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Best Bets This Week in Live Bay Area Music

If you can’t get yourself a ticket to the sold-out Phantogram show next Thursday at the Fox, try the Amoeba Music appearance on Wednesday for a pared-down version of the live set, featuring songs from their brilliant new album, Voices.  

Are you like me? Do you feel guilty all the time (ok, some of the time) about all the free music artists begrudgingly bestow upon the masses, for which we pay little to nothing? Well — infomercial-y-sounding sentence alert! — now there’s a way to make yourself feel better and give your favorite artists their due! Check out medi.ci — a place for fans to donate directly to their favorite artists. Giveth, then taketh.

That, or pay the price of admission to these paycheck-worthy shows:

Tuesday: 2 Chainz at the Fox Theater

2 Chainz is living the dream, and that dream involves a lot of twerking. On his current tour, 2 Chainz starts his live shows with one world on a screen behind him: “Dream.” It gets better. Audiences then hear “a recorded reading of a poem and video performances by a troupe of dancers in silhouette." Then, a montage of American icons including Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Jordan, Rocky Balboa. We think for a moment — 2 Chainz is getting classy. Then, 90 minutes of twerking and songs about sex. Phew.

Wednesday: Marissa Nadler at The Chapel

Marissa Nadler’s sixth studio album, July, strikes all the right chords, both literally and figuratively. Reaction has been nothing short of reverential to this dark, devastatingly melodic collection of songs. Consequence of Sound might have said it best: “Why fix something that’s not broken? Her acoustic guitar, piano, layered vocals, and reverb-laden production make for the perfect vehicle for this sad tale of midsummer chaos.” This is the kind of acoustic, echoing fare The Chapel was built for.

Allen Stone at The Independent

To beat what is surely a dead horse in the eyes of Allen Stone, we must say that Stone’s mere presence on a stage singing soul songs is just another reminder to kill all your “dude sounds like X so he must look like Y” expectations. Looks are indeed deceiving when the 26-year-old Washington state native opens his mouth and heaven comes out. The Capitol Records-signee has a new record coming out this summer and fans will cross fingers for a taste of the new stuff this week. Stone recently tipped his hand about the new material: "This new record is a brighter, sleeker color of soul music that portrays the last three years of my experience. Where I've been, what I've learned, what I've lost, and where I'm going. It's the measurement of my soul and my sound at this current place in my life."

Thursday: Phantogram at the Fox Theater

Can’t. Stop. Listening. To the new. Phantogram. The latest album from the New York electro duo gone global is absolutely intoxicating, start to finish, top to bottom, side to side. The single, “Fall in Love,” shifts and hooks like a heavyweight fighter, Sarah Barthel's femme-fatale voice beckoning and pushing away in one fell swoop. The rest of the album falls in line accordingly, and brilliantly (click link above for full play via NPR). If you can’t get yourself a ticket to the sold-out show, try the Amoeba Music appearance on Wednesday for a pared-down version of the live set.  

Friday: Pixies at the Fox Theater

Weeeeeeeeeee!!!! The Pixies — ahem — THE FREAKIN’ PIXIES are coming to the Fox. This, by law, cannot suck. The legendary rock band is mostly the same legendary rock band you remember, minus bassist Kim Deal who departed the band last summer (in her stead is hired gun Paz Lenchantin). OK can we get to the obligatory “Where Is My Mind?” video already?

For more words like these, follow @ChrisTrenchard