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This Week in Live Music: Kid Cudi, Foals, Panda Bear, and More

Rap phenom-and-now-film director Kid Cudi plays Bill Graham Civic Center on Friday.

WIth the abundance of music festivals taking root over North America it’s increasingly difficult for festival promoters to distinguish their massive celebrations from others just like it in other cities. But Riot Fest is managing to do just that. For its 10th anniversary (taking place in Denver, Chicago, and Toronto), promoters are asking hugely popular bands like Weezer and Offspring plus other smaller profile (but still-important) bands to play seminal albums front to back. It’s certainly not the first time bands have done this at a festival, but the chance to relive classic albums all at once is kinda-sorta really awesome. Take note SF Festival promoters!

Tuesday: Foals at Fox Theater

Three albums into the game and Foals are finally reaching the mainstream, and headlining the larger music halls of North America, like our beloved Fox Theater. The fact that Foals sit atop a bill with a band of Cage the Elephant’s stature speaks volumes of where these critical darlings currently stand (technically the bands are co-headlining but Cage the Elephant has taken the stage first on this tour). A huge part of that notoriety comes from Foals’ 2013 album Holy Fire, which was nominated for the UK’s Mercury Prize, one of the most esteemed awards in the music biz.

Wednesday: Baths at The Independent

LA-based wunderkind producer Will Wiesenfeld just released a new EP, and it’s predictably brilliant. The 25-year-old’s latest is called Ocean Death, another staggering work of shifting layers and moods and electronic wonderment. Check out the track “Fade White” below. which Stereogum calls “an eerie journey into nothingness,” which actually works as an apt summation of Baths’ aesthetic.

Wednesday: Jessy Lanza at Bottom of the Hill

Mercy. Jessy Lanza’s seductive voice (and album title, Pull My Hair Back...lordy) is really just part of the story here. It’s what’s happening behind the scenes that really separates Lanza from the nice voices of the world. Junior Boys member Jeremy Greenspan brings his group’s unmistakable watermark and sensibility to the fore. The subtle, infecting electro builds and the eerie, odd bends of direction and mood are particularly mesmerizing; classic Junior Boys sound manipulation.

Thursday: Panda Bear at The Fillmore

It’s about that time when Panda Bear puts his Animal Collective duties on hold to pursue his own pet project. The highly regarded, multi-instrumentalist has a collection of new songs he’s been playing live since last June. The new album is tentatively titled Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, because why not? 

Friday: Kid Cudi at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

Be impressed by the multi-talented Kid Cudi. The young rap phenom has major ambitions, even beyond conquering the rap world. Cudi recently announced plans to score his first movie, and now his track “Balmain Jeans” will be made into a short film, which Cudi will write and direct. This is all in addition to the incredibly ambitious 2014 concept album Satellite Flight, an album that solidified Cudi’s status as artist first/performer second.


Follow @ChrisTrenchard for more words like these.