Music News & Reviews

Three to See: A trio of Memorial Day weekend festivals (not named BottleRock) to see

Australia’s buttery throwback soul act the Teskey Brothers will play The Strawberry Festival this weekend.
Australia’s buttery throwback soul act the Teskey Brothers will play The Strawberry Festival this weekend.

Strawberry Music Festival

Various genres

Thursday, May 23 to Sunday, May 26

Nevada County Fairgrounds (Grass Valley)

While always tasty, this year’s Strawberry Music Festival lineup stacks up as the most robust since the springtime iteration of the event migrated to Grass Valley from Yosemite in 2014. The lineup is loaded with with Peter Rowan’s Free Mexican Airforce (which also plays the Palms in Winters on May 24), Richard Thompson Electric Trio, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives and the Wood Brothers as your headliners. Can’t-miss acts include an insatiable one-two punch of Australia’s buttery throwback soul act the Teskey Brothers and L.A. juke joint jazz/funk ensemble Dustbowl Revival playing back-to-back Friday, the indelible California Honeydrops on Saturday and soul-searing blues and folk artist Ron Artis II on Sunday.

Operation Restore Maximum Freedom XIX

Rock/indie/various genres

Noon Saturday, May 25

Sudwerk Brewing Co. (Davis)

Garage punk and surf-rock trio SadGirl and flash-chilled indie pop outfit the Licks (check out their “Lavender Kiss” for a bluesy early summer breeze) are your headliners for the 19th installment of this annual all-ages shindig, hosted by UC Davis’ unflappable radio station KDVS. The 20-band bill also includes Rudy de Anda, the Grinns, OC Hurricanes, Death Lens, Franky Flowers, Mayya & The Revolutionary Hell Yeah!, Earl Grey, Jesus and the Dinosaurs and several others. $17.


Blues/rock/various genres

Friday, May 24 to Sunday, May 26

Torch Club

The Torch Club keeps its annual Memorial Day weekend hootenanny going with 17 total acts spread out over three days, beginning Friday with the likes of local mainstay Loose Engines, Ryan Thompson & The Delicate Hounds and 50-Watt Heavy. The rousing Grateful Bluegrass Boys, Birds of Fortune and Lee Vandeveer Band get after it Saturday, and Smokey The Groove, Americana soul collective the Highway Poets, Twilight Drifters, blues/rock titans Drop Dead Red, Ice Age Jazztet and Merle Jagger rounding out Sunday. $15 per day.

Looking ahead: High Sierra Music Festival. July 4-7 at Plumas County Fairgrounds (Quincy)

Dispatch, Umphrey’s McGee, Greensky Bluegrass, Jim James, Galactic, Dawes, St. Paul & the Broken Bones and a cavalcade of veteran and emerging talent gather for what is arguably Northern California’s most beloved and intimate festival (you wouldn’t want to pick that argument with this reporter).