Alice Russell

Alice Russell is natural, pure natural talent, a natural presence, a force of nature. Whether on a big stage with her 16 piece band, charming a crowd of 4000 into staying out dancing in the rain (as she did at Montreal Jazz Festival) or rocking out an intimate club set with a stripped down 6 piece band, she’s a singer who demands attention. Unfazed by taking to the spotlight after a sober Amy Winehouse or joining Roy Ayers live for ‘Everybody Loves The Sunshine’, there’s no wonder her powerful soul voice has attracted rave reviews from numerous national and international publications and praise from fans as diverse as Gilles Peterson, David Byrne, Dennis Coffey, Massive Attack’s Daddy G, and Groove Armada.

Alice has also won over a whole host of producers – lending her strong, emotional tones to releases by Mr Scruff, Quantic, DJ Yoda and Nostalgia 77, the latter pairing producing the ‘Seven Nation Army’ cover that demolished clubs for years. But following her first release ‘Under The Munka Moon’ it’s her records with longtime producer and bandleader TM Juke that she’s best known for. From their debut album ‘My Favourite Letters’ through to 2008’s live-tinged ‘Pot Of Gold’, they have made some of the most arresting blues soul since the glory days of Aretha.
“We’ve both got a very open approach to writing songs,” she explains of the prolific relationship. “And we both like so many different types of music whereas some people are more purist. Our influences run from Sarah Vaughan to Bach, Kate Bush to Arvo Part, and J Dilla to Alice Coltrane. We love everything from dirty, squelchy dubstep to old school soul. We nudge each other in the right directions.”

As much as she loves being in the studio there’s something special about Alice let loose on an audience. From performing with a full band and horn section, to pared down and more intimate sets, Alice Rusell takes no prisoners!
“Being on stage is more instant,” she admits. “I like things when they’re quite free. In the studio it can be like when you know someone’s taking your photo. Writing in the studio is amazing but when you’re doing takes it can be a bit daunting, but also really exciting. Live you can’t take it back – you’ve got to go all out there.”
It has led to some great experiences, like when she stayed on in Japan to visit the village where the promoter was from: almost like a 50s teen movie, a deal was struck where Alice would have free reign of the hotel for her stay if she did a gig.

“Of course we said yes,” Alice says with delight. “Babies and grandmas all turned up and there we were with a makeshift sound system thrown together out of amps and speakers. It was one of the most heart warming gigs I’ve ever done.”

Other live highlights include singing with The Roots in Philadelphia, while recording has seen her sing on Talking Heads leader David Byrne’s recent LP. Surely belting out the intensely emotional songs must get a bit tiring. Apparently not.

“It’s a great emotional release,” Alice smiles. “And sometimes makes you feel really high, especially when you’re singing the high notes. If you’re feeling rubbish and everything else feels like it’s going wrong you feel better if you have a good singsong. I’ve sung my way through panic attacks before – singing through the whole of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’. They should put singing on the NHS.”

2012’s joint release with Quantic, ‘Look Around The Corner’ was greeted with much enthusiasm around the world. The sound of this intoxicating record mixes sweet soul and blues with overtones of folk and gospel, and the inimitable swing of Quantic’s world-renowned outfit the Combo Bárbaro, who form the core band. Recorded at Quantic’s Sonido del Valle studio in his adopted home city of Cali, Colombia, the album shows Alice’s versatility and adventurousness as well as her amazing vocals and songwriting. The resulting tour was met with a rapturous reception from sell-out crowds.

So to the next stage of Alice Russell’s remarkable career. Back again with long time production partner TM Juke, the brand new album entitled ‘To Dust’ was released in early 2013. The first single from the album is entitled ‘Heartbreaker’ and sees Alice Russell back to her soulful best. “It is a broken hearted love song about the end of a relationship” explains Alice. “its about that time when your just emotionally exhausted by it all and you are at the stage where you know you just have to let it go and you are resigned to it all being over.” The video to ‘Heartbreaker’ features Hollywood actor Harry Shearer, known for his many acting roles but also as one of the main voices in The Simpsons and for his long running radio show on cult LA station KCRW.

Early support for the album came in the form of live sessions for the BBC 6Music Live At Maida Vale week for Craig Charles and Gilles Peterson. As well as a live duet with Jamie Cullum (Radio 2) and radio features with Huey Morgan (BBC 6Music), Robert Elms (BBC London) and The Selector radio.

Information on her gigs and forthcoming releases can be found on: www.alicerussell.com

The Shotgun Wedding Quintet

An elite team of instrumental outlaws, The Jazz Mafia has taken many shapes since its inception, the most notable of which is certainly The Shotgun Wedding Quintet. Fresh off their nationwide tour with hip-hop stalwarts Zion I & The Grouch, and having backed many other music rebels in the studio and on the stage: Beck, Digital Underground, Lyrics Born, Carlos Santana, Mixmaster Mike, and Q-Bert, The Shotgun Wedding Quintet have recorded twelve new tales of San Francisco's underworld. "Tales From The Barbary Coast", the group's sophomore album, is a Bay Area themed record with red-light district saloon-seedy stories in sync with the vibe of the California Gold Rush days where San Francisco's Barbary Coast got its name, but executed with all the edge of right now. Forming in 2003, The Shotgun Wedding Quintet has worked to create an illicit blend of hip hop and jazz that's rooted in tradition, but is ever looking forward. Each member of the band is a multi-instrumentalist, making use of samplers and looping-techniques to create a wall of sound as band members shift from instrument to instrument building continuous layers of music and rhythm. As a result, this 4-piece ensemble creates the sound of a 10-piece group that is equal parts big-band and boom-bap, paying homage to the art of improvisation both lyrically and instrumentally.

Hard French

The Hard French Crew have just closed out our first season and quickly become San Francisco's favorite daytime soul music party. The idea behind the event is to modernize, takeover, revamp, trick out, revive, and do up the outdoor afternoon dance party experience. This is a party for everyone – where drag queens mingle with lesbians, leather daddy's soul dance with Cholas, sharps share hot dogs with activists, jocks make out with twinks, brown meets white meets purple meets gay guy meets ladies meets q and everyone leaves excited to come back next month. The party is DJ'd by resident and soul music wizards DJ Carnita and DJ Brown Amy and has featured some of the best soul DJs in SF and beyond including Primo (Oldie's Night), Dick Vivian (Rooky Ricardo's Records), DJ Bus Station John (Tubesteak Connection), John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig & the Angry Inch/Shortbus), DJ Shannon Action Slacks, DJ Lucky (Soul Party!) and more.

Accolades for Hard French include a Best of the Bay award from the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Best of SF Weekly honors from SF Weekly, San Francisco's favorite event by Asterisk Magazine and Best New Kid on the Block by Gaycities.com. Hard French has been featured in The San Francisco Bay Guardian, the New York Times, SFist.com, SF Weekly, Asterisk Magazine, The Village Voice (NYC), MissionMission, The Stranger (SEA), Butt Magazine Online and more.

Hard French promises a truly unique experience with DJs on the patio, their infamous photo booth, tasty bbq, hard dancing and hard cruising. Hard French hit the road in 2010, throwing successful parties at The East River Bar in Brooklyn, the Augusta House in Toronto, ON and their most ambitious event to date- the First Annual Hard French Winter Ball which drew over 400 attendees to the Historic Brookdale Lodge – a haunted hotel in the Santa Cruz mountains. They also threw the hottest new party at San Francisco Pride 2011, Hard French

$20.00 - $25.00

Off Sale

SunsetSF proudly presents the return of one of our faborite artists in the world. Ms Alice Russell, singer, songwriter, producer, and superstar soulstress, returns to Mezzanine with her crack deep funk outfit featuring producer & bandleader TM Juke. The show will be opened by one of the Bay Area's favorite souljazz outfits - the Shotgun Wedding Quintet. The last time Alice visited San Francisco, she sold out Mezzanine, so we advise you to get your tickets well in advance.

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Alice Russell w/ The Shotgun Wedding Quintet & DJ Carnita (Hard French) with Hard French

Friday, May 3 · 9:00 PM at Mezzanine

Off Sale