Friday, December 30, 2016

The BESTY's 2016

The Besty's 2016
Time flies when you're having fun. Either that, or time just keeps moving faster as my birthdays continue to pile up. The end of the year is usually marked by New Year's parties, concerts and shenanigans. Once again I'm listing off (chronologically) the best live performances that I was fortunate enough to catch. As in years past, I will acknowledge the best of the best, via The Roo Ratings. Have a great end to 2016 and have fun ringing in the New Year.

STS9 - The Wiltern - January 30th *
It was my favorite person's birthday weekend, we were in LA and the band straight shredded. They dropped Herbie Hancock bombs and doused the hyped crowd with some Tupac. We also danced and kicked it with some famous people, for real. This was probably the best I've ever seen from Sector, 2.0 or otherwise. Thanks Agent M for sharing your world with me. Big ups to our Culver City crew. Video

• Cavaliers at Kings - Sleep Train Arena - March 9th *
My favorite player in a city not too far away. Sacramento hosted LeBron in the arena he played his first NBA game in. Sleep Train is no more, but damn, what a cool throwback scene. There were wooden bleachers, heady beer and an intimacy that will be tough to replace. This was my first time seeing James in person. He commanded the floor and captivated attention. The Cavs won, sweetening the night for this hoops-crazed NBA fan. On a side note: I was able to catch this game, as well as a handful of Golden State games, meaning I saw both of the clubs that battled in The Finals. My nerd alert is reg'n high right now. 

Anderson East - Sweetwater Music Hall - March 10th
Great artists emerge over time and Anderson East is definitely carving his own path. He's an old soul with more than his fair share of talents. The band is super tight and his lyrics breathe on their own. The Sweetwater was the perfect venue for a group of musicians who truly care about their craft. Not only did they play material off of Delilah, they dappled the night with soulful and unexpected covers—Van Morrison and Mariah Carey, to name a couple. It was a cool night to share with one of our favorite friends.

• Billy & The Kids - Sweetwater Music Hall - April 18th
Thanks for hooking us up, you know who you are. As far as I'm concerned, this was the best night of Dead music I've heard in quite some time. A wonder-band formed around the drumming of Billy Kreutzmann obviously sounds good in theory, it's even better when it actually finds magic. This show ripped. Sounding good never sounded so good. I love it when originals team up with fresh faces; there's a different, better energy when the pillars of yesteryear share with the flag-bearers of the future. 

• Paul Simon - Greek Theatre - June 3rd *
The Greatest passed on this night... Paul Simon told everyone in attendance that Muhammad Ali had died. I welled up with tears, my emotions spurred by the loss of a legend. I too had lost a legend. Leading up to this show I had suffered personal loss. Thanks to Paul, and the emotionally-in-tune crowd, we were all sharing a surreal moment. Life is beautiful because it is finite. Paul Simon sung to us, and he branded us with the news. Heartache and joy were co-mingling. In a night when he played new material, plus all his hits, it was his profound respect for the champion of champions that will stay with me. He shared the sadness with us during the second encore. He bravely gave  us, as a sign of appreciation, "The Boxer." A powerful, timeless, and heartfelt night to remember. sigh.

The Besty's 2016
• Banks & Steelz - The Independent - August 27th *
RZA & Paul Banks threw down—love me some bang'n hip hop. A night only San Francisco can create.

Good night. Drop the mic. Uber to Kabuki. Late night sushi. That shit was real. Banks & Steelz. We all have voices. eightychoices.

• Dancing at Lughnasa - Main Stage West - October 14th (opening night)
Agent M strikes again; her ideas are always the best. It was opening night, and a chilly one,  at our local play house. We tackled that quickly with a Russian River red wine. Irish roots met modern portrayals and everyone nailed their roles. What a fun and entertaining night. I highly recommend live acting on stage; it's completely captivating when executed with honesty and humility. 

Robbie Robertson - Dominican University - November 16th
As the old saying goes, it's who you know, not what ya know. It was nice to have both aces up my sleeve for this. What an interesting night, the type that I hanker for. Thanks Agent M and Radio Silence. Video

• STS9 - The Fillmore - November 20th
Night two was a tough ticket to get (Thanks J), so it seemed only right to give Jerry a high five as we ambled up the stairs of The Fillmore to grab a drink and scope the posters, as per usual. It must have been in the ether. Early on Sound Tribe launched into a "Monkey Music" that would morph into "Dark Star." As fly as that was, the second set was pure fire. Sector merged new-school with old, as their energy never left the extreme. I was stoked to hear them drop dance party bombs while kick'n it with Agent M.

Salty Roo
Each event with an * denotes the best of the best. The Roo Ratings are held in the highest regard. Hip hop, hoops and STS9 are Salty favorites. Pip is looming over the basketball games now, and she too likes it when music thumps. If I had to guess, Wanda is more of a Paul Simon type. And who doesn't love Ali? RIP to all the great ones we've lost this year. 

Have a safe New Year's Eve!


Monday, December 19, 2016

PUBlication: Six Pack

Beer—A Holiday Tradition!
Over the past handful of years I've been digitally documenting some of my hobbies and guilty pleasures. Craft beer is one of those indulgences; thanks if you've been paying any attention. The Brew Detective is back, offering a year end roundup of my favorite oat sodas and barley pops. I was fortunate to visit some amazing beer towns this year. The selections below were enjoyed on draft (~), or at the brewery (*). Have fun this holiday season and be safe. Unfortunately there's not a good sarsaparilla.


~ Central Coast Brewing | Kiwi a la Tarte | San Luis Obispo, CA 

~ Half Moon Bay | Strawberry Rhubarb | Half Moon Bay, CA 

* Wicked Weed Brewing | Tropic Most Gose | Asheville, NC 

* Wicked Weed Brewing | ROY G BIV | Asheville, NC

* Burial Beer Co. | Hibiscus Gose | Asheville, NC

~ Appalachian Mountain Brewery | Spoaty Oaty Pale | Boone, NC

* Oakshire Brewing | Cucumber Berliner Weisse | Eugene, OR

Looking for something to bring home on the regular? Perhaps a heady six pack, or god forbid, a four pack. Look for these if you live near the brewer, or in an area with tasty choices. Drink responsibly. 'Bottles and cans and just clap your hands.'

• Blackberry Gose | St. Archer | 6 pack
Bike Party Pils | Sudwerk | 6 pack
• El Sully | 21st Amendment | 6 pack
• Cucumber Berliner Weisse | Oakshire | 6 pack
• Tropic Most Gose | Wicked Weed | 4 pack
• Festina Pêche | Dogfish Head | 4 pack


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Jukebox Hero

Let's not kid ourselves, tis the season for lists. And so, I will indulge in another. It's easier than ever to assemble an arsenal of music. Below is a quick-hitting account of my favorite songs of 2016. Enjoy.

"Go Off" - M.I.A
"Wow" - Beck
• "Nikes" & "Good Guy" - Frank Ocean
"Freedom" & "All Night"Beyoncé 
"Fade" - Kanye
• "The Season/Carry Me" & "Come Down" - Anderson Paak
"In Bloom" - Sturgill Simpson
"Someone to Lose" - Wilco
• "Destroyer" & "Ferris Wheel" - Kevin Morby
"Mississippi" - Cactus Blossoms
"22 (OVER s∞∞n)" - Bon Iver
• "Can't Get Enough of Myself" - Santigold
• "Nobody Dies" & "Millionaire" - Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
"World's Greatest Loser" - Margo Price
"You're Mine" & "Answer" - Phantogram
"We The People" - A Tribe Called Quest
• "Sword In The Stone" - Banks & Steelz
"Buffalo Nickel" - Shovels & Rope
"Gone Insane" - Lucius 



Happy holidays,

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

PUBlication: Revolution No.004

Luponic Distortion No.004
The fourth release from Firestone Walker's Revolving Hop Series has some engaging characteristics. Firestone continues to brew with new and experimental hops, this time from South Africa. There's a lightness to this IPA. The complexities of keeping a beer clean, clear and fresh, is a challenge to say the least. I personally enjoy the interplay between the entirety of the ingredients. The lack of heavy malt and the choice of yeast make Revolution No.004 highly drinkable; this is the most session-like Luponic Distortion yet.  

Shining in the glass, No.004's clarity is pronounced, leading me to think; was this IPA brewed like a Pilsner or Lager? I really dig this installment. The brewer's tasting notes mention a white grape quality in one of the hop varietals, and I concur. Hops however, continue to lead the charge. Thanks to the Lion and the Bear for keeping craft beer interesting and attainable. Available November '16 - February '17. Enjoy responsibly. 5.9% | 59 IBU 


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Robbie Robertson | Testimony

Dominican University hosted Robbie Robertson and we had really good seats, thanks to my partner-in-crime. Helping in the conversation was editor-in-chief of Radio Silence, Dan Stone. The evening was a success, and of course, moved too fast. Stories from Robbie's life seem to bend the bars that confine many of us. Angelico Hall enhanced the intimacy of the evening. This week marked 40 years since The Last Waltz. Our anticipation, the audience, all netted by his lure. 

Robertson's voice sounds the same and his hands were constantly involved. When questioned about the process of writing a song, versus a book, he replied, "different." Snapshots from his past blended straight-shooting honesty with legendary tall tales, except that they are actually true. Robbie also dispelled elements of the commentary and reporting of past eras, saying, "a lot of it is garbage. I know, I was there."

Rather than continue to patch together the night, check out my noted quotes from various segments. Thanks to Dan Stone and my better half. I had a wonderful night.

• "Drenched in real" - referring to the sound of the South.

• "The Holy Lands of music" - referencing the Mississippi Delta.

• "It just felt good" - after listening to, "Like a Rolling Stone," shortly after it was recorded.

• "They were wrong" - his reaction to the malcontent over Dylan going electric.