(illustration: Cassidy Miller)
In this recurring feature known as The Bay Abridged, our staff writers 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 the Bay Area concert scene.
The Redlight District, Bobcat Rob Armenti at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall (Felton) Aug. 17.
On Wednesday the 17th, Santa Cruz’s favorite psychedelic hard rock and roll quartet The Redlight District kicked off a 4-gig mini-tour in Felton at Don Quixote’s. The boys took the opportunity to connect with their energetic and loyal fan base, some of whom were prepping to make the drive on Sunday for their Whisky A Go-Go slot in Hollywood. The highlight of the show, in addition to being the unofficial send-off to SoCal, was the debut of drummer Keoki Thompson’s new drum head, personalized with The Redlight District’s swirly signature logo. Look for them in September for their debut at SF’s Amnesia. Bobcat Rob Armenti took the opening slot as a warm up befor taking their nitty-gritty and loose vein of Americana folk-blues on an upcoming tour of the PNW. —Joshua Huver
Coathangers, Death Valley Girls, LA Witch, Dirty Ghosts at The Independent (SF) Aug. 19.
Four bands, almost 100% women, made for one ass-kicker of a night. The Coathangers rule. Accept no substitute. In the modern world of rock and roll women there is little competition at their supreme level. Not too far from the top, NOTS are coming to Thee Parkside as part of a killer little festival called Stinky’s al Fresco on September 24-25. No, really, look it up. The Gories will be there! and Audacity! Perhaps the best part of the night was getting to hang with Bay Bridged writer, KALX DJ and all around great person Hailey Simpson just days before she moved back to SoCal. Thanks for your tireless work on the Bay Area music scene. Keep rocking. —MBL
Swoon, Teenage Chain, Oblio, Hits at The Octopus Literary Salon (OAK) Aug. 26.
The long awaited debut show for Swoon beat all expectations. The band: Stephen Ray Taylor, Chani Hawthorne, Cameron Gordon MacKenzie and Yung Machete merged together perfectly bringing bits from all the other great bands they have played in (Puzzled, K^ren, Cruel Summer, Babies…). Teenage Chain sound like they enjoyed Opal more than Mazzy Star and despite the guitar guy/drum gal they thankfully have nothing else in common with The White Stripes. Oblio have been making great music for more than 3 years and it is time they got some recognition. Tight jams. Sam Prekop should be proud. —MBL
Audacity, Meat Market, OVVN at Eli’s Mile High (OAK) Aug. 27.
Holy fucking shit — Eli’s is back!!! This is the most impressive and promising reopening in its long, fabled history. The place looks damn good. The beer list is huge, the patio even bigger & tons of treasured blues artifacts have been given their long-awaited and well-deserved TLC. The bands? Oh yeah, they were great too. —MBL
El Duo at The Octopus Literary Salon (OAK) Aug. 27.
On this night El Duo were actually a trio. All three members have deep connections to Sun Hop Fat — the Bay Area’s only band brave enough to take on the Ethiopiques collection of mind-melting psychedelia from 1960s/70s Ethiopia. The French Buda label starting churning out this insane material in 1997 and it was all I listened to for a solid three years. Fast forward to last Friday, El Duo brought out a few beautifully stripped down Ethiopiques tunes but also played much of their brand new recordings — The El Key. Ethiopia lives on in these recordings via some very impressive drum & keyboard wizardry but there is a fresh, modern twist that would fit into any movie soundtrack, dance party or orgy. Their album release party is Saturday October 15 at The Octopus. Cancel all your plans. —MBL