Hope Sandoval and the Warm Intentions live in Berkeley

Review by Megan T.

It’s the music of streetlight promenades, cobblestones covered in evening mist, and momentary eye contact beneath the brim of a hat. Hope Sandoval and the Warm Intentions graced the recently reopened UC Theater Taube Family Music Hall Friday night to slow us down and drip us in finery. The slow, sultry simplicity of Sandoval’s voice dances with the band sounds behind her. With a bit of Norah Jones and a dash of The California Honeydrops, they started the set with “Salt of the Sea” of their 2016 album “Until the Hunter”. With a backdrop of ink swipes, family photographs, and Churia Obata style ink drawings, the photo-free night was moseying along. With a three song EP release “Son of a Lady” ahead of this U.S. tour, Sandoval and Colm Ó Cíosóig (My Bloody Valentine) show they do dreamy right. Tracks like “Sleep” highlight cello  and xylophone dialectics, hypnotic but not sedated. If you’re feeling romantic and dystopian, check it out. Because their mood is a skill to share, not all who try succeed.

Imagine a love struck couple who meet in glittering San Francisco. They collaborate and create for years, putting out their fifth album, “The Fifth Consciousness” in June. Reviews of the album call it “a kind of zombie state”  with its “repetitive verses” and vocals that “float passively” through a fog of fuzz (Marc Masters). And that’s sugar coating it. That night’s openers, Peaking Lights attempted, but didn’t make it over the bar. “Coyote Ghost Melodies” was a flat gumbo of reggae one two beats and static, female synth vocals. Imagine if the jungle book had an intense echo and an existential crisis. So this one I’d say is fair to skip.

Regardless, it was a different pace of performances that night, all at the freshly reopened  UC Theater’s Taube Family Music Hall. Check their calendar, as they’ll be showcasing an interesting array of events, from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. This non-profit venue is home to a concert careers pathway program, and while the odd layout and confusing level changes were new to me, the purple chandeliers told me everything was gonna be alright. It attracts an interesting array of attendees too. On that night we saw a man in a Warriors jersey beside two gay shaman adjusting each other’s bead necklaces  and a substantial number of grown men in their sport coats or leisure suits. I mean, there were more than one person in a Sherlock Holmes deerstalker hat! What else can I say?


Categories: Live Music

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