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Arts + CultureMusicUnder the Stars: Juneteenth with Goapele, Porchfest in the...

Under the Stars: Juneteenth with Goapele, Porchfest in the Mission, All Day I Dream…

'I Saw the TV Glow' soundtrack, Mulatu Astatke and foamboy live, Bandcamp picks from Fake Fruit and Magic Fig

Anyone interested in the direction jazz is heading in 2024 needs to hit the SF skreets on Fri/7. That’s right, people. While Mayor London Breed is designating a district for nightlife downtown, club bookers are hoping to bring new, young lions of jazz back to SF, banking on our fair city’s musical IQ. (The recent KEXP addition to our musical ecosystem speaks volumes to that IQ.)

Kamasi Washington—founding member of the West Coast Get Down collective, saxophonist, composer, and bandleader who creates epic jazz albums, sometimes lasting around 3 hours, and can also play a Metallica tune exceptionally well—will be performing at The Warfield.

While over at SF JAZZ, saxophonist and composer Lakecia Benjamin, who fuses soul and hip-hop with an airtight reading of jazz standards, will be playing on a bill with James Brandon Lewis, a Howard University undergrad and Cal-Arts Grad, who has carved a niche for his singular mixture of gospel, blues, and R&B and so much more. His most recent release The Messthetics and James Brandon Lewis features members of the art-punk band Fugazi. That band will not be performing at SF Jazz, but their inclusion gives a window on the fertile, creative aesthetic Lewis attaches to each new project.

People. This right here, on show for this one night, is the future of jazz.

So why is that important? Hmm. For a city and community that prides itself on being the creative space where Sheila E, Metallica, Herbie Hancock, Santana, Green Day, Charlie Hunter Trio, Digital Underground, Grateful Dead, Tower of Power, Journey, and so many other legacy artists did some of their best work, it’s the paying audience that propelled those artists to their millions, awards, and legacy.

It’s about time we start to take stock in the new jazz lions, or even the adjacent ones, supporting them, and re-establishing this city and region as a jazz-forward one. 

We’ve done it for indie-pop bands again and again, right? 

When we sell out these shows featuring up-and-comers, it says outwardly that San Francisco is where Emma-Jean Thackray could sell out The Chapel or Nubya Garcia and or Yazmin Lacey could sell out The Great American Music Hall. Maybe we get more Brandee Younger shows at SFJAZZ where the American harpist brings producer Pete Rock back again.

Or we don’t have to wait two years for Irreversible Entanglements or Theon Cross to return or maybe Jeff Parker and Makaya McCraven shows become a regular event or even possibly we might have gotten more shows from the dearly departed jamie branch. Imagine that a Mayor doesn’t have to designate a nightlife district by decree: It’s happening organically. 

As excited as I am that Herbie Hancock and Chaka Khan are playing at Stern Grove this summer, I’m also interested in recognizing the next Herbie Hancock and Chaka Khan, on their way up. This is a city that used to do that type of thing, providing the arts going public that chance. Let’s try it again, Kapeesh?

We have way too much going on here at Under The Stars…

Between events starting off our summer and then our Bandcamp Friday picks….

Whew! Don’t just be a passenger. Take part and enjoy…..

Juneteenth, you are up!

JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION, JUNE 8 AT CIVIC CENTER PLAZA, SF: FEATURING LARRY JUNE & GOAPELE

That first official Juneteenth, here in the Bay in 2022, after President Joe Biden made it a federal holiday in 2021, and then Mayor London Breed followed with an order declaring it an official holiday in San Francisco?

Beyond lit. BBQ in every neighborhood, parades, there was a certain feeling on that Saturday—that emboldened San Franciscans of all races, to be so warm. Show love and care for each other.

I remember being on the 5 bus, and at every stop, people were getting on and off with plates from all the local cookouts.

It was beautiful. This year’s festivities will include the Juneteenth Parade, a free concert celebrating black culture, Larry June will headline with his self-improvement narratives that have made him a national star, and Bay Area legend and R&B royalty Goapele will also perform.

But let’s keep that warmth, that concern, that love.

It’s in our nature SF. More info here.

Porchfest 2023 brought out the bands.

SF PORCHFEST, MISSION DISTRICT, SATURDAY, JUNE 8TH, FROM 12-6 PM 

Go ahead, shout it from your stoop, SF PorchFest is back for its sixth year, ready to kick your summer outdoor music-loving self into a sidewalk-laden tumult.

Once again, event organizers have staged a free, all-ages, all-genres music festival, hosted on various porches, stoops, and parklets in the Mission, centered around community-building and love for live music.

SF Porchfest was held in 2015, 2016, and 2017, eventually hosting more than 100 bands on 28 porches. Organizers took a break and then COVID happened. It returned on a smaller scale in 2022 and 2023 which gave venues a more navigable event with enthusiastic (but very manageable) crowds for each act. Musicians and venues were happy with the turnout, filled tip jars, brisk business.

Now back at full tilt, with 8 venues and 50 bands, SF Porchfest year 6 is ready for all the smoke.

Bring your bikes and scooters, and pull up your best dance stuntin’ moves on June 8th.

Check-in and stretch out on Thursday, June 6th, from 8pm-10pm, for the kick-off party at Brick and Mortar Music Hall; Nobody wants to pull a hammy.

Grab more info here.

MULATU ASTATKE JUNE 12 & 13 AT UC THEATRE, PRESENTED BY JAZZ IS DEAD & KALW MUSIC

Mulatu Astatke, born in 1943, is an Ethiopian musician and arranger best known as the father of Ethio-jazz.

His Mulatu Of Ethiopia masterpiece from 1972 is a seminal moment in music. 

It’s a certain type of jazz, a version only found in fleeting moments on blaxploitation film soundtracks…. more funk and groove-driven than typical American jazz riffing off Eurocentric classical music constructs. 

Mulatu Astake took the ancient five-tone scales of Asia and Africa and joined them into something unique and exciting; a mixture of three cultures, Ethiopian, Puerto Rican, and American.

The self-titled song “Mulatu”, has an atmosphere, sensation, and energy that exists on vibe and nothing about a before or after just that moment joined by an Infiniti symbol, that demands Bill Murray and Jeffrey Wright to start puffing on that indica from 2005’s “Broken Flowers.”

Avid fans of BADBADNOTGOOD  and El Michaels Affairs—and bands who get down in that vein—come to the Mulatu-ship. We have a jersey for you.  

As with any production, the Jazz IS Dead promoters put on, this is a must-see show.

Grab tix here.

foamboy, JUNE 12 AT KILOWATT BAR

Between dodging SF’s robot taxis last summer that seemed to keep on having a bad one, especially in busy intersections, and getting in my 10,000 steps per day, that track “Burnout” from that Portland band, foamboy, stayed on my rotation and kept me alert and alive, thriving in earworm city.

They, the Portland-based pop duo composed of producer Wil Bakula and vocalist Katy Ohsiek, spin episodes of the human condition into sublime pop by using R&B, disco, and boogie frequencies.

I bullied the shit out of all my music nerd friends, “You gotta peep this PDX band, they got the stuff, and no after listening you will not smell like a Portland bookstore.”

Fast-forward to right about now, they have released a follow-up album that keeps gaining momentum.

Eating Me Alive adds some EDM-esque arrangements to the buttermilk, providing new ideas to the canvas that, most of the time work.

They will be touching down with their 7-piece band at Kilowatt Bar in SF next week on their west coast tour’s second to last date.

So let’s get to it. Why should you see them?

foamboy at Rickshaw in the summer of ’22 was a slap upside the head. 

With sleek bass-driven bops that can make you forget your Netflix sign-in: The songcraft and arrangments don’t lie. Equipped with a full grooving band, foamboy encapsulates this ever-giving pop-funk equation with their swirling melodic hooks from Bakula that feel natural—either on piano or keyboards—but not forced. While Ohsiek writes and sings with the most direct and emotive head-to-heart fleeting dialogue.

foamboy is the business; you should get in on the ground floor. 

Grab tickets here.

ALL DAY I DREAM OF CLOUD 9, JUNE 8 AT GOLDEN GATE PARK

According to bookers, All Day I Dream is a world-renowned record label and events series founded by frequent Bay Area-appearing DJ Lee Burridge on a Brooklyn rooftop. With a legacy spanning over a decade, the event has left an indelible mark on the international music scene, and is ver popular when it descends on the Bay Area. (ADID’s 2024 World Tour includes shows in NYC, LA, Ibiza, Mexico City and Dubai.)

This house music event will hit the park noon to 7pm, with a quality DJ lineup that includes Burridge, Roy Rosenfeld, and Lost Desert. Plus: delicious local food trucks, massages and face-painting, plenty of lush green grass areas for picnicking and dancing under the sun, vendors selling clothing, jewelry, and art. Don’t forget the extra special Waking Hour Yoga and opening ceremony with Best of the Bay winner Steve23 from Mission Yoga Studios and Danny Goldberg’s Sound Immersion Experience.

Let your outdoor summer event schedule begin with the right energy.

Grab tix and more info here.

VARIOUS ARTISTS, I SAW THE TV GLOW (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK) (A24MUSIC)

So it’s been confirmed on numerous solid recommendations, 48hills’ Screen Grabs being one of them. Director Jane Schoenbrun’s pensive and beautiful creepy document of suburban unbelonging, I Saw the TV Glow, is a must-see if you creatively swim in those post-Kurt Cobain visual waters.

And I do.

But, the soundtrack is not for sleeping either. With a host of 48hills faves and just solid musicians of their generation getting a chance to expand, not turn out compact Spotify eargasms, this soundtrack has the goods, and boy they get good and weird.

L’Rain amps a soft melody to noise cacophony in “Green.” Our friend Jay Som, formerly of Oakland, comes in with a cool sprightly vibe on “If I Could.” (As a YouTube commenter reads my mind “How come Jay Som isn’t as big and popular as some of the other female musicians?? She should have millions of views on this song.”) And of course, Oaklands’ Maria BC gives us another arrangement full of orchestral stillness with “Taper”.

Tap in on more treats from Caroline Polachek, King Woman, and the ever-expansive Bartees Strange with his cryptic thumper “Big Glow.” Yes, Schoenbruns’ musical tastes almost ensure this film is guaranteed extended movie talk next spring during awards season.

Unfortunately, it’s not on Bandcamp, but worth a purchase.

a24 get your shit together here.

BANDCAMP FRIDAY PICKS

FAKE FRUIT, MUCHO MISTRUST (CARPARK RECORDS)

The Oakland-based post-punk trio Fake Fruit will release their second album Mucho Mistrust on August 23. The debut project for their new label Carpark Records sees the outfit–Hannah “Ham” D’Amato, Alex Post, & Miles MacDiarmid–a bit more settled.

“Through all of our extensive touring with so many bands we look up to, we have grown so much as musicians and people,” says D’Amato. “There’s a lot more confidence and direction for how we write. I had always wanted to write more collaboratively. What does Fake Fruit sound like? How do we all write together? We do it so easily. It’s incredible.”

Much of the album was recorded live at the Bay Area’s Atomic Garden studio with producer Jack Shirley of Deafheaven fame. “Mucho Mistrust” is a wily allusion to a beloved Blondie lyric, from the eternal hit “Heart of Glass.”

The trio, whose sublime first album garnered international praise, returned with that chompy, zig-zag, riffy guitar oeuvre that rendered the band undeniable to many fans in and around The Bay and regions beyond.

They will embark on a 14 date tour starting on June 11 in Dallas, Texas, and wind down with a performance at Stern Grove, here in SF, on August 4.

Pre-order the album here.

MAGIC FIG

Truly my trippy prog rawk heart was broken in several places when Oaklands Once and Future Band went on indefinite hiatus. Those cats, with the progressive dream-catcher, psych-rock swag, had heads open. My man Vinyl Williams, you know how he gets down, told me years ago they were a vital outfit bringing “that sound’ in The Bay.

Well, it seems, that aspects of those dreamlike hooks, choral vocals, and Moog pitch-bends have resurfaced through a new group comprised of folks who have already contributed to the ongoing Bay Area indie rock rejuvenation. Members of Almond Joy, Healing Potpourri, The Umbrellas, and Whitney’s Playland have come together to form Magic Fig, which blends many facets into this big, snazzy, most definitely psychedelically informed group that, oh I forgot to mention earlier, is produced by Joel Rainbow of previous Once & Future Band Fame.

From everything I’ve heard so far? Call me first, when they play at ANY venue in The Bay.

That whole “we’re a pop group’ facade, pushed through a ’60s and ’70s pop, AOR, and jazz-fusion, blissed-out R&B, blue-eyed soul skew” is back, and Bay Area, it’s just what you need.

Pick it up, here.

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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