Standalone pop and warm weather shows

New formations: Despite basically being a brand new band, Male Gaze’s buzz has been spreading for quite some time. That’s because of its members, vocalist-guitarist Matt Jones and guitarist Adam Finken (both of Blasted Canyons), bassist Mark Kaiser (Mayyors) and drummer Adam Cimino (The Mall)—four seasoned musicians from three pretty notorious, underground garage-rock bands.

The new mix doesn’t resemble any previous project, but it’s also not a wild departure: noise rock meets post-punk meets San Francisco psychedelia, but dark.

Male Gaze swung through the Hideaway Bar & Grill last Sunday for an early 5 p.m. show with local indie rockers Vasas and San Francisco power-pop troupe Tiaras. It was the last show of a mini-West Coast tour for the touring bands, and Male Gaze even snagged an in-studio performance on Seattle’s tastemaking public radio station KEXP.

In Sacramento, about 75 people filled the Hideaway—impressive for the day and time—but the layout wasn’t conducive to any thrashing around. Large, four-person tables formed a bulky horseshoe around the bands, creating an odd cabaret-in-a-dive-bar vibe.

The members of Male Gaze did not seem to care, speeding through a quick set with precision and booming, Modern English-esque vocals. The band’s debut album Gale Maze dropped on Castle Face Records earlier this week.

Earlier in the afternoon, Vasas played some of its excellent songs off its self-titled debut. The four-piece’s quirky, psychedelic pop unfortunately didn’t translate well live, but I think it’s safe to stack a lot of that blame on the room’s acoustics and sound system.

For example, it was damn near impossible to appreciate Ryan Grubb’s vocals during headliner Tiara’s set. But Kyle Hoover’s guitar shined, and overall, the band proved its bright and sunny, ’80s-tinged rock is completely addicting.

By now, Tiaras has gotten mad local media love from the likes of, ahem, us, as well as Capital Public Radio and Submerge Magazine. Soon enough we will stop saying, “Tiaras is made up of members from Ganglians, Blasted Canyons and Fine Steps,” because while true and relevant and all, Tiaras is its own standalone thing. A really awesome standalone thing. And the more Tiaras plays in Sacramento, the less often we’ll need to remind ourselves of its past, which I’m sure its members are sick of talking about. Hint hint.

Get outside, hear a band (or a dozen): We’ve gotten a fat taste of summer in the past couple of weeks.

Let’s start with Concerts in the Park, with a free show in Cesar Chavez Plaza every Friday in May through July. This year’s lineup holds a solid mix of touring and local acts, and unlike last year, a solid hip-hop day on May 29 with Blackalicious and DLRN. The series finale on July 24 also has Task1ne and Century Got Bars supporting Arden Park Roots—that’s right, no Brodys this year.

A couple of other sure-to-be-massive shows will happen June 26 with former Dance Gavin Dance frontman Jonny Craig’s new rock band Slaves and A Lot Like Birds, and July 17 with Yosemite’s experimental indie rock band From Indian Lakes.

Then there’s the Sacramento Music Festival lineup. Traditionally a jazz and Dixieland affair, the four-day festival, scheduled to take place over Memorial Day Weekend in Old Sacramento, continues to play with its identity. The 2015 headliners include old school R&B band Tower of Power, country singer Gloriana and two ’90s rock bands, Everclear and Eve 6. More than 300 sets will be performed in various venues May 22-25.

The continued prevalence of ’90s alt-rock bands still feels a little weird. But just because there’s no jazz headliner doesn’t mean the festival has abandoned its roots entirely. There’s local vocal jazz trio Sister Swing, for example, and local hot swing band Crescent Katz. More artists will be added to the lineup in weeks to come, so we’ll see if the festival spends any real money bringing a big jazz or swing act. Early bird festival passes go for $110 or $39-$45 per day.

Finally, there’s Outside Lands taking place in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park August 7-9. Headlining are Elton John, Mumford & Sons and the Black Keys, plus Sam Smith, Kendrick Lamar, Wilco, D’Angelo and St. Vincent. Sadly, three-day passes sold out in 40 minutes, but some single-day tickets might become available later. Watch out for that, plus more artist announcements—plus food, beverages and comedians—at

—Janelle Bitker