Friday, December 30

Shows of the Year SF

Rx Bandits Farewell Show @ The Regency Ballroom

Farewell shows are tough. Of course everyone's psyched to be a part of the band's last hurrah before they call it quits, but the indefinite mood shift towards the final song is never easy to digest. That is, unless the band happens to be Long Beach shred savants Rx Bandits. Where is there room to feel sad when four strapping men tear away at their instruments to produce political ska gone alternative gone jam band with a touch of prog rock? Hecklers found time in between songs to say their goodbyes and the band got noticeably morose, but as Matthew Embree concluded, "What can you do except play on?"

Sleigh Bells/ Neon Indian @ The Independent
Starting the night off on a low key, Neon Indian dazed the crowd with their bedroom pop and left everyone just wanting to dance. Too bad since once Sleigh Bells took the floor they had remind everyone that this was a rock show.  Their set started with Black Sabbath and encapsulated everything from Treats, it's safe to say that there was a lot of head banging that night. Testing the amount of distortion that could possibly come out of 4 stacks of Marshall Amps, Derek Miller left everyone's ears buzzing for days.        

Cut Copy/ Holy Ghost @ The Regency Ballroom
Leave it to Cut Copy to turn a night that started out as a 9 into a 15 . Openers Holy Ghost proved that their sexy time new wave sound could not only iterate into an entertaining show, but also leave a crowd wanting me. Wanting to show that their sound isn't stuck in the '80s, they even pulled out their ole' trusty iPad to play a synth loop. Niftey!
But enough of the openers, when Cut Copy took the floor they were ready to command the stage. And command they did. With the help of a glowing door and the most satisfying version of "Saturday" I've ever heard, they made you dance like it was your first time.

Outside Lands
I've seen people try to work a loop machine. Merril Garbus worked the loop machine like she invented it. A still body was seldom found among the pools of swaying, jumping and interpretive dancing that ensued as Garbus called out with lyrics beckoning for togetherness and wanting to be a "gangsta."


In case readers weren't aware, the bloggers at Beach Sounds love Beirut. So we missed them the last time they were in the city (damn you work!). We were thankfully able to watch them at this year's Outside Lands, and were pleasantly delighted with their performance as well as song choices. From heart wrenching favorites like "Postcards From Italy" to surprising additions like "The Concubine" and the solo encore performance with "The Penalty," Condon and crew know how to keep their fans dreamily happy with warm vocals and harmonizing horns.

Erykah Badu
Wherever Erykah goes, her A game is sure to follow. This time it was closing the Sutro stage in Golden Gate park. Showing up more than 30 minutes late (thanks to Big Boi's catastrophe), Erykah played a set that proved just how talented and relevant she still is. Delving heavily into Baduizm, her 1997 debut, Erykah satisfied everyone's inner soul diva that night. But Misses "Afro Girl of the Digital World" was just half the story, it was her backing band, The Cannabinoids, that demanded to be heard. Their on key, neo-jazz, sucka-free sound definitely enabled more than a few smoke clouds that night.

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