Moonalice, the long-time San Francisco Bay Area improvisational band of masterfully skilled characters led by Roger McNamee, triumphantly played the starring role in the famed Bandshell at Golden Gate Park on December 18 at a celebratory event dubbed, “HOWL: A Collective Cathartic Release Under the Last Full Moon of 2021.”
The inaugural Days Between Festival, celebrating the legacy of late-Grateful Dead patriarch Jerry Garcia and the musical score he left embedded in our soul, was upbeat and a resounding success in northern Mendocino County, California on August 6 and 7, even amidst the rage of north-state wildfires and Covid-19 pandemic 2.0. Proof of vaccination or a negative, very-recent Covid test were required for entry.
Those familiar with the phenomenal exploratory bands Phil Lesh & Friends, Moonalice, and David Nelson Band are likely familiar with guitar virtuoso Barry Sless. His Pedal Steel guitar has transformed beloved Grateful Dead classics such as “Box of Rain,” “Peggy O,” “Pride of Cucamonga,” and “Cumberland Blues” into full-fledged country-rock bliss that Jerry Garcia is no doubt smiling down on.
The 12th incarnation of the Petaluma Music Festival, proceeds of which are allocated to local public school’s music programs, packed a potent punch on August 3. This year’s all-Bay-Area-band fest’s pleasing musical patchwork, which fueled lively dancing, swaying and foot-tapping, was led by prominent rock ‘n’ jam bands ALO, David Nelson Band, The Mother Hips, Hot Buttered Rum, Blame Sally, New Monsoon, and Royal Jelly Live.
When time and tour schedules allow, members of the Green Leaf Rustlers, an amalgamation of members of several current successful bands, present a stimulating array of classic adaptations of American Country Roots & Blues, including the Bakersfield Sound. Such was the case on March 28 at Sacramento’s enduring rock club, Harlow’s, where the band finished up a tidy 10-date California tour before heading to Alaska for a triad of early April shows.
Jam veterans Barry Sless, Rob Barraco, Pete Sears and John Molo team up with singer/ songwriter/guitarist Katie Skene to perform original music, classic Americana and rock n’ roll, blending uninhibited jams, swamp blues, old style twang, traditional roots music, and southern soul into a musical truth that pushes forward the tradition of the California Jam Band movement.
Barry Sless – guitar & pedal steel (David Nelson Band, Phil Lesh, Moonalice, Cowboy Jazz)
Pete Sears – bass & vocals (David Nelson Band, Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna, Moonalice)
A grand celebratory sendoff to the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s psychedelic music scene of 1967 took place at one of its once and forever epicenters, The Fillmore, on December 9. Featuring about 30 prominent Bay Area performers of today and yesterday, the commemorative event righteously celebrated that important stretch of time through which poetry, rock ‘n’ roll, cross-cultural awareness, and an anti-establishment penchant to question authority challenged traditional America’s consciousness.