2013 in Review

Thank you to all of those who read, critiqued, and shared my blog in 2013. Here’s to a fantastic 2014…. there are exciting reviews to come! Happy New Year!


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 520 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Citizen’s Band // American Food With A Ring

Citizen's Band // Street View

Citizen’s Band // Street View

Positioned on the bustling corner of Folsom & 8th Street in San Francisco, Citizen’s Band is not only highly visible to foot and car traffic, it neighbors two local nightclubs – the Cat Club and the F8 Lounge. Boasting a moderate industrial atmosphere, and tiny (only 1,200 square feet) space, Citizen’s Band has a fresh face, cozy feel, and local esteem.

On a Friday night, I was lucky to get one seat at the frequented “seat yourself” counter. If parties of two or more did not have a reservation, they were in for a wait (30 – 45 minutes at least). Despite the crowd, I was greeted quickly by the night’s manager, seated, and served silverware, a full glass bottle of water, and an eco-friendly, double-sided dinner menu.

The menu featured an equal amount of savory American diner-style plates (fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, grilled burger) and flavorful vegetarian selections (kale salad, padron peppers, daily vegetarian special). Each of Citizen’s Band’s plates provided a yummy-something for every palette. Portions were generous, and each plate was complimented by an exciting, artistically placed addition – a tower of onion rings atop the mac & cheese, an asparagus bridge next to the Ca​esar salad, and a melting stack of “12K” (everything you’d ever want, if you were daring enough to order it) on your Kobe beef burger.

Asparagus Caesar Salad

Asparagus Caesar Salad

I ordered the “Asparagus Caesar Salad” and “Padron Peppers” appetizer, paired with a chilled glass of NV Prosecco Bel Casel from Italy. As my server cracked open a fresh bottle of Prosecco, the two-man chef team acknowledged my order for a brief second as they seamlessly prepped, steamed, grilled, fried, and plated dish after dish in their open, back-corner kitchen.

Padron Peppers

Padron Peppers

As my appetizers arrived, the manager motioned to one of the three parties patiently waiting at the front door. While she showed them to the “community-table,​” without missing a beat, my server quickly filled a bottle with water, grabbed ​four​ glasses and delivered them to the new diners. He was then quickly back in the kitchen to help carry hot food to a table across the room. The quality of service and attentiveness of staff was impeccable. M​y appetizers were unique, flavorful, and portioned to perfection. And the prices were moderate.​

Before I could ask for my bill, my server was printing and dropping my check in front of me alongside two homemade mini sugar cookies. Delicious. I left the restaurant with a full belly and a satisfied palette – tastes of salt, sugar, hot peppers and cool Prosecco lingered on my tongue​. Next time, I’ll​ order the burger (all “12K” of it)!

My View

My View

Find Citizen’s Band on the Web, Facebook or Twitter. Enjoy!

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Coming In Hot- HOTTUB at Beauty Bar- 3/15/12

HOTTUB @ Beauty Bar, Austin- March 15, 2012

By Amy Powell

HOTTUB has just arrived in Austin, Texas for their first of three performances at the 26th annual South by Southwest festival. Despite a chaotic day of cross-country travel- 6am flight out of California, 2-hour drive from Houston, one empty tank of gas, and more in-town traffic than Austin locals have seen all year- the five-piece disco rap band from Oakland, California arrives at Beauty Bar fierce with energy.

Backed by beat-making producer, Jason “Jaysonik” Stinnett, and keyboardist, Mark “Funky Fingers” Gregory, HOTTUB packs a 3-part vocal punch powered by Nicole “Coco Machete” Feliciano, Amber “Ambr33zy” Royal, and Jennifer “LoliPop” Ackerman. Tonight, the hyper dynamic MCs are dolled out in lace, jean, leather, and leopard print fashion, with gold bracelets, exotic eye makeup, and “baller” necklaces that push “bling” kink to punk-pop party levels.

With “10 Numbers” in her pocket, Feliciano leverages her way up, onto a front speaker, while Royal and Ackerman thrust themselves into the crowd to join fans for Feliciano’s rap. Just three songs into their set- Beauty Bar is on “Man Bitch” fire. HOTTUB brings hard-hitting disco funk beats and shout-out “Oakland in Jungle” lyrics to Austin music fans- the house has no option but to get down with ghetto-pop enthusiasm- Bay Area-style.

How can one band manage a band-in-crowd, beer soaked, mic-in-mouth, motor boat girl sandwich (x2), fans-on-stage dance party into one 30-minute set? The answer, HOTTUB is not just a band. HOTTUB is fast and clever, hard-hitting and concise, like-minded and glam, full-boobied and fabulous. HOTTUB is a “game changer.”

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DJ 2 Watch: Dylan McIntosh

Splash Pit Recommended by Amy Powell

Photo by Megan Krause

Tall, slender, and striking, Dylan McIntosh is poised in front of a lap top and turntables, gripping cushy headphones comfortably wrapped around his neck. For the last seven years, audiences have found McIntosh, veiled behind a gleaming drum kit, in San Francisco’s electronica-rock trio, BLVD. Now he stands solo, at center stage, in pursuit of entertaining audiences through an alternate music medium, DJing. McIntosh’s unique method focuses on mashing traditionally arranged songs– strong with melody and (most importantly) vocals– to create a set, rich with timeless hits and modern variety. In one hour, McIntosh will feature remixes from Foster the People, Empire of the Sun, and the Foals, and highlight throw-back classics from Fleetwood Mac, The Police, Natalia Kills, and Gaelle. With an audacious sense of cultivating genre infusions, McIntosh is distinctively capable of stirring up a cold dance floor to get any dance party in motion.
For booking & event rates, contact Dylan McIntosh via email, dylan@elevateproduction.com or phone, 415-706-0793.

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Sam’s Chowder Mobile

Menu Highlight- Clam Chowder

The steaming hot clam chowder served out of Chowder Mobile’s tiny food truck window is delightfully flavored and perfectly creamy. Authentic and delicious, Sam’s chowder is seasoned with bay leaf, a unique spice blend, fresh cracked black pepper, and loaded with clams, bacon, potato, celery, and onion (top with Sriracha and lemon to taste). For $5.50 a bowl, chowder is a great item to split before biting into one of Sam’s meat-filled Po’ Boy sandwiches.

Find full menu, location schedule, & Facebook information here.

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The Legacy Continues- BLVD at The Independent- 1/6/2012

With four girls in front of her, Jessica Westwood is an impatient wreck as she waits for a stall in the ladies’ room. “No way I’m getting a spot in the front row now, I’ll have to push my way up, I haven’t seen BLVD for over a year, they’re one of my favorites,” she gushes. Her confession is received with nods from the others waiting in line.

Tonight is BLVD’s third annual winter showcase at The Independent in San Francisco. Just six days after New Year’s Eve, winter takes a turn for the warmer while locals take the popular venue by storm. All guests are in rare form, including an unwavering party-ready honey badger centered prominently on the show flier- “Honey badger don’t care… honey badger just wants to get down!”

House lights dim to dark and three slender silhouettes slip on stage. The rowdy crowd settles as a calm, methodical pulse hits through the kick drum. The stage is swept over by a rich peach glow illuminating the members of BLVD– Dylan McIntosh, drums/samples, Curtis Sloane, electric guitar/samples, and Tripp Bains, bass/keyboard– along with an eager Westwood who is now standing, front and center, in the first row.

For the next ninety minutes, BLVD takes their audience– both local fans and long-time friends– on an euphoric roller coaster of synthesized jams, mashed up remixes, electro pop riffs, and energized arrangements that showcase classic BLVD genius; one epic dance party.

Since the conception of BLVD’s legacy in 2003, the band has tested various production and talent to stimulate their audience and progress their sound. They have featured elaborate laser shows that prove to be a sensational highpoint during late night sets. And in 2008-10 they invited noteworthy lyricist, Souleye, on board to fuse the trio’s instrumental talent with flowing hip hop vocals.

Tonight the band invites members of supporting acts– livetronica duo, Crush Effect, and electronic hip-hop group, Vokab Kompany– to sit in. Saxophonist Jesse Molloy fills the house with smooth, sophisticated vibration. And Vokab Kompany MCs, Robbie Gallo and Matt Burke, energize the stage with charismatic fashion giving fans a chance to reminisce on days when Souleye dominated the mic and danced the stage.

Over the last two years, BLVD has developed new method for their original sound. Their set is built on covered samples from Michael Jackson, Kaskade, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ghostland Observatory, Foster the People, Empire of the Sun, LMFAO, Foals and Calvin Harris; and peppered with new rhythms that range from original Cuban sahara to popular Miami cool. Luckily, BLVD has not abandoned their signature rhythm– an eerie X-Files cadence glittered with angelic beats that give way to hard-hitting wah-wah bass– and make conscious efforts to feature melodies that celebrate their initial blend of unique synthesized melodies and unpolluted instrumental technique.

Center stage, under sporadic projections of Japanese characters and pulsing heart rate monitors, McIntosh shoots a smirk to Bains at stage right and then looks to Sloane at stage left before announcing the next selection in their set, BLVD’s first-written song, “Again in the Light.”

Wearing satisfied smiles, collard black shirts, and professional confidence, BLVD is nine years deep, three men strong, four albums produced, and thousands of fans deserved. With a reinvented sound full of energy, sophisticated attitude and just enough pop culture to keep critics on their toes, BLVD still holds electronic legacy to make fans– and even a ferocious honey badger– get down.

Tripp Bains on bass guitar at The Independent- 1/6/2012. Photo by: John Mortimer Photography

Dylan McIntosh on drums at The Independent- 1/6/2012. Photo by: John Mortimer Photography

BLVD at The Independent- 1/6/2012. Photo by: John Mortimer Photography

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Interview w/ Erik Yates of Hot Buttered Rum: 7/28/11

Speaking with Erik Yates  of Hot Buttered Rum on July 28, 2011:  Music Festivals, Projects, Etc.

Amy Powell: In the last 10 years, Hot Buttered Rum (HBR) has played music festivals across the nation. At which festival do you feel most “at home,” and why (people, place, festival goal/mission)?

Erik Yates: I’ll say Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – it’s here, has most of the musicians I look up to and, hey, it’s free.

AP: What are two things you look forward to when getting ready for a tour?

EY: The people we’ll play for & the music we’ll play for ’em. I feel like I started into this business for the music, and that’ll always be its own reward, but I find myself also staying in it for the people, for the other players, for the friendships, for the fans I know and for the fans I don’t.

AP: During live sets, do you often visit tracks from your first studio album, “In These Parts?” and if so, which track(s)?

EY: 3.2 is one we pull out quite a bit. I mean, it’s a bluegrass song about cheap beer – what’s not to love? We got ‘In These Parts’ back up for a Colorado date last weekend, and I think we may put ‘Lighten Up Your Load’ back in the hopper, too.

AP: During festival season, you run into old music buddies (“Poor Man’s Whiskey,” and “Tea Leaf Green”), and you come across new artists. What band(s) have gotten your attention this year?

EY: We got the chance to hang out & pick with Mumford & Sons at Wakarusa, and I loved their set. It’s great to see a band with so much buzz be so fully deserving of it. They give it up; they play until they drop, onstage and off. That’s the glory of folk music – what you see onstage is always the tip of the twangy iceberg. Anyone I know who’s played tunes with Gillian Welch & David Rawlings (whose new album is amazing) is always amazed at how many country songs those two know together, with the harmonies to boot. They could play for days, but their set’s an hour long. So all that music’s standing behind them, giving the songs they do sing that much more power. I aspire to that. Another band I dig that’s rising through the ranks is Fruition, a group from Portland, OR. Right now, they’re young and hungry and stupidly talented and, like Mumford & the Avett Bros. & the Old Crow Medicine Show and some of the other new-timey banjo-picking groups that are kicking ass right now, they write well, sing big and lay it on the line.

AP: What is your plan of attack when preparing for a show in your hometown zone – the great San Francisco Bay?

EY: Motivate the inner circle, get on the radio and talk things up online. We’ll also print up flyers &/or CDs and have them handed out at other shows where fans would like our music.

AP: Since 2005, HBR has been cruising “green” in a tour bus powered by veggie oil. After 6 years in action, have you seen more “well-oiled machines” out there? And are you surprised that more bands haven’t followed suit by “greening” their rig?

EY: We haven’t seen too many. The veggie oil / biodiesel tradeoff is not always the easiest, since overproduction of mono-cropped corn and soy is no picnic, either. The only way to make truly green fuel is to use waste oil, and finding and rendering that useful simply requires more time than most touring acts have. When we used to dumpster-dive, we were in a phase of our lives when being on the road for weeks at a time made sense, and when an extra three-hour excursion was no big deal.

AP: You have had three members come and go since HBR’s conception in 2002, what makes the current five-man band unique?

EY: Our current drummer, Lucas Carlton, is a born rock star. Really. The band is grooving its ass off.

AP: You released an album in 2009 called, “Limbs Akimbo.” What have the members of HBR been focusing on (individually and as a band) since?

EY: Three of us, Lucas, Nat and Erik, went to Ghana where we dug in on rhythm & dance and recorded an album of Nat’s tunes, due out soon. Aaron recorded a solo album and has been playing with Bryan in his side project, Kinky Buddha. Erik stared a side project as well, the Pedal Thieves, and Nat continues to produce his yearly multimedia variety show, the Nat Keefe Concert Carnival.

AP: Some artists say they get inspiration for lyrics from fans, some say during late night conversation or adventure, and some say from being on tour. Where do you get your lyrical inspiration?

EY: Love and death. Impossible to get away from either, no matter how you try.

AP: If Fox Theater (Oakland) called you tomorrow, offered HBR a show date next month, but required that the band play one of your five albums in its entirety, which album would you pick?

EY: Limbs Akimbo. I’m partial to the new stuff.

AP: You are traveling the states this summer and fall, is there any talk of bringing HBR back to Europe (or beyond) in 2012?

EY: Nothing on the calendar right now, but some backstage conversation with John Butler at the All Good fest got us thinking about the Australian festival scene. It’d be nice to do summer festies in January.

AP: What is one instrument that you currently don’t know how to play, but would like to learn in the next five years?

EY: I think I’d like to rock the trombone. I’ve had dreams where I can do those dixieland slides. Maybe the harmonica’s more realistic, though . . .

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