Angwin, CA (near St. Helena, Napa, CA, in case you didn’t
know) BSSB: Love Yo Mama
On Sunday, world-renowned and award-winning and
children’s eco band, Banana Slugs String Band, played a benefit for St. Helena
Cooperative Nursery School on a mountain top in Napa. SHCONS is a parent-run, not-for-profit
preschool in St. Helena that believes children learn by play. Plenty of parents in tie-dye telling their
kids to share the organic pretzels. Even
though The Wiggles and the Fresh Beat might get all the children's rock press, really the Banana
Slugs was the perfect band for the occasion and obliged by playing all their
greatest hits including: “I am a Tree” and “Dirt made my lunch.” OK, technically it was only two members of
the Slugs but it was like Mick and Keith, John and Paul or Robert and Jimmy. You know, the good two. And even though the rest of the band were
taking a breather, the BSSB still included their infamous giant dancing starfish. Although BS has been around for some time,
there’s always a child somewhere learning about the beauty of the natural world
and who is ready to dance like an animal or pretend to be a tree or a moose. The slugs also included a medley of Dancing In the Streets and Will it Go Round in Circles which had just about the entire crowd on their little feet. And the setting for the concert was idyllic:
in the middle of a vineyard. I may not seek out the Slugs on a regular basis but if you want to instill some respect for Mama Nature in your youngin's, not a bad place to start.
Junip is a mostly, if not entirely, Swedish outfit that plays melancholy
folk/rock/psychedelia. The sound is
fairly unique though the songs tend to blend together and their flat studio
efforts don’t quite capture the energy and musicianship of their live
performance. At Bimbo’s on Saturday
night, they frequently sounded like an American jam band riding the groove
which was all good fun and a bit of a surprise. The only real problem
was the late starting time. After a couple of blah opening acts that haven’t
quite found their voice, and after a long, extra warm day in the Bay Area and a
filling, but tasty, meal at Panta Rei in North Beach, my compatriots and I were not particularly inclined to party late into the evening, even on a Saturday.
So, we left mid-set. Still, Junip
is another Swedish group to watch, if for no other reason, because of bandleader
Jose Gonzales’ entrancing songwriting.
(He is also famed for ‘Heartbeats,’ the track to one of the best TV ads featuring SF). Jose has a rather plaintive delivery
that can sound both intimate and like he’s singing from some distance away but
is certainly one of a kind. Hopefully, their next studio effort will better capture the live sound. Also worth noting, the
show was my first visit back to Bimbo’s in quite a few years, it is one of the
lesser known jewels of SF venues that I’d like to frequent much, much more often.