BAY ABRIDGED

In this recurring feature known as The Bay Abridged, our staff writers will provide short, witty recaps on shows they attended around the Bay Area. A scene check, a heat check, and sometimes more — stop by every Wednesday for the most comprehensive and concise recap of last week's Bay Area concert scene.

Howe Gelb & Sylvie Simmons at The Chapel (SF) Jan. 24
SF treasure Sylvie Simmons played a beautiful Donovan tune "Catch the Wind" and a slew of brand new songs including a tear jerker called "Nothing". Howe joined her for the last few songs in full Curious George mode moving from piano to guitar and then playing both at once. Howe proclaimed the end of Giant Sand (after 30 yrs.) declaring the last record as good as it gets but promising a possible "Worst of" compilation at some point. He played many "future standards" on piano, some with vague Xmas themes.  The first encore brought Sylvie back for Leonard Cohen's "1000 Kisses Deep". Paradise. —MBL

PWR BTTM, Dude York, Try The Pie at Rickshaw Stop (SF) Jan. 25
I’ve been waiting to see these bands for a while. Try The Pie started the eventful night (hosted by Different Fur) with an emotional and raw stripped down solo-set, playing favorite like “Every Week” with just a guitar. The PWR BTTM duo were out of this world, engaging heavily with the audience about the importance of LGBTQ rights and history in the San Francisco Bay Area, bringing a high level of energy consistently throughout their set, and getting the crowd riled up with comments, like my favorite: “The only thing I like about police is fucking them!” —Victor Valle

Future Shapes, Plush, Jay Som, Darkness Folder at Brick & Mortar (SF) Jan. 27
I guess when you see a night full of dreamy, fuzzed out bands, you gotta expect a room full of attentive faces and constrained moving bodies (keep it in the minimal head-bobbing, am I right). Darkness Folder, a band that played their first show that night, really brought the unique vocals and stylings of the young crew, all of which really embraced the stage like seasoned professionals. Jay Som took the event by storm, with front woman Melina really lighting up the stage with some favorites from her recent Untitled release. Plush came heavy with the shoegaze sound. And Future Shapes, a dreamy-but-heavy band, ended the Wednesday night by dripping out every last ounce of dance in everyone in the venue. It was seamless, natural and one of those nights that reminds you even shows on a weekday can be filled with the energy of a weekend.  —Victor Valle

Saintseneca, Des Ark, Soak at Rickshaw Stop (SF) Jan. 27
The North Carolina based Des Ark, led by songwriter and guitarist Aimée Argote, is an emotional whirlwind. To sum things up, cry-punching would be a great activity for a Des Ark show. Track down the band's third release; Everything Dies. Saintseneca's 2015 album Such Things ranked pretty damn high on my most heavily listened to list. Needless to say, I fought (passive-aggressively ducked and dodged) my way up front to bear witness. The set held one of those all important levels of equilibrium where it appears the artist and audience were having equal amounts of fun. Set highlight: Mustachioed lead vocalist Zac Little performing "How Many Blankets Are In The World?" solo with banjo. —Mike Chouinard

Dan Deacon, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith at The Fillmore (SF) Jan. 29
I walked into the growing mass on the main floor to the sounds of "Sound Sculptress and Orchestral Composer" Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith who brought everyone on a voyage deep underwater where the pulsating bass hit like tremors rocking the ocean floor. Before Dan Deacon and drummer Jeremy Hyman entered view it should be noted there is already little competition to my just now made up award of Best Entrance Music: "Under The Sea" followed by "Bohemian Rhapsody" set to a great light show. A perfect way to set the mood for what followed, a solid hour of Hyman pummeling the drums, Dan Deacon commanding his congregation to dance in as many ways as possible. The first of these instruction being; "Everyone on the left dance like Game of Thrones is devoid of the patriarchy and everyone on the right dance like all the profits from Jurassic World were used to fund public schools!" —Mike Chouinard

Cool Ghouls [House Show] (SF) Jan. 30
Long live house shows. There's something about a hollowed out room used to host sweaty garage bands that if the wrong real estate spy happened upon it would erase its charm and add a few digits to the rent. Maybe it's the seemingly endless supply of Modelo. Maybe it's the atmosphere of a bunch of friends of the band heavily participating in the crowd when they would be shot sharp glances is at a regular venue. Regardless, this is a natural setting for Cool Ghouls. The set spanned most of their releases and allowed for shared lead vocal duty between guitarists Pat McDonald, Ryan Wong, and bassist Pat Thomas. —Mike Chouinard

The Bay Bridged 10th Anniversary Party ft. Everyone is Dirty, Annie Girl & The Flight, John Vanderslice, Hot Flash Heat Wave at Rickshaw Stop (SF) Jan. 30
Over the last 10 years, The Bay Bridged has thrown all sorts of concerts — the beer drinking extravaganzas, the big outdoor festivals, the small happy hours. But it's been awhile since we put together a real Saturday night venue show. Of course, we gave it a Bay Bridged twist — the first 100 attendees received a hand-screened show poster with artwork by Jeremy Fish and everyone in the venue ate their fair share of petite fours and pink frosted donuts. But enough about the gimmicks, what about the show? Hot Flash Heat Wave opened the night with a set of their loopy guitar rock. John Vanderslice easily proved himself to be the most accomplished and veteran performer of the night — commanding the stage with only his voice and an acoustic guitar. Although he's been slowly focusing less on music and touring, and more on his twin Tiny Telephone studios — Vanderslice still performs his songs with a gloom even if their melodies are objectively beautiful. Even without original headliner The Stone Foxes (who were forced to cancel at the last minute due to illness), Everyone is Dirty filled in valiantly. The energy for the night reached its peak during Annie Girl & The Flight's set, who took rock 'n roll and gave it the kick in the ass it deserves. —Zack Frederick

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