By February 1, 2012 0 Comments Read More →

Any Romantics in the House?

Jazz & BluesView By Eric Benson Any romantics in the house? Tis the season for pink, chocolates, flowers and Valentine’s Day. If you happen to be male you might find yourself standing with numerous other men the day of looking for the perfect card that will jump out at you that will communicate your most inner thoughts for your significant other via Hallmark. No pressure fellas but plenty to do on this annual date night. Mrs. Grace Lieberman is doing a showcase of vocalists with a romantic theme at Beth Shalom Feb. 12th, Check out: TheValley Rhythm Section lead by Earl Evans is doing a Valentine’s dance show at the Clarion with hotel package if you can’t find your car at the end of the night. Call Larry at 521-1612, ext 523 to hook you up. And for the teenagers in the house Modesto Sound will put on a Valentine’s concert Saturday Feb. 11th at Deva Cafe with live music by MAMA winners House of Orange, Tyler Platt, and more. Cover charge 5 dollars but no one turned away for lack of funds. One the scene: theState Theatre continued to rock the house in January with Mark Hummel’s harmonica blow out, and guitar slinger Eric Johnson. On to Ronnie Montrose kicking out the jam on Feb. 4th, Heartbreaker, a Led Tribute Feb. 18th, and then some 80’s rockers, the Motels coming March 9.. Call the State (209) 527-4697, or check out for the lowdown on upcoming shows.

The bands play on at the Barkin’ Dog Grill supporting live music in an all-age environment. The food is good in a casual setting and the mighty John Black of JB Presents continues to bring in the MOFO Party Band for a CD release party on Feb. 17th. The band plays some greasy down-home Blues with powerful vocals and musicianship that get a room going. The Barkin’ Dog also has a Jazz Jam with David Dow on Thursdays where musicians can sit in and network. Save the date for Tresetti’s Fat Tuesday Party Feb. 24th, a street party withFlying Blind, Autumn’s Garden, and other bands TBA. So come out for some music, New Orleans food, and some beads.

More music on the local scene. Fuzio’s in the Downtown has our own folk diva Rachel Renae on Thursdays. Chef’s of New York features singing great Cathy Canales onSaturdays. Village Baking Company is now featuring local music on Fridays and Sundays with special Saturday night shows. Deva Café Thursday Night Ramble continues with guitar slinger Eli Lester now playing with the house band Big Earl & Poorhouse Millionaires and weekly special guests and webcast on If you get outonly one Thursday make sure it’s the Third Thursdays Art Walk in the Downtown cause ever in the chill of winter there is a lot of events happening that night. The Boardroom continues an ambitious schedule of live music 4 nights a week. Tim Allen does his piano and vocal thing with some Elton and Joel covers as well as the standards on Tuesdays. Thursdays feature Neil Beuttner and Matt Harrington, Friday’s dynamic duo Johnny & Kelly, and Saturdays rotate with: MCW Band, Strange Brew, The Nines, & Public Domain. Dress code weekends so call so you don’t offend, (209) 409-8665 for details.

Off the beaten path: the Clarion Hotel & Shooters on Sisk road have open mike Mondays, Wednesdays with the Creole Jazz Kings and every third Sunday feature trad-Jazz jammers with host bands for listening and dancing. Special event on Sunday Feb. 19th Modesto Tradition Jazz Society features Tom Rigney and Flambeau from 12:00 to 5:00 PM for some Cajun music and dancing.

The West Side Theatre in Newman, well worth the drive from Modesto, continues with an eclectic lineup in a restored theatre environment. On the calendar for tribute madness sale: in Feb. 25th Aja Vu, (Steely Dan Tribute). For more info check out:, or call (209) 862-4490.

And I know I am preaching to the choir but please support our local music stores: Skip’s Music, Barker’s Music, Ingram & Braun, Gottschalk, and Langlois Music so they stay in business. Think globally but shop locally. Any co-conspirators or partners in crime want to get in touch I am on Facebook. I also encourage all of you tosend me your info and I will send it out on weekly emails and in the ModestoView. Hit me at:, or give me a holler at (209) 918-7033.

All the best, Eric Benson, peace out.



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