At the turn of the century, in the era of pop punk and emo waves of genre rock that pulsed through the collective teeneage conciosuness, Hey Mercedes was one of the biggest bands out there. Formed from the remains of ’90s emo-core outfit Braid, Hey Mercedes combined smart syncopated beats and heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics for a pop-tastic run of well-received albums.
Disbanded since 2005, Hey Mercedes have reformed and are currently knee-deep in a cross-country tour playing their 2001 debut full-length album, Everynight Fireworks, in full. This week, Hey Mercedes welcomes Sonoma County indie rockers the Velvet Teen for three shows in California. They play in West Hollywood at the Troubadour on Thursday, July 21; in San Francisco at the Bottom of the Hill on Friday, July 22; and in Santa Ana at the Constellation Room on Saturday, July 23.
The San Francisco show at the Bottom of the Hill will also feature San Francisco garage-pop band Cocktails, who are playing a record release show for new album, Hypochondriac. Click here for more details. And click below to hear some of the Velvet Teen’s latest album, 2015’s excellent All Is Illusory.
Can’t wait until October to have a Halloween party? Neither can Los Angeles garage rockers Isaac Rother & The Phantoms, who roll into Santa Rosa on Wednesday, July 13, for a spooktacular show that kicks off their ‘Haunting the West Coast’ summer tour. Specializing in a throwback ’60s sound akin to Bo Diddley and Screaming Jay Hawkins, Rother’s larger-than-life onstage personality perfectly matches the group’s off-the-wall punk rock aesthetics.
Joining the Phantoms on July 13 are Oakland-based indie rock innovators O.C.D and Santa Rosa’s gleefully experimental Secret Cat. Boys and Ghouls of all ages are invited to dress up and enjoy Halloween in July on Wednesday, July 13, at Atlas Coffee Company, 300 South A St, Suite 4, Santa Rosa. 7pm. $5. Get a preview of Isaac Rother & the Phantoms’ unspeakable horror below.
It’s been awhile since longstanding Santa Rosa punk band Ashtray has been on stage in their hometown. Almost five years in fact. In the meantime, there’s been babies born, changes of scenery and side projects for the group, led by vocalists Sarah-Jane Andrew and Dave Wiseman. Next week, July 8, Ashtray makes their return to Sonoma County with a show at Annie O’s Music Hall in Railroad Square, presented by the Nor Bay Pyrate Punx.
Also on the bill is Sacramento punk legends the Secretions, who themselves are celebrating their 25th anniversary of playing loud and fast with leather jackets and spiked hair, as well as Sonoma County punk bands the Quitters, Speed Wobble and Kitten Drunk. Like Ashtray, these bands all play an old school punk rock in the veins of the Ramones and Black Flag as well as a funky blend ’90s punk-ska rock akin to Operation Ivy.
This show is one of several concerts this summer being booked by the Nor Bay Pyrate Punx. The nonprofit group is actually one of 44 united Pyrate Punx crews/chapters/collectives in the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands, Germany, Indonesia and Australia. You can get more info on the punx here. Click below to hear Ashtray’s album “White Sugar is the Devil.”
This Monday, July 4, a full lineup of young punk rock bands hits the grass at Doyle Park in Santa Rosa for a day of loud tunes and good food to celebrate America’s 240th birthday.
“A Day in the Park” will feature Oakland rockers Sterile Mind, Santa Rosa band Hellbomber, all-female North Bay punks Kitten Drunk and Santa Rosa sludge rock outfit Amnesia, though the local crowds will also get a rare chance to see two bands from Bogota, Colombia–Dead Hero and Final–as they tour through the states this summer.
Dead Hero is a four-piece band playing a classic, riff-heavy punk that recalls late ’70s ripped jeans, big hair and big noise. Final boasts aggressively bold and furiously fast hardcore punk that nails down a darkly double-timed sound.
A Day in the Park will also have barbeque courtesy of Knife for Hire and will run throughout the afternoon on Monday, July 4, at Doyle Park, Santa Rosa. Music starts at noon and admission is free. Donations are requested for bands and food.
Get a listen to Dead Hero’s latest 12″ Antisocial, below.
Drummer, songwriter and producer Narada Michael Walden is the man behind more than 50 Number One hits, working with everyone from Mariah Carey to Jeff Beck with great acclaim. Last year, Walden released his latest solo album, Evolution, a funky and soulful collection of tunes that harken back to the musician’s origins with joyful energy.
Released on his own imprint, Tarpan Records, the new record features special guest musicians including Nikita Germaine (Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan) on vocals, Frank Martin (Tuck & Patti, Jose’ Neto) on keyboards, Angeline Saris (Gretchen Menn, Zepperella) on bass and vocals and Matthew Charles Heulitt (Zigaboo Modaliste) on guitars.
This Saturday, May 21, the Marin-based Walden brings his latest evolution in music to Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley for a power-packed concert with Martin, Saris and Heulitt on hand to help him perform classic hits and new songs alike in a passionate night of music. If you haven’t heard Evolution yet, click on the video below to hear the title track. Tickets are available here.
Last week, BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival broke the news that it had already sold out all three days of its fourth annual fest, taking place in Napa May 27 to 29. For those who’ve missed out on the event, there’s now a ray of hope, as the fest has announced a week of aftershows taking place in and around Napa Valley.
The lineup of artists appearing at various venues range from songwriter Michael Franti to comedy duo Cheech & Chong to classic hip-hop group the Pharcyde to gypsy punk ensemble Gogol Bordello; meaning there’s something for everyone. There will also be pre-fest shows on Thursday, May 26, and a post festival performance by Rodrigo y Gabriela on Monday, May 30, at Uptown Theatre.
Check out the full list below, and grab tickets to these concerts at bottlerocknapavalley.com.
Returning to the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds on Saturday, August 6, the Petaluma Music Festival once again brings an enormous array of talent to three stages for a fun-filled day of music that benefits music programs in Petaluma’s public elementary and secondary schools. This year’s festival boasts its biggest lineup to date with an incredible roster of local and regional musicians.
Headlining the festival is prominent California songwriter Jackie Greene, best known as a former member of the Black Crowes, as one half of the Skinny Singers duo and for his own prolific solo output. Greene is a North Bay favorite, often selling out weeklong residencies at venues like Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley and playing alongside legends like Phil Lesh at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael.
Speaking of North Bay favorites, masterful guitarist and songwriter Steve Kimock will also play the Petaluma Music Festival, and he’s bringing friends. Best known for founding ’80s jazz rock fusion band Zero and now living in Sebastopol, Kimock this year unveiled his latest solo album, Last Danger of Frost, an experimental blend of Eastern and Western melodies. He’s also recently debuted his latest collaboration, KIMOCK, a duo with his son John.
Also on the bill for the Petaluma Music Festival are Bay Area veterans the Mother Hips, David Nelson Band, Moonalice and Mark Karan. The festival fills out the rest of its lineup with Northern California musicians David Luning, Kingsborough, Highway Poets, the Sam Chase, Joy & Madness, Saffell, MoeTar, the Melt and the Grain.
This past weekend, April 15-17, some 28 bands and hundreds of fans came together for Sonoma County’s inaugural Next Level Showcase and Conference, with two days of music and a daylong seminar covering the business of creativity all aimed at helping local musicians get the information and assistance they need to take their music to, well, the next level.
Organized by the folks at Creative Sonoma (a program under Sonoma County’s economic development board) as well as the North Bay Hootenanny and Second Octave (both local promoters and event producers), the Friday and Saturday showcase took place at Arlene Francis Center next to Railroad Square, and the Sunday conference commenced down the block at Chop’s Teen Center.
In short, the two-day showcase was a fun-filled inspiration to anyone who’s a fan of North Bay bands, with a variety of genres and styles on display. Friday featured several folk acts alongside indie rockers. The crowd cheered along with harmonious groups like Rainbow Girls and emotionally-resonating rockers like Manzanita Falls.
Pop band Lungs and Limbs got a dance party going in the classroom stage, one of three performance spaces that featured bands, and the eclectic Oddjob Ensemble closed out Friday with a fantastic performance that included horns and accordions a plenty.
Saturday was a decidedly louder affair, what with experimental noise rock outfit Antiphony blasting the small saloon stage to pieces as the evening’s opening act.
Other spirited Sonoma County bands, like the quirky and solid Secret Cat, reminded the crowds that you can be both silly and sensational, and several San Francisco acts showed up as well, like Travis Hayes & the Young Daze, who were joined onstage by Petaluma singer Emily Whitehurst of Tsunami Bomb and Survival Guide fame.
Formed in 2001, Toronto hardcore punk rockers Career Suicide have carried a heavy brand of old school ’80s punk ethos to underground acclaim. Yet, the band has been rarely seen in the last five years and guitarist Jonah Falco has gone on to great heights as a member of the experimental punk band F*cked Up.
Last year, F*cked Up went on their own hiatus, and Falco has come back to his rough and rowdy origins with a revamped Career Suicide, including a new album in the works, their first since 2006. Last November, the band released “Cut and Run,” the first single off the so-far-untitled upcoming album. It’s an intense two minutes of razor-sharp riffs and pounding drums that prove the band still has a Hell of an edge.
Career Suicide are also embarking on a world tour that takes them from Bakersfield to Tokyo. And right in the middle of this tour, the band is bringing the amps and axes to Santa Rosa for a concert this Saturday, Jan 16, at the Arlene Francis Center.
Hosted by the saucy kids at the Pizza Punx, this eardrum-buster of a show also features Bay Area punks Culture Abuse, Ruleta Rusa, Ex-Youth and Abusivo. Tickets are ten bucks at the door and is open to all ages.
This is actually one of the last two shows the Pizza Punx are hosting under that name, as the moniker is being laid to rest in the new year. Some of the punx will still be booking shows as Shock City, and some will be taking on a new venue project simply known as Funhouse. Stay tuned for more details on those developments. In the meantime, listen to Career Suicide’s “Cut and Run” below and turn it UP.
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.