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Awesome Nobodies Play the Bay

  12/03/11 18:23, by , Categories: BFMN Exclusive, Dan Grigor, Awesome Nobodies , Tags: awesome nobodies, dan grigor, kimos, nebula force go, sister grizzly, slow moving lions, starry plough

By Dan Grigor

When I play out-of-town shows one of my favorite things to do is to feature a local band.  I have been playing the Bay area lately and I asked my son, Tom, who lives there to hook me up with locals that would fit in with my show. He nailed it.

So, as part of our Awesome Nobodies series, here are two San Francisco Bay area bands that are actually breaking new ground, adding nontraditional instruments and attitudes to good lyrics and a real understanding of music. Smart people with real jobs,  good relationships and PhDs and stuff, having fun playing music for the locals trying to find a break like everyone else.

Click through for videos and get to know some Awesome musicians

The whole Bay Area is such a motherlode of venues and musicians and good music. Some famous, most not. Let me introduce you to some Awesome Nobodies*, two bands you’ve never heard of making good music.

[*Got an awesome band near you that nobody’s  heard of?  Send me an email with a link.]

We had a great show at Kimo’s Penthouse Lounge in San Francisco, a very cool venue right in the heart of the city. You can feel its pulse from there; sitting downstairs at the windows watching the day go by is a well-spent day. Upstairs is where the music happens. A short bar and a long, narrow venue focuses your attention on the stage. The stage is lit well and a great sound system in a difficult room to mix,  is mixed really well by the house sound guy, Jason. He had great tools and really knew his room. This show featured the Slow Moving Lions of the Vegetable World.  Not an easy mix and he nailed it with a few good mics and some old fashioned know how. He made my 12-string sing too, full and rich. A full rack is only good if you know how to use it.

Billing their genre as “slug life/organic breakdown,” Liz Reid, Kevin Skalba, Aaron Burke and Jacob Stahl make up the band, and their approach to music is simple.

“They are gonna ever so gently melt your face off. “

Lovely harmonies, a guitar, a cello, a mandolin and a saw; that, my friends, is a recipe for magic.

Slow Moving Lions of the Vegetable World






 

On the other side of the bay is another wonderful venue: The Starry Plough in Berkeley. You can tell how cool it is by the street sign at the corner of the block. This was another great show that also featured my duo project with Tom. A big stage, lots of tables and a comfy bar, good food and reasonable prices. They have a great room and easily the best sound in the Bay. Eleanor was our sound engineer and she really knows her stuff. That mix was clean as a whistle and the stage monitor mix sounded just as good. My really loud and articulate 12-string with brand-new strings in a big, open room, mixed well, is just a joy. What a treat!

Opening for us this time was a band that bills their genre as “Altnerdative Folk Rock.” A more descriptive phrase would be impossible. They do magnificent covers of video game songs and they write songs about dinosaurs and zombies and robots. Their non-traditional rock instrument is an accordion and it fits like a glove. Benjamin Huffman plays it, sings and plays a really sparkly guitar. David Trease plays a sweet acoustic 6-string, Nora Merecicky handles backup vocals and harmonica, Simon Miller plays drums and, though he says he doesn’t sing, you can catch him being the half in the three-and-a-half-part harmonies if you look closely.

They are a sentai team dedicated to rooting out evil in the galaxies and recording their strange tales in song, and Nebula Force, Go! is perhaps only in the dawn of its full future glory.

Is this a great song? You bet Jurassic!

Nebula Force, Go






Awesome Nobodies! These two bands deserve some attention. Known only to their faithful followers at the moment, with sounds like these and all of us sharing with our friends, who knows where the future can lead? So, even if this isn’t your favorite kind of music, share it with your friends. We all know someone that enjoys eclectic genres, good poetry and good music. Share it with your circle and lend your support to local music in your area. If we don’t go out and listen to live music, buy a few beers and burgers at local venues, soon all the cool venues will have DJs and ooonce oooonce music and nobody wants that.

These bands, like these two venues, aren’t trying to appeal to the masses and be all things to all people. They have picked a niche and they play that market very well. Instead of trying to cover all the bases they have chosen to be really good at just what they do. Truly Awesome.

 

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