Saturday, March 19, 2011

Announcing Our Animal Collective Cover Song Contest

Posted By on Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 10:37 AM

We know, we know

. You tried to buy tickets. But floor seats were gone in three minutes

. Balcony seats not long after. Don’t even look on Craigslist–you’ll just get depressed.

Here’s the good news: the Bohemian has two general-admission floor tickets to see Animal Collective at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma on April 10

. We’re giving them away. They’re yours. No strings. You just have to enter our contest, and win.What contest is that, you ask? Why, it’s the Animal Collective Cover Song Contest

!The rules are easy:1. You record a cover of an Animal Collective song.2. You send the mp3 to us.3. We listen to it, discuss among ourselves and select some finalists.3. If you’re picked as the best entry, you win two tickets to the show

!Entries must be received by Sunday, April 3

. One entry per person. Winner will be announced in the April 6 issue of the Bohemian and on our Facebook page. We reserve the right to post your mp3 online. One need not have a band to submit an entry, and in fact, we’d probably be charmed if you sing while playing on a typewriter and ketchup bottle or something. Entries will be judged not on how accurately the song is represented but by how much it tickles our fancy, so be creative

.Send your mp3 to Leilani Clark at lclark [at]

.Get recording, and best of luck!

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Album Review: R.E.M. "Collapse Into Now"; The Decemberists "The King Is Dead"

Posted By on Sat, Mar 5, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Photo by Anton Corbijn

The King’s Speech

On their new album, R.

E.M. drops the ball, but the Decemberists pick it up and go country on The King Is Dead

By David Sason
Like R.E.M.'s 2008 comeback album Accelerate, Collapse Into Now starts out strong with potent back-to-back rockers “Discoverer” and “All the Best”, both featuring superb rawk riffage from Rickenbacker hero Peter Buck. But after the kinetic, acoustic-based “Uberlin”, their most interesting mid-tempo pop ditty in ages, the momentum stops with the bland, embarrassingly earnest “Oh My Heart”, a sequel of sorts to 2008’s Katrina narrative “Houston”. The W-era couplet “If the storm doesn’t kill me, the government will” has become the misguided “The storm didn’t kill me, the government changed”, a surprisingly naive assertion about the current administration for these onetime political-rock icons.
In fact, Michael Stipe’s lyrics are the only problem with this otherwise enjoyable rock hodgepodge of beloved R.E.M. styles, reminiscent of 1996’s underrated New Adventures In Hi-Fi. While the music of Buck and Mike Mills buoy the album (with vibrant splashes of mandolin, organ, brass and even accordion throughout), the lyrics  - always one of the group's strong points - appear uninspired and mediocre. “It Happened Today” opens with: “This is not a parable, this is a terrible; this is a terrible…thing”. Worst is the confusing “Every Day Is Yours to Win”, which spoils a sweet Velvet Underground-esque guitar slink on lyrics too elementary to reprint. The slow-burning closer “Blue” could’ve been R.E.M.’s next “Country Feedback”, this time with pounding piano and gorgeous Patti Smith vocals. Yet it’s sullied by Stipe’s poetic recitation of a personal letter - just like their first Patti Smith collaboration “E-Bow the Letter” off New Adventures– the closest to blatant repetition the group has ever come.This dilemma naturally makes simple rockers (where lyrics are less noticeable) the record’s highlights, especially the joyous “Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter”, where Stipe and guest vocalist Peaches try out their best Iggy Pop impressions. Stipe’s lyrics don’t need to be esoteric or oblique to work (Automatic for the People is pretty straightforward, lyrically speaking), just more imaginative than this. Once again, R.E.M.’s renewed spirit is welcome, but its singer needs to hold up his end of the bargain – and fast.
Oddly, the most solid “R.E.M.” songs this year come from another band, Portland quintet The Decemberists, who have long been compared to R.E.M. for Colin Meloy’s voice, their penchant for obscure historical subject matter, and general nerd-rock demeanor. They channel their heroes on The King Is Dead, the latest “indie” release to top Billboard’s album chart. Meloy and co. have put the concept albums on hold for a beautiful country-rock record that delves further into every Americana flourish of R.E.M. circa ’83 to ’92, with tinges of Springsteen and Neil Young also popping up. Peter Buck himself guests on three tracks, including the single “Down By The Water”, which boasts a folky, organ-heavy sound.
The album’s highlight is “The Calamity Song” which sounds like a Murmur outtake, replete with the propulsive acoustic riff (think “Talk About the Passion”) and taut, restrained drumming. Lyrically, Meloy delivers with vaguely rustic non-sequiturs. “On the road, it’s well advised that you follow your own bag,” he croons, “in the year of the chewable Ambien tab.” If you’re stuck on vintage R.E.M., buy The King Is Dead.
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Photos & Review: PRINCE - Oracle Arena, Oakland - Feb. 23, 2011

Posted By on Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 2:09 PM


By David Sason

Prince and the New(est) Power Generation were in fine form Wednesday night, at the second of three nearly-sold-out shows at Oakland's Oracle Arena. The Bay Area residency was only the second of his hit-and-run Welcome 2 America tour, announced less than a week earlier. This certainly sent the hype factor into overload, making the arena THE place to be this week for all-ages party folk to shake their asses off.

The evening was a nonstop tribute to old-school funk, right from the energetic opening set from Graham Central Station, headed by Larry Graham (who later joined Prince for a barnstorming rendition of classic "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"). The Sly and the Family Stone alumnus was an appropriate choice, considering the pioneering group’s vast influence on Prince’s eclectic music and band demographics.When Prince finally took the stage a little after 9:00, he showed why he’s still a huge concert draw, burning his way through an opening suite of “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Delirious”, “1999”, and an extended “Little Red Corvette”. Then Sheila E. took the stage (where she thankfully stayed all night) for a faithful version of the Prince-penned “Glamorous Life”. Along with the funk standards throughout the night, KISS-FM programmers couldn’t have planned the night any better themselves. The near-capacity crowd roared and sang along loudly to every bit.Thus went the two and a half hour set of almost exclusively 1980s hits and funk classics, with obscure ballad "I Love U, But I Don't Trust U Anymore" from 1999 (the year, not the album) and minimalist stomper “Black Sweat” from 2006 being the newest songs he performed. This decision was a welcome surprise from the ever-prolific Prince, as was his decision to tweak his annoying truncation of certain hits (this time, he gave at least 50% of most songs, which was enough for the tens of thousands in attendance).While the song selection was certainly worthy of the exorbitant price (top price level was around $280 a piece), the stage (shaped like Prince’s famous symbol) left many concertgoers out in the cold. Although he performed mostly center stage, Prince almost exclusively engaged only two sides of the arena, leaving half of the crowd to mostly view one of his three hefty backup singer-cheerleaders. This was quite a disappointment, considering the more mindful 360-degree approaches of groups including U2 and Beastie Boys. And although the 52-year-old’s voice still packs his famous range, his famous dancing and musical chairs (he played bass for a song, but no drums) were kept to a minimum.Still, the charismatic Renaissance man still puts most other pop stars to shame with his energy and formidable arsenal of songs. “Y’all coming back tomorrow night?” he asked the crowd at one point. Judging from the deafening reply, Prince’s fourth decade as a top-notch concert draw is a sure thing.---David Sason**SETLISTLet's Go CrazyDelirious1999Little Red CorvetteGlamorous Life (Sheila E.)Somewhere Here On EarthI Love U But I Don't Trust U AnymoreControversyA Love Bizarre (Sheila E.)Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry)Sexy Dancer / Le Freak (Chic)Love Rollercoaster (Ohio Players) / Housequake (snippet)Angel (Sarah McLachlan) – sung by backup dancersIf I Was Ur GirlfriendKissPurple Rain---------------------Dance With Me in the Disco (Sylvester) / Baby I'm A StarMedley: When Doves Cry/Nasty Girl (Vanity 6)/Sign O' the Times/Alphabet StreetForever in My LifeDarling Nikki (snippet) / Pop Life / Single Ladies (Beyonce)Black SweatThe Bird (The Time)Jungle Love (The Time)**

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Photos and Live Review: PUBLIC ENEMY - Yoshi's San Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 15 (late show)

Posted By on Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 12:18 AM


Photos and review by David Sason

The first time I saw Public Enemy in concert, December 2006 at Mezzanine, was undoubtedly my biggest letdown as a concertgoer. After an energetic opening portion referencing the legendary shows I’d watched on VHS throughout my youth, the show was quickly derailed when hype man Flavor Flav – at the height of his reality TV popularity – took over the show for over an hour. He played every instrument onstage, rambled endlessly, and even filmed a video for his solo track “Unga Bunga Bunga”. It was in the middle of the week and already 2am, so I left the show to go listen to some PE records.

Thankfully Saturday’s sold-out 10pm show, the last of four at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, more than redeemed Public Enemy as an incredible live act and still the best way to celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Still in the midst of their Fear of a Black Planet 20th anniversary extended tour, they hit the ground running with a lively “Brothers Gonna Work It Out”. Before continuing on the Fear tracks, though, the momentum was stalled by a 10-minute-plus talking portion that saw Flavor Flav playing an extended game of call and response with the crowd (think a Freddie Mercury who can’t sing).But this led directly into “911 Is a Joke”, which started an impressive run of hits and album tracks mostly from their late 80s/early 90s hey day. Unearthed rarities were among the highlights of the show (“Terminator X to the Edge of Panic”, “Power to the People”, “Burn Hollywood Burn”), with all tracks receiving tasteful accompaniment from the backing live band (not drowning out the Bomb Squad sound collages completely like before).Flavor was once again complementing the show instead of wielding it, allowing longtime fans to forget his television career altogether (despite a thank-you speech to all “Flavor of Love” viewers, ironically preceding a snippet of “She Watch Channel Zero?!”). Brandishing a “Justice for Oscar Grant” t-shirt, leader Chuck D delivered on the political rhetoric, specifically the immigration and extremist shooting of Arizona, which segued into a sparse yet intense run through of “By the Time I Get to Arizona”.The hip-hop legends relished the small club setting throughout the night, which made the two-hour-plus performance a two-way love fest. It was a joy in particular to see Chuck D having such a good time: finding a Harry Allen fill-in in the front row for the ending line of “Don’t Believe the Hype”; grabbing cameras and taking snapshots for endless audience members; and playing panhandler to Flav during “Can’t Do Nuttin’ for Ya Man”, just one song in a last-minute show extension.While no longer packing arenas, PE rocked Yoshi’s like it was one, exuding a pride and professionalism that’s missing from most live performers, especially hip-hop and veteran acts. I never thought I’d say this, but I can’t wait until the next Public Enemy concert.--David Sason*

SETLIST (Not 100% in order)

Contract on the World Love JamBrothers Gonna Work It Out911 Is a JokeWelcome to the TerrordomeShow Em Whatcha GotBring the NoiseDon't Believe the HypeCold Lampin' with FlavorTerminator X to the Edge of PanicBurn Hollywood BurnShut Em DownShe Watch Channel Zero(Flav's nephew does a verse)Black Steel In The Hour of ChaosHarder Than You Think(Band instrumental/solos)(DJ Lord riffs on Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”)Anti Nigger MachinePower to the PeopleB Side Wins AgainCan't Truss ItRebel Without A PauseBy the Time I Get to ArizonaFight the Power


Night of the Living BaseheadsHe Got GameCan't Do Nuttin' for Ya ManPublic Enemy #1









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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Photos and Live Review: GORILLAZ - Oracle Arena, Oct. 30, 2010

Posted By on Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Review by David Sason

Photos by John Joh and David Sason


I’m not sure if there’s a fancy plural form for “legend”, but there should be, just to accurately describe Gorillaz’s Escape to Plastic Beach Tour, which dazzled Oakland on Saturday. While not filled to capacity, the costumed crowd was enthralled from start to finish not only by Jamie Hewlett’s inventive animation (projected on a giant screen behind the performers) , but also musical pioneers as diverse as Bobby Womack, De La Soul and The Clash’s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon (whose sailor outfits inspired clones throughout the arena). The spectacle’s ringleader, of course, was Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn, who engaged the crown nonstop, seemingly relishing the stateside arena-size audience that his Blur could never draw.

While Lou Reed didn’t  show up like he did at the preceding L.A. show, it was incredibly exhilarating and surreal - yet oddly appropriate ­- to see De La Soul flanked by The effing Clash, who bopped along during a euphoric “Feel Good, Inc.”. In fact, while not as earth-shattering with its output, Albarn’s Gorillaz best symbolize The Clash’s mission for unbridled musical amalgamation, evident from the orchestral “White Flag” (which featured a septet of local Arab-American musicians) to the sci-fi gospel of epic closer “Demon Days”.


What’s most impressive is how the show delivered despite only a handful of hits, including modern-classic stomper “Clint Eastwood”, which suffered greatly without local luminary Del tha Funkee Homosapien’s incredible verses (Bashy and Kano filled in with their own lyrics). Despite the huge production and orgy of visuals and musical styles, Gorillaz are quite potent conceptually and song-wise. Seven years after the dissolution of Blur, Damon Albarn really does have sunshine in a bag.---David Sason

More photos and setlist below.





Setlist (from

Welcome to

the World of the Plastic Beach (with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)

Last Living


19/2000 (with

Rosie Wilson)


Melancholy Hill

Stylo (with Bobby

Womack and Bootie Brown)




Jellyfish (with De La Soul)


Comes Today

Empire Ants

(with Yukimi Nagano)

Broken (Extended)

Dirty Harry

(with Bootie Brown)El MañanaWhite Flag (with

Bashy and Kano)

To Binge (with

Yukimi Nagano)

DARE (with Rosie







Cloud of

Unknowing (with Bobby Womack)Feel Good

Inc. (with De La Soul)


Eastwood (with Bashy and Kano)

Don't Get

Lost In Heaven

Demon Days (with

Bobby Womack)

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The 13th Annual Boho Awards

Posted By on Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 4:00 AM


Whole Lotta Love

Celebrating the 13th annual Boho Awards
The edit staff at the Bohemian loves us our annual Boho Awards issue something mighty. We love it because the Bohos allow us a chance to really consider which people and entities in the North Bay have made a true and deep impact on our arts community.

Every year we begin with the same silly pshaw that we’ve already honored everyone; every year we become increasingly excited by all of the many folks and organizations yet to be honored. We could quite honestly do this every week. But alas.

As always, we invite you to help us celebrate our honorees by throwing a free party for everyone to attend. This year’s celebration is slated for Wednesday, Sept. 29, from 5pm outside at Hopmonk Tavern (230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol). It’s followed by our North Bay Music Awards celebration inside Hopmonk’s Abbey from 7pm.

We hope to see you there to help us raise a joyful noise to the tireless volunteers who have made the Handcar Regatta such a sparkling, marvelous success for downtown Santa Rosa.

We want you to raise a pint to the good folks at Lagunitas Brewing Co., who regularly turn untold gallons of beer into big piles of gold for nonprofits.

We’d like you to help us give a round of applause for Napa developer George Altamura, whose decade-long mission to return his town’s storied Uptown Theatre back to its original glory has been a no-holds-barred triumph.

We ask you to help us huzzah Book Passage, which just passed the three-decade mark in providing a distinctive thump to the literary heart of Marin with its unwavering support of local writers and great literature.

And not finally at all, we ask you to cheer along for Jessica Felix, recently reinstated to her own Healdsburg Jazz Festival, and her tireless mission to promote pure jazz.

We honor these stellar people and entities on the following pages and hope that you’ll come on down to help us get giddy about them on Sept. 29 at Hopmonk.—Gretchen Giles

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Photos & Live Review: Bob Dylan – Warfield Theater, August 25, 2010

Posted By on Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Photos & Review by David Sason


The best part about seeing Bob Dylan in concert in the 21st century is exactly that – seeing him. That still-formidable thrill was enhanced by the small venue size Wednesday night. Although the last-minute, cash-only downtown show fell short of capacity expectations (the venue was about 80% full at best), the “poet laureate of rock” and his incredible band played a tight, focused 90-minute+ set that relied surprisingly much on latter-day gems, including the rarity “Man in the Long Black Coat” from 1989’s Oh Mercy.

This setlist choice made Dylan’s usual gruff, garbled delivery less disconcerting. “Ain’t Talkin’” was much more enjoyable than the preceding “Highway 61 Revisited”. Instrumentally, he certainly kept up with his outstanding band, especially when his organ playing dueled with Charlie Sexton’s guitar licks during a dynamic run-through of “Thunder on the Mountain”, easily the highlight of the show. By the closer “Like a Rolling Stone”, it was clear that the Bob Weir cameo rumors were false. But judging from the crowd going apeshit when Dylan merely grinned midway through his classic anthem, it didn’t matter one lick.---David Sason



Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35

Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

Simple Twist Of Fate

Rollin' And Tumblin'

Desolation Row

High Water (for Charlie Patton)

Man In The Long Black Coat

Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)

My Wife's Home Town

Highway 61 Revisited

Ain't Talkin'

Thunder On The Mountain

Ballad Of A Thin Man



Like A Rolling Stone





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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

PHOTOS: Rock the Bells - Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View - Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010

Posted By on Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Photos by David Sason

For Gabe Meline's review & photos, click here for the award-winning City Sound Inertia.





More Photos Below.


















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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

MC Oz In The House

Posted By on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 4:00 AM


We get mad books sent to us for review here at the Bohemian, but when an instructional manual called How To Rap showed up on our proverbial doorstep, we knew we couldn't just add it to the pile of bad poems, personal memoirs and hippie fiction accumulating in the corner of our offices.

Instead, we assigned it out to fearless intern Caroline Osborn, who was given a deadline of one week to read the book, assimilate the knowledge of the street, internalize the gift of rhyme—and learn, as it were, how to rap.

Her take on the lessons learned is the music column in this week's paper, and it's a must-read. At the end of Osborn's studies, we booked her in the recording studio so she could lay down for all posterity the fruits of her research. Behold, ladies and fellas, click 'play' for MC Oz:

[display_podcast](Ed note: Special props go to Devon Rumrill, who produced the beat, engineered the session and mixed it all down. In true hip-hop fashion, he accepted a bottle of top-shelf liquor as payment. Thanks, Dev!)

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Photos & Review: Aerosmith / Sammy Hagar - Oracle Arena, July 23, 2010

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Photos & review by David Sason


Forgive me for being terribly unhip, but Aerosmith is essential rock n' roll. The Boston quintet's first five albums from the '70s and sporadic latter-day gems ("Cryin'", the entire Pump album) hold up against the best of AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. Their dirty-blues-hard-rock style was in fine form on Saturday in Oakland, the kickoff of their Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock U.S. tour. Even with Joe Perry's motorcycle accident just days before, quite simply, they destroyed. Newer and older sons sounded amazing, especially the raucous set-closers "Baby Please Don't Go" (a Big Joe Williams cover) and 1977's "Draw the Line".

Despite his age and recent substance abuse struggles (which even prompted plans for his replacement), Steven Tyler was a dynamo. He was all twirls, scarves and still-formidable shrieks, with complete command over the audience for two hours straight. During a swaggering "Walk This Way", Tyler took a red rose from a fan, chomped it off, then spit the pedals up in a shower of red. It was magnificent and a reminder that he may be the last rock god who wears leopard-skin tights and is NOT a joke.

Locals Sammy Hagar and the Waboritas opened the show with a tight, energetic & charming hour-long set that feature numbers from his solo years, Montrose, Van Halen (Van Hagar) and his new supergroup Chickenfoot (special guest Joe Satriani joined the band for "Sexy Little Thing"). The stars of this portion were the red rocker's very successful Cabo Wabo brand of bars and tequila and the hot young waitresses serving him drinks between songs. This was an enjoyable reminder of the enduring success of party/carnival-themed rock shows. With uptempo feel-good songs and Hawaiian shirt sensibility, Hagar could be the next Jimmy Buffet. Mas tequila!---David Sason


Aerosmith setlist:Rats in the Cellar

Monkey on My Back

Love in an Elevator

Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)

Eat the Rich


Livin' on the Edge

What It Takes

Janie's Got a Gun

Last Child


Lord of the Thighs

Stop Messin' Around

I Don't Want to Miss a Thing

Sweet Emotion

Baby, Please Don't Go

Draw the Line


Dream On

Walk This Way

Toys in the Attic*

Sammy Hagar setlist

There's Only One Way to Rock

I Can't Drive 55

Why Can't This Be Love

Space Station #5

Rock Candy

Bad Motor Scooter

Best Of Both Worlds

I've Done Everything for You

3 Lock Box

Whole Lotta Zep

Mas Tequila

Heavy Metal

Sexy Little Thing (with Joe Satriani)

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