On Sept. 23, to the delight of Bay Area live music lovers, Sweetwater Music Hall hosted the inaugural Sweetwater in the Sun festival in Marin County, California. Concertgoers nationwide are familiar with the legendary Sweetwater, an intimate venue that has hosted great acts over the decades ranging from Elvis Costello to New Riders of the Purple Sage. While the storied venue has a legacy for its high-profile acts in cozy confines, nothing could have prepared fans for the announcement of Sweetwater in the Sun.
Iconic architects of San Francisco’s celebrated psychedelic sound, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, brought their enduring roots-infused mélange, Hot Tuna, to Eugene’s (Ore.) McDonald Theater on Sept. 1st and suitably verified their vaunted rock-and-roll credentials. Though not as widely known as their seminal 60’s group Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna have been playing searing, head-spinning shows for nearly five decades.
One of the most important live recordings of the last fifty years, “Friday Night In San Francisco” (1982) brought together three prodigious guitarists of different legacies to one stage. John McLaughlin, one of the three guitarists, recognized the tour with progressive flamenco master Paco De Lucia and fusion marvel Al Di Meola as an essential collective performance. San Francisco’s Warfield Theatre had many legendary musical performances prior, but after that Friday night of acoustical transcendence on December 5th, 1980, McLaughlin further mystified the storied venue.
Dave Grohl is a frontman who loves to interact with his crowd and jam with his bandmates and that always gets concertgoers riled up. Monday, September 10th at the Moda Center in Portland,Oregon was no exception. From the All My Life opener until they took their final bows following the final encore song, Everlong, the Foo Fighters put on a show for the Portland faithful.
It was splendor on the mountain on September 8, when local musician Bob Weir offered a set of his own and appeared for onstage musical cameos with Grace Potter as well as headliner Herbie Hancock at the fourth annual Sound Summit, atop Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, California. The eight-hour affair at the 4,000-capacity Mountain Theatre included an unusually diverse set of acts, from an acoustic duo to contemporary R&B, alt-country, Grateful Dead music, rock, and open-ended jazz.
On August 11th, Victor Wooten Trio came back once again full force to Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom with Roosevelt Collier to amaze their audience once again. As many of you probably know, Victor Wooten holds a reputation as one of the best bassists in the world. By his side, outstanding drummer Dennis Chambers, & powerful saxophonist Bob Franceshini, made for an excellent show.
Exemplifying more stateliness and grace than ever while still demonstrating the raucousness and instrumental power to bust open a barn door, Hot Tuna with Steve Kimock in tow wonderfully raged for three hours in Sacramento on September 4. The show, presented along with the rest of the current tour as “Electric Hot Tuna,” personified their status as one of the all-time best full-throttle power-blues/rock trios to have ever plugged in.
On a beautiful end of the summer evening, August 29th classic rock music fans gathered en masse to hear members of the veteran rock band Yes perform at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Fans arrived early to lounge in the afternoon sun at the bars and restaurants inside the Amphitheater complex. The show was billed as Quintessential YES: The 50th Anniversary Tour. Yes has gone through enormous personnel changes in its long and storied history.
Ziggy Marley, the 49-year-old son of legendary reggae superstar Bob Marley and Rita Marley, has been playing reggae music for longer than his father was alive. At Ziggy's well-attended "Rebellion Rises" show at Thalia Hall, a diverse crowd showed their appreciation for Ziggy's newest material, songs from Ziggy's earlier solo albums, a song from his previous group Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, and of course several Bob Marley anthems.
Denver’s prodigal son returns to Red Rocks for the second night to put on a high-energy show that left little doubt that Nathaniel Rateliff and his band deserved to headline this historic venue. The sold-out event was nothing short of a celebration of the hometown hero. The band’s hard work and constant touring culminating in a boogie fest that had the crowd continually moving to an invigorating horn section and Rateliff’s distinct, soulful voice.