I passed reluctantly on the Marin Symphony concert that Paul wrote about the other night. I knew it would be memorable – such a fine ensemble under Maestro Neale, and with such a triple AAA rated viola section to back up pianist Joyce Yang, it must have been a fabulous evening! I did not miss Joyce’s last pass through San Francisco this past July when she did wonders with Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, on next to no rehearsal with the San Francisco Symphony.

Instead, I spent last evening hanging in North Beach at the Grant & Green Saloon listening to The Angry Orts, an eclectic indie rock band from Portland. It was a fine, but lamentably poorly attended, Bay Area show. I was impressed, however, at their fresh and quirky material delivered with convincing bravura, including the catchy ‘We R Electric’ – fun stuff that you feel like you’re heard before. Some mild overtones of B52s going on here…!

If you’re interested, catch their continuing California tour in San Diego, Santa Monica, and Chico.

The real reason, however, for my detour into San Francisco’s indie rock underbelly was to hear Kid With Katana who opened for the Orts. This is the locally based but newly reconfigured band as they try out a new member. We were treated to some familiar tunes from their impressive and now well-established songbook, carefully reworked and thoughtfully presented. To my ears, they were very successful benefitting from a leaner, cleaner texture and soundscape. The house sound is pretty crude and lacks nuance but there’s a lot going on here and much to work with. I’m looking forward to hearing more, as well as some new material – “baby songs” I was told, as the group re-knits itself into a defined sophisticated aesthetic. Long compositions, with great architecture – bring it on! (but don’t forget the earplugs).


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