.San Francesca Shows Off New Lineup And Sound At X Bar

San Francesca has undergone a lot of changes lately. First there was that whole name switch—remember when they were called Le Verita? Now they’ve added a drummer to their lineup, which has evolved their sound.
They used to be a synth-pop band with a dark indie rock edge. They couldn’t decide if they were a dance or rock band, just like early New Order. Well, the new San Francesca are not a dance band, not that it makes them any easier to classify.
They bring their new album, We Live In Public, to X Bar this Saturday, showcasing their matured sound. With a drummer, the synth-pop elements have been tempered significantly, exposing some of their less obvious influences like Sigur Rós and other slow burning, experimental post-rock bands. Yet they still mix in some straight-forward pop sounds and heart-felt indie rock influences—bands like the National come to mind.
The production on the new record is fuller than any prior recording. The first few tracks start out darker and heavier with Harrison Russell’s vocals bathed in distortion, giving it an eerie distance. Deeper in, the album mellows out a bit. There’s even a few pretty synth ballads; played with drums, of course.
Headlining the show is East Bay metal-string band Judgment Day, who are truly unlike any other band out there. They play instrumental heavy metal, but without guitars. The trio includes a cellist, a violinist and drummer. The stringed-instruments are run through a distortion pedal and the drums are what you might expect from a metal band.
Riffing out on chamber instruments isn’t as weird as it may sound. In fact, it sounds a lot closer to standard metal than you’d expect. Still the differences are noticeable. The tone and timber of the instruments are just off enough to grab your attention. And when they slide up and down on their fretless stringed instruments, let’s just say that’s outside of Kirk Hammett abilities. The end result lands a little closer to math rock than Metallica.
Also on the bill are two lighter, easier-to-digest bands, both steeped in folk. LA’s “Hello, the Future” is a weird one-woman geeky folk act, while Cartoon Bar Fight are a local upbeat indie-folk outfit. The show will open with a dark short horror film called Green by local filmmaker Jonathan Sontag, about fungus-infected undead insects feeding on people’s blood.
Judgment Day and San Francesca play Saturday, July 7 at X Bar in Cupertino, 8pm; $8.

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