Happening this weekend, (and officially SOLD OUT, although Craigslist and Facebook have got plenty of resales if you are inclined) the California Roots Music and Arts Festival has become the biggest thing to hit the tiny town of Monterey since the aquarium opened. The fest started out as a one-day show by a guy with a clothing brand. In just four years, producer Jeff Monser has nurtured Cali Roots into one of the most solid music gatherings on the West Coast. This isn’t roots music – this is pure Cali-style roots rock reggae with big names that include Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, Matisyahu, and Katchafire plus 40 other bands. A live music feed is available on the Cali Roots website, so if you aren’t going it will be just as fun to crack a Pabst and sit around the apartment complex pool all weekend.
One of the really great trends in music festivals are their zero-waste efforts. Cali Roots is striving to become a zero-waste event by manning normal trash stations with volunteers. Instead of the barrels overflowing with mixed up garbage, staff with be educating concert-goers on how to separate organics and recyclables from landfill products. Monterey’s “Offset Project” works with vendors to provide only compostable and recyclable food ware and when the event is done, all food materials are locally processed and sent to vineyards and golf courses as compost. Good music, good deeds – we can smoke to that.
California Roots Festival, Friday May 24th – Sunday May 26th, Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairground Rd, Monterey. $50-$150, www.californiarootsfestival.com (no phone)
Artists include Southern boy Big K.R.I.T., Kendrick Lamar’s crew Black Hippy, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Common, Curren$y, Tyler the Creator, rap’s most prolific socio-political commentator Immortal Technique, Talib Kweli, Tech N9NE, and of course Wu-Tang Clan.
Unfortunately, some of the really great artists like Kid Cudi, Common, Jhene Aiko and E-40/Too $hort will only perform certain dates, but for a baseline price of $89 (top ticket prices go up as high as $240, and that’s not including VIP) we can’t get too greedy. My guess, and I got five on it, is E-40 will hold down the Bay Area show. But I’m still hoping for a Kid Cudi appearance.
Check this week’s live announcement with Indiana-born, NYC-bred Supernatural (also performing), who set the world record in 2006 for the longest continuous freestyle rap at the Rock The Bells Festival in San Bernardino, CA. He rapped for 9 hours and 15 minutes. Holy shiiiit.
It’s hard to imagine how such a minimalist band can incite such riotous reaction from crowds around the world. A plain-sounding guitar, melodic bass riffs and a simple snare drum with one cymbal makes up the Violent Femmes, who formed in sunny Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1980. One might argue that his band, with hits like “Blister in the Sun,” “Add it Up,” “Gone Daddy Gone” and “Dance, Motherfucker, Dance” is truly what made Milwaukee famous.
These are the original folk-punkers. It’s music that simply does not give a shit about what anyone thinks, and these days, that’s a refreshing sentiment. This stripped-down mindset and musical style makes for a memorable concert, creating those fleeting moments where we forget where we are, what we’re doing and all the bullshit in our daily lives.
The only shame is Violent Femmes are playing at the same time as Primus (8pm, Thursday). These bands have many fans in common, and it would be easy to make the completely not hyperbolic comparison to Sophie’s Choice. Which band will you see perform, and which band will die?
Hometown heroes (well, Bay Area heroes, at least) Primus are STILL at it. These guys have been around almost as long at the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and have changed a lot since 1989′s “Suck on This.” The 1991 masterpiece “Sailing the Seas of Cheese” is being reissued in 5.1 surround with other added goodies. Primus has had a few different drummers, but I’m hoping to see (and hear) one of my favorites, Tim Alexander, behind the kit. Though Brain and Jay Lane have also toured with the band, and both are amazing drummers in their own right.
What I’m trying’ to say is, “Say, baby, do you wanna lay down with me?”
Consider this your final heads up: BottleRock Napa Valley is coming to kick out the jams in wine country like never before.
Kicking off with Macklemore on Wednesday, May 8, the festival continues through Sunday, May 12 with a lineup rivaling that of any other major festival: The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Flaming Lips, Jackson Browne, the Avett Brothers, Bad Religion, Jane’s Addiction, Zac Brown Band, Furthur, Dirty Projectors, Primus, Kings of Leon and many, many others. A comedy lineup with Kristen Schaal, Tig Notaro, Jim Gaffigan, Rob Delaney and more is on tap, as well as tons of food, wine and other summertime kickoff fun.
This Monday, BottleRock presents Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) in person at the Uptown Theatre, screening his film Sound City and conducting a Q&A. Tickets are $100, but in keeping with the BottleRock mission at large, it’s a benefit for autism causes. You can grab tickets here. (UPDATE: Last-minute rush tickets will be available at the door for $25; line starts at 6:15pm.)
Dave Grohl in Napa? Announced at the last minute? Is there anything these crazy BottleRock guys can’t do? Be in the presence of Nirvana royalty on Monday, May 6, at the Uptown Theatre. 1350 Third St., Napa. 6pm. $100. 707.259.0123.
Berkeley-based hip hop artist Alia Sharrief released her newest music video “Tough Love” this week, showcasing both her talent as a respected rhymer and as an up-and-coming film director. Representing a new generation of female rappers, Alia throws down neo-soul Bay Area flavor with class and finesse. Check it.
The lineup for Outside Lands 2013 has been announced, and it includes Paul McCartney, Nine Inch Nails, D’Angelo, Willie Nelson, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the National, Kaskade, Grizzly Bear, Jessie Ware and many, many more. (Like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.)
Did I mention, also: Daryl Hall and John Oates?
Full lineup is below.
Legendary Jamaican rockers the Skatalites perform tonight at the Last Day Saloon, and it will be one of the last shows at the venue as we know it—it’s slated to close May 5.
It has been a year since the Skatalites came through Northern California, nearly selling out their last show in Santa Rosa. Although only one founding member remains, the band sounds as true to its roots as it did thirty years ago.
Last year, we wrote about The Skatalites celebrating Jamaica’s 50th anniversary as an independent nation. The band was collecting instruments to take back to the Alpha Boys School in Kingston, which over the years has transformed orphaned boys into some of reggae’s biggest stars. Their new album Walk With Me contains some of the last recordings done with founding drummer Lloyd Knibb; it’s a tribute to all the members who played with the band from the beginning in 1964 until each passed away.
Widely considered the founding fathers of ska music, tonight could very well be one of the last opportunities to see an original member of one of the best ska bands in the history of reggae music play on stage.
The Skatalites headline with local favorites Our Vinyl Vows and DJ Konnex tonight at the Last Day Saloon, 120 Fifth St., Santa Rosa. $20-$25. 707.545.5876.
Celebrity gossip fans, take note: Bret Michaels, singer of Poison and star of TV schadenfreude fest Rock of Love, is coming to Healdsburg on Saturday, June 8.
Michaels and his band (and his hair) will play at the finish line festival for the Grapes of Rock half-marathon, which ends at Lake Sonoma. Pete Stringfellow and Pop Rocks open the shindig, and the whole thing’s hosted by (who else?) KZST-FM’s Brent Farris. Benefitting the Salvation Army, and wine, beer, food, etc.
If you’re not running the half-marathon, tickets to the festival are currently $80. They go up to $90 on May 1, and then $100 on June 6.
Here’s Bret Michaels talking about his hair extensions on Rock of Love:
For more, see the Grapes of Rock website.
Sure, we knew there were some creative musicians out there who might enter our Neutral Milk Hotel cover song contest. But how could we have expected what musical treasures you, dear readers, sent in?
There was the in-the-red, gleefully distorted version of “Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone” sent in by Ted Farber, and the horn-flavored version of “A Baby for Pree / Where You’ll Find Me Now” by Chris Alarie. John Gaby’s autotuned “Communist Daughter” changed the time signature to 6/8 with a circus feel, and Brian O’Connor played with chromatics and fretboard slides in a version of “The King of Carrot Flowers, Part II.” We even got a crazy cut-and-paste edit called “Two-Headed Sex Machine Man” from Ricardo M’ohaire that chopped together samples of James Brown, Neutral Milk Hotel and various spoken-word recordings.
But when it came time to select a winner, we went with Dustin Heald’s imaginative cover of “You’ve Passed,” played on guitar, darbuka, zils and melodica. Without trying to emulate the letter of Mangum’s delivery, the version captures the slight Middle Eastern spirit of the intro lick and takes the song to another place entirely. Congratulations, Dustin, you’ve won two tickets to Jeff Mangum’s sold-out show at the Phoenix Theater on Tuesday, April 9.
Hear Dustin’s winning cover song here.
Thanks to everyone who sent in their songs!