Sure, I can get my karaoke kicks elsewhere. And KJ Paul will find a new home for his KJ-ing. But there was something truly special about Wednesday nights at El Rio with KJ Paul. He brought every type of person into one room mid-week to belt their hearts out. There were no barriers, no stage – just a space and a microphone and everyone crowded around you.
I didn’t do karaoke before I found KJ Paul. I thought it was stupid. I thought it was scary. Then one night in 2011 I found myself in El Rio with a bunch of new friends, and I found a new confidence along with a home where we would all come together every week and not give a shit. There were also always the fixtures, who I think of as KJ Paul All-Stars. These people are pictured below and are just a few of the characters that made this night so special, whether it was with their impressive chops, their erratic dance moves, or just their natural charisma. El Rio on Wednesdays was a community of friends and strangers who all found their happy place singing along with KJ Paul, and it will be missed by many.
I got tipped off to see John Moreland last night at Thee Parkside by a friend who saw him at Stagecoach last weekend. My friend had to see him again. I’m glad I came along. His powerful and beautifully poetic lyrics melted out of him. Watching John Moreland was mesmerizing. He sang of his truths and sadness and Tulsa, OK, and of a home he no longer called home. An exciting discovery, and hopefully a musician who will continue to glow in the limelight he deserves (but doesn’t seem to want or care about). Listen to his whole new album, High on Tulsa Heat, and hear it for yourself.
[Photo by Michelle Crosby]
Timbuk2 have been pumping bags out of their Mission factory for 25 years, and tomorrow night they officially open their Factory Store to the public, on the corner of Shotwell and 20th Street. The free party starts at 6pm and features fine entertainment like a Skeeball Tournament (from Joey The Cat), a live Polka cover band called Polkalicious, local beer, drunk factory tours, raffles, discounted stuff and way more!
While this is a free event you do need to RSVP on facebook to get in, so go to the event page to do that.
Tonight at Brick and Mortar check out their monthly FREE party Wood Shoppe featuring three pretty cool Bay Area punk bands Culture Abuse, Scraper, and Never Young!
Sneaking peeks into The Shop Barbershop from inside Dirty Pigeon Clothing, at the corner of Potrero and 24th. They have been around since 2013, but I finally made my way in to see their well-designed hoodies, shirts, starter jackets and hats with cool pigeons on them. Mission Local did a brief interview with shop owner Ron Perez, which you can check out here for more info on/photos of the shop. Or just go and visit the shop for yourself.
Tomorrow night is Wood Shoppe SF‘s 3 Year Anniversary show at Brick and Mortar! Wood Shoppe SF is a free music series held on the first Tuesday of every month, that seems to continuously be presenting the next best thing in music. Tomorrow night’s show follows in that pattern, featuring the smooth, electro-soul sounds of Astronauts, Etc, the SF debut of 90s-R&B-influenced indie-soul artist Caroline Smith, “romantic funk” with Harriet Brown, plus a DJ set by Trails and Ways. Should be a very fun night of FREE music!
Formerly the pop-up eatery within Sugarlump on 24th St, Sous Beurre Kitchen will be opening its own doors to the public this Thursday, Feb 5th. The brand new space, located at 2704 24th St, near Potrero Ave, will serve Southern French cuisine with main dishes like Dungeness Crab Bouillabaisse, Confit Pheasant Leg and Bavette Steak. The á-la-carte menu price point will be between $8-$26 according to the owner, but this may vary depending on the seasonal menu. There will also be a prix-fixe tasting menu available.
When I asked if they’ll be bringing back the popular $1 oyster Wednesdays with $4 sparkling wine like they had at Sugarlump, the answer was a potentially optimistic “maybe.” But let’s not get our hopes up just yet.
Sous Beurre Kitchen will be open for dinner Mondays-Saturdays.
[photo via SBK’s facebook]
So much for sparing the air… This fire has been raging at the Sketcher’s building at the corner of Mission & 22nd street since about 6:30pm, and it’s now close to 8pm and seems to only be getting larger.
The fire appears to be centered on the building on the Northwest corner of 22nd and Mission, which houses Popeye’s. The Sketchers building seems to be safe at the moment, thanks to the efforts of the SFFD.
SF Gate reports that 6 people have been injured and that 1 person has been killed. Besides Popeye’s, the building was also a residence for dozens of families. The SFFD was able to rescue several people trapped there, but the fire is still raging at this time as they continue to work to contain it.
I hadn’t been out to El Rio for KJ Paul Karaoke in a few months, so when I went last night my mind was blown. KJ Paul has seriously upped his game by adding in multiple wild disco lights and a fog machine, which makes singing feel way cooler than it already is. And if you’re nice to him he may even give you the remote to blast the fog freely. So fun.
Last night I had the privilege to catch Angel Olsen‘s sold out solo show at The Chapel. I have been following her music for a while, and while her most recent album Burn Your Fire For No Witness leans more towards being a rock album with a full band (and it’s really good), her slower acoustic songs have always been my favorite, and this concert was solely those songs and possibly solo versions of new songs, too. The most enchanting part of Angel Olsen’s music is her shockingly booming and haunting voice, and you get to hear it in its full glory when it’s just her and her guitar. She sat there quite still, strumming and singing, and these explosive waves of song would sneak out of her. Props to the Chapel also for creating the beautiful, magical lighting that went with the music so perfectly. A lovely, rainy Tuesday night…
This Sunday night, San Francisco’s own Diana Gameros will be opening for Argentine singer-songwriter Sofia Rei at The Addition (formerly Yoshi’s SF, located at 1330 Fillmore St). These two extremely talented Latin vocalists on one night is going to be such a treat for lovers of beautiful songwriting, passionate vocals and intricate arrangements that blend everything from jazz to folk to traditional Latin music. Originally from Juarez, Mexico, Diana Gameros delightfully mixes her musical heritage with a fresh, whimsical indie infusion, that’s just so darn beautiful to listen to. Gameros also just received the 2014 Emerging Leader Award from the Chicana/Latina Foundation for her music and activism. She is truly an artist worth supporting.
You can listen to Diana’s full length album, Eterno Retorno, on her bandcamp.
So come on out, here are the details:
Show: Sofia Rei plus Diana Gameros
When: Sunday, Nov 16, 7pm (doors at 6pm)
Where: The Addition, 1330 Fillmore St., SF (formerly Yoshi’s SF)
Get Tickets: HERE!
There’s something comforting to me about a raspy-voiced man singing his heart out, and telling us small secrets of his life through his crackling words. It reminds me a lot of the hours I’ve spent driving long distances, and exploring strange rural places, and a feeling of bittersweet happiness. Hiss Golden Messenger are a folk-country-rock group from Durham, North Carolina fronted by M.C. Taylor, and listening to their songs evokes that feeling in me, even in my city apartment. Touring after releasing their latest album, Lateness of Dancers (Merge), they’ll be at the Independent tomorrow night, with opener Phil Cook of Megafaun.
Watch Hiss Golden Messenger’s video for “Mahogany Dread”
You can get your tickets here!
While perusing the CMJ best-of lists from the past week, I discovered this fun duo from LA. They’re called Girlpool and they play cool songs filled with constant harmonies and straight-forward lyrics. Looks like they played Brick and Mortar earlier in October, so hopefully they’ll be back soon. They’re also releasing an EP on Nov 18. For now, you can hear two of their songs on their bandcamp page from their split with Philly/LA-based Slutever.
There’s a band called Metacomet that live right here in the Mission, and they create ambient, soothing, experimental songs that will make your mind drift softly into space; I’d personally enjoy listening to them while on the moon. Hailing from the East coast originally, they blend dreamy guitars, synths and almost chilling vocals, which are even more powerful live. Earlier this month they released a brand new three-song EP called Say Goodnight, which you can listen to here.
The Violent Femmes are playing the Fillmore tomorrow night for what I believe is their first SF show in a long time. After a long hiatus, they went back on tour together last year – they played Coachella this spring, as well as BottleRock Festival in Napa in 2013 (which I saw and was so good), but this will be their first San Francisco proper gig in recent history. You can get tickets and info here. Also, to get yourself pumped up for the show, watch Violent Femmes play “Add It Up” in 1988.
In a shady nook at the Porch Stage (the best stage) this weekend at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass fest, I was impressed by a soulful rock band from Detroit called Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, who were perfectly described as “think Gwen Stefani meets Amy Winehouse” (thanks Ty). She had all the 90s fashion spunk of Gwen, and the sexy dark retro vibe of Amy, and a powerful voice and dance moves to match it. Behind Jessica was a band of young guys, including a trombonist, playing upbeat and highly danceable music. The crowd went wild for them, and they even made an older drunk couple grind erotically. FUN!
Listen to them here.
Another highly honorable mention of the day was 21-year-old Oklahoma native Parker Millsap, who played soulful, crooning ballads that were brought to energetic life with his honky tonky band and his rockabilly moves. Check him out!
Tomorrow is the Bay Area Record Fair at Thee Parkside – Should be fun!
I’m going to tell you a secret: last night was my first time ever going to The Fillmore.
And seeing English psych-rock band Temples, with opening band Wampire (Portland), seemed quite appropriate, as the groovy light/bubble show oozed behind the stage. The only thing is that it made me wish I was 1) on drugs, and 2) actually seeing one of the many original bands that Temples’ sound replicates (Byrds, The Doors, etc). Something about the whole experience seemed like a 60s Psychedelic Rock Revue. Once I got over that, it was a good time.
Things I was told to be excited about at the Fillmore:
a) Bucket of Apples to eat – Check!
b) Poster Room – Check!
I am definitely not the first person to notice this exciting Bay Area based pop-rock band, but I stumbled into the last three songs of Yassou Benedict’s show last night at Bottom of the Hill, and holy crap! They are good. They look good. But really they blew me away with a mere glimpse of their live show. They reminded me of a harder version of the XX, with a heavier post-rock sound and energy. I’m glad they moved here from Upstate New York, so we can call them our own, and hopefully catch the next show in its entirety very soon.
I do! Last night I checked out local crooning singer-songwriter DonCat at the Chapel Bar for free. It’s a tucked away stage with only a few prime seats for real listening, but great if you’re just wanting an atmosphere to have a drink and listen to some pleasant background tunes. Either way, you can’t really go wrong. And if you hate it, you can leave – no dollars lost!
Next free shows in the Chapel Bar:
Tue, Sep 23: Cello Joe
Tue, Sep 30: Local Label Series feat. Do Not Disturb Records artist FRONDS
Hopefully more to come soon.