SuperDee's House

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Going to See Lots of Live Music in SF

This Thursday I leave for Kansas to attend the Wakarusa Music Festival. So many of my favorite bands are going to be there... I can't wait! Check out the schedule. I'm going to have a problem on Friday afternoon when PGroove and Umphrey's overlap for a half hour. I wish my superhero powers allowed me to be in two places at once!

This past weekend was Bonnaroo and no, I didn't go, but my world has been filled with live music lately. I felt I should share with internet land... I'll start from the beginning of June.

Wednesday, June 1:
Tennessee Valley Orchestra dress rehearsal. (Playing live music counts, too!)

Thursday, June 2:
Andy Gadiel's 30th birthday! Woo hoo! After some delicious food at Destino, we headed over to the Cafe Du Nord where there was a three band bill starting with Samantha Stollenwerck. She played special "Icicles" for Andy's bday. And guess what?? Neil Young was in da house! The second act was Crazy Horse guitarist, Billy Talbot, which was SUPER mellow. Act III was TLG's Trevor Garrod. Tea Leaf Green fans were in full effect - they love their Trevor! His set was very warm and touching. Smiles all around.

Friday, June 3:
THE MARS VOLTA. Oh my goodness, people. This band is NUTS. I loved every second. They played hard for almost 2 hours straight - no encore (that's hot). It was about an 8 person band but eyes were all pretty much stuck on the two front-men: guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala. Both skinny little rails, these guys were two of the most exciting performers I've seen in a long time. Not too many people can be a front-man without holding an instrument, moaning and wailing into the microphone for 5 minutes, but Cedric oozes with seduction and keeps the audience completely rapt has he picks up the microphone stand with his teeth and swings the wire around his neck. Lordy, I got all wound up after that show!

Saturday, June 4:
I do believe I took a break from music on this day!

Sunday, June 5:
After the Brunch of Champions, my orchestra the Tennessee Valley Orchestra had a performance in Novato. I was first chair and we did Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland and a brand new concerto for a marimba solo. We did great!

Monday, June 6:
This is a night that I had really been looking forward to for a long while. The original bill was Jean Grae opening for Talib Kweli - possibly my two most favorite MCs that exist today - at The Independent - definitely my favorite venue in the Bay Area right now. A week or so before the show, I found out that Jean had cancelled (dammit!) and opening for Talib would be Gift of Gab and he's pretty darn great so all is well. (I was still pretty disappointed that Jean would not be there. I don't find live inspired hip hop to be too accessible to me and she just RULES!!! Oh well...) Anyway, Talib brought the house down! He is such a sick performer. He mixed the ol' skool and the new skool. It was hot and sweaty in there - perfect.

Tuesday, June 7:
I think I took another night off this day.

Wednesday, June 8:
Sarah Bean's Bday! After another TVO rehearsal... I motored back into the city to see Porcupine Tree at The Fillmore. This is a band that found its way into my cerebrum a couple of months ago. The new album - Deadwing - is totally intriguing to me. I need to see it live to figure it all out... I learned at the show, that the album is based on a screenplay that has not yet been made into a movie (anyone have a couple million bux for Porcupine Tree?). It's some sort of ghost story where the main character finds that his life took a dramatic turn somewhere leading him to where he is today. The story works backwards until you find you are at that turning point that changed his life. Steven Wilson - the singer and creator of the Tree - explained this story and that the next song they would play, "Arriving Somewhere," is the centerpiece of the album and the story.

So the show was very interesting in that way - dramatic, powerful, and very polished. I have only heard this new album and they did play a number of older tunes too, but my general impression was that they recreated their studio material exceptionally well. This is a studio/concept prog band.

Thursday, June 9:
This was also a night that I had been looking forward to for some time. Patrice Pike had a show at Amnesia - right in my 'hood. Patrice has been an absolute rock for me and my family especially in the past year or so when my sister Tammy has been going through some very tough times. When I got to Amnesia, I got to talk with Patrice for a bit. I brought up the surreal feeling I had the morning after I arrived in Austin last May. Patrice was leaving for tour, we were "changing guard," if you will, with my sister. I woke up in a slight panic and Patrice gave me my tea, told me to turn back and go into my room and start the day with a positive thought. This moment has stayed with me ever since and I will never forget it. She told me that she had a brand new song that she was going to play that night that was partly about me and that moment. It was called "Temple" and started out "I woke up today and the world seemed crazy." It was all about how love saves the day and the chorus started out with a gorgeous "don't be afraid." It was so touching, I cried.

Her band is the same sick band that was at High Sierra with her last summer (review) - Brad Houser on bass and bari sax, Steve Weidemeyer on guitar, and Elderidge Goins on drums. They played for a nice long time and after I was yelling for more (I got the rest of the stragglers going too), they came back and played Led Zep's "What Is and What Should Never Be" - sick! Great night...

Friday, June 10:
I was supposed to go see Robbers on High Street at Cafe Du Nord on this night but I didn't wake up from my nap in time. Better off... I was exhausted!

Saturday, June 11:
Another night I was REALLY looking forward too... Wilco at the Greek Theatre. There were about 20 of us that gathered at Jen and Decker's new place in Noe Valley for food and libations before trekking over to the BART station. We made a pit stop at our newly donned "best pre-Greek bar" called SPATS - great decor, old furniture, stiff drinks. Wilco was amazing. They are true rock'n'roll in the sense that you sometimes need your rock'n'roll to be poetic and tugging at your heartstrings as opposed to non-stop shredding (which is great too, mind you). Not to say they didn't shred at all (Nels Cline on guitar is a great addition to this band) but I think the essence of this band is the way that Jeff Tweedy can make the audience hang on his every breath. His voice takes my soul and the music fills it back up. It was just a beautiful night.

Sunday, June 12:
Another TVO performance at the Tennessee Valley Community Center. Yep, it was the all-famous annual ice cream social with an appearance by Clo the cow from Clover dairies.

And that brings us to today where I am not seeing live music, I'm blogging live music. Tomorrow will be another night off for me but then Wednesday it's back to the Fillmore for Stephen Malkmus whose new album, Face the Truth, I am really digging. And then I get on a plane on Thursday and head to Wakarusa. So, I imagine I will be blogging again in the near future. All's well in live music land!


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