Putting in Work
A Labor Day tribute to the area’s relentless bands and the grooves they demand.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
The sexy festivals come once a year. The hotshot headliners—of late, the Trace Adkins, the Moonalices and Blue Öyster Cults of the world—perform and then never return. All the while, week after week, Monterey County’s tribe of working musicians keep bringing uncannily consistent energy to the dance floors that depend on it.
Labor Day weekend provides an appropriate opportunity to celebrate some of those linchpin players. And that’s not just because it’s a holiday to honor blue-collar energy, but also because many promoters shy away from special events since so many people skip town, leaving microphones to the regulars who keep a community working on the dance floor.
Raised on Monterey Bay, Esik (Erik Melland of Projekt SEER) produces his own type of hip hop: creative beats with positive but political lyrics. This Thursday from 6-9pm, he drops both for an all-ages show at Casa Sorrento.
The People Pleaser
DJ Fredo does it all—the new dad spins from Watsonville to South County, braves hot dog-eating contests and chips in on ESPN Radio—so it makes sense that he traverses all sorts of music when he spins. “From Elvis Presley to Katy Perry,” he says. He mans the first Friday of the month at Baja Cantina, where his request driven music matches the friendly environment. “I like to create a relaxing hang-out feel that reflects the local vibe,” he says.
The Local Legends
Among club owners, The Money Band is known as a sure draw because their mix of exuberant originals, stylized covers and unmistakable energy—particularly that of frontman Zoe Alexander—make for a perfect party band. Their payday happens 9pm Friday at Sly McFly’s.
The Easy Goers
Hailing from Key West and SoCal, the three wavy-haired members of Wild Blue have got the all the laidback tunes (which include songs from the Eagles, Jimmy Buffet, and Cat Stevens) to remind listeners to have a good time and not take anything too seriously. A nice fit for Bullwacker’s firepit patio come 8:30pm Friday.
The Time Travelers
Frequent visitor from the Bay Area Drive! has a repertoire that spans from recent pop (Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga) to classic rock (Steve Miller Band and Grateful Dead), all treated with their own funky rock and gospel-inflected vocals. They do a double shift at the reliably dance-friendly Cibo Ristorante 10pm Friday and Saturday.
With her voice as a lilting instrument, Los Angeles’ Cathy Segal Garcia relaxes in a web of jazz spun by local talents Kenny Stahl (on flute and piano) and Bob Burnett (seven-string guitar) 7pm Friday at Plaza Linda ($10).
The Family Operation
Lisa Turner delves into surprisingly potent folk rock with a kick of Celtic and zero electricity. Her son Tim adds his own voice, guitar and musical interests (jazz, blues, R&B) to her sound, with intriguing results 7pm Saturday at Plaza Linda ($10).
Born in Ireland, John Michael has traveled a long way from home, playing different characters throughout his journey, and pausing for work as an Elvis impersonator, trained opera singer and vocalist for local rock bands like Bog Iron. As a popular regular at London Bridge Pub, he’ll command a lively crowd 9:30pm Saturday with only his voice and guitar at his disposal.
For decades, Rex Wheeler has set up with his acoustic guitar and mic in Monterey. He’ll be ready to rock with both originals and diverse cover songs 9:30pm Friday at London Bridge Pub.
The second coming
Formerly Vintage Band, Rare prides itself on its fusion of ’60s and ’70s funk, R&B, and Latin jazz in covers of songs by Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Their unique sound is achieved by the depth of Rare’s seven-member team, which includes both brass and wind players, 9pm Saturday at Casa Sorrento.
The Steady Rockers
Well-known on the Salinas Valley circuit, the Shan Johnson Band thrums through a solid collection of classic rock and pop hits 9pm Friday at Casa Sorrento, including “Under Pressure,” “Sir Duke,” “Walk This Way” and “The Joker.”
The Irresistible Force
Santa Cruz resident and Hawaiian native Lisa Taylor is one serious singer: powerful and sultry, but measured. Her energy—stoked by Soul City’s R&B jams—will make sitting still seem silly. once 9pm Saturday at Sly McFly’s arrives.
For a listen to more than 140 different local artists, visit the Weekly’s jukebox at the bottom right corner of www.mcweekly.com.