The Seshen at Hangar, by Robert Alleyne
The Seshen (photo: Robert Alleyne)

I moved from San Francisco back to London early in 2018, and in some ways I thought I’d left the Bay Area music scene behind. Then the summer happened, and it felt like week after week musicians from the Northern California (or with Bay Area connections) were visiting. Jay Som packed out Oslo in Hackney, and Fantastic Negrito was, well, fantastic in Camden. Caleborate brought the house down in Shoreditch, and on the same night, the Pendletons brought the funk to East London.

Jay Som at Oslo, by Robert Alleyne
Jay Som

Caleborate at Old Blue Last, by Robert Alleyne

As winter closed in, the Seshen, Geographer, and Rituals of Mine toured together the same week Kacey Johansing played a church made infamous by the Beatles. While some of those artists have now left the Bay for Los Angeles, they called Northern California home not too long ago.

Rituals of Mine at Hangar, by Robert Alleyne
Rituals of Mine

Kacey Johansing at St. Pancras Old Church, by Robert Alleyne
Kacey Johansing

And then there were musicians I missed: Madeline Kenney, Duckwrth, Madison McFerrin, and Blackalicious all had shows in London this year. And I am certain there were plenty more that passed me by.

There were also the bands I discovered and fell in love with while in San Francisco. Bands who may not be from the Bay Area, however, whenever I think of them I have fond memories of discovering them at venues in SF, Oakland, or San Jose. There was L.A. Witch, who sold out venues in London twice this year. Khruangbin played the legendary Roundhouse. Baby Shakes started a nonstop dance party at MOTH Club. Smoke Season sizzled at the Ace Hotel. Snoh Aalegra brought all the FEELS to Shepherd’s Bush. The Darts turned up the energy to 10,000 KW in North London, and you shoulda been there to see Sevyn Streeter in  Camden.

L.A. Witch at The Lexington, by Robert Alleyne
L.A. Witch

Sevyn Streeter at Electric Ballroom, by Robert Alleyne
Sevyn Streeter

The Darts at Nambucca, by Robert Alleyne
The Darts

As the year winds down I am already looking forward to the great music the Bay Area showcases in London in 2019. If your band goes on tour and passes through Europe, hit us up so we can keep up with the sounds beyond the Bay!