Sunday, October 21, 2012

tofu and whiskey: savanna jazz, hardly strictly bluegrass for san francisco bay guardian

Raise your skinny fists 

Savanna Jazz struggles to keep its building, Clarion Alley Block Party is coming, Dirty Three and Saint Vitus hit SF, Godspeed releases its first album in a decade

TOFU AND WHISKEY Sitting on a pilled blanket out in Golden Gate Park, watching Australia's folk-noise instrumental outfit Dirty Three tear shit up on violin, petting my SPCA-adopted chug and sipping my homemade beer, I thought, "this is magic." And then, "I'm pretty drunk." And finally, out loud, "I'm a cliché right now."

No mind. This is San Francisco. We all fall prey to a rainbow of snarky categories. And this was the breezy, free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Gooey, grey-streaked hippies were dancing all around me. So I'm a cliché and late feminist punk icon Poly Styrene's magnificent screeching vocals ring through my ears every time the thought returns: "I'm a cliché/I'm a cliche," (off Germ-Free Adolescents).
Just a few ticks after the 1977 punk era that spawned Styrene, an LA doom metal band called Saint Vitus arose in '78. Last Tuesday, a configuration of that heavy, Black Sabbath-loving, long-haired freak band played the Independent, much to my delight [...]

tofu and whiskey: george chen and comedian-musicians for san francisco bay guardian

Cynic cave of actualized dreams

Underground musician-comedian George Chen, Club Chuckles, stand-up and burritos, Treasure Island Music Fest, Sic Alps, more music

TOFU AND WHISKEY Kyle Statham, from the Oakland band Fuck, once gave Hemlock booker Anthony Bedard some laconic advice: "Music is easy, comedy is hard." What's interesting to me, is the comedian who brings a guitar to the stage, or the seasoned noise composer who tries his hand at stand-up; it has a boot-strapped vaudevillian, winking variety show appeal. And are you aware that cheeky, string-bean comedian Kerri Kenney-Silver, of The State andReno 911, was once in a riot grrrl band called Cake Like? But I digress [...]

tofu and whiskey: preservation hall west at the chapel for san francisco bay guardian

Reborn on the bayou

The birth of Preservation Hall West, the death of Warren Hellman, the life of Toys That Kill, more music

Tofu and Whiskey There are loud grinding noises and those cinematic electric sparks shooting from a machine below a church pew-like balcony. It's musky and filled with dark bordello wood. The arched main room, the one you see when you walk in the front door of 777 Valencia Street and turn a quick corner, is outlined in bright, bloody red, and there's a stage.

Despite this transitional state a few weeks back, this stage at brand new Mission venue, Preservation Hall West at the Chapel — named after the jazzy New Orleans venue that inspired it — will hold star-powered spillover from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass ( this week, beginning Thu/4; the fest itself is Fri/5 through Sun/7. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans will perform each night of the long weekend with double-dipping special guests including Elvis Costello, Robert Earl Keen, Justin Townes Earl, and Steve Earle. Maybe this means we'll see a bespectacled Costello riding a bicycle from Golden Gate Park to the Mission, with a guitar slung on his back? One can dream [...]

chickfactor for san francisco bay guardian

Pop love Celebrating its 20th anniversary, chickfactor throws parties for music nerds

There was a time, not so long ago, when the fanzine was a glittering portal. It was the best avenue for learning about new, underground, innovative music across the country, before the all-powerful grip of the Internet forced us to idly click our way through back catalogs. The ink and paper projects were passed to friends in the same manner one traded handmade mixtapes. [...]

Dream of the '90s

Antwon and Pictureplane flip inspiration from another decade 

By now, Antwon's mug has probably nestled somewhere in your brain. It's hard to take your eyes off him in the Brandon Tauszik-directed video for Antwon's song "Helicopter," slowly spitting rhymes over a screaming alarm of a beat, wandering Oakland, drinking on porches, pouring hot sauce on breakfast in between scenes from the classic film, Bullit (1968). Or as one media outlet breathlessly noted, "Malt liquor, Steve McQueen, and Sriracha!" [...]

brokeass gourmet for san francisco bay guardian

Rich appetites
The BrokeAss Gourmet teaches life skills with a side of peanut sauce

CHEAPER EATS "By the way, I have the best peanut sauce recipe ever. I would say it's one of the top three things about me, my peanut sauce recipe." Author-blogger-chef Gabi Moskowitz mentions over brunch at the Dolores Park Cafe in her Mission neighborhood [...]

eat to the beat cover story for san francisco bay guardian

Eat to the beat 

Gourmet offerings, high-end snacks, and pop-up chefs come to rock festivals and music venues. Should you give a fork?

EAT BEAT Good food was never the part of the concert plan. In high school, the punks and shredders ate giant Pixy Stix, filled to the plastic brim with unnaturally purple sugar dust — purchased from the all-ages venue snack counter — followed by late night Del Taco red burritos slathered in Del Scorcho and stuffed with crinkle fries. Flash forward a decade or so, and the vegan Malaysian nachos with spicy peanut sauce and pickled veggies from Azalina's were all I could talk about after Outside Lands, save for the requisite "oh my god" Metallica utterance.
I wasn't the only one. From every corner of that packed festival, people — and of course, bloggers — were raving about The Whole Beast (featuring pop-ups from the Michael Mina Group) tucked away by Choco Lands, Andalu's fried mac and cheese, and Del Popolo's massive, industrial-looking rustic pizza truck.
While the higher-end meal options have now been going strong at Outside Lands for a few years — and, granted, food has long been a part of the festival equation — the gourmet pop-up thing, and locally-sourced, quality food offerings are on the menu more and more in brick-and-mortar music venues in San Francisco. Last week, the Great American Music Hall hosted an event dubbed the Great American Pop-Up. Seems it's more open to experimentation in the slower summer months [...]

fresh and onlys for san francisco bay guardian

Fools in love

FALL ARTS "You're at the right place," Tim Cohen mutters, holding a large laundry sack swaddled like a burrito to his chest as he walks up to the tri-level white Victorian on McAllister Street in San Francisco's Western Addition. A prolific singer-songwriter with morose pop vocals and a gruff exterior, Cohen is preparing to once again tour with his band, the Fresh and Onlys. And Cohen is flying out to the East Coast earlier than the others so he can play a few shows in his other incarnation, Magic Trick [...]