29 March 2013

Moving To WordPress

In the process of moving things over to WordPress -- come visit us and get a little dusty. http://oooavooo.wordpress.com

08 March 2013

Live Review: Alabama Shakes at the Fox Theatre

Live Review: Alabama Shakes at the Fox Theatre: Aidin Vaziri | It's all about Brittany Howard's face. The way she stretches her lips, screws up her bespectacled eyes and bends her jaw to make those primal sounds come out of her mouth. When the Alabama Shakes tore into their single "Hold On" early in their sold-out set at Oakland's Fox Theater on Tuesday, it was impossible to look away from the 24-year-old singer's lively features. She was like a cartoon creature come to life.
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03 February 2013

Pop Quiz: Ed Sheeran

Aidin Vaziri | When we caught up with Ed Sheeran recently, he sounded a little weary. Can you blame him? The English singer-songwriter behind the single "The A Team" is in the third year of promoting his debut album, "+," after touring nonstop and playing several high-profile gigs. And there's no sign of things slowing down for the soft-spoken 21-year-old. He was just tapped to perform at the Grammys with Elton John and spend the summer supporting Taylor Swift on tour, just as his latest single, "Lego House," picks up momentum. Sheeran plays a sold-out show Friday at the Warfield.

Ed Sheeran
Q: You're rehearsing for the Grammy telecast with Elton John and preparing to go on tour with Taylor Swift. When do you think you'll have a chance to sleep again?
A: I don't know if I need to sleep at the moment. I think I'm having too much fun.
Q: You already had a pretty spectacular year, performing at Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee and the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games. Did you imagine any of this coming your way?
A: My imagination ended in 2011 when the album came out and went to No. 1 in a week. I never expected that to happen. I just stopped second-guessing it after that.
Q: Because it's about a drug-addicted teen prostitute, you didn't expect "The A Team" to become a hit. Where is the oddest place you've heard it?
A: I played it at Wembley Arena to 10,000 6-year-old girls. That was a bit weird.
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02 February 2013

Live Review: The Who at Oracle Arena

The Who review: Long live rock: Aidin Vaziri | Lacking the effortless innovation of the Beatles and the sexy swagger of the Rolling Stones, the Who always got by on making an unholy racket. So it went Friday. Backed by an eight-piece touring band featuring a two-man horn section, three keyboard players, Pino Palladino on bass, Pete's brother Simon Townshend on guitar and Ringo Starr's son Zak Starkey on drums, the band upped the wattage on "Quadrophenia," making it sound, if not always memorable, impressively mighty. As the overhead screens alternated between scenes of the band in its prime and the world unraveling, songs like "Cut My Hair" and "Is It in My Head?" felt more like parts of a movement than stand-alone compositions. It didn't matter. They gave Townshend the opportunity to unleash his signature guitar windmills and Daltrey the chance to imperiously swing his microphone around.
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01 February 2013

Review: Little Wings, 'Last'

Review: Little Wings, 'Last': Aidin Vaziri | Little Wings' Kyle Field surfs, paints, travels, drifts aimlessly and, when the mood strikes, makes music. "Last," which may or may not be his last album, was recorded in fits and starts, as the tousled-haired songwriter grappled with depression and inspiration. When the tears were all dry, he abandoned his home in San Francisco's Outer Sunset District and moved to Los Angeles. But escape seems more elusive: "I've never wanted to see me again/ There's nowhere I can go where I won't be," he pleads on "Wide Daylight." From the cosmic "Waited on the Door" to the low-key "Sandy Babe," which spill over with raw emotion and impossibly sweet melodies, the homespun music has a woozy, out-of-tune air - much like a warped Harry Nilsson record dug out of the sand.

27 January 2013

Review: Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, 'Get Up!'

Review: Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, 'Get Up!': Aidin Vaziri | Having first come together during a recording session with blues great John Lee Hooker, singer-songwriter Ben Harper and harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite have been longing to make this album for more than a decade. The cross-generational artists find plenty of common ground on "Get Up!" Sweet tones and sad refrains echo through songs such as the chugging "I'm In I'm Out and I'm Gone" and the riotous "I Don't Believe a Word You Say," bare-bones explorations of their mutual love of jazz, folk and delta sounds. They really do draw out the best in each other: Harper has never sounded so powerful, Musselwhite so free to showcase his full range of emotion while sounding consistently raw. On the closing track, the mournful "All That Matters Now," the browbeaten singer duets with his empathizing harp, "I've walked through some things/ You don't want me to explain/ But we're together, babe /And that's all that matters now."

Pop Quiz: Cody Chesnutt

Aidin Vaziri | More than 10 years have passed since Cody Chesnutt released his previous album, "The Headphone Masterpiece." Recorded entirely in his bedroom, the sprawling double LP marked the Georgia native as a genre-busting musical maverick and scored a left-field hit via the Roots' retooling of the song "The Seed (2.0)." After taking most of the interim time off to help raise his two children, Chesnutt, 44, released his second full-length album, "Landing on a Hundred," to rave reviews last year. He spoke to us from his Florida home.

Cody Chesnutt
Q: I imagine you had to be more efficient with your time making this album compared with the first one.
A: That's right. With "Headphone Masterpiece" I was in the bedroom all day. It was just like writing in the diary, not having to split the time up. This one was all about locking into a schedule and making it happen.
Q: Did you like having to work with restrictions?
A: I dig it. It's definitely an adjustment I had to make.
Q: In what way do you think you have changed the most over the past 10 years?
A: I'll tell you a great story. The rhythm guitar player in my band has a 3-year-old son. He takes him to day care, and he told me when he went to pick the kid up that the teacher was playing my new album in the classroom for the kids. That validates the growth I made. I've done a lot of evolving as a person. The energy is more positive. It's more nurturing. Hearing that meant the world to me.
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24 January 2013

Live Review: SFJAZZ Center's Opening Night Gala

S.F. jazz concert hall - upbeat opening: Aidin Vaziri | In an elegant, flowing white gown, Mary Stallings, more than capably backed by the SFJazz High School All-Stars, serenaded the star-studded room with a swinging rendition of Peggy Lee's "I Love Being Here With You." It set the perfect mood for an evening that was all about loose, celebratory and often jaw-dropping collaborations: Saxophonists Joshua Redman and Joe Lovano playing side by side; keyboardist Chick Corea and guitarist Bill Frisell improvising together for the first time ever ("Neither of us know what we're doing," Corea said); bassist Esperanza Spalding facing off with drummer Eric Harland. But what greater treat than watching pianist McCoy Tyner of the John Coltrane Quartet sharing the stage with the great vibraphone player Bobby Hutcherson (who performed wearing an oxygen tube) and former members of the mighty SFJazz Collective, jamming together on "Blues on the Corner"?
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20 January 2013

Pop Quiz: Jessie Ware

Aidin Vaziri | Jessie Ware eased her way into this pop star business - lending her lustrous voice to tracks by underground dance music producers such as SBTRKT and Joker, singing backup on tour with school friend Jack Peñate. But the 28-year-old London singer, who just last year was considering law school, was too good to keep hidden away. Her debut album, "Devotion," released in August in the United Kingdom, was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize. This week she releases the domestic EP "If You're Never Gonna Move," and she performs Thursday at Popscene at the Rickshaw Stop. We spoke with her by phone from her home in England.

Jessie Ware
Q: I hear Katy Perry works out to your music. What else could you possibly want to accomplish after knowing that?
A: I know. It absolutely made my year - I'm helping Katy Perry stay trim.
Q: So what was the second-best thing that happened to you last year?
A: It was probably when I was at the Mercury Prize - which is this big award here for the best albums of the year. I didn't win, but I managed to sneak my mom and boyfriend in as well as my friends and wear a gorgeous dress. It was amazing to be up for it in my first year of making music.
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Review: '12-12-12' for Sandy relief

Review: '12-12-12' for Sandy relief: Aidin Vaziri | "This has to be the largest collection of old English musicians ever assembled in Madison Square Garden," Mick Jagger, above, guffawed in front of a worldwide audience of approximately 2 billion, as the Rolling Stones took the stage for the star-studded New York benefit concert in December for the victims of Superstorm Sandy. Now we have the document to prove it. Actually, this double-disc set feels more like a highlights reel. Yes, the big - primarily British - names are all accounted for: Roger Waters, Eric Clapton, the Who and Paul McCartney. But many of the moments that actually defined the concert are missing. There's no evidence of Jon Bon Jovi chumming it up with Bruce Springsteen on "Born to Run"; McCartney's vaunted jam with the surviving members of Nirvana has gone missing, as has Kanye West's brief performance (not to mention what he said when he was working the phone bank alongside Martha Stewart). The tracks that do make the final cut present listeners with a problem, as it's almost impossible to navigate from Pink Floyd's epic "Comfortably Numb" into Adam Sandler's doofus version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"; to go from a pair of ripping Stones tracks to Billy Joel's piano-bar ditties; to justify three songs from Coldplay's Chris Martin butting up against just one from McCartney. The work doesn't stop. It might be easier simply to send a donation straight to the charity.