Thursday, April 8, 2010
Broken pieces from a shimmering disco ball, an intertwined conglomeration of Kermit-the-Frog puppets, opaque plastic bubbles, see-through granny negligees: Lady Gaga continues to astonish the millions of eyes that watch her innovative, makeshift outfits as if they breathed lives of their own.
That being said, one of this year’s unexpected highlights of Good Old Days is the Lady Gaga look-alike contest (Sunday at 3:30pm, Lighthouse Cinema, 525 Lighthouse Ave.).
But the backbone of this endlessly faceted event (see special insert) is still live music. This year’s two-day festival features more than 30 bands, many of which, in the spirit of Lady Gaga, have a penchant for dressing in threads that can also turn heads.
Jimi Hendrix has definitely gone down as one of the most memorable fashion icons of the ’60s, clad with skin-tight, package-revealing gear, with a psychedelic edge. And Groovy Judy (Saturday at 2:15pm, 17th Street Grill Stage) – a female incarnation of the guitar god – honors the Hendrix tip, always dressing in some kind of peace-sign-filled costume, and usually sporting a matching Mad Hatter hat towering more than a foot high. On Judy’s new self-titled album she even has a song titled, “Jimi’s Sister.” The tune borrows several popular Hendrix riffs to create a love letter to someone Judy calls her “biggest musical mentor.”
“If Jimi had a sister, I know she’d be like me,” she sings. But, the hippie theme doesn’t end with Hendrix; on “Peace & Love” Judy spouts positivity like, “When your heart and soul is true, peace and love, they will come to you,” with a voice that resonates like Grace Slick.
In contrast to Judy’s loud getup, Jenny Kerr (Saturday at 2:30pm, Bank of America Stage) wears all black, Johnny Cash-style attire, a cowboy hat, and sings the blues with raw emotion. The singer-songwriter grew up in San Francisco and says she was heavily influenced by the city’s sound of the ’60s. But Kerr takes that early psychedelic sound back to its country and blues roots. On her acclaimed Extra Strength, she molds an album out of heavy soul, Delta blues and a lot of swampy bluegrass. The multi-talented musician plays just about every instrument, including guitar, banjo, harmonica, piano and dobro. “Devil Song” is a musty, harmonica-laden journey through the Deep South, and Kerr’s voice has a likeness to Bonnie Raitt. On the lingering ballad “If I Had Wings,” Kerr’s voice meanders through valleys filled with the echoes of a fiddle and a haunting pedal steel. Kerr rounds out the record with a sweet cover of Bobbie Gentry’s “Mississippi Delta.” Last November, Kerr’s song “Clear A Path” was featured on the PBS series, Road Trip Nation.
Mozzo Kush (Sunday at 2:15pm, Chautauqua Hall) dress in the ordinary clothes of Pacific Grove High students. During the intro of a recent performance at Canterbury Woods, Mozzo opened with a freeform acid fusion of wailing guitar and clashing percussion. The young quartet already has a surprisingly big number of original tunes under its belt: The prog-rock instrumental “Gargoyles Last Flight” sounds like a hybrid of early Genesis and late Pink Floyd. Mozzo also play a rocking cover of the Black Keys’ “Strange Times” and a riveting version of Juan Tizol’s jazz odyssey, “Caravan.” The teenage outfit may not come close to winning the Lady Gaga look-alike contest, but they’ll definitely fit in with the most seasoned of musicians at Good Old Days.