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
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.
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.”
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!
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.