A wideranging trifecta of music sets off Monterey County this Saturday.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
From nerdy backpack rap at the library to a Deadhead celebration in Pacific Grove to a folk act in the redwoods, Saturday will be a hell of a versatile day for live music in Monterey County.
The action begins in the morning at the Marina Library with brainiac lyricist MC Lars (also performing at Seaside Library at 3pm).
In June, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which Lars is a big supporter of, premiered his new video, “23.” The tune – about the rapper’s college roommate at Stanford who took his life at the age of 23 – is departure for Lars, whose songs usually center on video games, Garbage Pail Kids and Public Enemy. “Cognitive dissonance trapped in your shell/ depression and regression made your life a living hell,” he raps.
Lars’ performances will also include a lecture on the history of hip-hop and postmodern culture.
Later, in Pacific Grove, folks are invited to gather to celebrate the late, great Jerry Garcia’s birthday with a free Grateful Dead jam session at Woody’s. The event – featuring a five-piece band made up of members from The Zippidy Yeahs and Microtonic Harmonic – was the brainchild of local multi-instrumental troubadour Dave Holodiloff.
“I’m a big fan of Jerry’s music and I’m a big fan of him as a person,” Holodiloff says. “This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while.”
The musicians have put together enough material for an acoustic and an electric set featuring Dead classics like “Throwing Stones,” “Casey Jones” and “Eyes of the World.”
Though the show will end at midnight, the official date of Garcia’s birthday, Holodiloff assures, “It’s close enough; I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”
About 35 miles south of P.G., Fruit Bats play the Henry Miller Library. Frontman singer-songwriter Eric Johnson says the band would have never happened if he hadn’t taught banjo at the Chicago nonprofit, Old Town School of Folk Music. In fact, when he scored the teaching gig, he barely knew how to play the banjo. One day, while working in the school’s office, Johnson’s former banjo instructor told him that he quit.
“He had always seen me playing banjo in the office and suggested that I should just take his job,” Johnson says. “I had no banjo teaching experience and not even a ton of banjo playing experience; it was like a big fraud, but then I did it for seven years, so I obviously made it work.”
During his time at the school, Johnson hooked up with several musicians and played in area bands – including the experimental outfit Califone – before starting Fruit Bats.
The folk outfit’s most recent release, The Ruminant Band, is a departure from previous releases; it’s a mash-up of John Lennon, ’70s Southern rock and breezy earth-toned folk.
“I wanted it to be a little more spontaneous and raw,” Johnson says. “But still be kind of songwritery.”
The Springsteen-esque ballad “Singing Joy to the World” is an acoustic landscape of Indian casinos, make-out sessions in empty parking lots and a Three Dog Night concert.
“That was my earnest attempt at a short story song,” Johnson says.