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Can't Make Coachella? San Francisco-chella Alternatives

Face it -- whether you slept on getting tickets, work got in the way or you are just plain broke, at this point all sings point to you not attending to the very sold out Coachella Festival this year. But as we noted earlier in the week, the Coachella Fall-Out will be evident throughout the Bay Area this weekend, with many of the big name Coachella acts cruising through our home turf before and after their festival appearances. When matched with the usual slew of great local shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, you have a whole lot of live music options to choose from this weekend.


It is with this in mind that we proudly present to you San Francisco-chella, your guide to getting a piece of the Coachella fun without ever leaving the city. So whether you planned to dance your butt off in the Sahara Tent, be an indie geek in the Mojave Tent, catch the oh-so-coveted mega acts on the Coachella Stage or simply revel in some of the infamous Coachella side-attractions, 7x7 has you covered right here at home.

Thursday

What you are missing at the real Coachella:
While the festival does not officially begin until Friday afternoon, all the cool kids know Palm Springs is the place to be Thursday night for some pre-party fun. The pick this year -- the uber-exclusive annual Filter party, with free booze and DJ sets by LA Riots, Afghan Raiders, Micachu & The Shapes, Them Jeans and a top secret surprise closing act.

What San Francisco-chella has to offer:
Main Stage
Passion Pit, Mayer Hawthorne & The County, Bear Hands @ Warfield ($40 - $60 on Craigslist)

If you caught rising electro-pop favorite Passion Pit at their sold out Bimbo's performance last year or at the 2009 Treasure Island Festival, this one has more than likely been on your radar for sometime. While the show is technically sold out, the Craigslist scalpers are being a lot friendlier on this one than they are with the Coachella tickets -- if you are patient, you might just be able to find a kind soul to sell you one at face value.

Dance Tent
Pretty Lights, Eliot Lipp @ Mezzanine $20

Pretty Lights is the brainchild of Derek Vincent Smith, a University of Colorado Boulder dropout with a penchant for hip hop inspired electro beats. Yet this is hardly a mere DJ act -- backed by a live drummer (band mate Cory Eberhard), the live set consists of a string of improvised dance-friendly remixes and originals that are guaranteed to get the crowd moving. It is the perfect show to bust your headband out for Thursday night and briefly pretend you actually made it to the desert.

Small Tent
The Soft Pack, Male Bonding, Nodzzz @ Bottom of the Hill $12

Featuring the drummer of San Diego noise legends The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, The Soft Pack make gritty garage rock with undeniable swagger. While they might not be breaking new ground with their sound, their debut self-titled LP is one of 2010's better releases so far, and their live show never disappoints. With the excellent lo-fi local act Nodzzz opening, this one is most certainly the move for all you Pitchfork readers unable to make the trek this year.

Side Attraction
If you ask us, Coachella's side attractions have nothing on the temporary Justin Herman Plaza zip line -- the fun ends for good on Sunday, so be sure to take the free ride while you still can.

Friday

What you are missing at the real Coachella:
Public Image Limited, Jay Z, LCD Soundsystem, La Roux, Grizzly Bear, Echo and the Bunnymen, Passion Pit, Ra Ra Riot, Yeasayer, Sleigh Bells and more.

What San Francisco-chella has to offer:

Main Stage
Hot Chip, The xx @ Fox Theater ($35 - $70 on Craigslist)

Hot Chip is one of the few bands on course to complete the coveted Coachella stage trifecta -- in 2007 they rocked the Small Tent (Gobi), in 2008 the Dance Tent (Sahara) and in 2010 are being called up to hold down the big crowd (Outdoor Theater). And while the balcony at The Fox Theater might not be the best place to catch the oh-so-danceable band, we would be hard pressed to pass up on any opportunity to catch them live.

Dance Tent
Major Lazer, Rusko, Destructo, Bad Neighbors @ Mezzanine $30

Los Angeles' based promoter Hard has made quite a name for itself over the past few years, throwing some of Southern California's most loved (and loathed) glow-stick-a-thons in recent memory. They bring their party to SF for the first time Friday night, and could not have picked two hotter dance acts to carry the bill -- dub-step ambassador Rusko and Diplo and Switch's Jamaican commando alter ego Major Lazer. If you can hang with the clouds of illicit second hand smoke, this is certainly the place to dance Friday night.

Small Tent
Love Is All, Princeton, The Butterfly Bones @ Rickshaw Stop $12

7x7 readers are more than likely familiar with Butterfly Bones by now, the local electro-pop leaning trio that we just can't get enough of. Well the band stepped it up big time this week, landing the opening slot at both the sold out La Roux show at the Fillmore last night and the sure to be stellar Love Is All show at the Ricksahw Stop Friday night. While they are not playing Coachella this year, we would hardly be surprised to see their name on the lineup come April 2011 -- be sure to catch these dudes in a relatively small local setting while you still can.

Side Attraction
While the appeal of waking up in a 100 degree tent surrounded by 15,000 strangers may wear off with age, you have not experienced the full thrust of Coachella until you have survived the campgrounds. Well the same goes for San Francisco-chella -- no weekend is complete without pitching a tent in the shared backyard of your friend's Victorian Flat. [If you actually do this, I commend you for being my new favorite person in SF.]

Saturday

What you are missing at the real Coachella:
The Dead Weather, MGMT, Flying Lotus, Major Lazer, Hot Chip, Faith No More, The xx, Girls, Dirty Projectors, 2ManyDJ's and more

What San Francisco-chella has to offer:

Main Stage
Public Image Limited @ Regency Ballroom $48.50

While best known for his antics as the frontman for the Sex Pistols, Johnny Rotten proved he was no one trick pony when he formed the groundbreaking post-punk act Public Image Limited. The group's dub and krautrock inspired jams have gone on to shape countless bands, many of whom will grace the stages of both Coachella and San Francisco-chella this weekend. The newly reformed group is hitting the US for the first time in 18 years, and judging from Johnny's general erratic behavior, there is a good chance this might be your last chance to catch them -- if you are a fan, you definitely do not want to miss out on this one.

Dance Tent
Yeasayer, Sleigh Bells @ Fillmore ($40-$60 on Craigslist)
What do you get when you mix a weathered hardcore veteran with a former teenpop singer turned 5th grade teacher? Surprisingly, something pretty rad. Featuring Derek Miller of Poison the Well fame and former Alexis Krauss of the shortlived all-girl group Rubyblue, Sleigh Bells bring their unique brand of noise-pop to SF for the first time Saturday night, opening for the extremely hyped Brooklyn outfit Yeasayer.

Small Tent
Battlehooch, Judgement Day, 7 Orange ABC @ Bottom of the Hill $10
The San Francisco-chella Small Tent is all about the local love Saturday night, as local experimental sextet Battlehooch celebrated the release of their sophomore effort with a show at Bottom of the Hill. Be sure to get there early to catch self described "string metal band" Judgement Day -- it will make you regret quitting those violin lessons in 7th grade.

Side Attraction
You know what beats $7 Heinekens in the fenced off Coachella beer garden? Tall boys at Dolores park. They even have palm trees!

Sunday

What you are missing at the real Coachella:
Thom Yorke, Gorillaz, Pavement, Little Boots, Miike Snow, Yo La Tengo, Mayer Hawthorne, Rusko, Deerhunter, Phoenix and more

What San Francisco-chella has to offer:

Not going to lie to you -- Coachella has San Francisco-chella beat on Sunday. As is often the case, Sunday night is pretty dead on the live music front. But hey, we got the head start on Thursday night this time around!

If you are still standing after the long weekend of shows and looking to dance, you might want to check out the Dirtybird Records party in Golden Gate Park -- it is more burner than hipster, but should be good times nonetheless.