Amoeblog

Vampire Weekend, Live Show at Amoeba SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 3, 2008 08:25pm | Post a Comment
reviewed by Katy St. Clair

It's not often that a band whose first album was only a day old can pack Amoeba to the gills for their in-store, but Vampire Weekend did it.


The store looked like the Fillmore, with a sea of faces all looking towards the four-piece band from New York. "It's a privilege to be here," said the singer, Ezra Koenig, somewhat shyly. The band was wearing the look of most young new "buzz bands" who haven't quite accepted the fact that they have made it yet—a naïve sweetness combined with an out and out thrilled exuberance.

We were seeing them at a choice time, a day after their first record was released, and on the same evening that they would be appearing on the David Letterman Show.

There are a lot of labels put on this band (another thing they are going to have to get used to). One is that they are "preppy," which is probably due to the fact that they all met at an Ivy League school, but, judging from the footwear of Koenig, who was wearing Docksiders, it could also be due to their personal style.


 They also get pegged with an African-Indie rock association, due to the intentional fact that their guitar is tuned to a key used in a lot of African music, something that Paul Simon and David Byrne have both used to great effect. (The music is actually nod to Congolese soukous music.) The band consider themselves "Upper West Side Soweto."


The band first launched into "Mansard Roof," the first track from their album. The song is jumpy and alive, and If there was one word that came to mind, well two words, really, they would be "tippie-toe."
The singer stood on his while he sang and played, bob-bobbing up and down, but lightly as if he didn't want to break the eggshells underneath. It took awhile for the crowd to loosen up, and even Koenig
noted that only one person was jumping up and down in the audience. Guess they aren't use to SF's famously stoic audiences.

His inquiry seemed to grease some wheels, however, and eventually the audience was verifiably raucous, singing and dancing along.

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Amoeba Music's Second Annual Art Show

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 30, 2008 03:28pm | Post a Comment

Friday, January 25th brought San Francisco a rain storm of biblical proportion. The incessant downpour superseded “dogs and cats” within the first few hours of daylight and went straight for much larger mammals – blue whales and pre-historic beavers? Believe me, it was bad.

Given that Californians aren’t known for their hardiness in torrential rains, it was a pleasant surprise – perhaps even an artistic triumph over nature – to find San Francisco’s sleek and urban Space Gallery packed that night with art connoisseurs, Amoeba employees, and friends for the Amoeba Music's Second Annual Art Show’s reception.

It’s apparent to anyone who has perused the stacks at any of Amoeba Music’s three locations that it’s much more than just a record shop. A friend of mine actually admitted that he refers to Amoeba as the “Wish Store” because he always finds whatever rarity it is that he’s been obsessing over. There is a magical aura of sonic wish fulfillment radiating from Amoeba, and the employees (from cashiers to managers and owners) are responsible for creating this musical wonderland on a daily basis.

It can be of no surprise that these same employees possess multiple talents beyond mastery of arcane musical knowledge. The 112 works on display at the Space Gallery from January 22nd through 26th proved that the staff is a formidably gifted team. The selection offered a wide range of formats, emotions, and influences, as well as levels of experience -- a variety befitting a cross section of the Amoeba crew.

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Brandi Shearer's show, last night: a rainy Sunday in SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 28, 2008 01:08pm | Post a Comment

Well, holy shit. I got to go out to a show last night. Did Hell freeze over?

I mean, "It was a dark and stormy night ..."

As some of you know, I don't get out much. Too very chronically sick, too very tired, too very many things that make it impossible to travel across town - much less across the bay. I mean, damn, maybe if we had something more like the Paris Metro instead of the wallet-breaking Bart (see bart.gov, out of towners, see the pathetic the bit of land it covers, down Market Street or Mission Street as if the rest of the city doesn't exist - and see the prices one pays for such paltry service.)

I could make my way around, with decent public transportation if it existed. Erm, most days.

But even the beloved and precious to me Paris Metro couldn't do a thing about the fact that I feel constantly as if I'm first day out of the hospital after a long stay for serious pneumonia. I'm quick to exhaust, wobbly baby deer legs, you name it. But I have a big brother who loves music.

My big brothers Kevin and Brian were instrumental in where I ended up today. Yes, I spent my childhood with a transistor radio glued to my ear, running it up the AM and FM in search of anything, which back then meant pure magic like Gladys Knight & The Pips. But it was my brothers' voluminous collection of vinyl records that brought me above what was easily found on the radios. Lest I forget, I am eternally grateful to my beautiful sister Jill who introduced me to the B-52's when I was 11, and my brother Scott who brought to me gems like Madman Across the Water, and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy from Elton John. I eventually graduated to a clock radio which was heavier to hold against my head but did sound better, and a bit later on had my own turntable and a generous donation of vinyl spanning big band jazz LPs, Tom Jones 45s on the Parrot label ... to Jesus Christ Superstar from my beloved Godmother, Aunt Helen.

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David Lynch says .... Au Revoir Simone

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 26, 2008 12:41pm | Post a Comment
I'm an absolute nut fan when it comes to David Lynch. This thrilled me to no end:


Au Revoir Simone, performing live on the Amoeba Haight Street Stage, Sunday.

Yes, tomorrow - Sunday January 27th, at 2pm in the afternoon.


Free and all ages. That's how we do it.

Thank you Mr. Lynch for your mind, and thank you for sharing it with us.

Orgone - Live Friday night at Elbo Room

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 23, 2008 07:41pm | Post a Comment

LA's Orgone, easily one of the funkiest up-and-coming combos around, have received a fair share of publicity lately, enjoying comparisons to hot modern funk acts such as Sharon Jones and Amy Winehouse.

While the band is clearly rooted at the backbone of the modern funk sound, what makes Orgone's sound unique is that it draws as much from disco and afro-beat as it does from Memphis soul and New Orleans funk.


The results definitely shine through on their monstrous full length debut on Ubiquity Records, The Killion Floor. The album contains a solid collection of heavy hitting, organic soul grooves, including a stellar version of "Funky Nassau" and a killer cover of Isaac Hayes' "Do Your Thing," which feature the sultry vocals of Fanny Franklin.

Orgone's reputation has been growing steadily, as evident on their impressive resume that includes touring as the backing band for The Pharcyde and Plantlife, and backing the legendary Eddie Bo at the Hurricane Katrina benefit. Some of the band members have also performed and recorded with such acts as Breakestra, Dakah (the 30-piece hip hop orchestra), as well as The Lions and Connie Price.

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