The Wailers >> Wailin’ Out in San Francisco [The Independent]

The Wailers >> Last Friday, The Wailers completed their second tour through San Francisco this year, once again returning to the intimate confines of The Independent.

The Wailers >> San Francisco

In January they did three shows each focused on a separate album and this time, ooh darlin’ they did ‘Stir It Up’ into a sweet, sweet musical POTpourri if you will. Did they pretty much basically play Legend from cover to cover? You bet they did. Are most of the current Wailers other than the original Bunny Wailer, younger than me? Yes, yes they are. I get it, to most people The Wailers are nothing more than a glorified Bob Marley cover band. To me they are much more. It's not really about the band as it is about the music and the time. Unfortunately, Robert Nesta Marley died much before his time and a year before mine in 1981. Had he been alive today he'd be celebrating 70 years and we'd be celebrating him as the candle that cast light on to the world of reggae for most of us.

The Wailers >> San Francisco

Now the Wailers are the ones keeping that candle's flame burning. With or without Bob, their music is still simply the best and is absolutely timeless. The Wailers pay great tribute to Bob by keeping those songs alive and sounding as jammin’ as they ever did. They are a link to the past and keep the memory and the music alive and well. If great music you know every word to, super talented musicians backing up positive messages and vibes, in an amazing small venue with the perfume of sweet sensimilla in the air isn't something you can get down to, then go ahead and ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ and ‘Exodus’ out of my face with that noise. Keep ‘Jammin’Wailers, always! Give tanks and praise. Jah Bless.



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Outside Lands 2015 >> Golden Days in Golden Gate Park

The Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco as always held a special place in my heart. For me it simply feels like home, mainly because it is. Having a festival this size within walking distance to ones house makes it so simple; no flights, no hotels, no camping. I just get to relax and enjoy the music and the weekend. OSL [that’s what us locals call it, aren’t we hip?] is a full 3 days of music in San Francisco’s Golden Gate park that more than anything is a microcosm of all the city embodies. There is always so much to do, with great food and drink, art, unparalleled people watching, and a lineup of bands as diverse as the city’s people.

Outside Lands Windmill

This year’s headliners were Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys, and the 'Rocket Man' himself Sir Elton John. All had performances worthy of the honor but if you need me to go in to more detail you’re shit out of luck. The names speak for themselves and so does their music. So if you want on more on them close and open up your Spotify and have at it.

Ok good you’re still here, pheww that was risky. Now on to some highlights and awards. The award for most random show for me was a band called The Drums. As fellow festivalgoers can relate, sometimes you end up at a show out of convenience or because of your friends. The Drums music felt like synth pop of the 80’s with an edge, somewhere between Boy George and The Cure. I know that doesn’t make sense and probably isn’t accurate so if you’re a huge fan of The Drums get off your hipster horse, just my opinions of what I was taking in. Lead singer Jacob Graham stole the show with his undeniable and unconventional stage presence. Wearing a sparkly jacket reminiscent of Jon Heder in Blades of Glory, and the skinniest of all the skinny jeans, his effeminate swagger took a strong hold of the intimate Pan Handle Stage [smallest of 4 main stages at OSL]. Vocals and melodies were smooth and catchy with an electronic backbone and to my disappointment only one set of drums.  Song I walked away with in my head was ‘I Can’t Pretend’. Definitely something I wouldn’t have normally gone to but glad I did. Also think I scored +3 points on my hipster card, so I got that going for me.

The Drums >> Outside Lands

The next award is a tie. It’s the My Face Kind of Melted Award which goes out to both Porter Robinson and Axwell^Ingrosso. Dance music is a dish best served live and in person and both performances were unreal. It’s hard to even type this but, it’s not so much about the music but how you feel it. Just something about losing your mind to a beat uncontrollably with thousands of strangers that is liberating. I honestly can’t explain it. It’s a completely irrational and involuntary response when the right song comes on.  Turns out those two songs for me were, Porter Robinson’s ‘Sad Machine’ and Axwell^Ingrosso’s ‘Something New’. I know those might be trendy by electro heads standards but fuck it those songs are awesome and why they end up being anthems. Had I been on drugs my face might literally have melted jumping around to those jams. Both have been on repeat since last weekend. Hell I might even go see We Are Your Friends when it comes out now. Nope, but it was still two killer performances by some of the hottest DJ’s in the game. If and when they come to your town, go get your face melted.

Porter Robinson >> Outside Lands

The final award winner of the entire weekend was Billy Idol. I am just not sure what award to give him so I’ll go ahead and bestow both Best Performance and the Lifetime Achievement Award. I am not trying to be ironic or patronizing on any level, Billy fucking Idol made my weekend. The dude is a rock star. He also might be a vampire because at 59 years old he’s in better shape than I have ever or will ever be. First and foremost though he is a rock star.  Jacket still leather, hair still bleached, and shirt still completely off by the end of the set. His midday Saturday performance on the festivals largest stage was the pinnacle of the festival in so many ways.  For one it was the literal halfway point of the weekend. People had finally become accustomed to their surroundings in the massive park, found their friends, had just enough beers or other recreational elements and were ready to party. And above all else Billy Idol knows how to party. What I wouldn’t give for one Saturday night with Billy Idol circa 1986. The guy still brings it though, he’s loud, he’s brash and he definitely wasn’t dancing with only himself as he had thousands moving along to the track of the same name. He also as if planned waited until the sun came out to play ‘White Wedding’. It really would’ve been a nice day for a white wedding, very well played sir. Still sounded great too, really a freak of nature, and his energy though still probably cocaine fueled was on point. At least that’s how I like to picture my Billy Idol, strict diet of loose women, whiskey, and blow. If he went vegan and does Pilates every day, keep that info to yourself. Was he the best sounding artist all weekend? Probably not. Most talented or most famous? Not even close. But god dammit it was fun, like the mostest fun ever, and like the ‘Rebel Yell’ he had me screaming, ‘More! More! More!'. Don’t ever change Billy Idol you magnificent son of a bitch. Oh wait you haven’t. Good work then.

If you’ve never been to the city by the bay for Outside Lands, make the trip. The lineup doesn’t matter. It will always be good. I could make an entre festival out of just the bands I missed this year. So hop on a cable car, pack a jacket, and come hand out some award of your own next summer!



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Lindsey Stirling >> Transcendence in Phoenix [Comerica Theatre]

Lindsey Stirling >> performed a desert homecoming show on Thursday night downtown at Comerica Theatre. The show also featured opening acts Olivia Somerlyn and Lights.

Lindsey Stirling >> Phoenix

The 28-years young Lindsey Stirling hails from Gilbert, Arizona, and it's no surprise that another huge crowd came to see her play a homecoming concert for the 3rd time in less than a year. Of course, not just because she's a local favorite but also because she's extremely talented in so many ways.

Ms. Stirling is a classically trained and amazing violinist. She also dabbles in singing and can dance very gracefully yet with a pop all whilst aggressively bowing the shit out of that fiddle. Her ballerina-like movements take her across each end of the stage with leg kicks and lofty jumps and sometimes in a hip-hop fashion synchronized alongside dancers or even her own pre-rendered dancing shadows behind her.

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But Lindsey's style is unique in that she plays alongside a drummer and keyboardist to create a very electronic sound, similar to dubstep on a lot of her compositions. There's classical bows combined with high tempo drums, synthetic buildups and powerful drops. The classical crossover that the strings needed in an artist is Lindsey Stirling. She even creates live tracks for a looping machine to drop layers upon layers of electro fiddle freshness although I think she has a long way to go to get to Reggie Watt status.

[related: Reggie Watts >> Live at the Crescent Ballroom]

The stage production and lighting were dope too. Each excerpt, song and medley featured a theme or story that made it seem as though we were witnessing the filming of that track's music video - which in some cases like 'Crystallize' and 'Take Flight' it actually was recreating a live version of the video. Lindsey told the audience that it's not uncommon for her to dream up the music video first and write the song from there. Throughout the night, she spoke about her writing technique, her life and various anecdotal pieces to her musical career. It was essentially a shotgun episode of VH1 Storytellers which should eventually happen because the world needs to get to know how this bubbly violinist does her thing and how she got here.

My favorite part of the night was hearing her tell the story of how 'Transcendence' originated. I always thought it was a sick track but I now have a new level of appreciation knowing where it came from, which she described as a new journey upward and away from a major lull of depression and self-loathing. It was special to hear about her most vulnerable moments and inspiring to hear how she harnessed the negative and turned her life around.

Big ups to Lindsey for making big splashes in a genre that hasn't broke through just yet. If you get the opportunity to see her perform live, don't miss it. You'll enjoy being immersed in the classical crossover Vevo playlist of acts that is a Lindsey Stirling show.

Setlist: Ascendance * Moon Trance * Master Of Tides * Shadows * Electric Daisy Violin * Elements * Assassin's Creed / Dragon Age / Halo / Skyrim / The Legend Of Zelda * Song Of The Caged Bird * Transcendence * Take Flight * Crystallize * Firefly * Roundtable Rival * Stars Align * Shatter Me * ENCORE: Beyond The Veil * Phantom Of The Opera



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Outside Lands 2015 >> We Belong to Something…

Outside Lands >> is the music and arts festival that defies all the others. It's in a class of its very own because it offers such a unique experience in all aspects. Much of the essence of Outside Lands is by design and some can be attributed to nature, but the balance of the magic occurs when all the weird stars in the universe perfectly align each year to make the festival what it is.

Outside Lands 2015

Although I'm a former Bay Arean, this is not just homer talk. San Francisco is one of the greatest cities in the world. If you've been, you know about the rolling landscapes, exquisite food, crafty beverages, intriguing fashion and the fully alive culture that is so energetic but mad chill at the same time. The City's persona is exemplified precisely in curating Outside Lands.

[related: Outside Lands 2011]

Outside Lands is set between the pines at the beautiful Golden Gate Park - which is about 25% bigger than Central Park in NY for your scale. With hills and fields galore, you're immersed in the land's most beautiful scenery.

Outside Lands 2015 Panoramic Outside Lands 2015 Panoramic Outside Lands 2015 Panoramic

Tastes from all over The Bay congregate to the park in the form of food trucks and stands, so whether you want to eat healthy or just need to stuff your fucking face with fried pickles, you certainly have a variety of options on the table.

Then there's the drinks. Beer and liquor for days is standard. But it would be a crime not to incorporate the best barreled products of the nearby phenomenal wine region, so there's a massive wine tent in the middle of the festival and several miniature wine countries throughout to keep you juiced. Your bladder will never ever be able to keep up.

SF boasts a melting pot of the most interesting people in the world so naturally Outside Lands attracts everyone from geeks to bros and hippies to ho's. At this festival the vibe is different, etiquette is at its best and everyone just really gels well.

[related: Outside Lands 2012]

The music though. Outside Lands did it again this year and brought in some filthy sounds from top performers in every genre, transcending decades of artistry and pumping San Francisco ears full of bliss.

I got to cross off Billy Idol and Elton John from my bucket list this weekend. Yes, they are still alive - they're pushing 60 and 70 but still have it. It became more and more evident how many bangers are in Elton John's catalog and I was pretty impressed to see Billy Idol commanding every inch of the stage with a somehow still shredded physique.

Hot Chip and Cold War Kids also put on a great show on the main stage this weekend too but my favorite stage from the weekend was Twin Peaks where there was a roster of Kendrick Lamar, ODESZA, Axwell & Ingrosso, G-Eazy and Caribou - all of whom I've never seen perform live before so it was a mondo bonus to hip-hop along to Kendrick and Eazy while dancing my dick off to Caribou, ODESZA and especially A^I.

Caribou >> Outside Lands 2015

The duo constantly reminded us how they changed the game via Swedish House Mafia with not so subtle drops of 'Save The World' and 'Don't You Worry Child' but my favorite part of the night and perhaps the weekend was when Axwell & Ingrosso remixed their own 'Something New' track at the and of the night. It was magical to be part of the thousands of people singing 'We belong to something, we belong to'. It was a spectacular buildup that channeled the euphoria from everyone around and magnified it followed by a drop that probably caused a seismic shift for everyone in the Bay.

If you are alive and can appreciate any of this beauty in life and music then you owe it to yourself to be part of the experience of Outside Lands at some point. Peace signs y'all.

Axwell + Ingrosso >> Outside Lands 2015


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Leilani Wolfgramm + Alborosie >> Island Vibes in San Francisco [Mezzanine]

Leilani Wolfgramm >> Last Thursday, Leilani Wolgramm and Alborosie brought some toasty island vibes to the habitually foggy summer contradiction that is San Francisco. For this writer it was a tale of two shows that added up to a fantastic night of music at Mezzanine, the tenderloin’s hidden gem.

Leilani Wolfgramm + Alborosie

For those not familiar with the SF landscape, the tenderloin is the part of the city where we hide the vagrants, crackheads, homeless and their respective used needles and colorful personalities amongst some of the biggest tech companies in the world, but that’s a tangent for a different write-up, so on to the music!

For those of you who have seen her live, or perhaps read my write-up from Cali Roots you know what a special treat this was for me. This was a different performance than the one I stumbled into in Monterey over Memorial Day. The lightness and sunshine of an outdoor reggae festival traded for a intimate and powerful set deep into the night.

[related: Cali Roots 2015]

If you haven’t seen Leilani, and I don’t mean live, I mean at all, Google her. I’ll wait… See wasn’t that worth it? Stone cold fox. Her undeniable sexiness is just a small part of the package though. The lady knows how to make an entrance. Dressed in all black she took the stage alongside a violin solo reminiscent of when Metallica played with the SF Orchestra, and she had the crowd hooked from the first chords. Playing mostly songs from her most recent album, Rebel, I was entranced start to finish. The nonchalant strength and power her stage presence has is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and something I was really able to appreciate in the smaller venue.

The other most noticeable aspect of her performance was her range. Though rooted in island vibes and reggae undertones, this girl could undoubtedly sing the hell out of everything from opera to a cereal commercial and people would eat it up. No more evident than when she mixed in an on point and commanding rendition of Stevie Nicks’ ‘Landslide’ into the middle of her original hit ‘Sunshine’. Other highlights included yet to be released tracks ‘Sinner’ and ‘Adrian’. ‘Sinner’ showed her edgy side and complimented her sharp vocals. ‘Adrian’ [like Yo Adrian!!! From Rocky] was a song about strong will power overcoming obstacles with a tint of girl power, that just reinforced the sexiness of this strong independent and talented woman who dominated the stage for a solid hour. The best protection on the market.

Although I came for Leilani [pun slightly intended], I am glad I stayed for Alborosie. Not taking the stage until close to midnight on a school night, and already being on the preverbal wrong side of the tracks, I had designs on catching a couple songs and executing my well known Irish goodbye. However, that was not in the cards for me this evening. As soon as Italian born Alborosie took the stage the entire vibe lightened with a new energy. I know what you’re thinking, Italian wtf? What a baldhead [Jamaican for not rasta and an outsider].  He moved to Jamaica in 2001 and paid his dues probably more than anyone will ever know, but trust me when I tell you the reggae sound from this man is undeniably the real deal no matter what color his skin. I tried to familiarize myself prior to the concert thanks to Spotify but like most good reggae that did him no justice. I have never seen someone with such a big smile and having such a good time on stage and it energized me and the crowd.

His traditional reggae sound was everything you expect from a reggae concert. Stories about Jamaica, struggles vs the man, and of course that good good sensimilla. That means weed, you baldheads! He played for well over an hour and could not stand still more than a second here and there, just an uncontainable ball of rasta energy. Personal favorites and recommendations for looking up are as follows; ‘Poser’,  ‘Kingston Town’ and card-holding crowd favorite ‘Herbalist’. With an unorthodox style and background but with the musical chops to back it up, I’d compare him to the Cosmo Kramer of Reggae. Just so crazy and off the wall it works and you wouldn’t have it any other way. Be sure to check out both of these amazing performers music and make sure you don’t miss either next time they cruise through your town! Jah bless and give thanks and praise.



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Outside Lands 2015 >> Countdown + Mixtape

Outside Lands 2015 >> is going down this weekend and soon Golden Gate Park in San Francisco will be packed with a hundred-ish artists from all over the world, spanning 6 decades of gold and transcending every imaginable genre of music.

If you can't fucking wait for the musical madness like the peeps at zBORED and Pandora, get after this golden mixtape made up of the very artists performing this weekend. You'll hear everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Elton John, Glass Animals to Devon Baldwin, Slightly Stoopid to Porter get the idea. See you at the fest!

Outside Lands 2015 Mixtape



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Tanlines >> First Experience x 2 in Phoenix [Valley Bar]

Valley Bar >> is pretty awesome as far as I can tell. Reasonably priced creative signature drinks, board games and darts that only require an ID trade off...? I'm in.

Tanlines >> Valley Bar

As a side note: they have done some cool things with the ceilings in the place.

Due to the ownership, it's expected to be similar to the Little Woody, Crescent Ballroom, etc. But my best description is that Valley Bar is a speakeasy, show-ready with enough room to house your closest [250+] friends. I hope my favorite bands don't get big so I can see them here.

[Related: CSS >> Move at Crescent Ballroom]

Mas Ysa opened for Tanlines tonight. The fact that a solo man, in what looked like cutoff JNCO's and bare feet, was creating so much sound was pretty impressive. He sounded as expected per Spotify. His stage presence was great - he owned the stage, joked about singing until the next guy claimed his karaoke spot and killed it in between.

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Post Mas Ysa break, Tanlines took the stage. It was apparently their first time playing Phoenix [as we found out after the show] and they didn't have a ton of confidence in us as a crowd from what they had heard. Luckily I think we exceeded their expectations.

And they deserved it. They spent most of their time playing, with some banter between songs that kept it personal. I was standing behind the speakers and was still impressed by the consistency of their sound. My biggest observation was that the crowd was having fun - true I-spilled-my-whole-drink-stop-the-show sort of fun. The kind of fun you have when you dance around to Tanlines in your bedroom with the door closed.

We got the chance to take a quick picture with the guys after the show and they were super friendly which is always a pleasant surprise. It seemed that they are still getting used to a sold out show, regardless of the venue size. But good for them - they played an outstanding show and stuck around to meet the crowd afterward [which is huge if you ask me!].



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