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Let's Guess the 2010 Outside Lands Lineup: Phoenix, My Morning Jacket, Furthur, Al Green, Social Distortion, The Strokes, Levon Helm, Bassnectar, Cat Power, more

Posted by: Gabe Meline on May 6, 2010 | Comments (46)

I just noticed that the Outside Lands Twitter page has been dropping hints all day about the lineup for the 2010 Outside Lands festival this year, running August 14-15 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

It’s essentially an early lineup announcement—the clues aren’t that hard. Let’s figure them out.

1. Louisville, KY: “Ranger Dave’s winter hibernation is now over.”

Obviously My Morning Jacket, who were inactive all this past winter. Plus, not too many other festival-type bands from Louisville.

2. Fort Collins, CO: “Ranger Dave will be serving white russians.”

I’m thinking this is Devotchka, from Colorado with a Russian name. Update: The clue for Fort Collins is actually “Ranger Dave loves feasting on big city burritos in the town where the rams roam.” Big City Burritos and the CSU Rams are in Fort Collins, and so is Pretty Lights.

3. Woodstock, NY: “Ranger Dave loves hanging in Woodstock, NY around midnight.”

It’s gotta be Levon Helm. He holds infamous “Midnight Rambles” at his studio in Woodstock, and his tour itinerary shows him playing in L.A. on Aug. 15.

4. Los Angeles, CA: “Ranger Dave used to be a robot.”

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. (Alex Ebert used to sing for Ima Robot.)

5. Fullerton, CA: “Ranger Dave loves his Southern California punk rock from Fullerton.”

You can’t say Fullerton punk rock without saying Social Distortion.

6. Montreal, Canada: “Ranger Dave is part Arab, part Jewish and a little French Canadian.”

Chromeo, without a doubt.

7. San Francisco, CA: “Ranger Dave worships this infamous Black Rock DJ.”

Bassnectar, I’m sure, who’s a staple at Burning Man in the Black Rock desert.

8. New Orleans, LA: “Ranger Dave digs brass bands from Treme.”

The television show or the actual neighborhood? Either way, it’s probably the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, since their tour itinerary puts them in Los Angeles on Aug. 18.

9. Versailles, France: “Ranger Dave is wondering what Glendale, Mesa, Tempe and Scottsdale have in common.”

Phoenix, which will make lots of people stoked.

10. Santa Cruz, CA: “Ranger Dave likes his grass from Santa Cruz via Vermont.”

Definitely the Devil Makes Three, a bluegrass trio from SC by way of Vermont.

So there you go. I think it’s interesting the festival is condensing down to just two days this year—not enough big-name headliners, possibly? Realize in years past they’ve had mainstream staples like Radiohead, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, Black Eyed Peas and Dave Matthews, and this tiny trickle of a lineup seems meager, Billboard-wise. It’s just a trickle, though—it’s not to say they won’t bring out bigger names when they announce the full lineup June 1.

But everyone knows it’s the smaller-stage bands that really make this festival. I’m rooting for Superchunk, who only leave their hometown these days for large festivals. Everyone else besides me seems to want Faith No More.

Two-day tickets are on sale for $115, plus the usual service gouges, here. (“Sold Out,” which only means they’re temporarily off sale for a while. Golden Gate Park is huge, so don’t get too worked up about it.)

UPDATE: More clues just in!

11. Memphis, TN: “Ranger Dave is the reverend of love with single stem roses for the ladies.”

Easy—that’s Al Green.

12. Newmarket, Ontario: “Ranger Dave is in a Japanese fraternal order with Steve Guttenberg.”

That’s gotta be Tokyo Police Club. (Steve Guttenberg starred in the Police Academy movies.)

13. Niafunke, Mali: “Ranger Dave has to travel to Mali to find the blues.”

This could be any number of people, but it’s Vieux Farka Toure, Ali Farka Toure’s son, who lists the Outside Lands date on his website.

14. Warri, Nigeria: “Ranger Dave will then backpack to Nigeria on his way to Germany to cleanse his soul.”

Most likely Nneka, from Warri, whose mother is German.

15. Melbourne, Australia: “Ranger Dave raises dionaea muscipula with bad attitudes.”

That’s gotta be the Temper Trap.

Also, in early March, Kings of Leon sent out tour dates to fans that included Outside Lands. Whoops! So Kings of Leon is probably a safe bet—they have the date open on their tour itinerary. Weirdly, they’re going to be in San Diego, Irvine and Los Angeles in July, but they conspicuously aren’t playing Northern California. Most likely because Outside Lands has them for August.

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UPDATE: Even more clues.

16. Los Angeles, CA: “Ranger Dave is getting frisky. He’s scared of the ghosts on the roof.”

There’s five zillion bands in L.A. and this clue is so vague, I can’t wager a guess.

17. New York City: “Ranger Dave has smuggled Ukrainian books through Staten Island.”

If this is not Gogol Bordello I will eat my hat.

18. New Orleans, LA: “Ranger Dave is floating on the other sea.”

??? Again, large field, bad aim. Galactic? Allen Toussaint? Zzzzzzz.

19. Kansas City, KS: “Ranger Dave is a fan of this French impressionist painter.”

Most likely Janelle Monae.

20.  “Ranger Dave is a friend of felines big and small.”

As Tall as Lions?

21. “Simon says Ranger Dave is cruising on the Pacific Coast Highway in West LA county.”

Hmm… “Pacific Coast Highway” is the current single by Hole?

Relix Magazine published a lineup including Black Star and the Gossip this week.

And another big whoops: Rolling Stone just leaked Furthur as a headliner.

UPDATE, JUNE 1: Well, that was fun. Here’s the official press-release lineup:

Kings of Leon (Sunday Headliners)
Furthur featuring Phil Lesh & Bob Weir (Saturday Headliners)
The Strokes
My Morning Jacket
Phoenix
Al Green
Social Distortion
Gogol Bordello
Nas & Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley
The Levon Helm Band
Cat Power
Empire of the Sun
Wolfmother
Bassnectar
Chromeo
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
The Temper Trap
Pretty Lights
Janelle Monáe
Amos Lee
The Devil Makes Three
Tokyo Police Club
Beats Antique
Rebirth Brass Band
Wild Beasts
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars
Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub
The Budos Band
Aterciopelados
Garage A Trois feat. Stanton Moore, Marco Benevento, Skerik & Mike Dillon
Mayer Hawthorne & The County
Langhorne Slim
The Pimps of Joytime
People Under the Stairs
Electric Six
Vieux Farke Touré
Dawes
Nneka
The Soft Pack
The Whigs
Little Wings

“More acts will be announced soon,” says Mr. Press Release. Two-Day tickets go on sale June 2 at 10am PST and Single-Day tickets go on sale Sunday, June 6 at 10am PST via the Outside Lands site.

Live Review: Bassnectar at Hopmonk Tavern

Posted by: Gabe Meline on May 5, 2009 | Comments (2)

It’s unlikely that Sebastopol is going to see a Monday night anything at all like this for the rest of the year. It felt like Bassnectar’s show at the Hopmonk was everything that the old stone building was built for, all those eons ago: “Avast! One Monday, these walls shall absorb the Earth’s pinnacle of gut-rumbling bass. Build strong, gentlemen!”

Yes, the bass could be heard two blocks away. I am surprised the windows are intact. Inside, the sweet combination of smells that only a packed club creates, fueled by Bassnectar’s singular style that had fans driving from hours away (the show was sold out days ago, but if you had a $20 bill, or a good story about your car breaking down, or were pregnant in a tube top and skirt, the guys watching the side doors seemed amenable).

Bassnectar has been in heavy rotation around these parts, and once an album receives that distinction, it’s time for the knighting ceremony, a.k.a. putting it on cassette. The Side Two to my Bassnectar Underground Communication tape is Spank Rock’s YoYoYoYoYo, a record which shares a lot of the same breakbeat production but has rapping, which is nice. One of my favorites from that album is “Bump,” with a killing verse by Amanda Blank. She’s got a solo album out in June, and judging by the first peek, it looks to deftly rule.

For those who weren’t able get in tonight, across the alley at Jasper O’Farrell’s was the place to be, at the long-running Monday Night Edutainment (“WBLK a dun di place every Monday at Jaspers.” “Seen? Yes Iyah! I-man WBLK a wickid!”). Jacques and Guacamole come up on eight years this summer, and they bring back the Coup’s Pam the Funkstress on June 1 to celebrate. Before that, for some of the best in Bay Area beats, Hopmonk’s got Greyboy coming in on May 14′s Juke Joint, too.

I sometimes have a hard time explaining to adults why a crowd can get excited about a person on stage pushing buttons. I’d hope that tonight would set some of the naysayers straight, if only for variety alone—it’s the only set I’ve heard that’s referenced the Gorillaz, Bill Haley, and “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun.” One thing, though, is undeniable: Sebastopol is whipping Santa Rosa’s ass on Monday nights. I drove home, brain still slightly curdled, and downtown Santa Rosa felt like a whimpering dog with its tail between its legs in comparison.

Look Who’s Coming

Posted by: Gabe Meline on Mar 17, 2009 | Comments (2)

Spring is anon, meaning festival announcements and venue bookings are being shot down the pipe faster than the flowers can bloom. In a quick overview, there’s Classics of Love (with Operation Ivy’s Jesse Michaels) at the Last Record Store (Mar. 28); bass-heavy knob twiddlers Crystal Method at the Phoenix Theater (Apr. 15); walking freak-folk embodiment Devendra Banhart at the Mystic Theatre (Apr. 17); fado sensation Mariza at the Napa Valley Opera House (Apr. 30); electronic visionary Bassnectar at the Hopmonk Tavern (May 4); soprano legend Kathleen Battle at the Marin Center (May 9); and Lucinda’s right-hand man Gurf Morlix at Studio E (May 16).

What’s that, you say? You like to watch TV more than you like to listen to music? Fear not! The Wells Fargo Center has the interminably funny Joel McHale, he of dryly absurd wisecracking on The Soup (Apr. 11); and hang on to your thong straps—the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma has glam-metal washup-turned-reality show “star” Bret Michaels (June 27) to attract a slutsational crowd good for copious dead-drunk bikini-clad hoochie watching beneath the ferris wheel. Look what the cat dragged in, indeed!

Sounding a different note entirely, Napa’s beautiful Festival del Sole steps forward this year with young violin sensation Sarah Chang (Jul. 18-19) and the return booking of Renée Fleming (pictured above, Jul. 23), who in the festival’s first year was forced to cancel her performance of Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs due to illness. Iran’s most famous composer, Anoushirvan Rohani, will appear for a dinner and concert (Jul. 20), and the dashing Robert Redford—be still our throbbing hearts!—benefits his Sundance Preserve by narrating a piece to be announced (Carnival of the Animals? Peter and the Wolf? An interpretive tone poem of The Horse Whisperer?) at Castello di Amarosa (Jul. 21). Full lineup here.

In economic-crisis news, the Russian River Jazz Festival and the Russian River Blues Festival this year will be combined into one solitary September weekend as the Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival preserves a 30+ year tradition of great music on Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville. “This allows us to keep the Russian River festival tradition alive,” says Omega Events president Rich Sherman, “while enabling music fans to still enjoy their love of jazz and blues outdoors in this picturesque setting.” Saturday’s jazz lineup and Sunday’s blues lineup (Sept. 12-13) will be announced in April. Check here for updates.

After the Masada show at Yoshi’s, I overheard a guy talking to bassist extraordinaire Greg Cohen, who along with accompanying Ornette Coleman as of late was part of the great New York band on Rain Dogs, Frank’s Wild Years and Swordfishtrombones. “Hey, guess who I played with the other week?” the guy asked. “Waits. Went up to his place and rehearsed.”

“Oh?” asked Cohen. “New material?”

It seems so. In addition to finally releasing Orphans on vinyl soon, Tom Waits’ publicist confirms that he is writing, rehearsing, mangling, fixing and re-mangling new material for an album to be released in the sometime-maybe-this-year-who-knows future. Recording is anticipated sometime this summer. Waits, of course, was last seen snapping photos of the brimming crowd that gathered en masse at his daughter Kellesimone’s art show in Santa Rosa.

Despite a mission statement promising to “present and preserve jazz,” it’s probably time to just roll over and accept that the Sonoma Jazz+ Festival’s gonna book whoever they’re gonna book. We could say, you know, Lyle Lovett has some sax players in his band. Joe Cocker, you know, he might play some solos. And hey, they added that tiny little “+” to their name to represent past headliners like Steve Winwood, Boz Scaggs, Steve Miller, LeAnn Rimes, Michael McDonald, Bonnie Raitt and Kool & the Gang. Who are we to be snobs?

But look, since no other media outlet in the area seems brave enough to protect this American art form—and since local jazz programmers don’t want to be quoted saying “You mean that bullshit thing they call a jazz festival?” (actual quote)—it’s up to us. There are plainly no jazz artists headlining Sonoma Jazz+ 2009 this year. Around here, we’d even be cool if, like, Rick Braun was playing. But Chris Isaak?

Sonoma Jazz+ does many great things, not the least of which is providing support to music programs in area schools. They also have a second stage, and ‘Wine and Song in the Plaza’ with small combos. But in light of the PR assertion that they’ve already booked any jazz headliner who could fill a 3,800-seat tent, our suggestion is to honor jazz and please just call the festival what it actually is: the Sonoma Music and Wine Festival. Joe Cocker, Lyle Lovett and his Large Band, Ziggy Marley, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Shelby Lynne and Keb’ Mo’ come to Sonoma May 21-24. Tickets are on sale here.

Simultaneous with the creative definitions emanating from Sonoma is the encouraging news from the Healdsburg Jazz Festival announcing its initial lineup, and it looks great. John Handy, Randy Weston, Airto Moreira, Esperanza Spaulding, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Denny Zeitlin and Julian Lage head up a list-in-progress of bona fide jazz headliners appearing May 29-June 7 this year. For updates, check here.

Hey man, the Harmony Festival is full of good vibes this year! Michael Franti, India Arie, Matisyahu, Cake, Steve Kimock, ALO, Balkan Beat Box, and Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars head up the festival June 12-14 at the Fairgrounds. Barring any John Mclaughlin-esque guitar freakouts by Kimock, the weekend should be bereft of maniacal discord. Be harmonious.

The Santa Rosa Symphony announced its rough sketch for the 2009-2010 season today, including a finale performance by Ute Lemper singing Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins! Also on the slate: returning conductor emeritus Jeffrey Kahane playing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (the one from Shine), performances of Beethoven’s 4th, 5th and 9th symphonies, Mozart’s Requiem, a program celebrating Chopin’s 200th birthday, the Red Violin concerto, and more. I always love the symphony’s Magnum Opus commissions, and Bahzad Ranjbaran’s new work will receive its world premiere next season as well.

On a semi-related note, I listened to Elliott Carter last night—an LP I found years ago, bought for the cover art and loved for the music. It’s his Sonata for Cello and Piano, and I still love it. Unbelievable that he’s 100 years old and still completely lucid about his work. I love the excerpt from this interview, which succinctly captures not only his sense of humor but the reason why I give such a damn about music:

Q: Could you imagine a day when people, concertgoers, would hear your music and walk out humming your music?

A: Well… it’d be hard on their throats!

Q: What would you want the listener to walk away with after hearing your music?

A: Happiness. And pleasure. One of the fundamental things always that music should do is not only give pleasure, but widen one’s horizons, and give new kinds of fantasies, and new kinds of pleasure, and new kinds of surprises, and new kinds of connections between things.

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