Reviews

Something about Fruition’s latest release makes me want to hop in the car with my friends and jam out with the windows down as we drive into the night. Released October 16, a two-track single featuring “For You” and “Stand With You” came at a time when the world needed it the most.

Becky Buller’s new album, “Distance and Time” scheduled to be released late October, captures my melancholy feelings surrounding the months of autumn. The season represents immense change, light versus darkness and according to Chinese tradition, sadness as well as courage. It’s not an easy time of year for me, but “Distance and Time” makes the pain a little less overwhelming.

Slightly Stoopid, one of southern California’s favorite Reggae infused party bands, brought a marathon jam to the Ventura Fairgrounds, Friday, October 9. The show was part of the Concerts in Your Car series, which brought a full season of shows to the outdoor venue. In addition to Slightly Stoopid, other highlights over the summer included Cypress Hill, Sublime, Snoop Dog, Tower of Power, Los Lobos, and Fitz and The Tantrums.

As we enter the seventh month of the COVID pandemic, the chance to attend live music is making a comeback, albeit sporadic and in ways we have never thought would be the new norm. These opportunities are being welcomed with open arms and ears and it seems that attendees are cherishing these tonal engagements to a greater degree because of their rarity, taking in what they can and not squandering the fleeting musical moment in exchange for inane conversation better served at home.

My body always takes the brunt of my feelings. (The aftermath of a significant loss caused my right eye to twitch uncontrollably. In meetings I was convinced colleagues were distracted by my Quasimodo-ish appearance. I also experienced immense hearing sensitivity. The water hitting the shower pan or hum of the refrigerator drilled painfully into my head.) I often forget I suffer from this strange sensitivity, until countless visits to specialists determine I am not plagued by something terrible, rather it’s merely a stress reaction.

Jerry’s Middle Finger and special guest Sunshine Becker (Furthur) tore up their first live audience performance in 235 days to a sold-out drive-in crowd of nearly 1,000 hungry fans amongst 200+ socially-distanced cars at the Solano County Fairgrounds on Saturday night.

I watch a lot of cable news. Way too much to be exact. ‘Bananas,’ ‘crazy pants,’ and ‘psycho’ are some of the descriptors used by broadcasters who can no longer conceal their bafflement or disgust when describing the current administration’s behaviors. America is completely out of control. It’s ‘Twilight Zone’ insanity. We cannot simply comment on the recklessness, contributing further to the lunacy. Our only option is to resist.

“All I need is music; I’m gonna make it through,” Jonny “Mojo” Flores sings on “Live on Wesley’s Road,” a massive, new live-performance project by northern California’s renowned song-and-jam-makers, Achilles Wheel. The three-CD package, which fiercely delivers the jamming juke-joint dance party vibe that the band gives off on the concert circuit, is a collective humdinger.

I am far from an “Ordinary Soul.” Life experiences have tainted me, quirky, dark humored, jaded and at times sassy verging on salty. (I’m proud of these characteristics. Who wants to be run of the mill?) After listening to Stephen “Mojo” Mougin’s 12-track album I can confidentiality state there is nothing ‘ordinary’ about his music. Its ‘soul’ is Americana at its finest with solid storytelling, clear vocals and instrumentals that range from rousing to consoling.

Live music continued on Saturday, August 29th, in Ventura, California, at the Concerts In Your Car, drive-in concert series. CBF Productions brought Fitz and the Tantrums with opening act ZZ Ward to the outdoor venue for a nearly sold out performance. Drive-in concerts have become one of the only ways for a band to perform live in front of an audience since COVID-19 changed life as we all knew it before. Locally, Concerts In Your Car has been producing shows at the Ventura Fairgrounds since June.

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