August 12, 2012

International Pop Overthrow Festival!

Category: out-of-town shows — admin @ 3:15 pm

Fais Do Do in Los Angeles (thanks to Cindy Schonmacher for the onstage shots )

John Shafer

The last few months have seen the band playing all over the state. Happily, our efforts at increasing the amount of our  out-of-town gigs has been paying off. Lately we’ve played in Sacramento, Oakland, Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as keeping up a steady pace in our own home stomping grounds of Fresno.                                   
One of the great helps in getting us into some great clubs lately has been our friends in the International Pop Overthrow Festival. Here are some pictures and moments from some gigs at Fais Do Do in Los Angeles, and in San Francisco at the Hotel Utah. (Watch our website news as we bring a number of these out-of-town bands *into* Fresno.)

and jumping out of order just a bit to show David Bash–the originator and C.E.O. of the International Pop Overthrow Festival (at the Hotel Utah 8-9-12):

The last couple of times Bash introduced the band, he used the term 'synapse bursting'. I can live with that.

and the obligatory post-show meal: this time, it was Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles in Hollywood! from left: Corine, Scott, David, John, Cindy, Martin, Doc, Neptune.

and a few days later….

outside the Hotel Utah in San Francisco

and inside the Hotel Utah…

picture from Joe Rosato's camera!

thanks to Aaron from the Honey Wilders for figuring out the flash on my camera!

and the ever glamorous (and essential) after-midnight roadside hamburger stop

April 20, 2012

April Music Weekend Deluxe! (part 2: gigs and more in Sacramento)

Category: out-of-town shows — admin @ 2:45 pm

playing over the internet at Twirl Radio in Sacramento

Our Sacramento adventure began with Martin and I heading up
the 99. As Martin would say, “It was a good day for a putt.” There had been a
spate of rainstorms on the previous few days, but today, it was all billowy
clouds and intense, blue skies. We were stopping first at James and Raina’s
house in Elk Grove. These are the kind of friends you gotta have: ones that’ll show
you the local record shops, and even let you bed down at their place after a gig.

They took us over to Broadway and 16th, the site of the
original (as in, first in the whole-wide-world) Tower Records. The drug store
that once  had a record department
destined for fame is gone, but the building with it’s tall, white deco-style
tower that gave it its name, remains. Just next door was a great place simply
called “Records”, cuz that’s what’s inside…and we dug through a bunch of ‘em—best
prize might’ve been James’ “Star Wars Funk” album…just for the cheesy cartoon

record store cat

Next, it was off to see Mike Lidskin (and the rest of the
band) at Access Sacramento, home of the internet-streamed show “Twirl Radio”. Mike
was his usual super-welcoming self.  We
played a couple-three songs, talked a bit on-air, and generally had a
Twirl-of-a-Time. Simultaneous to Mike playing a bevy of independent pop-centric
music, there’s always a rapid discussion happening on his Facebook page. Here’s
where many of the folks who’s music he
plays and their friends connect. It’s a real nexus for this fervent
bunch of popfans—people chime in from all over the U.S. and all over the world.
Music is traded, connections made, and plans are hatched.

When it was time to go, Mike’s gracious and lovely wife
Amber gave us directions to a good place to eat and relax until we had to get
on to the gig.

The show itself was at Shine, a café in an older building that
was cozy, arty and inviting, with an old fashioned counter/display case that promised
plenty of good eats and drinks.

Trike Shop at the Shine Cafe' in Sacramento

I believe they were set up primarily for smaller, acoustic
acts; special thanks to booker Josh and owner Rena for letting us stretch the
template a bit.

It was a good gig: we got to play in a new place, made some
new friends, had some fun playing an extended set, and it seemed like
management would be happy enough to  have
us come back…so it’s all good.

It’s true, we started off a bit tentatively (or maybe it was
just me), ‘cuz: feeling out a new place, playing a bit soft at first so as not
to overwhelm the PA, having a smallish crowd that hadn’t yet built for the
night ( usually on  your home-turf, even
smaller gigs are well-peppered with friends to hoot and holler you on to
something good)—all of these things kept me from finding my groove for the
first couple of songs..

But in the end, the crowd
built up a bit, and we had some people singing, clapping and reaching a general
state of Rock Ecstasy (ok, but on a really small café’ scale! [laughs]) –and BONUS:
Mike from Twirl came out and sent the show streaming live on the ‘net—thanks
again Mr. Lidskin!] special note: the band that closed the night: J.B. & the Wash..were a young band with a soulful singer-songwriter and a funk-tight bass&drum combo—check them out if you can.

The evening was young, and there was more fun to be had. We
went down one block, and around another, and we were at the Torch Club. As luck
would have it, Fresno boys the Mofo Party Band were bringing their
Chicago-style blues to Sacramento that same night. This small club (reminiscent
in mood of the original Olympic Tavern in our own hometown), was full of folks
dancing and eating it up. After having a couple of unsure moments playing at
Shine, it really made my night when in an extended set-closing number, Bill
Clifton was out in the crowd doing the whole bit: walking on the bar, playing
amongst the crowd, and when he came upon me, he slipped his guitar strap over
his neck and handed me his guitar—oh man! Nice. I slipped it on and played
over a few choruses. (If you’re reading this Bill, that *did* make my night!)
In the words of the Mofos “We’re known all over the world and in parts of Ripon.”

on the club floor at the Torch Club with the Mofo Party Band --Sacramento

And still more was to come. Martin and I headed 15 minutes
south to James & Raina’s place where we were promised a late night in their
lounge…spinning the records we’d bought and having some nice and cool, after-midnight
refreshments. Thank you James & Raina, for spoiling us well!

James and Martin and Raina

So, thus ended this music-filled April weekend.

And now, a short epilogue: On our drive home, I did have to slip in the appropriate
Creedence  CD as we approached Lodi. But this time, I took the off-ramp…and I
tells ya, Lodi is a *lot* more charming than I’d ever expected….for you Central
Valley folks, it’s a lot closer to ..say Hanford than maybe…Chowchilla (which
is more of what I expected from the tone of that old song). There’s a nice and
very alive downtown with 2-3 story brick buildings that have that early 20th
C. look and tree-lined streets with gracious, old homes that look to be from
the teens or twenties.

November 10, 2011

Oakland—The Great Laundromat Gig and Occupy Oakland

Category: out-of-town shows — admin @ 8:05 pm

So , we’re pursuing this goal: to establish a toe-hold for the Trike Shop in the Bay Area . Little did we know
it would lead us to The Great Laundromat Gig!

I knew it was gonna be a good
day when , after finding the Norge Laundromat on Grand Street, we found parking right away! (That’s always a good thing
in the Bay Area.) The Norge itself was classic:
cool old machines with the cool old logos and looks—these
machines were definitely analogue not digital, tube not transistor (har har).
The ladies who ran the place were very cool as well. The place seemed like a
very neighborhood-y place—they knew the customers by name, and seemed to be
friends with many of them. So much so, that they were happily open to the idea
of a rock show in their store!
Thanks to the Clarences (Robert and Krystal) being one of
these friend/customers, it all came together.

We’d met The Clarences through our mutual connection with the International Pop
Overthrow Festival (now, how many times has that venerable organization played
this role? All you have to do is read this blog to know the answer. Thank you

We showed up, met the good folks of the establishment, and began setting up all
the doo-dads that make a music show (microphones, keyboards, speaker cabinets,

The Clarences are a keyboard duo. Their glam-rock costuming and the action figures that
decorate their gear add to the spice, but the real substance here were the
quality songs. My favorites included one of my fave  pop devices: the counter-melody– Krystal’s
vocals coming in strong over Robert’s.

The Clarences!

Not only did their music satisfy, but their
hospitality was greatly appreciated.

A fun bonus was to have Fresno ex-pates John
Paulson and Paul Ruxton (ex-Central Valley trail-blazers in the world of
New Wave with their band The Directions) come by (along with a bevy of family
members) to see the show.

Our set was solid (even if I started off with a terribly out-of-tune E string).
John tore it up as usual, Martin laid down his flawless bass grooves, and
new-to-the-group Scott Hatfield did a terrific job. (This was Scott’s second
gig with us. He’s filling Leland’s shoes for most of our out-of-town gigs these

Scott and the soap machine

We even had one of those heart-felt stadium-rock moments with the
laudromat folks singing along to our rendition of “3 is a Magic Number” –even having
our new friend Tasha come on up and sing along!

She knew the verses of "3 is a Magic Number", so we had to invite Tasha up.

After the music, we headed into the heart of downtown to check out the newly famous
Occupy Oakland. It was a sobering experience. It had began to drizzle outside by
the time we got to the tent city that filled the square outside of City Hall.

There were some young activist folks, but a good deal of the people here looked
like they probably lived like this year-round. The area’s homeless were making
up a goodly portion of the crowd. Considering that this protest is a reaction
to the increasingly unbalanced proportions of wealth and opportunity in our
country, that made a lot of sense. I don’t think I felt inspired; I felt sad.
Here was a serious problem with not much hope of any immediate or easy answer.


Martin at Occupy Oakland

I wonder if we as a people have the moral will to confront it and deal with it.
It seems we often try to excuse it away, blame it away…or worse yet as we see
here in Fresno, sweep it away by destroying yet another ad hoc camp.

We spoke with a few people. Walked around. Checked it out.  My daughter had been  here at a more euphoric moment—the
Wednesday before when, as she described it, thousands of people were dancing in
the streets. (This was earlier in the day. It wasn’t until much much later that
apparently some things got out of hand—blame who you will.)We
ended our time by driving up to Berkeley, getting soaked (it was really raining
by now),  rummaging through Amoeba
Records on Telegraph, and then by having some Thai food just down the way.

The way home was fine, but I was exhausted. And why do I insist on occasionally
missing that turn-off for the 152….ach, that’ll add a few miles to you trip.

Thanks again to the Clarences. I look forward to setting up some equally cool and
creative kind of gig again soon!