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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Arts + CultureMusicUnder the Stars: The Dead shall come to Vegas,...

Under the Stars: The Dead shall come to Vegas, riding a 4-D Sphere

Plus: Gift of Gab tribute, 'Jolene' turns 50, Kim Gordon's packing list, Afro-techno from Bucharest, more music news

It’s Under The Stars, babe. A quasi-weekly column that presents new music releases, upcoming shows, opinions, and other adjacent items. We keep moving with the changes and thinking outside the margins. Let’s go get it!


Remember this, The Dead created Shakedown Street. Not trying to be coy, just sharing what every remaining $125 tie-dye T-shirt shop on Haight St has known since 1967. 

The money stays green, too. 

Dead & Company wrapped up their three-night adios to over 120,000 fans at Oracle Park in San Francisco last July, putting the kibosh on the 10-year affair, raking in about $20 million in ticket revenue and generating about $31 million for the city, via lodging and such.

They left the Dead fan base pretty much… I won’t say it. But it starts with a capital G.

Welp, Dead & Company, featuring “ I Will Get By” legends Bob Weir and Mickey Hart alongside John Mayer, bassist Oteil Burbridge, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, and drummer Jay Lane, decided to run it back one mo gin, but In Vegas. That’s right, the “not fade away” like a mug crew, these cats will reconvene this spring for a lengthy residency at Las Vegas’ Sphere.

Right after Bono and The Boys.

Let’s keep track. Oakland A’s, the Super Bowl, and now crunchy rich Dead & Company folk.

It reminds me of a famous phrase Bill Graham used to say: “It’s not the money, it’s the money.”

Which reminds me of yet another telling quote by the late Don Ohlmeyer,  President of NBC, who fired Norm Macdonald from Saturday Night Live,  “The answer to all your questions is money.”

For the “Dead Forever” residency, the band will play three shows a weekend for six weeks, beginning May 16 and running through June 15. Each weekend’s three performances feature a unique setlist and all-in ticket pricing starting at $145…

The Dead Shall Never Die.


Making a tribute song for a friend, band member, or fallen label mate can be a difficult task. We have plenty of examples to draw from to back that up. As for “I Remember Tim,” by the French Jazz outfit Bumcello, featuring drummer Cyril Atef and cellist Vincent Ségal, along with Oakland Emcee Lateef The Truthspeaker and DJ producer extraordinaire Chief Xcel—this collective of musicians and confidants gets the tone razor sharp.

Timothy Jerome Parker, better known by his stage name Gift of Gab, passed away on June 18, 2021. He was a beloved Bay Area original known for his talents, intellect, and heart which flowed through the Bay Area hip-hop duo Blackalicious along with DJ Chief Xcel. That verbal skill and humanitarian light are captured with reverence by way of matching brass and woodwind instrumental orchestration with astute DJ cuts and acumen.

Purchase the single here.


Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” turned 50 last November and it’s one of her biggest records ever.

Just on name recognition alone. Being in SF, especially on a weekend night bar-hopping, you’re gonna hear it, blasting, when you pass a jukebox or that corner bar with a DJ who at some point hurls it out there to make sure his or her payout at 3am is just a bit fatter.

I always thought the cut was “cool” but not anthemic. That is until I heard Gloria Ann Taylor adopt Dolly’s scripture for her use: Taylor widened the bandwidth and blew my damn head off. 

A soul singer by trade who took life experiences and used them in her art to the fullest, Taylor went through it according to the liner notes from her 2015 compilation on Ubiquity Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing:

“Soul singer Gloria Ann Taylor has no rags-to-riches tale to tell. Her story is one of personal sacrifice, failed relationships, and missed opportunities. She led a hard-knock life before being swept up by the flash and promise of a marriage and business partnership with a successful record producer. She would be nominated for a Grammy, rub shoulders with James Brown and Bootsy Collins, and turn heads from Motown. But in the end, she rejected professional singing, the music business, and the lifestyle that came with it.”

Taylor knew a Jolene. You could hear it. The arrangement doesn’t remake the wheel, just reinforces the foundation. Adopts swirly-disco tactics, a dose of psychedelic folk-western funk,  Taylor intuitively channels so much pain that there are segments where she doesn’t even need to sing. Instead, angelic trills to the sky reaching for other types of strength taking over her voice, telling you everything you need to know.

Flipping Country back into a Black narrative—a reverse Tracey Chapman?

Talk about Black History…


Who knew Bucharest, Romania-based techno producer Ada Kaleh had the stones AND know-how to carry a through line on the mega 11-minute jam “Unraveling” that would connect Prince and Fela under one groove?

I didn’t, that’s for sure.

Kaleh puts afrobeat, jazz, and some Paisley Park-era keyboard stabs at the beginning of the track, letting things squirm out for a bit. Having the masterful Eric Leeds, yup the one noted for his studio and touring work with Prince, supplies atmosphere by way of tenor sax until Fela’s vocals from “International Thief Thief” add the knockout punch, with weighty tales documenting survival. It’s a dub-rhythm-long player for all times.

Purchase it here.


If Kim Gordon were your Mother, and I’m using that term in multiple ways, she could easily give pointers on how to leave town quickly. While vibing to that serious 808 in the trunk frequency, Gordon, who includes her daughter Coco Gordon Moore in the video for “Bye Bye”, speaks lyrics into existence about assembling that checklist for a speedy departure. “Buy a suitcase, take pants to the cleaner/Cigarettes for Keller/Call the vet, call the groomer” in that Chloë Sevigny New York cool girl patter, while dissonant guitars, bleeps, and a powerful bass vibration makes your head throb until you realize once again this is an “Uber Black to SFO” sitch. The Collective is Kim Gordon’s second solo album, and she will be embarking on a six-date tour in March, concluding at The Fillmore on March 30. Pack appropriately.


Speaking of packing appropriately, it’s wonderful and such a return to center, at least for me, to see Bay Area producers, DJs, curators, and creatives continually dominate the global platforms such as Resident Advisor, Mixmag, DJ Mag, and the lot, for being singular in sound, message, and delivery system.

Bored Lord, Farsight, Tomu DJ, bastiengoat just to name a few, keep coming with that good good beat, and people around the world are recognizing what anybody who has BEEN in the Bay for a minute has known all the while: Diversity and inclusion make not just a better community but forward-thinking music.


You can catch two very much on-fire and in-demand electronic music DJs and producers in The Bay right now, Bored Lord and Baati at Mothership SF on Saturday for their well…

Call it all the things: broad-minded, enlightened, modern, nontraditional, open-minded.

I’ll just opt for it’s what’s happening now in electronic music.

Get in.

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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