Phenagen at DNA Lounge

Date: February 3, 2015
City: San Francisco, CA
Venue: DNA Lounge
Artist: Phenagen
Opening Act(s): Six Gun Saints, Lucabrazzi, Flanelhed


I had never heard of Phenagen before I saw this show listed on Tixie. I like rock music so figured why not bid a few tokens to see this show for free. According to the guitarist, Phenagen (founded by Phil Glasses) is originally from France and a legend in the rock world. Who knew?

The drums and guitar overpowered the vocals at the beginning of the set, but this was corrected after a few songs. I enjoyed watching guitarist Charly Gienau work what little part of the stage she had. There were a couple of times her guitar became unplugged because she was feverishly ripping on her guitar. The lead singer of Lucabrazzi plugged it back in for her a couple of times.

I wasn’t feeling Phenagen’s set, but I definitely was entertained.

Six Gun Saints

Six Gun Saints, a foursome from Concord, reminded me of the rock bands I would listen to in the 90s. They were my favorite of the night.


San Francisco’s Lucabrazzi was the second band of the night. The guitar of this 3-piece punk band drew me in. They were also fun to watch.


The first band of the night was Flanelhed. This Novato band reminded me how much I love real rock music. I was absolutely blown away by Chris Matthews’ voice. It was strong and loud. I would see these guys again.

Overall it was a great night of rock music.

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Spandau Ballet Kicks Off US Tour at The Warfield

Date: January 23, 2015
City: San Francisco, CA
Venue: The Warfield
Artist: Spandau Ballet
Opening Act(s): Omar Perez (DJ)

Spandau Ballet

It had been 30 years since Spandau Ballet had performed at The Warfield. I found it fitting that they kicked off their US tour there. While “True” may be the most notable song Spandau Ballet released, they have a lot of other songs that the crowd knew every word.

They also performed three new songs from “The Story – The Very Best of Spandau Ballet” album. Tony commented that someone had said to him that “This Is The Love” sounded like a Spandau Ballet song. His response was what did you expect, it IS a Spandau Ballet song.

Spandau Ballet

The band sounded great and Tony Hadley’s voice was on point. I loved seeing percussionist Steve Norman move his way to the front when he was playing saxophone. Tony Hadley would run up the steps to the drums and act like he was conducting. Everyone looked like they were having a great time on stage. It was a great night.

Spandau Ballet
The crowd pulls out their phones to record “True”.

• Soul Boy
• Highly Strung
• Only When You Leave
• How Many Lies
• Round and Round
• This Is The Love
• Steal
• Chant No 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)
• Reformation / Mandolin /Confused / Freeze
• To Cut a Long Story Short
• Once More
• I’ll Fly for You
• Instinction
• Communication
• Lifeline
• True
• Fight for Ourselves
• Through the Barricades
• Gold

Spandau Ballet

DJ Omar Perez
DJ Omar Perez got the crowd pumped up by spinning 80s tunes.

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The Jazz Singer Sparkles

Date: August 7, 2012
City: San Jose, CA
Venue: HP Pavilion
Artist: Neil Diamond
Opening Act(s): N/A

Neil Diamond

Back in the days before cable was widely available, there were very few channels to watch. I recall that “The Jazz Singer” staring Neil Diamond would often play on network television. The soundtrack had some good songs, my favorite being “America”.

I once read that Neil Diamond had said in an interview the he wore sparkly shirts so that the fans in the nosebleed seats could see him on stage as the lights hit his shirt. I didn’t quite have nosebleed seats, but I was somewhat disappointed by the fact that he wasn’t wearing a sparkly shirt – shiny and silky, yes, but no sparkles.

He performed the hits we all know and love “Forever in Blue Jeans”, “Hello Again”, “Love on the Rocks”, “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon”, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, “America” and of course “Sweet Caroline”.

This was another concert where the crowd was older than most of the shows I attend. However, there were several groups of frat boys at the show. They all went crazy when “Sweet Caroline” was performed.

While this was a mellow show in comparison to my usual rock and roll, jump up and down, throw your hands in the air kind of show, I really enjoyed myself. I have been on a mission to see as many legends as possible. Neil Diamond is definitely a legend. He is the Jewish Elvis after all.

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Strangelove IS The Ultimate Tribute to Depeche Mode

Date: January 17, 2015
City: San Francisco, CA
Venue: Great American Music Hall
Artist: Strangelove
Opening Act(s): Temptation, Luv’n Rockets, Sanity Assassins


I won tickets to this amazing night of live music from TixieSF. I’ve seen cover bands before but Strangelove is different. They are a tribute band. Think Mark Wahlberg in “Rock Star”.

Strangelove say they are “The Ultimate Tribute to Depeche Mode”. After this performance I completely agree. Not only do Freddie Morales and Brent Meyer create their looks to mirror Dave Gahan and Martin Gore, but also sound so much like them. David Sepe and James Evans round out the group.

The show started with “Behind the Wheel”. Freddie shouted out “Sing it!” and I was immediately drawn in as if I was watching “101” live. They mixed in a few lines of one of my favorite Depeche songs “Route 66”. I remember discovering it on a compilation cassette tape I got from “Sassy” magazine.

Drawn in by the music and incredible performance, the audience spent the night dancing and singing along to hits including*:
• Blasphemous Rumours
• Black Celebration
• Shake the Disease
• Policy of Truth
• A Question of Time
• Never Let Me Down Again
• Just Can’t Get Enough
• Master and Servant
• Everything Counts
• Personal Jesus
• World in My Eyes
• People are People
*Not the full song list and not in order

I was hoping Strangelove would perform “Somebody” so I could relive seeing Martin Gore alone on stage in the spotlight at Arco Arena in 1993 during the “Devotional Tour”. Unfortunately they did not perform this song despite people in the audience shouting for it. The entire night was so amazing I did not leave disappointed. I left feeling like I had experienced the ultimate tribute to Depeche Mode.


Temptation is a New Order tribute band based in the Bay Area. It was fun to hear New Order and Joy Division songs performed live. Temptation got the crowd dancing and singing along as they covered the big hits including “Blue Monday”, “Regret”, “True Faith”, “Bizarre Love Triangle” and of course “Temptation”. My only complaint was their closing out the set with a less energetic song.

Luv'n Rockets

Luv’n Rockets is a tribute to Love and Rockets whose popularity in the US peaked in the late 80s. I missed most of their set, including “So Alive”. I did see when “Peter” (this is exactly how it is listed on their Facebook page) joined the band on stage to form Sanity Assassins, a Bauhaus Tribute. I don’t know a lot about Bauhaus or their sound, but I did not care for Peter’s voice. I was amused by his gothic look and the fact that he raised his jacket to look like bat wings.

You can view videos I took at the show here.

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Beautiful Machines at Neck of the Woods

Date: January 9, 2015
City: San Francisco, CA
Venue: Neck of the Woods
Artist: Dream Machines
Opening Act(s): Kiwi Time, Analog Dream, Bangus Tron

Beautiful Machines

Thanks to Tixie SF my first concert of 2015 was free. I won tickets to this show that consisted solely of Bay Area bands. Beautiful Machines was the headliner of the night. This Synthpop band is from right here in San Francisco. I enjoyed their set. I liked the fact that even though they are electronic and synth traditional instruments are part of their sound. You can listen to them here.

While Beautiful Machines may not have been the most fun band of the night, they did have the best production and light show. For their last song they asked the other bands to join them on stage.

Beautiful Machines
Beautiful Machines has the other bands to join them onstage for their last song.

Kiwi time

As the stage was being set for Kiwi Time, I saw a woman with a keytar and immediately got excited. Kiwi Time got the crowd clapping before they even walked on stage. There were a few issues with the sound, but the band kept on playing and singing as the sound guy worked to fix everything.

Lead singer Anna Makovchik got the crowd to dance with her by having them move to the right and then to the left. They had a lot of energy on stage and connected with the crowd. This San Francisco via Belarus band was my favorite of the night. Their music was fun and the most danceable. You can check out their music here.

Analog Dream

Analog Dream, an electronic duo from San Francisco, was the second opener of the night. I overheard someone say it was the type of music you’d have on in the background. I have to agree. Their music is much too mellow to be seen performed live. The first group had a few people dancing. I heard a lot of people talking through Analog Dream’s set. Hear for yourself.

Bangus Tron

Oakland based electronic synth-pop duo Bangus Tron opened up the night. I liked their beats and was amused by their lyrics. “Denim Queen” definitely stood out. You can check them out here.

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2014 Stats

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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2014 Concert Wrap Up

I attended 59 shows in 2014, one less than 2013. However, I attended 5 festivals in 2014 compared to 2 in 2013. This means I watched 208 acts, at 33 venues in 9 cities and 3 states over 68 days. What an incredible year.

Below is my list of shows and links to their reviews.

1. Linkin Park, Redlight King (The Joint)
2. Notorious, Party Rumor (Red Devil Lounge)
3. Justin Timberlake (SAP Center)
4. Jonny Lang (The Fillmore)
5. The Trims, Oranguhtango (DNA Lounge)
6. The Eagles (SAP Center)
7. Princess (Mezzanine)
8. Katdelic, Pamela Parker Band (Boom Boom Room)
9. Charmless, The Skinny Guns, The Tenderloins (Neck of the Woods)
10. New Politics, Magic Man, Sleeper Agent (The Independent)
11. Walk Off The Earth, Parachute (Regency Ballroom)
12. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Chad Valley (The Fillmore)
13. The Greening, Everyone Is Dirty, Sweet Chariot (Slim’s)
14. Y&T, Ron Keel (The Fillmore)
15. Rick Springfield (Yoshi’s)
16. Berlin, Ownership (Bimbo’s 365)
17. Liza Minnelli (Davies Symphony Hall)
18. Zucchero (Great American Music Hall)
19. Big Head Todd & The Monsters (The Fillmore)
20. Taylor Dane (Yoshi’s)
21. Slick Rick (Yoshi’s)
22. The Trims, Animal Super Species (Milk Bar)
23. The Wanted, Cassio Monroe, Midnight Red (The Warfield)
24. Boy George (Belasco Theater)
25. Finish Ticket, French Cassettes, The Trims (Rickshaw Stop)
26. Joe, Guy, El Debarge, SWV (Paramount Theater)
27. Talk of Shamans, BFA, The Garden Band (DNA Lounge)
28. Live 105 BFD (Shoreline Amphitheater)
29. Kelis, Son Little (The Fillmore)
30. One Republic, The Script (Shoreline Amphitheater)
31. Cher, Cyndi Lauper (SAP Center)
32. Chevelle, Black Map, Highly Suspect (The Fillmore)
33. Andy Grammer, Andrew Ripp, Brendan James (Great American Music Hall)
34. Joe Bataan, Dakila, Little Brown Brothers (Great American Music Hall)
35. The Crookes, Caught A Ghost (Rickshaw Stop)
36. Wolfmother, Electric Citizen (The Fillmore)
37. Lollapalooza (Grant Park, Chicago)
38. Outside Lands (Golden Gate Park, San Francisco)
39. Paul McCartney (Candlestick Park)
40. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Interrupters (The Fillmore)
41. Jason Mraz, Raining Jane (Davies Symphony Hall)
42. Made in America Festival (Grand Park, Downtown LA)
43. Riot Fest (Humboldt Park, Chicago)
44. Linkin Park, 30 Seconds To Mars (Concord Pavilion)
45. Better Than Ezra, Scars on 45, The Honeymoons (House of Blues Sunset)
46. Train, Striking Matches (The Masonic)
47. Katy Perry, Teagan & Sara (SAP Center)
48. Elton John, Bright Light Bright Light (SAP Center)
49. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Steve Winwood (SAP Center)
50. ABC (Mezzanine)
51. Hall & Oates, Mutlu (The Masonic)
52. Life is Beautiful (Downtown Las Vegas)
53. Erasure, Super Humanoids (Fox Oakland)
54. Bastille, Ella Eyre (Bill Graham Civic Auditorium)
55. The Nick & Knight Tour, Nick Carter and Jordan Knight (Regency Ballroom)
56. Stevie Wonder (Oracle Arena)
57. “A Merri-Achi Christmas” featuring Mariachi Sol de Mexico de José Hernández and Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles de José Hernández (Davies Symphony Hall)
58. Finish Ticket, Forrest Day, Panic Is Perfect (The Fillmore)
59. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, James Hunter (The Fillmore)

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