Blues and Jazz
11:45am to 2:45pm, The Cheeseboard Pizza, 1512 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
6pm to 9pm, Caffe on San Pablo, 2500 San Pablo Ave., BErkeley
You say you want a revolution? This energetic and entertaining novel about a utopian summer camp and its charismatic leader asks smart questions about good intentions gone terribly wrong.
Framed by the oil shale bust and the real estate boom, by protests against Reagan and against the Gulf War, The Optimistic Decade takes us into the lives of five unforgettable characters, and is a sweeping novel about idealism, love, class, and a piece of land that changes everyone who lives on it.
There is Caleb Silver, the beloved founder of the back-to-the-land camp Llamalo, who is determined to teach others to live simply. There are the ranchers, Don and son Donnie, who gave up their land to Caleb, having run out of options after Exxon came and went and left them bankrupt. There is Rebecca Silver, determined to become an activist like her father and undone by the spell of Llamalo and new love; and there is David, a teenager who has turned Llamalo into his personal religion. But situated on a plateau in the heart of the Rockies, Llamalo proves that it might outlast anyone's heady plans for it, from the earliest Native American settlers to the latest lovers of the land.
Like Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings, Heather Abel's novel is a brilliant exploration of the bloom and fade of idealism and how it forever changes one's life. Or so we think.
7pm to 8pm, Books Inc. 1491 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley
Saxophonist Dr. Greg Johnson is quickly becoming recognized as a luminary figure in the Jazz community. Equally at home in multiple musical genres, Greg has developed a unique musical style that combines Jazz, Classical and Popular music. Greg has released three recordings under his name and has contributed to dozens more. Recently, Greg was added to the 2017 GRAMMY ballot in the category of "Best Improvised Jazz Solo" for his work on Aarón Serfaty's "In the Game."
8pm to 11pm, Jupiter, 2181 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
Justin Townes Earle — Website
Once compared to a man who wears many suits, in thirty-two short years Justin Townes Earle has experienced more than most, both personally and professionally. Between releasing four full-length-critically-acclaimed albums, constant touring, multiple stints in rehab, a new found sobriety, being born Steve Earle's son, amicable and not-so-amicable break-ups with record labels, and facing the trials and tribulations of everyday life, it's safe to say JTE has quite the story to tell. His fifth album (and first ever on Vagrant Records) serves as the perfect platform for such narrations.
Entitled Single Mothers, the album is comprised of ten tracks that showcase exactly why Justin Townes Earle is considered a forefather of Contemporary Americana. As a recently married, sober man JTE writes from a point of maturity and content we've not seen before on past records. "One day I just realized it's not cool to die young, and it's even less cool to die after 30," Justin states as he reflects on a life past and his newly found clarity. What he's created is an album that's raw, honest and personal in a way he hasn't touched upon since his debut EP, Yuma.
Lydia Loveless — Website
Lydia LovelessFirebrand alt-country singer Lydia Loveless combines the honky tonk sound and style of classic country stars like Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline with the no-quarter attitude and spunk of punk rock divas such as Exene Cervenka and Carla Bozulich. Lydia Loveless was born in Coschocton, Ohio in 1990; she was raised on a farm, but her father was also a music fan who booked bands at a local bar, and Lydia became accustomed early on to seeing bands play and discovering an out-of-town act asleep on the living-room floor in the morning. By the time Loveless was 13, she had taken up songwriting and was doing shows with local bands, playing a combination of rootsy country and punk-influenced rock & roll.
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
$75 VIP / $26 ADV / $30 DOOR (plus fees)
All tickets are subject to an additional $4 per ticket facility fee.
8pm to 9pm, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley
A tradition started back in the 20th century, Ashkenaz's Grateful Dead Night is always evolving, reaching new heights since Stu Allen & Mars Hotel launched a weekly residency in late 2011. Led by acclaimed guitarist-singer Allen (of Phil Lesh & Friends, Melvin Seals & JGB, Ghosts of Electricity), a revolving cast of incredibly talented musicians inhabits Mars Hotel, drawing from the Grateful Dead's vast catalog to delight Deadheads and dancers of all generations. A Mars Hotel show is always an energetic evening of good vibes, good music, and good community.
When it became apparent that Jerry Garcia had played his final show in 1995, Stu Allen began working to keep Garcia's music, sound, and spirit alive in the concert setting. He regularly works with Phil Lesh and has also played sets with Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann. Allen is perhaps most known for fronting Melvin Seals' tribute to the Jerry Garcia Band from 2004 to 2011. He received more national acclaim in 2010 when he toured with Dark Star Orchestra. Allen shares the Grateful Dead's commitment to making each performance a unique event, from preparation to execution. He will perform multiple shows before playing the same song twice, and even then, that song will not be realized in quite the same way.
Mars Hotel takes this idea a step further by presenting a new band at each performance. Drawing from the rich music scene of the Bay Area, Allen has assembled a broad and ever-rotating group of musicians that makes each concert a once-only experience. As far as Grateful Dead tribute bands go, this is a concept that has never been done before.
8pm to 11:59pm, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley