Kata Rokkar — Kata Rokkar – A Bay Area based blog about music, life and stuff by Shawn Robbins.Kata Rokkar — Kata Rokkar – A Bay Area based blog about music, life and stuff by Shawn Robbins.

tonight: Jared Mees & the Grown Children at El Rio



Concerts, Music


Tonight El Rio will be rocked by PDX superstar Jared Mees & the Grown Children with stoner rockers Disastroid, and indie-pop group Slow Trucks. But it will be Jared Mees that’s going to be the band to see for tonight. Having heard a fair amount of his new album, Only Good Thoughts Can Stay (out May 10th) I can safely say the outlook for local Portland based music is looking remarkably bright. With the new Loch Lomand album already on my “Best of 2011” list (too early?) and now this gracing my headphones, it’s going to be a good year for Portland’s budding music scene.

You can pre-order Jared Mees & the Grown Children’s Only Good Thoughts Can Stay here.

Jared Mees & the Grown Children
with Disastroid and Slow Trucks
7 March 2011
El Rio
San Francisco, CA

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Jared Mees & the Grown Children – Inaudible Song II from Only Good Thoughts Can Stay (2011)

Archive for the ‘Concerts’ Category

show review: Crystal Castles at The Warfield

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles

The Toronto duo, Crystal Castles, was back in the Bay Area at The Warfield to melt faces on Friday night. The sold out venue was filled  with enthusiastic fans looking to start their weekend off right. If you read our review of their performance at The Fox Theater last summer or know anything about them, then you should have an idea of how this show unfolded. Their noisy, “no apologies” electronic music blasted from the venue’s sound system and bright strobes pulsed in varied colors as the crowd seemed to dance slowly, mesmerized by the sights and sounds.

Crystal Castles

The Crowd

Despite the crowd’s overall enthusiasm, I found their performance slightly sterile. Being a fan of their powerful recordings, I had hoped that their live show would contain some sort of additional raw energy and bite, when in the end, it sounded pretty much like their album. I did appreciate the addition of the live drummer, but his visual and auditory presence at the show should have been emphasized more. Front woman Alice Glass, who has a reputation of being very intense and aggressive on stage, seemed tame and even disoriented at times, falling to the stage upon which a sharp second of feedback followed as the microphone hit the floor. This may have been due to the broken ankle that she sustained in January prior to a show in Tokyo. It could have also been related to the bottle that she was taking swigs from throughout the show, which looked a lot like a bottle of Jim Beam from where I was standing. Regardless, the masses were still pleased and I did in fact enjoy the performance in spite of my high expectations.

Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles

It seems that the group has reached a watershed point in their career in recent months as they have eclipsed the exclusively indie scene that initially supported and continues to embrace them. Fueled by the balance struck between glitchy, distorted, electronic sounds and the beat driven, sparkling synth hooks in latest album Crystal Castles (II), they have headlined multiple tours and drawn massive crowds at festivals around the world. For artists with such a punk attitude and image, it will be interesting how the next year or two unfolds for them with growing attention from the mainstream.

Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles

[mp3] CRYSTAL CASTLES – Suffocation from Crystal Castles II (2010)

weekend shows: U.S. Royalty and Hosannas

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Mounting, towering harmonies, lush orchestral melodies, & smashing tribal beats. U.S. Royalty draws a line from the vocal stylings of Buffalo Springfield & the Kinks through the more obscure edges of post-punk & Afro-beat. They will be welcomed with open arms at the Rickshaw Stop tomorrow (Saturday, March 5th) as they open up for Broken Records and Rogue Wave + Beulah hybrid, Pancho-san.

You can listen to and purchase the entire album, Mirrors here.

U.S. Royalty – Monte Carlo from Mirrors (2011)

U.S. Royalty – Equestrian from Mirrors (2011)

U.S. Royalty – Equestrian (Flosstradamus Remix)

Hosannas retains every last acrid drop of the feral energy that makes a band famous, but replete with ubiquitous pop elements–verses and bridges and choruses. The band’s creative energy bares an approachable underbelly with a surprisingly humane, almost welcoming, sheen. Floating along on the crashing drums, the fuzz-drenched guitars, and subtle but apparent synth, the band sounds almost tender, leaving the impression that the future may unmask the fact that Hosannas‘ veneer of misanthropic noise is, from the outset, the band’s ultimate deception.

You can purchase 2010’s Together here.

You can also catch Hosannas at the Hemlock Tavern on Sunday, March 6th with Winnie Byrd and Todayokay for a measly $7.

Hosannas – Be Careful from Together (2010)

Hosannas-Walrus by dangervillage


Hosannas Tour Dates:

3/1–Portland @ Bunk Bar

3/2–Eugene @ Tectonic Jelly Warehouse

3/4–Oakland @ The Uptown Nightclub

3/6–San Francisco @ Hemlock

3/7–Santa Barbara @ Muddy Waters

3/8–Los Angeles @ The Smell

3/9–San Diego @ Soda Bar

3/10-Las Vegas @ Neon Reverb Music Festival

3/11-Pheonix @ Trunkspace

3/12-Alburquerque @ Winnings Coffee

3/13-Denton @ 35 Conferette – SXSW!

3/18-Dallas @ City Tavern

3/19-Tulsa @ Soundpony

3/20-Wichita @ Kirby’s Beer Store

3/21-Denver @ Hi-Dive

3/22-SLC @ Kilby Court

3/23-Garden City @ VAC

show review: Rocky Votolato and Laura Gibson at the Bottom of the Hill

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato

While everyone and their Uncle is out Noise Popping it up in the Bay, I decided it would be wise to visit an old friend who’s music hasn’t graced my ears in quite some time, Rocky Votolato. His tortured soul crackle and loner attitude once dominated my speakers for a good portion of the early 2000s, but then we went our separate ways. So when I saw his name on the Bottom of the Hill website, something made me want to revisit this unique member of the singer-songwriter community. Maybe it was Laura Gibson’s attachment to the bill or the pure fact that I missed hearing that signature voice. Whatever it was, I knew I wanted to experience Rocky again.

Piss Pissedoffherson
Piss Pissedoffherson
Piss Pissedoffherson

Piss Pissedoffherson

First up was Bay Area bizarro country duo Piss Pissedoffherson (get it? hardy har har). While their music gave the venue a gritty open mic-ish feel to the show, that was also the downfall to their act. I’m all for dirty folk acts tearing it up with a Hank Williams kind of ‘fuck off’ attitude, but sometimes that can cross over into “did this homeless guy just walk here from the Haight?” territory. While slightly entertaining at times and vaguely charming, those moments didn’t add up enough for me to care.

Laura Gibson
Laura Gibson
Laura Gibson

Laura Gibson

Next up was Portland’s sweet and confident folk-chick, Laura Gibson. Accompanied mostly by her acoustic guitar, Laura sings stark, ghostly folk with wisps of optimism sewn in for good measure. She’s already flaunting a large, lived-in growl flavored by antediluvian blues and jazz inflections along with a vintage style that resonated well with the doe-eyed audience.

Laura Gibson

Laura Gibson

Veering away from the more ambient Bridge Carols album she did with Ethan Rose, Laura focused mostly on new material and 2009’s Beasts of Seasons. She also played a song that her nephew used in a short film that was entered into a children’s film festival (which won an award if I remember correctly). Apparently it was a decision between her song and a Katy Perry song. I think we know what the best choice was without even seeing the film itself. But this was the kind of cute stage banter that accompanied Laura’s set. Which made her already adorable performance that much more special.

Laura Gibson – Come By Storm from Beasts of Seasons (2009)

Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato

Finally the man himself graced the stage sporting an impressive North Western styled beard. I’m actually surprised he hasn’t grown one in the past considering his music sounds very mountainous and rugged, but I digress. As stated on the Bottom of the Hill website, Rocky somewhat played all of 2006’s Makers. While not all the way through or even in order if I recall correctly, the album was definitely the highlight of the evening with the audience singing right along to every word. Songs from The Brag & Cuss and last year’s True Devotion were few and far between but no one really seemed to mind. There was however plenty of shout-outs for songs from 2003’s Suicide Medicine. MONTANA! and SUICIDE MEDICINE! and WHATEVER YOU FEEL LIKE! were common heckles from a surprisingly vocal crowd.

Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato

In the end, they got their wish. Many of the requested songs were played with the usual charm and humble attitude Rocky is known for. All with his harmonica strapped to his skull and a beat-up guitar slung around his shoulder. No backing band, nothing more than himself and his two trusty instruments. This is pretty much how I remember Rocky and how I’ve identified with his music. However now, he seems content and happy yet still on his own. After all these years, I still find myself being able to relate to that aesthetic.

Rocky Votolato – Portland is Leaving from Makers (2006)

Rocky Votolato – Red River from True Devotion (2010)

Rocky Votolato / For more photos from this show click this picture

Rocky Votolato / For more photos from this show click this picture

Top 10 Things To Do At Noise Pop Festival 2011

Monday, February 7th, 2011


As Noise Pop Festival approaches, we are getting more and more excited for what they have in store. Whether it’s Ben Gibbard rocking out the Great American Music Hall or Dan Deacon unleashing epic party jams on the Rickshaw and Independent dance floors, Noise Pop Festival proves yet again that they are aware of modern indie rock culture. But there are plenty of hidden jems to be found during this unique festival. You have the Pop-Up Shop in the Lower Haight, The Noise Pop Culture Club at Public Works, and not to mention the various music films they will be screening. Noise Pop seems to have something for everyone but here’s what we’re looking forward to the most.

10. Ears of the Beholder Happy Hour Party


Peter Arko aka Ears of the Beholder, our favorite tastemaker here in the Bay Area is hosting a little Happy Hour Party with Space Ghost, Skeletal System, Kites Sail High and Yalls (Debut) at Fifty24SF Gallery (218 Fillmore St). The party will go from 6-10pm on Wednesday Feb. 9th with visuals by my Chris Martz and free beer courtesy of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Purchase your $5 tickets in advance and RSVP on Facebook.

Skeletal System – Static Eyes from Small Talk / Static Eyes (2010)

9. The Family Jams (Film)


As a fan of Bay Area based freak-folk and of the band Vetiver, seeing a film about three of the very legends of 21st century folk music in an almost minimalistic setting makes for an interesting film. The movie follows director Kevin Barker on a 2004 tour that includes Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and Vetiver as they experience the trails of  extended travel and share the experiences one would have if you were to join such a lovely group of human beings.

The film will be screened at Viz Cinema on Thursday, February 24th at 9PM followed by a Q&A with director Kevin Barker and members of Vetiver after the screening.

Tickets are $10.

8. Admiral Radley at the Bottom of the Hill


Members of the respectable bands Grandaddy and Earlimart will join together to create the wonderfully humorous Admiral Radley on the 23rd of February at the Bottom of the Hill. The band’s debut album, I Heart California (The Ship, 2010), utilizes the best of both band’s songwriting abilities and lyrical wittiness that is all wrapped up into one big tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Golden State. Plus our favorite Bay Area indie-pop rockers Social Studies will be opening up the show. Just an all around genuine event if you ask me.

The Vapor Room Presents:
Admiral Radley
Typhoon, Social Studies, Fake Your Own Death
Wed, February 23, 2011
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
Bottom of the Hill
San Francisco, CA

Admiral Radley – Ghosts of Syllables from I Heart California (2010)

7. Tamaryn and The Soft Moon at Cafe Du Nord


You won’t have many more chances to catch Tamaryn in such an intimate environment as Cafe Du Nord much longer. With all the buzz that has been following her recent debut album The Waves, you can expect this Bay Area based atmospheric crooner to launch into indie rock stardom quite soon. Joining her will be the single man goth-dance workings of The Soft Moon. We’ve been trying to catch a show of this guy for a while now and this may be our chance. Creepy synth-pop never sounded this much fun.

The Black Ryder, The Soft Moon, Wax Idols
Fri, February 25, 2011
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
Café du Nord
San Francisco, CA

Tamaryn – Love Fade from The Waves (2010)

6. Kid Koala’s Music to Draw To


This has to be one of the coolest events of the festival. Join famed sampler/DJ Kid Koala for 4 hour ‘Music To Draw To…‘ session, meant to inspire one’s creativity with the background music of one of the more premier DJ’s around. Attendees are encouraged to bring whatever art materials they feel fit, from canvas’ to mobile animation studios (I think they’re called laptops) and just go to town while Kid Koala spins a variety of mellow tunes. Included with admission is a free cup of hot chocolate, a pencil and various baked goods provided by Kid Koala’s wife, Corinne.

Saturday, February 26, 2011
Kid Koala’s Music to Draw To
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Public Works Upstairs Stage
$10 in advance / $15 at door

Kid Koala – Skanky Panky from Some of My Best Friends Are DJs (2003)

5. Way Behind the Music


If you attended this year’s SF Sketchfest, hopefully one of those shows was the famed Celebrity Autobiography. A show that features some of sketch comedy’s best performers (Scott Adsit, Rachel Dratch, Laraine Newman, etc) as they read from memoirs ranging from Stallone to the Jonas Brothers. What Noise Pop has done is very similar except with the literary efforts of Justin Bieber, Jewel, Gene Simmons, George Jones, Marilyn Manson, Tori Amos, Vince Neil, Denise McLean (mother of Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean), and many more all read by the likes of by Mark Eitzel, Thao Nguyen, Beth Lisick, Linda Robertson, Michelle Tea, Jesse Michaels, Paul Myers, Tom Heyman, and our friend Bucky Sinister.

Litquake Presents:
Way Behind the Music
Thu, February 24, 2011
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm
Make-Out Room
San Francisco, CA

4. Battlehooch & Nobunny


Yeah yeah I know, it’s the same day as Tamaryn, Aesop Rock & Kimya Dawson, and Alexi Murdoch. But if you really want all-out entertaining and raw energy at a show, this is the one you need to go to. You’ve got Battlehooch’s rampant instrumentation, Nobunny’s utter garage rock fight fest, and the delightful Exray’s, one of the number one buzz bands of 2011 . $12 isn’t enough to bring to this kind of a show. You’ll need to bring your willingness to rock the fuck out. Don’t miss out.

Nobunny, Exray’s, and The Downer Party
Fri, February 25, 2011
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm
Bottom of the Hill
San Francisco, CA

Battlehooch – Take The L-Train from Piecechow (2009)

3. Covers: A Dinner of Culinary and Musical Tribute


I just thought this was such a genius idea when I spotted it. Our friends at Turntable Kitchen (a music website that pairs the latest music with amazing recipes) as well as graffEats and FoxconSox Consulting will be presenting a dinner of covers on February 17th and 18th.

Noise Pop’s website describes the event like so:

A six course meal, prepared by graffEats chef, Blair Washerman, will feature “covers” of signature dishes from some of today’s culinary luminaries. Such dishes will include Grant Archatz’s “Hot Potato, Cold Potato” and Daniel Humm’s Pave of Suckling Pig (full menu below). Turntable Kitchen’s Matthew Hickey will be providing Musical Pairings for each course (covers, of course! Think, Michel Bras’s Black Olive Oil Poached Monkfish paired with Françoise Hardy’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”). The BYOB event will have two seatings each night (6:00pm & 9:00) for $65 a person. Seats will be very limited.

In fact, the 6PM seating for Thursday is already sold out. So you best get yourself a spot before it’s too late.

Thursday, February 17, 2011
graffEats, Turntable Kitchen & FoxconSox Consulting present
Covers: A Dinner of Culinary and Musical Tribute
First seating at 6:00 PM; Second seating at 9:00 PM, $65



2. Ted Leo, AB & The Sea, and Kevin Seconds

tedleo_highres1Well I had to put one “popular” option up here. Which is one of the best showcases of heartfelt folk-punk one could dream of. You have Ted Leo himself (still showing up from what I understand even due to his recent cancellations), our own wonderful ray of sunshine folk pop group AB & The Sea, and ex-punk rock hero Kevin Seconds (7 Seconds) busting out the acoustic guitar and killing it for an audience of dedicated listeners. This is going to be good.

Ted Leo (SOLO)
AB & The Sea, Kevin Seconds, Angel Island
Thu, February 24, 2011
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
Bottom of the Hill
San Francisco, CA

A B & The Sea – Bone Dry from Bone Dry / Single (2010)

1. SNOB THEATER at The Pop-Up Shop!

noise pop posterDamn straight I’m going to put my show as #1! It’s my goddamn website and I can do what I want with it! But seriously, I couldn’t be more excited. I picked four of my favorite comedy acts in the Bay Area as well as my friends from Phantom Kicks to perform acoustically and the poppy but jazzy sounds of the lovely Ash Reiter to close the show at The Pop-Up Shop at the Fifty24SF Gallery (218 Fillmore St). With comedy by Coree Spencer, Donny Divanian, and music comedy by DJ Real (a Snob Theater favorite) and Rainbow Chair (who recently released their first EP). Did I mention we’re going to have free beer?

So buy your tickets now and I’ll see you Friday!

Kata Rokkar presents
Snob Theater
Doors 6:00 PM; Show 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM, $10
RSVP on Facebook!

Rainbow Chair – Come Sit in the Rainbow Chair from Magenta Placenta EP (2011)

Ash Reiter – Blue Eyes from Daytrotter Session (2010)

DJ REAL – Moustache from Personal Growth (2009)

Phantom Kicks – Coming Home from Phantom Kicks Demo (2010)


tonight: The Pass + Marvelous Toy at Milk Bar / Ólafur Arnalds at the Great American Music Hall

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011


Our friends over at We Listen For You are putting on a glorious show at the MILK Bar in the Haight with dance-rockers The Pass and swing-folk group Marvelous Toy at 9pm tonight. As a fan of the super-fun Marvelous Toy, I can safely say that not only is this an unusual line-up, it’s also a well balanced combo of fly-by-wire folk-punk and dance inducing electro-rock. Only $5, so be there and have a good time.

Marvelous Toy – I Have To Write This Over from Not Moving (2011)

The Pass – Treatment of the Sun from Burst (2010)

However if you’re looking for me (creepy) I’ll be at the Ólafur Arnalds show at the Great American Music Hall tonight. Touring in support of my favorite instrumental album of 2010, …And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness, Ólafur will bring the entire GAMH to tears with his deeply emotional instrumentation and epically dense arrangements…but in a good way.

Ólafur Arnalds – Þú ert sólin from …And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness (2010)

tonight: Giggle Party, Grinn & Barrett, and TFPP at El Rio

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Gigglepartylincolnposter LoRes

Giggle Party
with Grinn & Barrett and TFPP
2 February 2011
El Rio
San Francisco, CA