrical critiques of racism, and genre-defying songs confused record labels and mainstream audiences. Their biggest hit, "Everyday Sunshine," was an uplifting, upbeat tune with a bright, colourful Drew Carolan video that was a big hit on MTV, but a large chunk of their catalog is more aggressive, metal- and punk-influenced songs not nearly as cheery.

Lead singer, saxophonist and theramin player Angelo Moore, 49, Fishbone's de-facto front-man, continues to tour and record with the band (they perform September 13 at the Independent), but is involved in several side projects. With Bay Area guitarist/artist Kris Jensen, he fronts Brand New Step, a funky pop project currently at work on its second album here in San Francisco. He performs as his alter-ego Dr. Madd Vibe alongside San Francisco's Vau De Vire Society, an avant-cabaret circus, and in a Los Angeles four-piece called Dr. Madd Vibe and the Missing Links.

SF Weekly spoke with Angelo Moore this week about being in the same band for 30 years, his solo projects, and a pending $1.4 million lawsuit filed by an audience member who was injured in a moshpit at a 2010 Fishbone show.

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It's Now Much Cheaper to Have Live Music in City Plazas

Posted By on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 10:32 AM

A new Plaza Program, approved by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors June 3 and signed by the mayor June 13, aims to reinvigorate under-used city plazas by making it easier for things like music, art, farmers markets, and movie nights to happen in those public, outdoor places.

The plaza program is an interagency program run by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Department of Public Works, and the Real Estate Division (manages public property in the city, including City Hall). The idea is to encourage long-term public space sustainability and build community engagement through a more streamlined permit process.

Previously, anyone who wanted to have any sort of live entertainment (music, puppet shows, dance performances) in an open-air plaza had to fork up $511 every time they wanted amplified sound for their event. Now, a "steward" who wants to create a program of events, performances, or happenings in a city plaza, creates and submits a menu of programming and pays $416 for a year-long permit and $165 to renew that permit each following year, according to Cammy Blackstone, deputy director of the entertainment commission, which grants permits for live entertainment.

"San Francisco doesn't have street performer permits, and it is cost prohibitive for musicians to get outdoor sound permits. The bucket man playing outside on the sidewalk can't afford that."

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Shabazz Palaces: Futuristic Hip-Hop at the New Parish

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Shabazz Palaces perform Monday and Tuesday in Oakland.
  • Shabazz Palaces perform Monday and Tuesday in Oakland.
Hip-hop's "golden age," said to be from the mid-to late-'80s through the early- to mid-'90s, is widely credited as innovative, eclectic in its use of samples, eccentric, and political. Many said hip-hop had another much needed artistic revival by the time 2010 rolled around: The music of Tyler, the Creator and Kendrick Lamar is miles away from what Jay-Z and Lil Wayne were churning out around the same time.

At both of these celebrated moments, Ishmael Butler has been an active participant.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

The First Hints of the 2014 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Lineup Are Here

Posted By on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Get excited -- Hardly Strictly '14 is coming.
  • Get excited -- Hardly Strictly '14 is coming.
It's July 25, 2014, the day that would have been Warren Hellman's 80th birthday. Sadly, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass founder is now strumming at the big jam session in the sky. But today does bring the first hints of the lineup for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014, the 14th edition of the free roots music festival he founded. As usual, the clues  come in the form of a song medley — you listen, then you guess. This year's Hardly Strictly runs Oct. 3-5 in Golden Gate Park, of course; take a listen below and try to figure out who's playing:

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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.