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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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* = 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: 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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Mikal Cronin and his saxophone join Cool Ghouls on stage

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Mikal Cronin

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Wish You Were Hear: Giuda in Chicago, 8/23/13

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Giuda, Liar’s Club, Chicago, IL | August 23, 2013

How is it Roctober already??? To celebrate this raucous month, here are some photos from the Giuda show I had the pleasure of attending back in August. C and I were visiting family in Illinois when I learned at the last minute that the Italian glam band (featuring members of Taxi) would be playing in Chicago, roughly two hours from where we were. Knowing that they wouldn’t be in California anytime soon, we cut our trip short and high-tailed it to the Liar’s Club, just in time to catch their sweltering, stomping set. If you missed out on their 2010 debut Racey Roller, it’s been repressed by TKO Records. Even better, their new album Let’s Do It Again comes out on November 16. Don’t stop rockin’!

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Gettin’ Cozy with COZY

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COZY and a few adoring fans

With their debut single “Cola Shock Kids” (HoZac Records) climbing the charts since its release last May, there’s no doubt COZY is the hottest act in popular music today. Starry-eyed fans have been swooning over this swinging sensation, storming their arena shows in a bubblegum-snapping frenzy. Sure, you’ve heard all about them and their skyrocket to success, but just how well do you know them? These 21 probing questions will give you the inside scoop on this captivating quartet from across the pond.

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Left to right: Fabian, Bonkers, Gordie & Baz

21 Questions with COZY

1. When’s your birthday?

Bonkers: 17th August. Besides me, the most famous man born on that day would probably be Richard, Duke of York. I must admit I rather feel a kinship with him, although thankfully I lack his dreadful hunchback!
Baz: Me? I was born on St. Swithin’s Day.
Gordie: 27th September.  The same day as my mate Shaun Cassidy.
Fabian: I was born under the sign of the Ram on 20th April.

2. Where did you go to school?

Bonkers: Cardiff Sixth Form College.
Baz: At the West Sheavesbury Ecumenical Technical Academy.
Gordie: South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy.
Fabian: Bishop Burton Agricultural College.

3. What did you dream about becoming when you were a little boy?

Bonkers: An astronaut. From the time I was small I always dreamed of living amongst the stars.
Baz: I reckon my first passion was to be a juice lorry deliverer, the thought of all that fresh juice and lollies was quite appealing. As I got older I realized that the profession involved driving a juice lorry, and I don’t much like driving, now do I?
Gordie: As a lad I fancied myself scooting about town on a fancy motorbike, delivering parcels and the like. Failing that, an elevator driver.
Fabian: A man.

4. What made you decide to go into music?

Bonkers: I fancied a career where I could express my feelings, put smiles on faces, and see the world.
Baz: A coin toss.
Gordie: Something to talk about whilst chatting up scrummy talent, I suppose.
Fabian: From a young age my favourite pastime has always been banging things. Playing the drums seemed a natural vocational choice.

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5. Are you single?

Bonkers: Believe it or not, at the moment yes! I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for that special someone, though.
Baz: Presently I am.
Gordie: Yes.
Fabian: Despite vicious rumours in the tabloids linking me to Maureen McCormick, I must assure you that I am currently “on the market,” as they say in the States. Maureen and I are just close personal friends!

6. What do you look for in a girl?

Bonkers: A cute smile, a sense of humour, and open-minded parents.
Baz: A nice girl should have clean hands and nicely trimmed cuticles. I find this to be the paramount of grace and poise in a young lady.
Gordie: Availability.
Fabian: A full set of teeth.

7. Is there anything a girl should NOT do on a date with you?

Bonkers: Wear her school uniform in public.
Baz: Fang a U-Banger.
Gordie: Get cheeky.
Fabian: No. Girls should feel free to be themselves around me.

8. What is your favorite color?

Bonkers: Green.
Baz: Having a good time!
Gordie: Blue.
Fabian: Red.

9. What are your hobbies?

Bonkers: Fencing, flying my aeroplane, eating out, and reading fan mail.
Baz: I’ve a passion for sculptures of exotic foods. Just recently I acquired a marble relief of some guavas from a trader in Brixton; it’s quite delightful really.
Gordie: Playing my grand piano alone on my estate.
Fabian: Motoring down the Autobahn in my Lotus Elan 2 + 2, collecting medieval weaponry, and mastering the vexing intricacies of Pong.

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10. What is your favorite food?

Bonkers: Lamb curry, steak and chips, just-ripened peaches.
Baz: A nice purée of banana, fresh duck meat (roasted, not broiled), and fine Polish vodka.
Gordie: Chips ‘n’ brown sauce.
Fabian: A three-way tie between black pudding, parson’s nose, and spotted dick. For dessert, a spool of candyfloss, please!

11. What is your favorite drink?

Bonkers: Cola Shock.
Baz: A nice purée of banana, fresh duck meat (roasted, not broiled), and fine Polish vodka.
Gordie: Fizzy drinks, preferably cherry flavored.
Fabian: Patriarch Père et Fils, 1966.

12. Who are your favorite recording artists?

Bonkers: ABBA, Neil Diamond, and Kiki Dee.
Baz: Chuck Berry and Tiny Tim.
Gordie: Wings, ELO, Johnny Kidd.
Fabian: The Wombles, Billy Joel, and Focus.

13. What is your favorite country to visit on tour?

Bonkers: Japan. I enjoy the food, culture, and nightlife. Most of all I love the fans!
Baz: Austria is quite nice, what with the barrier reef and all those quaint convicts and such.
Gordie: England!
Fabian: I find Jamaica and the Netherlands to be two of the more civilized and tolerant countries on Earth.

14. What was your most embarrassing moment?

Bonkers: Once in the middle of a gig, a half-naked bird ran up on stage and planted a right sloppy one on me. She just so happened to be the daughter of the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, which made for an awkward moment indeed when he presented me with The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire the next day.
Baz: Have you ever dreamed of being in class at school with no clothes on?  Well, it happened to me FOR REAL!  The worst part is that the instructors let me carry on for six weeks before informing me that I should arrive for class clothed.  I still harbour a natural distaste for the institution of trousers.
Gordie: Caught the leg of my 517s on a nail once…tore ’em clean off.  Normally this wouldn’t be an issue but on stage at Wembley, in front of 10,000 screaming fans?  Played the whole gig half starkers!  But the show must go on, as they say in the biz.
Fabian: When I was a wee lad of four, my mother, father, and I were at a public pool. We were just leaving and my father was grabbing our swimming costumes. My mum suggested–as a joke–that I go in the changing room and smack his naked bum. Being a good filial son, I dashed inside and gave the hardest slap I could manage to his prone behind. I began laughing in a peal of delight until he turned around and I realized the man I slapped wasn’t my father! I was quite embarrassed!

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15. If you had a chance to switch places with someone else in the group, who would it be?

Bonkers: I’m rather content being myself.
Baz: Bonkers.
Gordie: Bonkers.
Fabian: Bonkers.

16. What are your turn-ons?

Bonkers: Honesty, intellectual curiosity, and a positive attitude.
Baz: Ducks in flight, dogs in a fight, night lights, and sculptures of exotic foods.
Gordie: 517s.
Fabian: Blondes, brunettes, and redheads.

17. What are your turn-offs?

Bonkers: Nagging girls and people who let success get to their heads.
Baz: Wrinkled clothing and gout.
Gordie: 501s.
Fabian: Snobs, vacuum cleaners, and untidiness.

18. What is one fact that nobody knows about you?

Bonkers: I quite fancy watching The Wide World of Sports. I love to see people alive and doing things!
Baz: Where’s Rita?
Gordie: I pinched a packet of biscuits once!
Fabian: My shoe size.

19. How do you suggest parents cope with kids who are suffering from COZY MANIA?

Bonkers: Keep them well supplied with COZY records and merchandise lest they up and run away from home.
Baz: I find a milkshake followed by a trip to the sauna and a mild birch wand whipping a more refined method of relaxation than most. I also propose more COZY-themed boarding schools.
Gordie: Instead of idling in the car park during the next local COZY concert, perhaps they purchase a ticket and seeing what all the fuss is about?
Fabian: Don’t fight it. What’s wrong with a little COZY mania now and again?

20. What are your ambitions for the future?

Bonkers: After my time in music winds down, I’d love to transition to a career on the silver screen. To tell the truth, I’ve already had numerous offers to act in major motion pictures alongside Hollywood’s brightest stars. Alas, my busy touring schedule doesn’t permit me to take time off for non-COZY-related films. My dream is to star in a rock opera remake of Spartacus titled I Am Bonkicus. Pete Townshend has already contacted me about writing the score, but I would like to try my hand at it first. A knighting from the Queen would also be nice. “Sir Bonkers” does have a smashing ring to it, doesn’t it?
Baz: To Fang a U-Banger.
Gordie: A second world tour, composing more original material, and purchasing a Rolls-Royce–you never know when one could come in handy.
Fabian: To go to heaven.

21. Do you have a message for your fans?

Bonkers: Thank you for making it possible for us to do what we do. Remember that with a dream in your heart anything is possible. I’m living proof!
Baz: Have a good time!
Gordie: Thank you and good night.
Fabian: No comment.

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Inside a Sick, Sick Dream

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July 4th fireworks, Marin County Fair | Olympus PEN E-P2, 25mm, 1/25, f1.4, ISO 400

You may have noticed that I’ve been obsessing over the Jesus & Mary Chain these past few posts. Hopefully making the following video will get the mania out of my system.

As I mentioned in “Tripping Up with the Jesus & Mary Chain,” I shot video in addition to photos at their recent San Francisco show, but it was a challenge capturing a full song since all I wanted to do was thrash about wildly and bellow at the tops of my lungs. I managed to get their first encore song, “Hardest Walk,” in its entirety, including the bit where Jim Reid first introduced the song as “Never Understand” and then later told John Moore to “shut up for a second” as William fiddled with his chords. At that point the audience was in full swing and I couldn’t contain my own enthusiasm (that’s likely me singing, screaming, and shrieking in the background) so it’s pretty shaky.

Using a long lens amplified each crowd bump and my terrible panning attempts, so I tried to offset their vomit-inducing effects with stills from the show as well as firework and Ferris wheel footage from the Marin County Fair, shot using the same camera/lens combo (Olympus PEN E-P2, 24mm f1.4 CCTV lens). But, to be safe, you might want to skip this if you’re prone to migraines, motion sickness, or epilepsy. I also omitted the fumbling preamble for brevity’s sake.

I can’t promise I won’t blog about the Mary Chain anymore, but I think I’ll be good for a while. Thanks for indulging me!

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July 4th fireworks, Marin County Fair | Olympus PEN E-P2, 25mm, 1/25, f1.4, ISO 400

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Totally Trashed

The Anomalys

Back in August, San Francisco’s Total Trash put on a four-night garage punk extravaganza featuring the likes of Nobunny, Gentleman Jesse & His Men, the Anomalys, and the Okmoniks. I finally posted my photos from the last three nights here…just in time for the upcoming BURGER BOOGALOO, a collaboration between Total Trash and Burger Records that takes place March 25-26. Better start getting my beauty rest!

FRI MARCH 25 – Thee Parkside (1600 17th Street) 9pm, 21+, $10
KING TUFF
PERSONAL and the PIZZAS
The Rantouls
Wrong Words
King Lollipop

Personal & the Pizzas

FRI MARCH 25 – El Rincon (2700 16th Street) 8pm, 21+, $10
STRANGE BOYS
TY SEGALL
Natural Child
Moonhearts
Cosmonauts
Nick Waterhouse

Moonhearts

SAT MARCH 26 – Thee Parkside (1600 17th Street) 2PM DAY SHOW, ALL AGES, $10
TRADITIONAL FOOLS
AUDACITY
Culture Kids
Underground Railroad to Candyland
Skumby and the Disneydads
The Shrouds

SAT MARCH 26 – Thee Parkside (1600 17th Street) 9PM NIGHT SHOW, 21+, $10
DAVILLA 666
MEAN JEANS
The Biters
The Booze

Mean Jeans

Sun March 27- Thee Parkside (1600 17th Street) 9pm, ALL AGES, $10
NOBUNNY
APACHE
Wild Thing
Midnite Snaxxx
Egg Tooth (featuring Shannon Shaw of Shannon and the Clams)

Nobunny

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