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Arts + CultureMusicUnder the Stars: Sun Ra Arkestra shines, Liz Phair...

Under the Stars: Sun Ra Arkestra shines, Liz Phair might just cuss you out….

Killer Mike brings big news of the real world to the Fillmore, and Slow Pulp tickles our summer fancy. New music news!

Luna on Valencia calls it kaput, Indiana Jones sees Harrison Ford smirk for the last time under a memorable John Williams score, and day-drinking becomes a new life hack that SF has known about since… ehh, The Gold Rush? [Might I suggest Dogpatch Saloon?—ed.]

It’s Under the Stars babe. A quasi-weekly column that presents new music releases, upcoming shows, opinions, and a number of other adjacent items. We keep moving with the changes, thinking outside the margins: Can we be your summer hit?

Let’s sing it!

SLOW PULP, “SLUGS” FROM YARD (ANTI- RECORDS)

Wisconsin-bred, Chicago-based bedroom pop band Slow Pulp has delivered a low-key summer bammer. “Slugs,” from the upcoming album Yard is the type of snarky-artful earworm that jabs at your brain with workman-like hooks “You’re a summer hit, I’m singing it.” Catch them at The Chapel in October, but I’d pre-order the album here.

SUN RA ARKESTRA AT SF JAZZ, JULY 20-23

Sometimes, when the good weather takes over, we get overwhelmed by the walkway of festivals battling for our digital coin. Outdoor locales and deep grove performance spaces get us hurriedly into a state of FOMO while forgetting some of the best shows of the summer happen indoors on Franklin Street.

Tributes to Gregory Hines, listening parties with Stanley Clarke, Ledisi singing the Nina Simone catalog, it’s all happening at SFJAZZ. A jewel in the crown of performances this summer, without requiring mosquito spray, somebody checking your bag, or walking all day and night watching the active youth scurry about with damn near no clothes on, is the Sun Ra Arkestra.

Unfortunately, 99-year-old bandleader Marshall Allen is no longer traveling with the band for concerts outside the Philadelphia region and will not perform during these shows. However, the rest of the band, many legends among them, will be participating in these concerts. 

Sun Ra, who passed into deeper cosmic realms on in 1993, created an entire universe of expression through his pioneering Afro-futurist concepts in music and philosophy. He integrated Ellington-influenced big band swing with free jazz, the blues, electronics, and African musical traditions while establishing a singular visual style that combined futuristic concepts with ancient Egyptian iconography.

For the first two nights of their week, the Arkestra focuses on the more experimental exploratory music from Sun Ra’s songbook. The rest of the shows promise an energetic night of movement and spectacle.

Get your tickets here and enjoy the comforts of indoor performance.

KILLER MIKE AT THE FILLMORE, JULY 29

Mang. It’s a pure joy to see the way that Killer Mike moves through the world.

No snark or sarcasm. I’m as serious as can be. Not the biggest Run The Jewels fan, but I’m a fan of both members. El-P from the Company Flow Funcrusher Plus era (go run that shit back, Son) and really Killer Mike for just being the solid Black Man that he is.

Listen you may not agree with his Bernie Sanders political leanings, but here is a man who fights for his people any way he can. Giving back to the struggle. There is something very Chuck D about the way he goes about his business, the way he sees hip-hop.

“I think that hip-hop does a great job. I think we’ve always done a great job. We are the only musical genre in which everybody, from Eminem to Future, from Boots Riley to Immortal Technique, has said something that pushed the line on politics on behalf of salt-of-the-earth, working-class, regular folks, the majority [of them] Black folks” he told The Ringer last month.

“Other genres and other artistic forms have talked about making a way for women. From day one, hip-hop has had a way for women. I don’t even feel like we’re talking about the Funky 4 + 1 or Roxanne Shanté, Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, and now there’s just an overabundance of dope-ass chicks.”

I suggest you see Killer Mike at The Fillmore, I know he will have something pertinent to say, something the world could use. Get tickets here.

LIZ PHAIR THE MASONIC, NOVEMBER 11

I know. Why in the hell is this guy promoting a show for November when summer has just begun?

Liz Phair’s debut album, Exile in Guyville, was released on June 22, 1993.

All right, folks. Thirty years of, get ready for this, “Fuck and Run.” And she’s touring to celebrate.

An all-timer of a clap back to The Rolling Stone’s double album Exile on Main Street, Guyville was well-received by critics, and Rolling Stone ranked it No. 56 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2020. 

However, that is not the main reason we at Under The Stars are spending the time to bring it up.

Nope.

As my friends would say, “skinny white boy bars all over the Mission in the ’90s” played “Fuck and Run” on jukeboxes day and night, since it could not be played on the radio due to its profane name. That fuelled its popularity on college radio and the underground, and it became Phairs’ blessing that could not fade.

After its release, Phair would face verbal abuse and ridicule from many for being that loud-mouthed woman with a guitar and a potty mouth, even though all she was doing was expressing the truth about her life at the time.

Can you say hip-hop?

She would later go on to release numerous additional albums, each of which would document her development as an artist, but the criticism she would receive from mostly male rock critics was “Where is the lo-fi genius of Guyville?”

She was never able to fully win. Listen, Phair is financially well-off, so I won’t shed a tear for a woman who was friends with Julia Roberts when she was a teenager.

But that old adage, if a dude did it, the result would be different, is quite accurate.

Don’t get me wrong, Guyville plays on in my brain forever.

I fuggin love it.

But it’s a weird phenomenon for sure.

Go see Liz Phair, but don’t make any requests. She may cuss your ass out.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

John-Paul Shiver
John-Paul Shiverhttps://www.clippings.me/channelsubtext
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

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