Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment


May 3, 2013
Sacramento's Deftones take home 'Golden Gods Award'


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Put your hands together for Sacramento's Deftones, who won "album of the year" honors at the Revolver Magazine's 5th annual "Golden Gods Awards" Thursday night.

While the band earned an "album of the year" nod from Revolver in December, these "Golden Gods Awards" are voted on by the general public.

Deftones had been nominated for five awards, including best album, guitarist, drummer, bassist and singer.

Members of Korn presented the award - for the band's "Koi No Yokan" - at a ceremony in Los Angeles, where Metallica played with Rob Halford of Judas Priest to close the show.

Deftones singer Chino Moreno also performed, covering Depeche Mode's "Behind the Wheel" with Dillinger Escape Plan.

It's been a busy week for the band, who are on tour and still mourning the recent death of long-time bassist Chi Cheng.

This video from their May 1 concert in St. Louis - featuring the band paying tribute to Kris Kross' Chris Kelly who died earlier this week - has gone viral. Deftones mash up their "Engine No. 9" with the '90s rap duo's hit single "Jump." Check it out.

May 2, 2013
California State Fair announces free summer concert line up

The California State Fair celebrates its 160th anniversary this summer and will do so by offering a free concert every night during the State Fair run, July 12-28.

The line up includes acts like Night Ranger, Hoobastank, "Weird Al" Yankovic, EnVogue and others.

All 17 evening concerts during the State Fair are free with Fair admission and will be held on the Golden 1 Stage at 8 p.m.

April 10, 2013
Late singer-actor-innovator Serge Gainsbourg to be feted

He was a singer, songwriter, actor, director and all-around innovator, and on Saturday, the Sacramento French Film Festival will pay tribute to Serge Gainsbourg with its fourth Serge! tribute party.

As is apt for any celebration of Gainsbourg, the event will include music (live and by DJs), short films and liquor. Guy, the French bartender, will serve special Pastis cocktails as part of a no-host wine and beer bar.

The smoking will need to happen outside the Verge Center for the Arts (625 S St., Sacramento), site of the celebration.

Admission is $7, and proceeds go to the Sacramento French Film Festival, happening in June at Sacramento Crest Theatre, and to Verge Center for the Arts.

Gainsbourg, who died in 1991, would have been 84 this year. He left behind a treasure trove of experimental, influential music and the wonderful actress-singer Charlotte Gainsbourg, his daughter with model and actress Jane Birkin.

The SFFF also has put out a call for Gainsbourg-themed stencil drawings that can be include on the "Gainsbourg wall" in Paris. The artwork must be no more than 1 square yard and must include "Sacramento" somewhere within it. Deadline is May 30. University Art, at 2601 J St., will accept entries.

For information, call (916) 455-9390 or visit the French Film Festival website.

(Above is a video for "Bonnie and Clyde," a Gainsbourg duet with Brigitte Bardot and one of the coolest songs ever).

April 3, 2013
Rolling Stones play Northern California in May


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Maybe it's not so much of a drag getting old.

The Rolling Stones have announced new dates for its "50 and Counting" tour - celebrating the band's 50th anniversary - and they include stops at Oakland's Oracle Arena on May 5 and San Jose's HP Pavilion on May 8. (What? No Sleep Train Arena?)

Front man Mick Jagger, who turns 70 this summer, will be there along with guitarists Keith Richards, Ron Wood and drummer Charlie Watts. Former Stones member Mick Taylor will also share the stage.

"'50 and Counting' has been pretty amazing so far," Jagger said in a statement. We did a few shows in London and New York last year ... and had such a good time that we thought ... let's do some more. It's a good show. Lots of the classic stuff everyone wants to hear ... with a few gems tucked in here and there."

The last major Stones tour was its "A Bigger Bang" show that ran August 2005 to August 2007.

"50 and Counting" tickets for Oakland, San Jose and other cities go on sale Monday (April 8) at 10 a.m. local time and will be available at rollingstones.com

-- Tim Swanson

March 29, 2013
Grant-Lee Phillips performs in Nevada City

grant-lee.jpgSinger-songwriter Grant-Lee Phillips appears tonight at the Miner's Foundry in Nevada City.

If you don't know the native of Stockton from his successful Grant-Lee Buffalo, you might know him as the troubadour on the "Gilmore Girls."

In his new album, "Walking in the Green Corn," Phillips sings about his search into his Native American lineage. His show tonight features his instrumental versatility and his emotionally rich lyrics.

When: 8 p.m. tonight

Where: Miners Foundry, 325 Spring St., Nevada City

Cost: $18 online until 4 p.m.; $22 at the door

Information or tickets: (530) 265-5462; http://minersfoundry.org

March 26, 2013
Sacramento's Bows & Arrows highlights 'New Song Movement'

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Bows & Arrows tonight taps into the Bay Area's "New Song Movement" with a three acts.

On the billing is Grex (pictured), which synthesizes indie and blues rock, modern jazz and contemporary structuralist composition, and features Karl A.D. Evangelista, M. Rei Scampvia and Robert Lopez.

Rounding out the evening will be singer/songwriter Chris Peck and LURK, a one-man band from Davis.

Evangelista says the New Song Movement is "meant to represent a recent groundswell of music in the Bay Area that synthesizes popular song and experimental concepts. This is a relatively new phenomenon (originating at Oakland's Mills College) but it's been gaining momentum."

Where: Bows & Arrows is at 1815 19th St., Sacramento.

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $5

Info: http://www.grexsounds.com

March 21, 2013
Director, actor to appear in Sacramento with cult hit 'Repo! The Genetic Opera'

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Friday night at Sacramento's Colonial Theatre, songs will be sung, organs will be extracted (on screen), and a cult-horror film director and star will interact with fans.

Director Darren Lynn Bousman and actor/writer/performer Terrance Zdunich will accompany their horror rock-opera films "Repo! The Genetic Opera" and "The Devil's Carnival, Episode I." The films will be presented as a double feature.

The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre, 3522 Stockton Blvd. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here. Zdunich will sing a song from "Devil's Carnival," and he and Bousman -- who also directed the second, third and fourth "Saw" films -- will hold a Q&A with audience members.

"Repo!" involves rock songs, widespread human-organ failure and a corporation that finances organ replacement and then repossesses the organs of those who can't cough up cash for payments.

"Repo!" was (barely) released by Lionsgate in 2008, despite one of the more intriguing casts of the past decade, with Paul Sorvino, Paris Hilton and pop opera star Sarah Brightman among its actors.

But the film found new life through midnight screenings and "shadowcasts" -- actors performing along with the film a la "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Amber's Sweets, a performance-troupe offshoot of the Sacramento Horror Film Festival, has held shadowcasts at the Colonial.

Bousman, reached by phone Thursday, said he was sure "Repo!" would be a hit before its studio release.

"When anyone makes a movie, they think, deep down, 'This is going to do amazing, this is going to be big,'" he said. "I thought it was going to be 'Les Mis' or 'Chicago.' I was coming off 'Saw.' We were kind of slapped in the face when it was released in four theaters."

Rather than let it drop, Bousman and crew toured with it, and the film reached "cult classic" status within a few years. 'Rocky' took almost 15 years" to do that, Bousman points out. "But now we have social media."

Bousman and Zdunich made their subsequent, horror rock opera, "The Devil's Carnival" (also starring Sorvino, along with sean Patrick Flanery and "90210" actress Jessica Lowndes) independent of a studio.

They took the 60-minute first episode around the country. Sacramento actress Stephanie Hydenacted as mistress of ceremonies during the tour, Bousman said. Tonight's program will include a preview of "Carnival" episode 2.

PHOTO: LIONSGATE

March 4, 2013
Downtown Sacramento 'Concerts in the Park' 2013 schedule announced

Time to bust out the calendar and circle some summer dates.

MAJ CHAVEZ PLAZA.JPGThe Downtown Sacramento Partnership has announced the band lineup for the 2013 Concerts in the Park season in Cesar Chavez Plaza, which runs Friday nights May 3 - July 26 and features notable acts such as Middle Class Rut, Mothers Hips and !!!.

"On the heels of last season's success, we are excited to have a lineup that is even bigger than 2012," said Downtown Sacramento Partnership's senior events manager Annie Stuckert in a release. "We had a nearly 40 percent increase in attendance in 2012. For (Concerts in the Park) 2013, we're taking all the elements that people loved last year and enhancing them."

Concerts, which include DJs spinning music between sets, will run from 5 - 9 p.m.

Check out the full schedule below (good to note that there's no July 5 show because of the July 4 holiday).

February 22, 2013
Plenty to do in Sacramento and region

Lonesome River Band: Keeping good company in Winters

You couldn't blame the Lonesome River Band for continuing the celebration that started with the band's 30th anniversary last year. The International Bluegrass Music Association deemed Sammy Shelar the best on banjo, and it said this five-man band had the best instrumental performance of 2012 with "Angeline the Baker." Their tight harmonies, rockin' rhythm and traditional roots might have you thinking the same thing. 8 p.m. today at the Palms Playhouse, 13 Main St., Winters; $20. Information: (530) 795-1825; www.palmsplayhouse.com


The Last Reef 3-D: Cities Beneath the Sea

Footage shot over three years reveals the underwater life of the reefs of Palau, Bimini, Cancun, Bora Bora and other exotic places. This 3-D documentary connects modern city life against life among the corals. 11 a.m. today; 12:15 p.m. today-Monday at the Esquire Imax, 1211 K St., Sacramento; $10. Information: (916) 443-4629, www.thelastreef.co.uk


Toujours le cinema: Array of films from France

Every summer, the Sacramento French Film Festival offers the best in new French feature films and at least one classic. Every winter, the SFFF offers a shorts program composed of new films and greatest hits from previous festivals. Saturday's event will double as a festival fundraiser and will include French pop from DJ Christophe, free Luigi's pizza and a recap of today's Cesar Awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars. (Films are in French with English subtitles). 7:30 p.m. Saturday; doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S St., Sacramento; $7. Information: (916) 455-9390, www.sacramentofrenchfilmfestival.org


From the Crayola box of life: Keith Lowell Jensen's 'Elf Orgy'

Comedy Kill this month offers Keith Lowell Jensen for the release of his third CD, "Elf Orgy." Be it on Joan Rivers, snuff porn or the rapture, this Sacramento comic has his own way of focusing the lens. Others on the showcase lineup are Johnny Taylor, Jaime Fernandez and Michael Patten. 7 p.m. Sunday, Punch Line, 2100 Arden Way, Suite 225, Sacramento; $15. Information: keithlowelljensen.blogspot.com.

Designing fashion: Get ready for the runway

Sacramento Fashion Week kicks off a full week of fashion-related events around the city that will culminate March 1-2 with two showcases highlighting local designers. They will debut both spring and summer ready-to-wear apparel, as well as fall and winter collections. Activities include a fashion forum at California State University, Sacramento, and workshops on hair and makeup, and walking the runway.

The designer showcases are at 7 p.m. March 1-2 at the Elk Tower Ballroom, 921 11th St., Sacramento; $40-$100. Information and tickets: www.sacfashionweek.com

February 19, 2013
Sacramento's storied Hangar recording studio to close doors

By Carla Meyer
cmeyer@sacbee.com

The Hangar, the legendary Sacramento studio housed in large a warehouse space, will close its doors after 23 years.

Owner John Baccigaluppi, whose Alkali Flats space has served Sacramento acts from Far and Deftones to Sister Crayon and Sea of Bees, and out-of-towners from Kanye West and Wild Flag (the latest musical project from "Portlandia" star and ex-Sleater- Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein), said the Hangar will close in March.

Baccigaluppi and his business partners will remain in the recording business. The Hangar will move to a house in Marin County and Baccigaluppi and producer Chris Woodhouse will open a new Sacramento studio in the General Produce Building near the Hangar.

Baccigaluppi said running the larger facility no longer is economically feasible. He discusses the Hangar's storied history in this blog post.

February 13, 2013
A classical Valentine's Day at Sacramento's Bows & Arrows

cello.JPGBows & Arrows is offering a free Valentine's Day concert with Classical Revolution. That's the group of musicians who want to make chamber music fun by playing in places beyond the usual venues for classical music.

Before the music begins Thursday, Liz Barton will host a workshop on handmade instruments, some of which will then be played at the concert.

Classical Revolution performs at Bows & Arrows, 1815 19th St., Sacramento, on the second Thursday of each month. Lucky for chamber music fans, that means Valentine's Day this month. The workshop starts at 7, music at 8 p.m. (916) 822.5668; www.bowscollective.com

February 5, 2013
Philip Glass Opera on life of Walt Disney debuts free online

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In the music world the debut of a Philip Glass opera is always a noteworthy event.

On Wednesday the world premiere of his new work "The Perfect American" will be broadcast live online as a free webcast through the online classical music portal medici.tv.

The live broadcast takes place at 11 a.m. Wednesday and will be available for free replay for the next 90 days. Information is available here

February 4, 2013
Outings for nights this week

No need to sit at home merely because it's not yet the weekend. Here are a few things going on this week.

Sibling harmony: Wood Brothers

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What: Chris and Oliver Wood followed separate musical paths before finding themselves together performing as their father had, with lyrics to make their poet mother proud. The Wood Brothers bring their Americana mix of blues, jazz and folk to Grass Valley as part of a western tour. Seth Walker opens.

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley

Cost: $18-20 through the box office (530) 274-8384 ext 14; the BriarPatch Co-op Community Market (530) 272-5333 or online at

Information: www.thewoodbros.com


Good vs. evil: 'The Sleeping Beauty'

SleepingBeauty.jpgWhat: Through classic dance the Russian National Ballet Theatre tells the tale of a baby who grows up under the spell of an evil fairy only to be saved by a good fairy and a prince's kiss - all to the glorious music of Tchaikovsky.

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday

Where: Three Stages at Folsom Lake College, 10 College Parkway, Folsom

Cost: $29-$59

Information: (916) 608-6888; www.threestages.net

February 1, 2013
Black Keys, other top acts to perform at big Napa music festival

By Carla Meyer
cmeyer@sacbee.com

Blues rockers the Black Keys and Alabama Shakes and alternative rocks acts ranging from Kings of Leon to Jane's Addiction will perform in May at the inaugural BottleRock Napa Valley music, wine and food festival in the town of Napa.

The festival will run May 9-12 and span three stages at the 26-acre Napa Valley Expo. The 50-act lineup also will include Furthur (featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead), the pop band Train, folk-rocker Ben Harper, country favorites the Zac Brown Band and veteran R&B and gospel singer Mavis Staples.

BottleRock, which appears to be on a par with festivals such as San Francisco's Outside Lands, will be the closest major festival to the Sacramento region and will highlight two bands with strong Sacramento ties. Alternative band Cake will perform, as will the Black Crowes, the long-running blues-rock group that now counts Sacramento's Jackie Greene among its members.

The festival also will offer wines from 60 vintners, beers from artisanal microbrewers and food from dozens of Napa Valley restaurateurs.

Special presale three- and four-day festival passes start at $249 and go on sale Sunday. The passes can be purchased through BottleRockNapaValley.com. Regular passes start at $299 and go on sale Feb. 10.

January 30, 2013
Record store Phono Select to close current store

Phono Select, the boutique midtown Sacramento record store that offers a great selection of vinyl, lost its lease and will be leaving its current building at 2312 K St.

The K Street store will close as of Feb. 11, but the business will reopen eventually, store co-owner Dal Basi wrote via e-mail. Phono Select is eyeing another space, but in the meantime will focus on expanding its Internet business.

Basi encouraged Phono Select fans to keep apprised of what's happening via the the Phono Select website.

Opened in 2010 by longtime professional music buyer Basi and graphic artist and music aficionado Nicholas Lujan, Phono Select was named "best music hangout" in the 2012 "best of" issue of the Sacramento News & Review.


December 13, 2012
Holiday concerts come to California's Capitol Rotunda

Listen to live holiday music at the California State Capitol Rotunda now through Christmas. Here is a schedule of performances under the dome.

Friday, Dec. 14
Noon-1 p.m.: Capital Valley Harp Circle

Saturday, Dec. 15
11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Camellia City Flute Choir
1-2 p.m.: River Bells (Professional Bell Ringers)

Sunday, Dec. 16
Noon-1 p.m.: Sacramento Youth Symphony Symphonic Band
1-2 p.m.: Renaissance Choir of Sacramento

November 20, 2012
Sacramento's Death Grips: Spin's 'Artist of the Year'

Sacramento's Death Grips were named Spin magazine's "artist of the year" on Tuesday, capping a tumultuous year for the brash and critically acclaimed punk-rap group.

Death Grips' recent past includes being dropped by Epic records, scrapping a hotly anticipated tour, releasing two albums -- including one without the approval of its record label and a very NSFW album cover -- and re-mixing a track for Bjork.

Spin magazine's accompanying feature on Death Grips details the band's humble beginnings, including frontman Stefan "MC Ride" Burnett's longtime stint as a busser at Paesano's restaurant, to its very public fight with Epic records.

November 12, 2012
Taylor Swift to perform in August in Sacramento

Taylor Swift -- six-time Grammy winner, confessional songwriter and Kennedy dater -- will return to Sacramento on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 as part of her "Red" tour.

Tickets for the Sleep Train Arena concert are $32, $82 and $97 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through Ticketmaster.com (800-745-3000). Presale tickets are available starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday if you sign up through Swift's website.

Tickets for Swift's show last year at the arena went fast. So start early or you are never, ever going to get one.

October 30, 2012
Green Day cancels Memorial Auditorium show


Green Day has cancelled its sold-out Dec. 1 concert at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium and several other tour dates.

Tickets will be refunded at the point of purchase.

In September, the band announced the frontman Billie Joe Armstrong would be seeking treatment for substance abuse.

"Obviously the timing for this isn't ideal, but Billie Joe's well-being is our main concern,"
Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt said Monday in a statement on the band's website. "We are happy to say that Billie Joe is doing well, and we want to thank you all for the outpouring of support and well wishes that we have received, and we can't wait to see you all again soon."


October 16, 2012
"From the Top" NPR radio show coming to Mondavi

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"From the Top" - the nationally syndicated NPR classical music radio show that showcases young talent is making a rare appearance at the Mondavi Center on Oct. 25.

At 8 p.m. on that day the show will be recorded from Mondavi's Jackson Hall with Christopher O'Riley hosting in front of the Mondavi audience.

For lovers of classical music "From the Top" is deeply entertaining. And for classical music novices it's a fun and eye-opening experience. Why? Because "From the Top" is not only structured as a showcase of talent for musicians between 8 and 18, it's format also lets the audience hear the stories behind the music and the young musicians performing.

October 4, 2012
Music, mobile food part of event to benefit American River Parkway

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Music and mobile food will be featured during a "Truckin' on the River" event to benefit the American River Parkway.

More than a dozen food trucks are expected to be selling their wares at the event at William B. Pond Park on Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The entry fee of $5, plus service fee, can be purchased at www.arpf.org/truckin. Tickets are $8 at the door.

Also, a portion of the proceeds from each food truck will be donated to the American River Parkway Foundation.

Among the participating trucks scheduled to be selling: OMG Burger, Squeeze Inn, Leila's Lumpia, Off the Mapp Mobile Espresso, Wicked 'Wich and Willie's Burgers.

Music will be provided by Bell Boys, Kepi Ghoulie and Musical Charis.

September 27, 2012
Mondavi offers free courtyard concerts

The Mondavi Center is offering a series of free outdoor concerts to dovetail with concerts it has scheduled throughout the 2012-13 season.

The new series, dubbed the Corin Courtyard Concerts, features musicians from Northern California and are to be performed prior to select performances throughout Mondavi's 10th anniversary season.

The kick off concert features local Davis band The West Nile Ramblers on Sept. 28 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The free concert precedes two paid Mondavi Center events, Elvis Costello, solo in Jackson Hall and Christian McBride in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, both at 8 p.m. on Sept. 28.

Information: www.MondaviArts.org

September 26, 2012
Sacramento pianist performs before heading to Washington D.C.

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Local pianist and composer Tanya Plescia will be performing at Sacramento's Governor's Mansion as a tune up for two concerts she will give in Washington, D.C.

Plescia, founder of the Sacramento Piano Conservatory, will perform works by Mozart, Reinagle and Hewitt at the mansion before heading to the nation's capital where she is booked at the National Gallery of Art and the Washington Arts Club.

Part of the proceeds go to the Sacramento Piano Conservatory scholarship fund and the Governor's Mansion State Historic Park.

Tanya Plescia, piano
WHEN: October 21, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Governor's Mansion, 1526 H St., Sacramento
TICKETS: $25
INFORMATION: www.sacpiano.com

September 19, 2012
Wynton Marasalis to headline UOP's Brubeck Festival

Thumbnail image for WyntonMarsalis.jpegWynton Marsalis, pictured left, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will headline the 2013 Brubeck Festival in March in Stockton, the festival announced today.

The University of the Pacific and the Brubeck Institute released the initial lineup of the festival, which also will feature an appearance by trumpeter-composer Marsalis on campus with the school's Pacific's Powell Scholars, the recipients of a the schools most prestigious academic scholarship. That question-and-answer event will also be open to the public, according to an emailed press release from UOP Media Relations Coordinator Chris Heredia.

As part of the festival's educational mission, the Brubeck Institute will reserve 250 free tickets for school children to see Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at the Bob Hope Theatre in downtown Stockton, the press release said.

Thumbnail image for Dave-Brubeck-cropped.JPGThe Brubeck Festival is an annual cultural celebration that explores the legacy and influence of celebrated jazz pianist and 1942 UOP alumnus Dave Brubeck, pictured right.

Bee Staff


September 19, 2012
Bonnie Raitt brings chops, friskiness to Mondavi Center show

By Greg Lucas

Special to The Bee

Revisiting musicians who have been performing for multiple decades can produce mixed results. Chops might be a bit choppy. The set list appears drawn exclusively from the years when red, white and blue striped Levi's bell-bottoms were king. Just kinda iPhoning it in.

But at the other end of the spectrum is a singularly uplifting affirmation that though much is taken, much abides, as Al Tennyson would say. That here's an artist still on a forward trajectory, celebrating the journey but pushing on toward new musical destinations.

Bonnie Raitt's performance Tuesday night at the Mondavi Center was way the latter and so not even remotely near the former. Her musicianship and frisky bonhomie - "frisky being one of my favorite sports," she allowed - has been demonstrated on stages for more than 40 years.

Delightfully intact at UC Davis, that generosity and connection were shared equally with her tightly coiled band, her opening act -- the marvelous Mavis Staples -- and, of course, the audience.

In front of an artfully lit backdrop of horizontal slats in front of stony towers, Raitt praised the venue, urged the audience to appreciate the standout work of other band members and bitched briefly about menopause.

She and her band also treated the 1,800-person crowd to the better part of two hours of inspired blues, funk, gumbo and Raitt's swampy signature tunes.

A particular target of her friendly gibes was longtime guitarist George Marinelli, who turned Raitt's age - 62 -- an hour after the band's set concluded Tuesday night.

When Raitt wanted to start a song and Marinelli was still tuning, she said: "We all know what doddering is about." Rather than doddering, Raitt said she would stay moist from hot flashes: "It's nice being your own microclimate."

A better example of her generosity was stepping out to trade vocals with Staples on a rollicking, slide-guitar-steeped "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."

Dressed in black pants and a black blouse with aquamarine accents, Raitt was clearly having fun, rolling out familiar tunes like "Something to Talk About," "Have a Heart" and "Thing Called Love" and then offering up a haunting version of Bob Dylan's "Million Miles From You," from Raitt's latest album, "Slipstream," from which a goodly chunk of her set was drawn.

Also featured from "Slipstream" was its opening song, "Used to Rule the World" and the album's hit, a reworking of the late Gerry Rafferty's 1978 tune, "Right Down the Line," which live was less reggae-lacious than the studio version.

In addition to Marinelli, who offers frilly counterpoint to Raitt's slide, or growls sonorously when she plays acoustic guitar, Raitt is blessed with a veteran band that, in the main, has worked together for decades. The new guy is Mike Finnegan, who isn't exactly callow, having played with Jimi Hendrix, Etta James and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Raitt and the band let Finnegan air it on several songs, including "Million Miles from You."

If a complaint were to be lodged, it's a request for more snaky, scalding, sinuous slide -- very, very much more. Like maybe all slide all the time. The red-haired Rock and Roll Hall of Famer can rev up into swirling spirals or coax out languorous lament - and all kinds of wondrous stuff in between. Yes, a band is a collaboration, but slide as breathtaking as Raitt's solo on "Come to Me," from "Luck of the Draw," needs to be heard far more in this world.

The emotional pinnacle of Raitt's set was her take on John Prine 's "Angel From Montgomery," which she dedicated to her mother, Marjorie Haydock, the musical director for her father, Broadway star John Raitt. Her mom never got her due, Raitt said, and poured that sentiment into her reading of the song, which left a number of listeners with tear-stained cheeks. It helps that the story is more compelling when voiced by a woman, since an "old woman" is the main character. But Raitt going a cappella on the first verse sealed the deal.

Casting back to the much-is-taken-much-abides theme, Staples, 73, still rocks deliciously hard. After one of her signatures, "The Weight," by The Band, she exhorted the crowd to give it up for Levon Helm, who she said was in a better place.

From the Staple Singers' more than 50-year-old playbook came the still fresh and inspiring "Freedom Highway," written by Staples' father "Pops" in 1962 for the march from Selma to Montgomery. She's still walking, Staples told the crowd, and they should be, too.

Staples closed her set with an inspired call-and-answer version of the extraordinary 40-year-old "I'll Take You There," which seems one-third spiritual, one-third protest song and one-third saucy invitation.

For photos of the concert, go here.

September 13, 2012
Folsom Symphony taps Sacramento Youth Symphony alum for next concert

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What is the measure of a good youth orchestra?

Some say it is judged on the merits of how far a musician has evolved since leaving such an orchestra.

For its first concert of the 2012-13 season, on Oct. 20, the Folsom Symphony will showcase former Sacramento Youth Symphony violinist Rebecca Corruccini in a performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto.

September 6, 2012
Sacramento's Classical Revolution continues evolution at Bows and Arrows

Classical Revolution has now found a place to call home.

The midtown cafe, clothing shop and gallery Bows & Arrows has invited Classical Revolution Sacramento to perform every 2nd Thursday at 8 p.m., starting this October.

Hatched six years ago in San Francisco's Mission District at a small bar called Revolution Cafe, the Classical Revolution movement brings classical music to alternative venues like cafes and bars. It has spread to 30 active chapters in cities around the United States, Canada and Europe.

September 6, 2012
Wiz Khalifa to perform in November at Power Balance Pavilion

Wiz Khalifa, promoter of all things black-and-yellow and a few things green, will perform Nov. 11 at Power Balance Pavilion.

The rapper hit it big with his album "Rolling Papers," which produced hit singles including "Black and Yellow," a tribute to Pittsburgh sports teams. His single "Work Hard, Play Hard," off his forthcoming album "O.N.I.F.C," already has gone platinum.

Tickets are $43.80-$54.75 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through Live Nation

August 18, 2012
Sacramento Baroque Soloists announce 2012-13 season

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This fall the Sacramento Baroque Soloists enter their 11th season with a 2012-13 season opening concert Oct. 13 and 14 titled "Musick in the King's Court." That concert brings music from the courts of Louis XIV, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Christina of Sweden to the concert stage.

The Soloists' four-concert season continues Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and 2 with performances of its popular "Winter's Eve" concert, celebrating the musical traditions of the Winter Solstice.

On Jan. 26 and 27, cellist Michael Lawson and harpsichordist Ellen Defner perform an evening of Baroque cello songs and sonatas, featuring works by Berteau, Marcello, Geminiani, and Vivaldi.

August 17, 2012
Audition for Carnegie Hall national youth orchestra looming...

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For talented young classical musicians with an interest in becoming orchestral musicians an important deadline is looming.

Recently Carnegie Hall announced the formation of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States. The new initiative, created by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute, begins in summer of 2013, and brings together talented young orchestral players, ages 16-19, from across the United States under the baton of conductor Valery Gergiev, with special guest violinist Joshua Bell.

The application deadline is Sept. 7 (however those who apply have until Nov. 1 to submit audition materials).

August 15, 2012
Concert to benefit fund to rebuild McKinley Park play structure


Local musicians are doing their part to rebuild the McKinley Park play structure partially destroyed in July by an arson fire.

On Friday, several acts will perform at a fund-raiser at Shine coffeehouse (1400 E St.). Lindsey Pavao, from NBC's "The Voice," leads the lineup. Hero's Last Mission, Joshua Krage, Jason Weeks and Mat Sertich of the Generals also will perform.

The show starts at 7:30. The admission price is whatever you want to donate to a fund that goes toward rebuilding the structure. To donate online, go to www.rebuildmckinley.com.

August 8, 2012
British singer Cher Lloyd to appear at noon at Roseville Galleria



Pop songstress Cher Lloyd is currently on a Northern California publicity tour befitting a 19-year-old with a legend's name and experience on Simon Cowell's original, British "X Factor."

Lloyd is hitting local radio stations and at noon today, will perform a few songs at the Roseville Galleria, 1151 Galleria Blvd., Roseville.

UPDATE: Our information about a Friday night show at Splash nightclub in Sacramento is incorrect. The show is not open to the public, only winners in a 103.5 FM radio contest.


The Galleria show will be up close for contest-winning fans, but the general public is welcome as well.

August 1, 2012
KDVS Vinyl & Music Fair on tap for Sunday

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Admit it, you've been wanting to get some of Pregnant's music on vinyl-and now is the time do it.

The student-run, community and independent freeform radio station KDVS based in Davis will be selling some of its music stock this Sunday including music by San Francisco Watercooler, Dead Western, Boss the Big Bit, compilations, and other recordings.

Food, t-shirts, bottle openers, older records and 45's will also be for sale.

July 27, 2012
Community Concerts Association announces 2012-13 season

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One of the city's oldest presenters of classical music - the Sacramento Community Concert Association will celebrate it's 59th season in 2012-2013 season with a roster of five concerts.

The 2012-2013 season kicks off on Sept. 16, with an afternoon concert by the Boston Brass. That ensemble is known for performances of jazz standards as well as original works.

The second concert of the 2012-2013 season takes place Sept. 30 with a presentation of A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra, from Boston. This groundbreaking group of a dozen string musicians is not shy about exploring the traditional boundaries of classical music. Here, young musicians perform with rotating leadership and no conductor; all artistic decisions are made by vote.

July 18, 2012
Sacramento Philharmonic season tickets up for grabs...

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Ticket churn at the Sacramento Philharmonic means that new season ticket buyers can now purchase tickets for seats previously held by 2011-12 season ticket holders.

To draw interest for the 2012-13 season, the orchestra is running ticket package incentives. These include a 15% early-bird discount for a 3-concert package ( some tickets are priced as low as $51). Four-concert packages start at $71. The 15% early-bird discount ends August 3.

Season tickets can be ordered at www.sacphil.org or (916) 732-9045.

Single tickets for the 2012-2013 season go on sale August 3. Single ticket buyers should call the Community Center Theater Box Office: (916) 808-5181.

July 12, 2012
Eric Church to perform in November in Sacramento



Eric Church, country-music bard of beer and The Boss, will perform Nov. 10 at Sacramento's Power Balance Pavilion.

Known for party songs like "Beer in My Hand" and "Smoke a Little Smoke," Church scored a big hit this summer with the quieter "Springsteen," (see video, above) an ode to memories inflected by popular music.

Tickets run $46.85-$57.80 and are available through Ticketmaster (800-745-3000).

July 9, 2012
Sacramento Van Halen show officially cancelled


Those boys in Van Halen sure know how to toy with a rock fan's heart. First, they skip Sacramento on their 2012 U.S. tour. Then they announce new dates, including an Aug. 25 show at Power Balance Pavilion. Then that concert is postponed. Now the show officially has been cancelled.

Guitarist Eddie Van Halen and singer David Lee Roth have said in interviews the band had overextended itself with the new dates.

For information on refunds, see the Ticketmaster site. According to the site, phone orders and Internet sales to the show are being refunded automatically.

July 9, 2012
Get close to California State Fair musical acts


One of the great things about the California State Fair, which starts Thursday, is seeing well-known musical acts free, with the price of fair admission.

But music fans who want prime spots close to the stage can buy a Gold Circle tickets to Golden 1 stage shows. Tickets range from $13-$22, and are available through the State Fair's ticket office at Cal Expo, or through the fair website.

Gold Circle tickets still are available for every show beside Scotty McCreery 's on July 21. Fans already snapped up all the Gold Circle tickets to see the country singer and 2011 "American Idol" winner.

Gold Circle ticket buyers still have to pay for admission to the fair.

Here are the acts performing on the Golden 1 stage, and Gold Circle prices for their shows. All shows start at 8 p.m.:

Thursday -- The Fab Four ($13)

Friday - Happy Together Tour ($19)

July 18 - Cody Simpson ($19)

July 19 - Rick Springfield ($19)

July 20 - Landau Eugene Murph. ($15)

July 21 - Scotty McCreery (Golden Circle tickets sold out)

July 23--Dave Mason ($13)

July 24--Hot Chelle Rae ($19)

July 25--Jim Messina ($13)

July 27--Joan Jett & The Blackhearts ($22)

Radio Disney singer Coco Joness also will perform on the Golden 1 stage, at 4 p.m. Saturday. That show is free.


July 5, 2012
Pasatiempo to perform Greek and Balkan music in Davis

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Ever heard the instruments the bouzouki, baglama or the tzouras in concert?

Odds are you have not. Unless you are from Greece or surrounding countries.

But on July 22, those instruments will be front and center when the Seattle-based Pasatiempo performs in Davis.

Pasatiempo performs rebetika and folk music of Greece & the Balkans.

July 4, 2012
Jazz With Oliver Lake

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The veteran avant garde saxophonist Oliver Lake returns to Sacramento on Thursday July 5, playing a solo show at Antiquite Maison Privee. Lake co-founded the hugley influential World Saxophone Quartet with Hamiet Bluiett, David Murray, and Julius Hemphill in 1976. He's worked with legends of jaz such as Max Roach, Reggie Workman, James Newton, and Abbey Lincoln.

An unabashed disciple of the great alto saxophonist and composer Eric Dolphy, Lake plays powerful and intriguing music which is both challenging and rewarding to adventurous listeners. Lake can and will touch on free improvisation, abstract funk, and post bop lyricism, possibly all in the same tune. An internationally respected jazz figure Lake has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Melon Jazz Living Legacy Award among his many accolades. The show starts at 7 p.m. at Antiquite Maison Privee, 2114 P St, 21st and 22nd St in Sacramento. Advance tickets are $15 through Wednesday, July 4 at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/251223. Available at the door for $20 on the day of the show. For information on Oliver Lake go to www.oliverlake.net.

July 2, 2012
Events at Fairytale Town, Crocker, cemetery slated for summer

Sacramento museums and the convention bureau are promoting after dark events that start when summer days in the city mercifully cool.

Among the Sacramento after-dark events:

• Crocker Museum shows movies in the courtyard the first Thursday evening of the month through September. "Casablanca" is scheduled for Thursday. Food is available at the Crocker Café. Tickets are $5 for members, $8 for non-members. More information at www.crockerartmuseum.org/programs-events/thursdays-til-9/event/1578-qcasablancaq

• Mumbo Gumbo plays Fairytale Town. The Sacramento band, with its danceable repertoire, hits the stage July 11. Tickets are $10, members get 2 for 1 admission and children 12 and under are free. More information at www.fairytaletown.org.

• Sacramento Old City Cemetery mixes a couple drinks with tales of the city's checkered past in an evening titled "Beer, Babes and Brawls" on July 13. Guests learn about the colorful dear-departed and get two beverage tickets for beer, wine or soda. Tickets are $25. More information at www.oldcitycemetery.com.

June 28, 2012
Mondavi Center adds dates for Elvis Costello, David Sedaris

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If this world is killing you, take heart: The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts has added three potentially mood-lifting performances to its 2012-13 season.

Elvis Costello, David Sedaris and the modern dance troupe Pilobolus Dance Theatre will appear in the Mondavi's Jackson Hall in separate performances.

Singer, songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Costello will perform an intimate solo show on Friday, Sept. 28. Author, NPR commentator and longtime Paris resident Sedaris will appear Friday, Nov. 16. Pilobolus, a company known for its fluid, inventive movements, will take the Jackson Hall stage on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.

Tickets are $35/$55/$65 for Costello, and $25/ $37/$49 each for the Sedaris and Pilobolus shows. Tickets are on sale now to Mondavi Center subscribers. They go on sale Sunday to the general public.

For tickets and information, call (530) 754-2787 or (866) 754-2787 or visit the Mondavi's site.

PHOTO OF ELVIS COSTELLO BY JAMES O'MARA

June 27, 2012
Ravi Shankar show cancelled at Mondavi

The Mondavi Center at UC Davis announced today the cancellation of Ravi Shankar's performance, scheduled for Oct. 23.

Shankar's management company, Opus 3 Artists, provided the following statement:

It is with deep regrets that, due to health issues, Panditji Ravi Shankar must cancel his October 2012 tour. Mr. Shankar lives for the joy of performing and is very sorry to have to announce this cancellation. He very much hopes to be able to perform for the Davis community in a future period.

The Mondavi Center will issue refunds to all ticket holders no later than Friday, July 13.

Information on refunds (530) 754-2787 or www. MondaviArts.org

June 26, 2012
'American Idol' finalists to show pipes at Power Balance Pavilion

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It's the rare arena show where you know the performers do not need to rely on lip-syncing or on backing tracks.

"American Idols Live" will come to Sacramento's Power Balance Pavilion on Saturday, July 21. The 10 finalists from the show's most recent edition will perform, including winner Phillip Phillips and runner-up Jessica Sanchez.

Tickets are $42.75- $79.45, and are available through Ticketmaster (800-745-3000).

PHOTO: JOHN GANUN

June 26, 2012
Free 'opera in the park' film screening in July at Crocker Park


Crocker Art Museum and the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts have teamed up to show a a filmed performance of "La Boheme" in Sacramento's Crocker Park.

The free outdoor screening on Thursday, July 12 will showcase a 2008 San Francisco Opera production of "La Boheme."

The park event starts at 8 p.m., and follows the Crocker's 5 p.m. Art Mix event, "Red, Hot and Bohemian." The Art Mix event will include live music and an art-making project involving cellophane and inspired by glass. The event is included in the price of museum admission.

Crocker Park sits next to the Crocker Museum (216 O St.).

For information on the museum, visit its website. For information on the Mondavi's 2012-2013 arts season, see the Mondavi's website.

June 20, 2012
Stone Temple Pilots, Deftones to play in Discovery Park


Sacramento bands Deftones and Oleander will perform in their hometown Sunday, Sept. 23, as part of the all-day "Aftershock" concert at Discovery Park.

Stone Temple Pilots head the day's lineup. Bush, Chevelle, Hollywood Undead and other bands will appear as well.

Tickets are $49.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000.

Radio station and "Aftershock" concert presenter 98 Rock is conducting a presale today through its Rock Mob program. To sign up for the Rock Mob, see 98 Rock's website. Presale tickets are $44.50.



June 20, 2012
Davis will be hub of activity this weekend

You would think, now that the UC Davis have mostly gone home for the summer, Davis would revert to its summer sleep-mode.

You would think wrong.

No less than three events will take place in this hub of Yolo County culture: a music festival, an arts festival and, of course, a bike ride.

Details:

  • The Downtown Davis Art & Craft Festival will be held in the E Street Plaza Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More details, click here.
  • The Davis Music Fest will be held at various venues throughout the city from 1:30 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday. Tickets ($20) good for all venues can be purchased at Armadillo Music on F Street and byclicking here.
  • The Livestrong Challenge bike ride begins Sunday at Central Park, covering courses 20, 65 and 100 miles in length. More than 2,000 cyclists are expected. There will be a "Livestrong Village" at Central Park open all day.    
June 14, 2012
Blondie, Devo to perform at Sunrise Marketplace

Beginning in August, Sunrise Marketplace in Citrus Heights will hold a series of concerts in a pavilion being erected in the parking lot, a la the summer outdoor venue at Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

The series' double-act shows feature Baby Boomer favorites one expects during the summer concert season: Lonestar and Charlie Daniels (Aug. 10), Three Dog Night and America (Aug. 25), Kool and the Gang and the Commodores (Sept. 8).

That is, until you get to the Sept. 14 show: Blondie and Devo. Granted, Blondie and Devo are also Boomer favorites. Yet a joint show by the two New Wave forerunners at a Citrus Heights mall is unexpected.

Other stops on the Devo/Blondie "Whip It to Shreds" tour include the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and the Warfield in San Francixco.

Tickets to the Blondie/Devo show run $39.50-$82.50. They officially go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through the Sunrise Marketplace site. Sunrise Marketplace site. But there also is a presale today through the site. The password is "Blondiedevo."

The 2,500-capacity Sunrise Marketplace pavilion, which also will hold Sacramento Capitals tennis matches, fills a gap in the Sacramento concert market. Most other venues are significantly smaller or larger. This one seems like the perfect size for a Blondie/Devo sellout.

June 13, 2012
Ani DiFranco, Cake headline at 16th WorldFest music festival

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Singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco and Cake will be among the headliners at the 16th California WorldFest music festival, in Grass Valley.

The focus on world music and culture continues at the festival and will play out amid eight stages surrounded by the trademark ponderosa pine, black oak, and green lawns of the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Events include children's programs, vocal, dance & instrumental workshops, yoga, and international foods. Camping sites are available.

June 13, 2012
Lindsey Pavao of 'The Voice' to perform at Concert in the Park

Lindsey Pavao, the Manteca singer who made it to the semi-finals of NBC's "The Voice," will perform at this Friday's Concert in the Park at Cesar Chavez Plaza.

The folksy, asymmetrically haired performer will join a lineup that includes singer-songwriter Reggie Ginn and DJ Shaun Slaughter and is headed by blues-rock band Relic 45.

Concerts in the Park shows start at 5 p.m. at Cesar Chavez Plaza at Ninth and J streets in Sacramento. For information see the Downtown Sacramento Partnership site

Above are a behind-the-scenes video of Pavao from "The Voice" and a video of Pavao performing earlier this year at Sacramento's Zen Sushi.

June 9, 2012
Classical Revolution coming to Sacramento

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Think of a classical music concert and what comes to mind?

Usually it's an intimidating brew of prim concert protocol, uncomfortable concert seats and sky-high ticket prices. It's no wonder young or new audiences have not flocked to the art form.

But the presentation of classical music is changing, as evidenced by Classical Revolution, whose focus is presenting classical music - usually chamber music - in unexpected locales that are breezy affairs where a glass of wine or entree at your seat is no rarity.

June 7, 2012
Auburn Symphony selects new conductor

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The Auburn Symphony has selected Stockton Symphony artistic director Peter Jaffe as its new Music Director.

The decision bodes well for the Auburn Symphony. Mr. Jaffe is highly regarded among regional orchestra conductors for the work he has done during his 14-year tenure at Stockton.

He replaces the late Michael Goodwin who died in a car accident earlier this year. Jaffe will continue his duties with the Stockton Symphony.

June 1, 2012
Teenage singer Zachariou to celebrate new CD at Harlow's

Julianna Zachariou, the local teenage singer-songwriter with a sophisticated voice and sense of melody, will celebrate the release of her first CD, "Tell Tell Tell," Saturday night at with a show at Harlow's, 2708 J St., Sacramento.

The show is an all-ages event -- unusual for Harlow's. Doors open at an all-ages friendly 6:30 p.m., and the cover charge is just $7, or $10 for the cover and a copy of the new CD.

Above is a video of Zachariou performing at Downtown Plaza. She sounds pretty great, considering the outdoor mall offers a less-than-perfect acoustics. Just imagine what Zachariou can bring to an actual nightclub setting.

May 31, 2012
Sacramento Philharmonic announces new season plans

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The announcement of a 2012-13 season is the first step taken by the Sacramento Philharmonic in the wake of its success raising a must-have $150,000 over a five week period that ended May 15.

Prior to raising the funds the orchestra's board of directors was contemplating outright closure or a cancelled season because of financial woes earlier this year.

The new season begins Sept. 29 with "Viva la Musica" a concert offering a wide range of music from Latin America. Americas music specialist Polly Ferman will appear as will bandoneonist JP Jofre.

May 30, 2012
Chanticleer announces 3 concert slate in Sacramento

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In the realm of choral ensembles there are few that have the musical stature of the San Francisco-based Chanticleer. In the three decades that it has been performing, this all male ensemble has left a stream of excellent music-making in its wake.

Fortunately, that group has always stayed faithful to its plan on including Sacramento into its Bay Area touring paradigm, and the 2012-13 season is no exception.

This year the group celebrates its 35th anniversary season. In Sacramento, that season begins at St. Francis of Assisi church on Sept. 23, with The Siren's Call.

May 24, 2012
Glen Campbell farewell tour comes to Stockton

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I remember the first time I heard Glen Campbell.

It was my parents spinning vinyl of a recording of Campbell singing "Wichita Lineman."

I felt goose pimples all over my body. I was a little more than a toddler, but even back then I knew I was listening to something special.

May 24, 2012
Local flutist chosen to appear on NPR's national radio show

Davis High School senior and flutist Margaux Filet will appear on the next broadcast of the national NPR show "From The Top."

Filet will perform Cantabille by George Enesco on the show which was taped at the Crane Auditorium at SUNY Potsdam in upstate New York.

The show airs on NPR June 3rd at 3:00 p.m. on Capital Public Radio, KXPR, 88.9 FM.

May 23, 2012
New York Philharmonic hornist up next for Sacramento Chamber group

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A highlight of the Chamber Music Society of Sacramento's season happens June 3 when the country's top hornist - Philip Myers - performs with the chamber group for its final concert of the season.

Myers (pictured, right) is currently principal horn with the New York Philharmonic.

In Sacramento he will join the chamber group in a performance that includes Berkeley's Trio for Horn, Violin & Piano, Wettham's Trio for Horn, Violin & Piano and the West Coast premiere of Vaughan Williams' not-oft performed Quintet for Horn, Clarinet, by Vaughan Williams.

May 23, 2012
Live local music on a budget at Sacramento County Fair


The Sacramento County Fair often gets overshadowed by that other Cal Expo fair, the one for the whole state. But the county fair, running Thursday-May 28, offers plenty of enticements beyond livestock and carnival rides.

Thursday afternoon and evening, local bands Hot Tar Roofers, The Generals, Walking Spanish and Dog Party will play on the community stage as part of the fair's Community Night.

There also will be a classic car show and food trucks including Drewski's and Wicked 'Wich.

That's more entertainment than you can shake a stick at, or lead a pig with, and all for just $5 for adults. Children 12 and younger are free.

Parking, however, is $10 at Cal Expo. So pile into a van, band style, or find another way to get to Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento.

For information, see the county fair's website.

May 22, 2012
Camerata California offers Memorial Day themed concert

The Camerata California is teaming up with the Camellia Symphony for "A Day of Rememberance" a Memorial Day-themed concert offering two West Coast premieres.

Under the baton of Les Lehr, the Camellia and Camerata musicians will perform the West Coast premieres of Lee Hoiby's "Last Letter Home" and Lewis Songer's "Elegy".

Also to be performed is Haydn's Third Mass and Jonathan Wilcock's "A Great and Glorious Victory".

May 17, 2012
Geek out, explore state of geekdom, at Sac Con event


Comic-book style geekiness reaches an apex this summer with the releases of "The Avengers," "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Dark Knight Rises." .

But if those movies are too mainstream for you, there's Sac Con, happening June 3 at the Scottish Rite Center, at 6151 H St., across from Sacramento State.

The one-day comics convention will feature a 4:30 panel discussion on what it means to be a geek, specificially a Sacramento geek.

The panel discussion will kick off a summer of geeky inquiry and celebration by the Sac Geeks website and Meetup group.

The panel talk will help introduce a Sac Geeks project that puts images of geek-friendly local businesses and celebrities on a deck of 54 collectible playing cards.

"One of the queens will be Kiki from Warp 11," Sac Geeks' Stephanie Rector said.

For you non-geeks, Warp 11 is Sacramento's own saucy, Star Trek-themed rock band.

May 17, 2012
America's "classical" music concert up next for VITA Academy

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Ever wonder what the origin of American "classical" music is?

Sure, major influences came from Europe. But a lot came from elsewhere - and that music is the focus of the VITA Academy's upcoming concert May 26.

Much of its identity begins when Antonin Dvorak was brought to America in the 1890's to head the National Conservatory in New York. It was there that he trained a generation of composers to develop a truly "American" voice in classical composition.

May 9, 2012
"Nixon in China" touches down at San Francisco Opera

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It's hard to believe that it has been 25 years since John Adams' "Nixon in China" opera hit the opera stage.

That work, which has a libretto by Alice Goodman, has aged very well.

And it is only fitting that the anniversary gets honored when the San Francisco Opera performs the Bay Area permiere of the work, starting June 8.

May 9, 2012
Vocal Arts Ensemble mines famous poets for next concert

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This weekend the Vocal Arts Ensemble will perform "Inkspell," - whose choral music is married to poems by Rumi, Frost, and Shakespeare, and others.

The choral group will perform works by Debussy, Eric Whitacre, and Vaughan Williams.

The evening will also include poetry enactments directed by Russell St Clair of Daedalus Performance Company.

May 8, 2012
Mayor Johnson to arts patrons: "buy tickets"

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In a letter posted online by his For Arts Sake initiative Mayor Kevin Johnson has put the onus on Sacramento area arts patrons to help a struggling arts community.

In that letter Johnson said "I encourage everyone to find a way to demonstrate support - whether to buy a ticket to a show, purchase a painting, listen to music, or just share great local art experiences."

It is unclear to what extent area residents are compelled to do so - up and above what they already do in that realm.

May 8, 2012
Folsom Symphony announces new season, ticket sales

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The Folsom Symphony has announced its 2012-2013 season, its ninth.

The all-volunteer orchestra will perform all of its concerts at the Three Stages performing arts complex on the campus of Folsom Lake College.

The season opens Oct. 20 with "A Heart's Jewel and Triumph," featuring Mendelssohn's Concerto in E Minor, and Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," as well as Schubert's Symphony No. 8 ("Unfinished").

May 7, 2012
Van Halen to perform Aug. 25 in Sacramento

Van Halen will not be skipping Sacramento after all. David Lee Roth, Eddie and the boys will perform on Saturday, Aug. 25 at Power Balance Pavilion.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday through the PBP box office, One Sports Parkway, Sacramento, or Ticketmaster (800-745-3000). Tickets run $47-$147.

The initial run of Van Halen's 2012 tour skipped Sacramento, booking June dates in Oakland and San Jose instead. But Sacramento will catch the band on a new leg of its tour.

The video above offers a taste of what will happen in August at Power Balance Pavilion. Just imagine less hair and slightly less mobility.

May 7, 2012
Hot potato! The Wiggles will perform in July in Sacramento



The Wiggles, one-time regulars on the cover of Toddler Times, have been quieter in recent years. But the undulating "Hot Potato" singers have returned to original, primary-colored form, and on Tuesday, July 17, will perform at Sacramento's Community Center Theater.

Yellow Wiggle and original member Greg Page has returned to the group. The show will emphasize positive messages like the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle (a.k.a. wiggling).

Tickets run $15-$75, and are available through Tickets.com (800-225-2277) or at the Community Center Theater box office, 1301 L St., Sacramento.

May 2, 2012
Next up for Sacramento Youth Symphony? Music from India...

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One of the more unusual and provocative concerts this season is on tap when the Sacramento Youth Symphony's Premier Orchestra performs with Indian composer and instrumentalist Chitravina Ravikiran.

Ravikiran (pictured, right) will join the orchestra on the 20-stringed slide instrument called the chitravina.

The orchestra, with Michael Neumann conducting, will perform two Ravikiran compositions: "The Haunted Brook" and "Maltz."

May 1, 2012
National NPR show "From the Top" seeking local musicians...

By now most people now the NPR national radio show "From the Top".

The show, broadcast over 200 stations nationwide to an audience of more than 700,000 weekly, is one of the most popular classical music programs on radio. Locally, "From The Top" is broadcast on KXPR at 3 p.m., Sundays.

The formula of the show is a simple one: present the most promising and interesting young musicians in the country and have them play and interact with show host Christopher O'Riley.

April 26, 2012
Virtuosos Fisk, Stoltzman to wrap up classical series at Sacramento State


The New Millennium series at Sacramento State will wrap up Friday with a rare dual concert by guitarist Eliot Fisk and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman.

The pairing of classical virtuosos will happen at 7:30 p.m. at Capistrano Music Recital Hall.

Stoltzman and Fisk will play works ranging from Bach to Steve Reich. Both musicians have been soloists with countless orchestras and chamber-music combinations. Stoltzman is a two-time Grammy winner and Fisk a Grammy nominee.

Tickets are $25 general, $20 for seniors and $5 for students. Tickets are available at the Sacramento State box office (916-278-4323). Parking is free in the garage adjacent to the hall.

April 23, 2012
Lyle Lovett, Steve Martin, Eddie Izzard to perform at Mondavi


The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts just added three events to its 2012-13 season: Lyle Lovett on Saturday, July 7, Steve Martin and his Steep Canyon Rangers on
Saturday, Aug. 25 and comedian Eddie Izzard on Friday, Oct. 26.

Tickets go on sale to Mondavi Center subscribers today and to the general public on Sunday. For tickets to these shows or for subscriptions, visit the Mondavi site or call (530) 754-2787.

Lovett tickets run $35-$65, Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers tickets $35-$75 and Izzard tickets $25-$45.

Lovett memorably played the Mondavi with his friend John Hiatt in 2009. The Steep Canyon Rangers are comedian-actor-playwright-art collector Martin's sidemusical project. Martin leads the bluegrass band with his banjo and witty rejoinders.

Izzard, a late-1990s stand-up sensation known for his absurdist humor and out-transvestite status, has become best known for his acting roles in recent years. Izzard starred in the fascinating 2007-08 Fox series "The Riches" and voiced a role in the Pixar film "Cars 2."

April 23, 2012
Big Time Rush to hit Sleep Train Amphitheatre in September

Talk about big time: the Nickelodeon channel boy band Big Time Rush has gone from playing Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium a few months ago to the four-times-bigger Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Wheatland.

Big Time Rush will perform at Sleep Train on Friday, Sept. 21. Cody Simpson and Rachel Crow will open. Tickets are $32.50-$75.50, and are available through Live Nation.

Above is Big Time Rush's (or BTR, to insiders) mini-video for the song "Time of Our Life."

April 18, 2012
Dick Clark's death ends a television and musical era

News that longtime "American Bandstand" host Dick Clark has died closes the door on an important era in the presentation of pop music.
That door already was partially closed when "Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius died in February.

Clark's and Cornelius' shows seem quaint now, but they were important sources of news and information for 1970s and '80s small-town kids like me. "Bandstand" and "Soul Train" showed the faces behind radio hits and offered insights into the latest fashions and dances.

These shows offered a sense of community among music fans -- even if the young people who appeared on these shows clearly were not regular teens but rather showbiz types angling for more camera time.

YouTube and social media now get bands' images out to the world in an instant. But "Bandstand" seemed dated even in the early 1980s, when MTV was the much cooler conduit for lip-syncing.

Yet "Bandstand" still had some juice in the early '80s. I saw Madonna's face (and midriff) for the first time on "Bandstand" (see video, above)

I recall it vividly because I had heard "Holiday" on the radio and had envisioned a 1970s, sequined-gowned dance diva singing the song. The East Village-scruffy, fashion-forward singer and modern dancer who appeared on "Bandstand" was a revelation.

Within a few years, Madonna would become as iconic a figure as the always genial yet always in-charge gentleman who introduced her on "Bandstand." The in-charge part is evident in the final part of the video, when Clark keeps control of his interview with Madonna despite crowd whoops and her already formidable ego.

April 5, 2012
Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw to countrify Oakland Coliseum

Stadium shows do not happen often in the Bay Area, and if they do, it's usually veteran rock superstars the Rolling Stones or U2 playing.

On July 15, country superstars Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw will change all that when they bring their "Brothers of the Sun" stadium tour to O.co Coliseum in Oakland.

Tickets run $36.75-$276.95, and go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 14, through Ticketmaster(800-745-3000).

The Sunday concert will offer opening acts and an afternoon-buzz start time of 4:30. The beach-themed show will include a "sandbar" area near the stage.

The sun theme makes sense with Chesney, Chesney, the Jimmy Buffett of country with his island-getaway songs, but not so much with McGraw. McGraw's black cowboy hat says sun protection, not sun worship.

March 29, 2012
Free Christian concert, kids activities June 2 at Gibson Ranch

Five Christian music acts will provide a full day of music Saturday, June 2, at Gibson Ranch in Elverta as part of the free "Fish Family Fest" sponsored 103.9 FM (The Fish).

Natalie Grant, Big Daddy Weave, Josh Wilson (music video above), Mikeschair and Lisa Daggs will perform at the event, which will run 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and include a family fun zone with a bouncy house and other activities.

Free tickets are available at California Family Fitness and Quick Quack Car Wash locations. For information, call (916) 934-0710.

March 22, 2012
Jazz Festival to debut in Placer County

Martinez.jpg

Placer County is getting its own jazz festival when the Placer County Jazz Festival debuts on Memorial Day.

The brainchild of jazz musician Jim Martinez (pictured, right), the festival will offer a roster of well known artists including the LA-area based Yve Evans as well as Cami Thompson, Cynthia Douglas and the traditional jazz ensemble Cell Block 7.

Also appearing is local pianist Joe Gilman, bassist Guilio Cetto and drummer Tim Metz. The festival will see artists paying tributes to Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Cab Calloway and The Four Freshman.

March 16, 2012
San Francisco Symphony webcasts creativity forum

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Every orchestra confronts this tough question when programming new seasons: How do you stay vibrant and fresh without alienating a traditional fan base?

The former is elemental to the evolution of classical music, the latter pays the bills.

Answers are, typically, not easily had... but one orchestra has managed to come up with some elegant ones: the San Francisco Symphony.

March 15, 2012
Fleetwood Mac's Buckingham to perform at the Crest

Singer, songwriter, guitarist and fount of energy Lindsey Buckingham will perform Sunday, May 13, at the Crest Theatre.

Tickets go on sale Friday, and are $45 and $55 in advance, $3 more the day of the show. They are available at the Crest box office (1013 K St., Sacramento) or through Tickets.com. (800-225-2277).

The Fleetwood Mac guitarist, known for his furious guitar picking and impassioned vocals, released an acclaimed solo album called "Seeds We Sow" last year.

He always puts on a terrific show, solo or with Fleetwood Mac. When he's with Fleetwood Mac, he makes all the other band members look like they are standing still.
Except Stevie. She will do a little spin here and there.

February 28, 2012
LMFAO to bring 'Party Rock Anthem' to Sacramento's PBP


LMFAO, the good-time electronic pop act behind "Party Rock Anthem" and "I'm Sexy and I Know It," will perform June 6 at Power Balance Balance Pavilion. Far East Movement ("Like a G6") will open.

Tickets run $40.20 to $73.35 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through Ticketmaster (800-745-3000).

LMFAO DJs Redfoo and Sky Blu (son and nephew, respectively, of iconic music producer Berry Gordy) appeared with Madonna at the Super Bowl. Unlike Madonna, they do not take themselves deadly seriously. Or at all seriously, as you see, above, in the post-apocalyptic, party-positive "Anthem" video.

February 17, 2012
Things to Do for families, gearheads, opera lovers and more

Looking for something to do this weekend? Boy, do we have plans for you?

Toys rule at Power Balance

Buzz Lightyear, Woody and the rest of the "Toy Story 3" gang decide to clear out of the Sunnyside Daycare and head for home. By the way, don't be surprised to see Barbie's pal, Ken, horn in on the action.

Info: 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. today-Sunday; 3 p.m. Feb. Saturday-Sunday; noon and 4 p.m. Monday; Power Balance Pavilion, One Sports Parkway, Sacramento; $15.75, $18.75, $24.75, $41.75, $61.75 (Parking is $12.); (916) 928-6900, www.powerbalance pavilion.com

February 11, 2012
Sacramento comedy club hosts benefit for vet's baby

An upcoming comedy night in Old Sacramento will help a baby with serious health problems.

Laughs Unlimited will host a benefit Feb. 26 for Harlow Crisamore and Hope 4 Harlow, a non-profit fund set up to provide medical equipment for the 11-month-old girl, who was born with cerebral palsy. Blind and epileptic, the baby needs special care.

Harlow is the daughter of Iraq war veteran Sgt. James Crisamore, who was featured along with his family Dec. 26 in The Bee.

Crisamore, who was severely injured while on duty overseas, has campaigned relentlessly for his infant daughter's health needs while trying to cope with his own recovery from a Humvee rollover accident that smashed both hips.

Since the Christmas story in The Bee, Harlow has been in and out of the hospital, Crisamore said. "She was in ICU for 10 days. It's been an ordeal, but she's home now."

Crisamore hopes that the comedy show in Harlow's honor can become a semiannual event.

"Laughs Unlimited is a very generous organization," he said. "They're giving us the floor and sponsoring Harlow for the fund-raiser. They're doing a wonderful thing for the community. Not enough people out there are like that."

Raffle donations are now being accepted for the Feb. 26 event, which includes live music from 3 to 6 p.m. and a comedy show at 7 p.m.

Tickets are a $15 donation and available from Laughs Unlimited's reservation hot line at (916) 446-5905 or online at www.laughsunlimited.com. The club is located at 1207 Front St., Sacramento.

For more about Harlow and the Crisamores, click on http://hope4harlow.blogspot.com/.

February 9, 2012
Bon Iver to perform in April at UC Davis

Bon Iver (Wisconsin musician Justin Vernon) brought his quiet, musically inventive loveliness to "Saturday Night Live" last week. Now Bon Iver has announced a series of new dates, including one April 17 at UC Davis' Freeborn Hall.

Tickets are $39.50, are all general admission, and are available during a presale today at Tickets.com (800-225-2277) with the password "holocene." Tickets officially go on sale at 10 a.m. Sunday.

Vernon and his band were good on "SNL," but the sound quality on that show can inconsistent, and Vernon's vocals weren't quite powerful enough.

The band was consistenly terrific, by contrast, last fall at Berkeley's Greek Theatre.

The Greek Theatre show offered a true sense of the complexity within Vernon's songwriting, as songs were fleshed out by the multi-instrumentalists backing him. A rocked-out version of "Blood Bank" brought out all that song's many colors.

And since Florence and the Machine's show the next night at Mondavi Center sold out so quickly, the Freeborn Hall Bon Iver show offers your best chance to see a great, emerging artist in Davis that week.

February 7, 2012
Madonna to perform in San Jose in October

Say what you will about Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show (and many have), but to me, the elaborate staging, lip-synching, constant guest stars and weird-guy acrobat said, "That's entertainment."

(I grew up in the 1980s).

The Super Bowl appearance was a preview for a world tour Madonna will start later this year in Tel Aviv.

The closest the tour will get to Sacramento is a stop in San Jose Oct. 6. Tickets to that show run $56-$361 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday through Ticketmaster (800-745-3000).

February 3, 2012
S.F. exhibition highlights golden era of Golden State songs

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Songs celebrating California predate Katy Perry, Tupac and Dr. Dreand even the Beach Boys . By a good century.

The San Francisco exhibition "Singing in the Golden State" has collected songs -- from the Gold Rush to the vaudeville era -- name-checking the state and its events. Its sheet-music collection includes the 1913 song "I Love You, California," as well as "California Flood Mazurka," which commemorates the 1862 Sacramento flood.

The songs evoke pre-radio, pre-television parlor get-togethers that helped spread news about California. The show at the Society of California Pioneers, 300 Fourth Street, includes visually evocative sheet-music covers, sound recordings and instruments

The show runs into December. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays and the first Saturday of each month. For information, see the Society of California Pioneers website or call (415) 957-1849.

January 17, 2012
Red Hot Chili Peppers move Oakland shows to August


The Red Hot Chili Peppers'sold-out shows scheduled for Feb. 17 and Feb. 18 at Oakland's Oracle Arena have been rescheduled for Aug. 14 and Aug. 15.

According to the band's website, the Chili Peppers' whole U.S. tour had to be rescheduled after Anthony Kiedis injured his foot and underwent surgery.

Tickets to the original shows will be honored on the new dates, and refunds can be obtained at points of purchase until March 16.

January 14, 2012
Panel talk to take on the state of Sacramento's live-music scene


The Sacramento music scene will never please everybody, no matter how many shows are happening. Tastes are too disparate, ambitions too keen and opinions too passionate.

That's why the panel discussion "The State of Live Music in Sacramento," at 7 p.m. Sunday at Time Tested Books (1114 21st St.), promises to be a lively event.

Music promoters Jerry Perry, Brian McKenna, Mindy Giles and Rick Ele (KDVS), along Olivia Coelho of vintage-clothing store, cafe, gallery and performance space Bows & Arrows, will appear, with Dennis Yudt moderating.

The event is free. There will be a post-discussion Q&A, during which audience members can offer their 2 cents on the scene. But they'll have to wait until after the Q&A to bust out their demos.


January 6, 2012
TV boy band Big Time Rush to perform in Sacramento


The announcement something called Big Time Rush would be coming to Memorial Auditorium evoked images of a laser-show tribute to the Canadian prog-rock band Rush.

That's because I'm a non-tween.

Big Time Rush is a boy band with a show on Nickelodeon and smooth dance moves and harmonies in the Backstreet Boys mode. Only without the threatening facial hair.

Tickets to the Feb. 20 show are $25-$45. To purchase tickets, call (916) 808-5181 or (800) 225-2277 or visit Tickets.com

January 4, 2012
Wayne Newton to perform at Cache Creek casino


Mr. Las Vegas, Wayne Newton, will become Mr. Brooks for a night when he performs Feb. 4 at Cache Creek Casino Resort.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $49-$75, and can be purchased via the Cache Creek website.

And for you bobby soxers mad for the "Danke Schoen" singer: Sorry, but the show is for ages 21 and older.

December 17, 2011
Little Charlie, Mumbo Gumbo singers to perform at school arts benefit

"Little Charlie" Baty and Tracy Walton and Chris Webster of Mumbo Gumbo will perform Wednesday in Davis on behalf of music and arts in Davis schools.

The eighth "Home for the Holidays" show, at 7 p.m. at Veterans' Memorial Center (203 E. 14th St., Davis) will benefit the Davis School Arts Foundation. Tickets are $20 for adults, $8 ages 17 and younger, and are available at Watermelon Music (530-758-4010), Armadillo Music (530-758-8058) and at the door.

Baty, formerly of Little Charlie and the Nightcats, will perform with his Little Charlie Caravan, and Webster and Walton will form a trio with musican Bill Edwards. Joe Craven, Rita Hosking and Yolo Mambo also will perform.

Money raised by the Davis School Arts Foundation is matched by the Davis Joint Unified School District, and goes toward music and arts education in schools.

December 13, 2011
She acts, she sings: Charlotte Gainsbourg is a true multi-talent

There are actresses who sing and vice versa, but few who are exceptional at both. French-English ctress Charlotte Gainsbourg, excellent in Lars von Trier's "Melancholia," currently at the Crest, also is an accomplished, risk-taking musical artist, kind of like her dad, Serge Gainsbourg.

Gainsbourg's latest album, "Stage Whisper," is just out. Take a listen to the track, "Terrible Angels":

Charlotte Gainsbourg - Terrible Angels by Because Music

Below, see Gainsbourg in the trailer for "Melancholia." Kirsten Dunst is getting most of the best-actress acclaim for her role as a depressed bride, but Gainsbourg, playing her sister, is really co-lead of the film.

Gainsbourg has always looked a lot like her dad, but also like Patti Smith. The resemblance to Smith is remarkable in "Melancholia."

December 6, 2011
'SNL' veteran Lovitz to perform at Colusa Casino

The most intriguing local entertainment event of the week: Jon Lovitz , the "Saturday Night Live" veteran and "That's the ticket" liar guy, will perform Friday night at Colusa Casino Resort.

There's something delightful about an actor and comedian so closely associated with New York City and "Saturday Night Live" performing amid Colusa County's duck blinds and rice fields. Even if the casino itself is full of big-city people.

Lovitz will perform at 7 and 9 p.m. Tickets are $40 and are available at the casino's gift short or through www.startickets.com .

November 30, 2011
Cache Creek offering free musical events during holiday season


Sacramento-raised Eagles bassist Timothy B. Schmit , veteran rockers Y&T and other musical acts will perform free shows over the next month at Cache Creek Casino Resort's Club 88.

According to a casino press release, the concerts are free in honor of the holiday season.

Entry to Friday night's Schmit show or the Dec. 10 Y&T show requires only a Cache Club card. Cards are available free of charge if one enrolls at the club-card booth on the main casino floor.

For information on the shows, and for a full list of casino entertainment events, call (800) 452-8181 or visit the Cache Creek site.

Here's a list of musical acts playing at Club 88 for free. All shows are for ages 21 and older.


9 p.m. Friday: Timothy B. Schmit

8 p.m. Saturday: Korean concert featuring Tae Jin Ah

8 p.m. Dec. 10: Y&T

8:30 p.m. Dec. 31: Tommy Castro Band

8 p.m. Jan. 1: Journey Unauthorized (tribute band)


November 29, 2011
Lady Antebellum coming to Sacramento in March 2012


Country trio Lady Antebellum , the country-pop outfit with more hooks than a hay-stacking facility, will appear at Power Balance Pavilion March 29 in its first headlining arena tour.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, and run $49.90-$72.30. For tickets, call (800) 745-3000 or visit the Ticketmaster site.

Lady Antebellum, consisting of Dave Haywood and duet partners s Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott, opened for Tim McGraw at Sleep Train Amphitheatre a year and a half ago and were absolutely wonderful live.

Charles Kelley 's rich, warm baritone captivated throughout, and he and Scott have that duet-partner sexual tension thing down, especially when singing Lady Antebellum's huge pop crossover hit "Need You Now."

November 15, 2011
Chicago's holiday concert to be shown in movie theaters

The holiday season evokes so many warm memories. Mistletoe, presents, blasts of '70s rock trumpet.

Horn-happy band Chicago will perform holiday songs and its greatest hits at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 in filmed concert to be shown on movie-theater screens across the country.

The veteran band unafraid of roman numerals or puns is celebrating the release of its holiday album "Chicago XXXIII, O Christmas Three."

The concert will be shown at Century Stadium, Downtown Plaza, Folsom, Laguna, Roseville, Greenback and Regal Natomas and El Dorado Hills. For information, see the Fathom Events website.

November 14, 2011
Blake Shelton to play in March in Sacramento

Blake Shelton -- CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, coach on "The Voice," husband to Miranda Lambert and tall drink of water -- will perform on March 15, 2012, at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento.

Tickets run $36.60-$64.15 and go sale at 10 a.m. Friday. Presale tickets through Shelton's fan club are available from 10 a.m. Tuesday throught 10 p.m. Thursday. Information on tickets and the fan club is available through Ticketmaster (800-745-3000)

October 24, 2011
Wilco to play in February at Mondavi Center in Davis

Wilco, the musically adventurous, alt-everything band that never seems to get closer to Sacramento than the Bay Area, will get very close Feb. 1 with a show at UC Davis' Mondavi Center.

Jeff Tweedy and company will hit San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland as well as Davis, touring behind Wilco's most recent album "The Whole Love."

The ticket presale for the Mondavi show starts at 10 a.m. Thursday through Another Planet Entertainment. The general sale starts at 10 a.m. Friday. Tickets are $45.

October 14, 2011
Rush concert film to hit the screen at Crest Theatre


The music of Canadian prog-rock gods Rush will reach the screen of the Crest Theatre Oct. 27 in a special showing of the concert film "Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland."

The film captures a show from Rush's "Time Machine" tour, during which the band played its album "Moving Pictures" in its entirety every night. That 1980 album contained the hit "Tom Sawyer" and other unusually radio-friendly songs from a group known for its musical complexity.

The movie screens at 7:30 p.m. The evening's other Rush-centric festivities include a pre-screening celebration, starting at 6:30 in the Crest lobby, that includes Rush karaoke, beer and wine specials and prize giveaways. The party continues after the movie at Marilyn's on K just down the street.

Tickets to the screening are $10.50 and are available at the Crest box office, 1013 K St., Sacramento, or through Tickets.com (800-225-2277). For information, see the Crest site.

Above is an excerpt that aired on VH1 Classic (via YouTube) of the Cleveland concert. Check out drummer Neil Peart 's rig. It alone is worthy of a movie.

October 14, 2011
Louis Prima Jr. to swing Saturday night at Harlow's

Here's how it goes: You jump, jive and then you wail, in that order.

Louis Prima Jr. and his band the Witnesses will offer further instruction Saturday night at Harlow's. Son of King of Swing Louis Prima, Junior furthers his father's legacy by performing his hits.

The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35, or $45 for guaranteed table seating. For information, see the Harlow's siteor call (916) 441-4693.

October 11, 2011
Selena Gomez, Gym Class Heroes to appear at Jingle Ball

If all you want for Christmas are fat electronic beats and to see Justin Bieber 's girlfriend on stage, 107.9 FM The End's Jingle Ball is playing Santa.

Selena Gomez will appear at the Dec. 1 show at Power Balance Pavilion, along with Travie McCoy and Gym Class Heroes, beat-heavy pop-rockers Cobra Starship and electronic act Breathe Carolina. Gomez's fellow former kid star JoJo rounds out the bill.

Tickets to the always-popular Jingle Ball run $62.50-$94.80 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through Ticketmaster (800-743-5000). You also can sign at 107.9 FM's site for access to a pre-sale that starts Wednesday.

October 7, 2011
Cake charms Davis crowd with hits, great new songs

By Carla Meyer
cmeyer@sacbee.com

cakeband.jpgThe once irony-soaked Cake has become a warm, reassuring presence to hometown fans.

The Sacramento-based band's show Thursday night at UC Davis' Freeborn Hall evoked pleasant memories of gigs at Old Ironsides and other local clubs where lead singer John McCrea honed his droll persona.

But there was more than nostalgia afoot Thursday night. Cake wasn't just playing its old songs, but its excellent new ones, from the 2011 album "Showroom of Compassion."

Cake is that old buddy who has changed, but in good ways, and not so drastically as to ever be less than recognizable. The kind who makes you feel good about yourself, and vital, because of your continued association with someone obviously going places.

The band's performance of "Long Time," from "Showroom," captured what Cake was, is, and the promise of its musical future.

The song's funk foundation is punctuated by Vince DiFiore's keyboards and magical trumpet and a deadpan McCrea's retro references to a "pillbox hat" and a "Pontiac."

At first it's highly familiar, highly '90s Cake. But "Long Time" offers unusual musical complexity: a killer juxtaposition of DiFiore's trumpet and Paulo Baldi 's drums, great multi-part harmonies, and a suddenly sweet McCrea acknowledging that even though it has been a long time, "I don't mind ... when I have you next to me."

Kind of like local fans' connection to Cake, which had not played an official, announced show in Sacramento for a few years. The 1,300 so fans at Freeborn Hall welcomed Cake like it hadn't been a minute since the Old I days.

Cake demonstrated its lyrical and musical maturity throughout Thursday's show yet left space for youthful silliness. McCrea's Earth-friendly attempt to give a small tree to an audience member was halted temporarily by the singer's inability to choose between two bearded gentlemen, one from Davis, one from Stockton.

McCrea had the guys dance it out. Sprinklers were mimicked and the supermarket shopping experience pantomimed. The man from Davis won, and McCrea made him promise to send photos of himself with the tree over the years to the Cake website, even if he grew less attractive as he aged and did not want his photo taken.

The band played several songs from "Showroom," with McCrea semi-apologizing for any perceived shilling for the new album. He need not have. The "Showroom" songs are appealing on first listen. Plus, Cake still played its hits, including "The Distance" and "Short Skirt, Long Jacket," during a 2 ½-show that included an intermission.

The hits did not seem all that important to Cake's hometown fans. They responded enthusiastically to lesser-known songs from Cake's catalog, such as "Jolene," and to covers acknowledging the band's influences.

The Black Sabbath cover "War Pigs" showed the heft of Cake's rhythm section.
Cake opened the show with Willie Nelson's "Sad Songs and Waltzes," prompting a couple in the audience to start waltzing on the wooden Freeborn Hall floor.

The country-tinged "Bound Away," from "Showroom," name-checked Sacramento and showcased DiFiore's trumpet, which assumed an intriguing Spanish/Appalachian quality. Guitarist McCurdy also shone during Cake's more countrified numbers, his licks as bright and spiffy as Buck Owens'.

Cake plays again tonight at Freeborn Hall, but the show is sold out.

Call The Bee's Carla Meyer, (916) 321-1118.

PHOTO: Cake singer John McCrea performs Thursday night at UC Davis' Freeborn Hall. For a photo gallery of the show, click here. (Photo by Jose Luis Villegas/jvillegas@sacbee.com)

October 6, 2011
Photo gallery: Cake cuts loose at Freeborn Hall in Davis

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Check out the photographs from Cake's concert at UC Davis' Freeborn Hall on Thursday night.

October 6, 2011
Tickets still available for tonight's Cake show at UC Davis


Cake, the Sacramento-bred band that doesn't play Sacramento very often, performs nearby tonight at Freeborn Hall at UC Davis.

Tickets are $42 and are available through Tickets.com (800-225-2277).

Doors open at 7 and the general-admission show start at 8. Cake is playing Freeborn Hall Friday night as well, but that show is sold out.


Above is Cake's video for "Sick of You," shot on Florin Road.

October 5, 2011
Blues stars to lead symposium for students at Three Stages

By Marcus Crowder
mcrowder@sacbee.com

Performer Tommy Castro, a San Jose native who won the Blues Music Award for entertainer of the year in 2008, will lead a symposium on the music for area junior and senior high schools students. Castro is both a student of the seminal music, its history and its influence on other genres.

The Sacramento Blues Society is sponsoring the event as part of its Blues In Schools: Blues Symposium program from 2-3 p.m. Oct. 21.

Castro will be joined by other contemporary blues artists: Curtis Salgado, Bernard Allison and Deanna Bogart.

October 3, 2011
Review: Keith Urban concert full of touching moments

By Carla Meyer
cmeyer@sacbee.com

Those fancy bachelorette weekends in Vegas or Napa have nothing on a Sunday night at Power Balance Pavilion.

Stephanie Weckworth, 25, received the ultimate pre-wedding send-off after she held up a sign to Keith Urban reading, "One week till 'I do.' Can I have a hug from you?"

Urban responded by bringing audience member Weckworth on stage. She was wearing a tiara, and Urban, an Aussie and (somewhat confused) subject of the Crown, curtsied before her.

Then he wrapped his arms around the bride-to-be.

"He felt great - he is so buff," Weckworth, of El Dorado Hills, later said.

She has seen Urban eight times, a few of them with fiancé Matt Hewitt. Hewitt supported her from afar Sunday night, Weckworth said: "He helped me color the poster."

Weckworth snagged the most prolonged one, but hugs from Urban were plentiful Sunday night, when his "Get Closer" tour brought him within hand's reach of hundreds of audience members at Power Balance Pavilion.

Accompanied by security, Urban bumped fists, high-fived and sometimes even sang and played guitar while walking from the big stage to smaller, separate stages set up among an audience of nearly 10,000.

The ingratiating, generous Urban also gave his band members solo turns at the mic, encouraged audience sing-alongs throughout his two-hour-plus show, and brought audience volunteers on stage to handle verses of his hit "Kiss a Girl."

When a volunteer went a bit rogue and pretended to steal his microphone, Urban responded with good humor. He played a snippet of the "Twilight Zone" theme just after the amateur singers left the stage.

At most shows, inclusion is an aside. At an Urban show, it's a philosophy.

His determination to share the spotlight impresses even more considering how easily he can fill a spotlight, and hold the audience rapt, with just his voice and guitar.

Urban puts such coiled energy into each note that he's fun to watch whatever the song. But some of his up-tempo songs can sound country-rock generic.

His talent shines most when distilled, on slower songs. Alternately regretful or gorgeously optimistic, these songs highlight Urban's emotive tenor and his brilliant guitar playing, which often serves as melodic counterpoint to his lyrics.

Urban's picking on "Without You" - a tribute to his wife, Nicole Kidman - offered romantic exuberance as Urban's voice expressed awe at finding his soul mate.

His electric guitar created a heart-wrenching cry on "Stupid Boy," in which a guy laments past deeds.

Urban can really wail on guitar. And for the good of a song, not just to riff. He is that rarest of stars: one who is not a show-off.

Call The Bee's Carla Meyer, (916) 321-1118

September 30, 2011
Sammies to take over midtown block in free Saturday event


The most musical block party of the year happens Saturday night, when Sacramento News & Review's Sammies award show takes over 20th Street between J and K in Sacramento .

The free event celebrates 20 years of Sammies. The program starts at 4:30 p.m, and the live music just after, with a singer-songwriter sing-along with Autumn Sky, Be Brave Bold Robot, Reggie Ginn and Adrian Bourgeois.

Orchestral rock band Exquisite Corps and dancers from Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet will perform together at 6:40 p.m. The funky Nibblers play from 8:45 until party's end at 10.

Click here for a list of 2011 Sammies nominees.

September 27, 2011
Foo Fighters' Sacramento concert moved to Nov. 1

Foo Fighters have pushed back their show at Power Balance Pavilion from Oct. 20 to Nov. 1

The shift, from a Thursday to a Tuesday, is due to an "unforeseen scheduling conflict," according to release from Live Nation. "The band regrets any inconvenience caused by the rescheduling."

All tickets to the Oct. 20 show will be honored on the new date. Ticket buyers seeking refunds can get them at point of purchase.

Information: Ticketmaster (800-745-3000)

September 21, 2011
So long, R.E.M.


R.E.M. announced today on its website that it was "calling it a day."

News of the band's breakup is sad, but also heartening in a way. With record sales low, royalties fewer and bands staying together too long to earn a buck on the road, a willingness to break up shows integrity. Especially when a band officially announces it, instead of leaving fans hanging.

R.E.M. was great -- the jangly, distorted guitars, unique frontman and lyrics that were sometimes poetic, sometimes pretentious, but always thoughtful.

Here's to them and to my favorite R.E.M. song, "Turn You Inside Out" (video above).

September 21, 2011
Oh-oh, they'll play just like Buddy Holly -- at Harlow's

You see his big, black glasses on hep cats all over town, but you don't hear enough of Buddy Holly's music anymore.

Thursday night's Buddy Holly tribute at Harlow's (2708 J St., Sacramento) will fix that. The show will mark what would have been the 75th birthday of the "Peggy Sue" singer, who died in a 1959 plane crash.

The acts involved cover the Holly spectrum, from crooning to rockabilly. David Houston and Sal Valentino both will appear with string sections, and the Keri Carr Band, featuring the former Rowdy Kate lead singer, will tap Holly's country influences.

Doors open at 7 p.m.. Tickets are $8.

For a rundown and schedule of acts, see the Jerry Perry Presents Facebook page. For advance tickets, see the Harlow's website or call (916) 441-4693.




September 20, 2011
Local bands to pay tribute to Nirvana, 'Nevermind'

Too bad it's still too hot for flannel, because Grunge History Week continues in Sacramento.

First is tonight's special one-night-only screenings at the Crest Theatre of the Pearl Jam documentary "Pearl Jam 20." (The 10:30 p.m. show still has a few tickets left).

Friday night, local concert promoter and anniversary-show facilitator Jerry Perry will round up local acts at Luigi's Fungarden to mark the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's "Nevermind."

September 4, 2011
Taylor Swift's 'Speak Now' rocks Power Balance Pavilion

SwiftHK.jpgBy Michael J. Fitzgerald

Special to The Bee

The Taylor Swift concert provided as much entertainment as a Las Vegas act Saturday night at Power Balance Pavilion with dancing, pyrotechnics and special effects. But it was Swift's singing that carried the concert - part of her Speak Now Tour 2011.

The model-perfect 21-year-old singer could deliver on key and on cue throughout her two-hour performance that included many of her well-known standards like "Long Live," "Fifteen," and "Fearless."

Her mostly female audience - and some families with young girls - provided a background choir to almost every song she sang. Many carried homemade neon signs like "We Love You Taylor." One said: "I would sell my sister just to meet you." The 13,000-member audience was filled with high-tech illuminations, swaying or dancing to the music. Their singing was loud enough to fill in for Taylor for the occasional dropped volume by her microphone.

September 4, 2011
Lil Wayne raps, rocks, rolls at Sleep Train Amphitheatre

By Chris Macias
cmacias@sacbee.com

On the same night that the country-pop sweetheart Taylor Swift played Power Balance Pavilion, Lil Wayne surveyed the Sleep Train Amphitheatre from behind his Wayfarer sunglasses. Weed smoke hung over the venue in a dank haze, and the bass was so loud and boomy that it tickled your nose.

Lil Wayne had just wrapped up an a capella version of "Nightmares of the Bottom" on Saturday night when he made a proclamation, not far from a skateboard ramp on the stage and his five-piece band.

"My name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., and I am the best rapper alive," said Lil Wayne, to a crowd of about 12,000 who then whooped in agreement.

August 30, 2011
Join musicians for Saturday benefit for Doctors Without Borders

By Marcus Crowder mcrowder@sacbee.com

The seemingly inexhaustible jazz guitarist Ross Hammond has organized an expansive musical benefit concert which comes off this Saturday. "March to the Beat of One Heart" will benefit the worldwide humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders and their efforts in Somalia.

The event takes place at Antiquité Maison Privée, 2114 P St. in midtown Sacramento running from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and there is $10 minimum donation. 100% of the proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders.

The Somalian Aid Concert features a wide range of Sacramento musicians donating their time and music to the cause. Artists include Lee Bob Watson, Kathy Barwick and Pete Siegfried, The Ricky and Del Connection, Electropoetic Coffee, the Harley White Jr. Trio, Greenhouse, Sherman Baker, Jahari Sai and Dave Lynch, Crossing the River, and Walking Spanish. This is an all ages event. If you are unable to attend, you can still help Doctors Without Borders at the organization's
website or the Facebook page.

August 26, 2011
New open-mike night gives songwriters a showcase

Beginning Tuesday, and each Tuesday afterward, the Stoney Inn will host an open-mike showcase for aspiring songwriters.

Sign-ups will be held between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., and up to a dozen songwriters will have the opportunity to perform up to three original songs (or 10 minutes, whichever comes first). Songwriters can play any song in nearly any genre, but only original songs will be accepted.

Each week, a guest judge from the music industry will choose the best original song, and the winner will receive two hours recording time in a professional studio to record the song.

August 26, 2011
No frills, plenty of thrills at Sugarland concert

sugarland.jpgSugarland's Jennifer Nettles, left, and Kristian Bush perform Thursday night at Raley Field. (Lezlie Sterling/lsterling@sacbee.com)

By Carla Meyer
cmeyer@sacbee.com

Sugarland lead singer Jennifer Nettles was holdin' notes and takin' names Thursday at Raley Field, her remarkable voice at turns guttural and gentle, her charisma abundant.

Fueled by Nettles, Sugarland held the audience's full attention for much of a show staged without the benefit of the giant video screens found at most big shows.

Sugarland's stage set was destroyed Aug. 13 when stage rigging collapsed under high winds at a show in Indianapolis. Four people were killed that day, and three others died later. The stage collapse occurred during intermission, after Sara Bareilles' opening set and before Sugarland was to take the stage.

On Thursday night, Sugarland performed, without comment, before a plain black backdrop. The lack of acknowledgement was understandable.

Nettles and Sugarland musical partner Kristian Bush have expressed their grief and offered condolences on their website, planned a private memorial in Indiana and took a moment of silence at a concert last week in Albuquerque - their first show since Indiana - to remember the people who died in Indianapolis.

If they say more - or say something at every stop -- they run the risk of making it too much about them. Nettles suggested as much, during the show's only allusion to Indianapolis, when she noted a fan's sign referencing Indiana. "Thank you very much - I know those people appreciate it," she said.

She went right back to wishing other fans happy birthdays, and to playing the country-pop hits that brought 9,000 people - including plenty of children - to West Sacramento on a school night. (The show ended by a reasonable 9:45 p.m.).

The audience seemed to prefer more upbeat hits, brightening noticeably when Nettles and Bush broke out the bouncy "All I Want to Do" and happily jagged "It Happens."

Bush handled Jon Bon Jovi 's vocal part on the Bon Jovi-Nettles hit "Who Says You Can't Go Home," and did it so well you wished he would get more play at the microphone. On Thursday, he was primarily a guitar player and a harmony-centric Mama Judd to Nettles' big-pipes Wynonna.

As part of its encore, Sugarland brought opener Bareilles on stage for a performance of Dexys Midnight Runners' "Come On Eileen." Bareilles' understated vocals blended nicely with Nettles' brassier tones in a number made more delightful by Nettles' exaggerated, Annie Oakley elbows-out dance moves.

Nettles is a bit of a ham, offering between-song tidbits like "There ain't no party like a Sugarland party." Her folksy demeanor seems at odds with her sophisticated voice and magnetic stage presence. But pretty, talented ladies can be goofballs, too.

The crowd's attention wavered noticeably during Nettles' performance of "Stay," a ballad in which the "other woman" addresses her (presumably) married lover. As Nettles poured her heart out on stage, fans chattered in the stands.

Perhaps they stopped paying attention because they were told a Sugarland party don't stop, but saw it did stop when adultery ballads started. Or they didn't want, in the presence of a spouse, to support a song sympathetic to cheating. Or maybe ballads do not play as well without giant video screens helping capture audience attention.

A problem with the last theory? Sara Bareilles.

The Eureka native's voice was warm and supple, and her piano fresh and playful throughout a set that included the hits "Love Song" and "King of Anything." But the standout was Bareilles' musically and lyrically complex ballad "Gravity." Rarely has a woman sounded so strong singing about her inability to resist a man who's bad for her.

Call The Bee's Carla Meyer, (916) 321-1118

August 24, 2011
Pat Benatar, Los Lobos, Ronnie Milsap to play at Folsom Live


Folsom's Sutter Street will go retro, though not quite Gold Rush retro, for its Folsom Live event Sept. 23-24.

Pat Benatar and her guitarist husband Neil Giraldo will perform, as will Los Lobos and Ronnie Milsap. Popular '80s-music cover band Tainted Love completes the headliners for Folsom Live, which will offer 30 bands and 10 stages.

Benatar and Giraldo play that Friday, the 23rd, and Tainted Love, Los Lobos and Milsap on the 24th.

For information, tickets and schedules, see the Folsom Live site.

August 18, 2011
Sade is a musical and visual knockout in Sacramento show

By Carla Meyer
cmeyer@sacbee.com

sade.jpg Sade's excellent show Wednesday at Power Balance Pavilion offered beautiful fashion and alluring art direction, providing appropriate visual accompaniment for music responsible for most of the baby-making of the 1980s and '90s.

Sade's (singer and band share a name) music so often is used by listeners as a backdrop for relaxation or romance that its details are neglected. But performed live, in a concert marrying rock-solid musicianship with appealing visuals, Sade's slow and mid-tempo songs freed themselves of uniformity. Bass and saxophone become more distinctive when excellent stagecraft keeps eyes glued to the stage and the accomplished players on it.

Director Sophie Muller and lighting and production designer Baz Halpin set a cosmopolitan tone. Cityscapes and noirish neon signs were projected on screens in front of and behind the band, offering drama and theatricality without overwhelming the music or the fascinating woman at the show's center.

At 52 (and on the road for the first time in 10 years), singer Sade commands attention without demanding it. Her singing is quieter and less showy than that of most arena-level female singers who wear form-fitting gowns and use wind machines.

August 16, 2011
Nevada City Film Festival opens Thursday

The Nevada City Film Festival - which is much more than a collection of fabulous films - starts Thursday in the foothill town that's also known for its live music. The festival runs through Sunday.

Among the documentaries that will be screened are "Kevin," which celebrates a musician who pairs flamenco guitar with New Age lyrics, "We Are Wizards," which chronicles Harry Potter-inspired bands, and "Everyday Sunshine" a film that follows the L.A. ska/punk/funk band Fishbone.

These and other films will play at the Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad St., Miners Foundry, 325 Spring St., Magic Theatre, 107 Argall Way. The cost: $9 for individual programs ($7 students and seniors), $90 for an all-festival, VIP pass.

For more information, visit the Miners Foundry box office, 325 Spring St. or www.nevadacityfilmfest.com.

August 12, 2011
Helps kids, have a ball at Luxe for Life

Tickets are still available for a charity event benefiting the Sacramento Children's Home.

Luxe for Life, presented by Sactown Magazine and Wells Fargo Bank, includes gourmet food, cocktails, silent and live auctions, dancing and entertainment that includes performance painter David Garibaldi.

Tickets are $85 per person. Ticket packages also are available.

The event, which will be held at the Aerospace Museum of California at McClellan Park, (3200 Freedom Park Dr., North Highlands), begins at 8 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.kidshome.org.

Proceeds from the fourth annual event will go toward the Sacramento Children's Home, a child and family service organization that provides services and help to the region's most vulnerable children.

August 9, 2011
Meklit Hadero performs in Davis and Grass Valley this August

Meklit Hadero might not be a name that you've heard of yet, but after she finishes her tour with destinations worldwide, you might be glad you went to see her when she came through town.

Hadero will be performing songs from her debut album On a Day Like This in Davis on Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. at Sophia's Kitchen on 129 E. St. Tickets will be sold for $5.

She will play the next night in Grass Valley on Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. at the Center for the Arts on 314 West Main St. Arts Center Member tickets will be sold for $15 and non-member tickets will be sold for $18.

The Ethiopian-born singer and songwriter was raised in the United States and opened her heart to San Francisco, where she developed her talents as a musician. Her style is a mosaic of jazz, soul, hip hop, art-rock, American folk, and east African tones.

For more information about the performances, please contact the venues. Their websites are http://www.sophiasthaikitchen.com and http://thecenterforthearts.org/meklit-hadero

August 8, 2011
Red Hot Chili Peppers to broadcast concert to big screens


If you were not among the 600 people who saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers recently in Nevada City, there's still a chance to see the band live locally -- at least sort of.

On Aug. 30, movie theaters in the Sacramento region and across the country will show a live Chili Peppers performance of their album "I'm With You." (The album will be released that day). The group will play the album straight through, then perform some previous hits. The concert will be re-broadcast Sept. 1.

The concert will show locally at Century Downtown, Stadium, Laguna, Greenback, Folsom and Roseville and at the Regal cineplexes in Natomas and El Dorado Hills.

For information, see the Fathom Events website.

July 26, 2011
REO Speedwagon to sign autographs at Rock U at State Fair

Arena rockers REO Speedwagon will sign autographs from 5-6 p.m. Wednesday at the Rock U exhibit at the State Fair. Dimple Records will host the event, which will be an opportunity for fans to meet members of the band in person prior to their performance at the State Fair later in the evening.

Dilyn Radakovitz, owner of Dimple Records, cited the band's efforts to pursue a personal connection with its fans and said: "It's very difficult to get artists to come to Sacramento, and to have an iconic band like REO Speedwagon come and perform at the fair and be willing to let an independent record store host an autograph signing is huge. ... I just love it that they would want to be a part of this."

REO Speedwagon will perform at 8 p.m. at the Golden Stage at the State Fair. The concert is free with paid fair admission. Gold Circle seating is an additional $19. For information: (916) 263-3247, www.bigfun.org

July 25, 2011
Jay-Z, Kanye West to bring 'Throne' tour to Sacramento

It's the biggest concert to hit Sacramento this year.

On Oct. 17, rap superstars Jay-Z and Kanye West will perform at Power Balance Pavilion as super-duo The Throne.

Tickets go on sale Aug. 8 through Livenation.com and Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) -- the same day the Jay-Z-Kanye album "Watch the Throne" debuts on iTunes. (It will be released elsewhere Aug. 12)

Starting Thursday, fans will have access to presale concert tickets through this Live Nation link.

July 21, 2011
Cake to play two shows at UC Davis in October


Cake, the pride-of-Sacramento band that seems to play more often in the Bay Area than in or around Sacramento, has booked a pair of shows nearby.

Cake will play Oct. 6 and Oct. 7, at UC Davis' Freeborn Hall.

Tickets are $32 in advance, $37 day of show, and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through Tickets.com(800-225-2277). Above is the Sacramento-shot video for "Sick of You," from the 2011 Cake album "Showroom of Compassion." Or, if you want to get a jump through the presale today, the password is "REESE."

July 15, 2011
Critics' picks for this weekend: Music, theater, comedy

Here are The Sacramento Bee's critics' picks for the best things to do this weekend.

TONIGHT

Music

Keri Carr(1).jpgKeri Carr Band

WHAT: Rowdy Kate disbanded, but the group's former lead singer goes on. Carr says she's expanding, integrating country rock into her set list. She comes calling with Steve Randall on guitar, Richard March on guitar, Larry Carr on drums, RW Grigsbey on bass and Beth Grigsbey on supporting vocals.

WHEN: 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Palms Playhouse, 13 Main St., Winters

COST: $15

INFORMATION: (530) 795-1825, www.palmsplayhouse.com

- C.M. Anderson

July 14, 2011
Surf guitar king Dick Dale to appear at California State Fair

By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

Dick Dale, king of the surf guitar, will be appearing at the Rock U exhibit at the California State Fair.

Dale's recording of "Miserlou" is featured in the movie "Pulp Fiction." He's known for his heavy use of guitar reverb, a searing signature in his music that became wildly popular in the early 1960s among surfers in Southern California.

On Saturday, Dale will appear at the interactive rock music exhibit from noon to 3 p.m. in building 5. He and his son, Jimmy Dale, will perform a one-hour concert at 8 p.m. Saturday on the PG&E Center Stage outside the exhibit building.

July 12, 2011
Tesla to appear at Arden Dimple tonight in CD-release event

Veteran Sacramento band Tesla will mark the release of its new album "Twisted Wire" -- and 25 years on the scene -- with an in-store appearance at 6 p.m. today at Dimple Records, 2433 Arden Way.

The evening will feature an acoustic set and the signing of autographs, as one expects from such events. But it will be fancier than most in-store appearances.

It will start off with the band members sitting down for a "Inside the Actors Studio"-style discussion conducted by Pat Martin of 98 Rock.

We can't wait to see if Martin uses the "Pivot Questionnaire" from "Actors Studio" on the Tesla guys. The answer to "What is your favorite curse word?" would be very interesting.

For information, see the Dimple website .

July 7, 2011
Trains, Nibblers and zombies all will roll this weekend


No plans yet for Friday and the weekend? Here are some entertaining (and maybe a little scary) options.

NATIONAL TRAIN SHOW
When: Noon-6 p.m. Friday. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J St., Sacramento

What: Sacramento has a rich railroad tradition, on view all year long at the wonderful California State Railroad Museum. This weekend, though, the focus is on model trains. The National Train Show will offer new product, appraisals on collectibles and the fun of seeing nicely crafted models, tracks and tiny environs.

Cost: $12 adults, $11 seniors 65 and older, $6 children ages 6-12, free for children 5 and younger

For information, see the National Train Show site.

THE NIBBLERS

When: 5-9 p.m. Friday at Concerts in the Park (the Bellboys and the Gerald Isaac Pease Combo open) and 9:30 p.m. at the Torch Club

Where: Cesar Chavez Plaza, 10th and I streets, and the Torch Club, 904 15th St., Sacramento

What: The Nibblers, the hardest-working R&B and classic-funk act in Sacramento showbiz, will headline Concerts in the Park, then hot-foot it to the Torch Club for more sets.

Cost: Concert in the Park is free; $10 cover at the Torch.

For information, see the the Nibblers' site.

ZOMBIE WALK/TRASH FILM ORGY
When: 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturday -- zombie make-up wars; 10 p.m., zombie walk; 11 p.m., doors open for midnight showing of "Return of the Living Dead" at the Crest Theatre.

Where: Sub Q Piercing and Tattoo, 1715 I St., Sacramento; Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento

What: Make-up professionals will work in the "zombie make-up wars" contest from 6-8 p.m. at Sub Q. The public is invited to watch. Participants (pre-decked out in zombie make-up and garb) will gather at Sub Q at 9 p.m. for the 10 p.m. march to the Crest, where the six-Saturday-long Trash Film Orgy opens with "Return of the Living Dead." The winner of the make-up war will be announced before the movie.

Cost: $10 for the movie, which is for ages 18 and older. The other events are free.

For information, see the Trash Film Orgy site.


July 2, 2011
SF Symphony to celebrate music of ABBA


Dancing queens around the region can turn off those "Mamma Mia!" DVDs on July 16 and pay tribute live to the Swedish pop group ABBA. All you have to do is get to the Bay Area.

The San Francisco Symphony will be celebrating the chart-topping hits and way-out threads of ABBA at 8 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness. The symphony will be joining forces with ARRIVAL, a tribute group that works with ABBA's costume designer and re-creates staging and costumes from the original band's shows.

Guest conductor Sarah Hicks has been the principal conductor for pops and presentations at the Minnesota Orchestra since 2009.

Tickets range from $15-$75. Call (415) 864-6000, or visit www.sfsymphony.org for more information.

June 29, 2011
Papa Roach, Buckcherry to play at Power Balance Pavilion



Fans of melodic hard rock will get a treat Sept. 25, when Vacaville/Sacramento rockers Papa Roach join Buckcherry, Puddle of Mudd and three other bands at Power Balance Pavilion as part of the Rock Allegiance Tour.

Allegiance will be pledged the way it is at all rock shows put on by musicians boasting gritty vocals and tattoo artists on retainer: with devil horns in the air, of course.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a .m Friday through Ticketmaster(800) 745-3000.

For a taste of the fun, see the video above for Buckcherry's
"Don't Go Away." The power ballad ballad showcases lead singer Josh Todd's strong vocals and handsomely gaunt resemblance to Mick Jagger , Steven Tyler, Perry Farrell and that guy in high school who could have starred on the basketball team or in school musicals were it not for his two-pack-a-day habit.

-- Carla Meyer


June 17, 2011
Father's Day ideas for any kind of dad, family

Not sure on what to do with dear ol' dad this Father's Day? It's Sunday, by the way, so it's time for a plan.

There's an array of activities, events and offers that can help make this Father's Day one to remember. Feel free to steal these ideas, which have been categorized interests, and adapt them to suit your father of honor's style and taste.

Hungry Dad: That old saying about the way to a man's heart being through his stomach? Pretty much true. So it makes sense to make or take dad out to a great meal Sunday. For those who want to grill up a great meal, head to Ikeda's California Country Market in Auburn or Davis and pick up one of their marinated tri-tips. Add some fresh vegetables and whatever you do, don't forget to grab one of their fabulous fruit pies.

June 17, 2011
Spears finds groove, Minaj mesmerizes in Sacramento concert

By Carla Meyer
cmeyer@sacbee.com

Britney Spears was several songs into her concert Thursday night at Power Balance Pavilion when her performance truly began to sparkle.

Call it the cut-offs factor.

Spears spent the first part of the show illustrating the "Femme Fatale" theme of her tour -- which kicked off in Sacramento -- by wearing shiny bikinis, a 1940s-inspired gold cape and a billowing skirt a la Marilyn Monroe 's in "The Seven Year Itch."

After she changed into rhinestone-studded Daisy Dukes for "Baby One More Time," the difference was remarkable.

June 16, 2011
This week, rock Joan Jett or tap your toes to 'Mary Poppins'

In one weekend, at one venue, you can catch a bluesman who had a seminal influence on rock and a woman whose persona and guitar work set a standard for both genders in the world of rock 'n' roll.
Every note and line of music from Bobby "Blue" Bland testify to the fact that he has lived the blues. Although he did not achieve the pop icon status of B.B. King, blues enthusiasts treat the "Lion of the Blues" as royalty. He has an impressive list of awards from a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement to a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
If you love rock 'n' roll, then you can probably sing at least the refrain of the song Joan Jett made famous:
I love rock 'n' roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock 'n' roll
So come an' take your time an' dance with me

Both artists will be at Thunder Valley. But wait, there's more. Here's the line up for the week:

TONIGHT-SUNDAY
Musical theater
'Mary Poppins'
WHAT: Few musical productions achieve the heights this one scales in every imaginable way. It is anchored by Steffanie Leigh as the magical, unflappable nanny.
WHEN: 8 p.m. today- Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
WHERE: Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento
COST: $24-$89
INFORMATION: (916) 808-5181, (916) 557-1999, www.tickets.com
- Marcus Crowder

June 15, 2011
Britney Spears' opening act pushes into the big time


jm_purplewall_2[1].jpg

Britney Spears' "Femme Fatale Tour" tour will open Thursday at Power Balance Pavilion with a performance by Jessie and the Toy Boys, led by singer-songwriter-dancer Jessie Malakouti, who goes back a long way with Spears' music.

"I did my fifth-grade talent show to 'Baby One More Time,"" Malakouti said by phone from her tour bus, which had just rolled into Sacramento Wednesday afternoon. "It is hysterical that everything has come full circle."

Malakouti won that contest at her Southern California school, by the way. After spending most of the ensuing decade performing solo or with the gritty-pop girl group Shut Up Stella and honing her songwriting skills, she is again feeling like a winner.

June 13, 2011
Foo Fighters to perform in Sacramento in October

The hair. The beards. The melodic rock that always grabs at the chorus.

Foo Fighters, who have experienced a resurgence with their hit album "Wasting Light," will perform Oct. 20 at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento. Cage the Elephant will open.

Tickets are a reasonable $49.50 (general admission pit), $39.50 and $29.50.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through LiveNation.com (800-745-3000).

Presales (for fans with special passwords) start at 10 a.m. Wednesday. For information on presales, see the LiveNation site.

-- Carla Meyer

June 9, 2011
This week, drop in on Drop the Lime or Tim McGraw

This week, we've completely fallen for the thumping rockabilly house beats of New York-based DJ and electronic producer Drop the Lime. He pumps up the volume late, late Thursday night at Mix Downtown. Maybe you could call in sick on Friday. Did we say that?
If you can't keep your eyes open much past midnight, you'll find some can't miss entertainment with Nashville-Hollywood darling Tim McGraw this evening or a discussion with classical pianist Charles Rosen on Saturday afternoon.
And, there's more.

FRIDAY
Country music
Tim McGraw
WHAT: This genuine star lays claim to plenty of No. 1 hits and music awards, but fans buy up his albums because they see it as "sure bet" entertainment. Luke Bryan and The Band Perry open the show.
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Sleep Train Amphitheatre, 2677 Old Forty Mile Road, Wheatland
COST: $29.75-$89.90
INFORMATION: (800) 745-3000, www.livenation.com
- C.M. Anderson

June 8, 2011
Thursday nights at Cesar Chavez Plaza to rock in Spanish


Cesar Chavez Plaza already holds free concerts every Friday night during summer. Now music is also enlivening Thursday nights.

The "Fiesta en la Calle" series highlights nuevo-latino music -- from alternative rock to ska and reggaeton -- from 5-8:30 p.m. every Thursday at the park at 10th and I in Sacramento.

The series lasts through July, with park favorite Sol Peligro playing July 14.

Here are the remaining concerts this month.

Thursday -- Taino (salsa) and Conjunto Nueva Ola (cumbia)
June 16 -- Bang Data (alternative/world), 40 Watt Hype (world), Irie Sun (roots reggae)
June 23-- Inspector, Basura and La Noche Oskana (all ska)

For information, see the "Fiesta en la Calle" Facebook page.
-- Carla Meyer

June 8, 2011
U2 shows space-age verve, old-fashioned gratitude

By Carla Meyer
cmeyer@sacbee.com

Oakland -- U2 has this spectacle thing wired.

The world's most popular touring band opened its show Tuesday in Oakland with spirited "Even Better Than the Real Thing" as a 360-degree screen projected images so well-photographed and of such high resolution that they did not seem live. Yet they clearly matched the action on stage.

For a crowd of 69,000 at Overstock.com Coliseum, it was like watching a U2 concert and a U2 concert film simultaneously.

The screen composed part of a giant structure that was part alien and part broadcast tower. Later, a multi-colored spire dominated the stage, seemingly implanting pods behind it multitude of lights and enhancing the general "take me to your LED-er" vibe.

There was no need for transport, however, with Bono right there. The U2 frontman was clearly our leader, his natural sincerity having defeated the smugness that once threatened to overtake his public image.

Recovered from a back injury that forced the band to reschedule the Oakland show from its date a year ago, Bono looked relaxed and pleased to be on stage. His posture behind the microphone -- head slightly back, chest pointed toward fans in the upper deck -- suggested gratitude along with rock star attitude.

Bono thanked fans for showing up two years after originally buying tickets to the Oakland concert. Such loyal fans have made U2's current 360 tour the best-selling tour of all time.

This was the earnest Bono who first hooked fans 30 years ago, when his searching vocals combined with the Edge's bagpipe-vibrant guitar to stoke our interest in The Troubles, and star-crossed lovers, and big emotions in general.

This Bono has shed the pop-star contrivances (though not the shades), toned down the preachiness -- tributes Tuesday night to Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords were touching and fit seamlessly with the rest of the show -- and settled into the simpler role of frontman of an amazing band.

That band, composed of Bono, guitarist the Edge, drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bassist Adam Clayton, played a lot of hits Tuesday night while seeming too vital to be a greatest-hits band.

Yes, "One" and "Pride (In the Name of Love)" drew more enthusiastic responses than material from U2's most recent album, "No Line on the Horizon." But not because the songs from "Horizon" are sub-par. Hearing them played live is just not as instantly electrifying as hearing songs that have been played on the radio for 20 or 25 years.

The well-dressed, hip, mostly middle-aged Coliseum crowd braved the traffic backup on 880 and people-crush of the concourse to hear songs that took them back to their youths, performed by musicians who have maintained a youthfulness.

Back troubles aside, the members of U2, all around 50, are fit and constantly improving as musicians.

Older, anthemic songs such as "Sunday Bloody Sunday" hit so many emotional points that fans might not notice were they not played flawlessly. But they were played perfectly Tuesday night, resulting in a swell of feeling so great it embraced a whole stadium.

Less weighty songs benefited as well. "Elevation" performed live, for instance, satisfies far more than the studio version, with the Edge's crunchy guitar adding fullness and bounce.

Otherworldy yet earthy, Edge's guitar is emblematic of the 2011 iteration of U2 -- a mature band whose space-age staging, designed to dazzle a stadium-size crowd, is elaborate without being self-indulgent. The 360 Tour gives fans an appropriate sense of scope without lifting off into too many flights of fancy.

Call The Bee's Carla Meyer, (916) 321-1118.

June 6, 2011
Dave Wakeling and English Beat to play in Folsom

It's the band that beget General Public, Fine Young Cannibals and no doubt was an inspiration for No Doubt.

In the early 1980s, ska group the English Beat scored hits with memorable songs such as "Mirror in the Bathroom." On Saturday, the reformed English Beat will play the PowerHouse Pub in Folsom.

The band contains only one original member, but he's a crucial original member: lead singer Dave Wakeling.

The show starts at 10 p.m, and the cover charge is $20. For information, see the PowerHouse Pub's website.
-- Carla Meyer


June 2, 2011
Ticket to the weekend: Exotic cars or Grape Escape

You can't go wrong with stand-up comedy this weekend, but if you'd rather do something earlier in the day, we've got two festivals to tempt you to stroll.

TONIGHT-SUNDAY
Stand-Up Comedy
Bobby Slayton

WHAT: Racial profiling is part of this comedian's act. Known as "the Pitbull of Comedy," he doesn't shy away from saying anything that pops into his head.

WHEN: 8 tonight and Friday, 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

WHERE: Tommy T's Comedy & Dinner Theatre, 12401 Folsom Blvd., in Rancho Cordova

COST: $20, $30 Friday-Saturday; $15, $25 Sunday (plus fees)

INFORMATION: (916) 357-5233, www.tommyts.com

-C.M. Anderson

TONIGHT-SUNDAY
Stand-Up Comedy
Alex Reymundo

WHAT: He's got a great head of hair and big jokes. Born in Mexico but reared for seven years in Kentucky, he considers himself an expert on "hick-spanics" - and has done a Comedy Central special on the subject. He is one of the "The Original Latin Kings of Comedy."

WHEN: 8 p.m. each night, 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday

WHERE: Punch Line Comedy Club, 2100 Arden Way, Suite 225, in Sacramento

COST: $16 (plus fees)

INFORMATION: (916) 925-8500, www.livenation.com

-C.M. Anderson

SATURDAY-SUNDAY
Theater
"Extraordinary Things"

WHAT: "Extraordinary Things: Through the Eyes of Anne Frank" is lovingly written, exquisitely acted and smartly staged for people of any age. The Bee gives it 3 1/2 stars.

WHEN: 1 and 4 p.m., through June 5

WHERE: B Street Theatre Family Series Stage, 2727 B St., Sacramento

COST: $22 general, $15 children

INFORMATION: (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org

-Jim Carnes

SATURDAY
Guitar music
David Rogers

WHAT: This master of the classical guitar plied his trade as musician for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 18 years and studied historical plucked strings at Scola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. But his expertise goes beyond 16th century Baroque music, as this evening of solo guitar work will attest.

WHEN: 8 p.m.

WHERE: Our House Gallery & Framing, 1004 White Rock Road, Suite 400, El Dorado Hills

COST: $15 advance, $20 at the door

INFORMATION: (916) 933-4278

- Jim Carnes

SATURDAY
Wine and food festival
Grape Escape

WHAT: Sample wines from Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Yolo counties. Buy food from Lucca Restaurant and Bar, Ludy's Main St BBQ and Catering, Mulvaney's B&L counties and more.

WHEN: 4-7 p.m.

WHERE: Cesar Chavez Park, 10th and J streets, in Sacramento

COST: $40 in advance, $50 at gate (Save $5 when you buy tickets at Raley's.)

INFORMATION: /www.raleysgrapeescape.com

-C.M. Anderson

SATURDAY
Car show
Foreign and Exotic

WHAT: Enjoy a stroll through one of the best preserved historic districts of our region as you admire 200 foreign cars and motorcycles at this inaugural event. There will also be live music and a wine stroll.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. car show, noon to 3 p.m. wine stroll

WHERE: Broad Street in Downtown Nevada City

COST: Car show, free; wine stroll, $20

INFORMATION: www.sierrasportscargroup.com

-C.M. Anderson

SATURDAY
Living history
"Twilight: Return to the Fort"

WHAT: Celebrate 35 successful years of the fort's environmental living program with a grand cannon fire welcome, a scrumptious pioneer dinner, Gold Rush-era entertainment, dancing, hands-on crafts and storytelling.

WHEN: 6 p.m.

WHERE: Sutter's Fort, 2701 L St., Sacramento

COST: $35 for adults, $20 for children (under 17 years of age)

INFORMATION: (916) 445-4422, www.suttersfort.org

-C.M. Anderson

SATURDAY
Percussion
TAIKO PROJECT

WHAT: This ensemble wins accolades for maintaining the symmetry and focus of the art of Japanese taiko tradition while also expanding the boundaries of the music.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Stage 1 at Three Stages at Folsom Lake College, 10 College Pkwy.

COST: $21-$39

INFORMATION: (916) 608-6888, www.threestages.net

-C.M. Anderson

June 1, 2011
Friday marks start of summer entertainment at Fountains

Here's one more reason to look forward to Friday - it marks the start of Fountains at Roseville's summer entertainment series.

During summer months, the shopping center hosts Wednesday and Saturday night concerts, plus family events on Fridays, and a street fair every first Friday of the month.

The summer series drew more than 25,000 people last year, and the Friday events typically drew between 1,500 and 2,500 people, said Heather Atherton, spokeswoman for the Fountains.

The inaugural Friday family fun night event will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. June 3 and will feature street crafters, artisans, face painting, storybook princesses, a classic car show, live music by Classic Neon and performances by Johnson Ranch Racquet Club Jumpin' Jaguars, a jump rope exhibition team, and Silverman, a live human "statue."

The Saturday concert series will kickoff June 11 with The Sun Kings, a Beatles tribute band. The Saturday concerts are held from 8 to 10 p.m.

Wednesday concerts are held from 7 to 9 p.m. and will begin on June 15 with Cherry Bomb.

For more concert information, click here.

May 28, 2011
It's a 'Vampire Women' weekend at the Crest


Here's a Memorial Day Weekend entertainment option for people who consider the Jazz Jubilee a bit too square and blood-free: "Planet of the Vampire Women," made by Sacramento's own TFO Productions, plays at 10 tonight and Sunday night at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento.

Last month's "Vampire Women" premiere was such a hit that the film was brought back for more showings. That's because "Vampire Women," made entirely in Sacramento on a $25,000 budget, has something over those "Twilight" movies. It's vampires are in space.

Tickets to the film, which contains gratuitous violence and more-gratuitous topless shots and is meant for mature audiences, are $10.
-- Carla Meyer

May 26, 2011
Go big or go intimate for things to do this weekend

Looking for something to do? Take your pick from big-name entertainers such as Usher, Kiss or Jamie Foxx or the last weekend run of B Street's "Searching for Eden" or an array of intimate experiences with Boz Scaggs, the Sacramento Ballet and the Young Dubliners.

TODAY-SUNDAY
Theater
"Searching for Eden"
WHAT: This romantic comedy drops in on the original couple, Adam and Eve, and the actors' sweet, airy performances lift the clever idea without overburdening the story. The Bee gives it 3 1/2 stars.
WHEN: 8 tonight and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday (last show)
WHERE: Mainstage at B Street Theatre, 2711 B St., Sacramento
COST: $22-30
INFORMATION: (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org
-Marcus Crowder

May 21, 2011
Pull out your tie dye and head to Grangestock in Orangevale

The 3rd Annual Grangestock takes place from 11:00am until dark today at the Orangevale Grange, 5807 Walnut Avenue.

The day-long outdoor festival features live music from the 60s and 70s - and a lot of laughs - for a day-long spoof of Woodstock and the era of hippies, hot pants & Hubert Humphrey. The picnic-style event is held at the Grange's four-acre natural amphitheatre. A $10.00 donation will be accepted at the gate. Children 12 and under are free.

Wear tie-dye shirts, let down your hair and start-up the old Volkswagen bus. Prizes will be awarded for the best-dressed hippies, best Joe Cocker and Janis Joplin karaoke impersonators and trivia quizzes.

Donations will benefit Sacramento County Grange programs, including G.R.E.A.T. (Grange Relief Emergency Action Team), a program providing emergency assistance to victims of natural disasters. G.R.E.A.T. was started after five Grange families lost their homes last summer in Northern California wildfires.

May 19, 2011
World of choices open up with Tony Bennett, John Fogerty, more

We l-o-v-e the lasting cool of brilliant artists Tony Bennett and John Fogerty, and we can't believe our region will be treated to performances by both of them in one week.

But we have three other events that you might have overlooked because they fell into the long shadows cast by these two stars. Our very own Pacific Rim festival, which unfolds Sunday in Downtown Plaza and Old Sacramento, is an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the art, tastes and heritage of another culture without heading 75 miles to San Francisco's Chinatown.

Can't wait until Sunday to get the party started? Head over to Grass Valley for a concert by the House Jacks. This a capella quintet's vocal boxes provide the instrumentation and the voices for their daring shows.

If you want to get the party started early next weekend, head over to District 30 where UK DJ James Zabiela will be scratching, looping and linking up a storm. "Disco" hasn't died. It's evolved.

FRIDAY
A capella music
The House Jacks
WHAT: This quintet calls itself "a rock band without instruments," and hearing is believing. The members are offering a workshop ahead of their performance to teach their art.
WHEN: 5-7 p.m. workshop, 8 p.m. performance
WHERE: The Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley
COST: Performance, $23 general, $15 students; workshop, $10, free for ages 18 and under
INFORMATION: (530) 274-8384, ext. 14, thecenterforthearts.org
- C.M. Anderson

May 13, 2011
Prince to play two nights next week in San Jose


After entrancing the Bay Area with a three-night stand in Oakland a few months ago, Prince has announced he will play there again May 19 and May 21, when he will perform at San Jose's HP Pavilion.

The diminutive musical genius and late-minute concert-thrower currently is in the midst of a 21-concert residency at L.A.'s Forum. But he also keeps adding dates, like one May 18 in Fresno. So there still might be a chance he could come to Sacramento.

In the meantime, tickets to the San Jose shows go on sale at noon Saturday through Ticketmaster .
-- Carla Meyer

May 13, 2011
Nelson, Henley highlight Ironstone Amphitheatre music lineup


Ironstone Amphitheatre, a lovely venue next to the Ironstone winery in the gold-country town of Murphys, has announced the lineup for its 2011 concert series, and it includes an Eagle, someone who flies like an eagle, and a couple of Nelsons.

Willie Nelson 's "Country Throwdown," featuring Nelson, son Lukas and Lukas' band The Promise of the Real and several other artists, will happen June 26 at Ironstone. The winery/music venue also is bringing in Don Henley (Oct. 1), the Steve Miller Band (July 31). Alan Jackson (Aug. 26) and Sammy Hagar (Sept. 9).

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.com (800-745-3000).
-- Carla Meyer

May 12, 2011
Hit a home run with suds, sounds at Raley Field this weekend

Tribute and cover bands have become hot in a tough economy as music lovers seek familiar sounds they feel are worth paying to hear.
Well, Saturday brings Sactopalooza to Raley Field, where you can pay $25 for a lot of solid gold - and some platinum - memories from bands covering music by the Dave Matthews Band, INXS, Journey, U2, Van Halen and others.
Wander over to Raley Field on Friday, and you'll find it awash in music and suds. Brewskis, that is. Take a look below for price and time.

FRIDAY
Beer festival
Raley Field Brewfest
WHAT: More than 40 Northern California breweries, including Lagunitas Brewing Co. and Sudwerk Brewery, will be pouring their crafted brews, and you'll be able to boogie to live music on two stages.
WHEN: 6-10 p.m. VIP, 7-10 p.m.
WHERE: Raley Field,
400 Ballpark Drive,
West Sacramento
COST: $30 advance, $35 at the door; $50 VIP, plus fees. Food will be sold at concession stands.
INFORMATION: You must be 21 or over to attend. (916) 376-4676, www.raleyfield.com
- C.M. Anderson

May 6, 2011
Local artists to pay tribute to bluesman Robert Johnson

robertjohnson.jpg

Here's a Mother's Day idea for the really cool mom: a visit Sunday night to Harlow's nightclub (2708 J St., Sacramento) for a tribute to blues pioneer Robert Johnson.

Johnson, the Delta musician whose short life remains something of a mystery but whose influence looms large, was born 100 years ago. (Or at least somewhere thereabouts). To mark the occasion, such local luminaries as Mick Martin, Sal Valentino, Gerald Pease, Aaron King and Johnny Guitar Knox will perform his songs.

The show starts at 7:30. Tickets are $10. For information, visit the Harlow's site.
-- Carla Meyer

PHOTO FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS