A big neon sign reading “Bottom of The Hill” welcomed alternative folk and jazz fans alike, as the venue went from an empty bar to a crowded pool of audience members. The bar lights dimmed and the stage lights arose to a soft hue of red, as the first act took her place onto the small stage.
She announced herself as “Lila Blue,” and, the audience quickly swooned over her indie-alternative music. The 17-year-old San Franciscan lured the crowd in when she channeled her inner Joni Mitchell in her song, “Kill the Witnesses,” and Florence Welch in, “Boy with the Birds.” The singer/songwriter played solo with just her guitar throughout her set as she went from her original songs to covering the Joni Mitchell classic, “Case of You.” Her voice borrowed Mitchell’s folk inspired twang and its indie smooth undertones.
Between songs, the audience whispered amongst one another, enthusiastically gushing over the young artist. As a writer myself, I was taken away by Blue’s songwriting abilities and her originality. She ended her set by announcing that all her proceeds from the sales of her CDs that night were going to Puerto Rico to help during their ongoing crisis. Once she left the stage, many people ran over to Lila Blue to commend her on her spectacular performance.
Next to perform was Karina Denike, who was no stranger to performing. She waltzed onto the stage in a polka dot dress and red lipstick, clearly channeling a ‘50s housewife. Karina has performed in San Francisco’s bars and small venues for many years. She came with nothing but a piano player to give the audience a stripped down version of her usual eight-person ensemble. Denike’s music ranged from Amy Winehouse-inspired originals, to performing a cover of the 1950’s “You Don’t Own Me” by Leslie Gore. Although her set felt out of place in an alternative lineup, she added a fun vibe to the small room. The audience was taken back to the time of pincurls and pinups with Denike’s deep soulful voice and feisty lyrics.
Once Karina Denike’s performance ended, the crowd stood in anticipation awaiting the band they had been waiting all night for: Joon Moon. The French trio of Raphael Chassin (drummer), Julien Decoret (pianist and guitarist) and Krystle Warren (lead singer) gracefully walked onto the stage. The audience immediately knew they were in the presence of something amazing. The band modestly didn’t bother introducing themselves, preferring to jump straight into their music. Their music was like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It took soothing parts from the alternative genre, as Warren’s voice brought soul into every lyric she sang. Their most popular song, “Chess,” made the audience melt with Warren’s soft alluring voice, and the jazz undertones of the piano.
The audience was not disappointed by any means this Saturday night. San Francisco alternative music fans united at Bottom of The Hill to enjoy a range of their favorite local artists, as well as some new ones. The night went from indie folk music, to 1950s jazz, to laid back alternative soul music in a couple of hours. Fans sipped on beer and wine and relaxed to the unique sounds of each artist.