On Friday, Dec 2, a devastating fire broke out at a concert happening in a Warehouse-turned-arts space known as the Ghost Ship in Oakland. As of this writing, at least 36 victims have been found in the wreckage and many more people are still missing.
It’s a gut-wrenching tragedy for the community in Oakland and the entire Bay Area, the largest fire-related disaster of this kind since the 2003 Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island. And it’s still unfolding.
In the wake, many are already placing blame and pointing fingers, but at this moment, help is needed most. There are several ways you can do your part to help relief efforts and the families of those lost.
Online, there are already crowdfunding campaigns up and running to help victims and their loved ones. Gray Area Foundation for the Arts has started a donation page, and the Oakland A’s and Oakland Raiders are throwing into a fund as well, each matching up to $50,000. There is also a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the approximately 20 people who lived in the warehouse space.
In addition, there are several concert benefits taking place in and around the Bay Area. On Wednesday, Dec 7, evocative indie songwriter Kimya Dawson is headlining a two-show night of music and film screenings at MidSummer Studios in Emeryville. And in the North Bay, the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa is hosting a night of music and art on Friday, Dec 9, with performers including Rags, Horders, Secret Cat and others showing their support for the Oakland community.
Earlier this month, North Bay guitarist Jason Wright showed up in the Bohemian’s recent cover story about heavy metal band Skitzo. Wright, who played with Skitzo frontman Lance Ozanix in Sonoma County metal act Oden Sun before joining Skitzo, is a performer full of thunder and lightning, shredding and thrashing on stage and on record.
So, it took this reporter by surprise when Wright revealed he was an accomplished flamenco guitarist as well. His identity as a “Guitarrista” shows another side to Wright’s technical prowess and natural musical sensibilities. Here, discover Wright’s flamenco chops with the video for his recent single, “Mendocino,” featuring flamenco dancer Olivia Gonzalez-Cruz.
Last summer, Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma hosted its fifth annual “Live at Lagunitas” concert series, featuring a wide array of hot and up-and-coming indie acts. Deer Tick, the Growlers, Con Brio and others were among the highlights of the season, and now you can look back on the fun with a bunch of new videos.
Up top, rollicking outfit Deer Tick answers some personal questions while concert footage overlays selections from their set. Below, Lagunitas crafts a music video from when surf-inspired garage band the Growlers performed the classic hit “Mama Said” to an adoring crowd at the brewing company’s “MiniAmphitheaterette.” There’s plenty of other videos on Lagunitas’ site, so click over and relive the memories.
Dark and drenched in reverb, the experimental indie rock coming from new Sonoma County trio the Drought Cult mixes engrossing hooks and fuzzed-out psychedelics for a lush dreamscape of sound.
Featuring long-time North Bay rockers–Francesco Echo on guitars and vocals, Jef Overn on bass and Anthony Vaccaro on drums–this is a new incarnation of music from the trio, who originally got together under Echo’s name earlier this year. Now armed with a forlorn edge and undercurrent of gloom, the Drought Cult have released their debut EP, Moon Lust, on bandcamp.
See the band live for the first time this weekend, as they join fellow Sonoma County rockers Manzanita Falls and San Francisco soul rock outfit Doncat for a show on Saturday, Nov 12, at HopMonk Tavern in Sebastopol. Copies of the Drought Cult’s EP will be available at the show, and you can get a listen right here, when you click on the player below.
Santa Rosa singer and songwriter Charlie Davenport is the man behind indie-folk outfit Rags. In contrast to his earlier full band setup, Davenport goes solo on Rags’ new album, Tilted Shrine, performing and singing a collection of introspective acoustic numbers alone, often in a single take, and straight to tape.
Reportedly, Davenport wrote much of the album out in the wilds of Salt Point State Park, along the coast north of Fort Ross. And that’s the scene where the music video for Titled Shrine’s first single, “Love II,” takes place. Directed and edited by Jim Agius and Timmy Lohdi, the video recreates the trek that Davenport would embark upon and reflects the song’s wistful and patient sound. You can get Tilted Shrine here.
Oakland singer-songwriter Jessie Antonick is an emotionally resonant artist, and her output under the moniker Pony Hunt reflects her personal journey with creative flair and nostalgic sweetness.
Pony Hunt’s debut album, Heart Creak, plays like a long lost jukebox of ’50s and ’60s pop imbued with forlorn heartsick and soulful sounds. Released this month, Heart Creak is already receiving rave reviews.
Hear for yourself when Pony Hunt performs an album release show on Saturday, Oct 29, at the Last Record Store, 1899 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa. 2pm. Free.
Petaluma’s retro soul collective the Highway Poets have been jamming in the North Bay and beyond for several years now, racking up three Bohemian NorBay Music Awards and many other “best of” accolades along the way. A dynamic live band who push the boundaries of rock ‘n’ roll, folk, indie and soul music, the band is currently prepping to record their first professional studio album and they’ve kicked off a Kickstarter campaign to help raise the funds necessary.
The band promises the new album will be a gritty and sophisticated collection, a modern blend of rock infused with classic influences and diverse feel-good vibes. With a little help from friends and fans, the Highway Poets plan on making this record the right way in a decked-out studio, produced with the best engineers and equipment available.
Click on the link here to go to the band’s Kickstarter site and throw them a few bucks to get them in studio. Donation perks include copies of the album and production credit, meaning that this is a great chance to both pre-order the album and help ensure it gets made at the same time. There’s also a chance to appear in an upcoming music video, backstage meet-and-greets and more, depending on your donation. Don’t delay, help the Highway Poets now.
The Highways Poets perform next on Saturday, Oct 29, at Kokomo winery, 4791 Dry Creek Rd Healdsburg. 5pm. 707.433.0200
The Sam Chase & the Untraditional, San Francisco’s raucous Americana outfit, never shy away from the chance to ruffle a few feathers, or make a strongly worded point. This attitude reached a fever pitch with the release of their latest album, “Great White Noise” back in late April. It is a sarcastic and unapologetic look at the societal effects of the constant bombardment of information that we have to wade through as a culture today.
It is only fitting, that their music videos match the subject matter. The official music video for the title track, “Great White Noise,” is best enjoyed with a stiff drink. It is visually as heavy and confrontational as the lyrics. It starts with a helping of sweet nostalgia, and melodic major key optimism in order to lull the viewer into a false sense comfort of a simpler time, before bashing you over the head with the ugly side of our American dream and projecting the side of us that we try so hard to look away from on a giant screen behind our prophetic anti-hero, Sam Chase.
Upon the release of this video, the band will be heading out on a 17 date East Coast tour through the month of October. They are sure to raise some eyebrows with this video in the towns they will be hitting through the bible belt. Perhaps they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Their triumphant return will be just in time before election day and Sam’s birthday, on November 4th at The Mystic Theatre in Petaluma. Joining them on the bill will be the North Bay’s “best folk band” according to this year’s NorBay Awards, The Crux.
Already a highlight of live music in the North Bay, the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University has announced that it is dropping plans to build a proposed 10,000-seat outdoor pavilion on the university’s campus. The school will instead focus efforts on enhancing graduation rates, the student experience and academic programs.
In a statement, new Sonoma State University President Judy K. Sakaki said, “After reviewing the project with my new administrative team, and consulting with key stakeholders we’ve agreed that utilizing our already existing facilities at the Green Music Center, in lieu of adding an additional facility, would best serve our students, our academic mission and the surrounding communities.”
The Green Music Center already includes the dynamic Weill Hall, which features outdoor lawn seating for bigger concerts, and Schroeder Hall, housing an amazing pipe organ and used for recitals and student classes. This weekend, the Green Music Center opens its 2016-2017 season with a performance by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis on Saturday, Oct 1, and Buena Vista Social Club vocalist Omara Portuondo on Sunday, Oct 2.
Fairfax songwriting partners Velvy Appleton and Anita Sandwina have spent more than a decade making harmonic folk under the moniker of Spark & Whisper. Their rhythmic tunes stand out from the crowd thanks to transformative melodies and undeniable chemistry. This month, Spark & Whisper released their third, already acclaimed album, Monument.
Available now on bandcamp, the record of 11 original compositions continues to advance the pair’s mature, eclectic songwriting and assured aural aesthetic. With Sandwina’s expressive vocals and Appleton’s sizzling guitar solos, this is a modern, rock-tinged take on traditional folk, presented in a fresh and engaging arena.
Though the band doesn’t have any live dates until the new year, you can stream Monument now and mark your calendars for February, when Spark & Whisper return to the stage.