By J. Tribe
Two words encompassing life’s dictionary, encyclopedia of intangible experience, sensory perception of life’s palpability, of the infinity of selves, oceans of emotions, deserts, jungles, turquoise and the world’s biggest necklace, Cecil B DeMille, Fat Nancy, Georgia Sam, William Zanzinger, highways of diamonds with nobody on them, Jesus in the Garden, Jokerman and The Man in the Long Black Coat, booze, brothels, floods, Acapulco, San Franciscah, Ashtabula, Lenny Bruce, Joey Gallo, yass... Bob Dylan means princes, paupers, peasants, kings, pawned diamond rings—Bob Dylan is infinity gone up on trial, acquitted by God, of everything. And everything, he serenades us, is broken.
Bob Dylan says Woody Guthrie songs teach you how to live; well, my friend, Bob Dylan songs teach you how to express. And in this dance of death we call life, it’s expression that’s savior – our internal voice, the messianic mechanism unknown by names less opaque than Spirit or Soul. Bob Dylan knows that Bob Dylan Knows nothing, that none of us really Know anything. He is the Dragon, the Knight, the Mirror of the Mind where all deals go down. Bob Dylan is here to remind us that only a fool here, would think he has anything to prove. Uncle Bobby, always available to anyone willing or able to accept it… THAT IT IS NOT HE OR SHE OR THEM OR IT THAT YOU BELONG TO. They told him to sing while he slaved, but being of Slavic extraction, he just got bored… But he sang alright…
To live outside the law you must be honest, what’s it mean? Just an observatory obviousness unsaid & unsung till harpooned from the Good Ship Zimmy, god-shipped, as god still sends his godsends everywhere but the worldwide web and no amount of youtube rabbit holes or memes or facecunt instafuck fuckface social malice, mayhem or psychic murder can unring bells Bobby smashed with gongs, the hits from Rolling Stone bongs, everybody must get stoned is a Biblical tune, Rainy Day Women welcomed aboard the USS Zimmerman, refugees of Gomorrah, Joshua and his genocidal trumpets of Jericho, Bob Dylan, living miracle: a man doing what he’s born to do, like Bo Jackson or Steph Curry, Pollack, amid the imposition of mindless consumerism, societies of guilt and fear, free from the trials of metaphysical persecutors within, in the background of all the black & white news, indecipherable still (Nobel Prizes withstanding) to Time magazine, on the hilltop looking down on the lynchings, of which they still sell postcards, there’s god blessed goddamned Bob Dylan to tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it, to reflect from the goddamn mountain (of his own making) so any motherfucker willing & able to accept it can see it, that The Law is anything but honest, that shit is fucked, if you don’t look away, if you have the balls to not look away, to look at one’s bed and say whether or not it’s fucking made, the simple (yet impossible feeling) act of telling your daughter the dog is dead.
Bob Dylan exists in karmic payment for other rock stars’ sins, the stars nothing more than something they invested in, chiefly their addiction to the pleasure of praise, the hedonistic zeal with which they crave yacht-loads like bankers with nothing more to say or add to the human equation than bankers can add which is nothing and this is true and to test it scientifically, put on any Bob Dylan record and say it ain’t so. Any of ‘em. But make it vinyl (why not—a hipster within arm’s reach’s got a fucking phonograph, I’ll bet my right nut)—fuck that, whatever the fuck, put on a Bob Dylan song and explain the humanity of the law, of any set or system of human institutions, where’s the humanity? Where’s the humanity, the humanness, the Holy Spirit God how can there not be more humane words for human beings? Daniel saw the stone; Jeremiah foretold the calamities we encounter – these times ain’t no different than those of Early Roman Kings…
Bob Dylan sees the simple things. Every grain of sand – it’s just a perspective… not A perspective, or Perspective C, B, or G, it ain’t dogma or doctrine that’s Dylan, it’s the orthodoxy of unorthodoxy, spiritual autonomy, the gall to ask if birds are free from the chains of the skyway. It’s the perspective to see the silver lining in failure, perspective as a muscle – the kinesiology of perspective – Robert Zimmerman could have done his PhD on it – the karmic influence on endocrinology; no doubt, had old Bobby Zimmerman become a dentist, he wouldn’t have been stingy with the Novocain. He’s a human being, Bob Dylan. He’s a lot of open tuning, a lot of let’s try it in uh, b-flat, he’s Tweeter and he’s the Monkeyman, guys we know, he’s America and it’s not our fault but there it is nonetheless: Ira Hayes, Hattie Carroll, Hurricane Carter, Hollis Brown, Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Old John Brown and unknown good old boy off to fight the good old-fashioned war john brown, it’s there, we’re here, he’s there, Together Through Life, Time Out of Mind, the catalogue itself a lexicon – see the Network’s Programming Board in masked & anonymous… see that fucking movie…
Bob Dylan is uncomfortable truths said straight-faced with the ease with which Clint Eastwood murders, Bob Dylan truth-tells, and it’s because Clint Eastwood will always be out-adored by the American public that we have Trump… We prefer even Trump, to Napoleon in rags, and the language that he uses. Bob Dylan is there to hear the chimes of freedom flash for the warriors whose strength is not to fight, and to America, still, today, on the right, on the left, that’s Crazy Pinko Commie Anarchist Nonsense, we need Hillary! we need Trump! we need Nobody! But nobody, and I mean nobody is looking for warriors whose strength is not to fight… nobody but Bob Dylan is out there saying to take the orphans and place them at the feet of harlots; ain’t no Ashkenazi but Bob Dylan with the brains he was born with to know that even the President of the United States must sometimes stand naked and it’s Bob Dylan who reminds us it matters not who the president be, when one takes the perspective of the storyteller, we’re all unintentional native sons of the first ever, wholly unconscious empire.
Bob Dylan: scribe, court-jester, carny, song & dance man, Huck Finn, the best white man any of us can be, Bobby D, though they murdered six million, in the ovens they fried, the Germans now too, have God on their side, it’s not cute, the overriding irony… it ain’t postmodern or post-postmodern, it ain’t semantical or academic or intellectual or trite – but goddammit it’s funny – it’s fun and funny both – to attune to your own wavelength, as it appears Dylan does, absolutely immune to outside influence, at one with one’s breath Bob Dylan… he’s Joyce, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Leadbelly, Guthrie, Chaplin, Marlon Brando, Mister Bojangles, Little Richard, Rimbaud … he’s Muhammad Ali trapped in the body of Woody Allen. He’s NOT everyman. He’s not all of us. He’s the apotheosis of the opposite of the voice of his or any other generation. He’s him. You are you. He and she and them and it are he and she and them and it and you do not belong to them. You may be tangled up in blue, mighta spent a day too long in Mississippi, coulda had a world war go thru your brain, worried over the city fathers’ fearfulness of the reincarnation of Paul Revere’s horse, realized that the national bank for profit just sells roadmaps to the soul to the old folks home and the college, maybe you ain’t lookin’ for nothin’ in anyone’s eyes, maybe the preposterousness, pretentiousness, unusual cruelness of American justice, maybe for you too, it’s all just a given …
It’s Alright, Ma, it’s life and life only and Bob Dylan, the vessel he be, seafaring, like Melville but better, the Captain Ahab of his times, Robert Zimmerman created Bob Dylan to harpoon songs from the oceanic abyss – the mind of god – I don’t write them he rightfully insists … they’re there, he just writes them down with a pencil. And sings them. Because he feels like singing. And sings from the heart, from the soul, the solar plexus, the back of the brain, it ain’t pretty, it’s the blues, but the blues is happy music, and all music is blues or zippity doo-dah and I know one thing, nobody can sum up such things like Townes Van Zandt… He said that. Impervious to peers, impervious to time, impervious to crime, even and most importantly Maritime Law, the Good Ship Bobby D, where so-called sinners and miscalled saints co-mingle, are they willing and able to adhere to a strict to-each-their-own non-doctrine and uphold absolute abstinence when it comes to yelling Which Side Are You On? Lest that is, you’re referring to that iconic yet unknown Henry Miller ultimatum in which he sought to divide America once and for all between those for the book which says Thou Shalt not Kill and the infinity of munitions manuals – Bob Dylan is American Gospel, the purest ever produced by a paleface…
Fecund Bob Dylan, redemptive grain of American sand, thank you, for rhyming sonsuvbitches and orphanages, for thinkin’ bout Alicia Keys, for sharing your Visions of Johanna, for being the Tambourine Man, for rediscovering dignity in an undignified age, for not thinking twice, for not looking back, for being another man in black, for walking the line and for hosting Bob Dylan Radio Hour… Thanks for those deep knee-bends the past quarter century. Thanks for the funky black key organ riffs from 2009 and the Warren Zevon covers from 2002-3. Thank you for opening with Wait for the Light to Shine when my brother was dying and playing Boots of Spanish Leather for first true love Tia in Sacramento and Love Minus Zero in Frisco for my sister Jessica. Thank you for your scowling skulk when receiving the Medal of Freedom from Obama, and for the awkwardness, the true nobility with which you received nonsensical Nobel grace. Thank you, Bob, for not ever giving one single fuck. Thank you for saying it ain’t me babe to so many fucks who wanted you to give us things we did not need. Thank you for remaining forever young. And for mentioning all the ghosts. The ghost of slavery ships, that old ghost road Ku Klux Klan, the ghost of our old love taking so long to die, the ghost of ‘lectricity that howls in the bones of her face… Thank you for playing in Ho Chi Minh City. Thank you for the subpar 80s albums littered with throwaway genius… Thank you for Brownsville Girl… Till the wheels fall off and burn, here’s to you Bob Dylan… Chuck Berry is dead. I’m proposing a toast to the king.
By Josh Tribe, for Bob Dylan, on the occasion of his 76th birthday
24 May, 2017
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
By Josh Hunsucker | firstname.lastname@example.org
Just over 19 years ago, I heard "Hurricane" by Bob Dylan and never looked back. In the past 19 years I have countless missteps and wrong turns, but there is one thing that I never took for granted or got my signals crossed on, DYLAN.
America's poet laureate turns 76 today. In celebration of his birthday, our in house Dylan sommelier has given us five vintage Dylan offerings:
2) This Wheel's On Fire
3) Forever Young
4) My Back Pages
5) My Back Pages (because both are too good to leave the other out)
By Kyle Heise
The first Youtube comment reads “It was hot and early in the day...” And I’m sure it was. Now, I didn’t attend the festival held in the desert out in Indio, but I can imagine the hardcore festival go-ers were not up early to see San Francisco-via-Chicago transplant Ezra Furman give the most relevant monologue of the festival. Angled shots of the crowd confirm the scant attendance. But that doesn’t stop Ezra, a gender fluid punk rocker dressed in a black dress, pearls and hot red lipstick, from dropping some very real and apparent truths towards the beginning of his set. Furman began speaking “isn’t this a joyful kind of music” as the drums kicked in to his strident track “Tell ‘Em All to Go to Hell”, adding “it’s about frustration, I’d say.” The saxophone began tooting and Furman drizzled into riffing across the stage.
As the song breaks down into heavy breathing and what Furman describes as a “good B-flat rhythm,” Furman unloaded a heartfelt monologue to the crowd. He prefaced by dedicating the song to the parent company of Coachella, AEG, and its owner Philip Anschutz. Coachella is owned by Golden Voice, who is owned by major conglomerate AEG, Anschutz Entertainment Group. What followed was a scathingly powerful, yet very real truth about Coachella and consumerism.
What many people overlook in regards to the festival’s past is that its roots began in 1993 as a free concert put on by Pearl Jam against the service charges added on top of regular ticket prices by Ticketmaster. Following a public tussle, the band opted to play far out in the desert for free rather than play in LA proper and subject their fans to the service fees. Fast forward over two decades laters Now the festival is one of the most corporatized events in California each year; Hollywood loves to hire and pay people to attend to help market themselves. It’s almost less about the music and more about taking a sweaty and delirious photo in the desert. The festival even went full corporate minion in 2012 by spreading the festival over two weekends under the guise of better attendee experience. Safe to say, profit margins drove that decision.
And money does drive our society, says Furman in his attack against his “main man” Anschutz. Furman begins by explaining Anschutz is the “son of an oil tycoon, oil tycoon himself” and describes him as a complicated man who is “big proponent of wind energy” and has dabbled in “highly invasive” oil exploits. Easy to see that Furman recognizes power in Anschutz and his role in the Establishment. Furman belts that Anschutz “sues towns” that refuse to allow him to frack in there and paints a powerful image of Anschutz’ ambitions. But Furman also hints at knowing the history of the festival and how money (or in Pearl Jam’s case lack of it) can make a statement.
Furman, himself, a member of the LGBT+ community, revealed Anschutz donates wildly to anti-LGBT+ causes and far-right Christian groups. “So,” Ezra says addressing a crowd most likely in support of his side of the cause, the “triple-digits” (certainly many people spent thousands) paid to attend the festival “line billionaires pockets, do you understand?” He’s reminding the audience that they made a choice to attend the festival and are fortunate enough to have the funds to be there. In our modern consumer American society, money is speech. And Furman concurs. In turn he essentially told the audience how spending money is how we express our political beliefs in the modern society: “You do have a say in that shit,” he remarks. And it’s entirely true. So, when AEG and Anschutz or whoever the corporate tycoon is who markets products ignores “the values you [the consumer] profess to try to live by,” Furman delivers some telltale advice with just “seven little words:” Tell ‘em all to go to hell. Don’t remain silent and realize that your money can actually be used to fight back. Just like Pearl Jam decided to opt away, so can consumers. I don’t think Furman is suggesting people skip attendance of the festival. On the contrary, I think he is just reminding people of the matrix in which money is entangled these days and that your money can be speech in regards to many contemporary issues. As if we didn’t realize, Furman reminds us midway through his monologue: “It’s protest music.” Yes indeed, Ezra: you tell ‘em; keep telling us all the truths we need to hear.
2016 has been a rough year for a lot of people for a lot of reasons. But there is still time to get out a see a show before the ball drops. Here are some options to wet your appetite.
Stevie Nicks (Wednesday, December 14th, SAP Center, San Jose)
G-Eazy (Wednesday, December 14th, Oracle Arena, Oakland)
The Expendables (Saturday, Decebmer 17th, The Catalyst, Santa Cruz)
Trey Songz (Sunday, December 18th, Oracle Arena, Oakland)
Kodak Black (Wednesday, December 21st, Regency Ballroom, San Francisco)
Too $hort (Friday, December 23rd, 1015 Folsom, San Francisco)
Chuck Prophet (New Year's Eve, The Starry Plough, Berkeley)
By Connor Buestad | email@example.com
Deep in the middle of their first national tour, The Fame Riot visited San Francisco’s Neck of the Woods in the Richmond District on the last Sunday prior to Thanksgiving. The electro-pop/garage-rock sibling duo arrived in the Bay Area in their trusted 12 passenger van, short on sleep and long on caffeine and the dream of becoming bonafide rock stars. The Tacoma, Washington natives were opening for Radkey (a trio of brothers in their own right) and made sure to deliver a passionate, loud, emotional and memorable performance for the city they call their favorite behind only Seattle.
“People ask us if we’re twins and we say yes,” explains Liz Scarlett, the green-haired younger brother of the band at 21. Shazam Watkins, 24, is the elder statesman of the duo, and on this night he was donning red locks to accentuate his dark eye-liner. Their appearance is the first thing you notice about The Fame Riot, aside from perhaps the music itself. But it all seems to tie in together nicely, as both brothers prove to be natural (and effective) showman both onstage and off.
Despite sporting different last names, “Liz” and “Shazam” are more family oriented than you might initially imagine. “Both of our parents are ministers and leaders in their church. They are both great people,” explains Liz. “We also have three older brothers, and yeah they’re all married. We’re like the reckless twins at the end of the tale.”
Part of the brothers’ recklessness can be traced back to their family’s decision to home school Liz and Shazam rather than send them to the potentially mind-numbing endeavor that is American high school. “We said ‘fuck the system,’” explains Liz in a matter-of-fact tone, with a smile on his face. “The system is fucked and we stayed out of it. And I think we benefited from that decision. I wish more people could do the same.”
Their teenage years spent outside the confines of “The System” were clearly not wasted, as both boys dove headlong into creative pursuits both in music, fashion and beyond, all more or less free of distraction. The result is a pair of brothers with more positive and passionate energy than normal, who seem most at ease when they are living a life as eclectic and original as possible.
By the time Liz and Shazam were approaching college age, the brothers had scrapped their gigs at the church and began showing their true colors, both literally and figuratively. Inspired by the bands they weren’t supposed to be listening to, the brothers began emulating various flavors of bad boy rock and rollers. Ones that stood for something bigger than themselves and made people think, move, and feel.
In 2014, after years in their garage, the brothers dropped their first EP, titled Dust Funk, complete with seven songs that have a way of waking you up and pulsing through your body in a positive way. Two years later, another couple songs were added to the original EP, giving the pair enough material to set off on their first coast-to-coast tour. “Heart Stray” is The Fame Riot’s current single in circulation, which has been a hit on the radio in the least likeliest of places (Kansas City, Missouri, etcetera).
In quiet conversation, the brothers are as intellectual and articulate as you could ever want when you’re dealing with a pair of budding rockstars. Self-proclaimed people who “won’t talk about politics,” Liz and Shazam are easily suckerd into providing insightful ideas on the direction of America since the travesty of Trump’s election. “Let’s stop talking about fucking politics,” says Shazam in his effective analysis of the mainstream media or “MSM” as he un-fondly calls it.
Onstage, The Fame Riot is not afraid to speak in British accents to go along with their edgy choice in attire. To them, the event and show is just as important as the music itself. They explain that “coming to the Fame Riot” is a highly charged event spurred on by the people in the room listening to the music. “It’s a show because of the people that are there,” says Liz in all sincerity.
Despite a small crowd of loyal listeners on this fogged in Sunday, these brothers certainly brought The Fame Riot to San Francisco. Shazam steadily bounced around on the keyboard, his muscular face rarely visible behind his extravagant mane of hair. Liz shredded on the guitar from start to finish, with each song bringing a fresh burst of loud energy that the crowd couldn’t help but feel and respond to.
By the time the set was finished, there was no wonder why this band is continuing to ascend to new heights within their genre. Yes, they’ve already been featured in studio on the famed KEXP radio in Seattle and have shared the stage with GroupLove and Chromeo, but the time is now where they are getting to spread their wings across the U.S. and share their energetic showmanship on a nightly basis.
“The people we’ve met has been the biggest surprise on tour so far. So many people have stepped up and taken us in, setting us up with a place to crash and get ready for the next night’s show. Friends of friends, distant cousins, you name it,” explains Shazam. “This is like our demo tour, we are learning a lot. It’s not easy playing with that much emotion every night. Teas, essential oils, eating healthy, we are doing everything we can.”
Although the duo is willing to admit the hardships of touring on a shoestring budget, their passionate outlook on their music and the world at large easily keep their fire fueled. And while their music has strayed far from the confines of American churches or poetry found in classrooms, the intent is similar. “Strip the skin off of us and we’re all the same. We just want to make music that inspires people,” says Shazam. Spend a night at The Fame Riot and you might find you’ll see more than just a show. It runs much deeper than that.
By Connor Buestad | Connor@Section925.com
This Sunday, Neck of the Woods on Clement street in SF will be hosting a night of music with Radkey (a garage-punk trio made up of three brothers) and their opener The Fame Riot (an alternative-pop duo). The intimate San Francisco setting should provide a loud and energized vibe for these two up-and-coming bands.
Radkey is comprised of brothers Dee Radke on guitar/vocals, Isiaiah Radke III on bass/vocals and Solomon Radke on drums. Solomon is the baby of the family at just 19, while Dee heads up the cast at age 23. The band produces a brand of energetic punk rock inspired by their musically inclined father. As they now start to come into their own, the band has enjoyed success at music festivals across the pond and back including the Reading and Leads Festival and the Download Festival in the UK, not to mention Riot Fest and Coachella back stateside.
Meanwhile, alternative-pop duo The Fame Riot comes to SF supporting their new single, “Heart Stray.” Liz Scarlett and Shazam “Tea Time” Watkins make up the duo who ironically stem from minister parents. The pair is far from buttoned up on stage, instead pursuing a persona of gender-fluidity and eccentric fashion that their growing fan base has learned to love. The Fame Riot has recently shared the stage with big names including Chromeo, Grouplove and DJ Shadow just to name a few. And as the band continues to pump out catchy pop records, expect this list to continue to grow.
You could mess up my life in a poem
Have me divorced by the time of the chorus
There's no need to change any sentence
When you always decide where I go next
Many nights you would hide from the audience
When they were not in tune with your progress
In the end you're a fool like the journalist
Who turns what you sing into business
You could use to be more like a hero
A darker shade of damage distortion
Wearing death like a cape or a costume
Cut your ties and leave town when you want to
Killing time 'til I pass through the chamber
Or the room you keep my replacement
so fed up, still you're starving on paper
You're no him, but he's you, only better
Leave me an exit to damage
I could use a ledge to jump off of
I wasn't lying when I said this was over
I have questions that lead to more questions
Running time that will cut off my fingers
You wrote about me on every new record
And I'll show up in a title of your song
I only hope somebody requests it
What's it like for you in Washington
I've only seen photos of Washington
I'll never know
Leave me Manhattan, I want the evergreens
Write me a song I can sing in my sleep
As sure as the rain that will fall where you stand
I want you and the skyline, these are my demands
What's it like for you in Washington
I've only seen photos of Washington
I'll never know, know
By Mikhil Chemburkar
Last Saturday night in San Francisco, The Heartbreak (HBK) Gang took 2,250 apmed-up concert goers at The Warfield on a one-way ticket to Shmop City. Liveliness was tangible on the warm night by the Bay, beginning with the line outside the venue, all the way to the very end of the event. Show openers (and Bay Area natives) Dave Steezy, Skipper, and Show Banga had the crowd on their side and feeling their high energy performances.
The chemistry on display during and between acts was unsurprising to anyone who knows the origins of the HBK Gang. The hip-hop collective, created in 2008 is mostly comprised of friends who met while going to Pinole Valley High School. It seemed that they knew just when excitement would peak because just at the right time, a wild Kool John came out with guest performer Lil Yee, delighting the crowd. By the time Iamsu! came on with his surprise guest Nef the Pharoah, the standing crowd more resembled an amusement park ride than a concert.
The crowded venue was engulfed by convergent vibrations from massive subwoofers, slapping speakers, and a sea of fans moving to hits like Mobbin , I Love My Squad, and Only That Real, just to name a few. Thankfully, Su played a number of songs off of older mixtapes Kilt (2012), Suzy 6 Speed (2012) and Million Dollar Afro (2013) along with showing off his newest album Kilt 3 (2016). I have been an Iamsu! fan for the past few years but to be perfectly honest I was disappointed by his newest album.
As someone who’s relatively familiar with his work, I can see how this concert would be disorienting for those unfamiliar with HBK’s music. For this very reason, I think The Warfield makes for a stupendous venue for any type of show-goer seeing most types of perfrormances. While floor admission tickets provide a more intimate environment, the multi-balcony seating allows for attendees to kick back, relax, and perhaps enjoy a beverage from the full-service bar. All in all, the biggest show of the #Iamsummer Tour was an extremely good time, and The Warfield was an awesome place to see it.
I fully endorse anyone to check out The Warfield, Iamsu! (and/or the rest of HBK Gang) if you are lucky enough to have a chance. Here are links to some of the gang’s Instagrams (davesteezy, k00lj0hn, showy4mayor, heartbreakskipper) (here is a link to upcoming Iamsu! shows throughout the Bay.) Enjoy!
By Harrison Laver | @Harrison_Laver
Friday, August 5th was my first time at Outside Lands and my first major festival experience. Being one of the most hyped events in California, Outside Lands was something I had long wanted to check out. After some proper pre-gaming in the Lower Haight neighborhood of SF, our group headed over to the event, and it was there that I learned four important things about this iconic Northern California festival in the foggy/sunny/foggy grounds of Golden Gate Park.
1. Lines are everywhere, but can often be bypassed
My initial impression was this: there are a lot of people here. To be more precise, one metric shit-ton of people (70,000 attendees on Friday). At first glance, the line to enter the south side of the park seemed to be a massive group that had gathered to witness a speaker or something. But it was indeed the line to enter OSL. According to a police officer that we spoke with on the other side, the festival had received several threats and the FBI advised a thorough search of each backpack and bag that entered the grounds, which created a huge backup. Once we finally got inside, there was one thing on our minds: beer. And there’s a line for that. But we needed 21+ wristbands as well, and there’s a line for that too. This is the first thing I learned about OSL; there are lines everywhere. However, if you plan accordingly and are willing to do a little walking, there often are ways to skip the lines.
Gaps in artist set times often create a lot of people moving from one stage to another. If you can time it right, you can arrive at an area of the festival that has minimal people, and therefore minimal lines. I found that the timing was best around 15-20 mins after an artist had finished their set, or right smack dab in the middle of the set while most people are close to the stage (excluding the main stage, which more or less had big lines for the entirety of the festival). Also, there seemed to be food and drink areas of the park that were a bit tucked away and didn’t have the crowds that some of the more popular areas had, which made them much more approachable.
2. Make a plan beforehand
One of the issues I faced was not knowing the lineup very well, so coordinating between stages and artists proved to be a challenge, and I ended up missing a few acts that I would have loved to see. It was my first experience at a big festival so it was a little hard to wrap my head around the whole ordeal, and the fact that I was part of a large group made it a bit more difficult to organize. So, I would suggest making a plan before you arrive at the festival in order to maximize the amount of artists you’d like to see. Regardless, my group made it right up in front of the main stage to see Duran Duran and LCD Soundsystem, and both bands absolutely killed it. I had no idea that Duran Duran had so many hits, and he was cranking them out in a distinctively classy and bold style. And if you don’t already know, LCD Soundsystem live is pure euphoria.
3. Golden Gate Park is a man made park
I had no idea. Apparently the story is this (thanks Vince and Wikipedia): In the 1860’s, the public of San Francisco voiced a desire for a large public area, much like Central Park in New York which was in the process of being created at that time. The area in which Golden Gate Park stands was a large plot of sand dunes known as the “Outside Lands.” It almost became a racetrack under the lobbying of four millionaires, but thankfully the area was placed under the care of John McLaren, a world renowned horticulturist. 60,000 eucalyptus, pine, and cypress trees were planted to stabilize the dunes and create the park landscape. In 1903 the Dutch style windmills were constructed to pump water throughout the park. Golden Gate Park is effectively 20% larger than Central Park, which is further evidence that the West Coast is the best coast.
4. It’s expensive, but worth the experience
It’s like a baseball game. You purchase your tickets, but that’s only scraping the surface of the spending. Once you’re there, you’re buying $11 Bud Lights and $8 nachos, and before you know it you’ve spent well beyond the ticket prices. But all in all, you got drunk with friends, watched a great ball game, and had a blast.
Outside lands is much of the same. Except you may not spend more than your ticket price because those are pretty costly. If you have the extra cash to spend, and are looking for an awesome weekend with an awesome festival experience, then OSL is definitely worth it. I must have spent an upwards of $300 on food and drinks over the two days I was there, but I still walked away extremely satisfied. Sitting on the warm grassy hillside of the Sutro Stage watching Foals deliver their dreamy indie rock, and seeing my friend DJ Grensta absolutely destroy the decks in the Heineken Dome on Sunday made it a weekend that I will never forget. Don’t miss Outside Lands 2017!
By Stephanie Sockel | @poams
Cage The Elephant has the CD you want, but save your concert money for the festivals. No doubt, this Kentucky band rocks the radio and the headphones. However, the performance at the Bill Graham Civic Center ended up falling a bit short. The acrobatic show from the lead singer, Matthew Schutz, was not enough to carry the lack of depth of sound performed on Thursday night. The show’s energy brought about a bit of 1997 Lollapalooza with all the crowd surfing and their pop punk influences, but the audible aspect of the concert was left flat.
If the sound was the problem, it would have resonated true for the previous band, Portugal. The Man, who gave the audience a full progressive rock experience. Portugal’s psychedelic sound was enough to pull you back a few decades and leave you wanting more without feeling a lack for the current state of music. Portugal's sound was drenched in Pink Floyd undertones, yet the performance held on to current sounds beautifully. It was easy to feel as if one was swimming in the sea of conceptual guitar riffs and dreamy keyboards without being stale or trite. So sonic was the mood that closing the eyes transported you into a world of colors competing closely with the light show.
Cage the Elephant belongs in your iTunes Playlist. However, this was definitely a show for the early arrivers. Bill Graham is a massive venue with a capacity of 5k+ and is no easy feat for sound. If you go to a show, don’t bother with the seats, but rather wear comfy shoes and stand on the floor for the better experience.
Do It: Playlist Cage the Elephant and Portugal. The Man.
Wait for It: Cage The Elephant at a festival. Get the bang for your buck or try them in a smaller venue.
Don’t do It: Miss Portugal. The Man. when they come to town next.
By Connor Buestad | Connor@Section925.com
The one and only time I’ve seen Chance The Rapper perform came as a complete surprise. It was at the halftime intermission of the Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB) poetry event in downtown Chicago, blocks away from where Chancelor “Chance” Bennett attended Jones College Prep. There was only time for three songs, but that was all I needed to become entrenched as a fan.
The largest youth slam poetry event in the world, LTAB attracts individuals and teams of poets from all corners of Chicago. High schoolers walk onstage at a sold-out theater every March and discuss the deepest, darkest, and most powerful emotions that their city and country can produce in a teenager. The diverse crowd hangs on every thought provoking verse. Standing ovations for the poets are the norm rather than the exception.
Surprisingly, Chance doesn’t have any LTAB hardware to his name, but he still found his way on the main stage as a 21-year-old adult. Equipped with his signature smile, the beaming ball of energy delighted the youthful poetry fans at the Arie Crown Theater when he revealed himself as the night’s special guest. Chicagoans reacted swiftly, flooding the aisles with their phones ready to record, jockeying for the best position to see their youthful city hero drop some poetic lines of his own. Not surprisingly, the high school contestants didn't seem to mind him stealing the show.
True to form, Chance mixed energy, positivity, and fun/catchy lyrics to give the crowd something meaningful to latch onto. With various areas of Chicago beleaguered by guns, drugs, and overall strife, Chance seemed to know full well that his city needed his positive vibes, and he was there to deliver.
Chance The Rapper released his third mixtape on Friday, May 13, titled Coloring Book. The working title of the 14 song mixtape was Chance 3 (hence the album cover), but in the 11th hour, his fans were presented with a coloring book instead, and a lovely one at that.
Highly regarded by the hip-hop community and beyond, Coloring Book is already being talked about as a classic. Drake, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar have all gotten their just do as of late, and rightfully so, but with Coloring Book, Chance seems to have a place at the table as well when you speak about modern hip-hop artists. Industry titans Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber, Future, and Jay Electronica all cut out time to rap with Chance on this mixtape, not to mention the Chicago’s Children Choir, featured on the lead-off track “All We Got."
Pretty impressive stuff, when you consider Chance is still just a 23-year-old who doesn’t have a record deal and who lets his music play for free on the internet. His distinctive voice can be found on various other records across the industry as well, including Kanye’s February Life of Pablo album. His ability to seamlessly collaborate with so many other artists has, and will continue to pay off handsomely for him and his fans.
Coloring Book comes on the heels of Chance’s first two mixtapes, his debut, 10 Day, was released back in 2012 while Acid Rap came a year later in 2013. The inspiration for 10 Day grew out of a 10-day suspension that “Little Chano” received for marijuana possession during his senior year at Jones College Prep (a selective enrollment Chicago Public School located downtown). As legend has it, Chance’s time off from school proved productive as it gave him time to create 10 Day, effectively putting his musical career in motion. Songs like “Nostalgia” and “Brain Cells” have a melancholy way of drawing you in and keeping you there; all the while interested in what the 19-year-old has to say about the world surrounding him.
Acid Rap, released in 2013, was the mixtape that made people really take notice of Chance, featuring song after song of raw talent and energy that makes it hard not to keep listening. "Paranoia," “Pusha Man,” “Acid Rain,” “Smoke Again,” and “Everybody’s Something” were just some of the songs that made a huge impression. Despite it being free, it still rose to no. 63 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart after being sold by unauthorized retailers.
Coloring Book, at least after a weekend of listening, looks to be Chance’s most complete effort to date. The mixtape starts off with “All We Got,” a thrilling intro that gets one locked in to listen to an hour of Chance dropping bars. “And we back, and we back, and we back,” proclaims Chance. “This ain’t no intro, this the entree,” he assures us. Chance raps about his girlfriend (the mother of his first and only child) as well as other topics. He also let’s Chicago’s finest, Kanye West do his thing, not to mention the Chicago Children’s Choir. Overall, it’s a great way to draw one into a mixtape.
On the second track, “No Problem,” Chance welcomes Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz into the fold, and neither disappoint. It’s the type of song that makes you want to blast it as loud as possible on the freeway with the windows down, without a care in the world. The song makes reference to the record labels that Chance has kept at a distance. “Countin’ Benji’s while we meetin’, make ‘em shake my other hand,” he shouts. As expected, Lil Wayne’s appearance is a head-turner. “Half a milli’ in the safe, another in the pillowcase, codeine got me movin’ slower than a caterpillar race,” sings Wayne.
“Summer Friends” is the third song, and has a sound that reminds me of a Bon Iver ballad. Chance describes his life growing up on 79th street on the South Side of Chicago. He paints the picture of a more innocent time in the city, with less guns and stronger family ties. “79th street was America then / Ice cream truck and the beauty supply / Blockbuster movies and Harold’s again / We still catching lightning bugs when the plague hit the backyard.”
Coloring Book's seventh song, titled “Mix Tape” has the most catchy beat on the compilation. “Am I the only nigga still care about mixtapes?” asks Chance alongside Atlanta’s Young Thug. The defiant lyrics, once again challenging the setup of today's music industry, will keep your head bobbing throughout.
“Mix Tape” gives way to the single of Chance’s third release. “Angels” comes at you with an incredibly catchy, fast-moving beat, with lyrics that keep you engaged throughout. Chance speaks about the city that he’s from and what it means to him. “I got a city doing front flips / When every father, mayor, rapper jump ship / I guess that’s why they call it where I stay / Clean up the streets, so my daughter can have somewhere to play,” he demands.
It is interesting to hear Chance mention the Mayor’s office here. Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Obama’s former right hand man) has recently fired Chicago’s police chief over the Laquan McDonald tragedy. Moreover, Chance’s father, Ken Bennett, currently serves as Mayor Emanuel’s chief of staff.
“Smoke Break,” the mixtape’s 12th song, features perhaps the hottest rapper on the market, Future. The sound on this track is immaculate and was produced by UC Berkeley grad Garren Langford while he was simultaneously finishing his senior year as a Golden Bear.
The 14th and final song is "Blessings (reprise)." "Blessings" is also the fifth track, but the reprise is something else. The song is beautiful on many levels, from the sound, to the rhythm, to the lyrics. Chance paints the following picture in the opening verse, “I speak of promised lands / Soil as soft as momma’s hands / Running water, standing still / Endless fields of daffodils and chamomile.” Chance continues on, recounting his rise to stardom and his passion for his craft. “I used to dance to Michael, I used to dance in high school / I used to pass out music, I still pass out music / The people’s champ must be everything the people can’t be.” Finally, Chance finishes his best work yet with the following questions, “Are you ready for your blessings? Are you ready for your miracle?”
In a mixtape lasting less than an hour, Chance The Rapper has put out a piece of art that will be appreciated for quite sometime, both by his home city of Chicago and hip-hop fans from coast to coast. Chance has arrived as a major player in the rap game and with his youthful energy and obvious talent, it looks like he’s here to stay. On Sunday, August 7th, San Francisco will host him in Golden Gate Park. The Bay Area will be hanging on his every word.
All of these great musicians are coming to play live in the Bay Area this summer. Listen to them below and click here for a direct link to follow this playlist.
Donovan Frankenreiter - Friday, June 17th @ The Independent SF
Gregory Porter - Saturday, June 18th @ Fox Theater Oakland
Joe Pug - Saturday, July 9th @ The Independent SF
Widespread Panic - Thursday & Friday, July 14th & 15th @ Fox Theater Oakland
Wye Oak - Friday, July 15th @ Great American Music Hall SF
We Became Owls - Friday, July 15th @ Viracocha SF
Modest Mouse - Thursday, July 28th @ Greek Theater Berkeley
The National - Friday, July 29th @ Greek Theater Berkeley
Dej Loaf - Sunday, July 31st @ The Catalyst Santa Cruz
Atlas Genius - Thursday, August 4th @ The Catalyst Santa Cruz
J. Cole - Friday, August 5th @ Outside Lands Festival
LCD Soundsystem - Friday, August 5th @ Outside Lands Festival
Sufjan Stevens - Friday, August 5th @ Outside Lands Festival
Beach House - Friday, August 5th @ Outside Lands Festival
We Became Owls - Saturday, August 6th @ UC Berkeley
Radiohead - Saturday, August 6th @ Outside Lands Festival
Rogue Wave - Saturday, August 6th @ Outside Lands Festival
Phantogram - Saturday, August 6th @ Outside Lands Festival
Chance The Rapper - Sunday, August 7th @ Outside Lands Festival
Ryan Adams - Sunday, August 7th @ Outside Lands Festival
Wavves - Monday, August 8th @ The Catalyst Santa Cruz
Alabama Shakes - Friday & Saturday, August 12th & 13th @ Greek Theater Bekeley
Ben Harper - Wednesday, August 17th @ Greek Theater Berkeley
Tame Impala - Friday & Saturday, September 2nd & 3rd @ Greek Theater Berkeley
Wilco - September 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th @ The Fillmore SF
Ray LaMontagne - Friday, September 9th @ Greek Theater Berkeley
Andre Nickatina - Saturday, September 10th @ The Catalyst Santa Cruz
Drake + Future (Summer Sixteen Tour) - Tuesday & Wednesday, September 13th & 14th @ Oracle Arena Oakland
Local Natives - Saturday, September 17th @ Fox Theater Oakland
El Ten Eleven - Thursday, September 29th @ The Independent SF
The Head and the Heart - Saturday, October 8th @ Greek Theater Berkeley