Yoda would say “fresh air, a breath of it G Jones is.” With the onslaught and saturization of big room EDM “culture” these days, it’s great to experience a fresh, original and ego-free sound emerge from the West Coast. Liberated from the constraints of a specific bass genre and nerdy enough to appease the haters out there, G Jones has built a solid career based on music. Solid. Fucking. Music. No gimmicks, hype, bought likes or followers, this Jedi’s beats are fresh, his bass lines are enveloping, his kicks knocks and the best part is his music stays psychedelic while giving the feel like of watching a live experiment onstage.
His homebase of Santa Cruz is symbolic of his sound. It’s a city full of juxtaposition: where the land meets the water, fog and sunshine, hot and cold, wealthy and poor, rednecks and tree-huggers. No surprise that Bassncectar also emerged from this location, an artist also known for his balance of heavy and beautiful (his last album called Noise Vs Beauty). Also no surprise he has been dropping G Jones tracks for years, tapped him to remix his “Don’t Hate the 808” and selected him to open his last NYE360º show in Nashville with Tipper.
But we’ll just let the music speak for itself…listen to this mixtape.
Reno and Tahoe are getting two special nights of G Jones February 18th and 19th, respectively. We wouldn’t be surprised if G Jones outgrows these venues by the time 2016 rolls around. He is one artist that we can say 100% deserves it.
Opening both nights are two extremely talented up and comers: Oakland’s SAYER and Truckee’s CharlestheFirst. PRSN will make a rare area appearance, closing out Reno’s show and playing the free Crystal Bay afterparty in the Red Room with DJ Professor Stone from Fresno.
THE RECIPE (RENO) EVENT: G Jones, Sayer, CharlestheFirst, PRSN LOCATION: 1Up AGES: 21+ TIMES: Doors and music begin at 9pm FACEBOOK INVITE: http://on.fb.me/1CXHj5p TICKETS: $10adv/$15door available at www.futurestrange.com, The Melting Pot World Emporium or 1Up during business hours.
Future Strange unleashed it’s most recent mixtape by local dj and tastemaker Motorhome Music and it’s a scorcher. We’ve watched the Reno native come up from his very first show and this mixtape is a great benchmark on his climb up from his humble beginnings as a local breakbeat dj.
With the simple (and we have to say slightly overused these days) tag of FUTURE, the mix of hip hop, trap and giant 808 beats craves a listen in a lowrider with a row of bazooka tubes. For me, a good mix has interesting beats with recognizable and non-recognizable samples, and at least one acappela that you think would never work, but the producer or dj surprises you. That Bass!
Motorhome is playing the next upcoming BOOM! with Mayhem, Game Genie, Gurbton and Kalvin & Clein at the Knitting Factory. The Boom has become one of the most successfully consistent series of EDM shows in Reno history. Stay updated on upcoming BOOMS and listen to more music with Future Strange at www.futurestange.com
Show is all ages with a 21+ mezzanine level and is $10 in advance, $15 at door. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets available at http://bit.ly/MAYHEMBOOM2015 or the Cal Neva Cage 24 hours/day.
With a plethora of options this weekend in Reno/Tahoe area, one show we are excited for (and will absolutely be at) is Moondog Matinee’s album release show at Cargo Saturday, January 17th with Rigorous Proof and Bryan Jones. I found their new record, “Carry Me, Rosie,” uploaded to their Soundcloud account and it’s been on non-stop rotation. Soul, raw power, energy, blues…Moondog Matinee’s current line-up of Drea Ballard (guitar, vocals), Peter Barnato (vocals, keyboard, guitar), Adam Carpenter (bass, vocals), Ben Ingle (drums) and Steve Widmer (guitar, vocals) exudes a confidence I’ve never heard before in this band.
It’s amazing how far these guys have come since I first heard them a few years ago, and how tight they are together. Previously I was even lost as to who they wanted to be sonically. After listening to this album over and over again I feel they’ve found their sound, but have laid a foundation that we can literally expect anything from them. We caught up with vocalist Peter Bernato to answer some questions for us.
FB: How long has Moondog been together? What’s the history? PB: Almost 8 years, we started as a college band jamming for fun and throughout the years have been interchanging personnel and honing our sound. It was always quite schizophrenic, but the moment we pulled Drea Ballard on board, our band had a cohesive, unique sound that we are all very proud of.
FB: You all have been out on the road quite a bit. How have your tours been going? Any standout shows or cities you really like playing? PM: Great! We do well on the road. Nothing like a bunch of friendly drunkards, living in a school bus, that like to play live music in front of strangers. We work very hard, and believe that live music is the only way to have the current music listening climate respect what you are doing. The digital age has brought a lot of negative aspects to the music industry, but we believe it has created a healthy climate for live performance. We are so used to getting things immediately on the ‘interwebs’ that a heartfelt live performance is something that is in realtime. Something that is vulnerable and honest. That’s why live gigs are everything to Moondog, because we love everything that we are shoving down the audience’s throats, and we hope they enjoy what we are forcibly feeding them. Seattle and Bend are markets that understand what we are doing. Every time we play in those cities, we are greeted with fans that treat us with the respect that we crave as musicians.
FB: Who would say are the band’s biggest influences? PB: That’s a question that each member would answer differently, but I know our favorite decade is early to mid seventies rock and roll. I am a devout Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, David Bowie, Bob Seger, Gram Parsons, The Band, Warren Zevon, Iggy Pop, Neil Young, Steely Dan, Velvet Underground, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead fan….. You get the point
FB: What era of the Grateful Dead is your favorite? PB: I’ll have to speak for myself, but Workingman’s dead and Wake of the Flood are my favorites…..
FB: Tell us about something completely disturbing you experienced on tour. PB: We were playing in Eugene in front of a raging audience of two that consisted of our bartender and an old drunk, and Drea peed his pants during the first song. It was his first tour with us and he misunderstood his bladder. The most magical part of the night was his determination to finish the next 45 painful minutes with urine in his Levis.
FB: Tell us about your Rigorous Proof and Bryan Jones and why you selected them to be part of you album release show PB: Bryan Jones is a musician that I have looked up to since the day I met him. He is a musician down to his marrow. Everything he does revolves around music. That’s a trait that I most admire and pretend to have, but very few people possess. Rigorous Proof has an understanding of music that is similar to ours. Not necessarily in the ways we sound similar, but in the era in which we dream to reside. They are a mixture of Preservation Green, Kinks, early Who and Supertramp. We chose them to play with us because we respect what they are doing. Plus Johnny and the boys are the nicest, most humbling group of cats we know.
FB: My friend told me she used to go to the mall in high school and stare at you while you worked at The Gap. How do you respond to that? PB: I wish she would of talked to me, I felt as though I was invisible in those years of my life. Hahaha
THE RECIPE: SHOW: Moondog Matinee, Rigorous Proof and Bryan Jones LOCATION: Cargo in Whitney Peak Hotel DATE: January 17th. 2015 TIME: Doors open at 7pm, music begins at 8pm. AGES RESTRICTIONS: All ages welcome TICKETS: Tickets are $10 and are available at the Whitney Peak front desk or HERE
What is it about this guy Stylust Beats I like so much? The first time I saw him perform was at about approximately hour 27 of the 64 hours of music at the Grand Sierra’s Great Depresssurization Chamber in Reno after Burning Man. Every time since then Stylust Beats (aka Geoff Reich) has been consistently one of the more fun acts to dance to.
Fat basslines, fun mash-ups and remixes, talented djing, funky beats and some serious kicks have allowed Stylust to collect fans without being a flash-in-the-pan “EDM hype” act. His growth and talent has brought attention of world-renowned producers (his collaboration with Bassnectar for Bassnectar’s NVSB Remix album hit over half million plays) as well as acclaimed press outlets.
“My goal is to make timeless bass music: I try to make every track an epic melodic adventure through many different genres,” says Reich in a recent interview for MusicYouNeed.net. It’s a ride that’s apparent when you listen to his Grassroots-California-sponsored release, “The Pocket Tape.” Purple beats, hyphy, trap, hip hop and just the right amount of filthy dubstep takes the listener on perfectly-mapped road-trip criss-crossing genres. The next beat is always up in the air, and I find myself exclaiming “NICE!” frequently when a mash-up, remix or sample gets brought in.
Blending classic turntablism with cutting edge tech prowess, Geoff has been touring as Stylust Beats since 2008. Inspired by his older brother who was in a band, Stylust Beats began testing his musical mettle on turntables in 1998. His imaginative spins of counter-intuitive genres were new territory back then, and he quickly gained fame as a fearless, party-rocking DJ reinventing the game. Within a couple of years, he took on the daunting challenge of producing and managing his own recording house, All-In Studios, which he ran successfully for ten years. This was the laboratory within which Reich evolved from bass DJ to mad scientist, cutting his own brand of sonic mixology and perfecting his craft as prime-time producer.
What I love about Stylust Beats is clearly even though his work ethic is insane and his productions top-notch, his music is still fun, approachable, and funky. This is something I’ve noticed with people who come from the hip hop genre: your purpose is to lay down jams to dance. With Stylust Beats, he not only excels it this, but does so without pretentiousness and is a killer Dj too.
You can catch Stylust Beats at Art Haus Cinema on December 6th, 2014. 9:30pm, 21+.
Certain genres of music cycle in and out of style like traditional medicine. We can compare this to the “old wives tales” cures for ailments that are re-discovered as better than the conventional and new pharmaceutical drugs. Roots music has been turning the ears of more and more people, potentially due to it fixing symptoms brought on by a cold, sterile and hollow entertainment industry, who force-feed mediocrity and garbage to the masses that lacks substance, message and intention.
Nahko, an Oregon-native born a mix of Apache, Puerto Rican, and Filipino cultures and adopted into an American family, suffered an identity crisis from an early age. When he took up the piano at age six, the unifying power of music entered his life and brought him harmony. Armed with his newfound talent, he set out to bridge the cultural gaps dividing his own psyche. He began producing a public, musical journal of his journey toward personal, spiritual, and communal healing, and thus Medicine for the People was born.
Medicine indeed….you can’t leave a Nahko show without feeling slightly healed. The soul and feeling exploding from the voice and sounds from Nahko’s stage is filled with messages of love, revolt, hope, struggle and community. The band, consisting of Nahko Bear, Chase Makai, Dustin Thomas, Justin Chittams & Hope Medford, weaves it’s roots influences which include Hawaiian, blues, reggae and folk but these guys rock like a rock and roll or punk show. You may have caught their explosive performance at Wanderlust last July. The energy in that tent spread goosebumps across everyone’s bodies. I didn’t see a face without an exhilarated smile plastered across it.
It’s an exhilaration brought on by a uplifting vocals, driving drum beats and intense energy from a band who seems a perfect proprietary blend of Bob Marley’s spiritual and political leanings, Michael Franti’s community, Pearl Jam’s independence and rock intensity and Cecilio and Kapono’s Hawaiian influence. If you take this pill, not dancing is near impossible at a Nahko tribe party. This is spreading too, as seen by the almost 3 million plays on their video for “Aloha Ke Akua.”
This band is going to outgrow the Crystal Bay Club fast, so you really want to make sure you see this act in such an intimate setting.
Admittedly, I have turned into that annoying “no TV” guy. When someone asks me “Did you see that commercial about the dog and the guy and the toilet?” I start with “no.” Usually I am asked in return “How have you not seen that? It’s on all the time” to which I have to respond “I don’t own a television.” I don’t think I’m better than anyone who owns one; TV and I have been roommates on and off since I was little. Eventually I realized I function better without one. I end up watching dumb stuff for no reason, and I think back about all that GARBAGE I watched growing up and it kind of sickens me.
However, the final tossing of the boob tube onto the sidewalk with a “FREE (works)” sign attached happened when I discovered Reno’s indie theater scene. My parents took me to big production plays when I was young, and you are also currently reading the yammerings of Sycamore Junior High’s lead actor of The Phantom Toolbooth (Milo). After that, theater kind disappeared in my life.
My friend took me to Pageant at Brüka Theater many years ago and I walked out with my stomach muscles in agony from laughter. That one experience inspired me to buy season tickets for a few years, and in doing so I realized there is even more “like that” in Reno. These performances were the final nail in the coffin for the big black box. In theater, storytelling, stand-up, etc, there are no overdubs, reshoots, adding filters or manipulation to cover mistakes It’s pure, raw and un-edited. I was a changed man.
Not long after moving to Reno in 2006, I met Jessica “Jester” Levity at the Studio on 4th Street. We discovered in a phone number exchange that both hail from Cincinnati, OH, so clearly our Midwestern/Ohio pride was huge (FYI people from Ohio are very proud and it has nothing to do with our sportsball teams). While I was focused on music, she had founded an improv comedy troupe called The Utility Players. According to Levity “I had a insatiable yearning to see really good improv comedy, and I also dreamed the name “The Utility Players”, and thought, “Holy shit, that would be a great name for a comedy troupe that can do anything.”(fun fact: A ‘utility player’ is a baseball term for someone who can play any position proficiently). We stayed in touch over the years (see: Midwestern/Ohio pride) and seeing each other’s endeavors grow, we had both grown out of the Studio on 4th and in 2011 I found myself at my first Utility Players show at the Pioneer Underground.
Modeled after the 1998-2007 show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, The Utility Players take the crowd through a series of “games” which create scenarios for the comedians to improvise within. What makes this way better than the show is first, it’s live; and second, no network TV censorship (the show is 18+ only) so it has an “anything goes” ethos. After attending easily over fifteen UP’s shows I can promise that anything truly does go.
Much like an improv jazz band or jamband, improv is influenced by the energy of the crowd, the moods of the comedians, the ideas called out from the crowd, or even how recently practiced are the comedians? One thing that’s so magic about improv is the unknown. Will this “show” be incredible or fall flat? When a performer walks on stage with no set-list, skit, or pre-rehearsed bit, the potential is completely unknown. Throw in inviting crowd members up onstage for games, and every show is a wild card. I’ve seen the Utility Player’s build so much energy in a room your hair stands on end, and a few times they’ve even ended a game by saying “ok, that was terrible.” It’s a risk you take to create magic.
After a long tenure at the Pioneer Underground, they were offered an incredible opportunity: their own theater and weekly gig at the Sands Regency. “Jester’s Theater” was created in small conference room upstairs in the Sands (fun fact: the rooms was previously The Funny Bone Comedy Club until 2007). My first thought was “the Utility Players are already great, but when a group like this performs weekly instead of monthly, their improv is going to get even better than before.” While the theater created in the Sands is no Pioneer Underground structurally, it’s more intimate and you can hear the performers better than ever. The cast for this past week: Amanda Alvey, Chris Daniels, Derek Sonderfan, Ian Sorensen, Joe Garton, Shane Tolomeo, Stacy Johnson and Taryn Gomez, along with host Jessica “The Jester” Levity, clearly have benefited from their weekly gigs. It was clear their improv was quicker, sharper and funnier. From “game” to “game” the overall consistency of the show was really strong. The crowd was pretty rowdy but overall respectful and was adding great cues (when asked).
Not only did their weekly gigs tighten their show, but they were invited to the SF Improv Festival this past September. That experience, Levity says “humbled us, it inspired us, it networked us, and, in the words of Derek Sonderfan (our musician): ‘It wasn’t our greatest performance, but it showed that we deserved to be at SFIF.’ They loved our performance, and the team bonding that occurred that weekend is irreplaceable. Most importantly, a bunch of improv junkies got to see a bunch of incredible improv, and it has completely set a new bar for what we want to do as a troupe. Also, the UPs got to witness THE troupe that single-handedly inspired me to create my own troupe when I saw them in Amsterdam — Boom Chicago. They were speechless after the performance.”
There are only two shows left in The Utility Player’s eighth season at the Sands. THIS TROUPE IS FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS RIGHT NOW. Every Saturday through 12/20 (no show on 12/13). Tickets are available online at www.utilityplayerscomedy.com or the Sands cage. Doors open at 7:30 (get there on time to get best seats). These shows have been selling out so we recommend arriving early and buying presale tickets.Please also like Homeslice Productions and The Utility Players on Facebook.
There is change in the air. Not only are the seasons changing where we live, but I’m witnessing a musical change too. Maybe not so much a change, but I’m witnessing people engaging in a wider range of musical styles. For someone like me, who considers an ideal Sunday to have the doors and windows open, cooking breakfast and playing the Oh Brother! Where Art Thou? soundtrack, I can’t be more happy about it. Most of our social outings involve so much loud music that being able to absorb the emotion of a simple song, a story or just one classical guitarist is the perfect balance to all the heaviness of the rest of the world.
I was hired at Lightning in a Bottle this year to assist with the Grand Artique. On Saturday night, I was charged as stage manager and two of the acts I worked with turned out to be my favorite acts of the weekend: WC Thornbush’s Great American Show and The Wild Reeds. Where WC Thornbush brought a raucous throwback show reminiscent of dust bowl revivals and political rallies, The Wild Reeds blew me away with powerful yet delicate harmonies, emotional and inspiring vocals and really beautiful and personal stage performance. Immediately after their show I asked for a CD to purchase, which the obliged and sold me an advance copy of their then forth-coming album, Blind and Brave.
Buying an album of a band you just heard for the first time is a coin toss. I don’t necessarily want it to sound exactly what I just heard, but what I want is to make me feel similar. Blind and Brave did this for me. Kicking off with “Where I’m Going,” which starts with a stomping declaration:
“You think you know where I’m going, the truth is I haven’t got a clue one thing I know where I’m going, there won’t be another you”
The three part harmonies of Kinsey, Mack and Sharon, backed by drummer and bass player Nick and Jason, build to a floating yet climatic release that drops eventually back down and drops into one of my favorite songs ever recorded, “Let No Grief.” I’ve listened to this song at least 500 times. Not exaggerating here. Instead of describing it, I’ll leave a teaser video below (this version is without drums and bass).
The title track and first single, “Blind and Brave,” follows “Let No Grief” perfectly. They released an incredible video (below) and the production on the album on this track lends to a more successful single in my eyes. It’s a beautiful song, less somber than “Let No Grief,” yet without lacking the emotional power of it’s predecessor.
Other notable tracks on Blind and Brave include the old-timey shuffle of “Love Letter;” “Judgement,” a haunting track which moves like a steam engine in it’s chugging chorus, then dropping into a mellow verses as if slowing down to keep itself from derailing due to speed. “Lock and Key” drops the listener off on the singers beckoning for “courage to carry me across the danger.”