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Liquid Guitar 

Crazy Engine, plus a slew of jambands, rockabilly and benefits

click to enlarge Crazy Engine.
  • Crazy Engine.

Master of the liquid guitar lick Steve Kimock was an integral part of the post-’60s San Francisco Bay Area psychedelic rock scene. When he was playing with his ’80s-era psychedelic rock band Zero, none other than Jerry Garcia mentioned him as one of his favorite guitar players. Kimock would go on to tour and/or record with Grateful Dead-family bands: Keith and Donna's Heart of Gold Band, Bob Weir's bands Kingfish and RatDog, Phil Lesh and Friends and The Other Ones. He's his own man, but there's a touch of Garcia in his style. Of course no guitar player will ever take Jerry's place in the hearts of Deadheads.

"Jerry cast a really big shadow," is how Kimock puts it. "I still listen to his playing and know that nobody will fill his shoes in the way he moved ahead in more-or-less unknown space to create beautiful music."

Kimock's latest band, Crazy Engine, finds him working with Melvin Seals, who played organ in the Jerry Garcia Band. "Melvin and I listened to a lot of the same music growing up, a lot of R&B, a lot of soul," said Kimock. "And we've always had a good chemistry, a push and pull, urging each other to new heights, so it's just a lot of fun to explore this psychedelicisized R&B thing together. And apart from the association with Jerry, Melvin is just an enormously talented musician and beautiful player. I love playing with him -- he never puts a note in the wrong place."

Thus the joint project with Kimock and Seals, joined by Steve's son John Morgan Kimock on drums and John's friend Trevor Exter on bass. Want to see where they put those notes? Crazy Engine plays Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the Red Fox Tavern, a show produced by Passion Presents.

It's a major week for Passion: In addition to bringing Crazy Engine to town, they have a huge show Sunday at the Eureka Theatre with Midwestern prog-jamband Umphrey's McGee, touring behind their excellent new disc, Mantis, with an after-party at the Red Fox featuring Moo-Got-2.

Friday at the Fox Passion presents stringy jams by the Emmitt-Nershi Band with Drew Emmitt, formerly of Leftover Salmon, and Bill Nershi, one of the founders of String Cheese Incident. They're on tour with Assembly of Dust, a neo-Americana jamband led by former Strangefolk frontman/songwriter Reid Genauer. Then on Wednesday, Oct. 28, Passion is back at the Fox with Afrofunksters Albino and funk-soul-hip hop party band The Pimps of Joytime.

It's also a big week for rockabilly fans. First you have Joe Buck, who came to fame as part of Assjack and Hank III's Damn Band, on the road with .357 String Band, a dark, wild, post-American thing out of Wisconsin. They're at Nocturnum Friday and at the Mateel Saturday. Then you have two shows at the Arcata Theatre Lounge from Bad Kitty Norm: Ghoul-rockers The Creepshow are there Sunday with Killbot Factory, a new 9-piece ska/punk band from Eureka. Wednesday, Oct. 28, it's a SoCal psychobilly blast with The Rocketz and The Death Valley Drifters.

A few months back I caught the first public performance ever by Cadillac Ranch, a band of boomers who'd emerged from one garage or another with some good ol' country-rock tunes and a few originals. The sound is what I'd call Cali-country, reminiscent of the days of The Byrds and The Burrito Brothers with harmonies a la CSN and some tasty pedal steel. Catch them Friday at Six Rivers Brewery. And you can hear Yogoman Burning Band play reggae etc. at Six Rivers Saturday.

Frisco-based neo-old timey pickers Montana Slim String Band are on a CD release tour for their new album, Slim Pickens. They hit the Wave Lounge on Saturday.

As you may have heard, changes are afoot at the Jambalaya, with Pete Ciotti, drummer from The Nucleus and owner/operator of Big Pete's, taking over. He's already upgraded the sound system and changed the menu to be more bar-oriented. A minor change is the name for Chris Noonan's Thursday improv thing, now dubbed Liquid Lounge. "This week will feature Fire It Up @ 8 p.m., a jazz group with [guitarist Greg] Camphuis, Shao Way Wu [on bass], Tommy Fitzmaurice [drums], Aber [Miller, keys] and yours truly [on saxes]. At 11, we will switch it up to The Dub Killers, featuring members of Massagana and Moo-Got-2. Each week will begin with jazz and move toward the funkier dance sh#^," notes Noonan (expurgating himself).

Humboldt loves a good party to raise money for a worthy cause, or simply to bring people together to celebrate the good work done by one essential organization or another. There too many such parties this weekend. Check the calendar for details on the Baykeeper Birthday Bash with the Taj Mahal Trio on Friday and the KHSU 50th Anniversary Kick-off Party on Saturday. Those events run parallel to several others: Friday at the Arcata Theatre Lounge (site of KHSU's party), you can "Rock Out for Marriage Equality" at a benefit to support the fight to overturn Prop. 8. Three truly fine local bands, Strix Vega, The Bad Lilas and The Ravens supply the music. This one's all about love -- and what better cause is there?

(Note: The Ravens also play Saturday at the Alibi with Washington rockers Stone Axe and The Shankers, a rockabilly band from Chico. Strix Vega plays the same night in The Depot with Be Brave Bold Robot.)

Meanwhile over at the Arcata Playhouse Friday, the Playhouse folks are raising money to keep their operation running with an encore performance of Speakeasy, the tres cool cabaret show with jazzy Canuck chanteuse Jackie Dandeneau fronting a multi-faceted 12-piece combo. It sold out earlier this month; don't miss it this time.

On Saturday, while KHSU launches its year-long Golden Anniversary, the Ink People Center for the Arts is celebrating 30th years of "weaving the arts into the fabric of our community" with the annual Black and White Beaux Arts Masquerade Ball. There's not enough space here to trace the entire history of the Ink Peeps; let's just say the nonprofit has evolved from Brenda and Libby finding a way to be post-collegiate artists to becoming a major force for the arts, serving as an umbrella and incubator for countless arts-minded groups, some of whom are performing for this eclectic party at Redwood Raks World Dance Studio. The potluck affair begins with a collaboration between two wild outfits, SambAmore and Bandemonium. As the ball rolls on, the lovely AkaBella ladies sing, the Ya Habibi Dance Co. undulates, Kyle Stasse of The MARZ Project, aka DJ Knutz, supplies dance music; VJ Rhett Bice projects visuals. Leslie Castellano-Howabauten of Synapsis will be up above with her aerial arts; Ishi Dube lays down down-to-earth reggae with SambAmore closing with pure rhythm and dance. They're also showing Dave Berman's documentary, 30 years of The Ink People, and they're looking for Inker memorabilia -- they'll scan it for the digital history archives. Masks are optional, but you must restrict your wardrobe to black and white.

The seminal rock festival Woodstock took place in 1969, but for some reason they didn't mark the occasion with a show in Bethel, N.Y. Instead we have West Fest: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock, an all-day festival this Sunday in Speedway Meadows, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. 2b1 Multimedia and the Council of Light worked with original Woodstock producer Artie Kornfeld to put together a massive show that includes 42 bands on three stages along with lots of neo-hippie biz. The musicians are too numerous to list here -- some of them played at Woodstock, some did not. Like the original, West Fest is free and it's all about peace.


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About The Author

Bob Doran

Bob Doran

Freelance photographer and writer, Arts and Entertainment editor from 1997 to 2013.

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