Arts and CulturePerformer you should knowSF Bay Area

AJJ’s Heartfelt Punk had GAMH Feeling Alive

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All photos by Patricia Colli

The Great American Music Hall is one of the most beautiful concert venues in San Francisco, the historic building has hosted all sorts of performances from burlesque to jazz concerts and comedy shows. It’s a classic SF venue and a great place for shows!

I arrived in the middle of Xiu Xiu’s concert, everyone was quietly paying attention while Jamie Stewart played a solo, emotional and intimate performance. The audience went nuts at the end of every song! I wouldn’t have guessed these bands shared so many of their fans, but they do.

I’m 39 years old and was probably the oldest person in the crowd, the show was sold out, the GAMH was packed with a masked-up singing youth, no lines at the bar which makes me believe a lot of them don’t drink and I was surprised by that! All night, no lines at the bar (tip your bartenders!). 

When AJJ took the stage it felt like a sing along show, it reminded me of when I saw Jeff Mangum from Neutral Milk Hotel also at the GAMH, people were emotional and knew ALL the lyrics. 

Sean Bonnette the singer and guitar player used to be a suicide prevention counselor at a hot line before he was a full time musician, he’s not worried about embarrassing himself and that makes his performance very vulnerable and the crowd was right there with him.

It was actually nice watching people sing along to angsty tunes. 

Their lyrics are raw and they don’t sugar-coat anything, that makes them very relatable especially in the times we’re living in. It was a pop-punk heartfelt concert!

One of my closest friends, the artist Stephan Doitchinoff, loves AJJ and got me into their music a few years ago, but this was the first time I saw them perform, so I had to idea what to expect but I really enjoyed it and got him a t-shirt. There was a huge line at the merch booth at the end of the show and that’s awesome! I admit having a Spotify account but I’m a full supporter of going to concerts, buying the vinyl and merch!

I spoke to some fans at the end of the night, a lot of them came from other places in California from Oakland to Humboldt County and were die hard fans going to see them perform both nights!

There was some Xiu Xiu die hard fans too, chest tattoos are the ultimate proof!

The bands are still touring and requiring vaccination proof and asking the audience to mask up, and everyone did! 

For more shows at GAMH: gamh.com

To checkout AJJ:  ajjtheband.com

To checout Xiu Xiu: xiuxiu.org

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Patricia Colli

Patricia Colli

Patricia Colli is an artist, printmaker and music enthusiast based in San Francisco. Meet me at the mosh pit!

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