Aug. 11, 2005
by BOB DORAN
THE NAME, GARAGE A TROIS [photo at left], IS MISLEADING AT BEST. YOU'D think the band is a trio, but it's a quartet (granted it was once a trio, but that was several years ago). And the musicians are not garage rockers, they're stars from the jazz/funk/jam world. Guitarist Charlie Hunter, Galactic drummer Stanton Moore, saxophonist Skerik from Critters Buggin' (and more recently Les Claypool's Flying Frog Brigade) started the band in New Orleans in 1999. Vibraphonist/percussionist Mike Dillon from Brave Combo (another Claypool associate) joined in 2002 and the misnamed group made their first album, Emphasizer, the following year. This summer the guys are out on the road behind a new disc, Outre Mer. They hit the Sapphire Palace at the Blue Lake Casino Friday, Aug. 12.
The album was allegedly composed in collaboration with French filmmaker Klaus Tontine, and the sound is appropriately atmospheric and cinematic. The accompanying p.r. claims GAT has "crafted a brilliant soundtrack to Tontine's [film] Outre Mer, an understated cinematic masterpiece that spans the lifetime of a brave but solitary figure and subtly illuminates the alternating joys and sorrows of isolation, parental devotion, romantic love and other universal themes that reach out to every shore."
The album's graphics suggest soundtrack; there's even a plot synopsis inside in French and English by Tontine with details from the strange story of Etienne de Nerval, a young dwarf who lives in a dream world. The film has supposedly been "screened for a limited number of French critics, who have unanimously hailed it as a tour de force" but, "legal problems have put plans for a wider release on indefinite hold."
However, the glowing reviews from French critics don't show up when you do a Google search, and Tontine does not seem to exist on the web outside of mentions in reviews of the record. I'm guessing the movie is a fantasy emanating from the minds of the musicians filling a screen that only exists inside the heads of those willing to listen and imagine.
It's a pretty good weekend for blues fans. First and foremost we have the annual Buddy Brown Blues Festival on Saturday, Aug 13, at Perigot Park in Blue Lake. The all local bash begins at 11 a.m. with folk blues by Eric Park, jumps into soul with Earl Thomas and friends at noon, then shifts into R&B from ShinBone at 1, rockin' blues by the Clint Warner Band at 2, followed by Sari Baker backed by Dr. Squid at 3, cool blues by Mojo Daddy at 4, before Buddy Reed closes the show.
As a warm-up, blues fans can catch "Lake County's best blues band," Bill Noteman and the Rockets, Thursday evening on the Eureka Boardwalk. On Friday night, ShinBone plays at Arcata Exchange for Arts! Arcata while Buddy Reed is at Six Rivers, the Karen Dumont Electric Blues Band is at the Blue Lake Casino (across the gambling floor from GAT) and Jimi Jeff and the Gypsy Band are at the new Bear River Casino in Loleta. Then on Saturday, after the blues fest, Dr. Squid heads over to the Blue Lake Casino.
Dameon Lee and company, aka The Lowlights, celebrate the release of the album, Dark End Road, at The Logger Bar Friday, Aug. 12. Dameon notes that, "We are going to be joined be our friends Amy Annelle and the Places (who are on tour from Austin TX), and Deric Mendes (from SWOD) will be opening the show with a solo set!" I've been listening to Dameon's album since it showed up in the mail a couple of weeks ago and it's really good: dreamy, moody folk, kind of sad at times with its tales of love gone wrong, but somehow not depressing. Highly recommended.
There's a homecoming of sorts at Mazzotti's Sunday, Aug. 14, a show that Los Angeles-based songwriter Sara Bareilles figures will be "mildly overwhelming, but in a good way." While Bareilles was raised in Eureka, she has not performed here since she left for college years ago and never on her own. "It's all I do down here, but I've never played a show at home," she told me. Sara was involved in vocal ensembles when she was in high school, sang with Limited Edition and in some Ferndale Rep productions, but that wasn't her music. Her mom sent me a copy of Sara's first record, Careful Confessions, a well-crafted collections of songs that I pegged as soul pop. How does Sara see her musical style? "Pop soul," was her description. Incessant gigging in the L.A. area and "being in the right place at the right time" landed her a contract with Epic Records, a project now in preliminary stages that she hopes will be out next spring. Meanwhile she's taking a break from her waitress job for a quick Cali tour with her friends, Raining Jane, that starts at the Troubadour in L.A. and includes stops at other prestigious venues: Café du Nord in S.F. and Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz.
In the mood for something different? On Sunday evening, at the Morris Graves Museum, the Humboldt Arts Council and Marimba One present a concert by the award-winning marimba player, Eriko Daimo from Kagoshima, Japan -- and yes, of course she will be playing on an instrument from Arcata-based Marimba One.
Sunday afternoon the Arcata Plaza summer music series pairs funky jamrockers Likwefi with the always-hot Ponche, fresh from a great set at the hot, hot, hot Reggae on the River.
And while you're on the plaza that day stop by the Metro where Sugar & Gold (with former members of Dura Delinquent) play danceable electro-pop. S&G can also be heard Friday night at Rumours where there's a bigger dancefloor. They share the bill there with local singer-songwriter, Breeze.
Sunday night at The Alibi, it's heaviness from Dragged by Horses plus Ed Mudshi, a French jazz punk trio, who according to their website, "Formé au milieu des années 90 en plein dans le mouvement fusion (duquel ils seront rejetés), Rémi (alternatif, funk, jazz), Benoît (punk, métal, kebab) et Christian s'amusent dans les garages, les caves, les couloirs et se mettent à composer quelques chansons, jouent dans les anniversaires, les restaurants." Mais oui!
Coming to Muddy Waters next Wednesday, Aug. 17, an East Coast old timey duo called The Hunger Mountain Boys who, judging from the MP3s at www.hungermountainboys.com, know how to pick a mountain tune.
Coming to Six Rivers Brewery next Thursday, Aug. 18, Zilla, a jammy trio with Aaron Holstein on guitar and bass, Jamie Janover on hammered dulcimer, drums and sitar and Michael Travis on drums, percussion and keyboards. Need I mention that Travis's day job is playing in Sting Cheese Incident?
And for those lamenting the decline of ska: a blast of hiccupping music at the Eureka Teen Center Thursday with The Guilty Parties from Riverside, Too Short Notice from New Jersey and from right here in the Humboldt Bay Area, The Disappointments. Check them out before they decide to play some other style of music.
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