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Here are some things that happen when you interview hip-hop legend Biz Markie during a promotional celebrity appearance at an A's game

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Tonight's game starts at 7:05, at which point Biz Markie, the “clown prince of hip-hop,” most famous for his hit sing-songy single “Just a Friend,” off the 1989 album The Biz Never Sleeps, will be throwing out the first pitch against the Houston Astros.

This particular game, the evening of July 23, also falls on the A’s 15th annual Root Beer Float Day, a beloved tradition that raises money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation by having A’s players, coaches, announcers, the staffs of several radio stations, and celebs of various stature (Real World cast members) scoop and serve root beer floats at $2 each for two hours before the first pitch. Read more »

Smart Bomb goes off in Oakland

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By Micah Dubreuil

As a child, you imagine your toys come to life whenever your back is turned. As an adult in the Bay Area, you imagine that every night you choose to stay in, the bars are all packed with experimental underground DJs, food carts, live visual artists and the kind of freaky electronic jazz you would see in a Blade Runner spinoff series. And yet when you do turn around — at either age — your dreams often fall short (if your toys ever did come to life, please let us know).Read more »

Carletta Sue Kay on strip clubs, literature, and dumpster-diving after art exhibits

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Not long after I sat down with Randy Walker, the male, non-performing ego of one of San Francisco's most undefinable musical acts, vocal powerhouse Carletta Sue Kay (who performs at The Chapel this Fri/25), we talked a bit about college. Walker asked me the prerequisite questions about the social scene and my major, perking up at the sound of a humanities-centric discipline. I asked if he’d done the whole college thing. Read more »

Why Brian Wilson's next album will probably be a masterpiece

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The name "Beach Boys" can refer to either of two bands.  The first is the happy-go-lucky surf rock band that does songs about cars and California, led by the conservative Mike Love; the second is one of the most audacious and avant-garde bands of the psychedelic era, led by the mad Zen master Brian Wilson. Though most of the music-listening world knows them primarily as the former, the latter has proven far more influential, pushing the Beatles' creativity to breaking point out of rivalry as well as serving as a major touchstone for the last decade or so of indie rock.Read more »

Jimmy Cliff high-kicks his way through 50 years of music at the Fillmore

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Jimmy Cliff is a goddamn maniac. It's about 45 minutes into his 90-minute set at the Fillmore on Saturday night [July 19], and while the sheer volume of ganja smoke in the packed room is making real movement — beyond the standard shuffle/sidestep, white reggae fan head-bob, and occasional 30-second pogo accompanied by the triumphant fist-in-the-air move — seem an insurmountable challenge for most everyone on the dancefloor, 66-year-old Jimmy Cliff is onstage in matching bright yellow-and-red pants, a robe, and a hat, quite literally running circles around everyone. Read more »

Live Shots: OK Go power through technical difficulties at The Independent

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Ok Go’s catalog is the sonic equivalent of Fruit Loops. Bright, fun, tasty, and far from satisfying or substantive. They are also one of our generation’s greatest bands. Because what Ok Go lacks in musical imagination and originality, they make up for tenfold with the way they have revolutionized and thoroughly dominated the art of the music video.Read more »

New Zealand flow over Detroit beats: Ladi6 hits the Bay for the first time

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By Rob Goszkowski

There’s a commonality to a large segment of New Zealand music, much of it with a dubbed-out vibe that one would expect from an island nation. But there’s also an underlying fierceness to it. Karoline Tamati, aka Ladi6, represents this dichotomy well, and her blend of hip-hop and modern soul will be in the Bay Area for the first time this weekend, with shows at Brick and Mortar in the city on Saturday and at the New Parish in Oakland on Sunday.

The lifelong musician started playing music at a young age and was smitten with hip-hop as a teenager when she formed Sheelahroc with her cousin and a friend at 16 years old. She found her singing voice shortly afterward and hasn’t stopped singing. Read more »

Everything is terrible, let's go hear some live music

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Dear readers! In case none of your coworkers has made any kind of Dilbert-ready joke by the water cooler yet today, let us fill you in: It's Friday.

And woof, did this week feel a little long to anyone else? Perhaps because the news is filled with horrendous, tragic, apparently senseless events? I'm not one for the "waah, why do news outlets report on so much bad stuff when there's good stuff in the world" mentality — you should be spurred to anger/sadness/feeling by reading about the state of the world, that's how change happens.Read more »

On your mark, get set: The Music Video Race is off and running — and expanding

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Everyone knows that true artists do their best work right before deadline. [Ed note: I may or may not be writing this an hour or so before mine.]

Now in its third year, the Music Video Race is an annual San Francisco tradition that takes this dictum to heart, pairing 16 different musical acts with 16 filmmakers for a challenge that makes that "find a flag in the middle of this big fake nose filled with green goop" thing on Double Dare seem like a cakewalk: Conceive, film, and edit an entire music video in 48 hours. Read more »

At 50, turning a critical eye on 'A Hard Day's Night'

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More than any other Beatles album, A Hard Day's Night — which turns 50 this week — embodies the cliches surrounding the band. The cheesy harmonies, the "whoa"s and "yeah"s, the sappy love songs, the teen-idol cuteness: All are there in abundance. It's also the most obvious manifestation of the John/Paul dichotomy. Though the idea of John as the bad boy and Paul as the author of silly love songs is largely accepted as a myth by Beatles fans, it's a lot closer to the truth than folks give it credit for, and on no album is it more clear than A Hard Day's Night.Read more »