Thursday, February 23, 2017

'Oakland Is Where I Got The Game From': Interviews With Members of Planet Booty, Zion I, and More (From Santa Cruz Music Festival)

by Deanna Boutte
Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 2:42 PM

  • Photo Taken by Deanna Boutte
The Santa Cruz Music Festival took place last weekend. Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz hosted local vendors, a comedy jaunt, yoga classes, a bike party, a live discussion panel, and much more. Let’s talk music though—with so many different genres teaming up to put on a multi-faceted showcase, it was quite an exhibit.

One of the acts that took the Blue Lagoon stage on Saturday night was Oakland’s own, Planet Booty. The trio consists of Dylan Germick, Josh Cantero, and Rob Gwin. Planet Booty is a group who can’t simply be labeled under one genre. Rather, a melodic mix of old-school funk, soul, jazz, dance, house, disco, and R&B. Planet Booty also incorporates electronic beats with live instrumentation for an original, but unique sound. The Express spoke with Dylan Germick, the group’s lead singer.

Express: What's your favorite thing about being from Oakland?
Germick: I love Oakland for so many reasons, its history, its diversity, and its energy. It's my sincere hope that our music does our hometown justice. There is certainly something special in the air when we play a show in Oakland. Whether it's somewhere on a street corner for a festival, a First Friday, or one of the many ever-changing venues—you’ll find every type of person in the audience and if you're bringing it with a full heart, no matter who you are, Oakland will show love.
  • Photo Courtesy of Planet Booty
Express: What lead Planet Booty to making music?
Germick: Music has been a part of our lives from the beginning. It’s probably our mutual love of music and [our love for] each other that keeps us motivated. Also, the immediacy of current events, like the passing of Prince and the election of Donald Trump makes the need for positive, funky art extremely urgent.

During their set, the crowd cheered for Planet Booty’s positive messages about loving yourself and loving the people around you. They said, “in this time especially—we need to all love each other—no matter what!”

Sunday at the Santa Cruz Music Festival, a hip-hop showcase went up at The Catalyst. Oakland native, The Grouch, headlined the series. Other Easy Bay artists that touched the stage were Zumbi (of Zion I), Deuce Eclipse, Pure Powers, DJ Twelvz, and Souls of Mischief/Hieroglyphics member, A-Plus featuring, Knobody. The Express was backstage chatting with a few of the artists.

Express: What do you love about Oakland?
Zumbi: The thing I like the most is the eclecticism, the culture, and the diversity of the people. I had no idea, back in the day, that Oakland [was one of the] most diverse cities in the country. As I stated to travel on tour and I saw the difference when I came back to the Bay—how like everybody kicks it, everybody hangs out, everybody influences each other. That is, to me, an ideal. That has lightweight been reached—I’m not saying it’s perfect and without problems—it’s not. But I am saying, in terms of people getting down with each other, and just hanging out, and learning about one another’s culture, and appreciating the difference, and still being the same, Oakland’s got that on lock.
  • Photo Taken by Deanna Boutte
  • Zumbi (of Zion I)

Express: How do you stay connected to your hometown?
DJ Twelvz: I stay close to the streets no matter where I go. The youngsters are always going to push the curve in the evolution of modern music. So [with] hip-hop, if you stay in tune to the youth, you will alw
  • Photo Taken by Deanna Boutte
  • Pure Powers
ays know what’s up and what’s poppin’, and how this music shit is really evolving.

Express: How has living in the East Bay influenced your music?
Pure Powers: Tupac said it,  Oakland is where I got the game from.” And I really relate with that. There is a lot of game, and a lot of charisma, a lot of wit, a lot of culture, and a lot of heart. And that’s what I really love about it—it's just got a lot of flavor. 

Express: What do you have to say about the Santa Cruz Music Festival?
DJ Twelvz: I think that it’s good that  you can come and represent who you are and represent your artistry. And I  think when you have events like this, it’s a really dope thing because it's people of all walks of life, different types of styles in music, all coming together and really enriching the culture of music, so anything like this—
  • Photo Taken by Calioto @connercalioto
is cool.

If there was one similarity  amongst all the artists across the multiple venues at this year’s  Santa Cruz Music Festival, it was the fact that everyone was happy to be there. While right now may not be the best of times considering Trump’s reign over America, music is just one way people are coming together to spread love, practice peace, and unite as a community. For more information about the festival, visit

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Five Memorable Beers From Yesterday's Inaugural East Bay Brewer's Fest

by Nick Miller
Sun, Feb 19, 2017 at 1:45 PM

  • Photo Courtesy of Drake's
Some terrible news: It's the last day of San Francisco Beer Week.

The annual gathering was actually nine days of some of the best brew in the world, from locals offering once-a-year favorites (think triple-IPAs from everyone from Altamont to Russian River) to out-of-town guests (Jester King, Sante Adairius thrilling the Bay with pop-up events). And now — exhale — it's done.

Hopefully you didn't miss out on the many highlights (the Mexican Beer tap-takeover at Trappist, the secret gala pop-up by Fieldwork in S.F., and so on).

And I especially hope that you made it to yesterday's debut East Bay Brewer's Festival, which for the first time united brew offerings on our side of the bridge. Hey, even the mayor was there.
Anyway, more than two-dozen breweries poured special offerings and taproom favorites at the sold-out event, which was hosted by Drake's outside its downtown Dealership location in Oakland (disclosure: The Express was a media sponsor).

After days of rain and wind, the sun peeked out for the afternoon showcase, which drew some 900 attendees. There were all sorts of inventive beers — from gin-barrel-aged sours and lupulin-powder IPAs.

The take home from the event was that, even though S.F. gets all the press, East Bay breweries are putting out some of the most exciting and consistently tasty beers on the West Coast. Here are five of the most memorable beers from the day:

Temescal Brewing
Creamsicle IPA with peach and vanilla, 6.6%
Temescal first released four-pack cans of this brew earlier in the week, and I was initially skeptical, what with my aversion to fruited IPAs. However ... what a remarkable brew: gentle notes of vanilla and cream, a nice stone-fruit character, and that familiar and delicate Temescal body. Better than anything you'd find on the ice-cream truck.
Alternative Facts
Faction Brewing
"Session" IPA w/ Mosaic
Mandarina and Dr Rudi hops, 4.6%
Award for Best Name this Beer Week goes to Faction for this sharp, dry, low-ABV brew with a hint of mango. The perfect remedy to White House nonsense — and conveniently only 4.6%, since you'd have to drink a few of these every day to counteract The KellyAnne & Bannon Shitshow.
Juice Above the Clouds
Altamont Beer Works
Double IPA, 9%
This Altamont banger kicked the haze craze in its teeth. A big-dog IPA, complete with all that hazy-brew character (tropical juice, via a generous dose of Mosaic hops, and killer aromatics), but without any cloudy gimmicks — more, please.
Imperial Affliction
Novel Brewing Company
Bourbon-barrel aged imperial stout, 9%
Novel is a new neighborhood spot, but this classic BA stout hit all the right notes: gently boozy, a nice roast and vanilla character, not too sweet and with a mouthfeel at once full but not viscous. Tremendous executive by a new spot on the block.
Drake's Brewing Co.
Malt Liquor, 7%
I missed the launch party for this one at Eli's Mile High Club on Friday, so it was nice to hit the hop-palette reset button with this malty, "classy" head-changer. Yeah, I get that it's an unremarkable, no-frills brew. But it scratched all the right itches. And that's sometime all that matters.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Burger Boogaloo Lineup Just Announced (Hint: Iggy Pop!)

by Nick Miller
Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Burger Boogaloo, the festival curated by the record label of the same name each summer in Mosswood Park, has evolved into this sort of quintessential Oakland music gathering, the perfect anti-fest in the bay.

And, for 2017, the producers have really outdone themselves. I mean, this lineup!
Tickets are on-sale now, and a two day general-admission pass is super affordable. The fest goes down July 1-2. Don't sleep on tickets, as this will sell out.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Oakland's Fantastic Negrito Won A Grammy!

by Nick Miller
Sun, Feb 12, 2017 at 5:45 PM

Fantastic Negrito's earned his first Grammy nomination for The Last Days of Oakland — and this afternoon he took home the big prize, the Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Here's his Tweet announcing the win:
Congrats! Buy his record here!

Friday, February 3, 2017

To-Do This Weekend: Art Or Football ... Or Both!

by Deanna Boutte
Fri, Feb 3, 2017 at 12:57 PM

A storm will be rolling through this evening — canceling First Friday — but there's still art galleries open, plus the "big game" on Sunday. Here are two options that won't break the bank.

Era Art Bar and Lounge will host a viewing party for Super Bowl LI. Watch the game on eight screen, over two levels. Or if football isn't your thing, there are countless drink specials. 106 KMEL's very own DCisChillin will be mixing songs during commercial breaks. This is a 21-and-over event and admission is free.  Sunday, February 5, at Era Art Bar and Lounge, 19 Grand Avenue, Oakland. Doors open at 2:30pm; kick-off is at 3:30pm. For more information visit:

Unlike the outdoors First Friday block party, Oakland Art Murmur doesn't stop for rain. This free event offers a variety of art at more than forty galleries. From classic cars to coffee cups, and ceramics to cocktails, there is certainly something that will catch your eye. 
Courtesy of
  • Courtesy of
Friday, February 3, in Uptown on Telegraph between Grand Avenue and 27th Street, Oakland. 6:00 to 9:00pm. For more information and to download the OAM map, visit:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Beer Week in The Bay Area Kicks Off Next Week (Don't Miss The Big S.F. Beer Week Gala, Too)

February 10 to 19. Not seven days, but who's keeping track?

by Nick Miller
Thu, Feb 2, 2017 at 5:56 PM

  • Courtesy SF Beer Week
I'm doing all the right things. I'm hydrating. And stretching in the afternoon, instead of annihilating a barbacoa burrito or something. I'm substituting my evening hoppy-beer regimen with that of cold-pressed vegetable juice. I even went for a long run in the storming rain. Why? I'm training ... for S.F. Beer Week.

OK, so none of this is even remotely true. Hell, I was at Beer Rev last night, enjoying the latest Bare Bottle Galaxy Dust batch, and that de Gardge ale with Riesling grapes. Hell, yes.

Anyway, February 10. That's when the Bay Area's big celebration of all things brew kicks off. Sure, S.F. Beer Week lasts more than seven days — until February 19. But who's keeping track? A few pro tips:

1. Be sure to pick up the Express next week for a complete rundown of Beer Week goodness. It'll be the front-cover story; hard to miss.

2. There are still tickets for the SFBW Opening Gala, which goes down on Friday at Pier 48. This is a tremendous opportunity to sample many of the best offerings from regional breweries. Seriously, it's fun. Do it.

3. There is a Beer Week calendar with a veritable smorgasbord of brew-related happenings. Check it.

4. The East Bay brewers are getting in on the act this year, with the inaugural East Bay Brewer's Fest. Mark those calendars.

5. Each year, regional brewers get together to brew an S.F. Beer Week beer. And this year it is, mercifully, and easy-drinking Kolsch-style ale — with a twist.

I recently chatted with Fort Point Beer Company's head brewer Mike Schnebeck about the 2017 collab:

Express: I like the plan for the 2017 collaboration beer. Can you explain why this style was settled on, and these ingredients?
Mike: I think there were a few factors that drew people to this style. It provides a good foundation for the specialty ingredients to stand on and is also very approachable. This year's collaboration beer is being packaged in 12 oz. cans along with kegs, so drinkability was especially important. Citrus seemed to pique everyone's interest and the satsuma is a nice variety that you don't see too often, so it made sense to give it a chance. The Douglas fir tip tea impressed everyone with its purity and intensity of flavor. It's really beautiful. Citrus and Douglas fir tips might seem like an odd combination but they end up having a nice wintertime vibe and also invoke a lot of the same flavors commonly associated with hops.

What's your favorite Beer Week memory?
My favorite memory is attending my first S.F. Beer Week Gala. Having such a great community and so much beer all under one roof was an awesome experience.

Most memorable beer you drank in 2016?
Guinness in Ireland.

What you’re most excited about when it comes to beer in 2017.
The most exciting thing to me is the unknown.

Pick up the Express next week for more on Beer Week.

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