Best Bets This Week in Live Bay Area Music


Deep breaths. This past weekend was extremely emotional for the nostalgically inclined. Postal Service at the Greek. Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake at Candlestick. Weezer at America’s Cup Pavilion. My god, are we feeling old…but somehow reinvigorated and ready for more. And it’s only getting more ‘90s this week with the following shows. Gotta be old to feel young (copyright 7x7, 2013).

311, Americas Cup Pavilion, Thursday
There’s a point in a veteran rock band’s career when laurels can be rested upon, and nostalgia becomes more important than the present tense. We can safely report 311 is nowhere near that point. The enormously popular rap-rock group remains industrious as ever; in addition to a summer tour and an upcoming album release in 2014, vocalist Nick Hexum has a solo album due out this fall, called My Shadow Pages. And it’s impossible not to respect a band that — every other year on 3/11 — plays a “311 Day” concert that can literally last an entire day — to the tune of 64 songs in a day, as they did in 2006. The 2012 version of “311 Day” was split up into two days and consisted of a staggering 79 songs. This was just the beginning:


Phish, Bill Graham Civic Center, Friday-Sunday
Behold — again — the unending imagination and determination of jam band champions Phish. Trey Anastasio’s cult-following-and-fostering band is currently in year 30 of its on-again, off-again-ad-nauseum project. This summer’s tour comes in advance of a reported new as-yet-titled album, the first since 2009’s Joy. Anastasio has also told Rolling Stone there’s a new stage setup in the works for this tour. So no need to curb any enthusiasm with this constantly reinvented American institution.

US Air Guitar Semis, Independent, Saturday
Here’s the deal: (...from the official site) “Over the course of the year, Qualifiers are being held in over 20 cities across America, with more being added every week. The best air guitarists from each Qualifier advance to the Semifinals, which are being held in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC. Three winners from each Semifinal will advance to the US Finals, which is happening this year in Los Angeles on August 17. The winner of the US Finals will become The 2013 US Air Guitar Champion, and will advance to the Air Guitar World Championships, held in Finland.” SF fans will be treated to a performance by former champion Nordic Thunder, who shreds air and haunts fashion police. See for yourself below.

Daft Punk vs. LCD Soundsystem, Rickshaw Stop, Saturday

Because LCD Soundsystem’s days are over (well, until Coachella/Goldenvoice inevitably dangles $5 million in front of their noses to reunite) and Daft Punk doesn’t have any specific intentions to tour Random Access Memories (they say it’s impossible…pssh), LCD cover bands are all we've got. LCD cover band North American Scum headlines, and Daft Punk cuts will fight for deserved attention. Berlin-style ping-pong, which we'll call the most thrilling simple game on the planet, is also on tap. Good luck not having the time of your life. OK, obligatory LCD Soundsystem music video:

Mac Miller, Warfield, Sunday
Scary that Miller is only 21. Scarier that he bears a vague resemblance to Jesse Pinkman in the cult TV hit Breaking Bad. But whatever. The provocative wunderkind emcee has a clear vision of where he’s going, rooted in the idea that he knows where he’s been. He reps Pittsburgh hard (somebody has to) and his loyalty to his hometown and the people he came up with makes for intriguing narrative. Now, his main concern is getting people hyped on his sophomore album Watching the Movies With the Sound Off, a steady mix of self-deprecation and self-aggrandizement, set against form-forward production. Just as fascinating are openers Action Bronson and Chance the Rapper, two fellow up-and-coming emcees with rapidly growing followings and cred.

Follow @Chris Trenchard for more words like these. 

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