Outstanding Pop Band
The Skirts just keep riding higher and higher. Packed, sweaty clubs, a successful EP and now a growing buzz created by their first full-length release, Take Off—this band has brought many good times to Sacramento music fans. Their “Go-Go’s meets a train wreck” brand of punky pop music is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a swivel in your hips. These five girly-girls—Lynn Mayugba, Gerri Ranta, Wendy Powell, Gitti Lindner and Cory Tozer—can rock hard, but with an infectious pop sensibility that has audiences singing along and the tunes sticking inside your head. Small wonder, then, that SN&R readers named them the 2001 Outstanding Pop Band.
Outstanding R&B/ Funk Band
It’s been a long time since Volkswagen stopped using the term fahrvergnügen to describe the driving experience; the carmaker’s Web site insists the word doesn’t exist. Which is to say that Funkengrüven—arguably the only rhythm and blues act with an umlaut in its name—didn’t spring up yesterday. The nine-member combo may not play much original material, but there’s obviously a place for jukebox bands that do what they do and do it well, and Funkengrüven certainly fits that bill, as SN&R readers will attest.
Outstanding Rock Band
From Sacramento to the big time: It may seem like an overnight journey to some, but the boys of Oleander know better. Singer Thomas Flowers and bassist Doug Eldridge have been playing together for more than 10 years. Things really came together when they hooked up with guitarist Rick Ivanisevich to form what ultimately became Oleander. More recently, the band added the rock-solid drumming of Scott Devours. When Oleander released its initial EP in 1996, who knew that within five years it would sell more than half a million copies of its Republic/Universal debut, February Son? Hitting the big time also meant touring with Candlebox, Collective Soul, Creed and Filter. Still, the four remain down-to-earth local guys.
Outstanding Metal Band
The SAMMIES may not have a category titled “cyber-voodoo rock,” but fans of loud amplified tuneage—call it metal, industrial, whatever—know a certifiable noisemaker when they hear it, and this Sacto fivesome delivers. Singer Anna Christine, singer/drummer/keyboardist/programmer Erie Loch, guitarist David H, bassist Crash and lighting/business dude Dik (yep, he’s listed as a band member) have recorded and released four albums—the kind of self-starting gumption that major labels look for in a band. Ergo, don’t be surprised if Luxt goes national soon.
Outstanding Punk Band
For the second year in a row, SN&R readers have named 7Seconds as best punk band. True, most of this band resides in the Reno area, but singer Kevin Seconds is one of the key people in our local music scene. Kevin formed 7Seconds with brother Steve Youth in 1980, and ever since the band has played breathtaking punk rock that has at its center the melodic sensibilities missing from far too many punk bands these days. Those infectious melodies make you bob your head in time, sing along with the hooky choruses and plunge into the mosh pit with abandon. Kevin and Steve, along with drummer Troy Mowat and guitarist Bobby Adams, just returned from touring Japan in time to rock the SAMMIES.
Outstanding Country Band
Maybe it ain’t the straight country of Merle Haggard or Hank Williams, but anyone who doesn’t believe that the four members of Forever Goldrush, originally from Amador County, have a lot of country running through their blood is just plain nuts. The band’s alt-country music has already garnered acclaim from such country-music strongholds as Nashville and Austin. Indeed, just back from a successful trip to Austin’s South by Southwest music festival, the boys are fixing to keep the wheels rolling by bringing their music to as wide an audience as they can—but their roots are right here in Northern California.
Outstanding Blues Band
They call themselves “the hardest-working band in Sacramento.” For the past five years, the Hucklebucks have been blasting out their trademark hybrid jump blues, swing and boogie in local clubs from high tone to lowdown, along with other select joints around the north part of the state. Vocalist Doug James fronts the band; he also blows a mean sax and plays blues harp, too. Guitarist Robert Sidwell lays down a sweet sound behind him, and they’re capably backed by bassist Joshua Minucci and drummer Joey Vee. You can check out their CD Everybody’s in the Mood, but any band that plays over 200 gigs a year is best appreciated live.
Outstanding Folk Band
Xenophilia, last year’s 2000 SAMMIES’ winner for Outstanding Folk Band, plays a unique brand of folk rock that appeals to your mind as well as your ears. The band is led by guitarist/singer/songwriter Joe Xeno, who entertains audiences with wry observations on life punctuated by blasts from his 12-string guitar. Singer Amy Anne provides picturesque lead and harmony vocals and brings a jazz sensibility to the music, while bassist Hence lends solid support and vocals. Xenophilia means an affinity for strangers or foreigners—and SN&R readers have definitely shown an affinity for Xenophilia.
Outstanding Rap/ Hip-Hop Band
The C.U.F., aka DJ Mad G, Crush, Brotha RJ, N8 the Gr8 and Pete, aka California Underground Funk, aka Country Under Frustration, is Sacramento’s contribution to hip-hop nation—a self-contained unit of five that writes, plays, produces and records; the group also promotes many of its shows. It’s been in existence since 1993, and its members have been rapping since the ‘80s. Which is to say that you probably won’t see The C.U.F. cutting remakes of old Police records with Puff Daddy anytime soon.
Outstanding World/Latin Band
Sugar Boom Boom Reggae Band
This band may take its name from an old soca song from Trinidad, but the names in the lineup should sound familiar to Sacramento music fans: Dennis Hypolite on vocals and keys, Tony Dey on drums, William Jones on bass and Bob Mariano on guitar and vocals. And sax players such as Peter Tumelty and Mumbo Gumbo’s Reggy Marks sometimes sit in. The set list covers the Caribbean basin, with much of it drawn from Jamaican favorites.
Outstanding Jazz Band
West Coast Rhythm Section
Any band that mixes funk and acid jazz is going to find an audience rather quickly, especially if the band concocts a mix that moves bodies. The band is currently at five members, with Jon Hoops on saxophone, Ralph Davies on trombone, Joeseph Wisgirda on trumpet and vocals, Ron Hull and Rick Zamora on guitars. Recently, drummer Zach Hash and bassist Richard Driver have played live with them, and the band sometimes features guest vocalists. Whatever it is the Section is doing, people are digging it.