San Francisco Bay Area Live Music Recommendations

Recommendations for Venues in the Bay Area:

San Francisco

The Fillmore, The Warfield, The Independent, The Great American Music Hall, Brick & Mortar, August Hall, The Chapel, Bottom of the Hill, Cafe du Nord, The Swedish American Hall, The Masonic, Neck of the Woods, The Rickshaw Stop, The Regency Ballroom, Amado’s, the Hotel Utah.

East Bay

The New Parish, The Fox Theatre, Freight & Salvage, The Ivy Room, The Greek Theatre, Cornerstone, The Back Room

North Bay

HopMonk Novato, the Mystic Theatre. I want to say the Sweetwater but it’s hard to recommend. There is almost always a crowd there that is not there to see the music and they like to talk over the music. If the band is loud enough, it can work out. For quieter bands, it can be a moderately unpleasant experience.

South Bay

Moe’s Alley, Catalyst, The Crepe Place. I haven’t been to The Guild yet, but I hear good things about it.

Here’s what’s coming up in the San Francisco Bay Area:

You should check venue websites as shows are still being cancelled and there are different requirements for different shows / artists as far as masking and showing proof of vaccination, etc.

March 2023

3/26/23 — Matt the Electrician at the Hopmonk Novato (KC Turner Presents).

3/28/23 — The War & Treaty at The Independent. Yes! Yes! Yes!

3/29/23 — Sarah Shook & The Disarmers at BotH. I really do enjoy Sarah Shook and this is a great venue!

3/29/23 — Rayland Baxter @ GAMH. Rayland Baxter doesn’t really do it for me. I like what I hear on the radio, but he was too loud when I saw him in the past and there’s just something that’s lacking when I see him live. If I’m going to go to a show on the 29th, it won’t be this one, but my taste is not everyone’s.

3/29/23 & 3/30/23 — The Tallest Man on Earth at the Chapel. I can say ‘not my jam’; I found him boring, but I know that’s not popular consensus.

3/30/23 — Big Richard at the Hopmonk Novato (KC Turner Presents). I’ve been told that I need to go to this show, so I *need* a ride!!!

3/30/23 — Lucy Kaplansky at the Freight. I don’t think I’m going to be able to make this show, but if I don’t get a ride to Big Richard….

3/30/23 & 3/31/23 — Low at The Chapel (This was originally listed in October 2022). March 31st is sold out. This is still listed on The Chapel’s website. I’m assuming the show will be canceled with the death of Mimi Parker.

3/30/23 & 3/31/23 — Built to Spill at Cornerstone

3/30/23 — Husbands at Cafe du Nord

3/31/23 — Old 97’s at The Fillmore. Oh yes, please!

3/31/23 — Mary Gauthier with special guest Jaimee Harris at the Freight. I would totally go to this if I weren’t already committed to Rhett and the Fillmore.

3/31/23 — Lucy Kaplansky at the Hopmonk Novato (KC Turner Presents). This is another Lucy Kaplansky show that I won’t be attending, even though I really want to see her live.

April 2023

4/2/23 — Michigander at Cornerstone. I saw them at SX, but the circumstances were not prime for creating a memory. I like what I hear on video so I might try to go to this, but it will be the end of a busy weekend and it’s a Sunday night in Berkeley so we’ll see….

4/6/23 — Joe Pug at The Sweetwater. I could definitely be interested if I could catch a ride.

4/7/23 — Garrison Starr at The Lost Church. This is a must IMO. She’ll be performing with Mya Byrne. I discovered both of them during Americanafest this past year (at the same venue on different days) and enjoyed both of them. I’ve been lucky enough to see Mya Byrne as they are local to the SF Bay area, but I missed Garrison when she made her way through late last year. I can’t wait for this show!

4/8/23 — An Evening with the Mother Hips at The Chapel.

4/9/23 — Lucero at the Fillmore. Duh….

4/11/23 — The Brother Brothers at the Sweetwater. I’m not sure that I would go to this show at the Sweetwater due to the talkiness of the audience and the quietness of the music, but otherwise I would recommend this show.

4/12/23 — The Brother Brothers at Felton Music Hall.

4/12/23 — Matthew Logan Vasquez at BotH

4/14/23 — Box Set at The Freight. This was recommended to me and I have friends who LOVE Box Set. I’ve never seen them and it seems like it might be time to rectify this.

4/14/23 — Rising Appalachia at the Chapel. I would definitely see them again.

4/15/23 — They Might Be Giants at the Fillmore

4/15/23 — AJ Lee and Blue Summit at the Sweetwater

4/16/23 — They Might Be Giants at the Fox

4/19/23 — Dustbowl Revival w/ Don Flemons at the Freight. This has all of the markings of a great show. Don Flemons was in the Carolina Chocolate Drops and I’ve seen him at RWR and enjoyed him.

4/20/23 — Slaid Cleaves at the Back Room in Berkeley.

4/22/23 — Ron Pope at The Chapel. I’m very likely to go to this show. Ron Pope is a nice, talented guy.

4/25/23 — The Nude Party at The Independent. I remember liking them when I saw them at SXSW in 2019 and wanting to see them again. I would definitely consider this.

4/25/23 — Nikki Lane at The Chapel. I’m sure this will be an excellent show!

4/26/23 — Dawes at The Fillmore

4/27/23 — Tyler Childers with special guest Charley Crockett at the Greek Theater. I might break my own rule about not going to certain shows in the Bay Area for this double bill / venue.

4/27/23 — Iris DeMent at the Freight.

4/28/23 — Joseph at the Fillmore

May 2023

5/2/23 — Sierra Ferrell at The Fillmore. This is a show I would go to, but I’m not sure if I’ll be in town AND I think it will sell out, so I guess we will see.

5/3/23 — Caroline Rose at The Fillmore. This is definitely a show I would go to. Same concerns as with Sierra Farrell.

5/7/23 — Ryan Montbleau at The Sweetwater.

5/9/23 — Hayley Heynderickx at the Chapel

5/10/23 — Ryan Montbleau at Moe’s Alley. No SF dates or I would go.

5/10/23 & 5/11/23 — John Craigie performs The Beatles ‘Revolver’ at the Sweetwater

5/11/23 — Ruston Kelly at the Fillmore

5/12/23 – 5/14/23 — Fruit Bats at the Chapel

5/15/23 — First Aid Kit with Hurray for the Riff Raff opening at the Fox Theater

5/15/23 — Hayley Kiyoko at the Fillmore

5/20/23 — Anna Moss and the Nightshades with Aviva le Fey opening at the Hopmonk Novato. This is so my jam! I’m sure you’ll see me here! This is a KC Turner Presents show.

5/26/23 — Danielle Ponder at Cafe du Nord. I just listened to a World Cafe (I think) featuring her and I liked what I heard.

June 2023

6/3/23 — Grant-Lee Phillips at the Hopmonk in Novato. This is a KC Turner Presents show.

6/11/23 — EELS at the UC Theatre. I’ve still never seen EELS.

6/16/23 — Parker Millsap and his Band at the Chapel. Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s been too long!

6/16/23 — Off With Their Heads at BotH

6/17/23 — Southern Culture on the Skids at BotH

6/18/23 — Paul Thorn Band at Rancho Nicasio. If I’m here, I’ll try to be here.

6/23/23 & 6/24/23 (postponed from 11/11/22 & 11/12/22) — Bettye LaVette at the Freight. I’m definitely interested in this. It was sold out in November and I didn’t have tickets because I was slow to purchase. I think I wasn’t sure about travel plans which is, again, the case. I guess we’ll see.

6/24/23 & 6/25/23 — Cracker at the Hopmonk Novato

6/29/23 — The Travelin’ McCourys at the Hopmonk in Novato.

July 2023

7/8/23 — The Mother Hips at the Hopmonk in Novato. There is both a matinee and an evening show.

7/26/23 — Tori Amos at the Masonic. When I just looked at tickets, balcony seats were more than $250. Love LiveNation’s dynamic pricing.

August 2023

8/26/23 — Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova at the Masonic

8/26/23 & 8/27/23 — Mt Joy at the Fox

September 2023

9/26/23 — Natalie Merchant at the Masonic

October 2023

10/13/23 — Joe Pug at the Hopmonk in Novato

Past Shows:

November 2022

11/11/22 — Sammy Rae & Friends at The Regency. I saw them at RWR this year. They’re fun!

11/11/22 & 11/12/22 (postponed until 6/23/23 & 6/24/23) — Bettye LaVette at the Freight. I’m definitely interested in this too, but also it sold out while I was busy not committing. She was fantastic when I saw her at The Chapel and I regret not getting tickets. It’d almost be worth going to see if there were any tickets released or people selling extra tickets if it weren’t for the time invested in getting to / from Berkeley from home.

11/13/22 — Tim Bluhm and The Coffis Brothers at GAMH. I’m definitely interested in this; I’d say I’m a solid maybe. It should be a good show.

11/15/22 — Jake Blount at The Freight.  I saw him at RWR and really liked him. I’d like to see him at the Freight; that seems like a great venue for him! He was also great at HSB this year and I quite enjoyed him and his band and his band members’ cute pastel onesies.

11/15/22 — Foals at the Fox Theatre. I saw them at the Canadian festival (Way Home) and I remember liking them. I also like what I hear of them on XPN.

11/15/22 – 11/16/22 — Beabadoobee at The Regency. I hear her on XPN and I like her.

11/16/22 — Tegan and Sara at the Fillmore. I’d really like to see them.  Sometimes I’m surprised I haven’t. It looks like I won’t be this time either as the show is sold out. Sad face!

11/17/22 — Carsie Blanton at the HopMonk. I can’t recommend her enough. I really can’t. If I had a car and there weren’t so many other interesting shows in the Bay Area on Thursday night, I’d definitely be going to this. She’s fun!

11/17/22 — Lucy Dacus with Holly Heynderickx opening at the Fox in Oakland. Interested!

11/17/22 — Blu DeTiger at August Hall. Also, interested though I really only know one song and there’s a lot of competition here on the 17th!

11/17/22 — Caroline Spence opening for Madi Diaz at The Chapel.  I enjoyed Caroline Spence when I saw her at RWR and I liked her with her full band when I saw her in Nashville during Americanafest.

11/17/22 — Lilli Lewis and the Secret Emchy Society are performing at the Lost Church. I saw Lilli in Nashville this year and I always enjoy seeing the Secret Emchy Society.

11/18/22 — Carsie Blanton at the Freight. Again, I really can’t recommend her enough. She’s fun and feisty and very talented!

11/18/22 — Avi Vinocur is opening for The Stone Foxes at GAMH. And I guess so is Midnight North. This is a great double / triple bill!

11/18/22 — Matt Jaffe at Amado’s.

11/19/22 — John Craigie at the Fillmore. Tickets purchased!

11/19/22 — Lucius and Aaron Lee Tasjin are performing at a Bread and Roses benefit concert at the St. Joseph’s Arts Society. I’d be interested if I weren’t already going to see John Craigie at the Fillmore!

11/19/22 — Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express at the Chapel. I always love Chuck, but I think John Craigie wins on this one.

11/28/22 — Kristin Hersh at BotH. She’s always a yes as far as I’m concerned.

11/30/22 — Lucius at the Fillmore.  They were SO good at HSB.  I’ve seen them a bunch, but they were SO good at HSB which is probably why this show is already sold out. I’m looking for a ticket if anyone knows of one.

11/30/22 — Modest Mouse at The Fox Theater. This is sold out!

11/30/22 & 12/1/22 — Built To Spill at The Chapel. The December 1st show is sold out! And now both of these shows are sold out!

12/1/22 — The Watkins Family Hour with Margaret Glaspy opening at GAMH. I could be convinced, probably pretty easily. I have a huge crush on Sara Watkins!

12/2/22 — The White Buffalo at The Fillmore.

12/2/22 — The Watkins Family Hour at The Guild. With Glen Phillips. It feels too far, but I want to do this because I forgot to go last night. Yes, I forgot….

12/3/23 — Wild Child at The Independent. Highly interested!

12/5/22 & 12/6/22 — The New Pornographers at The Fillmore.

12/8/22 — Dead Horses at Hotel Utah. I think this should happen! I’ve seen many iterations of this band, but I think the drum (with the triangle) that I recently saw in Nashville may have been my favorite. Hard to say because I always love them.

12/8/22 — Sunny Sweeney w/ Brennen Leigh at the Sweetwater. I saw both of these women perform separately at the WMOT Day Stage at AmericanaFest this year and I really liked both of them. I would recommend this show. That said, since Dead Horses is happening *in* SF and I really like them (they make me feel all the feels), it’s doubtful I will be at this show. Sidenote: Brennen Leigh was performing with Asleep at the Wheel when I saw her.

12/10/22 — Little Feat at The Rio. This is happening! Thanks Deb!

12/11/22 — Dustbowl Revival at The Chapel. They aren’t the same without Liz, but I always enjoy an evening with Ulf.

12/12/22 & 12/13/22 — X at GAMH. I am definitely interested.

12/13/22 — Courtney Marie Andrews at the Independent.

12/14/22 — The Mavericks w/ JD McPherson opening at Luther Burbank Center. I’m sad they aren’t playing in SF.

12/15/22 — Fishbone at GAMH

12/15/22 — G Love at the Hopmonk Novato (KC Turner Presents).

12/16/22 — Ruthie Foster at the Freight.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen her and this seems like a great venue!

12/16/22 — The Sam Chase & The Untraditional at Amado’s.

12/16/22 – 12/18/22 — The Mother Hips at GAMH. The final show is a matinee.

12/17/22 – AJ Lee and Blue Summit at the Independent.  Openers will be Willy Tea Taylor and Terrier (Ben Morrison and Erika Tietjen).  This should definitely be a good time and obviously I will be there!

12/31/22 — Social Distortion at The Fillmore

1/7/23 (cancelled) — Cosmic Twang featuring Nicki Bluhm at GAMH. It’s been a minute since I’ve seen Nicki Bluhm. I don’t know anything about Cosmic Twang so I may need to do a little ‘research’. Or maybe not, as it’s been cancelled.

1/19/23 — Trampled by Turtles at the Fillmore. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve seen TbT.

1/20/23 — The Watson Twins are opening for Jessie Baylin at Cafe du Nord. This is a hard yes, IMO. I saw them together in Nashville and they were great! Also I *might* have a huge crush on The Watson Twins. Andee can tell you how excited I got when they were suddenly on stage with Jessie Baylin at the Analog

1/21/23 — Melissa Carper at Amado’s. I missed her at AmericanaFest but it sounds like I shouldn’t have and I should try to rectify this.

1/22/23 — Okkervil River at the Independent

1/25/23 — Fitz & the Tantrums at the Regency

1/25/23 — Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn and Sarah Jarosz at the Palace of Fine Arts

1/26/23 — Wallis Bird at the Freight. This show is recommended by one of my Irish friends though I have to admit my interest was already piqued because the Freight classified her as ‘genre-bending’ which is also how they classified Ruthie Foster and I LOVE Ruthie Foster. So, it looks like I’ll be heading to the Freight on Thursday night!

1/27/23 & 1/28/23 — Yonder Mountain String Band at the Freight.  Interesting choice of venues IMO. I understand they will be removing the seats and it will be an open dance floor which makes it more appealing.

1/28/23 (cancelled) — Wheels Off! (SF Sketchfest) at the Swedish American Hall. I already have tickets to this from when it was postponed in 2022. And the ticket was recently refunded to me with an email saying that the show had been cancelled.

1/28/23 — Edie Carey & Megan Burtt at a SF house concert (KC Turner Presents for tickets / location)

2/1/23 — Quinn Christopherson at Cafe du Nord. I saw them years ago, opening for Lucy Dacus and I remember liking them. I also think they were a NPR Tiny Desk winner.

2/3/23 — The Wood Brothers at the Fox Theatre. I want to go to this show because it’s The Wood Brothers. I don’t want to go to this show because it’s entirely seated and it’s in Oakland. Blech!

2/4/23 — I just noticed this show and it’s unfortunately sold out, but the opening band, Oliver Hazard, was one of my ‘finds’ at Americanafest 2018. I would totally have gone to this for that reason alone and now I’m wondering about The 502S since this show is sold out….

2/8/23 — Matt Andersen at the Hopmonk in Novato. This is also a KC Turner Presents show.

2/9/23 — Recommended by a friend, Jeffrey Martin with Taylor Kingman opening at Cafe du Nord.

2/9/23 — Max Gomez at the Sweetwater. Why only the Sweetwater, Max? Why?

2/9/23 — Larkin Poe at the Fillmore. I haven’t seen them since SXSW 2018 and I’m definitely interested in seeing them again.

2/10/23 — Margo Price at the Fillmore. Hell yeah!

2/11/23 — The Lone Bellow at the Fillmore. This was one of the first shows that I ‘missed’ during the long pause. I think I still have my ticket somewhere….

2/14/23 — Sean Hayes at The Independent. This seems like a good thing to do for Valentine’s Day IMO.

2/14/23 — Chuck Prophet and the Make Out Quartet at the Swedish American Hall.

2/16/23 — Molsky’s Mountain Drifters at the Freight. I don’t remember where I saw them, but I think I remember liking them.

2/17/23 — Kitchen Dwellers w/ special guest Lindsay Lou at The Independent. Sounds fun!

2/17/23 — Black Opry Revue at the Freight. Definitely on my list one of these days, but not sure about *this* day.

2/17/23 — The Detroit Cobras at BotH featuring Marcus Durant (formerly of Zen Guerrilla).

2/18/23 — Megan Slankard & The Wreckage at the Hopmonk Novato (KC Turner Presents)

2/18/23 — Hawktail at the Freight

2/18/23 — Con Brio at The Independent

2/19/23 — Hawktail at the Hopmonk Novato (KC Turner Presents). Crying Uncle is opening. They (Crying Uncle) are local and are wonderful. I’ve seen them several times; most recently I saw them join The Watkins Family on stage

2/20/23 — FIDLAR at BotH. I am so tempted to do this though I’d honestly be surprised if there are still tickets available, even at $40. This *is* sold out.

2/23/23 — Jaimee Harris at a private KC Turner Presents house concert. Interested!

2/22/23 & 2/24/23 — Yo La Tango at The Fillmore

2/25/23 and 2/26/23 — Ramblin’ Jack Elliot at the Hopmonk Novato (KC Turner Presents). He’s a legend; I’d like to see him. The 25th is sold out!

3/2/23 — David Jacobs-Strain (and Bob Beach) is (are) opening for Jeffrey Foucault at the Hopmonk Novato (KC Turner Presents). It’s been YEARS since I saw David, but I really liked him. I can’t even remember who he opened for that night at GAMH. It might have been Todd Snider.

3/2/23 — Desiree Cannon is opening for The Deslondes at Cafe du Nord. I don’t actually know either, but I have friends who talk up Desiree Cannon quite a bit.

3/3/23 — The Sadies at the Chapel. I saw them at the Chapel in the before times when Dallas Good was still with us. I’m having a hard time imagining The Sadies without Dallas, but I’d be willing to give it a try and throw some support their way.

3/4/23 & 3/5/23 — Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the Freight

3/5/23 — Regina Spektor at The Warfield.

3/5/23 — SG Goodman at Cafe du Nord. I really want to love SG Goodman. I don’t love her.

3/5/23 — Charlie Parr at the Chapel.

3/9/23 & 3/10/23 — Vance Joy at the Fox in Oakland.

3/10/23 — Alejandro Escovedo at the Hopmonk Novato (KC Turner Presents). If I’m in town, I want to be here. Alejandro was someone that I thought I didn’t like (I don’t know why) and then I saw him in Nashville in 2018 and boy did I realize how wrong I was…. I didn’t like him; I LOVED him. Now, I want to see him ALL THE TIME!!!!

3/14/23 — Heather Maloney at the Back Room in Berkeley

3/15/23 — G Love & Special Sauce at GAMH

3/17/23 & 3/18/23 — The Brothers Comatose at GAMH. Now I’m trying to figure out how to be back in town in time for these shows…. It’s so difficult to be me. 😉 Clearly I highly recommend these shows. I expect that they will sell out.

3/18/23 — The Beths at the Fillmore. I’d really like to see them again, but I think I may not be in town for this.

3/21/23 — Morgan Wade at the Fillmore. I haven’t seen her, but she has been highly recommended to me.

3/21/23 — Robyn Hitchcock w/ Kelley Stoltz opening at The Chapel.

3/22/23 — Sway Wild (Mandy Fer) is opening for Bailen at Cafe du Nord. I love Mandy Fer!

3/23/23 — Delta Rae at The Independent. I could definitely see this happening.

3/23/23 — Lee Fields at the Chapel.

3/23/23 & 3/24/23 — alt-J at the Fox