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Next Level Grants Now Available for Musicians

Posted by: on May 2, 2016 | Comments (0)

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.

BottleRock Announces Aftershows

Posted by: on Apr 27, 2016 | Comments (0)

Michael Franti plays at Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley on May 26.

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.

Prince’s Passing Signals the Rapture

Posted by: on Apr 21, 2016 | Comments (0)

Prince at Coachella in 2008.

Today, April 21, legendary songwriter, singer, guitarist and music icon Prince died at his home in Minnesota. The Purple One was only 57. Millions of fans worldwide are in mourning, stunned by the latest loss in a 2016 that has seen too many entertainers go too soon.

In a year that began with the death of David Bowie, a year that has also taken monumental musicians like Lemmy, Merle Haggard and A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg as well as stars of stage and screen like Alan Rickman and Garry Shandling, Prince’s untimely passing confirms what I already believed to be true. 2016 is the Rapture.

We’ve long been led to believe that the Rapture, the biblical end-times event where good souls depart for the Heavens while the wicked remain behind, would be an instantaneous one. Yet, evidence is starting to pile up that it’s a gradual ascension, and now the forces of good can include Prince in their swirling legions.

Of course, that’s not an actual or literal theory of mine, it’s just that this year has simply seen too many great and inspiring figures leave us forever. Truly, this is what it sounds like when doves cry.

 

A Look Back at Next Level

Posted by: on Apr 18, 2016 | Comments (0)

Santa Rosa’s Manzanita Falls show off some new songs at Next Level on Friday, April 15.

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.

Sonoma County folk veteran Kevin Russell (second from the right) brought his So-Called Friends with him to perform at Next Level.

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.

Secret Cat balanced high-energy and tight grooves at Next Level on Saturday night.

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.

Petaluma’s Emily Whitehurst shares the spotlight with San Francisco alt-rocker Travis Hayes at Next Level.

BottleRock Napa Valley is Sold-Out

Posted by: on Apr 14, 2016 | Comments (0)

We are still six weeks away from the fourth annual BottleRock Napa Valley, yet today festival promoters have announced that all passes have officially sold, meaning that those who snoozed on this getting tickets to year’s event indeed lose the chance to grab them from the festival itself.

While it’s not necessarily surprising that BottleRock sold out, what with musical headliners like Stevie Wonder and an array of culinary masters once again slated to appear in downtown Napa, May 27 through 29, it does seem like this year’s tickets went faster than ever, solidifying BottleRock’s stake as the largest and most popular music event in the North Bay.

For those who waited too long, your only hope now is to go online in the dreaded secondary ticket market. Fear not, though, as BottleRock has teamed up with Lyte, a ticket exchange platform that allows fans to buy or exchange tickets for sold-out events. Fans looking for BottleRock passes can visit uselyte.com/bottlerocknapavalley.

Huichica Music Festival Announces Dates & Lineup

Posted by: on Mar 3, 2016 | Comments (0)

Set upon the rolling hills of Sonoma’s Gundlach Bundschu Winery, the annual Huichica Music Festival has been a refreshingly intimate and eclectic gathering of hot indie bands and performers from the Bay Area and beyond. This year looks to be no different, as the fest has announced its most extensive lineup yet for two days of music, food and wine taking place Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11.

Headlining the festival is Los Angeles psychedelic rockers Mystic Braves, who cast powerful spells on their brand new album, Days of Yesteryear. Also taking a top spot is popular party band Dengue Fever, blending Cambodian-influenced rock and roll and danceable indie pop.

Huichica organizer Eric D Johnson will be taking the stage this year with his newly reformed melodic indie rock band Fruit Bats. Another major player in this year’s festival is longtime New York electronic act Silver Apples, fronted by the enigmatic Simeon since the 1960s.

I could go on. Seriously, this lineup is stacked with awesome acts. The full lineup can be found below. And don’t forget that several food vendors and plenty of libations will be on hand for a complete weeknd experience. Check out tickets and get more details by clicking here.

Dan Hicks Passes Away

Posted by: on Feb 8, 2016 | Comments (0)

The 2016 avalanche of legendary musicians passing on from this mortal coil now includes Bay Area figure and Mill Valley resident Dan Hicks, leader of the long time laidback roots and western swing band Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks, who died on Saturday, Feb 6, at his home. He was 74.

The cause of death is reported as liver cancer, according to Hicks’ widow Clare. Though he had been battling the disease for some time, Hicks and his outfit still regularly toured around the North Bay and beyond, performing in Napa last December and scheduled to perform at Throckmorton Theatre next month.

Born in Little rock, Ark. and raised in Santa Rosa, Hicks was a contemporary of classic rock icons like Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. And though he may not have sold millions of records, his toe-tapping revivalist roots country rock was a popular staple of North Bay music lovers for over 40 years. He will be missed.

After Illness, Merle Haggard Will Perform in Santa Rosa

Posted by: on Feb 5, 2016 | Comments (0)

 

Yesterday, a flurry of rumors surfaced that country music legend Merle Haggard had cancelled his upcoming appearance at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa due to illness. Well, now the good news has come in that Haggard’s recent bout with double pneumonia will not keep him from the stage and his recovery is such that his show is BACK ON!

Haggard’s management released the following statement this morning-

The Merle Haggard show scheduled for Feb. 10, 2016 in Santa Rosa, CA will now take place as originally planned.  Mr. Haggard received some medical care earlier this week, responded positively to the treatment and looks forward to seeing his fans next Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.

It’s great news to hear that Merle is healthy and ready to play. Tickets were temporarily put on hold yesterday as the venue monitored Haggard’s situation, though they should be back on sale by the end of the day today. Call the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts box office at 707.546.3600 with any questions.

 

BottleRock Napa Valley Single Day Lineups Announced

Posted by: on Feb 1, 2016 | Comments (0)

The photo says it all. 2016’s BottleRock Napa Valley now has a lineup set for individual days throughout the three-day weekend, taking place May 27-29. Stevie Wonder headlines on Friday night, while Florence + the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers round out the headlining spots on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Single day tickets go on sale tomorrow, Feb 2, at 10am. For more info, visit BottleRockNapaValley.com.

 

Jake Ward Pens Open Letter to AFC Vandals

Posted by: on Jan 25, 2016 | Comments (0)

Last night, at the otherwise awesome Ty Segall show in Santa Rosa, someone decided to tag the brick bathroom walls at the Arlene Francis Center with spray paint. It was a destructive and costly act, and one that local promoter and concert booker Jake Ward took offense to. Here, Ward writes and rants on why this vandalism is harmful not only to the venue, but to the Santa Rosa music scene overall. It’s a real and powerful wake-up call, and one that is worth reading in its entirety.

Well this is frustrating. Last night somebody vandalized the restroom of the Arlene Francis Center. I’m not even gonna address what they wrote, but I will say a couple things.

One, this is why we can’t have nice things. We live in a town where people complain about a lack of venues for cool music and art happenings, and yet when one of our few beloved local institutions for hosting events opens its doors to hosting an all ages rock show, someone goes out of their way to disrespect the space. How can we complain about the scene when we have no respect for it?

Two, this is brick. Brick is extremely porous. Spray paint on old brick does not come off easily. The only full time operators at AFC are in their 60s. Are they expected to clean this off? There’s also no surplus funds at this space to buy special cleaning products. This was super rude *and* destructive.

Three, this is not a punk venue, this is a non profit community center. The morning after the show this happened at, the classroom was rented out for a weekly event called Mini Music where parents bring their toddlers to learn to sing. There are all sorts of important political, educational, and arts activities happening at this space. Who really thought this was a place that deserved to be vandalized like this?