Going mainstream

Concerts in the Park season is over (sniff), so we leave you with one last image: the lovely Kate Gaffney.

Concerts in the Park season is over (sniff), so we leave you with one last image: the lovely Kate Gaffney.


Ironstone Amphitheatre at Ironstone Vineyards

1894 Six Mile Rd.
Murphys, CA 95247

(209) 728-1251

Park Party:
Old-school soul and jazz legends, along with indie-rock/folk/hip-hop darlings, converged on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park this past weekend for Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. The two-day affair, scaled back from the usual three-day music-meets-food-glut barrage, still managed to cram in a solid array of artists. With the twangy melodies of the Devil Makes Three, Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s rap-reggae fusion and the glammed-out, electro psychedelic offerings of Empire of the Sun, there was something for almost everyone.

The event also brought a fusion of art and food with a decidedly environmentally friendly spin. The eco-inspired Panhandle Stage—fully powered by solar energy, including the lighting and the sound system—and the soldierlike presence of the garbage attendants kept with the events’ sustainability mission and environmental commitment.

But in the end, it was all about the music. The event brought out Bassnectar’s heavy, bass-laden, sonic beats, which brought the house down—just a few moments into a set the power cut out abruptly. The night, however, belonged to the Strokes and their triumphant return to the stage, which begged the question: What four-year hiatus? A mob-like crowd ebbed and flowed toward the stage as frontman Julian Casablancas hunched over the mic stand, in dark sunglasses, oozing that trademark swagger as he and the band churned out a collection of songs from all three albums.

Like most summer festivals these days, Outside Lands united the downtown hipster, uptown hip-hopper and eco-obsessed person into one happy, peaceful head-bumping, booty-shaking family of music and art lovers. For two days, at least. (Lovelle Harris)

Last Thursday, Sacramento was graced by the presence of something it has not felt in quite some time. No, not Obi-Wan Kenobi. Although, one could speculate whether Steve Aoki, famed deejay, producer and founder of Dim Mak Records, is strong with the force. Purportedly the son of a Japanese Olympic wrestler (my Internet is off, so my research on this is spotty), Aoki came ready to rumble at Social Nightclub, just above The Cosmopolitan on K Street.

The night started off sort of casual. If you haven’t visited Social, it’s a rooftop club, similar to the setup of Mix Downtown, but the rooftop smoking area is a bit smaller and the bar is more the center-of-attention.

DJ Sex & Weight started off the night with typical dance anthems while people trickled in from the streets. It was definitely one of those nights you could tell would be slow-moving at first, but then grow at an exponential rate.

I had a few tasty alcoholic beverages myself, despite higher prices than I am accustomed to. Deejays Mike Diamond and My Cousin Vinny took their places on stage and continued the build up for the upcoming deejay giant.

Then came Aoki. At this point, I swear to God, the crowd was ready for it. I think even the designated drivers that night were in some sort of temporary drunken haze brought by Aoki’s beats and high energy. The man’s shirt probably only stayed on for maybe three or four songs before it was too sweaty to wear. People jumped, screamed and sweated. The crowd was an unusual but nice mix of the upper-echelon scene and the hipsters that usually congregate at shows of this genre.

The peak of the night was his popular remix of “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi; I truly thought everyone in the place was going to lose it.

So now, here, I personally want to thank the Sacramento audience that showed up. The show actually had been canceled for two weeks, right up until the night before, when it was rescheduled. And everyone showed Aoki why it matters to come back to Sacramento. (John Phillips)

King me:
Usually when someone is inducted into a hall of fame, it means their career is over; they’ve retired on a high note or are close to doing it. Not B.B. King. He was inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame 30 years ago—and he is still singing the blues. At 84 years old, King still plays his Lucille with smoothness and elegance only a musical great can master. The B.B. King Blues Festival also will feature Al Green and Buddy Guy. Watching these fellas and B.B. King doing their thing in a vineyard is most definitely worth the drive to Murphys. Friday, August 20, 7:30 p.m.; at Ironstone Amphitheatre, 1894 Six Mile Road in Murphys; $45-$250; www.bbking.com. (Jenn Kistler)