The 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.

Blessed Feathers at The Octopus Literary Salon (Oak) Nov. 18 
Almost three years ago, Jacquelyn Beaupré and Donivan Berube quit their jobs, put their apartment in storage, and traveled the continent with a van and a tent. During their adventures they recorded and released There Will Be No Sad Tomorrow, an album of nimble folk tunes that was well suited for the low-key bookstore/cafe that is Oakland’s Octopus Literary Salon. The duo, with the help of an additional guitarist, was exceptional — deserving every between-song applause with a performance filled with grace and gravity. —Pranav Trewn

Sturgill Simpson and Billy Wayne Davis at The Fox (Oak) Nov. 18
Since gaining notoriety since the release of Turtles All the Way Down last year, he’s been on an upward trajectory with no signs of slowing down. Simpson made it clear from the beginning that he wasn’t in town to fuck around, going at least 30 minutes before even uttering a “thank you” between songs. But it didn’t matter, because he arguably has the best band in the world right now, and still looks (and sounds) like he’s singing for his supper in a shitty bar even now that he’s selling out theaters. There were fast songs, slow songs, extended instrumental jams, plenty of Sturgill singing his ass off, and it was perfect. —Russell Jelinek

We Were Promised Jetpacks, Seoul at Great American Music Hall (SF) Nov. 19
The 8 cumulative members from both groups equaled a grand total of 8 black t-shirts and 8 pairs of jeans. Rock and Roll. The dancey opener Seoul swayed to and fro to tracks off their recent debut including standout “Stay With Us”. The Scottish quartet then took the dark stage and unleashed a powerful and well rounded set of their now 6+ year catalog. Drums were pummeled, guitar strings pushed to their limits, and the war cry of frontman Adam Thompson echoed. Their show of force led me to come to terms that I would easily march into battle to this crew. —Mike Chouinard

Reverend Sekou & the Holy Ghost at The Octopus Literary Salon (Oak) Nov. 20
Reverend Sekou is the real deal. He is an author, documentary filmmaker, public intellectual, organizer, pastor and theologian. He met Oakland bass maestro, Jay Marie Hill, at a protest in Ferguson and helped to wash pepper spray off her face. Together they have created a band set to change the world. Look for the debut recordings later this month! Soulful, funky, joyful goodness, with a mix of protest songs and post-modern spirituals. Don’t miss the chance to catch them live. —MBL

BØRNS, Avid Dancer at The Independent (SF) Nov. 22
Michigander Garrett Borns returned to the Bay Area with two two certified hits to his name in “10,000 Emerald Pools” and “Electric Love.” One song came at the beginning of his 13-song set and the other toward the end. The remaining songs blended into each other and could have been interchangeable, not that the packed crowd (a sell-out) complained. L.A.’s Avid Dancer opened and arguably put on a better, more nuanced performance, having more fun in the process. —Roman Gokhman

Gogol Bordello, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas at The Warfield (SF) Nov. 25
You know you’re getting old when a punk show leaves you bedridden for the next three days, pondering your own mortality and brooding over the frailty of humankind. That being said, all the bumps and bruises sustained during a wild, nonstop moshpit were totally worth it to hear Gogol Bordello’s brand of violin-driven gypsy-punk rock drive a Thanksgiving eve crowd crazy at The Warfield. Opener Jessica Hernandez got the people’s blood pumping and memorably joined the band onstage during a rendition of Nick Cave’s “The Ship Song.” —Nicholas Schneider

Fronds at The Hemlock (SF) Nov. 28
After a 9 month hiatus Fronds returned to the stage and it was well worth the wait! There are a whole slew of great new tunes, and the classics (from the 2013 self-titled debut) sound better than ever. —MBL