Restaurant News & Reviews

Bacon Fest ups the ante on its musical offerings

Sure, it’s got a good beat. But can I eat bacon to it?

It’s a question that’s been on the minds of Bacon Fest co-founders Nick Miller and Brian Guido, who have been working with local musical talents to create just the right ambiance at several of the upcoming chef-centric events, running Sunday through Jan. 26.

Fest veteran DJ Shaun Slaughter will be mixing at both Sunday’s opening event at Grange and the Jan. 26 closing event at Mulvaney’s, while DJ Whores, ChrisSupreme and RU will provide the jams at Bows & Arrows’ Jan. 24 “Beats, Beer and Bacon” event.

The four-DJ lineup marks an increase in musical offerings from last year’s event, when Slaughter was the only DJ involved.

“It’s just evolving in a different way,” Miller said of music at Bacon Fest. “It has to do with the people we’re partnering with and the relationships we’ve built over the past two years. The music scene and the food scene in this town, they support each other.

“These events are about the food, but music just sort of fills in between the lines,” Miller added. “It makes it fun. It makes people want to stay and hang out. … To a degree it’s background music. It’s like a summer backyard BBQ in the middle of January.”

Slaughter, whom Miller calls “the official DJ of Bacon Fest,” plans to keep it upbeat at Mulvaney’s sold-out chefs competition that wraps up Bacon Fest. Being part of the mix is a particularly exciting prospect for Slaughter, who said he’s a huge fan of Patrick Mulvaney.

Slaughter, who has been DJing in Sacramento for years, said spinning a spectrum of artists from various decades and genres works best when people are conversing and eating.

“[Nick’s] always just let me do my thing, which usually ends up being new disco, old funk, and modern indie stuff,” Slaughter said. “It’s kind of a hodge-podge, but mainly just fun party stuff, minus the top 40.”

The bass will drop at all-out pork party “Beers, Beats and Bacon,” where the three DJs will perform. The free, all-ages party is the last incarnation of Bows & Arrows’ monthly staple “Bites, Beats and Beer” before the venue closes Jan. 31.

Miller said he’s looking forward to some sensory overload at the Bows & Arrows event. “I want to listen to music that has good deep bass,” he explained. “I want to be eating that bacon and have it feel good in my belly, and then I want the bass to just shake everything. We are definitely bringing the subwoofers.”

However, when setting the tone at a sit-down venue like Grange, which will serve $6 tapas plates by chefs from Ella and Kru at the opening-night event, picking a calmer playlist is key.

Grange chef Oliver Ridgeway, who has catered both upscale dinners and cocktail parties at the downtown hot-spot, initially wanted a live band, but ultimately opted for the flexibility of DJ Slaughter.

“We’ve had bands before and I’ve toyed around with that,” he said. “But I want the main focus to be the chefs and our food and also bacon and the cocktails. I think a DJ can really work a room. They can play to the tempo of what they think meets the plates.”

Live bands had the spotlight at Old Ironsides last year, when bar-goers broke attendance records to see local artists pay tribute to Kevin Bacon by playing songs associated with the actor. But with the pool of Bacon-inspired tunes running dry, Guido said, it’s time for a change at the historic midtown hub.

“The first year we just did Kevin Bacon movies and TV shows, and the next year we went one degree of Kevin Bacon,” he said. “And we thought if we went any further it would just take away from it.”

Instead, the Fest is adding some sizzle to Old Ironsides’ Tuesday karaoke night and challenging participants on songs from Kevin Bacon films.

“We don’t care if like 10 people sing ‘Footloose,’ ” Guido said. “We think that would be pretty awesome.”

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