METALLICA @ OUTSIDE LANDS | 8/11/12
Metallica, headlining Saturday night of the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, proved just about as huge and satisfying and powerful as Metallica can be in 2012. With a greatest-hits setlist, a small war's worth of explosives and pyrotechnics, and a huge meadow of fans shouting along, the biggest heavy metal band in the world showed that not only can it win over casual listeners and non-fans, but that it's at its best when trying to do so. Compared to Metallica's four intimate and indulgent 30th Anniversary shows at the Fillmore last year, the more than two hours of outright rampage last night felt like a well-edited tour de force. Read more.
REUBENS ACCOMPLICE @ CRESCENT BALLROOM| 8/10/12
It's not like Reubens Accomplice had completely vanished during the eight year stretch between their sprawling The Bull, The Balloon, and the Family in 2004 and the fresh-off-the-presses new record, Sons of Men, but last night couldn't help but feel like "a return" in the grandest sense. Chris Corak and Jeff Bufano took the stage, offering up a pensive, quiet start to what would ramp up to the equivalency of fireworks, even if it was only glowing white Christmas lights that decorated the stage. Read more.
KISS/MOTLEY CRUE @ ASHLEY FURNITURE HOMESTORE PAVILION| 8/10/12
A few things are guaranteed at a KISS/Mötley Crüe concert-- girls, girls, girls, rocking 'n rolling all night, and lots of pyrotechnics. The goal seems to be sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll, and both bands have done enough of all of those things to last the audience a lifetime. Following the show (where the Crue handily showed up the fire-breathing KISS), fans and Motley Crue's Vince Neil headed to 910 Live in Tempe, where the Neil's official after party found those same girls, girls, girls painted and topless. Read more.
NEIL YOUNG AND CRAZY HORSE @ OUTSIDE LANDS| 8/10/12
While he's putting everything into a solo, Neil Young's face looks like his electric guitar sounds: flush with feeling, vaguely threatening, and thoroughly aged. Not old as in frail, but venerable; geologic. On the chilly, windy opening night of San Francisco's Outside Lands festival, Young the legend and his old group of noisemakers treated the sold-out crowd to a demonstration of rock as dinosaur music: gray hair and ancient, howling amplifiers, unapologetic nostalgia, 15-minute jams, the singer's O.G. nasal twang spooning out at times a bit too much lyrical honesty to keep the buzz going. (Even if they then built it back up.) It was the exact opposite of today's byte-sized, hyper-compressed, we'll-do-anything-to-hold-your-attention music culture. And it was great -- occasionally. Read more.