This week I learned that if I should ever be presented with the chance to interview Selena Gomez, I should decline. The Toronto Star published this biting commentary on the current state of press interviews with pop stars, and had more information leading up to the interview than the actual chat. Recommended reading: “Meeting Selena Gomez rule No. 1: Do not mention Justin Bieber.”
Often, the story behind the stage is even more compelling. And there are some storied acts playing live in SF this week: local emcee DaVinci busts out with a freebie, the long-running Flamin’ Groovies are back, as are LA's Happy Hollows, after a lineup shift and with a new album; we also welcome Weedeater, Japonize Elephants, and Acid Pauli. Plus the return of reliably great outdoor fest Phono Del Sol (Thee Oh Sees and YACHT headline this time).
Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end:
Fillmore District-raised emcee DaVinci plays this free show alongside fellow burgeoning local rap duo Main Attrakionz, Young Gully, Shady Blaze, Ammbush, and Sayknowledge. DaVinci has been releasing tracks for a few years, in late 2012 dropping full-length The MOEna Lisa with an ode to SF in track "In My City" with the telling lyric, "Trying to push us out of the city/but we ain't leaving," in a hoarse whisper, but also referencing favorite spots like the waffle house at Fillmore and Eddy (Gussies).
Wed/10, 9pm, free
Brick and Mortar Music Hall
1710 Mission, SF
The Flamin' Groovies
Influential 1960s rockers the Flamin' Groovies — who delivered wailing cult classics like "Slow Death," "You Tore Me Down," and "Shake Some Action" (you know this last one from its resurrection in the film Clueless) — have gone through some serious band changes over the past four decades, with more than 15 members rotating through the legendary group and some legendary rifts in the mix as well. Roy Loney has moved on to Roy Loney and the Phantom Movers. This current lineup is a circle back to Cyril Jordan, Chris Wilson, and George Alexander, who all overlapped in the group from 1971 through '80. That powerpop lineup played a hastily arranged show in SF earlier this year, its first time together since '81, but now it's given you more advance notice. The current crew is rounded out by drummer Victor Penalosa. Don't miss it again.
With Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman), Chuckleberries, DJ Sid Presley
Wed/10, 9pm, $25
777 Valencia, SF
Happy Hollows, the LA group now made up of Sarah Negahdari, Charlie Mahoney, and Matthew Fry, will release its sophomore album Amethyst on July 30. Produced by Fools Gold guitarist Lewis Pesacov, the record has that shimmering indie thing down, especially on single, “Endless.” With “Endless,” you can squeeze your eyes shut and practically see the stars bouncing through the sky along with the beat, or perhaps the neon pink signs flickering down Sunset Boulevard. And then there’s bubbly electro “Galaxies,” (sensing a theme here?), used in the album trailer. They both present a compelling, synth-looped step away from 2010’s Spells.
With Nightmare Air, Broadheds
Wed/10, 9pm, $12
Café Du Nord
2170 Market, SF
The elegant yet spooky old-world-carnival act Japonize Elephants — noted for drawing sounds from eclectic styles like gypsy jazz, bluegrass, and klezmer — will celebrate the vinyl release party for newest album Mélodie fantastique, this week at Amnesia. Go, and witness all the instrumentation you can handle (fiddle, banjo, glockenspiel, vibraphone, accordion, percussion, surf guitar), along with four-part vocal harmonies. A group of waltzing ghosts, like the ones you find on the Haunted Mansion ride, wouldn't seem out of place here.
Thu/11, 9:30pm, $7–$10
853 Valencia, SF
After last year’s triumphantly heavy opening slot before LA doom metal group Saint Vitus at the Indy, North Carolina sludge metal act Weedeater returns to the Bay to play a far more appropriate venue, the dank, dark cave of the Oakland Metro. And this time, local metal duo Black Cobra and fellow NC stoner act ASG will pummel the crowd first, setting up the perfect spotlight for the grimy Weedeater. Here’s hoping there’s another Southern Lord release on the horizon for Weedeater (the band’s most recent LPs, 2007’s God Luck and Good Speed and 2011’s Jason...The Dragon, were both put out by the well-curated metal label).
With ASG, Black Cobra
Fri/12, 9pm, $13
630 Third St., Oakl.
“Punk bands, Bjork productions, hip-hop projects, an ambient album on Nicolas Jaar's label, mixes for Crosstown Rebels: Martin Gretschmann has many musical roles and aliases. In DJ mode as Acid Pauli, the guy sends me Googling every time, re-energizing my excitement for new sounds. Half the time it's something I've never heard like the wonky jazz romp of Der Dritte Raum's "Swing Bop," or tectonically teutonic deep house of Gunther Lause's "Mountain." (Where the school children astral pop on Jan Turkenburg's "In My Spaceship" came from I. Just. Don't. Know.) Even when it's as familiar as Nancy Sinatra or Johnny Cash, Gretschmann reworkings are something else entirely. At this debut three+ hour set, I expect to see at least few cell phones on the dance floor, Shazam-ing to keep up.” -- Ryan Prendiville
With Eduardo Castillo (Crosstown Rebels/Voodoo),
Fri/12, 9pm-3:30am, $12 presale
161 Erie St., SF
Phono Del Sol
In these past three years, Phono Del Sol has built itself up into a tastemaker midsummer's indie music fest — and it's one to watch. It makes sense: the one-day fest is curated by on-the-pulse local blog, the Bay Bridged. And beyond the interesting (and mostly local) band choices — the first year featured Aesop Rock and Mirah, last year the Fresh and Onlys and Mwahaha, and this year Thee Oh Sees, YACHT, Bleached, and K. Flay will headline — there's something about the approach and atmosphere that calms the nerves. One of the newest bands on this year's bill fits this feeling as well, the young garage pop four-piece Cool Ghouls will be bringing a horn section to Phono Del Sol this year.
Sat/13, 11:30am-7pm, $20
Potrero Del Sol Park
25th Street at Utah, SF