Slingers, architecture and upcoming departures

Wednesday evenings can be surprisingly fruitful nights for live music in Sacramento—from last month’s “Mood Swing Wednesdays” at the True Love Coffeehouse (with Scott McChane and Jay Shaner hosting a series of local songwriters) to regular gigs in acoustic music at Tapa the World and elsewhere. But for those interested in something a bit louder (and a bit more danceable), there is probably no Wednesday-night gig better than Jimmy Pailer and His Bad Boys’ ongoing shows at the Torch Club.

Pailer’s take on the blues is very much contemporary, with a heavy dose of both Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan and an occasional funk-heavy tune mixed in for good measure. The band more or less is a blues cover outfit, but it’s quite good. Pailer is a capable guitar player, particularly when he loses the Clapton cleanliness and really lets fly—which, for my taste, comes too seldom. A crack band, including a terrific, dynamic drummer, certainly helps make the whole show come together, as evidenced by the dancing patrons and interested drinkers manning the bar and various tables. (Watch for calendar listings.)

Of further note last week was the added pleasure of catching the Ross Hammond Trio’s Sammies showcase set right next door at the Sky Bar Café, meaning that active listeners could hear two terrific local guitar slingers of different genres divided by a few dozen feet and some architecture. Hammond’s music continues to impress me with its particularly laid-back and yet very contemporary take on jazz, managing, as he does, to fuse the mellow and romantic qualities of Chet Baker and—for a guitarist’s comparison—Wes Montgomery, along with Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis. The end result is one moment spacey and another melodic, and altogether interesting music. (It certainly helps having Gerry Pineda and Tom Monson backing him up—forming what I strongly feel is one of the best rhythm sections anywhere.)

Bands come and bands go, but lately it seems like some of the best local bands are going. Victory Gin has called it quits already. Looking Star, a band featuring members of former major-label act Sweet Vine, will be taking a long hiatus as band members reassess their goals. And it looks like one longtime pillar of the Sacramento music community—Gwamba (once of Okra Pickles and now of Freight Train Riders of America, or FTRA)—is moving out of the area entirely to faraway Oregon. (As the lyrics to one FTRA song go, “Huntin’ and a-fishin’ is all that I crave”; one imagines there is more of both in Oregon.) I’d say it was like the end of an era, except that it seems like it’s always the end of one era or another around here.

One band that seems consistently to be going someplace (but that thankfully maintains its Sacramento presence) is the Kimberly Trip, which has announced that it won “Best Rock Song 2004” in the annual West Coast Songwriters Association (WCSA) national songwriting competition. This is the first time an artist has won back-to-back titles. The song is “Freaky Things” from the band’s new album, Catastrophic Behavior, now available at