All the elements
Guitarist Slam Buckra leads the party for Sierra Nevada’s latest batch of Pale Bock
You know civilization isn’t quite ready to collapse if the local brewery throws a celebration for the release of its latest batch of brew and the party transmutes from separate groups of politely murmuring people to a unified crowd of whooping and hollering dancers.
Two catalysts are necessary to bring about such a celebration. First is the brew itself, and this year’s batch of Pale Bock goes down flavorful and smooth but packs a hefty punch at 6.5 percent alcohol. Taken in moderation it can indeed induce the urge to dance.
Second is some spirited music that simmers just beneath the surface and insinuates a supple rhythm up the spine without overwhelming the conversation. Something like Slam Buckra and His Groove Palooka’s opening number, “Grinder,” which was a perfect fit for the sparkly brewpub setting. Buckra’s guitar picked up just enough volume on the blues-inflected solo to get under the skin of potential dancers, and Kenzio “Snatchmo” Macklehoy’s smooth trumpet work added a gloss of sophistication in a Miles Davis mode.
From there the music kept pace with the beer. Buckra is a superb bandleader and master of revels: cracking wise, handing out prizes, stringing out lascivious, psychedelic guitar solos and singing in a baritone that’s smooth as sorghum mixed with just enough sand to pleasantly ruffle your eardrums. From the New Orleans street dance of "I May go Slow, But I Go Go Go" to the smoldering funk of "Use Me Up," Buckra and his boys latched on to the urge to party and coaxed it into a full-fledged jubilation. Good beer, good music, good party.