Alice’s Summerthing 06/26/11

Speedway Meadows – San Francisco, CA

Words/Photos by BellaLuna

Every year  Golden Gate Park is home to  two free musical events.  Starting at  noon and ending at four, Alice at 97.3 FM or also known as KLLC, hosts Summerthing and Now& Zen.  Alice’s Summerthing is held at the end of June, when the weather is warm and inviting to those who enjoy free music and relaxing in Speedway Meadow with friends. This year on the roster was Andrew Allen, Parachute, Michelle Branch, Matt Nathanson and One Republic.  Starting off the music fest was newcomer Andrew Allen, with his hit “Loving You Tonight” and One Republic finished us off with a song from their upcoming album.  All in all a great day in the park; nothing compares to listening to you favorite songs live in the California sun.

Being the newcomer, Andrew Allen showed no sign of circumspect.  Jumping right onto stage belting out tunes with boyish charm and stylish Ray Bans, he courted adoring listeners with sweet lyrics and a happy melody that made you bounce. Unfortunately his time onstage was limited to allow ample time for the more popular groups to play.  Next on the list was Parachute, singing their new hit “Something to Believe In” which got the meadow swaying.  They as well performed some songs off of their album; not yet chart toppers, but still songs I’d say are good road trip prospects.

Coming in third is Michelle Branch.  As much as I wish I could say I enjoyed her performance, it was in all honesty very lackluster.  Singing her most popular songs- “Everywhere”, “Goodbye to You”, and “Breathe”.  Her usual full lung expansion of “Breathe” must have left her breathless and wilted.  As much as I love that song, the tight lipped and somewhat monotone live version has stifled my enthusiasm to ever see her again in concert, even if it were another free one.

On a lighter note, Matt Nathanson who is my personal favorite, did not disappoint!  Wowing the crowd with the hip swaying  “Come on get Higher” and his new hit “Faster”.  To prove his diversity, he then performed Rick Springfield’s “Jesse’s Girl”, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, and even Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You”.  Giggling every time  Speedway Meadow’s residents chanted out fuck you to complete the remainder of the chorus he sang.  His version of “Don’t Stop Believing” got all ages singing and dancing as if was 1981 all over again.  I’m sure that was planned, after all- it is San Francisco, home of the Giants.

Finishing off the lovely afternoon was One Republic.  I must say, I am impressed with these guys and the energy they gave off.  Performing “Good Life”, “Apologize”, “Secrets”, and even Ben E. King’s 1961 original “Stand by Me”.  All were performed effortlessly, and with passion.  The opening string instrumental duet of “Secrets” gave me chills watching Brent Kutzle on the  Upright Bass and Zach Filkins on Violin strumming with a harmonious and vigorous rhythm. That opening in itself was beautiful.  Hands down, One Republic won me over with their awesome live singing, charming humor towards the crowd, and I will gladly purchase their album along with Matt Nathanson’s.

All in all a fantastic day in Golden Gate Park, and a Sunday well spent with family.  One warning I do have for anyone attending these events- within the past two years I have noticed that people are becoming rude, and very inconsiderate of the space there within the field.  I witnessed people yelling at others for stepping on their 3 blankets spread across the lawn when there is only a few people to use the massive space they have taken.  Others yelled at people to sit down, and gave dirty looks if you needed to cross their path to exit or enter the field.  Lets remember that this is a free event and it should be fun and relaxed.  Selfish and uncivilized need not attend.  Thankfully the good outweighs the bad, and I will be looking forward to Now & Zen in August. Cheers!



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