Oakland Venue Crawl

October 7, 2015  |  Featured

Last Saturday Oct 3rd, I tried to go to as many venues in Oakland as I could in one night.  Of course, if you include every venue, art gallery, DIY space, and house show in town, that’s gonna be one long night.  So I kept it to Awaken Cafe, The Golden Bull, Cafe Van Kleef (rest in peace Peter), Woods, The Legionnaire, The Stork Club, The Night Light, and the Oakland Metro.  Mostly within walking distance, you could definitely do this yourself on some future weekend!  By no means exhaustive, I did get a good cross section of the music going on around the Bay.

I started at Awaken Cafe, and caught the first band Parlor Tricks around 8pm.  A self styled industrial ragtime band, they pulled you back to early rock and roll with aplomb.  I spoke with singer Melina, and she mentioned that they often do a lot of covers, and it was one of their first sets doing mostly original stuff.

After them, I moseyed on over to The Golden Bull to check out Bitch Fest, a metal benefit for Bay Area Young Survivors (e.g. young women in the Bay Area who are living with breast cancer).  They were between bands though, so I hopped over to Cafe Van Kleef, only to find the same situation. Then I passed by Woods, Legionnaire, and the Stork Club, all of whom said that music would start at 9:30pm.  I killed some time downing a beer and listening to the downstairs dj at The Legionnaire, a staple spot when looking for free, rad music (check out Motown on Mondays at 9pm!).

When I got there Triptonikhan was spinning.  I don’t pretend to be an expert, but it was a good vibe, and it seemed like his approach was really playful and adventurous.  Tasty drops for sure.  It was fun, and I chatted with the sound woman Valerie for a while about her groups AJA Vision and Between Youth.  I’ve played there with various bands, and she always makes it sound great.

I checked in again at The Stork Club, but they were between bands again, so I headed back down Telegraph.  Van Kleef’s had a killer funk jazz band going, and their shows are always *free*, so of course I popped in!  The band was called The M-Tet, and they rocked my world with their super talented players with serious chops. They of course brought down the house, as only can be done at Van Kleef’s, and the band has got some new stuff coming out on vinyl soon, so take a listen and then go catch a show sometime.

Woods Bar & Brewery usually has a jazz combo on Saturday nights, so when I backtracked I was happy to see them up in the loft.  If you’re ever just inside and you hear jazz start up, you could mistake it for an old album.  They’re usually leaning into some energetic post-bop, and they’re killer players.  I don’t actually know anything about them, and I kind of like it that way, but I’d also like to support them.  Who are you???

It was about 10:45 when I left Woods, and it looked like The Fox had just let out, because the streets were packed.  I went back to Awaken, but the last band had just finished, so I went on down to The Golden Bull.

Kinnefret was playing, a melodic death trash metal band.  They rocked, and they rocked hard.  I spoke with drummer Aryan Pakkhoo afterwards, and he talked about trying to make every show intimate and unique.  The Golden Bull is perfect for that, with it’s low stage and killer sound.  Kinnefret is crazy versatile, with lead vocals from Chelsea Rocha, backup vocals and lead guitar from Artak Ozan, and bass comin’ from Arses Ariamanesh.  Definitely a great way to support an amazing cause, and so kudos to the bands, organizers, and venue for Bitch Fest!

After that I got hungry, and so of course, went down to the Home of Chicken and Waffles.

The Night Light is another place with awesome music both downstairs and upstairs.  When I made it up to the venue, it was a fuckin hurricane of noise.  Not LIKE a hurricane, but a serious ass, in your face hurricane.  Cost/Worth was playing, an electronic noise duo that I can’t find much info about.  It was intense, and coming in the middle of it I don’t think I got the full experience.  For me, music like that is all about the subtle gestures, the textural evolution over time, and so I definitely wish I had gotten there sooner! But definitely a venue worth staying tuned to their calendar as they support rad music across genres. All towns need a spot where they can walk into a hurricane of noise and feel at home!

At this point, it was about 12:30am, and I got to the Oakland Metro just in time to miss Portland Oregon’s Toxic Holocaust.  For those keeping score, that means I missed The Stork Club show and the Oakland Metro show.  I’ll get it next time, but man does it really takes some strategy, so go into YOUR music crawl prepared for who you do NOT want to miss.  All in all I was pretty stoked though. I got to see folk, funk, jazz, electronica, metal, and noise all in one night, and that was just the tip of the iceberg for Oakland. What will your music crawl look like? We’d love to know. Contact us with your guide to Oakland music at s2@oaktownindiemayhem.com

– Michael Bang

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