The only regret I had after Sunday night's amazing Amoebapalooza at the Mezzanine in SF was that I hadn't managed to attend any of the previous years Amoebapaloozas. Amoebapalooza is what we call the yearly concert event in which Amoebites (Amoeba staffers) get up on stage and perform their music, some with officially formed bands and others with groups that form primarily for this anticipated annual event.
Amoebapalooza North '09, which combined Amoebites from both the SF and Berkeley stores, offered amazing musicianship from a richly diverse array of artists who not only killed it on stage but did so in tightly paced, abbreviated sets, and with the quickest set changes between bands that I have ever witnessed.
Be sure to keep an eye on the Amoeba website, including the Amoeblog, and also the Amoeba Flickr site, over the next several days for more reviews and photos of Sunday night's event. Everyone who attended this year's blast was clearly having a really good time! "This year by bringing the two stores together we stepped up our game and it really paid off," commented Amoeba marketing/promotions point person Naomi, who was instrumental in putting on Amoebapalooza, scheduling it at the wonderful downtown San Francisco nightclub. "Having it this year at an excellent venue like Mezzanine, with its top notch sound system really helped showcase the talent that we have at Amoeba," she noted.
And talent there was aplently, in all styles/genres of music, flowing effortlessly throughout the night. Running a little late to make the 8pm kick off and having to cut out early to make the last BART back to the East Bay, I unfortunately missed several of the bands, but, with just under 20 booked for the whole night, I still managed to check out a large percentage of them. And they were all great.
I think it was that everyone was just doing it out of love for the music and with no goal but to have fun, hella fun -- that's why the night's performances all worked so well with the crowd. Plus, as Naomi mentioned, Mezzanine's state-of-the-art sound system, including an impressive mixing console operated by professional engineers, helped highlight every instrument and mic. Additonally, the club offers two big video screens relaying what is happening onstage.
One of the many bands of the night was Erica Jong featuring Amoebite Marty Dowers of Subtle fame, who played on keyboards (not his usual instrument), and three other members, including his sister on drums. The White Stripes inspired male / female Amoebite duo the $helbyville $helbyvilllains, featuring seasoned multi-instrumentalist Josh Pollock (who I know from Six Eye Columbia, and most recently saw interviewing Elvis Costello at Amoeba) on guitar & vocals, and drummer Kaitlin Layher, both in White Stripes color coordinated red tops, totally killed it. Pollock wailed on guitar, working the effects like a monster, while percussionist Layher seriously rocked the beat (all the more impressive upon later finding out that this was her stage debut).
Out Demons offered a surf guitar flavored slab of sweet hard rock n roll. And the onstage hosts, including Jonasty and the duo of Batags! (aka Technophilia Amoeblogger Mike Bee) and the sharpest dressed man of the night, EL-S (aka Luis the SF Amoeba hip-hop buyer), were entertaining, informative, and more importantly, kept the night moving at an amazingly fast pace considering almost all of the 18 bands scheduled would play.
The set changes were impressively rapid. For example, after 40 Love wowed the crowd with their hip-hop set, the Polaroid Babies (in cool wigs), who effortlessy worked the Bratmobile tip, were on stage, set up and ready to go with maybe a two minute interruption. Wow! All in all, a hella fun night. Can't wait til next year. Meanwhile, check out the SF bands' Amoebapalooza wrap up with tons of pics right here! Check back here on the Amoeba website over the week ahead for the Berkeley bands' wrap up, and feel free to hit up the Amoeba flickr site for more of Amoebapalooza North 2009.