Suburban acid rock as bold as love

Take a look at the entertainment ads on the pages that surround this text. These are venues that, by and large, are squarely in the public eye. Most of these venues feature bands that you, dear reader, may have heard of, particularly if you are a fan of local music.

However, for each of the bands that you see listed in these pages, there are inevitably two or three that you haven’t heard of and that aren’t listed here. These are bands so far off the radar that they may not be listed in local entertainment calendars. Perhaps they are playing nontraditional venues or venues that are new to live music, or perhaps they are simply new bands.

Either way, there is a shadow music scene beyond Midtown. It is on the outskirts of town, in the suburbs, in coffeehouses and dive bars on forgotten streets and pitch-black cul-de-sacs. Of course, the locals are in the know; it is only you, dear reader, who may be left in the dark to the goings on in rural hamlets like Roseville, a town I visited for the glass eating of Fiasco Sideshow last week and to which I returned this week for a heavy dose of acid rock.

The Owl Club has appeared in this column before, but in the intervening months, it seems that the venue finally has succeeded in attracting thirsty locals to its live-music shows. So, it was last Saturday night when Auburn-area band Noble Jane played to an enthusiastic and increasingly drunk audience.

To note that Noble Jane is a band influenced by late-1960s and early-1970s acid rock would, in many ways, be missing the point. This is an instrumental acid-rock band, pure and simple. Regardless of the fact that the members appeared to have been born long after acid rock’s heyday, the long, drawn-out guitar solos accompanying crashing cymbals and thumping bass lines (the latter influenced by early-1970s crunchy funk rock) were made interesting in large part because Noble Jane’s music maintained a sense of structure throughout.

A few covers (also instrumental), including the James Gang’s “Funk #49” and a jammed-out rendition of the Black Crowes’ “Hard to Handle” (itself a cover of the Otis Redding version), really brought the audience into the fold. What started as a single 20-something hippie couple dancing barefoot ended with the entire room rocking out to the Jimi Hendrix-influenced guitar blowouts. Groundbreaking? Hardly! Nonetheless, it was effective and entertaining—and not something you’re ever likely to hear in Midtown Sacramento.

The better news in old Roseville is that music fans uninterested in acid rock needed only to step across the parking lot to check out music at the Onyx Club (which featured blues and dance tunes by the saxophone-driven Bob Grabou and the Boys last Saturday), or, if one needed a break from live music entirely, there was always 101 Main Street, which had DJ-run dance music all night long. With three watering holes in close proximity to each other, Roseville just might become a suburban entertainment spot well worth checking out.