Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ani DiFranco at The Uptown

After nearly ten years of empty marquee promises, I finally stood in ,line at the Uptown Theater in Napa comp tickets in hand (courtesy of R. Freedman at The Vallejo Times Herald). This was a monumental occasion for me. I reminisced with longtime Napkins about having seen a movie or two back in the day when it was a really good deal if you didn't mind being poked in the rear by a cushion spring. Ah, the days of our misspent youth. Even George Altamura was there and he, himself has been quoted to have frequented The Uptown when he was young (back when they allowed smoking in the theater). Of course, he had the main influence on the restoration of The Uptown Theater and I am guessing it now looks a lot like the original. Many people have been working hard to make sure of that. Now to Ani...

I hadn't seen Ani in years. Not that we are BFFs or anything but I have seen her perform live a handful of times and even saw her documentary not too long ago. She always stays fresh in my mind. Tonight, it was just her and a her bass player, Todd Sickafoose. God bless em'. They really carried the show. She always has a lot of energy and he really complimented her style well. Playing an upright bass no less. Ani is now a mommy and she talked about that a bit. It must be life transforming. She is balancing her new role as a mom while still rocking!

The opening act was a couple of locals from Oakland and San Francisco, respectively.
They had a really great vibe. I was excited to see and hear how so few performers could create such a wonderfully fulfilling sound.

Luckily, I was seated in front of fellow musician, Charles Hersey (or Charlie as I know him) and friend which just added to the already warm, home-townie feel I was getting from being at the Uptown Theater in general. I really cannot believe something so great is so close! I think it is filling in a lot of the music gap from Konocti being gone. I really think there is room enough for many music venues in the area. It's as it should be....

My husband, Aaron and bass player, Dave also enjoyed the show and was happy to be there. They are both huge Ani fans as well and to cap off the evening, my cousin, Chynna was there and gave us a big hug out of the blue! She lives in Fairfield and is also a big fan of Ani's. All together, it was a fabulous night!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dixon Farmer's Market

When I arrived at the "Women's Improvement Park" in downtown Dixon, it was after I stopped at a gas station to ask directions to the "Women's Empowerment Park". Even though I had the name totally wrong, I was close... The attendant literally had no idea what I was talking about until I said "Farmer's Market". Then he knew what I was talking about. That was good, at least people know where to get their veggies.

I decided on a bigger amp this time which carries better in an open space that lets sound fly anywhere it wants. I aimed myself at a nice little family-run crepes tent but they didn't seem to mind. They fed me a half-price veggie crepe with feta and green olives. It was probably the best crepe I've ever had in my life. The guy actually "studied" crepes in France.

Because a nearby train passed through from time to time at the park, I thought that would really bring to life Johnny Cash's "Folsom Blues" which starts with the line "I hear that train a comin', it's rolling around the bend".." It brought another sensory element to moment and it really is the little things in life that makes this girl happy :)

Last time I was there, I met a couple of nice kids who helped me out a little by carrying stuff and I gave them a couple cd's. This time, they were there with about 10 others and they all looked very bored. I took a break and walked away for a second and out of nowhere, one of them takes to the microphone and starts beat boxing! And then another kid grabs the mike from him and starts shouting out to his friends. Of course I had to shut that down because they were horrible and just before I started playing again, another kid asked if he could beat box, too. Now I have been in charge of many open mikes in my time and I know how the natives could get restless for self-expression but this wasn't one of them. Plus, I told them if their friends hadn't of already done so without asking first I may have allowed them to. Maybe next time they will become more chaos control.

Anyway, as soon as the wind died down, the weather was warm and perfect. Some people were setting up movie night on a big screen and their speakers eventually took over the park which was fine by me. Four hours is a lot of time to fill with sound.

All in all, there was face painting, a spider man jumpy for the kids and lots of good food. A great place to be!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Castro, SF

Yesterday, I made it over to The Castro Farmer's Market in San Francisco where I played music for almost 4 hours. I watched the dense fog flow by overhead and even felt a sprinkle on the 2nd day of Summer 2010. I had slight technical difficulties setting up with my new battery-powered amp that puts out just enough amps to make me really work for it. A nice passerby came over and started helping me set up, calling me by my first name and telling me about his day. He runs a music day camp for children and this year he received a grant to help him. I love hearing stories like this and was grateful for his help. Even though I may go somewhere without knowing anyone, someone always manages to make me feel right at home. So thank you.

The Castro folks were pretty nice as they trickled through on their way to their destinations. I even sold a CD and made a few extra bucks. I have hung out there before with an old friend who use to live down the street. I love the wide diversity in fashion. From pink boas and chaps to a vibrantly colored suit made of small rubber bands, it was an exotic visual feast for the eyes.

I played my usual set of songs and the face painter next to me played peek-a-boo with two small boys who were obviously twins. One had a fully painted tiger face and the other was all natural. The children squealed with joy as the happy-go-lucky face painter in a tecni-colored, candy-stripped suit with balloons attached to her crocks acted surprised every time she heard the little lion "roar". They played this game for a good thirty minutes. They were extremely loud but I didn't mind the entertainment. Many people couldn't keep their eyes off of their little game, it added to the fun of the market. I imagined her having her own television show because she was so good with children. She even cheered for me after almost every song "Yay Amber!!" and had the children chime in with her. It was very cold and my nose was running...I really appreciated her enthusiasm.

After a cup of hot green, Jasmin tea and a hooded jacket, I was able to last through until the end feeling myself desperately wanting a warm environment. One of the vendors shouted "closing special, five dollar ravioli"!. That sounded like music to my ears so I dipped into my tip bucket and bought dinner. Butternut squash ravioli with a bit of pesto sauce. Now that's good living! Thank you SF :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Music News

Hello Friends,

I just wanted to let you know about a few upcoming shows I have on my calendar this week as a solo performer.

Weds., June 23rd - Castro Farmers Market, @ Noe at Market St, San Francisco, CA - 4-8p - no cover
Abloom with fresh fruits and vegetables,open every Weds., the farmers' market is open rain or shine.

Thursday, June 24th - the Women's Improvement Park, North 1st at East C Street in downtown Dixon, CA - 4-8p - no cover
The farmers' market is the best place for fresh, locally-grown fruits, vegetables, greens and nuts, PLUS, plenty of great family fun every Thursday evening. The farmers' market is open rain or shine.

Saturday, June 26th - The National Anthem @ Justin Sienna High School Stadium for Napa/Vintage Alumni Football Game 'Big Game.' See some of the stars from the past on the field one more time. Game starts at 7 p.m. at Dodd Stadium on the Justin-Siena football field. For more information:
Justin-Siena High School, 4026 Maher St., Napa,CA 94558

Saturday, June 26th - Please join me at Tuscany Restaurant, 1005 1st St, Napa, CA, 8:30-11:30pm
Located downtown in the heart of Napa, the food and ambiance is wonderful there!

I hope to see you soon and thank you so much for your support!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Recent Shows

What a strange and wonderful few weeks it has been! First we played at the Black Cat Bar and Grill in Penngrove to a few close friends and staff joined by our friend "BOXX". Then last week we had a great experience playing as a band at The Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, CA. The patrons and staff were very friendly and the sound guy, Jonathon was great. We made a lot of new friends there :) It was packed full of people partly due to the street festival happening there downtown right before we went on and partly because it is just a happening spot. I've never seen so many people walking around downtown before. The weather was perfect and there must have been 300+ people there wandering in and out, sitting at tables, the bar or dancing. So, young man at the Dixon Farmer's Market I performed at the week before, to answer the question you asked (is my band famous?), and according to your definition of famous as being known by at least 150 people, yes, The Amber Snider Band is quite famous :) I was told we were even mentioned on the local radio station, KRSH in Santa Rosa which never hurts. We played at The Last Day Saloon in Santa Rosa a couple days later and had less of a crowd though we didn't mind too terribly because we were very happy to be playing there and hope to be back soon. We met some of Ram's friends that he has known for years; which was nice. They stayed for the whole show :) The next morning, I went to Vacaville to perform at the Farmer's market from 9a-noon. It was very warm and windy and reminded me of violent bathwater. I had to make sure that when I opened my mouth while singing, nothing flew in there on account of how windy it was. I barely had a voice that morning because I was so tired from singing at the top of my lungs the night before in Santa Rosa but I made it through. Thank you to everyone who threw a lit bit of change into my bucket, you bought me some fresh produce :) Later that Saturday night, Aaron and I went to San Francisco and played a benefit show for Rocket Dog Animal Rescue at El Rio. We opened for a singer-songwriter named Deborah Crooks and her band was very good. You can check out the video of that night below (I didn't turn my camera on when Aaron and I were playing though I could've sworn I did - oh poop). I also have some video from the Last Day Saloon, Silo's and The Black Cat to post. More soon....

Monday, June 07, 2010

Music News

Hello Friends,

I just wanted to let you know about a few upcoming shows on the calendar for this week for The Amber Snider Band.

Weds., June 9th - Russian River Brewing Company, 725 4th Street, Santa Rosa, CA - 8:30-10:30p - no cover

Friday, June 11th - The Last Day Saloon, 120 Fifth St., Santa Rosa, CA - 8:30-10:30p - no cover

Saturday, June 12th - El Rio, 3158 Mission St (@Cesar Chavez), San Francisco, CA - $10-$20 A benefit for Rocket DOG- Rocket Dog Rescue is a San Francisco Bay Area dog rescue organization (Mr & Mrs Snider performing without the full band) along with singer/songwriter Deborah Crooks

These are great venues and we hope you can make it!

Thank you so much for your support!