Local Music

Don Meehan

You recognize this music – it’s our national anthem, performed by The Golden Gate Park Band, San Francisco’s municipal band. They stage free concerts throughout most of the year at the Spreckles Temple of Music in – where else? – Golden Gate Park.

The Golden Gate Park Band’s next performance is Sunday, May 25th, starting at 1:00pm.

Today’s local music is being played by the Jimmy Grant Ensemble. Grant, a native of northern California, grew up in a family of musicians. And that’s where he learned the music of jazz pioneer Django Reinhart.

The Jimmy Grant Ensemble will be playing Reinhart-style jazz guitar on Friday, May 23rd at The Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco. Expect them to start about 7:30pm.

3 hours of Fog City Blues: Gypsy Swing and more

May 13, 2014

The Public Radio Party continues Wednesday night with a special 3-hour Fog City Blues. North Bay quintet Beso Negro return to play songs from their latest release, Burn It Down. One of the performances from their last visit is featured on "Live From the City Blues Vol.1," which is available exclusively as a thank-you gift together with the brand-new "Live From the Fog City Blues Vol.2." We'll listen to tracks from the new compilation, and KALW General Manager Matt Martin will also stop by to play selections from his #PubRadioParty Mixtape.

The name of today’s local band is a bit confusing. It’s Blood & Dust. But in reality, it’s not really a band: Blood & Dust is a solo performer.  One fan describes this Oakland resident as “two parts heart and one part beard.” 

Blood & Dust is on the program with Megan Andrews next Monday, May 6th at the Acoustic Bistro presentation, which takes place at Osteria restaurant in San Francisco. Music begins about 8:00pm.

You know this song, but it’s not quite Lorde, is it? No, it’s DeCadence, the acappella student group from Cal-Berkeley.  

Actually, this is only the female component of the group. But you’ll be able to hear all the members of DeCadence this weekend, both Saturday and Sunday, when they’re having their spring show. That'll take place on campus in Wheeler Hall on Saturday, and Wurster Hall on Sunday. Both shows are at 7:30pm.   

This band, the one you’re hearing now? They’re called The Parmesans, from San Francisco. That might be a cheesy name, but their music is tasty. It’s a blend of contemporary folk, and alt-country, with some bluegrass for garnish.

Can a band be both “of the moment,” and also “timeless?”  It’s possible if the band is Misisipi Mike and The Midnight Gamblers, the six-piece band that you’re hearing now.  

Misisipi Mike and the Gamblers will be playing at Amnesia on Valencia Street in San Francisco this Thursday, starting about 9:00pm.  

Irene Young

The gentle sounds you’re hearing now are being played by teacher and musician Eve Decker. Kevin Vance, host of KALW’s “A Patchwork Quilt,” says of Decker, “This is the kind of music that makes the world a better place."

You can hear more from Eve Decker tomorrow, April 11th when she appears at the Dolores Park Café in San Francisco. She’ll be there from 7:30 to 10:00pm.

The band you’re hearing now is called Spider Heart, from Oakland. One fan says their sound “makes me want to surf and break mailboxes at the same time!”

If you want to get in on some of THAT action, Spider Heart will be playing Saturday, April 12th at the venerable Starry Plough in Berkeley. The fun begins about 9:00pm.

You know this song – yes you do! It’s Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” as performed by Foreverland. This 14-piece band, formed in San Francisco in 2009, doesn’t imitate the King of Pop, but they say they do “carry out Michael’s righteous mission to move audiences’ hearts and dancing feet.”

Foreverland is “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” on Friday, April 11that the historic Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco. Doors open at 8:00pm. 

The band you’re hearing now is called Marc and The Casuals. How casual are they? So casual that they don’t have a website – and this song was recorded at the San Francisco Airport.

Marc and The Casuals head up an evening of deep soul and dance music on Saturday, April 5th. It's called “Soul Kaleidoscope.” This will be happening at The Chapel on Valencia Street in San Francisco, starting about 8:00pm.

What you’re hearing now is music by Gini Wilson. Wilson, also known as The Duchess, is director and co-founder of the San Francisco ChamberJazz Quartet. Perhaps you’ve heard her on “West Coast Live,” on KALW Saturday mornings.

Gini Wilson has a solo show planned this Saturday, April 5th at The Sausalito Seahorse -- in Sausalito, of course. She’ll be there starting at 12:30pm.

The vocalists you’re hearing now are called The Cetaceans, some of the oldest, best traveled singers we have ever featured on our Local Music segment. They’re not from the Bay Area, but they’ve been touring up and down the coast literally for ages, so we wanted to feature them anyway.

This band? It’s Chrome Johnson, from San Anselmo. They are also known as “the new kings of twang,” due to their Roots/America sound. 

Chrome Johnson will be twanging at the “19 Broadway” club in Fairfax on Saturday, March 29th, starting around 9:00pm. 

This music – Bach’s Sonata in G Minor – is from a competition that has taken place every year since 1953: The Junior Bach Festival.

The final concert in this year’s Junior Bach Festival is this Sunday, March 30th at the Old First Presbyterian Church on Sacramento Street in San Francisco. Music begins at 4:00pm.  

The voice you’re hearing belongs to Melanie Ida Chopko of Oakland. Her songs combine American folk and jazz, as well as Brazilian sounds. And she is noted for being pretty good at telling jokes, too.

Melanie Ida Chopko will join Lauren Hulbert at The Monkey House in Berkeley on Friday, March 28th. It’s an intimate space, so reservations are essential.  

Sarah, Known to Collapse

The band you are hearing is Known to Collapse. No, that’s not a literal description, that’s the name Kevin Lehner has given to this experimental music project. He started as a DJ on his college radio station in Boston, but is currently in northern California. Known to Collapse will be playing at The Fireside Lounge in Alameda on Friday, March 28. They start about 9:00pm.

The voices you’re hearing at the moment belong to the 300 members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. The chorus claims the title of the “world’s first openly gay chorus,” having started in 1978. 

The band that’s playing now is called Fallujah. They call their sound “atmospheric death metal.”  This Bay Area group chose their name because to them, the city of Fallujah “represents the pinnacle of tensions and hostility that have come to define the world we live in.” 

Fallujah is one of five bands playing the DNA Lounge in San Francisco on Sunday, March 23rd. The onslaught starts at 6pm.   

The music you’re hearing now is by Oakland’s Disappearing People. One reviewer says,  “Their song forms are long and seem to offer release through repeated figures, over an unwavering drum groove. This ties them in many ways to the 20th Century minimalist composers.”  Or, you could just call it shoe-gaze.

Either way, The Disappearing People will be at Thee Parkside in San Francisco on Thursday, March 20th. Music begins about 9:00pm.

The band you’re hearing now is called Nesta. They’re a reggae band from Half Moon Bay. While Bob Marley is their main influence, the band primarily plays original compositions. 

Nesta will be performing Sunday afternoon, March 16th at The Surf Spot in Pacifica. Music starts about 1:00pm. 

Gary Stenger

The music you’re hearing now is by the San Francisco jazz/hip-hop trio known as The Broun Fellinis. They say of their sound, "We don't really write songs. We superimpose songified ideas.”

This week the Broun Fellinis will be superimposing their songified ideas on a collaboration called “ArtComplex Performances.” That's a series of structured improvisations with dance, live music and art installations.

The Gravel Spreaders, who you’re hearing now, claim to be from the Deep South – south of Market Street, in San Francisco, that is. 

You can experience the  “metal-grass” sound The Gravel Spreaders on Friday, March 14th when they play Smiley’s Saloon in Bolinas. Music should start about 9:00pm. 

The music you’re hearing now is the sound that predated Rock ‘n’ Roll, and helped start the concept of Top 40 Radio. It’s called “rhythm & blues dance music”, or “jump,” and it’s being played by The Stompy Jones Band of San Francisco. 

Stompy Jones plays every week at the Tuesday Night Jump, held at the Verdi Club in San Francisco. The music starts at 9:40pm, and there’s a two-hour dance lesson starting at 7:00pm.

This music playing now is by Christopher Youmans from Berkeley.  His band – called The Christopher Youmans Band -- incorporates various styles of music in their own compositions, with jazz being the strongest.  You can hear the Christopher Youmans Band on Friday, March 7th at the Subterranean Arthouse, in Berkeley. Doors open at 7:30pm.

The sound you’re hearing now is by the experimental-folk duo known as Yesway. Their sound as been called “a floating, flowing faucet of magical unification.” 

That’s a lot to ask from just two singers. But if you think you’re up for the experience, they’ll be on the stage tomorrow, March 4th at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, starting about 8:00pm. 

The music you’re hearing is being played by Myra Melford. She’s on sabbatical from UC Berkeley at present, which gives her time for some performances off campus. She says she continually reaches toward a state of transcendence with her music, yet there’s always a connection to the blues traditions she heard growing up, near Chicago. 

The music you’re hearing now is by the Broken Shadows Family Band. You may know bandleader Darren Johnston from another Bay Area group, the Nice Guy Trio.  

This is an instrumental song, but the sound of the Broken Shadows Family Band usually emphasizes the lyrics – so no texting during the show, OK?  They’re performing at San Francisco’s Red Poppy Art House on Friday, starting about 7:30pm. 

The band you’re hearing is Papercuts. The New York Times described their sound as “melding sustained organ chords with slow finger-picked guitar.”

If you are wondering what that actually means, you can find out on Wednesday when this Bay Area group appears at the 22nd annual Noise Pop festival. Papercuts is the headliner on Wednesday evening, February 26th at The Chapel in San Francisco, starting at 7:00pm.

What your hearing now is a sample of the type of sound you can expect from San Francisco’s newest professional a capella choir, called Capella SF. Ragnar Bohlin is conducting this music, and he heads the new choir. 

Pages