Love your bacon
Miss Piggy might not approve: Perhaps the Muppets’ most famous sow might condemn it, but nobody else has a valid excuse as to why they didn’t show up for the Second Annual Kevin Bacon Tribute Night at Old Ironsides downtown on Friday, January 25. For two years running, Bacon Fest Sacramento, (which, full disclosure, was co-founded by SN&R co-editor Nick Miller with local musician Brian Guido) has served as a glorious celebration with the simple theme: Support your local businesses and love your bacon—a golden mantra if there ever was one. For $5, Old I played host to seven local bands that rocked the house and, at times, packed the bar six-deep. Each group was given one rule for its song selections: It had to be just “one degree of separation” from a Kevin Bacon film. Blossom Rock mule-kicked the lineup off into deep space with an awesome version of “Purple Haze” (I swear, someone on stage was channeling Jimi Hendrix). Soft Science and Aaron King followed, both equally impressive and talented artists that kept the nightclub packed shoulder to shoulder. In between the crunchy three-song sets, curious observers and avid followers in the ways of bacon were encouraged to swing by the kitchen window and stuff their faces with guest-chef Michael Thiemann’s $5 specials: grits and collards with “hella bacon” and sweet potato pie with well, more “hella bacon.” And yes, it was hella excellent.
Later, the group Jem & Scout kept the festivities in full swing with a heavy, beer-raising cover of the Greg Kihn Band’s “The Breakup Song.” Thankfully, no one was hurt in the process, and it didn’t appear as if anyone lost their drink in the commotion—not that you’d be able to hear the shattering sound of a fallen soldier over the music anyway. Dead Horses also played, bringing with it some good old-fashioned Ramones and a list of facts about Kevin Bacon, many of which were strange enough to make anyone question one’s place in the great scheme of things. How is it possible that someone has never lost at a game of Monopoly? It’s just not fair.
As the night came to an end, 50-Watt Heavy stepped up, playing some of the Bacon-related hits and a few of its own solid singles, providing more than enough head-nodding and ear ringing to drive home, pass out and dream of all the different desserts to which you could add Babe the pig.
Rambler house: There’s something heartwarming about Americana music. Maybe it’s the full-bodied sound of a stand-up bass paired with the weep of a violin. Or perhaps it’s the distinct twang of a pedal steel guitar. Whatever it is, all sounds were present last weekend at downtown’s Shine coffeehouse. Singer-songwriter Sean Fleming opened the night solo, performing upbeat acoustic tunes with a slight country feel. But it was the Pine Street Ramblers from Auburn who picked up the pace for the evening. The band warmed up a crowd of more than 50 fans, sending audience members dancing, clapping and singing along to the music. They even covered Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” adding in mandolin and fiddle. The show was packed with plenty of bluegrass, folk, country and even a bit of blues, and continued on with another set of ramblers—this time the Delta City Ramblers—who kept up the momentum. That band’s vocalist put his own spin to Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You,” and even their rendition of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” was on point. As Delta City carried on with its Americana-style originals, one crowd member near the back of the venue picked up a set of spoons and started jamming along on his knee. Meanwhile, another pair of patrons sipped Session beers as they tapped their toes to the music over a quiet game of chess. At the close of the evening, all the Ramblers in the house plus Fleming paired off on microphones and joined forces for one last song: Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel.” The song’s old-time charm and catchy lyrics had audience members singing and swaying along. A good ole-fashioned send-off, indeed.