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Live Review: Phantom Kicks, The Actors, Sunbeam Rd @ The Rickshaw

Unfortunately, the crowd was somewhat thin for last Wednesday’s lineup presented by Ears of the Beholder and Kata Rokkar. Wednesday is perhaps a hard thing to ask of a San Francisco audience. Regardless, the evenings well thought out lineup saw three bands deliver fantastic performances.

It was quiet and cool at the Rickshaw when Sunbeam Rd took to the stage. Initially I was a little put off by what seemed to be a mixing error that was quickly fixed, but was soon sold on this band when one of their two lead singers (who switched depending on the song throughout the set) began horribly abusing his guitar, to great effect, as the their first song ended in a great crescendo.  A wash of delicious noise, this swirling looped ball of chaos firmly took hold of my attention and set the tone of Sunbeam Rd’s performance. A brooding but high-energy cavernous indie-rock is the best description their sound, something along the lines of an encumbered Jesus and Mary Chain or a more ominous Yo La Tengo. However you may classify their sound, Sunbeam Rd was a delight to see and I hope to catch them again sometime soon.

The Actors followed with a dramatic change in temperament. With a capacious synth-pop sound reminiscent of a fusion between Band of Horses and MGMT, The Actors filled the spaces between people with their reverb-laden songs. Comprised of three exceptionally talented musicians (two of whom continually switch between instruments throughout the set) The Actors steadily built a captivating groove so that by the time they got to the most powerful song of the set, “First Date,” the whole room had broken out in dance.

By the time the Phantom Kicks took to the stage the crowd had finally fleshed out a bit, though to what I would expect for such an interesting line-up. Featuring a brand new member, the Phantom Kicks kept the energy high delivering their loop heavy synth-pop with a new-found depth. The new member on the synth allowed the other two to focus on building the signature guitar lines that define the Phantom Kicks. Received with much enthusiasm by the crowd (to the point where someone took it upon themselves to spin off the edge of the stage), this was by far the best set I’ve seen by the Phantom Kicks.

In spite of the fairly thin crowd, last Wednesday’s Rickshaw show was an incredible success with Sunbeam Rd, The Actors, and the Phantom Kicks each delivering extraordinary performances. Do your best to catch anyone of these fantastic bands the next time they play.

[Additional Photos Here]

-Words and Photos Ada Lann


Ears of the Beholder and Kata Rokkar Presents

Phantom Kicks, The Actors, and Sunbeam RD at The Rickshaw

-Photos by Ada Lann






Ears of the Beholder and Kata Rokkar Present




From our Open Blog: Michael Lux and The Bad Sons

Hollus guitarist/songwriter Michael Lux has released a brand new solo EP, free to the public out of the kindness dwelling deep in the bottom of his heart. The EP, titled "Neat Repeater" features 5 garage/surf/punk anthems that suggest a deep seeded love affair between Jam-era Paul Weller, The Replacements, and an "in-the-red" mixing trigger finger. Live Bad Sons shows are expected to come next year. Until then, you can download "Neat Repeater" at thebadsons.com, or catch his band Hollus at Subterranean on December 16th.


Portland Bands we like: The Ascetic Junkies

Traditional bluegrass with a unique pop twist. Just one of the reasons we are so keen on The Ascetic Junkies. At the core of their raw and mesmerizing sound are the sparkling vocal harmonies of Matt Harmon and Kali Giaritta. These harmonies, layered with whimsical melodies and superb acoustic instrumentation, create a distinctive vibe and energy, unique only to the Junkies themselves. Fresh off their wild and raucous 2008 release, One Shoe Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Portland, Oregon’s The Ascetic Junkies are back with a new LP, This Cage Has No Bottom. What makes the new album so compelling, is the raw feel and obvious growth of songwriting skills, evident by the tracks we’ve provided below. The Ascetic Junkies take you on a wild gypsy ride worthy of anyone brave enough to follow. Come along, you wont regret it. - Veronica Medici from Marmoset Music.

The Ascetic Junkies - God/Devil/Gov’t


Hip Hop from NYC: Bi-Polar Bear takes your meds

Ugly Orwell and August are the MC/production duo that comprises Bi-Polar Bear. Their combined efforts result in thumping production effervescent with innovative sample usage. Lyrically, they come across both slick and ferocious, usually simultaneously, which is no easy feat. Their multi-syllabic rhyme schemes, steeped in coffee grit and chronic haze, flip and turn throughout their verses. Groups like this are hip hop’s saving grace; they rap not just for rap’s sake, nor to inflate their own egos, but to enrich and evolve the art form. Though they tout a split personality as their namesake-cum-mascot, there is an inherent harmony that rings long after the album ends. Their upcoming project with Blue Sky Black Death will only add more depth and facets to this rapidly evolving personality disorder. - Broke MC


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