San Francisco string band the Brothers Comatose are beloved in the North Bay and beyond for their stirring original tunes and striking vocal harmonies. Formed four years ago by siblings Ben and Alex Morrison, the band imbues their traditional roots folk music with an infectious and accessible modernity that’s been drawing in crowds young and old alike. Already a mainstay on West Coast music fests and a headlining act in California, the Brothers this year have decided to take things to the hills and host their own festival in the Sierra Mountains. They’ve dubbed it “Comatopia.”
Taking place throughout the weekend of August 14-16, Comatopia is billed as a string summit at the Sierra Valley Lodge in Calpine, CA, about an hour north of Truckee. Joining the Brothers are a cavalcade of other Bay Area and North Bay folk, rock and jazz acts, giving the fest a versatile sound.
Comatopia kicks off on Friday, Aug 14, with headliners Hot Buttered Rum String Band joined by Steve Poltz and the Easy Leaves. Saturday, Aug 15, sees the Brothers Comatose headlining with support from the Sam Chase, Dixie Giants and Steve Poltz once again. Sunday, Aug 16, includes an All Star Bluegrass Jam in the afternoon with all the players taking part and getting down in the picturesque setting.
Comatopia takes place August 14-16 at the Sierra Valley Lodge, 103 Main Street, Calpine. $25 and up. 503.562.7051. Tickets are available now, with optional VIP, camping and room packages.
Looking at the music listings in this week’s Bohemian, it struck me that there are a host, a horde, a gaggle, a ton, just a whole lot of music legends playing in the North Bay this weekend. From Nicasio to Napa, here’s a breakdown of the who’s who of musicians playing live concerts in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties over the next three days.
Tonight, rock and roll power couple Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo storm the stage at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa. This summer marks 35 years of partnership for the singer and guitarist, who have been married since 1982 and who still tour constantly, bringing the battle cries and ballads to the North Bay with a 35-year Anniversary CD/DVD package available.
In Petaluma, the retro-swing and big band sound of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy can be heard as the opening night concert of the annual Petaluma Music Festival. A first this year for the event, the show tonight features a special VIP dinner and drinks package available at 5pm as well as general admission tickets just for the show, which starts at 7:30pm. The Petaluma Music Fest continues all day Saturday as well, with headliners Nahko & Medicine for the People, the Woods Brothers and ALO all on hand.
Also in Petaluma on Saturday is longtime ska and funk ground breakers Fishbone, playing Aug 1 at Zodiacs downtown. Now celebrating 25 years together, the band has cultivated a following for their dynamic one-of-kind sound and electrifying live shows.
Saturday also sees several talented singers and songwriters appearing throughout the area. At the Green Music Center in Rohnert Park, Natalie Cole keeps the torch of her family’s musical dynasty burning brightly with a concert at Weill Hall. Cole will be performing hits from her 40 years as a singer, including the “Unforgettable” tracks she famously recorded with her late father, Nate King Cole.
Over in Napa, the Uptown Theatre presents Nashville Hall of Fame member Mary Chapin Carpenter in a show that is very nearly sold-out. After performing with full orchestras last year, Carpenter returns to the acoustic intimacy of her country folk roots, joined on stage this time by longtime friends Jon Carroll (piano) and Austin Nevins (guitars). Give the Uptown a call at 707.259.0123 to reserve spots or get on the wait list.
Sunday boasts a couple of shows so popular, they’re already out of tickets. Rancho Nicasio’s pairing of guitarist Elvin Bishop, harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite and BBQ on the lawn was too irresistible for patrons to pass up. It’s totally sold-out.
In Petaluma, Lagunitas Brewing Company’s annual “Coahoma to Sonoma County Blues Festival” is already sold-out for early admittance, meaning that you can show up, but it’s going to be crowded in front. Still, there’s no problem with listening to veteran Texas songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard while enjoying a tasty brew in the back. Bill Abel, Markus James and Layla Musselwhite also play that show, which is free and open to the general public at 11:30am.
Santa Rosa guitarist and songwriter Francesco Catania is a bit of a musical chameleon, able to rock a melodic soul jam as easily as a post punk anthem. He’s been seen playing alongside local favorites like John Courage, and recently went on the road with Arizona garage rock duo Burning Palms.
This weekend, Catania dusts off his gold cape and shiny shoes to show a different side of his musical personality when he performs under his solo electronic outfit Frances Wolfe. An ongoing project since 2013, Frances Wolfe allows Catania to go deep into his inner cosmos, producing synth and reverb-soaked atmospheres that blissfully explore ambient sounds and abstract melodies for a down-tempo chill wave head trip.
In anticipation of a new EP this fall, Frances Wolfe has released his latest single, “Portrait.” The tune wanders in and out of a trippy guitar riff as building feedback menacingly encroaches and Catania’s voice floats like an out-of-body experience. Listen to “Portrait” below:
On Sunday, Aug 2, Frances Wolfe performs at the Arlene Francis Center as part of an eclectic showthat also includes face-melting jazz from InOverOut, rock and roll from Sleepwalk Sunday, dreamy punk from Plastic Ghost, groovy pianos from Saffell and more. 99 Sixth St, Santa Rosa. 7pm. $5-$10. For more details, click here.
The musical minds running Gundlach Bundschu Winery are at it again, working with Bay Area concert curators (((folkYEAH!))) to bring the best in indie-minded bands and songwriters to Sonoma Valley. Today, the two partners announced a pair of new shows, with Gun Bun welcoming Cat Power on Wednesday, September 2, and Bonnie “Price” Billy on Sunday, September 27.
Enigmatic singer and songwriter Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, has evolved from a lo-fi punk singer to an acclaimed and eclectic songwriter in her 20-year career. Her most recent album, 2012’s Sun, was praised for its passion and pop sensibility. This summer marks the famously introspective artist’s first live dates since announcing she gave birth to a baby in late April.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy is the stage name for songwriter and occasional actor Will Oldham. Since 1998, Oldham has released the majority of his musical works under the pseudonym, crafting a traditional roots rock and Americana folk with a gutsy, avant-garde approach that always satisfies. His latest LP, 2014’s Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues, exemplifies Oldham’s willingness to bend the rules by acting as a covers album to his own previous material with rollicking reworkings and stark new translations of his older tunes.
These two shows are in addition to Gun Bun’s already highly anticipated upcoming concert with Seattle grunge legends Mudhoney and the excellently loud San Francisco garage rockers Fuzz, featuring Ty Segall. That show is scheduled for Friday, October 16.
Singer and songwriter Martha Davis has fronted some form of her seminal new wave band, The Motels, since first forming the group in 1971 in her hometown of Berkeley, CA. Originally, under a few different names, the group adopted the moniker of the Motels after landing in Los Angeles in 1975 with a record contract from Capitol.
Over the next decade, the Motels would hit the Billboard Chart Top 100 over and over again with hits like “Only the Lonely” and “Suddenly Last Summer.” Davis lead the group though various lineup changes with her sonorous and melancholy voice over darkly pleading synths and edgy guitars, giving the tunes an unmistakable and alluring hook.
Over the years, Davis has re-formed the group time and again, and in 2013, the band was re-branded with a permanent name, Martha Davis and The Motels. Possessing a voice still as effervescent as it was 40 years ago, Martha Davis and the Motels perform at City Winery Napa tonight, July 27, with their timeless melodies and irresistible charm in tow. Tickets are still available, so don’t miss this chance to re-connect with an old favorite or discover a classic group for the first time.
City Winery Napa is located at 1030 Main St, Napa. 8pm. $25-$35. 707.260.1600.
Sometimes, you have to go looking far and wide for a juicy story. Sometimes, the story comes to you. Such was the case when the Bohemian’s office received a full-page press release from a candidate for the office of Sheriff…in Virginia.
Remember, we cover the North Bay in California, so the discrepancy in location piqued our interest. Then, independent candidate Chris DeCarlo’s claim that, if elected Sheriff, he would arrest Virginia elected officials who accept bribes and charge them with treason and sedition got our attention. And his offer to “Watch the rap video Democracy Rides Again on Youtube” REALLY got our interest.
Yes, it’s an actual rap video and yes, as far as we can tell, it’s real. I don’t know what DeCarlo’s chances are of getting elected, but he just made a classic campaign video for all time. Personally, I’m pulling for him. Watch out, fat cats! There’s a new Sheriff in town.
New Jersey punk rock band Titus Andronicus have always been as ambitious as they were aggressive in their fiery punk revelries. Fronted by songwriter Patrick Stickles, the band is no stranger to concept albums, producing a Civil War themed record in 2010. This month, though, the band is taking things to a whole new level with the forthcoming release of The Most Lamentable Tragedy.
Clocking in at over 90 minutes and packed with 29 sprawling tracks, the group’s latest self-described “rock opera” is poised to become one of the most challenging and talked-about records of the year. Thematically the band says the new record plays out like a piece of long-form fiction. From a press release they describe the plot:
TMLT concerns an unnamed protagonist whom we meet in deep despair. Following an encounter with his own doppelgänger (an enigmatic stranger, identical in appearance though opposite in disposition), long held secrets are revealed, sending our protagonist on a transformative odyssey, through past lives and new loves, to the shocking revelation that the very thing that sustains him may be the thing to destroy him.
That’s some heavy stuff right there. The Most Lamentable Tragedy comes out on July 28. Below you can stream the new album via NPR, and in September you can see the band when they perform at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma.
Huh. Today in totally unexpected news, aging alternative rock group Soul Asylum just switched up venues on their upcoming concert scheduled for Sunday, July 26, from the Uptown Theatre in Napa to the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma.
Last week, the Bohemian covered the band’s current tour and upcoming album, and front man Dave Pirner even volunteered to do an over-the-phone interview that was in every way positive. It seems odd that Soul Asylum and co-headliners the Meat Puppets both pulled out of Napa “for financial reasons,” according to an Uptown box office employee. Translation: not enough dough to play the show.
Theoretically, they believe they can make more money in Petaluma, but does that venue really offer a larger crowd? Seems Napa’s small population and relative isolation (due to really only being accessible by long and windy one-lane roads) has bit their live music scene in the butt once again. Weird.
The 6th year of the Rivertown Revival, the local, arts-based, community festival that highlights the Petaluma River and all of the amazing artists who call our county home, takes place on Saturday, July 18.
This year’s party includes an art boat race and parade, floating art barges and an all-day festival which highlights local music, art, food and drink and over 40 fabulous local vendors. The Rivertown Revival is sure to be 2015’s most unique and creative summer festival. The music lineup is, of course, packed; with several stages and tents offering up something for everyone, even the kids.
The lineup features Marshall House Project, Corner Store Kids, David Luning, the Crux, Royal Jelly Jive, Circus Maximus, the Dixie Giants, Sally Haggard, and so many more. For full details check iout the Rivertown Revival web page here.
Zodiacs in Petaluma continually puts on eclectic live shows, and tonight they’re going strictly indie rock with a free jam-packed lineup of some of the most exciting young bands in the area.
Headlining is Santa Rosa rising stars Girls & Boys, past winners of the Bohemian’s Norbay Music Award, who have quickly impressed audiences around the Bay Area with a moody swagger and soulful pop jams. Their music has already hit the waves of television and film, and with a new album on the way, the band are preparing for a massive tour later in the year.
Next up are power rockers EagleWolfSnake out of San Francisco. I last saw this band perform at this year’s BottleRock Music Festival in Napa and they bring an infectious ebullience to their sets. Dedicated to spreading that joy to their audience, this young band is the most likely to get everyone jumping in unison at the show tonight.
That’s only if Lungs & Limbs doesn’t do it first. Led by the alluring voice of Karina Rousseau, the spirited ensemble describe themselves as Pink Floyd meets the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Based on their shiny demo songs, it’s hard to argue with them.
Opening the show is a personal favorite of mine, the impassioned rock group Manzanita Falls. In their few years together, the group has already faced and overcome adversity and now they’re set to head into the recording studio to follow up their debut release, Vinyl Ghost.
Zodiac’s is located at 256 Petaluma Blvd North, Petaluma. Tonight’s show starts at 8:30pm and is FREE!