Bay Area Beats for June 30 - July 4
Above: "You Better Ask Yourself" by Femi Kuti
Whether you're into space-themed rock 'n' roll, Nigerian Afrobeat, or folk-rockers who look like they also pan for gold, you'll be happy with this week's musical lineups around the Bay Area. Here are your live picks for the week…
Out of Towners
The Portland-based band BLITZEN TRAPPER plays the Fillmore on Wednesday in support of their latest album Destroyer of the Void. The often bearded and long-haired 6-piece band rectifies psychedelic and folk rock of the 60s and 70s with well crafted and dark lyrics. Expect to hear a mixture of loud and rocking tunes reminiscent of the band Yes as well as softer acoustic and piano compositions. Whatever the volume, their compelling and eerie storytelling is apparent throughout. Tickets are $20 ($29 with online service charge).
If sci-fi punk-rock new-wave rockabilly music sounds unimaginable, then you should probably just see the PHENOMENAUTS for yourself. The genre-defying Oakland band has gained significant recognition for their wild and enthusiastic live shows. Dressed in space outfits and armed with various homemade gadgets (such as the crowd-pleasing toilet paper gun), the Phenomenauts play rock 'n' roll with an intergalactic message. Hoverboard over to X Sports Bar + Music Lounge inside Homestead Lanes in Cupertino on Saturday and you'll be reminded that Earth is the best planet. Tickets are $8.
It's been years since I attended a proper metal show, and I'll admit, I have not had much interest in resuming that practice. When I heard about an East Bay metal band that has no electric guitars, however, my curiosity was piqued. Eight years ago brothers Anton and Lewis Patzner started playing metal on the streets of Berkeley with their cello and violin and the group JUDGEMENT DAY was born. The Patzners amplified their instruments, added a drummer, and started to grow a fan base. The band was put on hold for a few years as Anton went east to complete a performance degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and Lewis began touring with folk group Bright Eyes. Once the brothers returned to the Bay Area, though, they were ready to start shredding. Fans of the experimental group Hella or metal fans who want to hear something a bit different, should check them out at the Uptown in Oakland on Friday. All Judgement Day shows in July are free!
The eccentric and body-shaking music continues throughout the Bay this week with a visit from Nigerian Afrobeat star FEMI KUTI. The oldest son of the late Fela Kuti - considered the father of Afrobeat - plays saxophone, trumpet, keyboards, and sings as he and his band pioneer new directions for the genre. Afrobeat - which originally combined elements of American jazz and funk with African rhythms and percussion - is often performed with a large band featuring a myriad of horns, drummers, vocalists, and for live shows: dancers. Femi's stop at the Fillmore in San Francisco on Saturday should be no exception.
Femi was a member of his father's band (and his own son nows plays in his band) before forming his own group and achieving international success himself. In the last decade, Kuti has collaborated with influential American hip-hop artists such as Mos Def and Common. Kuti's long and upbeat songs often highlight the social and political injustices in Africa and around the globe. But no matter the topic at hand, once you hear the saxophones burst into the melody, you can't help but move your hips. Tickets are $35 ($47 with online service charge).
Band with the Best Name Playing This Week
TITANIUM SPORKESTRA is the best band name for this week. What do they sound like? I haven't a clue, but I hope they have sporks at their show. They play Friday at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco.
Do you know of a great band playing in the area? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.