Author: Whitney Merchant

Whitney Merchant is that rarest of all birds, a Bay Area native who still manages to eek out a living in her native habitat, while complaining incessantly about traffic and how expensive everything is. She is a lover of all types of live music, but prefers to shake her tail feathers to hip hop, funk, dancehall, African, Brazilian and anything that comes out of NOLA. She is herself learning to sing and write music. If given the right incentives, she might even breakdance for you.

Seen By Everyone Theatre of Yugen Photos by Shannon Davis. How do we grieve the dead when their lives are frozen in time on social media? This is but one of the many issues of life and death explored in Seen/By Everyone, the latest play from San Francisco’s Theatre of Yugen. This is truly theatre that cannot be seen anywhere else. As San Francisco continues to watch its art institutions and performance venues shutter their doors due to high costs and changing demographics, Theatre of Yugen has managed to hold on, offering one of the last chances to enjoy intimate,…

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Damian “Gong” Marley The Fillmore October 11, 2017 All photos by Pollen Heath. Damian Marley, youngest son of Jamaican icon Bob Marley, lit up The Fillmore this October during his Stony Hill international tour. Damian Marley is most famous for his legendary album, Welcome to Jamrock, which was inescapable during the summer of 2005. In the decade that followed, Marley did a couple of collaborations, most notably with rapper Nas, but Stony Hill is his first studio album since the meteoric success of Welcome to Jamrock. The album was released in July with “Nail Pon Cross” released as a single…

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Mulatu Astatke UC Theatre, Berkeley August 16, 2017 Photos by Jeff Spirer. World famous musician and composer Mulatu Astatke touched down at the UC Theatre in Berkeley during a rare US tour. Known as “the Godfather of African Jazz,” Astatke is credited with creating his own genre of music, “Ethio-jazz.” He may also be the only person in the world who can make the xylophone look cool. Technically, Astatke plays the vibraphone, a similar looking and sounding instrument more commonly used in jazz. It’s distinctive sound is a hallmark of Astatke’s unique blend of jazz, Latin jazz, and African rhythms.…

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Earth, Wind and Fire and Chick ft. Nile Rodgers Oracle Arena, Oakland July 12, 2017 All photos by Raymond Ahner. The entire experience of seeing legendary R&B, soul, funk, disco band Earth, Wind and Fire (EWF) can really be summed up in a single sentence: Earth, Wind and Fire knows how to put on a show. All the elements of a killer live set were there- superb visual aesthetics, above and beyond showmanship, a range of vocal powerhouses, choreographed dance moves, a legendary horn section, and a slew of hits that everyone with ears has danced to for nearly four…

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All photos by Jeff Spirer. As their name suggests, Little Hurricane is both small – in that there are only two band members – and has a big sound that could aptly be compared to a hurricane. The band consists of drummer and occasional mandolin player, Celeste “C.C.” Spina, and guitarist and lead vocalist, Anthony “Tone” Catalano. The San Diego duo brought their self-described “dirty blues” to the Independent last Saturday night, supported by another SoCal-based artist, Jade Jackson. The headliners really lifted the packed crowd with a diverse set of original bluesy, soulful rock. According to their Wikipedia page,…

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The Soiled Dove June 9, 2017 – July 1, 2017 Ferry Point, Alameda All photos by Jon Bauer. San Franciscans have always been fascinated with the history of the Barbary Coast, our very own red-light district made famous during the late nineteenth century. But no one deserves more credit for resurrecting the local love affair with the spirit, look, and artistry of the bawdy Barbary Coast as the Vau de Vire Society . Founded in 1997 by husband and wife team Shannon and Mike Gaines, the Vau de Vire Society has performed their signature avant-cabaret shows at vintage-themed events like the…

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