This one's for the city's hardcore music buffs. Bill Graham's—the late concert promoter largely responsible for putting SF on the map as a major music destination—81st birthday is coming up on Jan. 8, and the memorial foundation in his honor is celebrating by throwing a party with a capital P at The Fillmore on Jan. 7.
Having not attended the entire week's worth of Metallica's fan club-only 30th anniversary shows at the Fillmore, I feverishly read everything I could about the total metal extravaganzas that they were (despite their foray into Lulu material). Needless to say, I was more than ready to drop everything and witness their final installment this past Saturday night. And guess what? San Francisco's lost sons didn't dare disappoint their once-upon-a-time hometown, playing as hard as ever and bringing out special guests such as Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Dave Mustaine of Megadeth.
Fillmore art is something special to San Francisco. When I saw MGMT there in 2010, I was psyched to receive an iconic promotional poster as a souvenir. In my rock 'n' roll fantasy, the same would have happened at the Fillmore decades ago, but at a Jimi Hendrix show.
Foster the People’s buoyant pop sound is addictive, to tweens, teens, and Millennials alike. Apparently, even senior citizens love them.
The band’s sound is one that shines best in a small, intimate venue. Considering they have an album that is manageable from start to finish without getting annoying, their Outside Lands show a couple of months back was disappointing.
Not so at the Fillmore last night.
Foster the People evinces emo undertones without the cheese factor that plagues so many other indie rock bands, an advantage that makes them appealing rather than irritating.
San Francisco has one of the greatest music scenes in the world, yet its laws don't nurture and often work against small businesses that want to showcase (local or touring) bands in their venues. Luckily, The Recording Academy San Francisco Chapter and the California Music and Culture Association will host a very special mayoral candidates forum on October 3rd as a way to open a discussion about how much those in the local music and entertainment industries contribute to and enrich the city's economy.
At the risk of nudging Philip K. Dick over in his grave, a good place to start explaining the work of wunderkind sound engineer James Blake is the surreal world of science fiction, where technology and mankind meet in odd, and sometimes disturbing, ways. Blake operates at that exact crossroads, composing songs that are half-man, half-machine. Something feels algorithmically off, perverted and subverted, yet altogether novel. Generally, he sounds like a hallucinating android, while his synths slowly encroach upon our human space like Inception walls.
There is hope. Yes, even for you, the sad, sappy, bespectacled, somewhat chubby, nasaly, prog-emo rocking diarist. There is a better you. There may even be a Hollywood debutante in your future.
Case in point: Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, who walked onto the Fillmore stage last night unrecognizable to fans of grayer heads. Please excuse those of us late to the party, but someone’s whipped this former king of the indie universe into shape (*cough* Zooey *cough* Deschanel *cough*). Dude’s been cut trim, Lasik-upped and stylized for the middling tastebud. Oh, and he wears accessories now.