Fall is perfect for a lot of things: experiencing nostalgia overload in front of back-to-school displays at Target, playing in leaves, eating your weight in pumpkin pie and/or candy corn, and spending cozy nights with your favorite bands. With the summer festival circuit in the rearview, it’s the perfect time to get up close and personal with the musicians who keep you moving all year long. Here are 12 must-see concerts coming to the Bay Area this season.
September 12, 2014
The Great American Music Hall
You might not expect a whole lot from someone who names one of his first albums He Poos Clouds, but you’d be surprised. Since getting his start under the moniker Final Fantasy, Owen Pallett has been making gorgeous violin-heavy albums that feel like novels read aloud by a choir boy. When he’s not telling his own stories, Pallett gets nominated for Oscars (he worked on the score for Her) and lends his talent to musicians like Arcade Fire, Taylor Swift, R.E.M. and Grizzly Bear.
Drake vs Lil Wayne
September 16, 2014
Beyonce and Jay Z pretty much perfected the co-headlining template, so it’ll be interesting to see what these two bring to the table. The match-up is being touted as a rap battle combined with a ’90s fighting game. Capcom, maker of Street Fighter, is a cosponsor of the tour and has crafted an app that allows the audience to vote on superhero versions of the rappers, with a winner being crowned at the end of the night. So who are you putting your money on: Drake, the smooth-talking crooner, or Lil Wayne, the troublemaking MC?
September 18, 2014
The Fox Theater
Due to drama at a Canadian airport, CHVRCHES was forced to stand up hundreds of fans at this year’s Outside Lands Music Festival. But the Scottish trio hope to make up for it with this headlining Oakland gig. Their sound has been likened to “a godless hurricane of kinetic pop energy.” If that description doesn’t get your pulse buzzing, call a doctor.
September 21, 2014
Lykke Li is only 28, but her voice carries the wisdom and pain of a much older woman. Listening to her latest album, I Never Learn, feels like falling through a tear in the time/space continuum and ending up smack dab in the middle of your last breakup, wailing on the bathroom floor. We’ve all been there and it’s therapeutic to shout out the lyrics of love lost with a bunch of strangers, followed by dancing it all off to her earlier, spunkier work. Fun fact: Lykke Li split her youth between Sweden, a mountaintop in Portugal, Morocco, India, and Nepal. The more you know!
September 28, 2014
Downsizing from a duo to a solo project could derail the sound or lead to just calling it quits. Thankfully, Robert Alfons didn’t throw in the towel; instead, he made a brilliant electronic record that would make Kate Bush and the Cocteau Twins proud, and will make you dance like you just don’t care.
October 2, 2014
Greek Theatre – U.C. Berkeley
You already know the details: she’s from New Zealand, ridiculously young and even more talented. The first woman to top the Billboard Alternative Songs chart since Tracy Bonham in 1996 (which happens to be the year she was born), Lorde is just getting started (just imagine what she will be capable of when she graduates high school!). Go for the music, stay for the weird dancing.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
October 3 – 5, 2014
Golden Gate Park
It doesn’t matter whether you know the bands or not; the experience makes it all worthwhile. There’s the friendly, all-American vibe, the shared whiskey on blankets, the fog through the park, and the fact that all the merriment is free! This year’s lineup includes Cibo Matto, Emmylou Harris, Yo La Tengo, Chris Isaak, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, and dozens more.
Treasure Island Music Festival
October 18, 2014
Imagine watching a reunited Outkast on an island in the middle of the Bay while the golden sun dips behind San Francisco’s hills. Pinch yourself; this could be your real life. To sweeten the deal, Massive Attack, TV on the Radio, The New Pornographers, alt-J, Washed Out, Banks, and Janelle Monáe will also be there. Here’s a playlist to help you get ready.
October 23, 2014
Fresh off booty bouncing while passing out beignets at Outside Lands, Big Freedia is coming back to shake things up again. Guaranteed to slap a smile on your face.
November 9, 2014
The Fox Theater
The heart eyes emoji was invented to express how one feels after listening to Rhye. Romance coupled with soul hasn’t been done this well since Sade. Take someone you love, even if that person is yourself!
November 22, 2014
We owe Justin Timberlake a great deal for bringing sexy back, not to mention all those LOL-worthy looks from the NSYNC days. The least we can do is attend this show and sing along to every word.
November 25, 2014
SAP Center at San Jose
I saved the best for last. No, really, Fleetwood Mac is the best. The breakups, the makeups, the accusations of witchcraft, the drugs, the music they recorded in Sausalito, it’s all so legendary. The band toured just last year, but, this time around, they have Christine McVie on board, which marks the first time the band has performed together since 1998! You would be a fool to miss this.
Which shows are you most looking forward to this fall?