Katchafire >> Burning One Down in San Francisco [Social Hall]

Got to katch an irie reggae show on Tuesday at Social Hall in San Francisco. This was a new venue for me and fairly new to the city having just opened in the Fall of 2015. Social Hall in SF is nestled in the foundation of the more famous Regency Ballroom, and I was pleasantly surprised with the digs, more on that in a bit.

Katchafire

The main draw of the evening was the band Katchafire who I had not seen live since 2008 and they’ve come a long way! Their sound isn’t reggae in the traditional sense, but still has a strong island vibe. Melodies take on a much more Polynesian rhythm which is understandable as the five peace ensemble comes from the islands of the Pacific - New Zealand to be specific.

After a less than impressive opener that shall remain nameless [cough, Mystic Roots Band, cough], the smooth island jams were just what the docta ordered. Granted, it had been almost eight years since I last saw them when they were opening for Rebelution in a tiny bar to a crowd of less than a hundred people, but they seemed more grown up. Their on stage persona, how they interacted with the crowd, and just how well they played as musicians, was refined like a well-oiled Rasta machine. It also turned out that I knew and liked way more songs than I remembered like ‘Who You With’, ‘Seriously’ and personal favorite ‘Love Letter’ had me swaying around getting lost in the music in no time. This isn’t political reggae that calls for revolution, this is straight up lovey dovey, baby makin’, sexy reggae and the small crowd was feelin’ it. Maybe it was the low ceilings of the basement venue, the stage that reminded me of a high school battle of the bands or the ample ganja smoke perfuming the air, but they had people of all ages slow dancing and sucking face like teenagers. They wrapped up the night bringing out the aforementioned Mystic Roots and closed it down together with a classic cover of Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’. Fun fact, Katchafire is named after The Wailers first album aptly titled, ‘Catch A Fire’. You’re welcome.

Nice little Tuesday with some feel good vibrations and solid people watching at one of the city’s newest live music venues. Selfishly also a great treat for me because Katchafire will be playing this year’s California Roots Festival, but got shafted with a super early Friday slot and wasn’t sure I’d be able to see them. But not to worry, if like me you won’t be able to see them in Monterey, there are still a few more west coast stops of their Burn One Down Tour before they take off for Europe later this summer. Try and Katch them in a city near you, until then, Jah bless and as always ‘Give Tanks and Praise’.

Charles

Charles

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Wild Nothing >> Nocturne in Phoenix [Crescent Ballroom]

Wild Nothing >> made a return to Phoenix proper for the first time in 4 years when the 5 gents from Virginia played downtown on Wednesday night. It was an indie dream spanning the last 6 years of 3 superb albums played live and direct for every walk of hipster ever invented under one roof in the iconic Crescent Ballroom.

Wild Nothing

Portland's fourtet Charlie Hilton opened the show with some somber yet excellent mood music for the soon to be crowded house. Although the entire band is nominated for Worst Hair Ever awards in 2016, the sound was wonderful and pure and looking forward to seeing this band bubble in the near future. Horatio Sanz and Macauly Culkin doppelgangers on keyboard and drums was distracting but fascinating nonetheless.

Next up the headliner Wild Nothing took stage and after a quick humble introduction came a sporadic sequence of songs sprinkled from Gemini, Nocturne and last year's studio release Life Of Pause. The undeniably talented frontman Jack Tatum and his scruffy bandmates played for about 1.5 hours and nailed every goddamn song in that span including 'Shadow' which was probably the pinnacle of the evening for me.

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The sound was great as always and the hipster crowd's fashion show introducing the summer line of technically wearable fabrics packed the ballroom for the ever so incredible show. Wild Nothing deserves a lot more of a following than they seemingly have. If you haven't given any of the aforementioned albums a listen, do yourself a favor and fucking do it already. You won't be disappointed and you can thank me with some RT's or some shit. Oh and check out what's left of this US tour before they head to Europe this summer. Do it!

marc

marc

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Violent Femmes >> Making American Music Great Again in San Francisco [The Fillmore]

Do you like American Music? I like American Music. Don’t you like American Music baaaby? You know who also likes American Music and can still play the hell out of it? That’s right, the Violent Femmes! And that’s just what they did Tuesday night at The Fillmore in San Francisco. Having never seen them live before, I was more geeked for this show than any in a long time.

Violent Femmes

Little background quickly before I continue. The Femmes have been making music since before I was born, starting the band way back in 1981. If you don’t think you know their music, you’re probably wrong. Whether you were born too soon, or born too late I can guarantee you their most famous song ‘Blister In The Sun’ will strike a familiar chord and was an anthem of teen angst and rebellions for a generation throughout the 80’s. Their contemporaries were bands like The Pixies and The Meat Puppets, and were a huge influence on more recent artists like Beck, Sonic Youth and Jane’s Addiction. Per usual, when in doubt pull up the Spotify and throw on the top ten and make yourself familiar.

[Related: The Pixies in San Francisco]

Anyways back to the show. As I walked up Fillmore Street to the iconic venue of its namesake, the excitement heightened and turned into anxiety. Had I built this up too much in my head? Were they too old to still rock? Was this tour all just a bait and switch to get me to listen to their new album? Luckily my concerns were out to rest out the gate as they led off with the aforementioned ‘Blister In The Sun’ followed immediately and strongly by ‘Kiss Off’. That energy lifted and carried the older crowd all night as they oscillated between new material and old standards. They really mixed it all together perfectly. Even found myself digging some new jams from their new album, We Can Do Anything, which is their first studio album in 15 years!

Violent Femmes

What was strange was how smooth they were able to transition into the new songs because the sound is entirely different. Other than lead singer Gordon Gano’s unmistakable voice, the new tunes have a folksier, lighter almost bluegrass feel. The song ‘I Could Be Anything’ specifically as a key example, as it has such a fun almost silly melody and lyrics even more so. It gave the night a feel of almost two concerts in one. But in a way it was, as these weren’t still the same punk kids from Milwaukee in the 80’s, they’re in their mid-fifties. But I guess they’re right, although slow and dangerous behind the wheel senior citizens still can serve a purpose. Jokes aside, I must say bassist Brian Ritchie has never played better. Slaying on acoustic and electric bass, adding needed contrast on backup vocals and even putting it down on the xylophone on ‘Gone Daddy Gone’, his stage presence and contributions to the band have never shined bigger or brighter than live on stage Tuesday night. They closed out the night with ‘American Music’ as their encore which is a personal favorite and was made even more special as they brought out Jerry Harrison of ‘The Talking Heads’ to help on Xylophone to close out the night.

Expedia.com

So on Tuesday, I got to see an all-time favorite perform and live up to their rightful place in rock and roll lore. Classics were listened to and sung along and danced to poorly. New tunes were introduced and appreciated. Just a good night all around and how could it not be? Add it up, add it up, add it up! It was an iconic band at an iconic venue in an iconic city! Whether you’re into the old hits or want to check out their new stuff, be sure to catch the Violent Femmes on this tour in a city near you before they’re ‘Gone Daddy Gone’ forever!

 
Charles

Charles

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California Roots is right around the corner!

It’s APR-20 and springtime is in the air…among other things. This time of year and this day in particular excites me because I know something very special is just around the corner. That’s right, the California Roots Music and Arts Festival will be here before you know it!

Cali Roots 2016

The festival invades the historic Monterey County Fairgrounds for its 7th year over Memorial Day weekend, Friday MAY-27 through Sunday MAY-29. My favorite weekend of the year boasts over 45 musical artists over three days and three stages, not to mention innumerable artists and vendors bringing their craft to the central coast.

[related: Cali Roots 2015]

This year’s lineup is the best in recent memory returning three veteran headliners; Slightly Stoopid [Friday], Damian Marley [Saturday] and personal favorite Rebelution closing things out on Sunday night! This lineup by no means is top heavy, also returning fan favorites J-Boog, The Expendables and Stick Figure. We also have first timers with hip hop vets Atmosphere, the Hawaiian siren Eli-Mac, and dance hall reggae powerhouse Protoje.

Get $10 of Music with a 7-day FREE TRIAL


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Three day VIP tickets are already sold out so get your tickets today at http://californiarootsfestival.com/tickets. Stay tuned to zBORED for artist spotlights as we get closer as well as full coverage and wrap-up from Monterey. Only 36 sleeps til Cali Roots. As always, Jah bless and give tanks and praise!

Charles

Charles

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Coachella 2016 >> Some things happened during Weekend 1

Coachella >> is such a primo musical gala that boasts so many legendary artists as well as up-and-comers on one epic bill spanning a 3 days. It's definitely one of the best festivals on planet Earth because of these performances but also all of the fun surprises and fun mayhem that ensues throughout the weekend. This year was no different than that standard and I got to experience yet another festival of magic during Weekend 1 at Coachella 2016 in Indio, CA. Here is what what down in case you were unfortunate enough to miss it.

Coachella 2016

Guns N Roses reunited as a 2016 headliner and performed almost 2.5 hours of 80's dopeness behind frontman Axl Rose who sat atop a rock god throne of skulls and bones because of his own recent broken bones in his foot. He and Slash returned to their iconic form and reminded everyone at the main stage how fucking awesome they still are in 2016 during jams like 'Welcome To The Jungle' and 'Sweet Child O' Mine'. Angus Young of AC/DC shredded for a minute on stage too. Oh and its confirmed Axl will now front that legendary band as well. So that's rad!

LCD Soundsystem also reunited on the main stage the night before and proved they can still make all feet and asses nearby move to the sounds of so many hits that they certainly deserve more credit for. The rhythm and punch during 'Tribulations' was a blast back to 2005 when I bought the single's compressed audio file via an online storefront called iTunes to play on my brand new portable media player called the iPod Nano.

Jack U surprisingly had one of the best sets of the weekend. I have seen its individual components Diplo and Skrillex too many times to count so I wasn't dropping everything to see them again as a collaboration. But this duo really put together an electric set at the Outdoor Stage. I was immersed in one of the biggest crowds I've ever seen on any day at any Coachella, all of which just like me could not stop dancing like a fucking maniac for 45 minutes straight. It was a nice treat to see Kanye come out for 'Power' and somewhat of a letdown to not see Justin Bieber make an appearance for any of the Jack U tracks he's featured on. Did I just say that I wanted to see Justin Bieber? WTAF.

CHVRCHES' performance of 'Recover' during sunset on Saturday was the moment that defined why Coachellans make the trip out to Indio, weather the hot hot heat and endure the powerful winds and breathe the dry desert dust and operate fully on minimal sleep and energy. Because moments like these are how we 'Recover'.

Art of all sorts of mystifying curiosity was present, like an antique French bathtub tower that turned into a stack of gummy worms?

Also this thing.

Coachella 2016 Art

That turned into this thing at night.

Coachella 2016 Art

Emily Ratajkowski and Vanessa Hudgens were hanging in the main stage beer garden 20 fucking feet from me! Just standing there. Right fucking there!

M83 performed a bunch of ill new tracks from their recently released Junk which is a fantastic album that everyone should listen to. Its third and most recent single 'GO!' was performed as the penultimate of the set and could have very well opened the door for it being the next track that people should auto-associate the band to, which is currently 'Midnight City'. This song is so good and even better live.

A category-4 basic bitch threw her bag down to the lawn amidst a stampede of people and dramatically screamed, 'HAVE A NICE FUCKING LIFE, CHELSEA!!' before dropping to her knees and crying uncontrollably. I don't know what Chelsea did but she didn't seem phased by such a threat and kept walking in the direction of the Do Lab. It was kind of an epic friend breakup for lots of lucky people to witness on the way to the Ferris wheel and the kind that makes you appreciate the friends by your side at Coachella because they would never do to you whatever the fuck that bitch Chelsea did.

Speaking of the Do Lab, Glitch Mob made a surprise appearance there on Saturday night.

Speaking of Saturday night, Ice Cube kicked it old school for us. Old school. Multiple times before performing a popular jam he would say, 'I'm going old school for all y'all right now'. You know, so we would know that he is going to dig deep and far back into his catalog for all of us. One of my roommates for the weekend observed it best, 'Why does he keep saying that? It's 2016 and you're Ice Cube. Everything is fucking old school'. Cube had a really fun set though. He got fellow NWA members MC Ren and Yella to rap along on stage for everyone to fuck the police to and even brought out honorary NWA member  Snoop Dogg to join the party in true west side is the best side fashion. What was a mass agreed upon prediction the week leading up to festival weekend was that Ice Cube would also have Dr. Dre and a hologram version of Eazy-E to complete the collective attitude. Having that excitable possibility ingrained in our heads this entire week without fruition only led to a slight letdown in that regard. But fellow rapper turned soft actor Common joined Ice Cube before the set was over so there's that. YAY YAY!!

Some bold and not so bold predictions did come true though.

MØ and DJ Snake joined the 'Lean On' party with Major Lazer. Disclosure featured live collaborations with Lorde and Sam Smith which we previously saw on SNL last year and highlights from Glastonbury the year before, respectively.

One guest appearances was a complete surprise but was lame as fuck. Zedd had a very hard hitting set going then decided to kill switch that shit by taking all the air out of his slot and the energy out of the crowd when he introduced Ke$ha to the Outdoor stage to sing her new song 'True Colors'. I'm not a Ke$ha hater and I admit I actually like some of her songs but this one is horrible and slow and could not have premiered at a worse time and place. Hayley Williams or Tove Lo or Ariana Grande would have been much much better choices to bring up on their respective tracks.

Miami Horror's colorful onstage garb matched the psychedelic visual on 3 large screens as they performed. Their bubbly, funky demeanor and sound made theirs one of the best slots of the weekend.

Dreams of delectable pork belly at music festivals continued their glorious presence with LA's Beer Belly serving such magical meat alongside fine brew.

Robert DeLong featured Lindsey Stirling for a few songs so the crowd got to enjoy some super sweet electric violin and ballerina moves about the entire stage for at least 15 minutes.

Grimes graduated from a Sunday afternoon set under the Gobi tent in 2013 to a Saturday night headlining set in Mohave. Her crowd, onstage support and production seemingly increased tenfold thanks to her growth the last 3 years and my favorite album of 2015, Art Angels. Her set included tracks predominantly from that record which is definitely not a bad thing. She even got Janelle Monae to perform 'Venus Fly' with her on stage!

Speaking of female ascensions into stardom, Ellie Goulding and Sia have done just that but at a much more grandiose level. Both took late night set times and maximized their slots on the main stage with amazing performances and both gals deserve all the eyes and ears they're continuing to capture in 2016. Kudos, ladies.

I can't help but also adore Molly Rankin, lead singer and guitarist of ALVVAYS who wore an orange jumpsuit that looked strikingly similar to the San Quentin State Prison fall line of apparel. Fierce! Although her fashion decision was soooo last season she more than made everyone fall in love with her and that amazing dream rock when she serenaded the Gobi tent with 'Marry Me Archie'.

Lush did not make it to their set and canceled. Not sure why but it had better be a great reason to blow a great opportunity like this.

BØRNS were soooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. They're comprised of very weird band members but the talent and charisma have me dying to see another show again.

Purity Ring.

The Arcs were annoying. I really do like Dan Aurbach and The Black Keys and not much is different from that sound. I just hated that set. I don't know why. I wish I went to Courtney Barnett instead.

HEALTH was loud and just fucking awesome.

James Bay sang 'Let It Go' and stepped away from the mic to hear the entire packed Mohave tent sing along. I looked back to see and hear the crowd outside and those passing by and some entering the beer garden backwards doing the same. What an amazing talent! For real!

Incredible weekend. Hats off to Coachella for another hella successful event.

marc

marc

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Changes >> the new Charles Bradley album satiates the soul

If it’s not quite Thursday night and you’re having Scandal withdrawals, look no further than Charles Bradley’s Changes to put on your white hat and consume some vintage red wine while dancing drunkenly in your living room.

Charles Bradley >> Changes

Changes—which includes a remixed soulful version of the Black Sabbath song of the same name—reignites the singer’s status as a semi-modern James Brown-meets-Otis Redding, despite being 67 and on his third album since first going public in 2011.

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While the signature track is slow and thought-provoking, it’s the more upbeat ‘Good To Be Back Home’ that gets things moving early in the album. It’s difficult not to put this song on repeat, though the other tracks will remind you that it’s not a bad thing to just sit back and enjoy the soulful passion of a man who came into the game later in his life after a challenging upbringing. This album is perfect for a night in making dinner or prepping for a night out, though aside from the second track is probably not best for company with the slow burning love and desire that seems to be his forte for the remainder of the album. But hey, at 67 who would expect him to do anything less?

Tracklist: 1 >> God Bless America 2 >> Good To Be Back Home 3 >> Nobody But You 04 >> Ain't Gonna Give It Up 5 >> Changes 6 >> Ain't It A Sin 7 >> Things We Do For Love 8 >> Crazy For Your Love 9 >> You Think I Don’t Know [But I Know] 10 >> Change For The World 11 >> Slow Love

Danielle

Danielle

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Santigold >> Unstoppable in Tempe [Marquee Theatre]

Santigold >> made her way to Tempe on Monday night to play a solid gold show for a sold out crowd at the Marquee Theatre. It was her first live show in the desert in nearly 4 years when Master Of My Make-Believe was released.

Santigold

This time Santi is in the midst of a tour for her newest studio album, 99¢, which dropped last month. A lot has changed since 2012 when she played at the intimate Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix. This one is packed with even more bangers than its 2 precedents so this warranted a show at a much bigger venue. Santi's stage production has evolved to include a backdrop of the trippiest visuals that cats, soap and assorted groceries can present. Oh and let's not forget about her dancers who perhaps stole the show again, trading their umbrellas, sledgehammers and briefcases for selfie sticks, Cheetos and shopping carts.

[Related: Santigold at Crescent Ballroom]

This album is so good already and it got 99 times better after hearing some of its tracks performed in person. Sure, we'll probably never get sick of live versions of cult favorites like 'L.E.S. Artistes' or 'Disparate Youth' or 'Lights Out' or 'GO!' and 'Unstoppable' okay? But said cuts get bumped when 'Can't Get Enough Of Myself' and 'Banshee' and 'Who I Thought You Were' bump. You feel me, right? Oh and 'All I Got' is now my favorite track of the new album. Santi sounded great and was looking pretty good in her WE BUY GOLD dress serenading us with that electro-boogie Caribe doo wop style track and with just a glance stage left it was like heart eyes emoji status up in the concert hall.

Hopefully it's not another 4 years before Santigold returns to the valley or else I'll have to jump on the festival circuit again for my fix again like in 2012. Go get after a 99¢ tour stop when she arrives in your town because you will not be disappointed. Heya!

marc

marc

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