The Last Poets are rightly called the godfathers of hip-hop. Formed in the late ‘60s and still very active today, the spoken word group first put rhythm to their politically-charged poems in the aftermath of the Civil Rights movement, inspiring a generation to use their voice and their words as tools of social justice.
This weekend, the Last Poets appear in a daylong spoken word workshop, showcase and performance at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, as a fundraiser for local radio station KWTF. In the Bohemian this week, we profiled the group and spoke with founding member Abiodun Oyewole by phone from his home in Harlem. Here is our full interview.
Bohemian: How did you first get into poetry and form the Last Poets?
Abiodun Oyewole: I got into poetry because when I was a teenager in high school, I had a liking for older girls, and when I was 15 I started getting into writing poetry to win the favors of some of these ladies.
I remember my teacher had given us an assignment to write sentences with new vocabulary words. I went to my teacher, Mrs Carpenter, and I said, ‘If put these words into a poem, can I get an extra credit?’ and she looked at the words and said, ‘If you can put these words in a poem together and make sense, I’ll give you two extra credits.’ So that was the time I wrote a poem seriously. When my teacher read the poem, she looked at me and ‘You are a poet, I don’t know what you’re going to do with it, but you have quite a gift.’
I started getting into poetry seriously when they killed Dr King. Dr King was killed April 4, 1968. And when King was killed I really kind of lost my mind, because I felt it was such an insult to black people. He was representing us, and he was nonviolent. I just felt totally offended by that.
I had a friend named David Nelson, and he made mention of the idea of starting a group of poets that would be from different walks of life, and would be an example to black people as to how much we need to come together. No matter what our particular persuasions in life are, we have the same foot on our necks, and we need to unify to get the foot off.
Brooklyn punk rockers The Nuclears are a power pack of long hair, leather jackets, cool shades and good times. Their blistering throwback punk riffs and blazing guitar solos make them an instant hit at clubs around their native New York City, and tonight the the Nuclears are cranking up the amps at the Forestville Club as part of a national tour.
The group’s last album, 2014 album, This is How We Party, gives Andrew WK a run for his money, with a blend of positive vibes and great songs that flash back to the Ramones and Stooges while keeping things fresh and fun in the here and now.
Hopefully, the Forestville Club has plenty of Rolling Rock beer stocked for the show tonight, when the five party animals that make up the Nuclears get loud and rowdy, 6250 Front St, Forestville. 8pm. $5.
In the wake of the devastating Valley Fire that wreaked havoc on Lake, Napa and even parts of Sonoma County two months ago, community support has remained strong. One such support group is Love Lake County, who have helped organize relief efforts and events since September.
This weekend, Love Lake County hosts their next rocking charity event, with a gaggle of local acts taking the stage at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa to show support and gather funds for victims of the fire.
Santa Rosa rock band Girls & Boys will be bringing their energetic, power-packed music to the show. Currently finishing their sophomore album, Girls & Boys have been touring California the past year opening for Elvis Costello, Allen Stone, Goo Goo Dolls and Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers.
The Corner Store Kids will also be on hand, offering their lo-fi funk and jazz jams to get the dance floor grooving. Finally, soul funk outfit Marshall House Project are going to rock the night away with their uplifting sounds.
All proceeds go to Valley Fire victims, so get out and show Lake County some love tomorrow, Nov 7, at Arlene Francis Center. 99 Sixth St, Santa Rosa. Doors at 6pm, music at 8pm. $10-$20.
Mixing music and art with wellness, the O+ (O Positive) Festival hits downtown Petaluma this weekend with spirited concerts, art exhibits and community togetherness. The idea behind this fest, which also takes place annually in Kingston, New York and Chicago, Illinois, is that participating artists, musicians and volunteers exchange their contributions in return for wellness services from art-loving doctors, dentists and other practitioners.
Run by local Petaluma business and gallery owners, the O+ Festival kicks off on Friday, Nov 6, with a concert by Bay Area garage jazz band Invisible Cinema, happening at the Prince Gallery. It continues through Saturday with live art and all-day shows taking place around Putnam Plaza in downtown Petaluma. Slated to perform this year are local favorites like Lauren Ashley Brown, Royal Jelly Jive and Rainbow Girls.
Festival goers will need to have a O+ wristband to enter the Kick-Off Party and concerts at The Big Easy. Outdoor events in Putnam Plaza and American Alley are free and open to the public. This year, wristbands will be complimentary but with a suggested $10 donation.
For more information, click on the festival’s website here.
It’s been years since we’ve heard from Charley Peach, the high energy and melodic rock band fronted by vocalist Kaylene Harry and guitarist Justyn Delbridge, and maybe the name doesn’t ring any bells for newcomers to the music scene. But, that’s all about to change.
From their Facebook page, the newly resurrected and reinvigorated Charley Peach last month announced a new show and new songs coming our way.
It’s been a looong time since you’ve heard anything Charley Peach related, but we’re back from the dead! We’re doing our first show in years and we would love to see you! Also, this is NOT a one off kind of thing. We’ve been jamming for the last few months, and already have a handful of new songs to add to the old ones.
Charley Peach make their return to the stage this Friday, Nov 6, at Whiskey Tip in Santa Rosa. They split a bill with Santa Rosa’s Become the Villain, a solo indie rock project from songwriter Neem Wood that’s recently seen new life as a full band. Santa Rosa alt-rockers the Tioxxaa open the show.
Before hearing Charley Peach’s new batch of songs, go on a trip down memory lane with some of their excellent older material here.
Sonoma County indie rock outfit Manzanita Falls makes compelling, emotionally-charged and infectiously addictive music. They’re also some of the nicest guys in the North Bay. So, when they ask for a little help in getting their sophomore album recorded and released, we’ll take up the call.
Right now, the band is hard at work trying to get their music to tape. This second album is a follow up to the band’s excellent 2012 debut, Vinyl Ghost. The songs on this upcoming release were written in the aftermath of a violent car crash the band suffered while touring in Texas on November 1st of 2012. Rising from the ashes of that event, this album promises to be an inspired and expressive collection.
First, Manzanita Falls needs your help in getting the record done. They’ve got an Indiegogo campaign online where you can donate and pick up some awesome perks, like wine tasting packages, green room and studio access and more. You can even get the whole band to come to your house for a day of landscaping. That’s worth it right there. Its also nice to help an authentically talented group make their art happen. Check out the video below and give the guys a couple of bucks! You’ll be glad you did.
Back in July, I spoke with Santa Rosa indie folk rockers Rags about their DIY approach and upcoming debut album. That record, Grounding, finally has a release date of November 13, and today the band unveils “Piece Together,” their first music video off the album.
“Piece Together” is a beautifully melancholic acoustic dirge. Singer and songwriter Charlie Davenport’s rhythmic riffs are buoyed by the swelling cello of Jiordi Rosales, while the drums and bass of Zak Garn and Travis Hendrix fill out the spaces in between the group’s stirring vocal harmonies. Directed by Jim Shoop, the visuals here are hazy, hypnotic and intensely intimate.
Rags are celebrating the long-awaited release of Grounding with a show on Nov. 13 in Santa Rosa. Details are here.
Formed in 2008 as an ode to jazz organ great Jack McDuff, the three-part funk revival outfit McTuff are making some of the most jaw-dropping jams in their hometown of Seattle, or anywhere for that matter. The group is comprised of Hammond organist Joe Doria, guitarist Andy Coe and drummer Tarik Abouzied, and together the tightly-knit trio have been getting crowds grooving and moving at huge festivals and tiny clubs alike, always pumping out high-energy and exceptional musicianship.
Tonight and tomorrow, McTuff bring their stuff to Sonoma County, performing at Zodiacs in Petaluma this evening, and moving up the road to Bergamot Alley in Healdsburg for a Friday night blowout. The band will be playing a lot of selections off their latest release, 2015’s “Volume 3: The Root.” Click on the track below to get a feel of the smoothly addictive melodies the group has to offer and get out to the clubs for some jazzy fun.
Grateful Dead founding member and Terrapin Crossroads owner Phil Lesh announced late last week that he has been diagnosed with bladder cancer and is currently undergoing treatment.
Lesh made the announcement on the Terrapin Crossroads website, stating he was diagnosed early in October and that he has spent the last several weeks being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Fortunately, Lesh indicates that the tumors in his bladder were not aggressive and that recent surgery to remove the cancerous tissue has been so far successful. From the venue’s website, Lesh writes:
I am very fortunate to have the pathology reports show that the tumors are all non aggressive, and that there is no indication that they have spread.
So thanks to my local doctor Cliff Sewell, and the incredible team at the Mayo Clinic, all is well and I can return to normal activities in two weeks from my surgery.
Obviously, this prognosis is encouraging news, though Lesh will have to cancel his two upcoming shows with Chris Robinson, originally scheduled for Oct 24 and 25 at Terrapin Crossroads. More info and the complete statement from Lesh can be found here.
Our thoughts are with Lesh and his family, Get well, Phil!
Northern California slacker-art house garage band the Imperfections fall somewhere between the Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth in the underground rock spectrum. Their heavy distortions screams rock and roll, yet their tight rhythms and addictive hooks display a pop sensibility that’s practically (college) radio friendly.
Active since 2013, the band already has two nicely fuzzed and noisy albums under their belt, and last month, the Imperfections released their latest single, “Maureen.” An upbeat and lo-fi ditty, this throwback power pop song is toe-tapping and sunny with an awesomely off-kilter guitar solo that gets slightly shoegazing.
Tonight, the band plays Spancky’s Bar in Cotati with fellow North bay acts Flyover States and Bucc Nyfe. You can get more details of the show by clicking here. And get in the mood by listening to the single below.