What's Up, Chuck?
Dance Your Butt Off--A corner of Cannery Row will be shaking, rattling and rolling all weekend.
Thursday, November 19, 1998
If you''re looking to get sweaty this weekend, you''re in luck. Down there at the junction of Prescott Avenue and Cannery Row, there''s a whole lot of good, butt-shakin'' music going down. Between Doc''s Nightclub, Blue Fin Billiards and Sly McFly''s, it''s like wall-to-wall music.
Laura Love''s performance tonight (Thursday) sets Doc''s stage for the Unknown Jeromes (see Backstage) on Friday, and Stormin'' Norman and the Cyclones on Saturday.
If you''ve never seen Laura Love perform, you owe it to yourself to get down to Doc''s tonight. She is a bundle of energy on stage, performing a unique blend of music that so completely defies easy categorization that scribes and critics have created weird hybrid words--like "Afro-Celtic Pop," "Hip-alachian," and "Funkabilly"--to describe it.
All of those descriptions capture some echo of what it is that Love does, but they don''t really get to the core of her music. While there are a lot of musicians doing a fusion thing these days, you can usually find a dominant music onto which other influences have been fused. What sets Love apart is that it''s nearly impossible to find the dominant style--her music is not so much fused together as it is forged in one piece. And she presents it in such a vibrant way that you''re virtually guaranteed to get out on the dance floor.
Laura Love, Thursday, 8pm. Doc''s Nightclub, $14/advance; $16/door; $12/students. 655-6868.
Also at Doc''s, Stormin'' Norman and the Cyclones celebrate the release of their new CD, Why Stop Now?, which I stuck between my ears this week.
Stormin'' Norman Louis and gang have been doing their rock ''n'' blues thing for about a decade, mostly up in the Santa Cruz and San Jose areas, where they''ve developed a fairly dedicated following. And just a couple weeks ago, SN&TC (current lineup: Tiran Porter, bass; Ken Kraft, vocals and lead guitar; Jim Norris, drums; Scott Wright, saxophone; Louis, rhythm guitar and vocals) did a gig at Blue Fin Billiards that was well-received. It''s been a while since I heard the group, and on their new recording there''s a little more country influence than I remembered. What''s the same, though is the band''s eminently danceable, up-tempo, good-time feel. It''ll definitely be a dance party at Doc''s on Saturday.
Stormin'' Norman and the Cyclones, Saturday, 9pm. Doc''s Nightclub, 649-4241.
You might want to sneak out between Laura Love''s sets on Thursday to check out the Rockin'' for Alano''s Rent benefit at Sly''s. There''s a whole roster of local musicians (including country musician Don Baze, jazz men Lee Durley and John Lawrence, the calizydecajun Cachagua Playboys, rockers Randy Baldwin and Eddie Gutierrez, and Alligator and his Bayou Boogie Band) who have signed up to play for the event.
The event was coordinated by Alligator as a benefit for the Alano Club, a local drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation center.
If it seems just a little ironic to use a nightclub as a venue for such an event, you''re not the only one who thought so. Alligator says he faced a some initial opposition to the idea.
"But I explained," explains Alligator, "why not let some of the people who might need to use this place raise some of the money to support it? We got around some of the moral apprehensions that way."
Rockin'' for Alano''s Rent, Thursday, 8pm. $3 donation ("or whatever one can afford to donate").
Other shows at Sly''s this weekend include a Friday gig by sorta-blues guitar slinger Terry Hiatt, who has become somewhat of a fixture there in the last couple of months. And The Firebirds rock the blues on Saturday.
At Blue Fin Billiards on Friday, the Santa Barbara-basedCadillac Angels will be tearing it up with their roots/rockabilly music.
Seems like you find another rockabilly band under every rock these days, but this is one of the best-sounding trios (Tony "T. Tarzan" Balbinot, guitars and vocals; Micky Rae, bass and vocals; Jerome Taylor, drums/percussion) I''ve heard. And I''m apparently not alone in that estimation: One of the trio''s singles, "Feel Like Rockin," was named "Best Roots Rock Demo" at the 1995 South by Southwest Music Showcase.
When I stuck their newest CD, Rest Stop Dance Party! into my machine, it nearly sucked the electrical socket out of the wall--there was a helluva lot more energy coming out than going in. That kind of energy is the one essential quality for good rockabilly, and some bands manage to get by with little more than that. The Angels, though, deliver a high level of musicianship to go along with it. (I was particularly impressed by Micky Rae''s throaty vocals on "Say You Care.")
I''d say this is a don''t-miss show.
Also at Blue Fin, on Saturday, local band Blue delivers their blend of rock, rhythm and blues.
If you''re into something a little less strenuous to close out the weekend, check out The Media Room this weekend where Nina Kelly is presenting a bluegrass concert with Suzanne Thomas, Don Rigsby and friends.
Forbluegrass fans, this should be a don''t-miss show, because everyone performing in the concert is a star in his or her own right. Thomas, who normally performs with The Dry Branch Fire Squad, is one of the best-known bluegrass vocalists in the business today; Rigsby is a vocalist and mandolin player with both The Lonesome River Band and Longview. And the "friends" include Missy Raines, who was just anointed as the Bass Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Musicians Association; flat-pick guitarist Jim Hurst plays with the Front Porch String Band and the John Cowan Band; and banjo picker Bill Evans is a bandmate with Thomas in the Dry Branch Fire Squad.
Suzanne Thomas, Don Rigsby and Friends, Sunday, 6:30pm. The Media Room, $20. 372-5641.