Ivan & Alyosha, The Record Company, and Branches at The Independent, 08.14.13

A last minute addition to the bill, San Francisco’s Branches started off the show with a living room-style set on the Independent’s big stage. They were impressive performing as a three-piece, but also made me wish to hear them full-band one of these days. I may not have much to say, but rest assured it’s because some things need to be experienced more than they need to be described.

Back in April, I photographed Tumbleweed Wanderers’ and Guy Fox’s show at the Independent, and a band from LA called The Record Company opened that show. They played again tonight, but it didn’t feel like a repeat performance of the previous show. Frontman Chris Vos and co played a soulful, rockin’ set and engaged the rather shy audience in some crowd participation.

Headliners of the evening were Seattle’s Ivan & Alyosha. A while back I downloaded a free acoustic EP of theirs from Noise Trade, largely because I knew what their band name references (two of the Brothers Karamazov from the novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky). I liked what I heard but it wasn’t a very thorough introduction. I was pleasantly surprised that Ivan & Alyosha were not the stereotypical indie band – dudes who just kind of stand there and play their instruments. No! They ran around and interacted with each other on stage. After the show I spoke briefly with frontman Tim Wilson, and mentioned this to him. He said that way back when they first began playing music, they made a conscious decision to just let go and be themselves on stage – and it certainly works. Wednesday’s show will probably be one of my top 10 of 2013.

Portugal. the Man and Avi Buffalo, The Fox Theater 07.13.13

While I devote most of my time to photographing and supporting local Bay Area bands, occasionally I get the opportunity to shoot bigger shows – like Portugal. the Man a week and a half ago. The show, held at the beautiful Fox Theater in Oakland, was opened by Avi Buffalo from Long Beach. Portugal. the Man played in front of a backdrop of mountains with projections on them. Here’s some photos. Read and see more on my blog: http://www.skeletonkeyphotography.com/wordpress

Picture Atlantic & Owl Paws at Thee Parkside

On Tuesday June 25th, San Francisco-based Owl Paws finally got to play a show with San Jose’s Picture Atlantic. The two local bands opened for Vinnie Caruana of The Movielife and Geoff Rickly of Thursday, who are on tour together, playing acoustic.

During Owl Paws’ opening set, guitarist Colin Hayes said Picture Atlantic is one of his favorite local bands and that it was such a pleasure to be able to play a show with them. Touted as an acoustic show, Owl Paws and Picture Atlantic actually played full-band. However, those familiar with Owl Paws know that frontman Derek Schultz plays acoustic guitar, and bassist Timothy Vickers plays upright bass, so they are always sort of acoustic. The set included some songs from the Carry On EP, as well as new songs from the upcoming EP Cold Lead Bath, set to be released July 17th at Elbo Room, with Cold Eskimo, Dogcatcher, and The Crux.

Picture Atlantic played a somewhat stripped-down set: they played older songs which are more reliant on Nik Bartunek’s acoustic guitar. Drummer Daniel Martinez had a minimal kit and keyboardist Brian Graves played a small organ. The band played several songs off the album Kleos, which came out five years ago this week and rarely gets played at shows. The band sat out as Nik played a brand-new song by himself. Picture Atlantic will be announcing a very special show in San Francisco very soon.

Thee Parkside is a small venue which gets hot and stuffy quite quickly, but has a back patio and a fantastic menu, so I sat out Vinnie Caruana’s set and had some delicious curry tots – highly recommended. I’m also not very familiar with Geoff Rickly’s music, both solo and with Thursday, but what I heard was great. Emotional, powerful, and with good banter in between songs. Vinnie and Geoff closed out the show playing Thursday and Movielife songs together, with one picking his favorite of the other’s band’s songs