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.
The Gathering of the Tribes with The Gentle Cycle, Buzzmutt, The Spiral Electric and more at Public Works (SF) Sept. 13.
More than anything, I think it’s embarrassing to say that I had yet to venture out to Public Works – hidden on a side street from Mission – at all before this day-long festival. However, Gathering of the Tribes — which is named after the historic festival of the same name put on by Bill Graham in the 90’s — brought me out to the location, a two story, wood enclave for a long day of psychedelic rock (and beyond) music. The festival’s dozen plus bands, local vendors and organizations, and marathon-style stage switching (Phono del Sol style) kept me in a constant haze of excitement and visual elation (huge props to Mad Alchemy, White Light Prism and Andy Puls for making everyone on stage look that much more hip). It’s not everyday (or even multiple times a year) you get a chance to see a line up that is both historic, local and good. —Victor Valle
Friends W/Out Benefits, No Cigar, and The Brankas at El Rio (SF) Sept. 15.
It was hot, sweaty and nostalgic in the small side El Rio room on a Tuesday night. But for the right reasons as post-punk band The Brankas, alt-punk Montana-based band No Cigar and local mystery punk duo Friends W/Out Benefits took the stage in a night of what could have been mistaken for the DIY punk shows that we held in our garages and backyards in Southern California. It was loud, it was fast, and it was a blast to the easier times of punk music in skate videos and pop-punk anthems you sang with your best friends. Talk about feeling at home. —Victor Valle
BFF.fm 2nd Birthday Bash w/ The Silhouette Era, NITEPPL, and Future Twin at Brick & Mortar (SF) Sept. 15.
I’m not usually out on a Monday night, but I made a point to come out and celebrate with BFF.fm who was celebrating their terrible twos! The crowd did not disappoint, wearing their nighties/pajamas as requested by BFF.fm’s founder and den mother Amanda. The Michael from Make It Funky warmed up the crowd and The Silhouette Era kept things upbeat with their blend of indie guitar-pop mixed with surfy vibes. The drums and amps may have been taken off-stage but electro-dance-pop duo NITEPPL turned things up a notch and got the pajama-clad dancing. Given it was a Monday night, I had to skip out on the rest of the show, but I heard it turned into a rager and that several people had to call in sick or “work from home”. —Ben Russo
Zedd at The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (SF) Sept. 16.
Zedd’s True Colors show is the current bar to beat when it comes to Rave 3.0 culture. Last week he played two sold out nights at the Bill Graham Civic, and got all the young ones dancing while stripped down to nothing but their pony beads and underwear. The True Colors production is like nothing you have seen — three massive screens dwarf even the largest audiences, and of course there are the de rigor lights and strobes. —Paige Parsons
Inaniel Swims and Greg Ashley at The Octopus Literary Salon (Oak) Sept. 16.
Inaniel Swims are here all the way from the Normandy coast of France for their first ever US tour. Despite having purchased all their equipment 48 hours before the show, the band was super tight and delivered a charming mix of psychedelic, lounge and dare I say “disco”? This is the new music you have been waiting for. Incredibly, they return to The Octopus this Thursday 9/24 at 9:30pm for one last show before heading home. The band is also recording with Bay Bridged favorite Greg Ashley who played an inspiring, emotional solo set before running off to join the John Brothers Piano Company at the Great American Music Hall. —MBL
Rodrigo y Gabriela at The Masonic (SF) Sept. 16.
Rodrigo y Gabriela went for another form of stripped down. There was no band, just an empty stage with the two tallented guitarists playing their combo of flamenco/rock/heavy metal with precise and piercing energy. Late in the show the invited members of the crowd up on stage, and two dozen fans had dance along they will never forget. —Paige Parsons
Dawes at The Fillmore (SF) Sept. 18.
Dawes kicked off their fall North American tour in support of their new album All Your Favorite Bands at The Fillmore on Saturday. Blake Mills filled in for keyboardist Tay Strathairn, who suffered a ruptured appendix a few days before. —Paige Parsons
Heart at The Masonic (SF) Sept .18.
Heart put on one of the best shows I’ve seen this year—they blazed through rockers like “Barracuda” and “Crazy on You”, stirred singalongs with “What About Love?” and “How Do I Get You Alone?”, and surprised with covers like Elton John’s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters”, The Sonics “The Witch” (yes, really), and closed the show with Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”, “No Quarter”, and “Misty Mountain Hop”. —Ben Russo
Mac McCaughan & the Non-Believers at Rickshaw Stop (SF) Sept. 18.
With Heart ending before 10pm, I had time to grab a cab to see one of my favorite musicians — Mac from Superchunk — play his solo material with backing band The Non-Believers (aka Flesh Wounds). In the 24 years I’ve watched him play, he’s always pogoed around the stage with his guitar while blasting the crowd with feedback-drenched solos over his energetic tunes. I’m happy to report he brought that energy and more to this performance and treated the crowd of devoted fans to almost the entire Non-Believers album, a handful of Portastatic tunes, and several unaccompanied Superchunk tunes (including my favorite, “Detroit has a Skyline”) before being rejoined by the band and paying tribute to San Francisco with an Avengers cover, and another presumed punk cover this aging music nerd couldn’t identify. —Ben Russo
Pablo Moses at Ashkenaz (Berk) Sept. 18.
Thank Jah for Ashkenaz. With the untimely death of Oakland’s Oasis, there are precious few venues that deliver the reggae music. The big dance floor and gorgeous barn ceilings helped Pablo Moses transport the room to Jamaica. The ice cold Red Stripe beer didn’t hurt. The show was a perfect mix of classic roots reggae from a master that has been doing it since 1975. October 17th Ashkenaz hosts a Peter Tosh Birthday Celebration. Do it. —MBL
Empire of The Sun at The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (SF) Sept. 19.
Empire of the Sun know how to put on a show. There were some 8,000 costumed and beautiful people at The Civic to witness the extravaganza that is Empire of the Sun. No laptop rock at this show. There were guitars and drums aplenty, along with at least a dozen costume changes for the four synchronized dancers that performed throughout the highly danceable set. —Paige Parsons
Alexa Dexa and The Total Bettys at The Sugar Bowl (Oak) Sept. 20.
The Sugar Bowl is a house venue like no other, and this may be because it’s a DIY space run by women. It’s small, covered in colorful art that fight the ideals of what it means to be a female artist, and always is a safe space for all that enter. The Total Bettys and Alexa Dexa are two bands that personify what The Sugar Bowl is trying to do: they were women led, creative, emotionally real, colorful, and unique. —Erika Delgado
DotheBay’s App Launch Party featuring GRMLN and Jacuzzi Boys at The Swedish American Hall (SF) Sept. 20.
What a frustrating show. As much as I like both bands (and their performances were awesome) — GRMLN’s 90’s, Chapel Hill-influenced guitar rock and the Jacuzzi Boys’ fuzzed-out, super-charged garage rock — I detested the crowd. You apparently get your money’s worth when you go to free shows! Maybe it was the heat of the day. Maybe the crowd had been out day-drinking and was sun-baked. Whatever the case, about 90% of the crowd seemed hell bent on proving they can’t handle their liquor, and spilled or drop drinks only to dance, slip, and fall in them seconds later. Worse still were the “bros” trying to start a pit. Despite the crowd’s efforts to suck, the bands pulled through with great performances. —Ben Russo
Chameleons Vox at The Elbow Room (SF) Sept. 21.
Why do some post-punk 80’s bands still play The Greek, while others such as The Chameleons play the tiny Elbow Room? This question puzzled me all night as I was mesmerized by Mark Burgess’ iconic voice and the timeless haunting guitars that are signature Chameleons. They played their 1983 classic album Script of the Bridge in its entirety, and it was achingly prescient. —Paige Parsons
The Coathangers, Birth Defects, and Dirty Denim at The Rickshaw Stop (SF) Sept. 21.
Fresh off their performance at TBD Fest, Atlanta-based trio The Coathangers transformed the tired and antsy Monday night crowd into a raucous sweaty dance party. I was sad to miss local group Dirty Denim, but second opener Birth Defects (featuring Petey Dammit!, formerly of Thee Oh Sees) solidified the loud party vibe. It turned out to be singer/guitarist Rusty Kid Coathanger’s birthday, and they treated the crowd to a celebration with balloons, silly string, and early deep cuts like “Nestle in my Boobies” from their self-titled record. From playing a game of instrumental musical chairs to chugging a bottle of wine, they took their amazingly brash punk numbers to town and put on a true performance to remember. —Hailey Simpson
The Coathangers, Birth Defects, and Dirty Denim at The Rickshaw Stop (SF) Sept. 21.
Atlanta’s Coathangers have morphed into a powerful force in modern music. All 3 ladies have mastered The Coathanger aesthetic. They are no longer simply a rock band—they are a cult, a movement, the future. Hopefully Birth Defects and Dirty Denim were paying close attention. —MBL