Bob Weir & Bill Frisell Join Wilco For Perfect Closing Set of Mount Tam Music Fest

Posted by Billyjam, September 19, 2016 05:06pm | Post a Comment

Longtime post-Americana alt rock faves Wilco finished their headlining set on Saturday (Sept. 17th) at Mount Tam's Sound Summit festival with an encore set that featured surprise guests Bob Weir and Bill Frisell. Guitar genius Frisell, who had done an earlier afternoon Guitar In The Space Age themed set at the Marin mountaintop festival, joined the headliners for two songs before the Grateful Dead member (who plays Amoeba Hollywood Sept 27) plugged in his guitar and joined all seven other musicians for "California Stars" and an inspired multi-guitar fueled rendition of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows." This closing to an already killer set by Wilco, their sixth Bay Area concert in the past two weeks, topped off a perfect day at the third annual music festival that also featured Los Lobos, The Stone Foxes, and Matt Jaffe  Long a hip-hop music fan rather than rock, admittedly I was not familiar with Wilco's music before attending Saturday's all day event at the 2000 foot altitude amphitheater. But en route up the winding Marin mountain drive to the concert I was accurately informed by a colleague that, "Wilco are the sort of band that even if you don't know their music, you'll immediately feel like you do!" Depending on your level of enthusiasm or your level of cynicism, that could be viewed as a good or bad thing. For me it was a good thing. But for Amoeba Wilco bio writer John Schacht not as much. "Churning out the most bland music ever made that people actually like," he wrote of the band but in reference more to their earlier work before they began to explore new musical directions, something I learned all about during Saturday's
satisfying show.

The Chicago based band formed 21 years ago and their current six-member lineup, including founding members Jeff Tweedy and John Stirratt, has remained constant for the past dozen years. The songs in the first part of their concert on Saturday, with the band's lush rich full sound coupled with singer/front man Tweedy's Dylan-ish vocals, reminded me not so much of Zimmerman senior but his son Jakob's band The Wallflowers. But before I could pigeon-hole Wilco's sound, they'd already shifted gears and smoothly morphed into some totally different sound. They went off on experimental musical tangent and did it well, then later they nailed a soaring acid rock guitar jam, and then later drifted off into country rock: a sound I learned that dates back to their Uncle Tupelo roots.

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UK Inmates Allowed String Guitars Thanks To Campaign Led By Billy Bragg

Posted by Billyjam, July 28, 2014 04:15pm | Post a Comment

Billy Bragg "A New England (live at Amoeba San Francisco: October 2013)"

As reported today by British media outlets including the NME (New Music Express) UK inmates will finally be allowed use of string guitars thanks to a campaign led by Billy Bragg and including such other musicians as Johnny Marr, Dave Gilmour, and Radiohead's Ed O'Brien and Philip Selway. The political campaign which was kick-started by Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan, with Bragg leading the musicians in the crusade for prisoners' rights, set about overturning the long-standing ban on steel-string guitars in British prisons. According to UK prison authorities, the guitar ban was based on fear of their parts being used as weapons. "This is a victory for common sense and I'm pleased after months of campaigning the UK Government has listened," said the Cardiff West MP upon hearing news of the lift of the ban.

"The power of music to help prisoners to rehabilitate is well documented. I started the campaign after prisoners wrote to me explaining how they had saved from their small prison wages to buy guitars and how therapeutic learning to play the guitar had been for them before the ban," added the MP. Billy Bragg noted upon news of the lifting of the ban that prisoners being allowed use of steel string guitars, "can really help the atmosphere on a prison wing." A long time champion of the underdog and with a history of fighting against civil injustices, Bragg founded the Jail Guitar Doors rehabilitation initiative to try and overthrow the ban against ban arguing that guitar playing helps greatly in the rehabilitation process of inmates.

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May Day 2014: Songs That Celebrate and Defend The Rights of Workers Everywhere

Posted by Billyjam, May 1, 2014 09:40am | Post a Comment
        Common a month ago doing a free show in support of workers at the Nissan car
        plant in Canton, Miss. who are pushing for a vote to organize as part of the UAW

In light of the ever increasing war being waged against unions and in turn the stripping of the basic rights of the working class in this country and elsewhere, this year's May Day (the internationally recognized day to celebrate and to defend the rights of workers everywhere from Modesto to Moscow) seems extra significant on this May 1st, 2014; perhaps even as significant as that very first mass US May Day protest back in 1886 when hundreds of thousands of disgruntled workers across the US, in a fight for an 8 hour work day, walked off their jobs in protest. Hence for this May Day I have assembled a selection of songs/videos that reflect the plight of struggling workers in a time when the gap between the rich controlling class and the rest of us gets wider and wider. 

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Billy Bragg & Wayne Kramer

Posted by Amoebite, January 7, 2014 04:32pm | Post a Comment

Billy Bragg

In the world of politically charged rock and roll, Billy Bragg and Wayne Kramer are iconic in their own right. The two musician/activists came together in 2009 to form Jail Guitar Doors, a non-profit organization that provides musical instruments and opportunities to help rehabilitate prisoners. Their name comes from a 1977 song by The Clash called "Jail Guitar Doors," which detailed the imprisonment of their hero, the MC5's Wayne Kramer.

Mr. Bragg and Mr. Kramer recently brought their Jail Guitar Doors show to Amoeba Hollywood. For their charity work, the two were presented with a certificate of recognition from the city of Los Angeles. Needless to say, they rocked the house. After their performance, the two sat down with our crew for another episode of What's In My Bag?.

Billy Bragg kicks off his "shit you can't find in England" list with Valerie June's Pushin' Against A Stone and Neko Case's The Worst Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. Kramer picks up some Jazz with Grant Green's Grantstand record and drops a fun fact about Grant's love for the classic B3 organ. The two have some great picks from Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series Vol. 10  to soulstress Merry Clayton's Best Of compilation to Cliff Martinez's Only God Forgives soundtrack. These are two cool guys, who on their own would have entertaining episodes, but we were lucky enough to get them together, making it a must see for any fan. Enjoy! 

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Amoeba SF & Berkeley's 10 Best In-Stores of 2013

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 20, 2013 07:52pm | Post a Comment
As we all know (because we're living the history as it's being made), the music industry has changed
best coast amoeba san francisco
Best Coast plays Amoeba SF
dramatically in the past decade and continues to do so rapidly. Everyone still loves music, but the concept of ownership, collecting, and procuring music is constantly evolving for all of us. No matter how you prefer to get music -- in the cloud, on vinyl or CD, downloaded -- one thing hasn't changed; the best way to experience music is live and in the flesh. The Experience of being part of a live performance, giving energy from the audience to the musician while they play their hearts out, can't be stored on any device. You just have to live it. We here at Amoeba Music consider it paramount to continue to provide live entertainment in our stores and keep Experience alive.

Amoeba San Francisco and Berkeley were particularly blessed with great in-store performances in 2013. From legends like Nik Turner, Billy Bragg, and Camper Van Beethoven to new faces on the scene like Lissie and Bastille, each and every show was a fantastic reminder of how thrilling live music can be.  It was daunting to have to pick just ten of these shows, but here they are in reverse chronological order...Amoeba SF and Berkeley's ten best in-stores of 2013!
-- Lee Ranaldo In-Store Guitar Clinic, 12/11/2013, San Francisco
Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo amazed and mystified the audience with nearly a half-hour of continuous guitar mastery, at the end of which he finally looked up and asked, "Any questions?" Lee was in town with his project Lee Ranaldo and the Dust.

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