It doesn't get any better than this, folks. If the Bay Area has become a hot spot for electronic bands and more avant-garde jazz bands, and Colorado has become the hot-spot for bluegrass and world-beat bands, then Southern California has become a major breeding ground for the funk movement over the last couple of years. And this coming Saturday we have a reason to celebrate and join together under the power of the groove with the Funkyard Music Festival in Long Beach. I'll discuss more about what this festival has to offer down below, but I also need to mention that many of the bands playing at the festival will be touring around the area as well this week so there will be plenty of tasty appetizers before you go. And as sax freak Skerik once said, "make sure you leave with a full belly!"

Wednesday | May 16th
Tonight is the second night of a weeklong run for jazz and funk guitar veteran John Scofield at the Catalina Bar and Grill in Hollywood. Scofield was thrust into the jam scene a few years ago due to his collaboration with Medeski, Martin & Wood but he has also played with jazz legends such as Miles Davis and Gerry Mulligan during his career. After two funk based albums, he is leaning back towards the jazzier side of things but still enjoys jamming with up and comers like Soulive. Not too much else is going on in LA. The same goes for Santa Barbara. Down in San Diego you can catch PsydeCar at Winstons.

Thursday | May 17th
It has been over three years since any of Steve Kimock’s bands have made a jaunt down to our area - not counting a short opening set for the Other Ones back in December 2000 - but we are very happy to have him back. Steve Kimock Band make their first of three area appearances tonight at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. The newest incarnation of this band may be the best lineup yet, featuring former Santana drummer Rodney Holmes, guitarist Mitch Stein, and of course the one and only Bobby “Bobzilla” Vega on bass. All reviews of this band have been nothing but glowing. Another local Funkyard Festival warm-up will be Robert Walter's 20th Congress at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. This band is on fire right now. John Scofield plays again tonight in Los Angeles at Catalina Bar and Grill. Also coming to the Los Angeles area for the first time will be Giant People fronted by Carlos Washington on Trumpet. They play tonight at Temple Bar in Santa Monica. Many know Carlos Washington from his time with Karl Denson's Tiny Universe or his sit-ins with String Cheese Incident. His new project incorporates funk and jazz with tinges of techno-fused jamming. Local jammers Urth also play tonight in Hollywood at the Baked Potato.

Friday | May 18th
Tonight the good people at Pillow Talk Productions bring another healthy dose of the Steve Kimock Band to Santa Barbara at The Edge on State Street. This show will definitely sell out due to the small size of the club, so please make sure to get your tickets early. Down in San Diego you can catch another show with Robert Walter’s 20th Congress at the Casbah or B-Side Players at Humphrey’s. There is a lot of music in Los Angeles tonight as well. After a long hiatus due to the death of bassist Bobby Sheehan, Blues Traveler is back for a big show at the beautiful John Anson Ford Theatre in Hollywood. Rising local funk kings mamaSutra are back for another late night party at the Joint in West LA, again with the Kingpins Fire Juggling Madness, improvisational painting, DJ Mani Stiles, and plenty of high-energy jamming. Advance tickets are available through JamBase Tickets. Not far down the road, Temple Bar has added a last minute but very tasty addition to their show schedule with Soulive, who will get the headlining spot. Soulive was regarded as one of the top highlights of JazzFest by many friends of mine, with their mind-blowing chops and non-stop funky jamming that is dripping with soul. If you like the groove of trios like Medeski, Martin & Wood, you will love Soulive. PsydeCar will open this show and Soulive will get a solid 90-minute set to close. John Scofield plays again tonight at Catalina Bar and Grill.

Saturday | May 19th
The Funkyard Music Festival is the Los Angeles area’s first outdoor festival event which embraces the musical styles of Jazz, Funk, Rock, Latin, Blues and Improvisation all together at one, day long, 10 hour event. The FUNKYARD will take place at "The Green on the Hill" which is a 4-acre, grass, outdoor venue located in Signal Hill/Long Beach, CA. The venue is one of the newest outdoor locations in Southern California and on clear nights you can see the skyline of downtown Los Angeles. The "hill" is 2 miles from the Pacific Ocean, making the weather pleasant, cool & breezy, even on the hottest day. Seating is general admission to allow free-flow of people as well as dancing and lounging on blankets throughout the day. The FUNKYARD will also offer plenty of food and beverage stations as well as a vendor village, a second stage, and other activities throughout the day.

Just look at this SICK lineup: Particle, Porterhouse, Soulive, Greyhounds, Marl Saunders, Robert Walter's 20th Congress , Vinyl, and the return of the Steve Kimock Band. I’m sure there will be plenty of cross-pollination this day and rumors are starting to swirl – could John Scofield be making a guest appearance? He will be in the area later that night, and we know he loves to play with Soulive. Fingers crossed! I hope to see EVERYONE out there, there is really no place on Earth I would rather be. This festival is truly the start of something special for our area, so let’s show these great bands our love and let's respect the venue (the organizers will have trash bags on hand if you need extras – how cool is that?!) so we can do it again next year. Please make sure to get there before noon to pick up any will-call tickets and to secure a good spot. If you are buying tickets at the venue, please make note that it is a CASH ONLY event, and tickets are a mere $30! (for 10 hours of music! You’d pay that just to see Kimock at some venues!). Check out the full schedule here.

If you haven't already made plans to attend Funkyard, there is something wonderful brewing in Santa Barbara on Saturday. The Victoria Hall Music Festival will play host to a variety of local and regional bands, including FOOD, Electric Blue, Mr. Ectomy, Family Dog, Northbound, FM1960, and many, many more. For 12 hours, starting at 2PM, you will witness nostalgia collide head on with modern psychedelic wonder as sections of the Grateful Dead's original "Wall of Sound" convey the sonic energies of this next generation. A techno lighting feast will sew together sound and space, enabling you to spin, shake, flip out and throw it down!

All day passes are $20 at the door. The Victoria Hall is located at 33 West Victoria Street at Chapala Street in Santa Barbara. Here's a map.

Have a funky weekend!

Erik Koral
JamBase So-Cal Correspondent
Go See Live Music!!

[Published on: 5/15/01]

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