Why is this night different than all other nights? Not only is it a holiday, but it's a secret holiday. It is a day that we can all agree on because of a very big joke. Give us an excuse to throw down and light up and we'll take it!

JamBase has a world record 352 shows listed for 4.20.01. The bands are coming out of every membrane of North America to mold your malleable cranium with their musical uranium. Top the weekend off with Earth Day on Sunday and you've got some pretty happy heads flying high, dancin in a ring around the sun all weekend long.

Let me put it bluntly, The New Deal with ulu at the Somerville Theater would be my Boston choice for the night. The legendary Toshi Hoo, the New Deal's preferred visual performer, will be providing the light portion of sound + light with an interactive digital visual show. Man, if I were going to Boston this weekend, I would kick the weekend off with a Thursday night combo of the funkyfunky Freelance Bishops opening for Robert Walter's 20th Congress at Lilli's, then hit tND/ulu, and 4/21 with Uncle Sammy and Jiggle at the Middle East. A smorgasboard of the dankest in audio nuggets. High up in New Hampshire, in Live Free or Die territory, there's a triple band Solar Fest bill at Keene State with Toots and the Maytals, The Farm, and this slamming band The Cling. I downloaded some of their tracks, and these kids rip like a fat milker, boy.

The Big Apple will explode with the force of a gravity bong, with choices like Soulive (SOuLeD OUT at Irving Plaza), the Zen Tricksters at the Bowery Ballroom, and mindface at the Lion's Den. I don't live anywhere near there, but the Weltands can throw a party that I can respect! Did you see the list of people that are going to be at Wetlands this weekend? Robert Walter's 20th Congress is camping out for two nights there , with Melvin Sparks on Friday and Charlie Hunter on Saturday, plus Jen Durkin & The Conscious Underground as well as the Living Daylights on Friday, and on Saturday, both Robert Randolph and Miracle Orchestra. Whew!

If you're going to be toking a trip upstate, you might want to stop at the 3rd annual 420 party at Captain Trips in Utica. This year, they've got a burnin' double bill of those hosers The Burt Neilson band opening for Jomamma and the Soultrane. Another kind option is to see the pleasant presence of The Slip at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. Following the lush greenery even further upstate, Jimmy T is throwing a 12 hour 420 party in Buffalo, featuring my man Graham and Dr. Didg, Schleigho, Funktelligence, and a buncha other bands, advertising "FREE MUNCHIES" - (nice touch, Jimmy!) In Geneva, there is a Big 420 show advertised, featuring bands like Dr. Didg, Mecca Bodega, the Tim Herron Corporation, The Niche, and there will be so much smokin' music, a band called Hillaire will play the lobby!

If I could fly from there on a magic carpet ride, I'd head down the Jersey Turnpipe, and I'd stop at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park for Persun and Uncle Sammy before heading south with my friend Mary Jane for some Relaxin' With The Disco Biscuits. These Philly Cheese Blunts continue to play the large rooms on the eastern seaboard, and today their 420 will be at 930, the 9:30 Club in DC. Amfibian is taking a trip down to Virginia for a party they're throwing at The NorVa with The Ordinary Way and Big Frog, all the way from Japan! Sound Tribe Sector 9 brings their chalice back to Athens for two homecoming shows at the Georgia Theater. Phil Lesh, a man who is no stranger to what the 420 is all about, will bring his Friends to the Independance Arena in Charlotte.

If you are in Gainesville, the ONLY place to be on 4/20 is at the Brick City Music Hall to rise up, wake and bake with Leftover Salmon - woo hoo! High times in Orlando are in the works at Barbarella as 4:20 plays on 4/20 for $4.20 - ya gotta it... Guy Smiley Blues Exchange is having their record release party on 4/20, down in Alabama. And did I forget to mention Memphis? Begin the journey with my favorite Memphis rockers, Yamagata, who have a 4~20 Earth Day weekend kickoff show at the New Daisy on Beale Street.

And who's kickin down so you can get down in the midwest? Just ask the Axis, in Bloomington, where they'll be comin' in 2x2 to explode with Umphrey's McGee on this 4-20-01. There will be a Deep Banana smokeout at the Canopy Club in Urbana, those guys know what 420 means. And Ray's Music Exchange will play one of their rare shows this year at the place where they blew out New Years' Eve 2001, the Southgate House in Newport, KY, just across the river from Cincinatti. String Cheese will have a 420 Incident at the Fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis, and Dark Star Orchestra will be at The Rave in Milwaukee. Find out what else is happening in Chicago all weekend.

In Colorado, there is another CD release party with All Mighty Senators, opening for Jive. The Steve Kimock Band is on their way across the country and they're stopping in Denver this weekend to play at Sancho's Broken Arrow. This show is sold out already, folks - but smoke 'em if you got 'em, as there's a lot more mountain high music. We could do Chupacabra in Aspen, Larry in Fort Collins, or Govinda in Grand Junction! Or the obvious place to smoke grass, at a Smokin' Grass show!

Between Colorado and California, there is only one huge party going down in the desert, the Area 51 Soundtest. Rudy and Legends Lounge are bringing the jam into the mouth of the desert, throwing a weekend rager with bands like Ominous Seapods, Wise Monkey Orchestra, and my boys The Waz, driving all the way from Buffalo for this party!

In California, down south, Lost at Last will bring their medicinal meditative maui-funk to LA's El Rey Theater. Up North in Arcata, Garaj Mahal will be playing Humboldt Indoor at Cafe Tomo. Netwerk: Electric and Ten Ton Chicken will be at the Conscience Cooking Festival or somewhere near there in Chico. Here in San Francisco is the two night double bill of Karl Denson's Tiny Universe and Medeski, Martin and Wood at The Warfield which you know is going to be the super skunk #1 in town.

With all of these shows listed in my hometown by the bay, and I'm going with a total sleeper. My pick for the best show [My rule: the best show is always the one you are at, without a doubt] on 4/20 is going to be two local Bay Area bands, Tea Leaf Green and Boomshanka, at a joint called Slim's [For the record, and as a general rule, my joints are fat]. These bands have both been impressing me over the course of the last few months, and I believe this will be a coming out party for both bands. Tea Leaf Green takes the best of both Steely Dan and Phish, and creates really impressive originals, with certified stoner "Prof T" on the Rhodes keyboard crooning, and this kid Josh Clark ripping solos. And that's all before Boomshanka starts you Shankin that ass!

Some might say that there is no better time than 4:20:01, and this year we get it on 4/20/01. Don't let this chance to Go See Live Music! go up in a puff of smoke!

Sally Simpson
Funk Fiend
San Francisco

[Published on: 4/20/01]

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