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Top 20 Bay Area Bands of 2016

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If you weren’t listening to these hot Bay Area bands in 2016 you can fix that in 2017.

The year has come to an end … some might say finally, while other is may be wishing for a couple more days. Everybody is focused on what will happen in 2017 but for just a second longer I would like to celebrate 20 bands that released epic songs in 2016.

The following playlist is filled with Bay Area bands that not only killed it in 2016, but they also managed to create and release new music. Creating a playlist of top artists in the Bay Area is very hard for me. There are a lot of bands that I am friends with and love! However, this “shot out” goes out to the bands with music released on Spotify it in the last 12 months. (I discovered this year I’ve been saying “shot out” instead of “shout out” my entire life. Can’t fix that now!)

There are a lot of epic bands in the Bay Area, that played tons of shows and had an amazing year. However, not all of them released music this last year. This post is dedicated to the ones that did, good job:

Fantastic Negrito – The lead singer Xavier Dphrepaulezz has lived a hard life filled with complicated choices. I’m glad he finally found his rightful spot on the stage entertaining crowds with songs of inspiration and frustration.

Con Brio – So fresh and so clean, if Ziek McCarter doesn’t win you with his dance moves, he’ll woo you with his voice!

K.Flay – Kristine Meredith Flaherty, the lead singer of K.Flay is somebody I would love to party with. Number 10 on my bucket list is to drink a bottle of Jim Beam with her and not sleep.

Adam Vida – Formerly known as A-1, I first discovered Adam Vida at Phono Del Sol and I can’t wait for the next performance.

HEARTWATCH – It wasn’t long ago that this band was called The Tropics. However, Claire George and her band have done such a good job of cementing HEARTWATCH in your mind, that you’ve probably forgotten.

Hot Flash Heat Wave – Everywhere I went in 2016 I ran into the members of this band. A young band, I am really looking forward to what they do in 2017!

The Seshen – I started DJing a year ago, all my songs were remixes of Bay Area bands. I love their remix of Unravel. If you see The Seshen on a bill, buy a ticket ASAP.

The Y Axes – I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this band mature and find their sound over the last 3 years. Add them to your playlist now, so you can say I knew them when.

Annie Bacon & Her Oshen – In addition to sounding good, this band has amazing draw in the Bay Area. I booked a show with Annie Bacon at Amnesia, I was super impressed by her fans.

Kendra McKinley – When I first met Kendra she did everything with a loop pedal. When She got to SF she formed a full band and has been unstoppable ever since.

The Sam Chase – In order to not be confused with the Federal Justice or Videographer, Sam had to add “The” to the beginning of his name. In my opinion, he didn’t need to change his name, he has always been “The Sam Chase” to me. Also, I like drinking with Sam, he can join me on the day I get wasted with K.Flay.

Down and Outlaws – Go see this band!  Also, If Peter Danzig asks you to go on tour with them, say yes, I imagine it would be fun. I got to hang with them at SxSW 2016 and it was awesome.

Before The Brave – In 2015 I got spoiled by the number of shows Jason Stevens and his band played. In 2014 I had the chance to tour with the band to Seattle, to play a show with The Band Joseph. 2016 felt like a quiet year for the band, but they released a new album and I’m praying for tons of shows in 2017.

Panic is Perfect – Mike Hoffman’s band is managed by Guerrilla Management, a local management company with great taste! In addition to this great band they also manage Con Brio and formerly MICHAEL FRANTI.

Dangermaker – Go to a show to hear lead singer Adam Brookes voice and to see bass player Neko Fuzzmonk’s personal fan blow his long hair in the wind like a supermodel.

Everyone is Dirty – In 2015 lead singer Sivan Lioncub had a battle with health issues. However, in 2016 the band recorded new songs, played a couple big shows and came back with vengeance. You should also check out their record label Tricycle Records, they have great taste in music.

The Tambo Rays – I feel like I see lead singer Sara DaMert everywhere. It doesn’t matter if we’re in SF or LA. I also love that I can see her in the band Waters. It also makes me happy that her band is a family affair, her brother Brian DaMert is also in both bands.

Battlehooch – Do you have your battle rag? If so tie it to your head and go to a show with me! Established in 2007, Battlehooch has been a staple in my music diet since I started researching the Bay Area music scene in 2009

Abbot Kinney – Lead singer Jared Swanson is a perfectionist when it comes to creating music. Relocating to SF from LA, it took him years to create an SF band around his music, I’m glad he finally did.

Picture Atlantic – Located in Santa Clara, Nikolaus Bartunek and his band are a constant reminder that our music scene spans from the North Bay to the South Bay.


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Stefan Aronsen

Stefan Aronsen

I am the co-founder of Balanced Breakfast, a meetup for music industry professionals. No, I do not sing or play any instruments ... but I have tried! My passion for music began at 7 when my parents bought me a drum set. I was BAD at drums. So I moved on, joined the school band, and played clarinet. I was BAD at the clarinet. Trying and failing at instruments continued through elementary school and into college. It turns out that while I could recognize good music; I lacked the skill to make it.

Now I'm broke, beautiful, and writing about music for Stuart...