Scene it all
The time is now for an indie, underground and all-ages redux
When the fuzz rolled up around midnight, they’d already missed the fireworks. Only a few post-show stragglers and unflappable chain smokers decorated the sidewalk outside this Midtown house, remnants of the earlier jazz and experimental-indie noise explosion long since expired.
“This is the first time the cops have come,” a girl on the upstairs balcony noted while listening to the Beach Boys’ Smiley Smile. The heat eventually moved on during the outro of “Good Vibrations.”
“Nothing like this ever happens in Sacramento unless it’s at a house, or maybe Fools Foundation,” the seemingly omnipresent KDVS deejay Rick Ele later observed. The evening’s lineup—Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! from Portland, followed by another experimental jazz trio, the local Chant Oh’s, featuring Carson McWhirter (Hella), Zac Nelson (Who’s Your Favorite Son God?) and Troy Mighty (Dead Western)—cut loose in the living room, their Bitches Brew-meets-Frank Zappa sound both a lullaby for the neighbors and also a requiem for a Sacramento long lost.
“Ten years ago, shows like this happened all the time,” Ele continued, noting that Hella played its first show at his house. Point taken: The indie, underground, experimental and all-ages music scene in Sac isn’t what it used to be.
Or is it?
Ele would know: He also was at the Fools Foundation last Thursday for Baltimore electronica deejay Dan Deacon’s set, which brought out indie kids (jean shorts, ratty Ts) and dance geeks (size-too-small sweats, pink bunny-rabbit ears) alike. Fools, a private club located in an alley basement near the Spaghetti Factory (follow the smell of Mizithra), is by far the best place for all-ages shows in Sac.
Deacon, a nerdier, less poppy version of Girl Talk with traces of Patton Oswalt and Jeff Spicoli, spent most of his set spinning yarns about travel mishaps, including a hilarious tale of creating a backpack out of denim pants filled with canned beans and corn at the Sac Greyhound station.
“Everybody form a big circle, join hands and raise them above your head,” Deacon ordered the 50-plus crowd, which reluctantly obliged as he delivered a pre-performance pep talk. When the beats finally commenced, they did so with a dance-off, whereupon one person would “strut it sassy” inside the circle, then tag another concert-goer for their turn to shake it. Notable dance moves included those of opening act Dusty Brown (Brit-style leg kicks), and a contingent of wooden DIY kids (all shoulders, no hips).
Dusty and Jessica Brown also were at the Press Club last Sunday night at Synthetic, with chic rockers the Catholic Comb and Black Tie Dynasty. The drum ’n’ bass Browns have new songs, like “How’s That,” with its beguiling chorus, and a lot of gigs this summer, including a Capitol Garage set on July 7 with Two Playa Game and Young Aundee.
Also on July 7 is DJ Roger’s seven-band, 7 p.m., $7 birthday bash at the Blue Lamp. This past Sunday, Roger’s Record Club at the Press featured the return of Red Tyger Church, fronted by Mike Diaz. Their sound, a contagious ’90s Brit-pop with a rock crunch and gritty glam aftertaste, was pleasantly swayable. And the venerable Diaz is still a showman, sneering into the mic while thumping a tambourine in his palm, channeling a chill, fuck-it-all rock nonchalance.
In between sets outside the Press was the proverbial game of Sac six degrees. There’s Ira Skinner, who books indie nights Club Pow! and Club Blur at the Press, and former SN&R staffer Ashlie Graddon, last spotted outside the Town House, where deejays Shaun Slaughter (also in attendance) will host Fuck Fridays (on Fridays, drr) beginning in July. Bro-sis team Cy (another SN&R alum) and Lacadia Olsen, who put on cool Second Saturday gigs at their shop, Cuffs Urban Apparel, as certainly were numerous others.
All said and done, there are some killer all-ages gigs this summer at other venues like Javalounge, True Love Coffeehouse and a mother lode of locales outside of the A-to-Broadway, Front-to-60th digs. (Davis’ Delta of Venus, anyone?) A lot of these shows may be on the DL, too, but hey: If the cops can find it, surely you’ll be able to.