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PerformanceOnstage'Twin Peaks,' Kelley Stoltz, Epic Rap Battles: 10 best...

‘Twin Peaks,’ Kelley Stoltz, Epic Rap Battles: 10 best music events at Sketchfest

With soundtracks, 'stupid songs,' and album replays, the gigantic fest packs musical heat: Here’s our tipsheet.

SF Sketchfest 2024 is off to the races, with over 200 events at various San Francisco venues to ponder through February 4. We’ve been taking a good look through each vast event category to help you narrow down the highlights to consider. After recommending the best podcasts and talk shows at the festival and interviewing some of its stars, we’re now picking some great-sounding music-centric events.

FRI/19: THE RED ROOM ORCHESTRA PLAY THE LOST BOYS SOUNDTRACK

JANUARY 30: THE RED ROOM ORCHESTRA PLAY THE HAROLD AND MAUDE SOUNDTRACK

JANUARY 31: THE RED ROOM ORCHESTRA PLAY THE MUSIC OF “TWIN PEAKS”
SF Sketchfest’s David Owen works with the city’s always-mutating Red Room Orchestra to curate live tributes to silver screen soundtracks, and this year, there are three different nights to check out. The 1987 comedic horror flick The Lost Boys was filmed in Santa Cruz; Visit California even offers a self-guided tour of spots you’ll see in the movie. The soundtrack is, um, killer, too, with contributions from INXS, Echo & the Bunnymen, and Roger Daltrey. Actor Alex Winter will be there, too! But the highlight of this evening will no doubt be the sax solo from Tim Cappello, the hunky sax player from the movie.

Cat Stevens composed a few new songs and rearranged others for the soundtrack to the 1971 comedy Harold and Maude, a dark and funny classic about the ultimate May-December romance. That music lends itself to the orchestral treatment since this particular orchestra has all kinds of different musicians in it. SF’s own Margaret Cho is gonna be among the featured guests. But if we were to pick just one of the three Red Room Orchestra events at Sketchfest, the Twin Peaks universe tribute stands out because the band has done this before, but this time, it actually is going to feature the main character energy of actor Kyle MacLachlan, who appears in the movie and TV series. Cho will return as a guest, too. 8pm-10pm, Great American Music Hall, SF. More info on each event here. 

SUN/21: DAVE HILL: CAVEMAN IN A SPACESHIP
As evidenced from his bit about Guitar Center above, Hill’s standup draws from the endless well of humor that is found in the world of music. He’s also the frontman for a Norwegian Black Metal band called Witch Taint, so don’t be surprised if he lets it all hang out (figuratively, of course) at Sketchfest. 5pm-6:30pm, Club Fugazi, SF. More info here.

SUN/21: STUPID SONGS AND STORIES WITH KEVIN MCDONALD
Fans of Canadian sketch comedy greats Kids in the Hall, take note: crucial crew member Kevin McDonald has his own Sketchfest event. The Kids’ Unplugged gig on Jan. 23 is kinda pricey, and their Scenes They Wouldn’t Let Me Do event on January 24 is sold out already, so this is our pick, especially if it’s not your only SF Sketchfest event. 7pm-8:30pm, Gateway Theatre, SF. More info here.

JANUARY 25: PYLON REENACTMENT SOCIETY/KELLEY STOLTZ
For a break from laughing raucously in favor of a bit of body shaking, the double bill of the local psychedelic singer/songwriter and producer Stoltz and the Athens, GA indie supergroup Pylon Reenactment Society is full of promise. Stoltz released his 17th album, The Stylist, in 2022, while Pylon has released four singles since 2017. 8pm-10:30pm, Great American Music Hall, SF. More info here.

JANUARY 28: EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY
EpicLLOYD and Nice Peter’s YouTube channel with almost 15 million subscribers doesn’t rehash old Verzuz faceoffs — they enact pop culture one-on-ones they want to see, like Henry Ford vs. Karl Marx, the Joker vs. Pennywise, and Jacques Cousteau vs. Steve Irwin. TikTok top tier comic Kyle Gordon joins in this live battle. 8pm-9:30pm, Great American Music Hall, SF. More info here.

FEBRUARY 1: MICHAEL SHANNON & JASON NARDUCY AND FRIENDS PLAY R.E.M.’S MURMUR
FEBRUARY 2: MICHAEL SHANNON & JASON NARDUCY AND FRIENDS PLAY R.E.M.’S RECKONING

Oscar-nominated actor Shannon and musician’s musician Narducy, who is an early inspiration of Dave Grohl and a key member of Bob Mould’s band, have performed full albums by Neil Young and The Smiths live in concert. They’re currently on a national tour that’s totally in tribute to R.E.M.’s 1983 debut Murmur and are adding something special for Sketchfest: a second show to play the second album, 1984’s Reckoning. The actual band hasn’t released an album since 2011, so go ahead and relive those college radio glory days, even if you didn’t actually have them the first time around. 8pm-10pm, Great American Music Hall, SF. More info on both shows here.

FEBRUARY 4: OPEN MIKE EAGLE WITH VIDEO DAVE Close out this year’s Sketchfest with this sureshot Noise Pop collaboration with the veteran rapper and comedian Open Mike Eagle and fellow “Headass” musician and visual artist Video Dave. The annual music festival returns February 22-March 3, allowing a few weeks to rest before you hit the town again. 8pm-9:30pm, Club Fugazi, SF. More info here.

Tamara is the self-publisher of the California Eating zine project, the free Creative Jobs newsletter, and the brand-new Music Book Club.

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

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