Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend of Music and Beer

Somehow, the last three days became a whirlwind tour of music and beer. Today, starting with my oatmeal with almonds, I will get back to normal.

Friday night, I met three people from a company I work with through my job at the Devil's Canyon Brewing Company's monthly public events. Music was by Billy Manzik, featuring Billy on guitar, a guy on saxophone and a lady upright bass player (always a treat). It went well with the two beers I sampled--a light champagne style and the Kaleidoscope dark.

Afterwards, we went to a Louisiana style restaurant where a third beer, along with a pound of spicy shrimp, went down much too easily.

Saturday evening I went to hear the highly talented Stadler Gibbons Band, featuring Mike Stadler, Mary Gibbons, with ace pedal steel and dobro player Jon Mitguard and incredible bassist Chuck Irvin--who makes it look easy (it's not). They played at the Urban Island Concert Series, which takes place at the loading doc behind the Urban Island used furniture store. The evening began with a surprisingly entertaining duo, The Red Shoes, comprising two young ladies that appeared to be high school seniors playing fiddle with cello, occasionally switching up for ukelele. Their stage presence and apparent total lack of stage fright was charming--and they had the chops to keep it moving with just the two of them.

The next act, Emily Bonn and the Vivants, delivered a powerful shot of old-time dance tunes, honky-tonk country, and western swing. Emily writes a lot of her own material and her powerful voice invigorates the show. Accompanied by a tap-dancing violinist, a double-bassist with the longest mustache I've seen in some time, and a stirring accordionist, Emily's guitar playing and presence made this a group worth watching--and following.

Stadler Gibbons was the headliner, and they gave the kind of performance that has kept me following them around for the last year. Mike has the fine pipes of an old folkie, as does Mary, and the musicianship is extremely high level. As a bassist, I appreciate Chuck's versatility and style, and Jon's pedal steel is out of this world.

The beer this time had to happen afterwards, since the Urban Island provided a solitary Thai food truck (the roti was tasty, but no alcohol was available). We went to the Hobnob bar nearby for a couple glasses of Arrogant Bastard Ale. Yum.

Sunday I shifted gears and listened to fine chamber music performances by the Summer Quartet (strings) and the Hillside Quintet (winds) at my local library. All nine people are members of the Castro Valley Chamber Orchestra, of which I also am a member. Afterwards, some of the musicians went to a local Mexican restaurant for beer and, it turned out, some tasty food. (I had the golfos).

Now it, Monday, and time to get back to work!

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