Best Bets This Week in Live Bay Area Music
OK, we’re obviously spoiled here in the Bay Area when it comes to live music offerings, but this is just getting ridiculous. Seriously. Right after an endless parade of awesome at Treasure Island Music Festival weekend, now this:
Good for Passion Pit. Kudos for standing up to the trolls and very publicly telling music fans that yes – shit happens – and bands sometimes have to cancel shows. The band made waves earlier this month when they had to cancel a show due to inclement weather and received undue criticism for not playing through the rain. Then, this brilliantly articulated defense. Read it. Also, kudos to Passion Pit for making addictive, crystalline, blue-colored, 98% pure dance pop. Heart you.
Imagine your coolest Teacher's Assistant in college played in the coolest band in college. That band would have been Okkervil River. And the TA would have looked something like Will Sheff – although after seven albums with Okkervil, we can safely classify him as the professor in this hypothetical scenario. His band’s latest album, The Silver Gymnasium, recalls a time preceding college, if you can imagine it. The album takes us inside Meriden, New Hampshire, where he grew up soaking in rural America and second-hand ‘80s culture. The result is something distinctly Okkervil and ‘80s-soaked at once. Call it a period piece, but only because Sheff’s lyrics are so steadfastly narrative-driven.
Did someone say 1980somethingorother? Au Revoir Simone is plenty familiar with the conceits and tropes of 1980s synth pop. Four years since their last album, Still Night Still Light (I mean, it feels like they haven’t put anything out since the ‘80s AMIRITE?), the band returns with a stirring album of songs recalling a simpler, leather-ier time. Move in Spectrums has to be the band’s best album to date, a considerable feat given the wonder and basic instinctual wonder of Still Night. Songs shift and veer and explore in imaginative ways we’ve yet to see elsewhere in the band’s discography. Also: fanboys, please leave your engagement rings at home – I know, they’re all cuties. But get ahold of yourself.
Kanye West, Oracle Arena, Wednesday
Yeeeeeeeeezus. Come to us. Take all our gifts, our sacrifices. Take our Oracle. Take ALL THE CROISSANTS. All we ask is that you let us worship at the cathedral of your genius/insanity and maybe laugh a little. Direct us to the Communion line – and feed us your wafers and boiling blood. Sure, you’re a god in many ways, Yeezus. We’ll admit it if you just please have mercy on self-seriousness. That said, I’d eat an unbuttered, stale croissant to see this show.
Can we agree to rid ourselves of the term “guilty pleasure”? There’s no reason anyone should be ashamed to listen transcendently inclined and emotive bands like The Naked and Famous. Oh, were you moved to tears or swell with hope listening to nearly every one of their anthems? ME TOO. Yes, their 2013 album In Rolling Waves is just as irresistible as their breakthrough 2011 album Passive Me, Aggressive You. It’s one of those albums you’ll need a high five and a hug after every song, and that’s how it should be.
Follow @ChrisTrenchard for more words like these.