Thursday, December 14, 2000
Earlier this week, owners of the Long Bar suddenly shut its doors. On the one hand, it was sudden and unexpected; on the other, a revamp had been scheduled for sometime after Christmas. So it''s like a boxing match: You know you''re going to get hit, but a cheap shot in the kidneys is never expected...or pleasant.
Long Bar owner Sean Croce has seen his fair share of changes in the scene and is hoping to hop back into it in two or three months. When he does, it''ll be with a new club, a new name...and hopefully a whole new wad of customers. Sean Croce, John Cardinalli, and Santo Davi bought the Long Bar from previous owner Nick Manzo two years ago. Along with Doc''s Nightclub the Long Bar was to become the second-head of their live entertainment empire.
Like Rome it crumbled slowly.
Doc''s Nightclub shut its doors on June 5 of last year, but the new owners promised a continuation of live sound at the Long Bar. They even lugged a whole bunch of expensive new sound equipment (that had recently been installed at Doc''s) over to the Long Bar venue. As it turned out, the live music was mostly limited to weekday nights, with weekends reserved for DJs.
Nobody''s willing to make new promises about what the future holds for the Long Bar, although Croce says he''s planning to make the Long Bar an all-live venue. But plans can change. All we know for sure is that there will be a gigantic black hole left to fill--for both the bands that played Long Bar and the people who enjoyed them.
Businesses throughout Monterey, even apart from the music scene, have been in a steady state of metamorphosis for quite some time. Restaurants, furniture stores--you name it, are consistently changing names and/or owners. It takes a quick and cunning mind to stay on top of things.
Brooke Lewis, the former owner of McGarrett''s (now Club Octane) for example, stepped back a few years ago; took a look at the global scene and introduced electronica to the area at exactly the right moment. Then, when the cards were in his favor, he sold the club, capping years of good business decisions.
What once was the Long Bar is likely to become another fond memory, like Doc''s is to many. How it will develop is still anyone''s guess. Hopefully, for the sake of this music scene, it''ll become a great live-music venue.
In the short term, there are some last-minute scheduling gaps to plug. Laura Allen, originally scheduled for the Long Bar, is now appearing around the corner and down the street at Viva Monterey.
Hip Hop Folk
Allen is a native of the Bay area, first heard on David Crosby''s (of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) "Traction in the Rain" when she was 14 years old. Crosby helped her get a record deal a few years later and has since been a sort of mentor to her music. Allen''s music, however, barely reflects the folk orientation of her past and her new record, Telegraph, released on her own label, Skyline Entertainment, is smothered in hip-hop and R&B percussion. Fans of the most recent Paula Cole albumn, Amen, would find a suitable and original companion in Allen''s music. The folk influence is still present in the words and some of the arrangements of songs like the title track which includes a violin well mixed over a hip-hop beat section. Laura Allen plays Viva tonight--no cover. I would suggest checking her out if you are into more "mature" forms of music.
Laura Allen, Viva Monterey, tonight, 9pm. No cover, 646-1415.
Ray Askew has broadened the musical spectrum at Ocean Thunder recently. Askew has opened up Thursday nights for local bands of many variant styles (including an Infrareds show last week which I regretfully missed). The decision to hand over one night to young local bands is a breath of fresh air for Lighthouse Avenue. Tonight, fast trash-rock group Pistolera will perform along with arguably the best new original group in Monterey, The Darktown Rounders. Adam Roach and the crew have focused on roots-oriented ragtime-country and struck a chord with anyone who hears them. Their music reflects everything from old Bob Wills to the neo-rag Asylum Street Spankers. On top of this, like a large tequila-dipped cherry, you can easily dance along to the music and the mood is one of that desperate unity found in a crowd of redneck-romantics. Did I mention it''s free?
Darktown Rounders & Pistolera, Ocean Thunder, tonight, 9pm. No cover, 643-9169.
I promise to quit writing about Red Light Nightmare after this and give you a break but their multiple shows this week are too interesting to ignore. Tomorrow night, the power-rage group is going to play Blue Fin. Imagine a place like Blue Fin, so calm and well lit, with tourists playing pool and hitting on conference attendees. Such an innocent place--until the loudest band in the world strikes up and crazy, balding singer Lance Thompson, the one with the wild-eyes, not exactly sings...but screams into the mic. It will be a sight to see. The question is not whether Red Light Nightmare is ready for Blue Fin, but whether Blue Fin can live through a Red Light Nightmare set.
Red Light Nightmare will also play with the Darktown Rounders at Viva this Wednesday. The show should be rich in ambience--like the national anthem of Denmark, "Land of church bells and war." So, effectively, Viva will be transformed into Denmark right? Both shows are free; suggested wear includes a helmet and some Birkenstocks.
Red Light Nightmare, Blue Fin, Friday, 9pm. No cover, 375-7000.
Red Light Nightmare and The Darktown Rounders, Viva, Wednesday, 9pm. No cover, 646-1415.
Rusty Zinn comes out of the Santa Cruz music scene by way of San Francisco, ripping and riffing a head-spinning blend of Chicago and California style blues. He''s just released a new album titled Chill, that''s making believers out of critics and other listeners. Zinn was nominated for a WC Handy award for his guitar work in 1996, and he spent a stint with Kim Wilson and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. This show is billed as a CD-release party, so be prepared to dance, dance, dance. And shake your booty, too.
Rusty Zinn, Saturday, 9pm. Sly McFly''s, 649-8050.
And don''t forget the regular offerings--like dancing and half-naked people at Club Octane, local open-mic night at Juice & Java tomorrow. Until then, I will be Christmas shopping at Nu Art, and wishing you all the very best.