SANTA CRUZ HEMP ALLSTARS

Yet another weekend of great music in Santa Cruz wrapped up Sunday with a concert billed as the Santa Cruz Hemp Allstars. The annual Hemp Expo was in town for the weekend and the fine folks at Palookaville organized this last minute event to celebrate two great things that Santa Cruz is known for, hemp and music! What transpired on the stage was nothing less than spectacular.

The jamband scene in Santa Cruz has recently expanded with both The Disco Biscuits and Sound Tribe Sector 9 moving into the area. This event could be seen as the baptism of the newly enhanced music scene, combining some of the established players and some of the new guys in town. The allstar lineup was:

  • Jason Concepcion (Netwerk:Electric) - guitar & effects
  • John Whooley (Estradasphere) - soprano, tenor and baritone sax, vocals, throat singing, didgeridoo, and conga
  • Aron Magner (The Disco Buiscits) - keys
  • David Murphy (STS9) - bass
  • Jeffree Lerner (STS9) - percussion & effects
  • Zach Velmer (STS9) - drums

The only rehearsal these guys had was the soundcheck before the show (which I heard was sick), but you sure couldn't tell it on stage. They tore it up in a big way! Both sets were for the most part without song breaks and very long on jams. Each musician got a chance to shine on their own but many of the jams were very much group excercises. The music ranged from James Brown style raw funk to speed trance to deep space noise to middle eastern jazz. The only "song" I remember was an amazing spontaneous version of Bob Marley's "War/No More Trouble" with Jason Concepcion taking the lead melody. Everyone on stage was having a blast and the crowd in the halfway filled Palookaville was treated to a serious groove fest!

I think it is safe to say that the melding of these four bands went quite well and that Santa Cruz is in for some great local music this year. Let's just hope the tapes turned out OK because this is a show everyone should hear! It is quite likely that this will happen again, perhaps with a different configuration, in the not so distant future. There was talk backstage of renting out the Rio Theater here in Santa Cruz and doing it again very soon.

Just another weekend in paradise....

Brian Feller
Santa Cruz Correspondant
Go See Live Music!

Sound Tribe Sector 9 is touring the midwest over the next week or so. The run begins on Friday, May 18 at the Canopy Club in Urbana, IL. Find out where else you can catch the Tribe in the Midwest next week!

[Published on: 5/17/01]

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