Savages at the Fillmore (photo: Jon Ching)
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 other Wednesday for the most comprehensive and concise recap of last week’s Bay Area concert scene.
The Monophonics at Moe’s Alley (SCZ) Apr. 15.
Lead singer and vocalist Kelly Finnigan was on fire Friday night as SF soul group The Monophonics played to a packed house at Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz. Combining roots, world beats, and undeniable funk grooves on an intentionally messy plate, Finnigan was channeling his best Joe Cocker. The band was tight, both in their music and on the stage, as much of what they played was blanketed in dub. Always a rowdy event, a wide variety of musical stylings guaranteed something everyone could enjoy. —Joshua Huver
The Redlight District at the Crepe Place (SCZ) Apr. 16.
Psychedelic rock group The Redlight District dressed to impress on Saturday night. Guitarist Ravi Lamb, keyboardist Dan Leitner, and drummer Keoki Thompson were in matching black ties and slacks with white shirts while frontman Stephan Sams donned all black, sans tie. Featuring a set of eerie transitions, spoken verse beat poetry and a slew of hard rocking originals, the Santa Cruz quartet were a hit. Their next show is a Cinco de Mayo celebration happening at The Crow’s Nest in Santa Cruz. —Joshua Huver
Savages at The Fillmore (SF) Apr. 19.
Every year since Savages has been touring in San Francisco, even before their first album was released, I have seen them live. I have a regular crew at this point that I always go with because we were all bonded by that first show we saw together, blown away by the command of frontwoman Jehnny Beth who hypnotizes, entrances and bewitches. Savages is great on album, but the experience of seeing them live is one of the most impactful, soul-wakening, nirvana-touching experiences that you’ll ever get from music and is on a completely different level than just listening. These days, every single band, even dudes with MacBook Pros and an amp, tour, whether they play well live or not. Savages was born to be on stage. —Jon Ching
Sheer Mag and Flesh World at the Rickshaw Stop (SF) Apr. 23. Sheer Mag made their first Bay Area appearance since a Monday afternoon show at 1234 Go about a year ago, and SF was pumped, selling out the Rickshaw by the time I arrived. Flesh World’s post-punk sounds aren’t exactly my taste, but they’re an intense and talented band and I enjoyed their set. For Sheer Mag, perhaps I was tainted by a few Facebook posts I’d read trashing them the day before the show, but something just felt a bit…off with them, like perhaps they could be just a bit tighter. Despite my nitpicking, Sheer Mag is only going to get better. Frontwoman Christina Halladay is an incredible talent and their songs are just TOO CATCHY for them to slow down any time soon. I’m sure their next Bay Area show will be another packed, sweaty party, but the band will have a few more months of touring under their belt that will me look back at this brief review and shake my head. —Russell Jelinek
Big Star’s 3rd at The Filllmore (SF) Apr. 24.
Chuck Prophet closed a spine-tingling night with The Kinks’ “Till The End of the Day” backed by Mitch Easter (Let’s Active), Chris Stamey (dB’s), Mike Mills (REM) & Jody Stephens. Pretty. Sick. Band. Of course, The Kronos Quartet weren’t too shabby playing the insane, twisted strings from the depressing masterpiece that is Big Star’s 3rd. The horn section included thee Ralph Carney! Ira from Yo La Tengo sang a few and Georgia made an all too brief appearance. I am sad about Bowie and Prince, but I am devastated to live in this world without Alex Chilton. —MBL
Justin Rock & Bastet Jazz Jam at The Octopus Literary Salon (OAK) Apr. 25.
Every Monday at 9:30pm, this is the place to be for live jazz. This is the best Monday happening, period. Seriously, I am not fucking with you. Do it. —MBL
(It’s a secret)
Caught Austin hardcore outfit Sleep Walk in a West Oakland backyard with locals Abusivo and Baja Boys. Powered by a single extension cable dangling 15 feet from the second story of the house and with a neighbor’s threats of imminent police presence, the sets moved rapidly and with great urgency. Great vibe and atmosphere. —Nik Soelter