Thursday, May 14, 2009

May 14: Carrie Rodriguez at the Last Day Saloon

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2009 at 3:02 PM

After years spent as the star attraction in the company of “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning” songwriter Chip Taylor, it only seemed natural for the extremely talented wings of Carrie Rodriguez to take flight on a solo career with the release of her acclaimed 2006 album, Seven Angels on a Bicycle. Rodriguez is such a phenomenal fiddle player, mandolinist and singer that it’s easy to overlook any ho-humming over her recent album, She Ain’t Me; the songs, well-written but limply supported by inorganic production in the studio, should have no problem coming to full life onstage. Rodriguez has long been cast as a rising star in these pages, and anyone who caught her opening for Lucinda Williams’ latest tour is also laying their money down. Carrie Rodriguez in the late aughts is like Emmylou Harris in the late ’70s. Go see her if you know what’s good for you on Thursday, May 14, at the Last Day Saloon. 120 Fifth St., Santa Rosa. 8pm. $15. 707.545.2343.Gabe Meline
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May 14: DJ Greyboy at Hopmonk Tavern

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2009 at 2:59 PM

If the windows at the Hopmonk Tavern are still intact from the massive bass rumble of Bassnectar’s set last week, then the Milgard glass will be grateful for the milder but no less danceable beats purveyed by Andreas Stevens, aka DJ Greyboy, at this week’s Juke Joint. By now a fixture on the West Coast funk and soul scene, Greyboy’s released six albums on the San Francisco Ubiquity label under his own name and four with his live-band offshoot, the Greyboy All Stars. With his breakthrough album, Freestylin’, in 1994, Greyboy was also one of the first crate-digging DJs in the fading days of acid jazz. He’s continued to stay relevant through many different eras since—scratch turntablism, the funk 45 phenomenon, the Kraftwerk revival, the electro-disco 12-inch craze—mostly by sticking to the basic notion that records are made to dance to. He appears with Brooklyn’s retrofunk party band the Pimps of Joytime on Thursday, May 14, at the Hopmonk Tavern. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 9pm. $10. 707.829.7300.Gabe Meline
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May 11: Julie Chavez Rodriguez at SSU

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2009 at 2:04 PM

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the granddaughter and torch-bearer of civil and labor rights activist Cesar Chavez, was introduced to the plight of the farmworker in early childhood and hasn’t abandoned the fight since. Now the program director for the Cesar E. Chavez foundation, she works with youth in Latino communities toward more involvement and self-empowerment, upholding her grandfather’s idea that “we don’t need perfect political systems, we need perfect participation.” Chavez Rodriguez has developed numerous after-school programs based on Cesar Chavez’s ideals, and has even developed a web-based K–12 curriculum on the life and work of her grandfather. She also works hand in hand with the United Farm Workers on issues like voter registration and activist programs, and tours the country giving speeches which share her personal memories of her grandfather’s work and promote education, human rights, community service and justice for all. She speaks on Monday, May 11, at Sonoma State University Cooperage. 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. 7:30pm. Free. 707.664.2382.Gabe Meline
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May 9: MURS and Tech N9ne at the Phoenix Theater

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Coming up with the Living Legends crew in the East Bay, MURS was once known best for selling tapes on Telegraph Avenue and hosting a series of “Broke Ass Summer Jam” concerts. Talent intervened, however, and now the rapper with the birth name of Nick Carter (you’d change your name too if you shared it with a Backstreet Boy) has been seen on tour with Atmosphere, in the independent film Walk Like a Man and as an occasional host on CurrentTV. MURS is possibly the most East Coast–sounding MC to live exclusively on the West Coast, with a direct, understandable style more indebted to Masta Ace than Rodney O., although he represents California with a fervor—he’s even got a rib-length “Cloverdale” tattoo (it reflects the area off Wilshire and La Brea in L.A.). Tech N9ne, who headlines the show, knows a thing or two about the hustle himself, although instead of selling tapes on the street, he usually erects an enormous merch booth. Both appear on Saturday, May 9, at the Phoenix Theater. 201 E. Washington St., Petaluma. 8pm. $26–$30. 707.762.3565.Gabe Meline
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May 9: Simone at the Lincoln Theater

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2009 at 2:00 PM

“It took a long time for my mother to accept that I was going to go into the entertainment industry,” said Simone, daughter of Nina Simone, in a recent interview. “When I told my parents, neither one of them were very happy at all. It wasn’t until Broadway embraced me, and I was going onstage as Mimi in Rent, that they both came to the show and were like, ‘Well! Maybe you do have a little talent!’” Of course, Simone’s mother, one of the most unique interpreters of jazz—and then, in the ’70s, of popular song—didn’t get a very fair shake from the entertainment industry, and Simone is careful to avoid both the industry pitfalls and the perils of comparison (it’s an easy peril to avoid; the only singer possibly to compare to Nina Simone, the greatest female singer to sound like a man, is Jimmy Scott, the greatest male singer to sound like a woman). With the Napa Valley Symphony, she pays tribute to her mother, now six years gone but deathless in the annals of American music, on Saturday, May 9, at the Lincoln Theater. 100 California Drive, Yountville. 8pm. $35–$60. 707.226.8742.Gabe Meline
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May 9: Kathleen Battle at the Marin Center

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Probably the only woman in history to sing for Stevie Wonder, James Levine, Bono, Herbert von Karajan, Wynton Marsalis and the pope, Kathleen Battle is a modern wonder, with an ability to adapt to any setting while avoiding the “crossover” tag. Few who witnessed her performance last year of “Superwoman” on the American Music Awards with Alicia Keys and Queen Latifah would think of Battle as an opera singer, and yet since her professional debut in 1972, singing Brahms’ Ein Deutsch Requiem, she’s been one of the world’s best. Battle has also displayed, at times, a temperament worthy of her last name; she was actually dismissed from the Met in 1994, citing unprofessional actions. A retirement from opera immediately followed, but her recitals and concert appearances the world over are the stuff of legend. Expect a combination of arias, standards and spirituals when Battle drops into town on Saturday, May 9, at the Marin Center. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $35–$70. 415.499.6800.Gabe Meline
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May 9: American Philharmonic at the Wells Fargo Center

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2009 at 1:55 PM

With 10 years of bringing excellent and free classical music to Sonoma County, the time is now to stand up and salute the American Philharmonic and its director Gabriel Sakakeeny. What began as a small Cotati orchestra has now grown into one of the county’s most forward-thinking ensembles, with Sakakeeny always making interesting and daring program choices. This weekend, he unveils his own composition, the world premiere of The Lion and the Rose, a piece for mezzo-soprano, chorus and orchestra. Rounding out the thrilling program is another world premiere (Charles Sepos’ Pentangle), an all-time classic piano concerto (Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no. 1) and a challenging, thundering finale (Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé Suite no. 2). The two performances this weekend celebrate a fantastic decade—and provide a wonderful and free Mother’s Day outing—Saturday–Sunday, May 9–10, at the Wells Fargo Center. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 3pm. Free. 707.542.8234.Gabe Meline
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