Pump up the sweaty jams: The air-conditioner has been running for nearly a month, but June 21 officially marks the first day of summer. What better way to observe the occasion than with Friday Night Concerts in the Park at Cesar Chavez Plaza (910 I Street) this week with the Mother Hips, the Sacramento/Bay Area band known for its “California soul” brand of Americana? The satisfying jams for a warm summer evening start at 5 p.m., and, as always, the event is free.
Across the causeway, check out the Davis Music Fest (www.davismusicfest.com) Saturday, June 22, through Sunday, June 23. It sprawls across more than a dozen venues, including Sophia’s Thai Kitchen and the Mondavi Center, with more than 50 scheduled artists, including John Vanderslice, JD McPherson, Sea of Bees and Doom Bird. Festival wristbands are $25 before June 21, $30 after. Proceeds benefit the Davis School Arts Foundation supporting arts and music programs, so put your money where your heart is and spend the rest on beer guilt-free.
Meanwhile, back in Sac, on June 22, Ace of Spades (1417 R Street) will play host to Zavalaz, the new project from Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At the Drive-In and Mars Volta fame. The Afro-topped dreamboat has pulled together a fringe-scene supergroup that also includes Juan Alderete de la Peña (Mars Volta), Dan Elkan (Them Hills, Hella) and Greg Rogove (Devendra Banhart). What can you expect? An Americana soup with notes of post-hardcore—the band has dubbed it “AM radio pop songs.”
Two days into the season and already more shows than this one kid can handle. It bodes well for the future, don’t you think?
Planet Booty fever dream: It’s been two weeks since the first This Midtown event on June 8, and for those in attendance, it’s likely a sweat-slick memory revolving around Planet Booty frontman Dylan Germick’s sequined smoking jacket (sans undershirt, for the record).
The 110-degree heat may have deterred many from attending the first installment of the outdoor concert series held on 20th Street between J and K streets, but the brave witnessed what will surely become a don’t-miss event, despite the fact that through the sets of local band Contra, South of France (Los Angeles) and Deastro (Detroit), much of the crowd clustered in the air-conditioned confines of LowBrau.
Planet Booty took the stage last. Though the band claims as many as eight members, the Oakland natives arrived as three—Germick and Josh Cantero, who played keys and rapped, in a way, and Lady Emasita, a leotard-and-sunglasses-wearing hype girl who danced the way you might imagine a dancer to dance when she’s repping a band named Planet Booty. Think the Lonely Island, only slightly more serious—which is not to say that they are in any way serious.
The crowd could only play coy to Germick’s repeated forays into the audience for so long before they gave in, and uninhibited dance moves broke out like a heat rash. It was the sort of rollicking good time that takes you by surprise and by force.
There is a serious effort behind This Midtown to turn it into something rad—an effort to bring in a fresh rotation of bands—Yacht, Classixx, Sonny & the Sunsets, to name a few—and to involve the community with a street-fair aspect. The energy is palpable. The potential is exciting. Now we’ll just have to wait and see if it follows through with waterslides as promised on all the promo materials.
Goodbye, Darondo: Soul singer William Daron Pulliam has died. Pulliam, commonly known by his stage name Darondo, was 67. The cause or day of his death have not been released.
I interviewed Darondo in his Elk Grove home in 2009. He first made a name for himself in San Francisco, however, in the 1970s as a contender for James Brown’s soul crown with the now-iconic “Didn’t I.”
Eventually, however, drugs set him back, and Darondo faded from the scene even has his scant music output became highly collectible. He eventually rehabbed and even enjoyed a comeback in recent years after Bay Area filmmaker Justin Torres tracked him down for a music documentary. Torres happened to be friends with someone at Ubiquity Records, which released Let My People Go, a collection of Darondo’s singles and previously unreleased tracks in 2006. It’s a good primer, but if you can’t find it, check out the 2011 Omnivore Recordings collection, Listen to My Song: The Music City Sessions.