Indie darling John Vanderslice made a name for himself years ago performing with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats and as part of the defunct local band Mk Ultra, but hit the big time after starting an all-analog recording studio in the Mission. His cult studio, Tiny Telephone, has attracted such big talent as Death Cab and Okkervil River, placing him prominently on the map as the industry's go-to indie guy for more than a decade.
King of collaborations, Vanderslice appointed SF ensemble the Magik*Magik Orchestra, founded and directed by local star Minna Choi, as the studio's house orchestra. A force in their own right, Magik*Magik has also worked with big guns, including Sting, Carlos Santana, Chicago, Death Cab, the Dodos, and more. Vanderslice and Magik*Magik have since worked together in a major way—they released their first album, White Wilderness, earlier this year to much acclaim.
Last night The Dodos and Magik*Magik took to the stage in a pysch folk, orchestral sandwich. The allegedly sold-out show began with a series of experimental Magik*Magik musicians tweaking the cello, manipulating percussion, mastering the marimba and closing with a melancholy ditty including special guest John Vanderslice. After a short break, The Dodos appeased an eager (and vocal) crowd with a long set of flawlessly performed hits. The always earnest Meric looked out to the audience early on and said, "Wow. This is a really busy place to play," as if the band hadn't just a few weeks ago entranced a packed audience of art enthusiasts for SFMOMA's anniversary weekend.
Minna Choi, 30
Magik*Magik Orchestra founding creative director
Photographed by Robyn Twomey at Tiny Telephone