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.
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.
In what was to be its 30th anniversary, officials behind the Sonoma Music Festival announced last week they have cancelled the 2016 fundraising concert weekend, scheduled to happen Oct 7-9.
Despite a schedule that featured headlining acts like John Fogerty and Steve Miller, the nonprofit concert event was scrapped due to very low ticket sales. From the festival’s website:
Unfortunately, with the addition of an enormous festival at Coachella the same weekend and the following weekend with the Rolling Stones et. al., it is apparent that many of our long-time patrons chose to attend those events rather than our event. That circumstance has put our non-profit at a large financial loss jeopardizing our charitable efforts, therefore, we had no choice but to cancel. Our extreme thanks go out to the artists and others who have been willing to work with us in this crisis.
The Sonoma Music Festival is run by Bruce Cohn Charity Events. Patrons can visit the festival’s website for ticket refund information starting October 1.
Hosting tens of thousands of music and art lovers in Monterey for the last seven years, the California Roots Music & Arts Festival has grown to become one of the most popular fests in the state. Now, Cali Roots is giving back, partnering with the Redwood Forest Foundation to introduce 400 limited Redwood Passes for next year’s festival. Two redwoods will be planted for each Redwood Pass, resulting in a total of 800 new redwood trees.
“The Cali Roots movement is about developing and sustaining our community and that involves protecting our environment,” says festival co-founder Dan Sheehan in a statement released this month.
In addition to ongoing composting and recycling efforts the festival makes every year, the new program aims to help further reduce carbon emissions through the planting of these trees. California’s redwood forests are the biggest source of natural carbon removal in the state.
The Eighth Annual California Roots Festival will take place at the Monterey County Fair and Event Center, memorial day weekend 2017. Cali Roots will begin artist announcements for the 2017 festival in October.
Singer and songwriter Emily Jane White’s mysterious new album, They Moved in Shadow All Together, is already out in Europe, but fans here in the states have had to wait patiently to hear the latest from the darkly experimental Oakland-based artist and Fort Bragg native.
Until now, as White this week unveiled the lead single from the new record, “Frozen Garden.” The song is a lush and melodic journey through dense layers of instrumental textures, with White’s voice acting as a guiding light breathlessly leading the listener ever deeper into the tangled brush.
They Moved in Shadow All Together will be released in the US on June 10 through Talitres Records. Get your copy by clicking here.
Got some spring cleaning to do? Have an old trumpet or guitar or even a tambourine taking up space in your closet? Now’s your chance to de-clutter and help a student in need at the same time. The Luther Burbank Center for the Arts is hosting a Musical Instrument Drive this Saturday, May 7, at Montgomery Village in Santa Rosa, where students from across Sonoma County will perform while any and all instruments are accepted for donation, to go to the Luther Burbank Center’s Music for Schools program.
The program’s mission is simple; provide instruments to kids who otherwise could not afford one. Since it’s widely known that musical education is an important aspect to a well-rounded education, this outreach program is important.
Music for Schools relies on instrument and cash donations (for repair) to place instruments into the hands of students from low-income families. This weekend’s drive is one of the program’s major donation days, and local students who have already received these gifts will be on hand to display their talents. As an added bonus, anyone who donates an instrument will get a box of See’s Candies Springtime Truffles (while supplies last.)
The full performance schedule is below, for more details, click here.
Last month, the Next Level Showcase and Conference introduced Sonoma County music lovers to an array of local musicians and bands, and introduced those musicians to several industry professionals and insiders who led a daylong symposium revolving around the business of music.
Now, Next Level is in full swing of its second phase, a grants program where five Sonoma County musicians can each win $2,500 to help them in their musical endeavors. These grants will be paired with ten hours of one-on-one consulting with industry experts to help encourage the most effective use of the grant funds.
Under the direction of Creative Sonoma–an arts program with the county’s economic development board–and in association with the North Bay Hootenanny, Next Level’s grant program is made possible by a donation from the Hewlett Foundation. Grant applications, due June 6, are available now online.
Later this month, Next Level is holding an applicant Q&A session on Tuesday, May 17, at 1pm, at the Creative Sonoma offices, 141 Stony Circle, Ste 110, Santa Rosa. Applicants can call into the meeting as well, 707.565.8996.