Kissing summer good-bye in Big Sur.
Thursday, September 12, 2002
Photo: Local Icons-Vera helped make the last summer party at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur memorable.
The crowd isn''t big, but is really into the music. The bands aren''t flashy, but they''re playing and singing their hearts out. Maybe the drive down 30 miles of coastline sort of weeds out those who aren''t really something special, in both the audiences and the musicians.
In the first of what is hoped to be an annual event, four bands and about 30 spectators showed up at the Big Sur Summer''s End Benefit concert for the Henry Miller Library. All of the groups had their own style, but were united by their definitive rock sound.
First to play was Vera, a fun little group of musicians led by the powerful vocals of Christina DeVeto. Their sound is an infectious mix of good songwriting, passionate playing and catchy melodies. The slightly hippied-out audience bopped their heads along with the music until the band finished their set, only to be called back up onto the stage for another number. The encore piece, "Cloud Nine Girl," isn''t on any of the band''s albums yet but had several listeners wondering where and when they can get a copy.
Inspirational book writer SARK was somewhat inconspicuously in the audience (she danced for a bit, too), as were a number of mothers and babies and an old woman in a very bright shirt who danced around like a joyful pixie.
Next came Foamscape, led by event organizer Mac Talley. This band plays a densely layered guitar-heavy groovy sort of rock, with the unusual vocal stylings of Talley. Their set was neatly inlaid with a Dylan cover and instrumental breaks reminiscent of the spacey alt-rock stalwarts Luna, although Talley is quick to point out, "We''ve been around a lot longer than Luna." The lyrics are spun with the angst of the lovelorn and insecure, with lines like "You only wanted to be loved/So you gave tenfold and hoped some rolled back..."
In the break between the second and third bands, Magnus Torén, who runs the Henry Miller Library, got up and announced the presence of Yul Anderson. Anderson is a Copenhagen-based blues pianist and singer who delighted the audience with a couple of tunes, including his innovative cover of "All Along the Watchtower," which is being featured in the film The Dancer Upstairs, directed by John Malkovich.
Next up was Blind Curve, a band that cites Tom Petty among its influences, and did covers of Petty''s "Last Dance With Mary Jane" as well as Van Morisson''s "Wild Night" and several original tunes. Half the band couldn''t make it, so they were aided by last-minute replacements, and some random guy with a sax showed up and accompanied them on several numbers. They even got a certain uncoordinated Weekly reporter to get up and dance in front of a group of people (admittedly in a group of dancers) by creating such an invitingly rhythmic sound.
The last group of the day was Big Rain, a blues-tinged group of loud rockers with a classic sound. They made an excellent end piece to a day of music, good catered food and genuine rock n'' roll.
When asked what gave him the idea to throw this all together, Talley said, "Big Sur is changing. The spirit has decreased, but this space has kept the bohemian thing going. Basically, they''re open. It''s hard to find places that are enthusiastically encouraging you to make art."
Talley has known Magnus Torén for a number of years and has played the Li-brary many times. He asked friends from the Monterey music scene to help out with the plan, and the concert was born.
"I want to stress that the library is in no danger of closing," says Talley. "It''s funded by the state. I just wanted to show my support for what they''re doing here."
Asked whether he''s happy with the turnout, Torén said, "Everybody''s having a good time."