Magic Moments

Posted on July 18, 2009 – 9:21 PM | by OldManFoster
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For this article, I told my editor that I would need about one billion words. Weirdly, he didn’t think “Sacramento Music Scene: an Exhaustive Analysis” by Guphy would recoup its printing costs. Blame him when you feel left out, which you will. Every time I revisited the topic, another band, another show, another venue or another song was getting left behind. A strict NO SONG LEFT BEHIND policy is in the works, but sadly, won’t be complete in time for this article. There are some things that I can easily brush aside and for this I am pleased. While I first moved here in 1990 and saw my first show at the Rubicon (yep) that same year, I lived in the Bay Area from 1995 until Two Grand so I missed the Loft years, I missed Magnolia Thunderfinger and I missed when the Brodys were good (they were good once, right?) Sometimes I missed bands because I was too caught up in my clique to go see shows that were outside of it. You do it too. This insularity caused me to miss Sex66, Army of Trees, and Lawsuit. It was lame of me.

In 1993, Dutch Falconi and his Twisted Orchestra was the first local band able to fill all 975 seats of the Crest Theatre. It was, in the immortal words of Bobby Burns, “a really big show with a lot of gimmicks”. The Orchestra was a big band with horns, strings, dancers and Dutch as emcee telling nonfunny jokes between songs. This entire show is on youtube*, so you can share the magic. The best part of the show was Kizzy Miller (as Bunny Brie) singing “Pistol Packin’ Mama” in a vibrant voice along with Kitty Fontaine. I remember how impressed I was that night and I am filled with joy that it is on the net so I can watch it about 38 times instead of writing this article. Also in the band that night was Johnny Splendor who went on to be the lead singer of The Greatest Band that Sacramento Has Ever Seen, Bozo Knows Jones.

BKJ was a Tom Jones cover band that dressed like Bozo the clown. Splendor, who sounds exactly like Jones, was joined by a Mike Farrell-like Bozo played a screaming guitar and a surly cigar-smoking bass-playing Bozo who would stare down members of the audience and grumble, “Fuck you, clown.” Helluva show.

In 2005 (maybe) News and Review set up a bunch of shows somehow related to the Sammie awards. There were several bands playing different venues in Old Sac on the same night. It was the strangest thing. I have hung in Old Sac at night, but mostly it is to hit up the Backdoor Lounge. I have certainly had never been to a show (or several) there. I felt like I was on vacation in my own town. After all of the scheduled shows were over, the Alkali Flats busked in streets and we drank Tuaca. It was EXACTLY like being in Europe, but I got to ride my bike home.

There are few songs that have hooked me over the years and I get antsy waiting for the band to perform them live. Forever Goldrush’s “Come On,” comes to mind, I have always loved Damon Wycoff’s voice and this song really exemplified their unique sound. When they reunited at Old Ironsides recently and I got to sing along with this song live again, it was like a dip in the river on a hot day.

When Lyme Regis was still together, I realized that I could listen to Tristan Tozer singing their upbeat cover of “Spanish Harlem” for about 3 years straight before I got sick of it.

bananas“Nautical Music” by the Bananas also falls into this song as addiction category. In the middle 2000s (uh, 2004?) the Bananas gimmick at the Distillery was to play their albums in chronological order. Tragically, last call came just as it was time for the quixotic Nautical Music. The entire night had been a buildup to this and the lights coming on was the biggest blue balls of all time. We wouldn’t leave. We couldn’t leave. We all just stood there stunned and yes, drunk. Someone started singing the chorus and then the crowd, all 20 or 30 of us quietly sang the entire song while the band broke down their instruments. I stood there singing and thinking about how much I love this town.

Daisy SpotANTICS
When Mike (boy, he shows up a lot in this article!) and Tatiana of Daisy Spot were still a couple, Mike did something that made Tatiana mad in the middle of their set. I am not sure what, played past her cue? Tatiana daintily picked up her adorable vintage purse from near her feet and girlishly hit Mike over the head with it, mid-solo. Priceless.

I know that I am not supposed to acknowledge my publisher and general cleanup guy, Tim Foster, but his stage persona is worth mention. A long time ago, the restaurant currently known as Waffle Square was a Carrow’s or a Denny’s or something and it was open 24 hours. As a rule when The Trouble Makers play they make trouble. For instance, one night Tim ran up and down the bar at Old I amongst everyone’s glasses. This was not popular, do not attempt. My very favorite was when he jumped off the stage, ran across S street to the window of the restaurant and pounded on it surprising diners digging into their pancakes. Rock and roll, bitches!

Sacramento (the town) was made a better place when Sacramento (the band) took an unplugged guitar, a Tupperware drum and a balls-out singer and hit the streets right as crowds were getting kicked out of the bars. They rocked with songs about dinosaurs and parking lots. I hope they are still together.

When Cake first started getting big, they attracted the attention of Jonathan Richmond and he started hanging out in Sac a lot. He was at Dutch Falconi show mentioned above and he played at concerts in the park. At that time the stage was on the opposite side of the park, backed by J street and these events were much smaller, 200 or 300 people tops. Sweet Jonathan played and it was extra charming because his daughters were there dancing to songs that Jonathan had written about their mother. It was exceedingly pleasant. Next Cake took the stage, plugged in and blasted their missive “Shut the Fuck Up” for the first time. It resonated through the park and downtown. Shocking! Poor Jonathan Richmond’s daughters had to grow up too soon.

I am out of words, so here are some topics that I missed covering, besides, well, everything. 1. Why the raucous show at Capitol Garage for the filming of Trekkies2 was amongst the best nights ever. 2. Why Sacramento owes Dean Seavers everything and should buy him an ice cream. And most importantly, 3. Who was the “last psychedelic band from Sacto, Northern Cal” as discussed in Pavement’s “Unfair?” I say Kai Kln, but others claim The Earwigs. Discuss amongst yourselves.

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