Wasted by the Solid Gold dancer
Summer is a mixed blessing. On one hand, there’s the heat: a sort of slow, dry, African scorch that, at times, seems to come straight from the Sahara. We are thankful each time our cars manage to get us to work without overheating, and we watch the streets bake from blissfully air-conditioned cubicles. At night, we lie in sweat-pooled beds until 2 a.m., trying to dream ourselves into some northern clime. The whole while, we complain—to spouses, friends, co-workers and family members—as if the heat is some kind of remarkable new development in an otherwise idyllic place.
But in Sacramento, summer also brings music—lots of music. From the series of shows at Cesar Chavez Plaza to the Jazz Jubilee, locals have an unprecedented opportunity to hear and see some of Sacramento’s finest musicians during the long, hot months.
In fact, so pervasive is Sacramento’s quest for summer music that it actually bleeds into the outskirts of town. The little suburbs that cook away on the arteries outside of town often have their own sets of street fairs and park shows, and these community events often feature some of the area’s best talent.
Rocklin, a fast-growing suburb dominated by corporate fast food, mega-malls and chain stores, is one such place. The venues for live music are few and far between there, perhaps the nearest being Shady Brady’s in Roseville or the Boardwalk in Orangevale.
Now, though, Rocklin’s Evening-in-the-Park concert series has run through a number of shows to get some (family-friendly) local music to the area. In the past months, the series has brought both Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers and the Jackie Greene Band to town to perform 6 p.m.-8 p.m. weekend shows at Johnson-Springview Park.
One can understand the crowd-pleasing aspects of Martin and Greene—both of whom play blues sets that seem just as effective in broad daylight as they do in the wee hours. A bit stranger, though, was last weekend’s show, the final event of the series, which brought Dave Gleason’s Wasted Days to the stage.
The booking was strange, only because Gleason’s band feels like the half hour just before the tequila finally knocks you to the sand. Essentially a country-rock band (owing a heavy debt to Gram Parsons), Wasted Days performed a vocal-harmony-soaked set that brought to mind a hipper version of the Eagles. But that’s not even what made it such a strangely remarkable show for Rocklin. What put it over the top was the ubiquitous presence of local guitar hero Mike Farrell, whose appearance at the Rocklin park drew multiple embraces from friends and fans and expressions of curiousness and confusion from locals.
Further confusion (and laughter, and finally applause) was brought by Farrell’s famous stage dancing—part funky chicken, part hokey pokey and part Solid Gold dancer. Farrell’s guitar playing seems, at times, secondary to his stage presence (although he’s famous locally for both). Invited onto the stage only during the last few numbers, Farrell’s performance was so animated that it effectively rendered the event into a Mike Farrell performance-art set with Dave Gleason and company playing backup. The lesson was perhaps well-learned: Any stage on which Farrell sets foot will become Farrell’s stage. Perhaps Gleason should start watching Solid Gold reruns to keep up with the master.