Sticky hot for the cause
Skinny jeans: Despite the sticky heat, I pulled on my most-constraining pants last Saturday night.
Normally I would never do such a thing in the Sacramento summer, but the dress code was requested for James Cavern’s #iwearskinnyjeans fundraiser for the three local musicians stabbed in Midtown because of their aforementioned fashion choice.
Pour House was completely packed by 10 p.m. Not everyone there was likely aware of the event, why there was music or the significance of Musical Charis’ Blake Abbey mingling around with arm in sling. Still, it was hard not to be proud of the Sacramento music scene rallying to support its brethren. A few fundraisers took place over the weekend and more are slated for July.
Danny Secretion played a solo punk set. Drop Dead Red’s Carly DuHain brought Lindsey Pavao up for a cover of “Hang Me Up To Dry.” James Cavern & the Council reunited temporarily for the evening, bringing up a slew of fantastic performers to join, including Century Got Bars, Erica Ambrin and Kim Henderson. Joe Kye fiddled alongside. It felt like the most wonderful, free-form open mic, with milk crates passed around to collect donations. According to Cavern, the event raised just over $500.
Bees return: We’ve been waiting quite some time for the next Sea of Bees album. The wait is just a little bit longer: Build a Boat to the Sun drops Tuesday, July 7.
The hype is warranted. Julie Ann Baenziger released her debut Songs for the Ravens in 2010 to almost universal praise. Critics described Baenziger as a rare voice with rare promise. That excitement faded with 2012’s Orangefarben, a too-gentle breakup record. Sea of Bees went on hiatus.
Fast-forward and the New York Times is premiering Build a Boat to the Sun while Sea of Bees completes a United Kingdom tour. Next up is a residency in New York.
Build a Boat to the Sun sounds like the Sea of Bees album everyone has been waiting for since first hearing the debut. It still highlights Baenziger’s innocent, childlike voice, but its 10 tracks feel more full, dynamic and complete. There are quiet, thoughtful tracks that could easily fit into Songs for the Ravens (“Moline”), but also an arsenal of upbeat, catchy and smart pop (”Dad,” “Test Yourself”) and surprisingly grand orchestration (“Little Sea”). Even the addition of a horn section doesn’t mean Baenziger avoids sparse vulnerability entirely (“Monk”).
Unfortunately for us, there’s no hometown release show booked. Yet.
High times: The biggest thing happening in Quincy every year is the High Sierra Music Festival. During Fourth of July weekend, thousands of music lovers descend on this sleepy, Gold Rush-era town and transform the Plumas County Fairgrounds into the site of one of the best small music festivals in the country.
Thursday, July 2, through Monday, July 6, High Sierra celebrates its 25th anniversary, and the original mission remains intact. “High Sierra is the ultimate intimate festival experience,” said spokeswoman Rebecca Sparks. “You can reach out and touch the artists, yet at the same time, there is world-class music everywhere around you.”
The camp-out festival features three stages with music lasting from morning to almost midnight. Then, two additional stages open up for jams that last until 4 a.m. It’s not unusual for a kickball game to start at the crack of dawn when the music ends. Hours later, the cycle starts again.
The festival proudly touts its history of featuring acts just before they got huge—My Morning Jacket and Bassnectar are two notable examples. This year’s headliner, The String Cheese Incident, took off after playing the festival in 1997 and 1998.
Away from the stages, there’s still lots to do, such as yoga, crafts, nature walks, music classes for kids or artist workshops led by festival performers. There’s also the unofficial tradition of renegade camp jams—uninvited bands show up with instruments, plug in and play among the tents. Sometimes it goes so well that a band will get invited to join the official lineup in the future—local band the Nibblers has managed to do that twice, and this year it’ll bring along Davis’ Big Sticky Mess.