Live local music gets slammed on two fronts.
Thursday, January 11, 2001
Bassist James Finley was in a terrible car accident two weeks ago between Figueroa and Franklin. Finley had been driving friends home and was almost home (without a lick of alcohol in his system) when another vehicle barreled into his car. He was placed in the Intensive Care Unit at CHOMP with a broken jaw, a fractured spine, multiple internal wounds, and probably one hell of a headache.
It defies any belief in good karma or that there is some great fair being out there, when good people are struck down by the mighty finger of fate. James Finley is a passive, kindhearted individual, and one hell of a bass player. He''s the kind of person who never bitches about how things are but who embraces whatever life devises for him. Finley has played with Trial By Fire and Linda Arceo, and was an essential part of the Monterey music scene--the kind of player everyone likes to play music with.
Finley''s kind words, peaceful personality and dynamic ability to play inside of any pocket will be missed until he returns.
Acoustic MagicianIn far better health, but still deserving of praise, is guitarist Eddie Gutierrez, who will play Britannia Arms tonight. Normal Thursday night activities at Britannia Arms include a quiz night followed by a set of acoustic music provided by Gutierrez, perhaps the best acoustic player you''ll ever see. More than one person has said of Gutierrez, "I don''t know why that guy isn''t in L.A. or something, he''s too good."
Gutierrez plays with open tunings that allow him to layer a melody over a heavy bottomed rhythm. His patterns of playing are complex, blending a classical feel into standard folk and modern rock progressions. It is well worth seeing him perform tonight. For the music connoisseur it will be an original experience, and for the musician, a lesson in mastery over the acoustic guitar.
Celtic CowboysIt''s easy to recognize and point a defining finger at traditional Celtic music. Ditto American bluegrass. Or cowboy music. That''s what makes the Black Irish Band''s music so hard to define. It''s a little bit of all those things. The band specializes in presenting music that would have been heard on the docks, or in the gold camps or railroad yards in early California and the West. Although tbe movies generally make the West look like a lily-white place inhabited by leather-faced cowboys and a few city slickers from back east, it was really quite a melting pot of cultures, with more than a few Scots, Irish and Italians. The Black Irish Band pays tribute to that heritage, producing music that sounds a little bit Celtic, a little bluegrass and a little cowboy. (And, on their most recent album, The Forgotten West, they sound more than a little pop, too.)
Dance DutyIf all you want to do is dance your ass off, you might want to try Club Octane this week. Every night is chock-full of enough electronic dance mixes to get everyone you know into the groove. Octane has proven itself the HQ of anything electronic not just in Monterey, but everywhere on the Central Coast. Every great rave and party you might hear about, from Santa Cruz to Monterey, will most likely be run by the Octane group. Tonight, DJ Brian spins ''80s dance themes complete with rendered video clips taken from some of the best films of that era. (Which are Ferris Bueller''s Day Offand Fletch, if you ask me.) Saturday you can listen to Taylor Wolfson and his crony DJ Lex spin heavy doses of Trance, House, and Old School dance beats. The cover to get into Octane may be daunting, but this is a great club, and most people feel compelled to stay there the entire evening.
Creeping DJismLast week, Blue Fin Cafe & Billiards narrowed live music down to one night a week and plugged a BTU 101.7 DJ into the Thursday night slot normally reserved for reggae groups like Jonah & The Whalewatchers (who were previously scheduled to play that evening.) The result was a bit predictable (the place was dead), mainly because Jonah & The Whalewatchers has been the one group that could be counted on to pack ''em in on a regular basis.
As one young woman put it, "Can''t we live without a DJ for one night in this town?!"