That falafel thing you do

After right-wing opinionist Bill O’Reilly mentioned that “falafel thing” in a steamy phone message he left for a Fox News producer a few years ago, thus igniting a tabouleh-palooza of a sexual-harassment lawsuit, one might have thought the tasty Middle Eastern sandwich would zoom to the top of the American lunch hit parade as a result. But it didn’t.

There are some great places to eat falafel in Sacramento, like Maalouf’s on Fulton Avenue. The reopened True Love Coffeehouse on K Street also turns out a decent falafel plate, although it might be enhanced by the addition of some tahini, or sesame sauce. It’s a bit dry without it.

But this isn’t a food column. Anyway, a couple weeks back I ran into Rusty Miller, the singer-songwriter force behind the band Jackpot, at the True Love. Miller and I had both ordered late-lunch falafels, and as we sat on the back patio munching and jawing about the local scene, Miller made an observation, something about how the women musicians in this town are where the juju currently resides.

He was right. It ain’t about the dudes right now.

Sacramento has a wealth of pretty top-notch women performers. Off the top of my head, before coffee, there’s Allegra (the Dynamortals), Keri Carr (Rowdy Kate), Dre (Parlour Dames), Ruebi Freyja, Caitlin Gutenberger (Two Sheds), Amber Padgett (Spider Silk Dress), Kortnee Randal (the Devastates), Gerri Ranta (Baby Grand) … and that’s probably missing a lot.

To tie together falafels and women performers—not that anyone would want to do that—one of the kitchen workers at the True Love who can whip up a mean falafel is singer Liani Moore, who performed at Old Ironsides last Thursday night, along with headliners the Dynamortals and the increasingly stunning Los Angeles rocker Amy Cooper (whose knockout new CD, Mirrors, is spending a lot of time in this writer’s CD player).

Moore, who opened the show, alternated between acoustic and electric guitars, backed by drummer Alexa Golden. It’s a format that works for Jonathan Richman, and here it worked for Moore, too. The sultry, androgynous singer hasn’t figured out if she’s an acoustic guerilla folkie or a full-on rocker yet, though. Some of her songs mine the former’s Ani DiFranco-pioneered territory, as on her recent EP Concrete Pond, while others, like the ones from last year’s six-song EP Moore, where she was backed by guitarist Mike Farrell, seem rooted in the kind of “alternative” album-rock aesthetic beloved by tattooed and Van Dyke’d radio programmers. The world may not be ready for a metal band called something like Sapphic Piledriver, however, so playing to the chain-wallet crew may not be her best bet.

She has a nice, strong voice, though, and there’s more than enough performing charisma to power a small city.

Blast from my past: Years ago I lived in Stockton, that much-maligned burg 40-some miles south. One of my old musician pals, Eric Westphal, had a pretty good hard-candy power-pop combo called the James Blonde Band. Lo and behold, the group has reunited and will be playing Thursday, March 15, at Old Ironsides, along with the Ancient Sons. Old-school Stocktones who used to shake and shout to the JBB may want to “represent.”