Back to Archives

April 26-May 2: Groundation, The Dirty Birds and others

Volcano critics tell you where to go

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Thursday, April 26

Janiva Magness [blues]

Big Mamma Thornton, Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith might have not received the attention their male counterparts did, but all were equally influential in bringing the blues out of the juke joints and into the mainstream.  In the late ‘60s, Janis Joplin proved that white girls get the blues too, and the flood gates opened. Soon artists such as Maria Muldaur and Marcia Ball were giving the blues a female makeover as well. 

With a similar vibe to Muldaur, Janiva Magness is another white female singer who sings the blues with as much conviction as Etta James.  The sultry brunette has a road-tested voice as she transitions from cookin’ with fire shuffles, Louisiana funk-jazz to soulful R&B. The three-time WC Handy Award nominee debuted strong with 1997’s It Takes One to Know One. Magness’ latest disc, 2006’s Do I Move You?, proves she still has a lot of mileage left as she mixes things up more than ever.  From Willie Dixon’s Chicago shuffle “Workin’ on Me Baby” and the Delbert McClinton soulful ballad, “You Were Never Mine” to the Delta inspired “Don’t Let Your Memories,” this 49-year-old grandmother still burns it up with the sexual vitality of a 22-year-old. — Tony Engelhart

[Jazzbones, 8 p.m., $15-$20, 2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.369.9169]

Friday, April 27

The Dirty Birds [rock]

Every time The Dirty Birds’ former drummer’s grandfather passed a strip joint, he would scream out the window, “You dirty birds!”  One ride with Grandpa and singer/sax man Jimmi Davies and guitarist Scott Swayze had a name for their mind-blowing mix of ’80s punk snarl and ’70s guitar rock.  Hell-raisers bassist Tim Brown and drummer Mike Trobman just make this band ridiculously good.  The addition of The All American Playboys and The Dry County Crooks secure McCoy’s Tavern as the must stop during Olympia’s Arts Walk.  It’s a freakin’ bottom feeder hoe-down! — Ron Swarner

[McCoy’s Tavern, Friday, April 27, 9 p.m., $3, 418 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, 360.352.0696]

Friday, April 27

Sugar Pie Desanto [blues]

Soul music always sounds best coming from a woman in my humble opinion.  Don’t get me wrong, I love James Brown and Curtis Mayfield, but singers such as Aretha Franklin and Mavis Staples send shivers down my spine.  While she started around the same time as Franklin, Sugar Pie DeSanto remained a diamond in the rough while at Chess Records in the early ‘60s. Though she is best known as a blues singer, her ventures into soul, R&B and jazz have made her a force to be reckoned with, as she can shift from one style to the next with ease. In 1959 she charted at number three with the classic song, “I Want to Know,” which lead to more than 20 gigs at the famed Apollo Theatre.  It was there she was spotted by James Brown, who slotted her as his opening act for two years.  While she never stopped working, she did stop recording until 1995’s Sugar is Salty, on which she penned 10 originals.  While her voice had grown a bit raspy, the energy was still as hot as coals, and she went on to record three more discs. At 72, DeSanto is just now getting her second wind. — TE

[Jazzbones, 9 p.m., $12-$15, 2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.396.9169]

Friday, April 27

Groundation [reggae]

One artist I would have especially loved to experience live is Bob Marley.  Although I didn’t discover the Rasta Man until the mid-‘80s with the ska-revival movement, he frickin’ blew my mind and sent me on a quest to find the origins of reggae. Groundation is an exciting band that takes fundamental reggae and adds sprinklings of jazz and dub for a newfangled take on the Jamaican born music.  Groundation  was formed in 1998 by three likeminded musicians, Marcus Urani, Ryan Newman, and Harrison Stafford, whose goal was to create a unique sound.  To bring their music to full fruition, they recruited a horn section from the Bay area, trumpeter David Chachere, trombonist Kelsey Howard and saxophonist Jason Robinson. With all members in place, the group emerged from the studio in 2001 with Each One Teach One, which featured legendary Nyabinghi percussionist Ras Michael and daughter of the late Joe Higgs, Marcia Higgs, on backing vocals. With steady grooves at 72 beats per minute and Stafford’s coarse vocals and messages of peace, love and redemption, the record sounded as authentic as anything Jimmy Cliff every laid down. The disc also confounded listeners and critics who found it hard to believe the musicians in Groundation were white boys from northern California. — TE

[The Vault, 7 p.m. (all ages) and 11 p.m. (21+), $10-$15, 425 E. Franklin, Olympia, 360.357.4721]

Saturday, April 28

Mistress and the Misters [rock]

Perhaps the best show this week that you haven’t heard about yet — not because you’re out of the loop, but because Olympia is secretive sometimes — is the Mistress and the Misters show going off at Le Voyeur on Saturday, April 28.

There’s nothing shocking or out of the ordinary about Mistress and the Misters (Matm), but that’s not to say this Spokane band can’t easily get a whole room of sweaty hipsters to break into frantic convulsions of rock ‘n’ groove. They most certainly can. Matm is rough, but rough in all the right places — and they wield a nasty right hook of ADHD garage riffs.

Mistress and the Misters, Saturday at Le Voyeur.

Now you know. — Matt Driscoll

[Le Voyeur, with Boom Chicken and The Beautiful Boys, 10 p.m., no cover, 404 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, 360.943.5710]

comments powered by Disqus