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Review of Amoebapalooza Berkeley at The Night Light, Oakland - January 12th, 2014

Posted by Billyjam, January 13, 2014 11:57am | Post a Comment

You know how big music festivals like the Warped Tour, Lollapalooza, or Rock The Bells always have different stages presenting different acts for concert goers to choose from? Well last night's Bay Area Amoeba Music annual music festival/staff party event, which takes its name from the aforementioned Lollapalooza, also had two different stages but at two different clubs on both sides of the Bay Bridge presenting Amoebapalooza 2014.

These events, one at Brick & Mortar in San Francisco and the other at The Night Light in Oakland, offered up a richly diverse night of entertainment for both East Bay and West Bay peeps. Since I missed out on the SF event, opting instead to head down to the Jack London Square area Oakland venue for the evening, I will be anxious to read about Amoebapalooza San Francisco 2014 here on the Amoeblog in the coming days. Meantime let me tell you about last night's Night Light East Bay Amoebapalooza: it was Fun with a capital F, and all for no cover at the door. Unlike the SF show it did not offer a non-stop parade of bands but rather a nicely balanced night with just two bands (both high caliber), a DJ (excellent), and a stand-up comedian (really good), complimentary pizza and tasty cupcakes baked by former Amoebite Ryan, plus prizes that nearly everyone in the house was lucky enough to win.

The sound selecta of the evening was the ever-talented DJ Halo who the night before had rocked the Legionnaire Saloon's ongoing Future Shock party along with Marc Stretch and Saurus. Halo promised an "open format" and delivered a great set throughout the night including a lot from his own label's catalog - Fake Four Inc. The first band on stage was the impressively tight Amoeba Berkeley staff assembled band The Senile Men (and one woman) who rocked it and, despite a limited set, managed to deliver straight up head-shaking rock and some nice experimental noise style music (extra points for best incorporation of a Theremin in rock band I have ever heard). Next was Amoeba Berkeley staffer/midwest transplant/ stand up comedian Keith Swiggart whose laid-back, slow-rolling, self-effacing humor (including some very funny commentary on a Berkeley record store named after a certain bearded Russian historic figure) won over the crowd.

Last onstage was MUSK. They were amazing but I wished they had played longer. Featuring two former Amoebites, Brendon de Born Petrified (who is one seriously talented drummer) and Rob de Tractor Sex Fatality/Butcher Cover (who is an incredible singer and over the top charismatic front man who puts himself out there - literally as into the middle of his audience - and delivers 110% to his performance a la Iggy Pop in his heyday - rolling round on the floor, and grabbing a slice of pizza and eating it down between verses as the band rocked on), and a style that is blues-rock rooted styled proto punk in the 70's OZ punk tradition (The Saints and especially The Scientists) and/or aforementioned Iggy and The Stooges type with lots of other flourishes too. Why these guys are not huge already is beyond me. It was kinda dark in the club last night but I shot some basic video that I edited together (see below) to give you a slightly better idea of Amoebapalooza East Bay 2014. And check back here on Amoeblog for more on both 2014 Bay Area Amoebapaloozas.

       

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East Bay (4), Keith Swiggart (1), Amoebapalooza (22), Dj Halo (1), The Senile Men (1), The Night Light (3), Musk (1), Amoeba Berkeley (61)