Legendary Shoegaze Band Ride Reunite to Play The Warfield

Ride  will be in between playing the first and second weekends of Coachella when they headline The Warfield this Monday, April 13th. Earlier this year, shoegaze fans had their hearts skip a beat with the news of a Ride reunion tour. Formed in Oxford, England, Ride’s blend of melodic noise led the quiet charge of the shoegaze music scene in the 90s.

Their first album, Nowhere, is hailed as one of the defining albums of the shoegaze movement – much to the one-time denial of guitarist Andy Bell, who has shrugged off the label of “shoegaze” in the past. Label or not, the band’s reunion also promotes a reissue of OX4, a retrospective of some of the best Ride tracks.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Bell shed some light on what sparked the idea of a Ride reunion. “The interest mainly came from America at first. I’d like to thank them for that – and also for reclaiming ‘shoegazing’ and turning it into a positive. It became the American term for the genre and they didn’t use it as a pejorative,” Bell said.

As with all reunion shows, I’m sure all of the die-hards have copped their tickets, but this show is surprisingly not sold-out yet. Here are some more details:

Ride, Eagulls, DJ Jamie Jams
The Warfield
April 13, 2015
7pm, $35-45 (all ages)

Originally published on The Bay Bridged on Apr. 8, 2015.


Palma Violets Headlining Rickshaw Stop Tonight

After a raucous SXSW performance that ended with being dramatically dragged off stage, the UK’s Palma Violets are hopefully bringing that reckless attitude back to San Francisco. The South London band are headlining tonight at Rickshaw Stop ahead of the release of their second album, Danger In The Club. The band have been in hiding over the past year where they’ve been writing and recording more of their garage rock sound.

Having been catapulted from obscurity to being on the cover of NME in late 2012, Palma Violets took the UK indie rock scene by storm. Before getting signed by Rough Trade Records, the band relied heavily on having their sweaty energetic sets speak for themselves rather than promoting their music through social media. It worked. Palma Violets released their debut, 180, a vicious, jagged garage rock collection of songs that resonate more for their energy than lyrical prowess. The fresh-faced under-25-somethings that make up Palma Violets (Will Doyle, Sam Fryer, Chili Jesson, and Pete Mayhew. Doyle, Dryer, Jesson, and Mayhew) know better than most how to have a good time on stage and play off of one another’s energies perfectly. Oh, to be young!

Check out the video for Palma Violet’s new single, from the upcoming album of the same name, “Danger In The Club” below and catch them at Rickshaw Stop tonight!

Palma Violets, The Tet Holiday
Rickshaw Stop
March 24, 2015
7:30pm, $15

Originally published on The Bay Bridged on Mar. 24, 2015.


2:54, Honeyblood Play Rickshaw Stop Tomorrow Night

The sisters Thurlow of 2:54 are back with a follow-up to their critically-acclaimed debut album. The London duo released The Other I last year and are currently on their first U.S. headlining tour, making a stop at Rickshaw Stop this week with Honeyblood and K. Skelton.

In 2011, 2:54 supported bands like  Warpaint, The xx, Wild Beasts, and others while supporting and collecting fans of their moody lyrics (and look) and atmospheric sound around the world. The Other I is the Thurlow sisters, emboldened. The production quality on tracks like the hauntingly beautiful “Blindfold”  is a notable improvement and the band’s detail-oriented approach is stellar. Lyrically improvements and a slightly darker edge than before had me take an immediate like to the new album.

Opening for 2:54 are Scottish duo Honeyblood. Also hailing from the UK, these two ladies are known for their minimal set-up and catchy songs. A personal favorite is “Super Rat,” an ode to all the big fishes in the little ponds who are probably not very modest about being so. I’m really just automatically a fan of a song that can make the line “You really do disgust me” into a fleshed out hook. Stina Tweeddale (vocals, guitar), and Cat Myers (drums) are more than just indie pop hits, with notable tracks like “I’d Rather Be” having folk elements woven in. Honeyblood is still rolling off the success of their debut album released last year and came up as critics’ darlings — popping up on lots of last year’s year-end lists.

Check out the video for “Blindfold” by 2:54 below, where empty public transit stations have never looked cooler. Cop your tickets to this show already!

2:54, Honeyblood, K. Skelton
Rickshaw Stop
March 11, 2014
8pm, $15 (all ages)

Originally published on The Bay Bridged on Mar. 10, 2015.


Afternoon Tea at Tout Sweet in San Francisco

Like most people, I find the weekends to be a good excuse to indulge in dessert…or a burger and fries, or a burger, fries, and dessert. But a Tuesday afternoon trip for tea and pastries seemed like a great way to break-up the week. Major apologies to my dentist! The clean and open environment of Tout Sweet, the pâtisserie opened by chef Yigit Pura in downtown San Francisco, was the perfect place to settle in for tea time.

Tout Sweet has an enviable pastry case filled with macarons in creative flavors like Tahitian Vanilla Bean, Salted Caramel Buttercream, Sicilian Pistachio, and Earl Grey Tea, just to name a few. Several different flavors piqued our curiosity, so we took a long time choosing. The 5th Element was the show-stopper of the afternoon. I couldn’t believe the amount of deliciousness packed into this small off-white dome of a pastry. What is the 5th Element? A rich yet light, flavorful yet delicate, dessert of Vanilla Bean Genoise cake layered with raspberry cream, fresh raspberries, and oolong tea-infused white chocolate mousse. Amazing!

In addition to inventive desserts, Tout Sweet also offers savory breakfast items as well as impressive cakes for special events. We got a beautiful view of San Francisco’s Union Square, great service, refreshing citrus herbal tea, and forkfuls of pastries all in one afternoon. Irene and I left Tout Sweet feeling totally satisfied with our afternoon indulgence!

Feeling inspired by Yigit Pura’s creative desserts? Get inventive in your own kitchen with a copy of Sweet Alchemy, available now.

Originally published on the Chronicle Books Blog on Oct. 14, 2014.


Interview: Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian

(Left to right: Serge Pizzorno, Tom Meighan of Kasabian)

UK band Kasabian first came into my memory after watching Lord Don’t Slow Me Down, the 2005 documentary that followed Oasis on tour. I became enraptured with their energetic rock-songs-with-a-dance-vibe. It was perfect music to run to. And then I saw them live. It was in 2012, during their Velociraptor! tour of the US and I was blown away. Sure, I had already watched YouTube videos of their live performances, but seeing the damn thing right in front of you is a different story. Kasabian’s latest album is 48:13, a more-stretched out, experimental effort that picks up where Velociraptor! left off. Now it’s the end of 2014, and once again I found myself humbled and lucky enough to interview someone who makes music that I deeply admire. Serge Pizzorno is the guitarist, songwriter, and part-time singer of Kasabian, and I got to interview him, y’all.

Q: How was it playing Glastonbury earlier this year?

Serge: It was amazing. The weekend previously we played a huge homecoming show in Leicester where we’re all from. Sort of like, 2000 people and half of those were like family and friends. And it was an unbelievable day, sort of life-changing. And then the week leading up we had a few gigs and then Glastonbury arrived. And we closed the festival, headlining on a Sunday night. And it’s a huge honor, you know. I mean, I don’t know, it was just sort of like…incredible, y’know? I’ve never really felt anything quite like it. I don’t think I’ve come down yet, I still think I’m lost in the universe. But yeah, it was an amazing time.

Q: Kasabian has played so many big shows. What was special about Glastonbury?

Serge: I suppose the history. There’s definitely something about the area where it is. The grass, the soil, the trees around the area…there’s an amazing energy. And the Pyramid Stage is really iconic. And you know they’ve been putting on the festival for nearly 30 years now, which is sort of amazing. We’re really honored to be a part of that now. You know I have the poster [of Glastonbury], I rarely keep any posters.

Q: Describe the collaborative energy you have with Tom Meighan, on-stage and off.

Serge: For me, it’s kind of come later on or rather early on. I sort of enjoyed playing but I never really gave myself to it. I don’t know if it was nerves or…I very much loved the studio where I could produce and write and that was kind of where I always wanted to be. And we always had such a great time and I suppose, I don’t know, I can’t put my finger on it but there was one gig a few years ago where I sort of let go. And sort of enjoyed it so much more. Maybe I’ve given less of a fuck for lack of a better term, you know what I mean? [Laughs] And I feel like when people are watching you it’s an amazing sort of connection, someone watching from the front of the stage and they see someone who is there, and you’re not trying to be cool or anything. Just sort of there to have a great time. All of a sudden, you give that energy to everyone else, and they’re like “Oh! This is gonna be great! We’re going to have a great night!” from the start. I’ve learned so much from being on stage with Tom. I think, for me, I’m obviously biased. He’s kind of, he’s so unique, so amazing. In our generation, I don’t really think there’s anyone else that can keep up. He’s sort of, the best there is. He’s a unique person. There’s only one Tom. You can say that about a lot of people but in his case there really is only one in the world.

Q: Kasabian has such a unique stage presence, it’s evident you guys aren’t trying to hard and genuinely are having a good time.

Serge: You can only be yourself on stage. There are certain bands that will go on stage and that’s their thing. But it will be powerful and really strong. There are certain bands that don’t say a thing [on stage] and they are trying to hard. You just have to be yourself. And you can see through it. And someone like David Bowie, he always needs to get into character to get where he needs to be on stage and he would create these characters—but [the characters] are him. That’s so him. And that’s how he would do it. So we all have our own ways of getting there.

Q: There is an interesting nomenclature on 48:13. A lot of the songs are spelled with lowercase letters and alternative spellings. What inspired this?

Serge: Yeah, yeah. From the outset, we wanted to keep everything direct. So using one word for the title and musically, stripping away layers and lyrically as well. And sort of getting in with the artwork. We weren’t trying to be cool in any way, and it’s not cool, it’s just that record and the spirit of making that record is the sum of all it’s parts. It’s only a thing called that. If we had given it a name, it wouldn’t have felt true to the message. In some ways, it doesn’t make it easy for people. I’ve sort of come to realize that we’ve not made it easy for people to understand [Kasabian] because we move off in so many different directions. We tend to release songs with weird spellings. And in this day and age, weirdly enough, they’re not accepting of that. They want everything very easy to understand. We don’t really follow any of that. Musically, we are a rock band, but then now and again, we’re not so. Certain radio stations get confused and they’re like “Is this rock? Or is this dance? I’m so confused. We can’t play it. It doesn’t make any sense.” I think that’s what makes us us. I think, eventually, over time, people will probably appreciate that. It will just take a while.

Q: Definitely. There is so much saturation in music today that people seem repelled by bands that are not the norm or not as easy to digest.

Serge: What I’m really excited about when we come to America. Obviously we travel with a huge load of baggage because we’ve been around for a fair bit of time and you know, you hear stories from back home, and there are not necessarily the facts. And the message is not positive, you know. So you kind of pick up things in America about our band and maybe people form an opinion that’s kind of based on a few sort of lazy-bits of writing. And when you get here and you play these shows and again, it’s sort of direct, straight-to-your-ear or your eye. And for us, it’s what we do, so anything you may have read it might be totally wrong. So at least this way we get a chance to sort of show you like, in the flesh, what it’s all about and what we’re kind of doing.

Q: I love the music video of “Bumblebeee” and “Eez-eh.” What inspires the sharp black and white, high contrast aesthetic?

Serge: Totally. I think it’s sort of a type of iconography. It’s always been our goal to create futuristic rock music. For me, hip hop and electronica have always been huge influences on what I do. You know, I’ve seen bands in leather jackets, quiffs, and motor bikes. And people like that because they can understand it. It comes from a place that they’re used to and that’s sort of always bored me. I always imagine what the Stones would look like now. They weren’t wearing sort of, like, clothes from the 1930’s or in the future.

Q: I also read online recently that you’re already thinking about the next Kasabian album.

Serge: The important word in that sentence is “thinking.” [Laughs] I’m excited about getting back in the studio. I have no idea if there will by any new music. I wish I knew the secret behind that. I do like to gather things when I’m on the road. I immerse myself on tour. I get as much information as I can and then when I get home, I’m sort of like.

Q: Do you have time to write on the road?

Serge: I keep voice memos on my phone. I have thousands of memos of tiny melodies, lyrics, and in the background you can hear traffic. They come to me at odd times, at nightclubs or in the supermarket so I’m sort of whispering words in the aisles and I don’t want people to think I’m mad.

Kasabian’s latest album is 48:13, and yes that’s named after how long the album’s running time is. The band are currently on tour in England.


Review: The Horrors @ The Fillmore

Photo by Paige K. Parsons

The Horrors have been playing music together for nine years. The band formed in England in 2005, and over the course of their four albums have gone from the punk-infused Strange House (2007) to the textured, layered sounds of Luminous (2014). It’s always interesting to see how different bands bring life to those layered, dream pop, and shoegaze-y songs on stage. Psychedelic synths and echo-y guitars have all the makings of falling flat and not connecting with the audience. At last night’s show at The Fillmore, The Horrors had it down to a dazzling spectacle of prismatic lights – all of the lights.

But before the rainbow light explosion of The Horrors took the stage, Moon Duo played a fantastic, thumping psychedelic set. Moon Duo, comprised of Erik “Ripley” Johnson of Wooden Shijps, Sanae Yamada, and newly-added drummer John Jeffrey, created a dark and pulsing mood with intricate shadow-like screen projections that wrapped the entire stage in a what looked like a black, bubbling, paisley flag. The band have just released Live in Ravenna on Sacred Bones Records in September, and are just as captivating on that record as they were on stage last night. Moon Duo’s drone-like rock felt especially ramped up with Jeffrey’s driving drums carrying a lot of the songs.

After Moon Duo cleared the stage, The Horrors took their respective spots: elaborate keyboard set-up, drum set-platform, and three Vox amps for the band’s guitarist, Joshua Hayward. The band opened with “Chasing Shadows,” the opening track off Luminous that warms up with a nearly-three minute intro into a soaring synth of a dance track.

Judging by the three-amp set up, it was strange how little guitar came through during most of the set. Lead singer Faris Badwan’s vocals also seemed lost in the haze, under the dominating layer of keyboard. It seemed to be the sound the band is going for. They had faith that the keyboard (much like Moon Duo’s drums) will carry their songs–and they did, with keyboardist Tom Cowan holding down the fort. The band primarily stuck with songs from Luminous and their previous album, Skying (2011) and played under a dazzling, beautiful light show…illuminating, if you will. Badwan played the part of mysterious, slightly intimidating frontman very well: tall, thin, unkempt hair, and leather jacket glued on for the whole set.

The Horrors closed out the set with a passionate rendition of “I See You” and returned with an encore of their current single, “So Now You Know,” before outdoing themselves with a sprawling  jammed-out version of “Moving Further Away,” and turning in for the night.

What was unfortunate about the show was how poorly-attended it was. Insert commentary about ticket prices at The Fillmore here, but last night’s poor attendance in particular could also be chalked up to that little game that happened or something. The Horrors, abreast of these developments, chimed in with Badwan telling the crowd something along the lines of “Congratulations about baseball.” Thanks, dude.

Originally published on The Bay Bridged on Oct. 17, 2014.


The Personal Notebooks of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis

When you’re equal parts book and music fan, it’s a special treat to speak to both interests at once. Enter So This is Permanence, a beautiful pale grey volume of Ian Curtis’s personal notebooks. It’s hard to not to feel a special connection reading through the intensely personal writings of one of the most enigmatic and influential songwriters of the 20th century.


So This Is Permanence contains never before seen handwritten lyrics, as well as a beautiful forward from Deborah Curtis. Deborah was widowed by Ian after he took his own life in 1980, leaving the world stunned that such a talented songwriter’s life ended in tragedy. “Seeing those manuscripts in his distinctive hand and in chronological order goes some way to explain the turmoil he felt. Those human issues and concerns will always be relevant; and although the poetry readily stands alone, his voice and the music that is Joy Division is there to be listened to and absorbed as one perfect body of work as intended,” wrote Deborah.


The book also includes a substantial introduction by writer Jon Savage, and an appendix featuring books from Ian’s library and a selection of fanzine interviews, letters, and other ephemera from his estate.

Originally published on the Chronicle Books Blog on Oct. 16, 2014.


Coming to the Bay: The Horrors

There is a sort of judgmental satisfaction when a band’s name matches their looks. I’m guilty of practicing this. The Horrors are an indie rock band from the UK that weaves synth-laden melodies with ease. The five-piece band’s look is broody, wide-eyed, pale, unblinking guys in all shapes and sizes, donning black from head-to-toe or some kind of sharp red and blue contrast.

While they look like art goths (that’s a thing, right?), their sound is far from what art goths or regular goths probably really get into. In fact, The Horrors are known for evolving their sound with each of their albums. Released in May of this year, Luminous is the band’s fourth studio album and it’s a pulsing, and, uh, illuminating album.

Luminous is a very close sister to the band’s last album, Skying –it’s the same electronic breathless moving beats and the same haunting-voice melodies of lead singer Faris Badwan. The songs on Luminous are deep and entrench the listener into nearly 8-minute songs like “I See You.” Rather than being a sleepy track, the song gains and climbs and captures the essence of a band like The Horrors. After hitting some bumps in the road with touring, The Horrors will be playing The Fillmore this Thursday, October 16th.

The Horrors, Moon Duo
The Fillmore
October 16th, 2014
7pm, $23

Originally published on The Bay Bridged on October 15th, 2014.


Interview: Perfume Genius Likes Being More In-Your-Face

Perfume Genius is just as charming during our phone interview as I had hoped. The solo project of Seattle-native Mike Hadreas, Perfume Genius is having a moment. The release of his third album, Too Bright, threw a flurry of attention towards the chamber pop artist’s moody palette of songs. The album is being called one of the year’s best and rightfully so. Too Bright is a gut-punching stallion that shines a light on Hadreas’s talent. Single “Queen” covers the reality of gay panic and homophobia and remains dark, sexy, funny, emotional. Too Bright has got range too, it covers ground that Perfume Genius hasn’t explored before musically while still paying homage to his earlier work. Learning (2010) and Put Your Back N 2 It (2012) were collections of emotion-driven singer-songwriter tracks sewn together from life experiences. Where his previous two albums were beautifully emotional, they stood in the corner of the room. Too Bright is a shining, translucent dome in the center of the room. Perfume Genius is occupying a space in music that is newly blossoming into whatever Hadreas would like it to be. Perfume Genius is currently on tour and will be stopping at The Independent on 10/21. I was excited to speak to Hadreas and find out more about his music, the way he works, and, of course, his views on astrology.

TBB: I was a big fan of Put Your Back N 2 It and your new album, Too Bright, is being called a radical change for you. What changed in recording Too Bright?

What’s strange, I think, about it is, how deliberate it all was. Originally, that’s how I wanted it to be. It felt important and therapeutic to, even if I wasn’t completely there yet, to make the music more badass. To make the presentation more direct and in-your-face. But it didn’t’ take long for me to just feel that way. You know? I think a lot of that was cause the first music I started writing was, when I was trying to for this album [Too Bright], was still very slow and soft and there’s nothing wrong with that. I still really like my songs better like that. And there’s even still songs on this new album that are more quiet and tender. In some ways, it wasn’t doing the trick for me. I’ve always thought of my music as sort of a weird therapy. And the therapy I needed was to sort of say what I really wanted to say, and sing at people.

TBB: Do you think being more direct and in-your-face on Too Bright is related to the success of the album?

I think so. And in simple ways, too. I sing about darker and strange, messed up things on the first couple of albums but the music beneath it was pleasant. And now when I’m singing something filthy or nasty, the music is just filthy and nasty….And people like loud stuff. And I think I used to be sort of defensive about my old music because I know it’s quiet or whatever, but what I had to say wasn’t and it would frustrate me that people would think it lost some kind of strength just because I wasn’t yelling what I had to say at people. But I don’t know if that album is rebelling against that.

TBB: The video for the first single, “Queen,” has a lot of duality in it: it’s dark, it’s emotional, it’s sexy. What is the significance of duality in your music?

In a lot of ways, it’s just what I like. When I watch movies I like when things are disturbing and funny at the same time. I like it when horror movies will have something that’s awful and disgusting but they’ll also have a weird funny moment. And I like it when things are kind of complicated like that. They usually sit with me longer and I think about them afterwards. So and in my videos, I like having some fun things…like a bunch of baby pigs but then there are some more dead serious moments in the video too.

TBB: You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you won’t stop addressing topics like gay panic and homophobia in your music which makes you influential to kids who are questioning their sexuality. Who do you ideally make music for? Who do you want to listen to your music?

Oh, I guess just anyone who needs it. I think that’s the danger when I’m specific and direct. People think I’m being very specific and direct and only talking to one group of people. And that’s not what I mean and what I want. Anybody that needs to listen to [my music], can. I didn’t grow up only listening and responding, and being moved by gay men. Well because, number one, there’s only like, four. [Laughs] You know? So I like that people could listen to weird…Gay kids in the suburbs could 100% relate to my music, but that’s just not how it works. I listen to a lot of women…like a lot of badass feminist music growing up and I was as equally inspired by that. I’m hoping that people will understand how much overlap there is with outsider-ness and feeling very different [from other people].

TBB: Tell me about how working with Adrian Utley from Portishead influenced Too Bright.

I made pretty fleshed out demos for all the songs but I’m technically not a very capable musician in a lot of ways. So I think he really responded to where I was trying to go with a lot of sounds I had on my demo….So without really having to talk to him too much, he knew where to go in the studio to get that sound. And beyond just him being technically more capable, he knew. I knew he would scared to be as dark and weird as I wanted to be so that was a bonus too.

TBB: Do you find any of those challenges when you’re playing shows?

Well I have other musicians on stage with me. [Laughs] And luckily all of them are a lot more knowledgeable than I am…and you know, I’m getting better at a lot of those things and then me and my boyfriend, I mean, we know about music, we know how to write music but we don’t know about like a lot of the machines and stuff like that but we’re slowly learning that…but my bandmates are all good at that stuff too.

TBB: What does the name Perfume Genius mean?

To be honest, it doesn’t mean anything. [Laughs] It was just something dumb. It was like the first words I thought of when I was filling out my MySpace profile a long time ago. People hate it. You don’t know how many tweets I get from people saying they hate my name!

I’ve always thought of my music as sort of a weird therapy. And the therapy I needed was to sort of say what I really wanted to say, and sing at people.

TBB: Really? There are a lot of really dumb band names out there but I really think Perfume Genius resonates with you and your music.

Oh, thanks. I also like the way the words look together…I might have picked something really serious and pretentious otherwise so…

TBB: You’ve battled drugs in the past and a lot of artists have addictive personalities that leads them to excess. Would you say that you still fall into that group of creative people?

Oh I do, I mean the thing is, even though I quit doing drugs and drinking, it doesn’t mean that I’m not an alcoholic or a drug addict, it just means that I’m one that doesn’t do those things anymore. But it still leaks into my daily life a lot. I’m very kind of manic when I’m writing. I rarely ever eat a regular amount of food. I kind of look at everything as [something that could] change the way I feel. Like, yesterday, I felt kind of nervous before the show so I took some Sudafed…and it made me feel zany and messed up. So I still have these kind of destructive and weird tendancies but luckily, I’m kind of—well, not kind of. I’ve completely let go of the two biggest, most harmful things.

TBB: What do you in your spare time?

To be honest, my favorite thing to do is to do nothing. When I have time off and my phone dies, I just leave it dead. And I just put that Netflix on and I just kick it at my house for days on end. That can snowball too but nights I look forward to the most are at home just doing absolutely nothing. But I do miss writing a lot.

TBB: Do you believe in astrology?

I do. And the answer is “why not?” I believe in it when I feel like it. [Laughs] When I feel like it doesn’t apply to me or their wrong—their wrong! But if I feel like it does, then I’ll take it. I’m a Libra and…My family member Tom, we’re always fighting because I believe in magic, and Gods and Goddesses and stuff like that and he doesn’t believe in any of that. So we’re always fighting about ghosts. But, it’s like a choice. I can’t prove it either way but it’s more fun and it’s more meaningful for me to think that way. Just like his way of thinking works for him.

Perfume Genius, Matteah Baim

The Independent

October 21st, 2014

8pm, $16-$18

Originally published on The Bay Bridged on Oct. 13, 2014.


Review: Temples, Wampire at The Fillmore

Photos by Jon Ching

Last night, Temples, Wampire, and Fever the Ghost played to a densely-packed but not-quite sold-out crowd at The Fillmore. Earlier this year, I saw Temples play a couple of shows at South by Southwest. They played outside of Waterloo Records, on a makeshift stage in parking lot, under a flimsy tarp, and where it also happened to be raining. And they didn’t sound like crap. I was colored impressed by the tight, heavy guitar, and catchy melodies from songs off of their debut album, Sun Structures. Temples has a sound that draws on the same 1960′s/1970′s rock revival that has been credited to bands like Tame Impala.

I’ll blame public transportation for only managing to catch the last 30 seconds of Los Angeles-based Fever the Ghost’s set. Next was Portland-based Wampire, one of those bands that I should have gotten into because they are on the same page as a lot of bands I already like (there should a be a word for this, right?): The Babies, King Tuff, etc. The catchy brand of mid-2010′s indie-rock that can sadly be swallowed up by an over-saturated scene. That’s a charged way to describe Wampire, but I digress.

The first half of Wampire’s set included songs off of their 2013 album, Curiosity, tracks that were energetic and upbeat in comparison to the five-piece’s newer material. Their new album, Bazaar, boasts a darker and heavier groove than the positive vibes of Curiosity. Drawing from the newer collection, Wampire’s latter half of the set made for a good segue for Temples to take the stage.

Although Temples are from Kettering, England, they paint a picture of a psychedelic 70′s group straight out of California. Their lead singer, James Bagshaw, sports a white boy ‘fro, inky fringe shirt, and bell bottoms. The rest of the band follow suit with matching shaggy haircuts and choice 70′s-inspired outfits. The band’s look teetered on contrived, on maybe trying-a-little-too-hard but thankfully, looks don’t equate with musical talent. As the band tore through songs like “Keep in the Dark” and almost every song off of their 12-track debut album, their similarity to Tame Impala came more and more to light.

Bagshaw looked like a cult-leader by the middle of the set, chanting his gospel of “ah-ahhh-ah” refrains to a sea of believers. Like most good bands seem to get on a long tour, they were well-rehearsed, even slightly mechanical. That might just be a part of cool demeanor of the band, but it was hard to tell how much these guys were enjoying themselves on stage. The band played a prompt 45-minute set before launching into an encore, a several minutes long fuzzed-out jam session, complete with cosmic swirling graphics as a backdrop.

What came as an especially pleasant surprise was the lack of glowing iPhones in the crowd. The crowd was straight grooving, hair-braids were a’flying, and hippie-worship dancing was everywhere. The lack of smartphone-glow in the crowd, the pulsing cosmic graphics, and the venue choice of The Fillmore–last night’s show could have taken place 40 years ago.

Originally published on The Bay Bridged on Sept. 25, 2014.

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