An Orange & Black Advantage

This show was on my calendar long before the particulars of the World Series schedule had been settled. So it just magically slotted itself on the night when I needed it most. Between Sunday’s game five and tonight’s game six. On a Monday when I couldn’t do anything but clench my fists in anticipation, still riding the wave of euphoria from Bumgarner’s legendary performance and distracted by the promise of a clinching win at Kauffmann. I was energized from the minute I woke up. And The Rural Alberta Advantage are all about channeling energy. The show was Bumgarner-esque.

Amy Cole felt the band’s electricity align with the orange & black voltage surging through the City. “One more win, right? The fucking World Series? Do you know how long it’s been since the [Blue] Jays have even been in a World Series?”

Quick answer: twenty-one years. Fun answer: not as long ago as The Dodgers.
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Kansas City Here We Come

JD and BC are on their way to KC right now, one via SFO and the other outta OAK.* Only one of the two is actually going to the games, but I’m pretty happy for both of them nonetheless. BC has been prepping his BBQ safari for weeks.

Yeah, it’s been a cute story, Royals. And under any other circumstance I might be cheering you guys on this October. But I’m making room on my championship wall display this week… a spot labeled 2014.

I know quite a few folks who weren’t crazy about The Giants’ “Together” marketing campaign this season. But I have to say… I’m feeling it. Kansas City, here I come too.
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Treasure Island 2014

And that’s a wrap. Festival season, over.

Asgeir in the open air.
Asgeir in the open air.

I didn’t attend half of the events I would’ve liked to this summer, and I still shambled onto Treasure Island with a severe case of Festival Fatigue. It’s a shame, too, because this has always been my favorite place to spend time outdoors with music, food, and friends. The vibe is great, the views are incredible, and the lineups have typically been a great mix of established acts and exciting up-and-comers. This year was no exception, and even though I only went one day, I wish I had been able to muster up just a little more energy and enthusiasm. Oh look. I just got old. There were bands that I had seen before and was happy to hear again, like Bleached, TV On The Radio, and The New Pornographers. There were bands that I liked more after seeing them live for the first time, like Polica and Washed Out; and bands that I liked a little less after their performance, like The Growlers. My first exposure to Asgeir was positive. My initial reaction to alt-j was lukewarm. Continue reading Treasure Island 2014

Violent Femmes and Biographical Musical Milestones

One of these days, I’m going to reorganize my records.

No fucking way.

And for all my buzz-band, new-music fervor, sometimes the most meaningful live performances are the ones that help reorganize our memories.

In the present: it’s 2014, and the overworked Fillmore security staff is squeezing through bodies all over the main floor with tiny flashlights. No video, no photography. Put your camera away, please. Not sure if this was by the band’s request, or just a new Fillmore policy. Either way, it was refreshing. I saw Gordon Gano et al soar through their entire debut LP, start to finish, without having to look through the shiny picture screens of everyone standing in front of me.
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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014

HSB, Warren Hellman’s gift to the City, is not just one of the best things San Francisco has to offer, but one of the best musical celebrations experienced anywhere.

Yes, I’ve referred to it as a career fair for transients. And still, in this fourteenth edition of the completely free festival, the Upper Haight panhandle crew seems to relish the opportunity to recruit more nouveau hobos. The environs speak for themselves. Music, weed, and wagging tails all over Golden Gate Park. And on this first weekend in October (what I hope ends up being the hottest few days of the year) Hellman Hollow, Marx Meadow, and every other little patch of grass along JFK, seemed instilled with with a little more magic. A little more charm. A lot more b.o. Continue reading Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2014