What's Up, Chuck?
Festival Time There's Memorial Day music all over the place: outdoors, indoors and everywhere in between.
Thursday, May 21, 1998
If you haven''t done it already, it''s time to get ready for Memorial Day music festivals. It''s time to fix the zippers on your sleeping bags, clean the mildew out of your coolers and dust off the low-back lawn chairs.
Whether you opt for lounging the weekend away at the Santa Cruz Blues Festival or the full camping experience at the Spring Strawberry Music Festival at Camp Mather, there''s plenty of fine music this weekend.
The Santa Cruz Blues Festival, as is its habit, spends Saturday with an eclectic array of bluesers, while the Sunday menu goes heavy on guitar blazers. Opening the show on Saturday is her eminence, diva la grande, Candye Kane. The only problem with having Kane open the weekend is that she puts on a show that''s so energetic and personable that it can eclipse later performers (as she did a couple years ago when she opened the same festival and delivered far-and-away the most memorable performance of that year); it''s hard to understand why the festival puts Kane in the opening slot--except for name recognition, she could be headlining. Following Kane are the funky Bone Shakers, swingin'' Roomful of Blues (check out their new lineup; following their most successful album to date, ''97''s Under One Roof, about half the group split or was replaced) and New Orleans'' Neville Brothers (about whom plenty has already been written) headline. Sunday''s lineup begins with Angela Strehli (backed by former Elvin Bishop sideman Terry Hanck and The Soulrockers), The Lloyd Jones Struggle, WC Clark, Coco Montoya and headliner blues-legend Buddy Guy.
Santa Cruz Blues Festival, 5/23-24. Aptos Village Park. $25/one-day general; $35/seating up close to the stage. $40/two-day general; $60/seating. 479-9814 or www.iuma.com/SC_BLUES
Upat Strawberry, near to Yosemite''s gates, the weekend goes from Thursday to Sunday, and there are way too many bands to give a full accounting--even listing the highlights could take a chunk of space. The Friday afternoon lineup includes Santa Cruz stringed-instrument master Bob Brozman trading licks with his buddy, Hawaiian slack-keyer Ledward Kaapana, Junior Brown and Roomful of Blues (yep, they''re at both festivals). Blues belter Sista Monica headlines the Saturday afternoon show; after the break, Saturday evening is definitely a gospel and new-grass extravaganza with the Fairfield Four, Del McCoury and Hot Rize. The Sunday evening show--with Iris Dement, Don Walser and The Dead Reckoners--runs from folk to hard-edged folk rock. Of course, that''s just the mainstage stuff. There are workshops each day, kids'' entertainment, swimming in the lake, cowboy poetry and the whole sort of communal atmosphere.
Strawberry Spring Music Festival, 5/21-24. Camp Mather, near Yosemite. $115/adult four-day pass (includes camping); $105/three-day pass (includes camping); $30/day pass (no camping). (209)533-0191; www.strawberrymusic.com
Ifyou insist on staying closer to home, there''s a whole ton of local blues and rock acts playing at the Squid Festival this weekend. On Saturday, Big Rain and Blue Nova open the day beginning ''round about 11am on separate stages, Mockingbird rocks at 12:30pm, Foamscape and the Blue Tornadoes play at 2:15pm, The Volcano Brothers do blues and Lory Lynn and the Western Edge do country at 4pm, and The Four Freshmen get soulful in their ''50s pop sort of way at 5:30pm. On Sunday, Vera and Storm Warning get things started at 11am, Santa Cruz-based The Road Hogs do their party blend of rock at 12:30pm, the Broadway Blues Band goes on at about 1pm, RWB and Fools Gold rock at 2:15 pm, The Lettermen play at 3pm, Live Vibe and Dakota do rock and country (respectively) at 4pm and Red Beans & Rice closes the musical side of the festival at 5:30pm. All that music, and it''s all included in the festival admission--$7/adults, $2/kids. More info? 649-6544.
If you like the blues but have this agoraphobic sorta thing where you can''t bear to go outdoors, Doc''s has a killer lineup for the weekend. On Saturday, prior to his Sunday gig in Santa Cruz, monster guitarist Coco Montoya returns to Doc''s. And on Sunday, The Imperial Crowns do their punkish brand of blues with Electric Playground opening. Word is, The Crowns just did a well-received opening show for Jimmy Vaughn down at The House of Blues in Los Angeles and they''re busy writing material for their second studio CD. Good stuff, all the way around.
Coco Montoya, Saturday, 9:30pm; Imperial Crowns, Sunday, 9:30pm. Doc''s Nightclub. 649-4241.
And, finally, if you just want something mellow and nice, check out locals Nancy Raven, Karl Dobbratz and Bill Minor at Morgan''s. The trio is doing a benefit concert for the National Coalition Building Institute. Nancy Raven is primarily known as a children''s singer/songwriter, Dobbratz released his own CD of original work in ''95, and Minor is a jazz pianist and poet. Should be interesting...
Nancy, Karl and Bill, Friday, 8pm. Morgan''s Coffee and Tea. $10. 655-6868.
That''s enough. I''m outta here. Gotta get some ice on that beer...