Friday, September 29, 2017

The Night Light Appears to Be Closed (at Least for Now)

The doors are locked, and the bar's phone number is disconnected.

by Azucena Rasilla
Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 4:17 PM

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For the past five years, the Fresh Jamz party has been housed at The Night Light, located on Broadway in Oakland's Jack London district, but as of this morning, the party is no more.

A post on the Fresh Jamz’ Facebook page stated in part, “For the past five years, The Night Light has been home to Fresh Jamz and we are forever grateful. The bar is closing its doors, which means a new chapter for Fresh Jamz.”

The Express reached out to Odiaka Gonzalez, one of the founders of the monthly party. During a call this morning, Gonzalez told the Express, “Doug [Kinsey, owner and general manager of the bar] told us that he was going to shut down in November. He was doing everything he could to stay afloat, but he never really found a good manager to help him manage the downstairs bar.” Gonzalez said that both he and his wife had stopped by the bar during business hours earlier in the week only to find that both the gate and the main door had a chain and a lock securing the building.

Although the Night Light's calendar shows events scheduled through the end of October, as of this morning, the bar's main phone number is disconnected. Emails to Kinsey were unanswered, and his voicemail is full.
View of the bar as of Friday afternoon.
  • View of the bar as of Friday afternoon.

The Express also reached out to two of the acts scheduled to perform in the next two weeks, but messages were not answered in time for publication.

Opened in 2012, The Night Light has been known for live shows with rock, goth, and punk bands upstairs, as well as a variety of DJ nights downstairs. Fresh Jamz was one of the bar's longest-running monthly parties. DC is Chillin from KMEL, Aaron Axelsen from LIVE 105, and Bobby Peru & Crew were among the other DJs who hosted parties at the bar.

The Express will update this story as soon as we get more information.



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

REVIEW: Kali Uchis Almost Did Not Make Her Show at The New Parish

Once she was on stage, the delayed start of the show was all but forgotten

by Azucena Rasilla
Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 4:35 PM

kali_uchis_1.jpg

The beginning of a tour for any artist is a time of excitement. If you’re an international superstar like Beyoncé, traveling from one stop to the next is a breeze, thanks to private jets. However, for up-and-coming artists like Colombian-American Karly Loaiza, better known as Kali Uchis, getting to Oakland's New Parish from Las Vegas yesterday proved to be anything but exciting.

Word of a delay began circulating earlier in the day: The New Parish tweeted out there would be a time change due to a traveling delay. Was Kali Uchis going to make it? Fans had lined up outside the venue since the early morning. After multiple time changes, doors finally opened at 8 p.m., an hour and a half after the original time.

Kali Uchis’ fans do not play. As soon as the doors opened, fans rushed to the front of the stage and to the upstairs mezzanine; the closer they could be to their idol, the better. Kali Uchis played a successful set at Outside Lands in August, and appeared onstage with Gorillaz to perform “She’s My Collar,” a track she’s featured on.

For the Oakland show, Phony Ppl, a band from Brooklyn that is also acting as her backing band for the tour, opened the show. The combination of funk, soulful R&B, and hip-hop set the tone perfectly. The delayed start was all but forgotten.

When Kali Uchis finally got on stage around 9:40 p.m., the crowd erupted in screams. The tall, slender singer was ready to woo her fans. She's as soft-spoken when she addresses her fans as she is when she sings. She explained how her bus driver got sick halfway through the trip and had to be rushed to the hospital. They couldn’t get any merchandise out of the bus to bring to the show.

Kali Uchis' set list was short — not surprisingly, considering she only has one mixtape, 2012’s Drunken Babble, and one EP, 2015’s Por Vida. This year she released two singles off her forthcoming album: “Tyrant,” and “Nuestro Planeta,” both of which she performed. “Loner” and “Ridin Round” were two of the favorites of the night.

At times, the band — specifically the bass and drums — overpowered her, drowning out her vocals. The intimacy of the venue proved difficult with the live musicians.

For her encore, Kali Uchis performed two Latinx classics: the first, a cover of the1959 bolero “Sabor A Mi,” popularized by Mexican trio Los Panchos; the second (which she also performed during her set at Outside Lands), “Suavemente,” the 1998 merengue classic by Puerto Rican artist Elvis Crespo.

If Kali Uchis' career continues the way it has, she soon won’t have to worry about traveling issues. Lana Del Rey announced that Uchis will be one of the openers for her LA to the Moon tour, which is set to begin in January. Uchis can also add "Grammy-nominated artist" to her name. Colombian artist Juanes’ song “El Ratico,” which Uchis is featured on, was nominated for Record of the Year for this year’s Latin Grammys, which will take place on Nov. 16.

Kali Uchis’ tour in the United States continues in Arizona, Florida, New York, and will conclude in Seattle on Oct. 31. The international tour will take her through London, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and Argentina.



Monday, September 25, 2017

New Documentary Focuses on West Oakland’s Blues Legacy

by Ryan Lindsay
Mon, Sep 25, 2017 at 12:18 PM

BIKO BRADFORD
  • Biko Bradford
Before hyphy, there was disco. Before disco, there was funk. And before funk, there was the blues. The Southern music style, rooted in trials and tribulations, sung out through wails and wonders played on the guitar, once gripped the music scene of Oakland.

Evolutionary Blues…West Oakland’s Music Legacy tells the story of how blues came to Oakland through a series of interviews, archival footage, photos, and commentary from authors and historians. On Wednesday, the Town will get an opportunity to learn the history of a musically dominant era at a screening at Grand Lake Theater.

The full-length documentary, which is a project of KTOP and is co-produced by the Sarah Webster Fabio Center for Social Justice, features interviews with more than 30 artists who regularly played in clubs and music venues that lined the blocks of 7th Street before a charge for “urban renewal” decimated the thriving, self-sustaining Black community. It’s a story about the Great Migration, told through the lens and culture of blues musicians, many of whom never made it to national fame but were respected and acclaimed within the true blues scene. Their carried the soul of their Southern roots — Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas — to Oakland.

“The music is the vehicle that allows us to tell this story,” said Michael Munson, operations manager at KTOP.

“African Americans are feeling pushed out of Oakland, and we’re a very rich part of Oakland,” said Cheryl Fabio, who directed the film. “To sit this history back into the center, where it’s being articulated … is to place Oakland back into our cultural concept of that period and tie it together.”

Fabio, who grew up in East Oakland, said reading Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns helped her better understand how the Great Migration spread Black people throughout the certain parts of the country and served as a catalyst for new cultural developments, including blues. She reached out to Wilkerson’s publicist in hopes that Wilkerson would agree to lend her knowledge to the film. She did.

Fabio also reached out to Ronnie Stewart, executive director of the West Coast Blues Society, to learn more about the blues scene in West Oakland. In their conversations, Stewart mentioned musicians such as Sugar Pie DeSanto, Marvin Holmes, Faye Carol, and the Hartfield Brothers, and with Holmes' help, Fabio was able to track them down. But before the interviews began, Fabio had to earn their trust.

“That’s not a community that’s real open to outsiders,” Fabio said. She spoke about a skepticism and wariness that Black musicians have with regard to the music industry, stemming from poorly crafted record deals and contracts that often left them without compensation for their artistry. “Especially this group of musicians, but maybe Black musicians generally, have really gone through an abusive past 150 years,” she said.

The interviews are candid and zealous — some musicians are moved to tears when recalling their passion for singing and playing a music form that often excluded the talent and creativity of Black artists.

“This is a white man’s instrument and niggers don’t play them,” Sonny Rhodes recalled being told.

Though the film primarily focuses on the musicians, it also incorporates the social movements and socioeconomic developments that dramatically shaped and affected West Oakland, including the end of World War II, the rise of restrictive covenants and redlining, and the Black Panthers.

“None of us live in a vacuum, so when you start hearing shifts in the theme, you have to look to see what was going on that created that shift,” Fabio said. Fabio tapped Robert O. Self, author of American Babylon: The Struggle for Postwar Oakland, to provide context for the crumbling of one of the country’s most vibrant epicenters of Black culture and economic prosperity.

Many of the musicians featured in the film will be at the screening on Wednesday night. Munson said the film will then make its way through the festival circuit and, in about a year, will air on KTOP.

“I think anytime people know that their history is, it makes them feel better about, not only where they’re from—their civic pride—but also they learn something about what was there before them,” Munson said.











Monday, September 18, 2017

La Misa Negra Interview: The band talks about their upcoming new album

See them live at The New Parish on Friday September 22.

by Azucena Rasilla
Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 12:17 PM


PHOTO BY ANDREW ZHOU
  • Photo by Andrew Zhou

Oakland band La Misa Negra is a fixture in the Bay Area's Latinx music scene. Founded by composer, guitarist, and accordion player Marco Polo Santiago, the band also consists of Colombian-born Diana Trujillo (lead vocals), Justin Chin (tenor and baritone sax), Morgan Nilsen (tenor sax and clarinet), Craig Bravo (drums and percussion), Elena de Troya (percussion), and Paul Martin Sounder (upright bass and percussion). Since forming in 2011, La Misa Negra has performed all over the United States, spreading their diverse cultural backgrounds in the form of their infectious cumbia sounds.

The band's music is heavily influenced by Afro-Latin sounds, accordion riffs typical of music from Mexico and Latin America, and hip-hop, jazz, rock, and heavy metal. This eclectic mix of rhythms makes La Misa Negra one of the most entertaining live bands, sure to have you singing and dancing all night.

The Express recently caught up with Marco Polo Santiago to talk about the band’s sophomore self-titled album, which will be released on September 29, as well as its upcoming album release party at The New Parish on Friday, Sept. 22.

Express: What was the thought process behind getting in the studio to get this album ready?
Santiago: I wanted to build upon that old-school sound that we have and take it further into the future. We’re incorporating various Afro-Colombian rhythms that we hadn’t before and also tapping more into outside influences, like rock and salsa, but still keeping everything within that trademark LMN sound that we have.

What were some of the challenges you guys encountered?
The music itself is more challenging to perform. We have horn lines that are harder to play. We also have rhythms that are faster and more complex, so it took us time to be able to get everything right. Some of the arrangements are really elaborate, and I wanted to try a lot of things we hadn’t done before. I also wanted a bigger sound, with more horns and more singers, so we enlisted a lot of guest musicians from the Bay – most of them friends of ours, like Deuce Eclipse (Bang Data/Zion I), Kata Miletich (Locura), Mario (trumpet player from Rupa & the April Fishes), Adam Theis (Jazz Mafia), and Jesse Sheehan (who used to play sax in Candelaria). Caipo from Bang Data produced the album along with me and we spent almost nine months crafting this thing together.

What can fans of LMN expect from this album?
Fire! It still sounds like us but it’s bigger and harder. It sounds more like our live shows than the first album.

The cover of La Misa Negra's new album.
  • The cover of La Misa Negra's new album.

Any favorite tracks?

We all have our own favorites but for me, I love "Dueña de Mi," "Sancocho," "Acosadora," and "Pistola." We have a remake of an old Cuban song, called "Yayabo," that I also enjoy a lot. And it starts with a Wu-Tang inspired sample. I had to throw in some Wu-Tang on this album. I also threw in some Black Sabbath and Alice in Chains for the rock/metal heads.

What is your favorite part about playing shows?
I started this band specifically to put on a crazy, rowdy show. We’re a live band first and foremost, so performing in front of people is the only reason this band exists. I think most artists prioritize making albums. We’re the opposite.

For someone who has never been to a LMN show, what can they look forward to?
They can look forward to having to shower afterwards because they’re walking out of that place drenched in sweat.

La Misa Negra's new album will be available for sale at the New Parish show on Friday, Sept. 22, and is available for pre-order on iTunes and Bandcamp. It will be widely released on Sept. 29.

Show details: Friday, Sept. 22, 9 p.m., $15, 18+, The New Parish, 1743 San Pablo Ave., Oakland. TheNewParish.com





Saturday, September 16, 2017

Café Tacvba's NiuGüeis Tour Delighted Oakland Fans

by Azucena Rasilla
Sat, Sep 16, 2017 at 7:04 PM

Frontman Rubén Albarrán - PHOTOS BY ADRIAN JUSUE
  • Photos by Adrian Jusue
  • Frontman Rubén Albarrán

Here’s what you should know about a Café Tacvba concert: No matter how many times you have seen them live, every single show is like seeing them for the first time. The legendary Mexican rock band is always reinventing itself. This versatility has allowed them to maintain their popularity and longevity, even when several years go by in between releasing albums.

Their eighth studio album, Jei Beibi (pronounced “Hey baby”), was released in early May, and the Mexican quartet –- composed of Rubén Albarrán, Joselo Rangel, Quique Rangel, and Emmanuel del Real –- is currently on tour promoting the album.

The NiuGüeis Tour made its way to Oakland’s Fox Theater last night, and it was a sight to be seen. Concert-goers began congregating outside of the venue early in the afternoon, although the show didn't start until 9 p.m. By that time, the lines to get into the Fox Theater wrapped around the building and spilled over onto side streets.

Once inside the venue, a group of friends chatted excitedly: “What if this is their last tour? What if this is the last album?” one friend told another. The Mexican rock band has been going strong since 1989, and in the ‘90s, during the golden era of rock en español, Café Tacvba reigned supreme. Their 1994 album, Re, was labeled one of the ten greatest Latin rock albums of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

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It has been five years since Café Tacvba has released an album, and three since they last came to the Bay Area. (The band played a sold-out show at the Masonic in San Francisco in 2014.)

The band rammed through an extensive setlist, opening the show with the second single off the album, the track called "Futuro," written by Joselo Rangel and sung by frontman Rubén Albarrán and Rangel. Classics like "El Aparato" and "Como Te Extraño Mi Amor" were also part of the repertoire.

There were two particularly magical moments of the night. The first was when Emmanuel del Real performed fan favorite "Eres," as every single person inside the Fox sang along.

The other was when Café Tacvba performed "Chilanga Banda," a song whose lyrics represent the vernacular of Mexico City’s working-class.

Before leaving the stage, Rubén Albarrán addressed the crowd, emphasizing that no one should be afraid to speak their mind, that women should be respected and not risk getting attacked. He also spoke of the need to take care of the planet, to respect all living organisms, and to stop the violence that plagues the world.

They closed the show with "El baile y el salón," another classic off the Re album.

The NiuGüeis Tour will continue throughout the United States until October, and will culminate on December 1 in Monterrey, Mexico.

Enrique Rangel
  • Enrique Rangel
Emmanuel del Real
  • Emmanuel del Real
Joselo Rangel
  • Joselo Rangel


Correction: Our review stated that the band had not toured the Bay Area since 2014. The band played the Fox Theater and the Independent in 2015, and the Greek Theatre with Thievery Corporation in 2016.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Bay Area Rapper Show Banga ‘Glows Up’

by Amyra Soriano
Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 6:46 PM

Show Banga in Oakland. - AMYRA SORIANO
  • Amyra Soriano
  • Show Banga in Oakland.
Twenty-seven-year-old William Lassiter, otherwise known as Show Banga, or Showy for short, says he wants to share a positive message through his music.

Born and raised in San Francisco’s Fillmore district, the artist began writing songs early in his life. “I wrote poetry as a kid and in high school. I was always influenced by it,” he said. His father, ShowTime, was a well-known rapper and owner of numerous record stores, and his mother also listened to hip-hop. They motivated him to follow his dreams.

But his childhood wasn’t easy. “I was raised in the streets. Know people that’s doin’ maximum time in jail. Know people that got shot. My best friend got killed when I was 15,” he said.

Lassiter had a fallout with his mother when she found a gun in their home. So he went to live with his father in Vallejo, where he ended up meeting Iamsu! and P-Lo, two of the original founders of a group called the Heartbreak Gang.

During Lassiter’s junior year at Pinole High School, the trio established a creative collective called Go Gettaz, which launched his music career. Undeterred by the violence around him, Lassiter decided to use hip-hop to promote a more optimistic outlook. “I wanna change the youth killing each other. I wanna be the person that could stop that and really bring the Bay Area and music together,” he said.

His music is heavily influenced by Bay Area culture. “We represent the Bay,” he said. “I don’t wanna have to move to L.A. to put the Bay on. I wanna put the Bay on from the Bay.”

“How We Rock,” a track off his last album, Show Time 2, gained more than 1.5 million listens on SoundCloud. Show Banga has been featured in hits such as “Panoramic” by D-Mac, “I Can Tell” by Sage the Gemini, and “Tbt” by Kool John.

To show his love for the community, Lassiter coined the phrase “$quad $quad.” According to the rapper, $quad $quad is something everyone can be a part of. “[It’s] the people that keep me goin,’ the people that stay in tune with what I represent,” he said. The first “$quad” symbolizes his inner circle of close friends and family and the second “$quad” are his fans.

Between every high hat and clap is an ode to being young and reckless — within reason. “HBK, Shmoplife, $quad $quad — what we represent is having fun, turnin’ up, on some positive [stuff],” he said. “Being able to go to a concert and nobody gets murdered. Being able to throw events and nobody gets shot. That’s what we tryna represent. That’s what we tryna bring to the table. Plus being able to still talk about what we want.”

Show Banga will unveil a new sound in his forthcoming album, Da Glo Up. “It’s a new wave,” he said with a grin. “It’s the energy. It’s growth in the industry. That’s what it is. Growth and just growin’ up.”

Aspiring to become the best version of himself, the rapper said he wants to venture into more entrepreneurial aspects of his brand, including clothes, accessories, and maybe even an app. “Starting from nothing... it’s all a dream,” he said. “It’s what we all want. It’s part of this glowin’. Wanting to keep growin’. Keep expandin’. You know what I mean? Comin’ up.”

Show Banga will perform at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds tomorrow as part of Baystock SJ, a fashion, art, and music event. He plans to release his album, Da Glo Up, in October.

New Guidebook Spotlights ‘100 Things to Do in Oakland Before You Die’

by Amyra Soriano
Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 11:00 AM

From a young age, Jessie Fetterling was consumed by wanderlust. “My mom was very adamant about taking road trips and showing us parts of the country, especially in California where we had family,” recalled the Kansas native.

She studied abroad in Europe and eventually became a travel writer, exploring places such as Singapore, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. After moving to the Bay Area eight years ago, she eventually settled in Downtown Oakland. And now, Fetterling has taken her love of exploration to the place she calls home.
COURTESY OF JESSIE FETTERLING
  • courtesy of Jessie Fetterling
Her new guidebook, 100 Things to Do in Oakland Before You Die, provides the ultimate to-do list for both tourists and locals alike. Categorized into five sections — food and drink, music and entertainment, sports and recreation, culture and history, and shopping and fashion — 100 Things recalls overlooked parts of Oakland history and celebrates its current-day renaissance of restaurants, businesses, and art galleries. Fetterling also shares suggested itineraries for date nights, family outings, budget-friendly activities, and more. In the process, the author uncovers exceptional spots that make Oakland… well, Oakland.

At first, deciding what places to highlight was difficult for the author. “There were definitely some places that I wanted to include and simply didn’t have the space,” she said. However, with the help of the city’s tourism bureau and fellow Oaklanders, she was able to narrow down the bucket list.

Although some activities — like strolling through the Grand Lake farmers’ market or grubbing at Burma Superstar — are part of the author’s regular go-tos, there were other experiences she had never tried before, like wining down on the Oakland Wine Trail.

“I learned so much about the city during my research process that I likely wouldn’t have investigated on my own,” she expressed. “For instance, I knew about the Oakland California [Mormon] Temple, but had yet to explore the grounds before researching.”

Fetterling believes travel helps expand her outlook on life — specifically what to be grateful for, what to be open-minded about, and so on.

“I love learning about the cultures of people and finding out why they do things differently,” she said. “I think that’s what travel’s all about though… is trying to grow from an experience and bring back what I’ve learned to others.”

On Saturday, Sept. 16, Fetterling — an editor for Emlen Media and freelance writer — will be at Laurel Book Store (1423 Broadway) to talk more about her book. 5 p.m., free, LaurelBookStore.com

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Living Room Light Exchange to Premiere Its Fourth Season on Art, New Media, and Tech Culture

by Ayah Mouhktar
Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 11:02 AM

Living Room Light Exchange founders Elia Vargas and Liat Berdugo.
  • Living Room Light Exchange founders Elia Vargas and Liat Berdugo.
When you picture yourself with a drink in hand and in the midst of a thrilling dialogue about art and technology, you might imagine being at a bar or an art gallery. But at the Living Room Light Exchange, you’ll actually be cozied up on a couch in the living room of a local artist.

Beginning its fourth season on Tuesday, Sept. 19 — four years after its debut — the Living Room Light Exchange hosts monthly salons in various living rooms across the Bay Area, with the intention of creating dialogue between local artists and the audience about art, new media, and technology culture.

Founders Liat Berdugo and Elia Vargas said they started the series because of a lack of “critical dialogue on art and technology.” “In the Bay Area, the technology capital, there wasn’t quite a space to dissect art and technology together,” said Vargas. Thus far, LRLX has hosted 28 salons featuring more than 80 different artists and is fully sustained by its community.

This season, viewers will have a number of things to look forward to, said Vargas. He explained their desire to highlight more diversity within the field, “especially in this political climate,” and to make the space more inclusive to gender non-conforming folks and people of color. “The Light Exchange is continuing the trajectory,” Vargas said.

Scheduled presenters include creative collective The Black Aesthetic, interdisciplinary artist Christy Chan, and writer April Glaser.

Past salons have featured lively discussions. One that sticks out to Vargas in particular was with Caroline Sinders, a designer/user researcher whose work sparked a discussion about artificial intelligence and feminism. “To have someone so eloquently spoken, to be able to work through what her research is attempting to do and how she goes about it, is a very unique and interesting opportunity,” said Vargas.

The new LRLX season will begin on Tuesday, Sept, 19 at 7 p.m. in the living room of musician Andrew Maguire. RSVP through Eventbrite for the address.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Delta Wires Captures the Sound of Blues Music’s Migration

by j. poet
Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 11:35 AM

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In 2008, Express readers named Delta Wires, Oakland’s premier blues outfit, the East Bay’s Best Live Band. Since then, the seven-man band, known for its blazing horn charts, has continued burning up stages, locally and internationally. Not too band for a band that was put together as a one-off project by Ernie Pinata, the band’s singer, harmonica player, and frontman.

Born and raised in Oakland, Pinata picked up the harmonica when he was 16 and taught himself to play by listening to records by Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, and other urban blues greats. Although he played regularly in coffee shops, and once sat in with blues great Freddie King in Berkeley, Pinata wasn’t thinking about becoming a full-time musician. In 1970, he was working toward a master’s degree in fine arts, studying poetry and sociology at Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts, when he got interested in the mass migration of African-American workers during World War II. The sharecroppers who moved from Mississippi to work in Memphis, Chicago, and Oakland brought the blues with them and changed the history of popular American music.

Instead of writing a sociology paper on the subject, Pinata put together the first incarnation of Delta Wires to illustrate the evolution of the music, from its acoustic roots to the electric styles that were born in Chicago and Oakland. “We did a cappella field hollers, Robert Johnson and Son House songs, using acoustic guitars, fiddle, and harp and Chicago-style electric blues with a sax player, trying to copy Muddy Waters and the other Chess Records guys as close as we could.”

The presentation was a success, so Pinata booked a few dates at Oakland clubs, still thinking of the band as a fun, temporary project. “People started sitting in with us and things took off. We turned pro in 1971 and, after we got a standing ovation opening for Van Morrison in 1972, we knew we were on the right path. We’ve been going strong ever since.”

On Born in Oakland, their recently released album, they continue to impress as they burn through a collection of 10 tunes, seven of them composed by the band. The record is a culmination of the hard work they’ve put into their music since 1970. It’s getting airplay all over the country and generating rave reviews in publications like Chicago’s Midwest Record and the Lee County Courier in Tupelo, Mississippi.

“It took a couple of years to create this album,” said Pinata. “The songwriting was a totally collaborative process, with everyone in the band contributing to the writing and arranging.” Pinata said someone will suggest a horn line or contribute a guitar lick and the rest of the band will run with it, adding and subtracting parts until everything comes together. “This time we decided to throw out the rule book and let the music take over,” Pinata told the Express. “When Richard [Healy, the band’s guitar player] came up with the slow, bluesy hook for ‘Your Eyes,’ he said it didn’t sound like Delta Wires. I told him it was good to try something that was a little different. We just went with the flow.”

The response the band got from their fans when they started playing their new tunes was overwhelmingly positive. “We always play ‘em out before we go into the studio to make an album,” Pinata explained. “When you have a seven-piece band, with three horn players, you can’t record a song if it doesn’t have any history.”

On Born in Oakland, Delta Wires cover a lot of musical territory. With its greasy horn line and drummer Tony Huszar’s hard funk backbeat, “Sunny Day” tips its hat to Tower of Power, Oakland’s premier horn-driven R&B band during the early ’70s. “Devil’s in My Headset” rides a slow, Memphis soul groove and features a smoking solo by sax player Gerry Jonutz, complementing Pinata’s extended foray on harmonica. “Fun Time” is a fast jump blues; “Fine and Healthy Thing” dips into the swinging sound of West Coast blues, with a skewed shuffle rhythm and the horns front and center, while Healy’s layered guitars on “Vacation” suggest the Allman Brothers taking a holiday in Mississippi.

Pinata, bass player Tom Gerrits, and Huszar produced the album, with the rest of the band contributing ideas and arrangements. “When everybody has a say in the process, you make better music. We cut the basic tracks in seven days, then I went in and knocked out the vocals in four hours, a lot of them first takes. We all gave it everything we had, and it shows.”

Born in Oakland, the band’s seventh album, is the first that features mostly original songs. “Everything is still blues-based, but it’s more modern and adventurous than anything we’ve ever done before,” Pinata said. “When we play The Uptown, we’ll be doing all the songs on the album and creating a positive atmosphere. It’s a hometown gig and we’re gonna kick ass.”

Delta Wires’ CD release party will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9, at The Uptown, 1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. 8:30 p.m., $20, $25. UptownNightclub.com



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Friday, September 1, 2017

Mistah F.A.B, Too $hort, and D’ Wayne Wiggins to Perform at Hurricane Harvey Benefit at Complex in Oakland

Proceeds will benefit Houston Unity Tribe, currently helping people on the ground.

by Azucena Rasilla
Fri, Sep 1, 2017 at 11:22 AM

PHOTO COURTESY DESLEY BROOKS
  • Photo Courtesy Desley Brooks


As a result of Hurricane Harvey, 364,000 people have registered for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as of Friday, according to FEMA, and that number is expected to rise in the coming days and weeks. More than 33,000 people are currently in shelters across Texas.

As people in Texas recover from the devastation left behind by Harvey, donations from across the country are pouring in. Texans’ star defensive J.J Watt has already raised more than $14 million from an online fundraiser that he started on Sunday. Sam Martin of the Detroit Lions started his own fundraising effort on Twitter, posting a video in which he invited his followers to donate items. In the video, Martin also vouched to donate six pounds of dog food for every retweet that the video gets, up to $10,000 worth of food. As of this morning, his video has more than 344,000 retweets.

Local artists, activists, and political figures in Oakland are also coming together to help in the relief effort: Mistah F.A.B, Too $hort, and D’ Wayne Wiggins, in partnership with councilmember Desley Brooks and Complex owner Oscar Edwards, are putting together a benefit concert next Wednesday at the venue in Downtown Oakland.

Tickets are $10, and the concert will benefit Houston Unity Tribe (H.U.T), a community-based organization in the greater Houston area. Those part of H.U.T have been on the ground in Houston helping with the relief efforts, collecting material goods, and distributing them among people who have been displaced from their homes.

Even if you can’t attend the show, you can still donate $10 to help this local Houston organization.

The event will be hosted by Kev Choice, Jennifer Johns, RyanNicole, Davey D, and many others.

Wednesday, Sept. 6, 6 p.m, $10, Complex, 420 14th St., Oakland, HarveyBenefit.BrownPaperTickets.com

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