Battles surprise indy crowd with Tune-Yards’ Merrill Garbus

Watching John Stanier smash his five-piece Tama Artstar II drum kit is pretty unbelievable. Sweat poured off his forehead as his thick greying hair flung back and forth to the rhythm of his hands. Half-glancing at his super-high crash, it’s as if Stanier was warning the high-rise cymbal right before smashing the brass so hard … Continue reading Battles surprise indy crowd with Tune-Yards’ Merrill Garbus

Thom Yorke closes intoxicating set with Radiohead classic

Spastically swirling across the stage, Thom Yorke’s lime green socks peaked out from white Velcro shoes. Like a tiny cyclone, his feet impulsively tapped as his arms swam through the air. Mouth wide and eyes closed, his hands curved and reached for the crowd. It’s no secret that Yorke loves playing in Berkeley. The last … Continue reading Thom Yorke closes intoxicating set with Radiohead classic

Here to stay—Korn and Alice in Chains thrill lifelong fans

Devoted is an understatement—nearly 20,000 cheering fans packed Shoreline Amphitheatre for a lineup straight out of 1999. Nu metal icons Korn paired perfectly with grunge legends Alice in Chains, even if you couldn’t picture the pair touring together in their heyday. Scuzzy opening chords of “Here to Stay” (Untouchables, 2002) crept across the crowd. Within … Continue reading Here to stay—Korn and Alice in Chains thrill lifelong fans

Burger Boogaloo celebrates 10 years in Oakland

All hail The Pope of Trash. Burger Boogaloo may be the only festival where fans are just as excited to see its host—cult director and author John Waters—as any band on the bill. The counterculture icon’s slender frame stood behind a podium on stage, his pencil-thin mustache outlined a grin as he welcomed each artist … Continue reading Burger Boogaloo celebrates 10 years in Oakland

Thom Yorke summons euphoric storm at Bill Graham Civic

A sold-out crowd stood still, and thousands of wide eyes watched musical prodigy Thom Yorke grace Bill Graham Civic Auditorium’s stage. Standing behind an electric piano, his fingers slowly slid across the keys. Leaning into the mic, his haunting voice gripped you from the start. Opening with “Interference” (Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, 2014), he softly sang, “I don’t … Continue reading Thom Yorke summons euphoric storm at Bill Graham Civic

Björk invites us all into her wacky world

Weird is an understatement. Twenty voices surged, and as the technical beat shook the floors of the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, an all-female Icelandic chorus raised the hairs on my arm. Finishing up a traditional Hungarian song “Oskasteinar,” an enclosed spherical crate slowly ascended from the ceiling. Björk started the show just as she ended it, … Continue reading Björk invites us all into her wacky world