3.1: Dante Elephante, Sporting Life, Future Shapes @ Brick & Mortar
Their sophomore effort “Anglo-Saxon Summer” may have been five months old by the time Dante Elephante cruised up the coast from Santa Barbara to play this free show, but that didn’t stop this surf pop quintet from kicking out every tune like it was the first time – full of energy and devoid of apathy. SF locals Summer Peaks kicked off the night with a dreamy blend of alt-rock and dream pop while fellow natives Sporting Life chose to channel the 90s by alternating between math rock and Britpop. Leave it to these three to get people moshing on a Tuesday night.
3.10: The Intelligence, Peacers @ Vacation
The Intelligence is from both Seattle and Los Angeles, but found their middle ground in a Tenderloin basement on a rainy Thursday night. The quartet packed the house and did what they do best: a little bit of everything, in the greatest way – unrelenting post-punk melodies combined with classic garage rock riffs, mind-melting psychedelia, and some truly commanding vocals. Thankfully, California-based label Castle Face Records recorded the show for their “Live in San Francisco” vinyl series, allowing attendees to relive the night as soon as the withdrawals kick in. San Francisco locals Peacers served as openers but gave what felt like a headlining set, captivating the room with the psych-heavy garage rock we’ve all come to know and love, but in a manner that made the genre seem all their own. The two bands effortlessly made the classics seem refreshing, reminding the audience of what makes rock and roll so special.
3.18: CCR Headcleaner, Grant Lavalley and the Peaks @ Vacation
Who better to lose your mind to than CCR Headcleaner? The weirdo rock quartet kept it heavy and had every head in the venue banging away Friday night, reminding everyone why they’ve remained one of the Bay’s most beloved psych rock acts (as if anyone could forget their overmedicated, ultra catchy sound). These Oakland darlings are famous for their live shows, and each time, it seems as though they’re just getting better and better. To balance the night out, Grant Lavalley and the Peaks brought a synth-heavy sound straight out of Joshua Tree, mesmerizing the audience with equally dark tunes, which seemed to be composed on another planet rather than in a garage.
3.27: La Luz, Peacers, The Mantles @ Rickshaw Stop
Dancing at Rickshaw Stop may not be the most conventional way to celebrate Easter, but this Sunday, it felt like the only place to be. Attendees swapped church hymns for surf-tinged dark doo-wop as La Luz headlined, four-person harmonies filling the air backed by haunting guitar riffs and rolling drums. The Seattle-based quartet put on a set that felt like the soundtrack to a surf-themed horror film, in the most hypnotizing way possible. Kicking off the show were San Francisco locals Peacers, who tapped into the night’s psychedelic theme like the pros they are, stopping everyone in their tracks as they perfectly encapsulated what makes garage rock so engaging. Up next were fellow locals The Mantles, who effortlessly bridged the gap between surf and garage, garnering such a positive reaction from the audience that one could easily mistake them for headliners. Who needed an Easter egg hunt when all the best treats were right here?
3.28: Adult Books, Cool Ghouls @ Brick & Mortar
Fresh off the release of their first full-length album “Running From The Blows” on Lolipop Records, Echo Park’s favorite post-punks Adult Books graced SF with a high-energy set at Brick & Mortar. The group (now a quartet, thanks to the addition of labelmate Froth’s drummer Cam Allen) seamlessly alternated between fan favorites from their first EP like “In Love Again” and hits like “Silver Lake Goths” from their latest record. They even threw in a cover of Cleaners From Venus’ classic “Only a Shadow” for good measure; needless to say, it was great to have the boys back in the Bay. SF-based country rockers Midnight Suns kicked off the show, followed by Oakland’s Babewatch, who left the audience in a garage rock-induced frenzy. Local favorites Cool Ghouls ended the night on a high note, providing their own take on surf rock, complete with twangy guitars and dream-like harmonies.
3.29: Hinds, Cotillion, Ice Cream @ Rickshaw Stop
Being thrust into hype is relatively easy, but living up to it proves quite difficult. However, Spain’s latest export, golden girls of the international blogosphere Hinds, did just that and more Friday night. A year ago, the quartet only managed to fill up about half of Rickshaw’s dance floor, but this time around, the show sold out in minutes. Those who were lucky enough to grab a ticket online earlier this year (or scalp one outside the venue beforehand) were treated to an evening that felt less like four musicians performing for an audience, and more like a party, four best friends playing along with 400 of their new pals, singing to each other, and thriving off an energy that threatened to overwhelm the venue. With music this good and so much fun being had, Hinds have certainly found a new home in the Bay. San Francisco locals Ice Cream started things off right, giving the audience their daily dose of surf pop, and SF-by-way-of-LA dream wavers Cotillion cooled things down a bit with a blissful, fuzz-drenched take on shoegaze. At the end of the night, each attendee’s smile shone brighter than the disco ball above the dance floor.