As the opening bookend to the Bay Area’s summer music festival season, the avid weekend warrior would do well to think of BottleRock as a warm-up. The three-day celebration is packed with some of the biggest names in pop, as well as plenty of amazing, lesser-known acts—not to mention the culinary celebrities, beer, wine and food.
Fitting all of that food and music into three days is a daunting proposition. However, compared to the logistical nightmare of crisscrossing Golden Gate Park for three days in an attempt to catch all the best headliners and indie darlings at Outside Lands, the Napa festival is a breeze. Continue reading »
Though he doesn’t have the energy he had in his 20s, Bobby Liebling, the creator and longtime frontman for pioneering metal band Pentagram, says he still feels like a 25-year-old at heart.
“I didn’t grow up,” the singer and songwriter says, speaking over the phone from Mesa, Arizona, where his band is gearing up to perform for what they anticipate will be a packed house.
According to Liebling, his band’s current tour has been going great—drawing crowds that are equal parts men and women from the ages of “6 to 60.” Continue reading »
In January of 2014, San Jose emcee Rey Resurreccion told Metro that his then-brand new Heart of the City was the first record he’d made after carefully studying what his fans liked. Considering that, his new EP—Sweet Tooth Tony, released earlier this month—makes total sense.
At less than 30 minutes, his latest effort is as quick-hitting as it is surgically focused. “I want to make something that people can fully digest,” Resurreccion says of Tony, an album he hopes people will listen to in its entirety. Continue reading »
After laying down beats, hooks and verses for six songs, Traxamillion got tired of his own voice.
So he tapped three friends to feature over his hard-knocking trap tracks. After that, he threw the snack-sized project up on Soundcloud, tweeted it to his 25,000-plus followers and kicked back as the internet distributed the digital tape.
“The future is now,” the 37-year-old San Jose native says, reflecting on how much faster things move these days compared with 10 years ago, when he helped jumpstart the Bay Area’s hyphy movement with his sparse, rumbling production style.
“Back in the day, you used to have to print CDs, stand on the corner, hand it out, then go to the club and hand it to the DJ,” he continues. “Now, you got a little social media network and it blossoms from there.” Continue reading »
Roddy “Radiation” Byers draws a lot of parallels between today’s political climate and the state of global affairs back when he was playing in The Specials. “It’s almost a mirror image now to what it was like in the late ’70s early ’80s,” says the erstwhile guitarist of the English ska and two tone outfit responsible for hits like “A Message to You Rudy.”
With racial tensions on the rise, the working class struggling to make ends meet and a political system that clearly favors the wealthy, it’s easy enough to see his point. Continue reading »
Alongside Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift and Beyonce, Rihanna sits atop the modern Mount Rushmore of American pop songstresses. But unlike the obsessively manicured images of her competition, there’s always been an ineffable realness to Rihanna—a steamy brashness that hasn’t waned in her inevitable, steady rise to stardom. Continue reading »
Plenty of people dread their 40th birthday, but according to Ian Bavitz—better known by his stage name, Aesop Rock—the idea of being “over the hill” was particularly distressing.
“Being an older dude in a younger dude’s game, it just loomed,” the indie emcee and producer says. “I think it caused a lot of reflection, and had me thinking of things I hadn’t thought about it forever. I’m still working on everything—I’m a mess in many ways. Things don’t really ever magically smooth out and become easy. It just seems like everyone loses their minds forever and then we die.” Continue reading »
Even though it has been celebrated officially for more than five years, 2016 marks the first time San Jose will participate in International Jazz Day. The UNESCO-Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz-sponsored event is observed all over the world, but now, thanks to a collaboration between the city, San Jose State University and San Jose Jazz, America’s oldest and original art form will get its moment in the Silicon Valley sun. Continue reading »
Like so many musicians, Emily Kinney began her singing career with an act of rebellion.
“We lived in Wayne, Nebraska, at the time, and I think I was 7,” she says. “I saw an ad for a talent show and I told my mom I wanted to sing in it. She didn’t want me to. But then I filled out the form and sent it in anyway.”
Now 30, Kinney has come a long way from singing in talent shows. An actress as well as a musician, her first big role was playing Mo Rocca’s younger sister on an episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” But the role she is most widely known for is the optimistic, peaceful (and now deceased) character of Beth Greene from AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” Continue reading »
On the cover of his latest album, Think Bigs, San Jose rapper Andrew Bigs wears wire-rimmed glasses and channels Steve Jobs in the iconic, if grammatically incorrect, “Think Different” Apple campaign. On the aptly titled release, Bigs distills his singular experience of growing up on the East Side, then attending private school for football at Archbishop Mitty. Continue reading »