Local Music

Can a band be both “of the moment,” and also “timeless?”  It’s possible if the band is Misisipi Mike and The Midnight Gamblers, the six-piece band that you’re hearing now.  

Misisipi Mike and the Gamblers will be playing at Amnesia on Valencia Street in San Francisco this Thursday, starting about 9:00pm.  

Irene Young

The gentle sounds you’re hearing now are being played by teacher and musician Eve Decker. Kevin Vance, host of KALW’s “A Patchwork Quilt,” says of Decker, “This is the kind of music that makes the world a better place."

You can hear more from Eve Decker tomorrow, April 11th when she appears at the Dolores Park Café in San Francisco. She’ll be there from 7:30 to 10:00pm.

The band you’re hearing now is called Spider Heart, from Oakland. One fan says their sound “makes me want to surf and break mailboxes at the same time!”

If you want to get in on some of THAT action, Spider Heart will be playing Saturday, April 12th at the venerable Starry Plough in Berkeley. The fun begins about 9:00pm.

You know this song – yes you do! It’s Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” as performed by Foreverland. This 14-piece band, formed in San Francisco in 2009, doesn’t imitate the King of Pop, but they say they do “carry out Michael’s righteous mission to move audiences’ hearts and dancing feet.”

Foreverland is “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” on Friday, April 11that the historic Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco. Doors open at 8:00pm. 

The band you’re hearing now is called Marc and The Casuals. How casual are they? So casual that they don’t have a website – and this song was recorded at the San Francisco Airport.

Marc and The Casuals head up an evening of deep soul and dance music on Saturday, April 5th. It's called “Soul Kaleidoscope.” This will be happening at The Chapel on Valencia Street in San Francisco, starting about 8:00pm.

What you’re hearing now is music by Gini Wilson. Wilson, also known as The Duchess, is director and co-founder of the San Francisco ChamberJazz Quartet. Perhaps you’ve heard her on “West Coast Live,” on KALW Saturday mornings.

Gini Wilson has a solo show planned this Saturday, April 5th at The Sausalito Seahorse -- in Sausalito, of course. She’ll be there starting at 12:30pm.

The vocalists you’re hearing now are called The Cetaceans, some of the oldest, best traveled singers we have ever featured on our Local Music segment. They’re not from the Bay Area, but they’ve been touring up and down the coast literally for ages, so we wanted to feature them anyway.

This band? It’s Chrome Johnson, from San Anselmo. They are also known as “the new kings of twang,” due to their Roots/America sound. 

Chrome Johnson will be twanging at the “19 Broadway” club in Fairfax on Saturday, March 29th, starting around 9:00pm. 

This music – Bach’s Sonata in G Minor – is from a competition that has taken place every year since 1953: The Junior Bach Festival.

The final concert in this year’s Junior Bach Festival is this Sunday, March 30th at the Old First Presbyterian Church on Sacramento Street in San Francisco. Music begins at 4:00pm.  

The voice you’re hearing belongs to Melanie Ida Chopko of Oakland. Her songs combine American folk and jazz, as well as Brazilian sounds. And she is noted for being pretty good at telling jokes, too.

Melanie Ida Chopko will join Lauren Hulbert at The Monkey House in Berkeley on Friday, March 28th. It’s an intimate space, so reservations are essential.  

Sarah, Known to Collapse

The band you are hearing is Known to Collapse. No, that’s not a literal description, that’s the name Kevin Lehner has given to this experimental music project. He started as a DJ on his college radio station in Boston, but is currently in northern California. Known to Collapse will be playing at The Fireside Lounge in Alameda on Friday, March 28. They start about 9:00pm.

The voices you’re hearing at the moment belong to the 300 members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. The chorus claims the title of the “world’s first openly gay chorus,” having started in 1978. 

The band that’s playing now is called Fallujah. They call their sound “atmospheric death metal.”  This Bay Area group chose their name because to them, the city of Fallujah “represents the pinnacle of tensions and hostility that have come to define the world we live in.” 

Fallujah is one of five bands playing the DNA Lounge in San Francisco on Sunday, March 23rd. The onslaught starts at 6pm.   

The music you’re hearing now is by Oakland’s Disappearing People. One reviewer says,  “Their song forms are long and seem to offer release through repeated figures, over an unwavering drum groove. This ties them in many ways to the 20th Century minimalist composers.”  Or, you could just call it shoe-gaze.

Either way, The Disappearing People will be at Thee Parkside in San Francisco on Thursday, March 20th. Music begins about 9:00pm.

The band you’re hearing now is called Nesta. They’re a reggae band from Half Moon Bay. While Bob Marley is their main influence, the band primarily plays original compositions. 

Nesta will be performing Sunday afternoon, March 16th at The Surf Spot in Pacifica. Music starts about 1:00pm. 

Gary Stenger

The music you’re hearing now is by the San Francisco jazz/hip-hop trio known as The Broun Fellinis. They say of their sound, "We don't really write songs. We superimpose songified ideas.”

This week the Broun Fellinis will be superimposing their songified ideas on a collaboration called “ArtComplex Performances.” That's a series of structured improvisations with dance, live music and art installations.

The Gravel Spreaders, who you’re hearing now, claim to be from the Deep South – south of Market Street, in San Francisco, that is. 

You can experience the  “metal-grass” sound The Gravel Spreaders on Friday, March 14th when they play Smiley’s Saloon in Bolinas. Music should start about 9:00pm. 

The music you’re hearing now is the sound that predated Rock ‘n’ Roll, and helped start the concept of Top 40 Radio. It’s called “rhythm & blues dance music”, or “jump,” and it’s being played by The Stompy Jones Band of San Francisco. 

Stompy Jones plays every week at the Tuesday Night Jump, held at the Verdi Club in San Francisco. The music starts at 9:40pm, and there’s a two-hour dance lesson starting at 7:00pm.

This music playing now is by Christopher Youmans from Berkeley.  His band – called The Christopher Youmans Band -- incorporates various styles of music in their own compositions, with jazz being the strongest.  You can hear the Christopher Youmans Band on Friday, March 7th at the Subterranean Arthouse, in Berkeley. Doors open at 7:30pm.

The sound you’re hearing now is by the experimental-folk duo known as Yesway. Their sound as been called “a floating, flowing faucet of magical unification.” 

That’s a lot to ask from just two singers. But if you think you’re up for the experience, they’ll be on the stage tomorrow, March 4th at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, starting about 8:00pm. 

The music you’re hearing is being played by Myra Melford. She’s on sabbatical from UC Berkeley at present, which gives her time for some performances off campus. She says she continually reaches toward a state of transcendence with her music, yet there’s always a connection to the blues traditions she heard growing up, near Chicago. 

The music you’re hearing now is by the Broken Shadows Family Band. You may know bandleader Darren Johnston from another Bay Area group, the Nice Guy Trio.  

This is an instrumental song, but the sound of the Broken Shadows Family Band usually emphasizes the lyrics – so no texting during the show, OK?  They’re performing at San Francisco’s Red Poppy Art House on Friday, starting about 7:30pm. 

The band you’re hearing is Papercuts. The New York Times described their sound as “melding sustained organ chords with slow finger-picked guitar.”

If you are wondering what that actually means, you can find out on Wednesday when this Bay Area group appears at the 22nd annual Noise Pop festival. Papercuts is the headliner on Wednesday evening, February 26th at The Chapel in San Francisco, starting at 7:00pm.

What your hearing now is a sample of the type of sound you can expect from San Francisco’s newest professional a capella choir, called Capella SF. Ragnar Bohlin is conducting this music, and he heads the new choir. 

The music you are hearing is by Roem Baur. He says his first name came to his mother in a dream, shortly before he was born. Though classically trained as a lyric tenor, he now favors music inspired by American soul singers.

Roem Baur will be performing in his hometown of San Francisco on Friday, February 21st at The Lost Church. Music starts at 8:15pm, sharp!

What do you call a band with a Matt, a Steve, a Chris, a Nathan, two Bens and a Nicole?  That would be the Bay Area Brass Band, from San Francisco, who you are hearing now.

They describe themselves as a hip hop/R & B group ... even with all that brass. The Bay Area Brass Band takes the stage at San Francisco’s 50 Mason Social House on Thursday, February 18th, starting about 10:00pm.

The band you’re hearing now is Frankie Boots and the County Line. They are coming in from Sebastopol to take part in the weekly Free Twang Sundays at Thee Parkside in San Francisco.  The motto of Free Twang Sundays is, “If it’s twang, it’s our thang!” If this sounds fun to you, show up around 4:00pm on Sunday, February 16th, when Frankie Boots and the County Line are scheduled to start playing.

Ben Trefny

Thao Nguyen grew up in Northern Virginia, and started playing music at age 12. Since then she has released three critically acclaimed albums, and spent most of her 20s touring, including a national stint with NPR’s RadioLab. It was coming back home to San Francisco and getting involved in her community that inspired her latest album, We The Common. Thao tells us a little more about how she’s grown up through her music.

Do you have plans yet for Valentine’s Day? No? Then consider going to hear Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. NPR says Thao, of San Francisco, “infuses everything around her with electricity and mischievous boldness.”

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down appear at The Fillmore in San Francisco on Friday, February 14th. Doors open at 8:00pm.

The toe-tapping style of music you’re hearing now is most often played in New Orleans. But this band, The Zydeco Flames, was formed right here in San Francisco, way back in 1990.  The Zydeco Flames are on the schedule on Friday, February 14th at The Eagle's Hall Valentine's Day in Alameda. The show begins at 9:00pm.

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