Category Archives: wish you were hear

Wish You Were Hear: Uncool Fest 2016, Day 2

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SWMRS at Uncool Fest, Day 2 | 924 Gilman Street

In the early ’90s, when I was between the ages of 17 and 21, you could find me most weekends at 924 Gilman Street, an all-ages, non-profit, volunteer-run club in Berkeley that’s perhaps best known as the stomping ground of bands such as Green Day, Rancid, and AFI. It didn’t really matter who was playing—there was always at least one band on the five-band bill that turned out to be worth seeing. Sometimes a show even garnered national attention (e.g., the Insaints’ X-rated antics, the time Jello Biafra was assaulted by crusty punks).

My trips to Gilman grew increasingly infrequent with each passing year, even after Pyramid Brewery opened across the street and offered an alternative to Gilman’s functional but dank restrooms, sugar-laden snacks, questionable couches, and floor seating. (Pyramid closed last year.)  I can’t remember the last time I watched all the bands…until last weekend’s two-day Uncool Fest.

So C and I are making a rock ‘n’ roll travel video series, the first of which focuses on the East Bay, and needed Gilman footage for it. Since I pretty much don’t know any of the local bands playing there these days, I was pleased to recognize a couple playing the second day: headliners SWMRS and opener Jakob Danger. Mind-bogglingly, both bands have the distinction of featuring the sons of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. How crazy is that?

Even crazier was the number of parents pressed up against the walls at the back of the room, no doubt wishing there was somewhere to sit or get a snack. Or maybe I’m just projecting.

But I digress. I arrived shortly before (who I thought would be) Jakob Danger kicked off the show and joined the gaggle of girls parked at the front of the stage. They were dedicated SWMRS fans, judging by their branded shirts and phone cases. Was this similar to what it feels like to attend a Justin Bieber concert? I’m sure I’ll never know.

In any case, the first band turned out to be Berkeley’s Mom Jeans. Jakob Danger had been moved to a middle slot, which is how I ended up staying for all six bands. Although, honestly, what would I have done between the first and last bandsshop for groceries at Whole Foods down the block?

All the bands, including San Francisco’s Dinosaurs and SoCal’s Melted and No Parents, were awesome and compelled sweaty, fervent pit action. The No Stagediving sign went unheeded. A giant dinosaur balloon bounced around the room during Dinosaurs’ set.

Throughout the night, the heaving crush of adolescent energy around the stage transported me back to my first few years at Gilman. In addition, I was headbutted in the face at one point and kicked in the head by a wayward foot at another, adding a corporeal element to my nostalgia. No wonder I didn’t take many photos back then! I was too busy thrashing around and surviving flying bodies and limbs to fiddle with a film camera. Oh well. I’ve since learned how to multitask a little better. Here’s a glimpse of the action, as well as my KALX playlist from 20 years ago.

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Mom Jeans

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Dinosaurs

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Dinosaurs

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Dinosaurs

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Dinosaurs

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Dinosaurs

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Melted

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Melted

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Jakob Danger

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Jakob Danger

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Jakob Danger

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No Parents

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No Parents

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No Parents

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No Parents

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No Parents

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SWMRS

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SWMRS

* = feature play
$ = request

2/16/96: FRIDAY 12:30-3pm

* PUBLIC DISTURBANCE – S&M
* THE HUMPERS – Apocalypse Girl
ZERO BOYS – Johnny Better Get
THE CONTROLLERS – Do the Uganda
* BIORITMO – Asia Minor

* THE VANDALS – Wannabe Manor
*$ VOODOO GLOWSKULLS – Thrift Shop Junkie
* THE CADAVERS – Bad Kid
S.H.A.K.E. – Invasion of the Gamma Men
* GAMMA MEN – Police Car

NANCY SINATRA – Sugar Town
* FIFI & THE MACH III – Heaven Only Knows
THE SAINTS – Lipstick on Your Collar
STAN GETZ – Girl from Ipanema
THE POMPOMS – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

COMMANDER CODY & HIS LOST PLANET AIRMEN – Hot Rod Lincoln
* CIGAR STORE INDIANS – Hot Rod Concerto
BILLY THE KID EMERSON – Move Baby Move
$ ELVIN BISHOP – Beer Drinking Woman
SCREAMIN’ JAY HAWKINS – I Am the Cool

TROTSKY ICEPICK/VENA CAVA – I’m Stranded
* BOUNCING SOULS – All of This & Nothing
* AFI –  Advance in Modern Technology
* THE MOTARDS – Johnny Tremaine
* THE SWINGIN’ UTTERS – The Dirty Sea

THE BUSINESS – Get Out While You Can
THE LURKERS – Wolf at the Door
$ X-RAY SPEX – Oh Bondage Up Yours!
$ LINK WRAY & THE RAY MEN – Rumble
* JOHNNY LYON – Bark Like a Dog

THE TAMMYS – Egyptian Shumba
DAVID SEVILLE – Witchdoctor
THE NAILS – 88 Lines about 44 Women
THE ANGELS – My Boyfriend’s Back
$ SANDIE SHAW – How Can You Tell

THE ADVERTS – Safety in Numbers
THE CLASH – Jail Guitar Doors
SHAM 69 – Tell Us the Truth

$ NAKED RAYGUN – Gear
* VAST MAJORITY – I Wanna Be a Number
* JACK O’ FIRE – Run Run Run
$ THE MAKERS – Dos & Don’ts of Lying

* LOUIS ARMSTRONG – Black & Blue
BILLIE HOLIDAY – Travelin’ Light
* THE TIKITONES – Rusty Nail
* THE BOMBORAS – Slinky

DAVID BOWIE – Heroes

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Wish You Were Hear: Toy Dolls in San Francisco

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Toy Dolls, 14 April 14 | Regency Ballroom, San Francisco

The first time I saw the Toy Dolls was in May 1997, when they blazed through San Francisco on their One More Mega-Tour. They returned in 1998 so, up until last night’s show at the Regency Ballroom, their last San Francisco show was 16 ago!

Olga and the Toy Dolls may have been playing since 1979, but their performance is as energetic and electrifying as ever. Olga hasn’t slowed down one whit on guitar and missed nary a note as he bounded and skipped across the stage with bassist Tommy Goober. With the entire room pogoing and singing along in appreciation, Olga, Tommy, and the Amazing Duncan cranked out classics like “Spiders in the Dressing Room,” “Olga…I Cannot,” “Nellie the Elephant,” “Glenda and the Test Tube Baby,” Bach’s “Toccata in D Minor,” “Dig That Groove Baby,” and “Idle Gossip.” At one point, Olga brought out an enormous bottle of Lambrusco, which he aimed at the audience and showered with confetti (cue “The Lambrusco Kid”).

After three encores and just as many wardrobe changes, the Toy Dolls ended the night with “She Goes to Finos” (or so I think! My short-term memory is on the fritz. Please correct me if I’m wrong!). So much fun! Here are some of my favorite moments, captured with two cameras: a Canon 5D Mark III and an Olympus PEN E-P2.

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Wish You Were Hear: Bad Sports in Oakland

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Bad Sports, 2 April 14 | Eli’s, Oakland, CA

When I was doing my zine My Letter to the World in the ’90s, I had a penpal/zine contributor named Tim who lived in Fort Worth, TX. He frequently bemoaned the lack of a punk scene there, which shaped my perception that Texas (Austin aside) was a musical wasteland. A few years later, the Reds emerged from Denton, a 40-minute drive from Fort Worth. (A few of the Reds would later form the Marked Men.) Since then, it seems like Denton has been cultivating a bounty of energetic punk bands.

Bad Sports are a Denton trio who’ve been around since 2007. Despite having seen the members’ other bands (Wax Museums, OBN III’s, Video) over the years, I hadn’t witnessed them live until last week, during their current West Coast tour supporting their latest release Bras on Dirtnap Records. They played in both San Francisco (the Knockout) and Oakland (Eli’s), and after seeing their snappy set in Oakland, I really regret not going to their Knockout show, too. At least I have some photos with which to remember that night!

Check them out if they hit a town near you. They’re in Denver tonight at Lion’s Lair and have a few more dates this week:
Thurs 4/10 Tulsa – Yeti
Fri 4/11 Oklahoma City – VDZ’s
Sat 4/12 Dallas – Double Wide

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Bad Sports, 2 April 14 | Eli’s, Oakland, CA

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Bad Sports, 2 April 14 | Eli’s, Oakland, CA

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Bad Sports, 2 April 14 | Eli’s, Oakland, CA

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Bad Sports, 2 April 14 | Eli’s, Oakland, CA

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Bad Sports, 2 April 14 | Eli’s, Oakland, CA

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Bad Sports, 2 April 14 | Eli’s, Oakland, CA

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Wish You Were Hear: Crowdsurfing with the Black Lips & Coathangers

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

Last week the Black Lips returned to San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall with fellow Atlantans the Coathangers to promote Underneath the Rainbow, their latest release on Vice Records. (Incidentally, the Coathangers have their own new album out as well. It’s called Suck My Shirt on Suicide Squeeze.) It’s been three years since their last full-length Arabia Mountain came out and a few years since I’ve seen them live, so it was nice to see what garage punk’s bad boys have been up to.

The Black Lips are known for boisterous shows often splattered with booze, saliva, phlegm, urine, and blood. Having shot them at least half a dozen times in the past eight years (a couple of them at this very venue) and enduring countless kicks to the head, punches to the face, and haphazard crushing of my internal organs, I felt no special urgency to make my way to the front of the stage this time to witness their antics up close and personal. In fact, I didn’t plan to take any photos at all but, once they jumped on stage, I couldn’t not whip out my camera. The Black Lips are as dynamic and photogenic as ever, and I was pleased to see that Cole has perfected his ability to release and catch his own loogies from a variety of positions, without missing a note. They also added Zumi to saxophone and other assorted instruments to round out their sound.

From the side of the stage, it was fascinating to watch the seemingly endless procession of stagedivers and the reactions of those poor souls caught unawares by dirty Converses to the face. Were there always this many at a Black Lips show? And how does their jangly rock ‘n’ roll compel someone to jump headfirst into a crowd of strangers? But then I remembered: I did my share of stagediving and crowdsurfing when I first started going to shows as a teenager, regardless of the kind of music being played. In addition to being a rush, it was a way to physically connect with the music. On some occasions, it was the only escape out of the center of the pit in a very large arena.

For the encore, both Jared and Cole took turns surfing the crowd, and I’m sure the folks who were underneath and near them will remember those moments for the rest of their lives. On the off-chance they got a concussion and have very vague recollections of the night, they can turn to the following photos for proof.

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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The Coathangers, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

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Black Lips, 24 Mar 14 | Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

 

 

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Wish You Were Hear: Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, Wax Idols & Dancer at Slim’s

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Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

Kid Congo Powers has been cranking out the devil’s music since the late 1970s, when he first joined the Gun Club. He has since slung his axe with the Cramps and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, among others. Last week he stopped in San Francisco with the Pink Monkey Birds in support of their new album Haunted Head (In the Red Records). With guitarist Mark Cisneros and drummer Ron Miller, Kid Congo blew through a slew of swampy garage punk tracks from Haunted Head and also treated the crowd to several Gun Club songs, including “She’s like Heroin to Me,” “Jack on Fire,” and “For the Love of Ivy.” Kid Congo’s a seasoned performer and a real treat to finally behold in person.

One audience member, who apparently had come specifically because of Kid Congo’s involvement with the Gun Club, magically appeared at the front of the stage at the start of every Gun Club song. He stayed up front for the duration of the song–pumping his fists, whipping his long blond hair, shaking his beer, attempting to mosh with anyone within reach–before quietly disappearing to the back when the song ended. In hindsight I should’ve taken photos of him but oh well! At least I got photos of Dancer and Wax Idols, who opened the show. I arrived during Dancer’s last song, alas, but caught Wax Idols’ entire Siouxsie & the Bansheesinspired set. Here’s how the night went down.

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Dancer, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Wax Idols, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Wax Idols, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Wax Idols, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Wax Idols, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Wax Idols, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Wax Idols, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, 11 Feb 14 | Slim’s, San Francisco

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Wish You Were Hear: Cheap Time in Oakland, 2/3/14

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Cheap Time, 3 Feb 2014 | Eli’s, Oakland, CA

Nashville’s Cheap Time are currently on tour, promoting their newest album Exit Smiles on In the Red Records. I caught them at Eli’s when they hit the Bay Area last week, at what was apparently their first show in Oakland in five years. If I recall correctly, 2009 was the year they were scheduled to play live on my radio show but had to cancel when their stuff was stolen the night before outside a pizza joint in Sacramento. Luckily, they’ve encountered no such mishaps on their tour thus far and I was finally able to check out their new bass player Jessica. I’ve seen at least three different bassists pass through the band and, I have to say, this is their best line-up yet. Jeffrey (guitar, vocals) and Ryan (drums) cranked out song after song like well-oiled machines, seamlessly segueing from one to the next, and Jessica kept up without a hitch. She was a pro at trading snarls with Jeffrey, tooawesome! Here are some shots from the show.

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FYI, they’re on tour through February.

2/11/2014 Fargo, ND Aquarium
2/12/2014 Minneapolis, MN 7th Street Entry
2/13/2014 Madison, WI Frequency
2/14/2014 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
2/15/2014 Detroit, MI Lager House
2/16/2014 Cleveland, OH Happy Dogs
2/17/2014 Cincinnati, OH MOTR Pub
2/18/2014 Buffalo, NY Waiting Room
2/19/2014 New Haven, CT BAR
2/20/2014 Boston, MA Church of Boston
2/21/2014 Long Branch, NJ Brighton Bar
2/22/2014 Brooklyn, NY Union Pool
2/23/2014 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
2/24/2014. Philadelphia, PA. Nachohouse
2/25/2014 Baltimore, MD Metro Gallery
2/26/2014 Washington, DC DC 9
2/27/2014 Durham, NC The Pinhook
2/28/2014 Charlotte, NC Snug Harbor
3/1/2014 Asheville, NC The Moth Light

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Wish You Were Hear: Mikal Cronin, Cool Ghouls & Cocktails at the Rickshaw Stop

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Mikal Cronin, 8 Jan 14 | Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco

One of my new year’s resolutions is to post show photos within a week of taking them. So let’s start with the stellar sold-out Mikal Cronin, Cool Ghouls, and Cocktails show I saw last night at the Rickshaw Stop. Dan Strachota, Rickshaw Stop’s talent buyer, turned me on to Cocktails’ power popinspired 7″ on Father/Daughter Records earlier last year and they’ve since become one of my favorite newish local bands. Coincidentally, so are Cool Ghouls. For whatever reason, though, despite both bands playing fairly regularly around town I’d never seen them live…until last night. Thanks to Dan for booking both of them to play one of the Rickshaw Stop’s 10th-anniversary celebration shows! I might not have been as hysterical as the time I saw Blur on my birthday during their Leisure tour, but I was excited nonetheless. It was also good to finally see Mikal Cronin rock out sans Moonhearts. Here are some images from the night, as well as a few animated GIFs, including one of Mikal blowing on a saxamaphone during Cool Ghouls’ set.

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Cocktails

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Cocktails

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Cocktails

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Cocktails

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Cocktails

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Cocktails

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Cocktails

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Cocktails

Cocktails

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Cool Ghouls

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Cool Ghouls

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Cool Ghouls

Cool Ghouls

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Cool Ghouls

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Cool Ghouls

Mikal Cronin and his saxophone join Cool Ghouls on stage

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Mikal Cronin

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Mikal Cronin

Mikal Cronin

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Mikal Cronin

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Mikal Cronin

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Mikal Cronin

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Mikal Cronin

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Mikal Cronin

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Mikal Cronin

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