I first heard about Annie Girl & The Flight through a Bay Bridged article. Then, I found and bought their self-titled album at Aquarius Records. However, it wasn’t until I saw the band perform live that the music clawed up my spine and crawled into my brain, slithering under my skin and becoming ingrained in my soul.
The setting was perfect: a DIY show out in SOMA, some nameless warehouse in a half-forgotten corner of the city. Perfect because the dilapidated walls and creaking floor and cobwebbed ceiling captured the essence of the band's creeping, crashing folk/punk/rock heaviness, crushing high-voltage lullabies full of pain and longing and loneliness further emboldened by frontwoman Annie Lipetz’s haunting voice, a ghostly entity lingering somewhere between lost child and disillusioned woman.
This wasn’t just a rock show — this was mass hypnotism, nightmare transcendence, some twisted state of nirvana that could only be realized on a cold San Francisco night with the amps turned up loud and the cymbal explosions shaking the windows.
As the Bay Bridged celebrates 10 years of existence (a monumental feat for any blog, let alone one with a local focus), we are also celebrating the reason why we’re still around: the great bands and artists keeping this scene alive. Some bands have broken up, others have reformed as new projects, a few keep kicking around, many have moved away, and we’re grateful for all the sweat spilled at Elbo Room shows, all the tape used at Tiny Telephone, all the beers downed and Mission burritos devoured.
Annie Girl & The Flight is just one of the many fantastic acts we are proud to showcase at our 10th anniversary show this Saturday at Rickshaw Stop. During my conversation with the group's lead singer and songwriter, we discussed her view of the scene today and what direction her music will be taking in the future.
The Bay Bridged: First off, how were you introduced to The Bay Bridged?
Annie Lipetz: I found out about it because they covered some of the events and shows we were playing. Ever since I discovered it I’ve used it as a great source to check out new bands and see what people were writing about my friends' bands.
TBB: How do you view the music scene today as opposed to when you first started out in San Francisco? What changes have you noticed over the years?
AL: Well, I started about six years ago and, honestly, I’ve loved it since the very beginning. I don’t know if it has changed too dramatically over that time period, and, despite the mass exodus to LA so many bands made, many of my friends are still here and making great music. Everyone supports each other here and, yeah, there are a few distinct social circles that bands run in, but for the most part musicians are genuinely interested in each others projects.
TBB: If there was one thing you could magically change about the city’s present scene, what would it be?
AL: Again, I would like to see some bands break out of the social circles they’re familiar with and go support new acts. Camaraderie is significant in this scene, and if bands don’t support each other this thing we’ve built will collapse. Some of the older bands need to get off their asses and check out some of the new groups and performers out there.
TBB: Any particular favorites you've gotten to know over the years?
AL: A lot...there's so many. I could go on and on about the bands I love here.
TBB: OK, maybe focus on a few...how bout your top three?
AL: My top three...Well, Everyone Is Dirty is an incredibly inspiring act and (singer/violinist) Sivan is one of my heroes. She and Nick Cave are two artists who transcend this world, and I just draw so much inspiration from their work and live shows. Everyone in that band is awesome, and their live energy is just insane. Split Screens and False Priest are other ones, and I love how they break away from conventional songwriting structures. And Down & Outlaws is awesome — high energy, great songs, really gets the crowd going.
Oh, and that’s another thing I’d like to change about the scene — not enough people are dancing at shows. I see a lot of people doing the mannequin dance — you know, standing as still as possible and trying not to touch anybody (laughs).
TBB: I know you just released a new EP last year, but are you working on any new music now?
AL: Yes, we’re going into the studio soon to demo 12 new songs. We’re planning on a new, full-length record this year.
TBB: Are you taking your music in a new direction for this record?
AL: Yeah, I’ve never written songs quite like this. I think the new lineup of the band is really helping to shape them in a unique way. They’re more complex with lots of tempo and structural changes. That’s why we’re demoing them first — we have to figure out exactly what we’re doing (laughs). Some of the tracks are almost radio-friendly pop/rock, some are more psychedelic, some are even, I don't wanna say stoner metal, but certainly heavy. We’ll be playing the whole thing at the Rickshaw show.
TBB: So I pulled a quote from one of the previous Bay Bridged articles featuring your band in 2014. While talking about San Francisco, you said, “I’ve never felt so at home anywhere in my life.” Does that still ring true today?
AL: Oh yeah, of course. But I’ll admit I might just leave the country if certain candidates running for president get elected. That includes Hillary (laughs). I’m for Bernie all the way.
TBB: But that would be a tremendous blow to our music scene!
AL: It’s not like I won’t come back! I’ll be sure to visit you guys.
The Stone Foxes, Annie Girl & The Flight, John Vanderslice (solo), Hot Flash Heat Wave
January 30, 2016