The Empress Theatre
The Empress Theatre will be showcasing a celebration of Band Leader and Latin music icon Pete Escovedo‘s music on Wednesday nights in March. Each evening a family member and their band will be featured: Juan (Patti Labelle, Herbie Hancock), Peter Michael (Mariah Carey, George Michael) and, at press time, a non-confirmed mention of Sheila. On the fourth Wednesday, the entire family will play and give the audience a chance to hear Pete’s lifelong work and the next generation of music he has fathered. Pete taught his kids the secrets of rhythm. If you’ve never heard the power of this family playing together, don’t miss it.
The Camel Barn
February 8th Jeff Campitelli parade’s New Orleans into Benicia’s Camel Barn with the funk of the Neville Bros, Professor Longhair and the NoLa sound. It’s a Mardi Gras party with a smoking horn section of Tom Politzer, sax (Tower of Power), Rich Armstrong, trumpet (Boz Scaggs, Cold Blood) and Mike Rinta, trombone (Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock, Santana). With Tim Eschliman on bass and Greg Rahn on keys, sitting down will be optional. Speaking of Campitelli, watch for a Summer showcase at Luccas for rising star Gabby Campitelli. Dad pipes in, “Pretty good chance she’ll have a strong band behind her.” Ya think?
After 15 years on Marina Vista in downtown Martinez, Armando’s will close its doors in July for a ‘soon as possible’ new location. While other towns have current opportunities, owner Roy Jeans is committed to staying local. “A lot of dots need to be connected, but I love Martinez and will keep the club here.” Good thing too. Roy grew Armando’s into a music destination by booking acts like Ray Obiedo, Annie Sampson, Chris Cain… the list is long. All in a room capacity of 49 with a cover of rarely more than $15 to $20. Some surreal up close nights with charted and touring artists have happened under his presentation. Roy’s about the music, the room is produced as ‘an alternative to nightclubs’ and the musicians soar in such an environment. As the Martinez scene continues to grow (Roxx On Main, Del Cielo Brewery), find a few dates to catch the last shows in a space that has delivered more than its share of lightning and goosebumps. He even has a plan to save the ‘Marquee Pole’ stage left on which each act’s name is painted vertically and later sealed in history by its successor. Thank you Roy! Here’s to the next venue, Cheers!
Update: At the time of the February issue going to print, Armando’s was scheduled to close in July. Since then, we have received word that the establishment will actually close February 9th.
The Rellik Tavern
The Rellik Tavern brings back Strange Brew February 21 from a knockout New Year’s Eve show. The Austin Mo Xperience, featuring the 21 year old, much awarded and industry sponsored guitarist stops in on February 22 to put an ear to the next generation of licks. Sunny and the Blackpack plays February 8th, having opened for Boz Scaggs last summer. Uncle Buck will get you dancing March 14, and your Latin Rock fix is coming March 21 with Dr Tequila and The Mission Mob. New on the horizon and drawn from the Bell Brothers, Buzztones and Big Jangle, “Junk Drawer” makes their debut March 28.
Lucca’s is set for a March 13 opening with a rocking weekend featuring The Big Jangle, P, B & J and party band The Wasted Rangers. On March 21 catch Papa Joe and The New Deal for old school R&B done right. March 27th Don Bassey re-awakens 4th Fridays and his summer lineup of great music and unexpected heights.
Track Shack Studios
Jeff Tamalier continues producing at Track Shack Studios for Tower of Power’s bassist Rocco Prestia’s first album. Rocco and drummer Garibaldi tended to stay under and inside Tower’s boiling groove. It will be great to hear Rocco come out front.
And on that note …