Morris Is Still Cool [Review]

Morris Day and The Time | Friday, November, 11th, 2011 | Mezzanine | San Francisco

Purple Rain has been one of my favorite cult movies for quite some time mostly because I love Prince, but also because I saw it with my wife on one of our first dates. So naturally when I saw that Morris Day and The Time were coming to play the San Francisco Funk Fest at the Mezzanine, I jumped at the opportunity to attend. And let me tell you, Morris is still cool.

Morris is still cool. Photo by Brian Thomas.

My wife and I arrived right around 11pm, and Morris and the band came to the stage in full suits right at 11:11pm. This was the first time in quite a while that I made it to a show at the perfect time. Completely in character, Morris hit the stage with a mirror in tow and immediately started checking himself out and combing through his hair. The band then went on an hour-long soul-funk journey, barely taking a single break. In fact, the only break I recall consisted of Morris taking out a handkerchief to wipe his forehead while telling the audience, “Morris isn’t sweating, he is condensating. Morris is still cool.” He couldn’t have been more correct.

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Dance Party with Yelle at Mezzanine [Review]

Yelle | Dirty Ghosts | Saturday, November 12, 2011 | Mezzanine | San Francisco

Yelle. Photo by Joey Pangilinan.

Some nights when going to a show, you just have this feeling in your stomach that lets you know that the entire night will be this epic, sprawling adventure. Approaching the entrance of the Mezzanine last Saturday night, you could feel the energy just by looking at the line of people still waiting to get inside with the music blaring out the front doors. I felt even more amped up when I entered the venue and saw the crowd of people already inside anxiously awaiting the dancey, electronic-pop sounds of Yelle. By the time my friends and I got inside, Dirty Ghosts was nearing the end of its set. Local to San Francisco, Dirty Ghosts had won a contest to open up for the French-headliners. Although we didn’t get to see much of its set, the band had clearly worked the room into a mood to dance and party.

The sold out show at Mezzanine was originally meant to be the second stop on this month-long tour for Yelle, but unfortunately, due to complications with visas, the tour opener at The Wiltern in Los Angeles had to be rescheduled until a few days after the San Francisco show. Thus, in the last 24-36 hours leading up to the show at Mezzanine, my friends and I were a bit nervous about the possibility of our show having to be postponed as well.

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Weekend at the SF Symphony: MTT Leads Brahms’ German Requiem [Preview]

BY NATHAN CRANFORD

Michael Tilson Thomas Conducts Brahms | Friday, November 17 to Sunday, November 20 | Davies Symphony Hall | San Francisco

This weekend at the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas will be leading the orchestra in performances of three very disparate pieces of German music: Ich bin ein rechter Weinstock by Heinrich Schütz, Arnold Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra, and the evening’s centerpiece, Johannes Brahms’ German Requiem.

Heinrich Schütz

The first piece, Ich bin ein rechter Weinstock (I’m the Only True Vine) is a choral work by 17th-century German composer Heinrich Schütz that is based on Bible verses from John 15:1-5. The passages are believed to be the words of Jesus himself as he explains to his disciples that he is the one true vine and his followers are its barren branches that will one day bear fruit. Religious connotations aside, Schütz’s work is considered to be an exemplary example of the composer’s mastery of his craft and his meticulous adherence to the established music fundamentals of the time. The work is representative of Schütz’s strict musical conservatism, which set him in dialectical opposition to many of his contemporaries who sought to push the boundaries of musical expression through experimentation.

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eventseekr Shuffle: Punch It or Hug It? A Playlist of Lovely Assault

“For one human being to love another, that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks … Love is like the measles. The older you get it, the worse the attack.” –Rainer Maria Rilke

Love and War are two words that change lives. Sweethearts swoon and entire countries are swept up by the ravishment of warfare. My choice of the word Love over Peace is quite intentional, as I’m a firm believer in the notion that the latter is in no way the antonym to the despair that is War. Peace is merely the middle ground: safety. Creation and community are needed in order to properly balance out the scale, therefore Love fits the bill quite nicely. But I advise all to be careful with quickly labeling Love and War as two entities working in opposition. The famous Hellenic War delineates otherwise, showing how love may beget war. In contrast, one can only hope that the converse is just as likely.

I aimed to create a playlist which highlights both of these aspects of human nature while also making room for the grey areas that lie between anger and adoration. There is a certain tension involved in love – a push and pull that can turn into frustration or worse. Some of these songs come purely from the heart while others were written with an antagonistic slant; some are literal in their relevance while others are more abstract, and nearly all of them convey a sense of anxiety. That being said, let’s leave the boggy waters of semantics behind and let the playlist speak its case.

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Weekend at the SF Symphony: MTT Conducts Schubert [Preview]

BY NATHAN CRANFORD

Michael Tilson Thomas Conducts Schubert | Friday, November 11 to Sunday, November 13 | Davies Symphony Hall | San Francisco

Franz Schubert

This weekend at Davies Symphony Hall, Michael Tilson Thomas will be leading the San Francisco Symphony in performances of works by 19th-century German composer, Franz Schubert.

The program begins with the “Overture” from Schubert’s opera Alfonso und Estrella, written in 1822 when the composer was only 25 years old. Schubert’s operas (he only wrote two) are rarely performed and show the more ambitious side of the composer, whose most renowned works were generally written for soloists or small ensembles.

Alfonso und Estrella is situated in Western music history as a successful first outing for Schubert into the developing tradition of German Romantic opera on a large scale. However, due to the composer’s young age and lack of experience working in dramatic forms, many critics felt that the action tended to lag over the course of the opera. However, Schubert’s mastery of songwriting and melodic lines ensured that the music was consistently fresh and interesting, despite the opera’s structural weaknesses. As is generally the case with operatic overtures, the strongest melodies and arias from the opera are showcased in the “Overture.” The work’s premier was conducted in 1854 by Franz Liszt in Weimar, almost 30 years after the composer’s death.

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