Where to hear your kinda music.
By Eyeball James
In this installation of The Soundtrack to the West I wanted to simply let you know of just couple of places where hard working musicians go to play for us here in west Marin. There are a number of venues to see live music, and most of them have their own unique settings. If you know what you are looking for you can most likely find the place. The question you have to ask yourself is, what is the best environment for your mood? Are you thinking about bringing a date out for a romantic dinner and some smooth jazz or authentic bluegrass? Or, are you looking to cut loose and get loud?
SUBHEAD: Check out the Two Bird for mellow
If a peaceful setting is your speed, I have a suggestion. I was recently at the Two Bird Cafe in San Geronimo. It was a warm Friday night, I just happened to be walking by. I wasn’t planning to stop in but a soft breeze blew the sweet sound of acoustic piano and the beautiful voice of woman across my path like the smell of a cherry pie cooling on a windowsill. I was drawn in. What I really like about the Two Bird is the separation between romantic dining by the fireplace and the “nook” where you can sit at the bar or at a table and listen to live music. If ambience is what you’re looking for, I highly recommend it. The walls are always being redecorated with works from the best local artists and even though it’s usually busy, there’s always enough space to dance or chat with friends. They have great food, good wine, cold beer and a friendly staff. Check out Mwanza Furaha (www.mwanzafuraha.com) and her band. These cats won’t let you down. They’ll be playing @ The Two Bird Saturday, August 16th from 7-10 p.m.. The cover is a respectable $5.00.
SUBHEAD: Smiley’s is the place for cuttin’ loose
Now, if you’re looking to let your hair down and cut loose, sometimes you have to go someplace a little rowdier. Sometimes, you just gotta grab a couple whiskeys and dance your tail off with no regard to who’s watching! That’s when a place like Smiley’s in Bolinas is a perfect location.
When weather permits, you can actually make a day of it. An afternoon at the beach, in the sun, surfing or just chillin’ with friends will always gets you primed for an evening at the bar. Another great thing about Smiley’s is they have reasonably priced rooms so you don’t have to worry about driving away during the witching hour! You can party until they bring the lights back up and then simply walk around the corner to your bed in a comfy room.
That’s also a great reason for bands to book show there. A band can make more money if the audience can buy more drinks, stay later and get looser! Also, if you are a band lucky enough to get a date on the Smiley’s calendar, you can get a room and spend the night! It’s an extra treat, when the show is over, to spend the night in a room next door to your new favorite band! Having a chat over a beer after the crowd has gone home is something you may never forget (unless you’ve had too many whiskey’s).
The sound at Smiley’s is also a good reason to stop in to see live music. There’s something about the old hard wood floors, walls and ceiling that projects the sound with warmth and honesty. Whenever I am there, I can’t help but think of the countless bands, bikers, fishermen and wayward souls that have danced and sung together. It’s a hidden musical treasure.
Every Sunday night is open mic so if you’re a musician trying to break into the coastal scene, this is your best way. Bring your “A” game though because the players who show are no slouches and that’s yet another reason why it’s a good time for players and music lovers alike. Every night (except Tuesdays) they have live music. It’s always good. If you are a fan of quality blues, you might want to put Friday August 22 on your calendar. The group is High Tide Collective (www.hightidecollective.com). They’re the real deal.
Once again, I would like to remind you that it’s up all of us to keep this music scene alive and vibrant. Our support provides the artists with the reward and confidence to grow. Be sure to get out and see the magic! Buy a c.d., buy a t-shirt, drop what you can in the tip jar, grab a bumper sticker and slap it on your car! But most importantly, tell your friends, bring the crowd, show your love and receive the priceless memories that don’t come from staying in watching TV.!
As always, let me know your thoughts. Are you a local band, a fan, a booker? I want to hear from you. Let’s work together and keep our scene on top!