Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

The Moody Blues
Masonic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA

I hadn’t planned to go as I’ve never been much of a progrock fan, and the Moody Blues are no exception, but I’ve always found their music intriguing. A couple days before the show I received an email from Goldstar with an offer for a cheap, last minute ticket so I picked one up.

The Moody Blues at the Masonic Auditorium

The Moody Blues at the Masonic Auditorium. Click for more photos.

My seat was near the front of the balcony but way around stage right. I had nice views of the band but the sound is awful at Masonic Auditorium unless you are FOB. Nonetheless, I had a good time, picked up a signed poster, and snapped a couple pictures. All-in-all, a good night.

Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck
Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw this show listed as it seems a rather incongruous pairing. It was surprisingly good especially for the few songs where the bands played together.

Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck at the Oakland Paramount Theatre

Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck at the Oakland Paramount Theatre. Click for more photos.

Brian Wilson went first and I had low expectations because the last couple times I saw him he was downright awful. He was much better this time but it was still sad. His voice still has recognizable hints at his former Beach Boys’ sound; he showed glimmers of engagement at the keyboard but he often sat near catatonic for long sections. He had a huge band with him eleven other musicians including Al Jardine and David Marks. Blondie Chaplin even came out for a couple of songs including “Sail On, Sailor”. The size of the band was key as they easily covered for any of Brian Wilson’s shortcomings and let the audience focus on the mastery of the song-writing.

All-in-all, I got the feeling that he was simply sitting in at a Beach Boys tribute set.

Between sets there was a huge audience transition as a lot of people left.

Jeff Beck was perfect counterpoint. OMG he and his band were fabulous. Outside of the Yardbirds and his early work with Rod Stewart, I don’t know him at all. I expected a rock/blues band it was much more on the fusion side of the house. What surprised me most was that it was a true ensemble with him only stepping out in front and playing the guitar god role a few times.

He played for about 45 minutes or so then brought Brian Wilson and some of his band back and they performed a few songs off of Smile. After that, Jeff Beck played a few more songs on his own and closed his set with “Day in the Life” which was the highlight of the show for me.


They brought both bands together for the encores. Hearing Jeff Beck playing slide during “Surfin’ USA” was a treat.

Set List:

Brian Wilson

Their Hearts Were Full of Spring
California Girls
Do It Again
Don’t Worry Baby
Little Bird
Old Man River ->
Sail On, Sailor
Wild Honey
Heroes and Villains
Pet Sounds
God Only Knows
Sloop John B
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
I Get Around
Good Vibrations
Fun, Fun, Fun

Jeff Beck

[Several that I don’t know including]

Little Wing
Over the Rainbow
Our Prayer *
Child Is Father of the Man *
Surf’s Up *
Rollin’ and Tumbin’
Day in the Life

Barbara Ann *
Surfin’ U.S.A. *
Danny Boy *

* w/ Brian Wilson et al

Brian Wilson – Vocals, keyboards
Al Jardine – Vocals, guitar
David Marks – Vocals, guitar
Blondie Chaplin – Vocals, guitar
And too many more to remember

Jeff Beck – Guitar
Lizzie Ball – Violin
Rhonda Smith – Bass
Jonathan Joseph – Drums
Nicholas Meier – Guitar

Slim’s, San Francisco, CA

I first heard of, and saw, Reignwolf, AKA Jordon Cook, when I stumbled across his set at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass last year. The act blew me away and I was excited to see him listed at Slim’s. Reignwolf definitely falls on the hardly side of HSB as they sound like a mix of the White Stripes and Led Zeppelin. After his set at Slim’s the other night, I now know how he was selected for the HSB line-up. When they asked if he played bluegrass he said, “Sure, I play mandolin” and simply neglected to mention that by “playing” he meant “use it as a slide.”

Reignwolf at Slim’s. Click for more photos.

For the first couple of songs, he was just him. But “just him” is a bit of an understatement as he sings, plays guitar and a kick-drum all at the same time. He was then joined but another guitar player who played the bass part and a drummer. Throughout the set he switched between guitar, mando, and bass. The set itself was surprisingly short only about 50 minutes including a two song encore. For a $15 show with two acts, I guess it’s not that bad.

The opening act, Black Cobra Vipers, didn’t leave much of an impression on me. I do remember them starting to tell a story, pausing while looking a bit confused and then adding, “it’s pauses like this that make a 45 minute set.”

Set list:

No idea but it rocked.

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine
Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA

I arrived just as the second opening act, Victim’s Family took the stage. I had heard of them before but never seen them so I was curious. They are a fairly jazzy trio, well, jazzy for a hardcore band. Their sound was very well mixed and you could clearly hear each player and the vocals.  Enjoyable.

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine at the Great American Music Hall

Jello Biafra at the Great American Music Hall. Click for more photos.

Jello came out around 10:30 and the hall was barely 1/3, if that. They even had tables for the dinner seating setup on the sides. When is the last time you saw a punk show with people sitting down eating dinner? For comparison, the (faux) Dead Kennedys nearly filled the Regency Ballroom, which is four times bigger, back in October (my write up here). Granted, that was a Friday night and Jello played a Monday but still.

Most of the material was from his latest GSM album which has a swirling/psychedelic punk sound similar to the DKs rather than the dark, metalesque material he did with the Melvins. Like the Victim’s Family set, they did great job of mixing the sound. Oddly California Uber Alles still featured Schwarzenegger as the protagonist rather than reverting back to once again Gov. Jerry Brown. This was the first time I’d seen Nazi Punk F— Off return to his set list probably since the DKs days.

Set list:
The Brown Lipstick Parade
John Dillinger
New Feudalism
Road Rage
Panic Land
Barackstar O’Bummer
California Uber Alles
Werewolves of Wallstreet
Nazi Punks Fuck Off
Hollywood Goof Disease
White People and the Damage Done
Chemical Warfare
Pets Eat Their Master

Dot Com Monte Carlo

Jello Biafra – Vocals (and commentary)
Ralph Spight – Guitar
Kimo Ball – Guitar
Andrew Weiss  – Bass
Billy Gould – Drums

Opening Bands:
Harold Ray Live in Concert
Victim’s Family

Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA

First off, I come clean: I’ve never been a huge Yes fan. Because I’d never seen them before I decided to take the opportunity when I heard they were scheduled to play The Warfield. I got online right at 10:00 when tickets went on sale and picked up a seat in the front row.

Yes at Warfield Theatre. Click for more photos.

I’ve always associated Yes as a keyboard-dominated band but after seeing them I realized they are much more guitar heavy than I realized. OTOH, I was sitting directly in front of Steve Howe’s mic stand and that may have influenced my perception.

The show consistent of them performing The Yes Album, Close To The Edge, and Going For The One. I’ve always thought “come listen to us play a classic album straight through” was a gimmick and tend to skip those shows. In this case, while I’m familiar with their music I’ve never listened to a Yes album end-to-end so I enjoyed the experience.

The show started off a bit ragged as they had sound problems both in the monitor mix and in the hall for the first few songs. Everything finally came together for a very extended version of “Starship Trooper” which was one of the highlights of the show for me. Throughout their performance of the first album and especially on “I’ve All Good People” Steve Howe kept playing little Chuck Berryeque riffs as fill. I’d never noticed it in their studio work but that may not mean much given my opening sentence.

Close to the Edge was a bit too far on the prog rock side for me. It struck me as an acquired taste that becomes enjoyable once you become familiar with the music. I enjoyed the “I Get Up, I Get Down” portion and “You and I” both other than that, I was looking forward to the set break.

After the set break the came back for Going for the One which I found much more accessible. The band also seem to be having the most fun of the night. At point Steve Howe steel guitar was rolling a good foot or two from side-to-side as he bouncing around so much while playing it.

Set I:
The Yes Album
Close To The Edge

Set II:
Going For The One


Chris Squire – Bass
Steve Howe – Guitar
Alan White – Drums
Geoff Downes – keyboards
Jon Davison – Vocals

Dead Kennedys
Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA

I have never seen Skip Greer, the Jello stand-in, before but he was enjoyable. He covers the material well and provides a reasonable stage presence. He definitely has the sneer down though his inter-song ramblings, though while somewhat Jello-esque where more formulaic whining than anything insightful. That, or maybe I have a higher bar for ironic, angst-filled babble than I did when I was a teenager. The rest of the band sounded quite good and seemed to be having a great time.

Dead Kennedys at The Regency Ballroom. Click for more photos.

One odd part the show was a group of six or so 50ish guys wearing their studded leather jackets that looked like they hadn’t been out of the closet for 20 years. Every time Skip Greer came out to the front of the stage they would yell, in drunken unison, “You’re a fraud.” Ummm, guys, who did you expect to see tonight? Did you miss the press release 25 years ago? Overall the audience was much younger than the crowd that goes to see Jello. Maybe they were there to see the opening bands?

I started off the day Golden Gate Park at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and the (faux) DKs provided a nice, albeit jarring, contrast. However, a 9:00 show with three opening acts make for a long day.

The first band, 13 Scars, was unremarkable.

Guantanamo Dogpile, the second bad was interesting primary for their stage act. It was a big band; about a dozen people on stage. The guys all wore a mixture of ski masks, suicide vests, and gas masks and the women sported burkas. They brought out a hooded prisoner and, after chaining him to the drum kit, proceed to “beat” him and throw gooey pumpkin innards out into the audience. Later in the show they augmented this with Silly String and confetti. Towards the end of the show the “burka chicks” brought out leaf blowers to clean the stage. Quite a spectacle indeed.

I didn’t know that Fang, final opener, was even skill around. They are a straight-up hardcore band. I remember hearing of them but I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen them.


Opening Bands:

Wavy Gravy’s 75th Birthday Boogie–Seva benefit
Craneway Pavilion, Richmond, CA

Bobby Vega with Zero

Bobby Vega with Zero. Click for more photos.

Wavy’s annual Seva benefit had a great line up this year:

  • Bob Weir
  • Mickey Hart
  • Chris Robinson Brotherhood
  • Zero
  • Ace of Cups (!!!)
  • Hot Buttered Rum String Band

I’d never been to Craneway Pavilion before and it was interesting. On the plus side it’s a beautiful location as you have great views of downtown Oakland and SF. On the downside it is cavernous converted warehouse and the sound is awful in back. That, and there were no seats. Some of the people that bought the VIP dinner tickets went back to the eating area and
brought their chairs out to the main floor. This was a fun but long show that lasted from just before 8:00 to nearly 2:30.

The real problem, however, was the logistics were absolutely horrible.  I arrived early and it took me  over 45 minutes to get through the will call line; I understand that people who arrived later stood in a nearly half-mile long line for well over 90 minutes. Once inside they only had too understaffed bars at each end of the venue and the lines were so long they merged in the middle.

Hot Buttered Rum String Band

I always enjoy seeing HBR but I got in late and missed most of their set.

Set List:
Mountain Song
Way Back When
Fruit Of The Vine (with Nicki Bluhm)
Blackberry Pie (with Nicki Bluhm)
Bertha (with Matt Butler)
Busted In Utah

Line up:
Aaron Redner –  fiddle
Bryan Horne –  bass
Erik Yate –  guitar, banjo
Nat Keefe – guitar,  vocals
Lucas Carlton – drums

Ace of Cups

I’ve always heard of the Ace of Cups (the first all-girl band in SF) but I know very little about them and don’t know any of their music so it was great to see them. Apparently the last original member of the band left in the early 70s and all five original members haven’t played together since the late 60s. Played about 45 minutes.

Set list:
I don’t know, I’m not familiar with their music.

Mary Gannon – bass
Marla Hunt – keyboards
Mary Ellen Simpson – guitar
Diane Vitalich – drums
Denise Kaufman – guitar


Zero (plus Barry Sless and Pete Sears but no) came on next and they really nailed it. By far the best jamming of the night but my Deadhead pedigree notwithstanding, I’m not a big jamband fan.   Enjoyable but the shortened 45 minute set was just perfect for me.

Set list:
Golden Road
Friday’s Child
Home on the Range

Steve Kimock – guitar
Bobby Vega – bass
Judge Murphy – vocals
Barry Sless – pedal steel guitar
Pete Sears – keyboards
Chip Roland – keyboards, guitar
Greg Anton – drums

Chris Robinson Brotherhood

This was the second time I’ve seen Chris Robinson Brotherhood and I liked them more this time. Weir joined for TLEO. Played about an hour.

Set list:
Tulsa Yesterday
Tumbleweed In Eden
Tomorrow Blues
They Love Each Other (with Bob Weir)
Sunday Sound

Chris Robinson – guitar, vocals
Neal Casal – guitar
Adam MacDougall – keyboards
Mark “Muddy” Dutton, bass
George Sluppick, drums

Mickey Hart

Mickey was next and I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of drum-centric music. He ended the set with “Baba Jing” that bled into a “Go Wavy” chat at which point he was joined on stage by a few dozen other drummers including Tipper Gore and they played along to a parade and balloon drop. Played about 45 minutes.

Set list:
Baba Jing -> “Go Wavy chant”

Partial Line-up:
Mickey Hart – drums
Steve Kimock – guitar
Dave Schools – bass
Dave Brogan – drums
Sikiru Adepoju   – talking drum

Bob Weir

Bob didn’t come on until 1:00 am and I was pretty spent by then. Rather than just being a Bob Weir set, this really was more like a closing jam. The core of his band was Jeff Chimenti, John Molo, and Robin Sylvester and then Steve Kimock, Henry Kaiser, Mark Karen, Chris Robinson, Neal Casa, Niki Bluhm, Barry Sless, Barry Melton, and Snooky Flowers all cycled through. The highlights for me were New Speedway which Chris sang and Sugaree which Bob, Niki and Chris traded verses and included a blistering solo by Mark. Snooky came out for the Other One and it featured a nice extended intro which reminded me of the Mardi Gras show in 1993 with Ornette Coleman where the band kept trying to reel him in during the Space -> Other One jam and he kept doing whatever he could to break down the structure. Played nearly 90 minutes.

Set list:
Playin’ In The Band
New Speedway Boogie
Tennessee Jed
Brown-Eyed Women
The Other One
Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad

Line-up, various combinations of:
Bob Weir – guitar, vocals
Steve Kimock – guitar
Henry Kaiser – guitar
Jeff Chimenti – keyboards
John Molo – drums
Robin Sylvester – bass
Mark Karan – guitar
Chris Robinson – guitar, vocals
Neal Casal – guitar
Niki Bluhm – vocals
Barry Sless – pedal steel guitar
Barry Melton – guitar
Snooky Flowers – sax