Thanks to the Student Union Program, Entertainment, and Recreation Board, better known as SUPERB, UC Berkeley is never short on entertainment. This fall, SUPERB is rolling out another stellar lineup, bringing the best, baddest bands and musical artists straight to campus and all for free. The Daily Californian is excited to announce the Fall 2013 SUPERB concert lineup. (All shows are on Upper Sproul unless otherwise noted.)
Giraffage / Blackbird Blackbird
Sept. 6 7:30-10 p.m.
With Giraffage and Blackbird Blackbird playing Sproul, Berkeley will be introduced to some of electronica’s hottest acts. To make the deal even sweeter, they’re both local artists hailing from San Francisco. Charlie Yin, better known as Giraffage, recently made a song for Kitsune America 2 with one of our own, UC Berkeley alumni Jhameel, as well as up-and-comers DWNTWN. His sample-based beats have earned him acclaim all over the Internet as well as a tour through Europe with one of SUPERB’s recent performers, XXYYXX. Listening through his body of work will give you a unique tour of hip-hop and R&B with samples from artist such as R. Kelly and Monica.
Blackbird Blackbird is one of the finest acts that the lo-fi dream pop movement has brought into the spotlight. Fans of acts such as Washed Out, Toro y Moi and Teen Daze are sure to appreciate Mikey Maramag’s body of work. He is constantly experimenting with his sound, but one thing remains constant — it’s laid back and spellbinding. Perhaps being from Honolulu can have that kind of influence on your music.
— Ephraim Lee
Sept. 26 8-10 p.m.
As with all of the most engaging forms of electronica, the music put out by producer Max Cooper sounds as if it is written to be listened to just as much as it is meant to be danced to. And for those yet to be acquainted with one of his live sets, this is saying quite a lot, considering how infectiously floor-ready his music is. Based out of London, Cooper narrowly avoided a life as a postdoctoral university geneticist, abandoning his studies in 2010 to focus on the less scholarly pursuit of DJ-ing. Fortunately, this change of heart paid off in a big way, as he has taken to the road to enchant crowds with his icy ambiance, making appearances at electronic music gatherings like Glade Festival, Decibel Festival and Bestival. All the while, he has remained prolific, releasing several EPs a year and pumping out remixes on the side. Drawing obvious inspiration from Aphex Twin, Cooper’s tracks often feature complex rhythms behind pulsating, otherworldly melodies. Although hard science may be in his past, he has definitely mastered the science of beats.
— Erik Weiner
Oct. 11 TBD
When it comes to alternative hip-hop, Zion I manages to deliver a nonstop onslaught of tracks of equal parts power and authenticity. This native East Bay duo, consisting of rapper MC Zumbi and producer AmpLive, have been effectively tearing up the underground scene across the country since their inception in the late ’90s. They’ve come pretty far since then, starting their own independent label and collaborating with such big name acts as Aesop Rock and Talib Kweli. Even in terms of style, they have ventured out of their new-school background and have explored other hip-hop subgenres without compromising their distinctive voice. Classic influences like A Tribe Called Quest can be heard throughout Zion I’s catalog, but their material has taken strikingly hyphy turns and has even dabbled in unabashed experimentalism in recent days. However, regardless of the sonic era in which their music was released, the common denominator underlying both production and lyrics has always been the outright energy it manages to capture in the studio and unleash mercilessly upon unsuspecting audiences.
— Erik Weiner
PALMA VIOLETS with opener SKATERS
Oct. 18 5-7 p.m.
“Come get your nerves and eardrums shattered,” beckons the Palma Violets’ Facebook page as it lists their U.K. tour dates. Though these chaps released their first album 180 only in February, Palma Violets have already been touring with Queens of the Stone Age and the Weezer Cruise, as well as appearing on Jimmy Kimmel. Sweaty locks, pale skin and skinny limbs are archetypal features of the band, along with sounds similar to those of the Vaccines and the Strokes — but the band puts a mystical edge on their frisky rock with vocals by Chilli Bensen.
It seems as though good loud rock, with an emphasis on live performances, is the reason for the success of the Palma Violets. Though they have been more popular abroad in the U.K. than in the United States, it’s only a matter of time before their rattlesnake rock strikes out west. With a similar British rock-inspired sound, NYC-based rock band Skaters will be opening for the Palma Violets.
— AJ Kiyoizumi
Nov. 17 5-7 p.m.
If the spirit of early ’00s indie pop were ever to traverse the Great White North in search of a band to embody its ludicrously catchy angst, it may well have found a suitable host in Born Ruffians. As it turns out, this group of happily self-deprecating Midland-via-Toronto natives seem totally unable to put a guitar pick to a string without resulting in an anthem that embeds itself deep in the listener’s head for the foreseeable future.
After years of touring with acts such as Peter Bjorn & John, Franz Ferdinand and especially Tokyo Police Club, these Ruffians have used peer influence as a sounding board, of sorts, to produce a more refined sound of their own. Vocalist Luke Lalonde retained the brazenly honest lyrics of his past work (“I need much more good and much less bad”), but the band’s upbeat jangle is now flavored with an extra dash of world-weary cynicism (“Needle in the hay, lost but in my place”). All the same, Born Ruffians can’t help but deliver lines such as these paired with ironically joyful refrains practically written to be shouted along to.
— Erik Weiner