More, Better - Pt. 1
Pop, Rock, Jazz: stage is set for a lively and varied year in music to suit all tastes.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
School nights aren’t supposed to feel like this. But nevertheless, Monterey Live was nearly at capacity on an otherwise quiet recent Wednesday night, as local music lovers rallied to see a pair of up-and-coming acts. The scene offered a peek at the potential for great local music in 2008.
The evening began with an unnamed CSUMB super group featuring Andrea Blunt of The Blunts, Mason Rothschild of instrumental rock outfit Slices of Home and three newcomers. Calling themselves “The Family” for the moment, the band played a mix of ‘60s-tinged rock and soul. On the final number, titled “Prophecy of Near,” the band’s two female members, Blunt and Dee Dee Range, had vocals that intertwined like vines and climbed higher and higher.
Next up on stage that night were the four female rappers who make up Watsonville’s DobaDoza. The promising group veered from an angry rap about an old boyfriend to a soulful a cappella tune by vocalist PekLat.
A new local band to watch this year that wasn’t on that bill is Mouth of the Valley. The latest rock band by Sean Michael White, a local music fixture who has played with female vocalist Karma and in Nectar of the Gods, has a great chunky rock song titled “So Stunned.” Look for them to be playing around town this year.
Also, 2008 should see the re-emergence of Al Jardine, a founding member and former vocalist for the Beach Boys, who lives in Big Sur. Jardine will play with his friend Stevie Heger’s band Hey Stevie at Monterey Live on Jan. 4. Expect Jardine’s long-awaited solo album A Postcard from California, a decade in the making, to be released before the year is out.
Monterey County once again will be treated to a flood of legendary national acts at superb venues including Monterey’s Golden State Theatre, Carmel’s Sunset Center and Salinas’ Fox Theater, something no one would have predicted even a couple of years ago. The Golden State will host two outlaws of country music in February, with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard each playing separate shows. Also, on March 8, Rufus Wainwright, who Elton John calls “the greatest songwriter on the planet,” will croon for local audiences.
Meanwhile, Carmel’s Sunset Center will continue to feature top-tier Americana acts between classical music and dance performances. Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and Louie Perez will do a night of song and swapping anecdotes reminiscent of VH1’s Storytellers program on Jan. 18. In the spring (March 28), 27-year-old song-writing prodigy and local radio station KPIG favorite Jackie Greene comes to the revered establishment, while folk legend Arlo Guthrie takes the stage April 13.
Over in Salinas, the Fox Theater will sate local hip-hop appetites with two big shows early in the year. Underground rap icon Andre Nickatina brings his swagger to the establishment Jan. 19, and ‘90s hip-hop outfit Bone Thugs-N-Harmony flows Feb. 21. Later in the year, the Fox will diversify its performances by booking more rock, reggae and comedy acts.
In the new venue department, the intimate Wave Street Studios will start presenting events ranging from jazz performances to salsa dance nights. Swing duo Stephanie Nakasian and Hod O’Brien will kick things off Jan. 5, followed by a performance by the locally based Kim Edmundson Quintet on Jan. 12, and New York City jazz sax player Greg Abate on Feb. 8.