Keeping it real in the 530

It’s only 20 minutes and a short trip across the causeway, but sometimes Davis feels like another country. Case in point: the Davis Beer Shoppe. On a recent Friday night it was so busy that the owner, Taylor Ramos, had to station an employee at the door to ration the incoming customers, a move that made it seem more like a hip club than what it really is—a compact beer shop with an impressive selection, a few taps and a tiny seating area. The Beer Shoppe has been a smash hit since opening in March, yet, as reported last week in SN&R (“Fear the Beer” by Nick Miller, Frontlines, November 3) a business like this could never open anywhere on the grid in Sacramento, thanks to the city’s arcane single-bottle laws. Although he didn’t consider Sacramento as a location for his bottle shop, owner Ramos says he’s aware of the law.

“I can understand where they’re coming from but … overall it really hurts retailers who are trying to move toward craft beers and away from macrobeers like Coors, Bud, etc.,” Ramos said.

Here’s another thing downtown Sac is lacking right now (no, not a basketball arena): An array of small all-ages venues for under-the-radar bands. Which is why the Nacho Business/G. Green/Audacity/King Tuff show was booked for that same Friday at the Davis Bike Collective, a Bike Kitchen-esque shop near the tracks.

Nacho Business charmed the crowd with its signature pretty harmonies and giant stage-side can of nacho “cheez.” For this show, the band debuted a new drummer, Christine Shelley, who, they jokingly called a “session drummer”—but it’s hardly a joke because Shelley also drums for Knock Knock and Baby.

G. Green also debuted a new lineup, its sixth or seventh, although the two core members, guitarist/singer Andrew Henderson and drummer/singer Liz Liles, are solid as a rock. Here’s hoping this one sticks; the addition of KDVS deejay Simi Sohota on bass and Oakland resident Mike Morales on guitar got the crowd so pumped, that a good-natured mosh pit broke out.

Audacity, doing double duty as King Tuff’s backing band, brought its signature SoCal Burger Records bubblegum sound and dedicated its set to KDVS deejay Rick Ele, an early supporter of Audacity on his influential radio show, and fellow label artist Mom, who was also in attendance.

King Tuff is the alter ego of Kyle Thomas, a young musician from Vermont who is also in Witch—J. Mascis’ metal band. In 2007, he recorded the album Was Dead as King Tuff, and then moved on to a newer venture, recording an album for Sub Pop with his band Happy Birthday. Was Dead proved to have surprising staying power and has become something of a cult classic.

On Friday the room erupted as King Tuff launched into the first song—and kept erupting throughout the set, straight through to the encore.

Even the trip back across the causeway couldn’t break the spell—another great Yolo County show. Until Sacramento loosens up, our loss is Davis’ gain.