Kick-start Your Year with 10 Concert Highlights in January
Is 2020 the year you go to more shows, find new music, and support the local scene? You have plenty of options to start the new year. Check out these January concerts in the Bay Area:
Jan. 9: Business of Dreams @ Rickshaw Stop
“If I can make the most personal music for misfits, than I’m satisfied,” says Corey Cunningham following the 2019 release of Ripe for Anarchy, his second album as Business of Dreams. While the quote and album title might signal the punkish motifs of his former band the Terry Malts, you’ll find a more sentimental collection of indie pop songs at his show at the Rickshaw Stop.
Jan. 9: Cedric Burnside @ The Chapel
There’s nothing overly complicated with Cedric Burnside’s take on the blues. It’s raw, gritty and dripping with grease. The perfect update to a sound that was distilled back home in Mississippi and shared worldwide by his grandfather, celebrated juke-joint bluesman R.L. Burnside.
Jan. 10-26: SF Sketchfest
SF Sketchfest is best known for bringing the laughs with standup comedians, improv performances, and tributes. It also delivers a gut-busting lineup of options at the intersection of comedy and music. Highlights from the schedule this year include a three-night residency with Fred Armisen and special guests at “Comedy for Guitar Players but Everyone is Welcome”; an all-star cast performing the music of cult classic Boogie Nights; and “Wheels Off with Rhett Miller,” an old-school style variety show hosted by the Old 97’s singer featuring rapper Jean Grae and other guests.
Jan. 10: Black Flag @ Cornerstone
You might not find the intensity of 1980s-era Black Flag with the 2020 iteration of the group, but you’ll still have the opportunity to see one of the best hardcore guitarists to emerge from the genre. Greg Ginn, the only original member in the band, is the main draw here. However, pro skater Mike Valley does a solid job holding down vocals for all the punk classics. Most of the crowd will be screaming along, anyway.
Jan. 14: Tool @ SAP Center
In an era of media oversaturation and oversharing, Tool maintains an aura of dark mystery. After a 13 year break, the band returned in 2019 with the new album Fear Inoculum. It’s been a long wait, and fans of the art-metal band will be out in force for its 30th anniversary national tour.
Jan. 17: Sage Francis @ 924 Gilman
The antithesis of mumble rap, Sage Francis finds the storied all-ages Berkeley venue 924 Gilman for his latest stop in the Bay Area. He remains one of the most vocally dexterous lycists on the indie-rap circuit, pairing heartfelt, introspective rhymes with commentary on the state of the world, hip-hop, a healthy dose of gallows humor.
Jan. 23: Zola album release party @ Cafe du Nord (LOCAL MUSIC)
San Francisco native Zola sets the tone for 2020 with an album release party at Cafe du Nord. The first two singles (“Crystal Floors” and “Téléphone”) offer a promising glimpse of what’s to come – indie pop, a touch of bossa nova and soulful bilingual vocals that tap into her family’s French roots and immersion schooling in SF.
Jan. 24: The Reverend Horton Heat @ Slim’s
Still psychobilly after all these years, The Reverend Horton Heat has made a fine art out of high-octane Americana. The formula hasn’t changed much since his debut in 1985 – and there’s no need. He’s joined at Slim’s by The Buttertones, The Paladins, and Deke Dickerson.
Jan. 24-25: The Soul Rebels @ The Independent / The New Parish
Feel like bustin loose? The Soul Rebels will be ready for you with a New Orleans-style party for two nights in San Francisco and Oakland. You’ll find classic Nola horn-based funk mixed with elements of hip-hop and other genres. It’s feel-good music at its core, and the perfect reset for a new year.
Jan. 30: Dude York @ Thee Parkside
Dude York returns to the Bay Area in support of Falling, a collection of earnest-yet-fun pop punk songs from the UK trio that wouldn’t feel out of place on your favorite 90s alternative playlist. Go for the tunes, stay for Thee Parkside’s awesome tater tots!
Other January concert highlights:
Jan. 6: Willie Nelson @ The Fillmore
Jan. 14: The King Khan & BBQ Show @ The Chapel
Jan. 20: Leif Vollebekk @ Cafe du Nord
Jan. 21: King Princess @ Fox Theater
Jan. 26: The Rabbles SF and April Magazine @ The Knockout (LOCAL MUSIC)