The Boulevard Ear

Welcome back to the Boulevard Ear, a regular feature on The Bay Bridged, where our man about town examines a community’s live music offerings. What is it like to be a show-goer whose experiences are dictated entirely by location? Follow Todd as he explores Bay Area music venues by neighborhood, finding a variety of independent music along the way.

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Venues new and old hosted our weekend wanderings in the rain-buffed asphalt wonderland of Inner Mission-under-off ramp. Some remarkable music was to be had as well.

We intend to investigate, at our leisure, the full slate of new venues that have opened around the Mission corridor. This organization put on a quite memorable beer sampling event featuring Sonny and the Sunsets this past December at Public Works. We pledge to return, perhaps when we first look in at The Chapel.

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Chasms, a homegrown duo featuring earnest, melodic vocals and a wall of fuzz guitar, kicks off the evening quite satisfactorally at Brick and Mortar. We recommend that you catch up with them post haste.

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This self-appointed old salt of the city has a sheepish confession: we have never once set foot in Zeitgeist. No reason, in particular, just one of those experiential hiccups. Our familiars undertake to remedy this in between sets over some Blanton’s. Alas, Zeitgeist prefers that we not document the lively and genial patio scene visually. (We did capture this window into the bar’s past on the doorstep).

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Back at the B&M (unfortunate, that), The Mallard, also local, are laying down some serious energy. They bring the catchy roots riffs fast and furious, and the tantrums over the inevitable effects pedal malfunctions only up the ante for the better.

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Whence we last observed Wax Idols at Noise Pop a ways back, they were a pleasant mix of the Ramones and Lush – gawky east bay fuzz. Tonight the revamped line up has a much more articulated vision to share, starting with a rousing prologue featuring an unfortunate boom box, a hacksaw, and some hammers.

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Wax Idols’ new rhythm section pumps the heavy grooves perhaps better than the last and front woman Heather Fedewa’s guitar playing suggests a welding of Jesus and Mary Chain, Siouxie and the Banshees with a splash of speed metal. The songs are as wild as they are hooky and the crowd is lapping it up.

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Exhilarated, we hike up to Market to peek in on the Karaoke crowd. And, just since the headlights and street lights are bouncing so delightfully off the wet pavement, one last cup of coffee in a familiar place.