Best Bets This Week in Live Bay Area Music


Before we get in the mood for the heaven-sent Noise Pop Festival next week (more to come tomorrow), let’s get in another mood. A weirder mood, perhaps. Like this:

Monday: Miley Cyrus at Oracle Arena

Words do not do Miley Cyrus justice. This site does not support emojis, however, so words will have to suffice. Otherwise you’d get a string of angsty, twerking, semi-stoned, scandalously dressed graphics sequenced in a way that would reflect the young star’s tempestuous pop journey. There’s little to add to the Cyrus narrative at this point, but what does demand further parsing is the career and evolving stature of Cyrus’ opening act, Icona Pop. The Swedish DJ duo is best know for their radio-hit "I Love It" and they're no strangers to big tours either – they travelled around the States last year with Passion Pit.

Wednesday: Girl Talk at The Independent

Typical Independent curation. The finale to the famed Divisadero venue’s string of 10th anniversary shows is the most appropriate billing, and unbelievable really. Girl Talk, music industry’s biggest party concierge, will bring the weeklong tent pole event to its exclamatory destiny. The veteran DJ/producer/sample wizard is used to headlining and supporting major domestic and international festivals, which makes his gig at the Independent an event worth celebrating in its own right.  He’s basically the Buzzfeed of artists, celebrating everything glorious about the 90s and other popular nostalgia in the most snackable form. Enjoy.

Wednesday: Yo-Yo Ma at Zellerbach Hall

How valuable it is to have cultural icons and champions of music also lead productive conversations about the biggest, most basic questions. To simply be a virtuoso musician isn’t enough for famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who regularly weighs in on matters of the world, mind and heart. Ma recently penned a fascinating guest column for the Huffington Post about the need for empathetic understanding — and, thus, art — in an increasingly technology-focused world: “we are also aware that wise and balanced judgment results from integrating the critical and empathetic, taking emotions as well as reason into account. While this can't be done it tandem, it does occur, we now know, through a loop-back process of layers of feedback. These discoveries suggest that a new way of thinking is possible, a new consciousness -- perhaps a new Enlightenment -- that brings the arts and science back together.” It’s worth a read, just as Yo-Yo Ma is always worth the price of admission.

Saturday: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. at The Fillmore

Sometimes it’s just lip-service when bands say they’re thrilled to be in City X, but we’re pretty certain the Detroit-based, internet-searches-be-damned band Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is stoked to be out of wintry Detroit and in California. Bandleader Joshua Epstein recently — and bluntly — told the ABQ Journal “I’m looking forward to going to warmer places.” The band is touring in support of its vastly underrated and underreported 2013 album The Speed of Things. Think The Shins (in their later electro evolution) meets — well actually they sound exactly like The Shins. You like The Shins. You’ll like Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Trust.

For more swooning, follow @ChrisTrenchard.

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