10 Must-See Bay Area Concerts This Fall

Hailing from France and drawing on their Afro-Cuban heritage, the Ibeyi twin sisters create a deeply spiritual form of electronic pop that pays homage to the West African Yoruba faith in which they were raised. Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz sing in French, Spanish, Yoruba and English about magic, healing, miracles, blood ties and spiritual bonds. At the Regency Ballroom, they perform with Madison McFerrin, a graceful neo-soul singer and daughter of NEA music wizard and jazz master Bobby McFerrin.

Toro y Moi performs at the Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco on August 11, 2019. (Estefany González)

Pier 80, San Francisco
24 and 25 Sept.
Single day: $199.99+, weekend pass: $399.99+

The new Portola Music Festival brings together OG stars of electronic music with new highs and standout indie favorites. The Chemical Brothers and Flume are the headliners, and the rest of Bill features a well-curated and diverse lineup. There are ultra-hip house music DJs and producers like Peggy Gou, Kaytranada, Yaeji and Channel Tres; cult pop stars MIA, Caroline Polachek, Charlie XCX and PinkPantheress; singer-songwriters Toro y Moi, Arca, James Blake and Yves Tumor; hip-hop innovator (and San Jose native) DJ ​​Shadow and too many other artists to list. There’s no big mainstream EDM in Portola – it celebrates the more alternative and experimental side of DJ culture and electronic music.

Musicians Daoud Popal (L) and Ryu Kurosawa of Kikagaku Moyo perform onstage during Levitation at Barracuda on November 07, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Rick Kern/Getty Images)

With Briana Marela
The field of war
Sept. 25, doors: 6:30 p.m., show: 8 p.m.
$45-$65

Japanese psych-rock band Kikagaku Moyo make perfect road trip music. Their guitar solos shimmer, chimes add a celestial glow, and the occasional sitar or wah pedal swirls through the composition. Singing softly in Japanese, the group evokes a more amplified version of the Beatles during the days of the acid trip, when George Harrison traveled to India to study transcendental meditation. Kikagaku Moyo’s profile has risen amid a psychedelic revival spearheaded in the US by their Texan Khruangbin peers. Unfortunately, the band recently announced an amicable breakup as they pursue other projects. Their show at Warfield may be the last time they perform in San Francisco in this incarnation.

Kehlani is performing at Outside Lands on Sunday, October 31, 2021. (Estefany González)

Starring Rico Nasty, Destiny Conrad
Oakland Arena, Oakland
September 30, 8 p.m.
$49.50+

It’s always a treat to see Kehlani at a hometown show, where fans who have followed the singer’s career since their days at Oakland School for the Arts sing every word. The Oakland-raised R&B star has spent the past few years maturing as a lyricist, and they described their latest album, blue water roadback to make the kind of music they want to listen to instead of meeting market demands. The most honest approach works. With restrained, brooding production and an emphasis on Kehlani’s softly raspy vocals, blue water road captivates with its vivid vignettes of “it’s complicated” situations, queer desire, questionable decisions and budding romance. Even during a big arena show, Kehlani has a knack for connecting with her audience heart-to-heart.

Colombian band Bomba Estereo performs during the ‘Jungla’ Tour at Plaza Live on August 10, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

The Greek Theatre, Berkeley
Oct. 1, doors: 5:30 p.m., show: 7 p.m.
$49.50+

The mainstream music world recently became familiar with Bomba Estéreo’s shimmering, neon-lit pop when she featured on Bad Bunny’s new album, A Verano Sin Ti. The Colombian duo helped the Puerto Rican reggaeton star land a softer sound on “Ojitos Lindos,” but they’ve been combining indie pop with global beats since their debut in 2006. Their latest album, Already, mixes elements of salsa, cumbia and folk music with bright synths and propelling grooves. Their Greek theater show promises a tropical dance party under the redwoods of Northern California.

English indie pop band Superorganism performs live at Circolo Magnolia Segrate in Milan, Italy on November 15, 2018. (Roberto Finizio/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Ritz, San Jose
October 19, 7 p.m.
$20+

Superorganism’s songs bounce with an overactive, childlike energy that unleashes listeners’ inner desire to play. (For example, their NPR Tiny Office Concert back in 2018 included a band member whose job it was to blow bubbles and make splashing noises in a bucket of water.) On their latest album, world pop, the group assumes human unity in the face of alien invaders, space travel and more mundane topics like not adapting to the latest trends. Their show at the Ritz should be a fun, fun time that encourages us to stretch our imaginations.

The War On Drugs during the British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park in London on June 25, 2022. (Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)

Mountain Theater, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Mill Valley
October 22
$120+

Bay Area music fans are blessed with so many beautiful parks that double as venues for live music. One of the lesser-known destinations is the summit of Mount Tam, a lush oasis of unique beauty with epic views of the Pacific Ocean and the entire Bay Area. Once a year, Sound Summit invites fans to enjoy some sweet indie rock at the top as part of a fundraiser for Roots & Branches Conservancy, a non-profit group dedicated to preserving natural gems like the Mount Tam. This year’s headliners include The War On Drugs, alternative country singer Faye Webster, folk band Fruit Bats and American soul sextet Wreckless Strangers.

Artist EMPIRE Rexx Life Raj.
Rexx Life Raj. (Nastya Voynovskaya/KQED)

With Travis Thompson
August Hall, San Francisco
November 4, 7 p.m.
$30+

After two years of pandemic life and too many national crises to count, everyone is tired of pretending to be okay. Ever the savvy songwriter, Rexx Life Raj gives voice to the many messy stages of grief on his latest album, The blue Hour. The Berkeley-raised rap star wrote it after tragically losing both parents to health issues in 2021. As he began to open up about his grieving process, he received an outpouring of support from fans who also had something or someone to grieve—which, after the past two years, is a lot of us. The project shines a light on one of Raj’s greatest strengths: finding life lessons even in the toughest of times and giving his listeners the motivation to keep pushing. His show at August Hall is the last of his blue hour tour, and it should be a cathartic homecoming.

Lizzo is performing at Outside Lands on Saturday October 30, 2021. (Estefany González)

With Latte
Chase Center, San Francisco
Nov. 12, doors: 7 p.m.
$282+

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