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Best Bets This Week in Live Bay Area Music

Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae plays a special show at Davies Symphony Hall this week in support of her soon-to-be-released new album. Get excited.

Before we get into this week’s best-of-the-best shows of the week, a PSA: a few key bookings across the bay in Richmond at Craneway Pavillion have folks like me speculating this may be the Bay Area’s next great music venue.

Mega house act Dada Life plays a show there this Saturday, and Bjork plays three dates their later this month. San Franciscans, hop on your Ski-Doos and head towards Richmond.  

Blues Traveler, Independent, Monday

Yep, they’re still around. I won’t remind you how long ago it was when “Run Around” made some folks re-think the limits of alt-rock radio (ugh, fine, it was 20 years ago). But they’re still fighting the nostalgia fight. They’ve recorded 11 studio albums including a recent cut called Suzie Cracks the Whip, but we’ll always remember them for this, whether they like it or not:

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Bela Fleck, SFJAZZ Center, Thursday-Sunday

One of the world’s most accomplished banjo players the world has ever known gets a residency at SFJAZZ Center this week. It’s one thing to hear his recorded hits. It’s an entirely different thing to see him tickle banjo strings live and in person, where eyes can’t be deceived. Behold, a taste:

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Of Monsters and Men, Fox Theatre, Wednesday

The Icelandic twee folk outfit has gone from unknown to Fox Theatre headliner in the span of three years. A Seattle radio station (KEXP) discovered the band in Iceland in 2010, recorded them on video, and the rest was revisionist history. Their star is as high as ever after an appearance on Saturday Night Live last week. Now, festival bookers across the country are lining up to pin these guys down.

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Janelle Monae, Davies Symphony Hall, Thursday

Janelle Monae has a new album coming out. I repeat, Janelle Monae has a new album coming out. And holy Archandroid, she’s playing Davis Symphony Hall! Which means one word: epic. Expect epic. And expect funky, if her new collaboration with Erykah Badu is any indication.

 

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Delorean, Rickshaw Stop, Thursday

Spanish psych-electronica act Delorean’s sound comes from tables of soundboards, samplers and looping mechanisms. Buttons, dials and switches are part and parcel to the Delorean live experience (as are Christopher Lloyd references), but you’ll notice a surprising amount of real-time musicianship. Keyboardist Unai Lazcano is particularly thrilling to watch, teetering his keyboard to and fro like a drunken bullfighter. 

Royal Thunder, DNA Lounge, Sunday

Yes, we're alo excited for Dillinger Escape Plan, but the real gems here are ATLiens Royal Thunder, who'll open the night with their witchy, blues, sludgy riffs. Fronted by badass babe Mlny Parsonz (whose enchanting, gnarled wails seem to come from the depths of a tortured soul), these up-and-comers are leading a 70s revivalist wave of wild and dark Southern rock, like Lynyrd Skynrd meets Sabbath.

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Follow @ChrisTrenchard for more words like these.