Born and raised in Oakland, musician and songwriter Danny James has always gone about making old-school music that pushes modern-day boundaries. From his proto-punk origins to his current ’70s-inspired glam-rock project, James’ voice has stood out in the crowded Bay Area scene for his explosive musical presence and energetic arrangement of psychedelic-pop pastiches.
James first turned heads locally in the late 1990s as the singer, songwriter and keyboardist for the garage punk band The Cuts. Through a string of well-received albums, The Cuts denounced the bland sheen of the era’s pretentious pop-punk and dialed the clock back to the heyday of acts like the Stooges, erupting onstage with hard-worn angst while edging towards New Wave electronic flourishes.
After The Cuts disbanded in 2006, James spent several years looking to re-invent his sound, and found an R&B and funk aesthetic inspired by Bay Area icons like Sly & the Family Stone. At first, the new project was called Danny James & PEAR, though in 2013, James dropped the fruit from his moniker and titled his debut album PEAR when it was released as a cassette by Burger Records. Recently reissued, PEAR is an epically brazen master class in the last 50 years of rock ’n’ roll. Some songs soar with psyche-rock acidity, others strut with synthesized electro-pop wizardry and still other tracks seem to spin like a disco ball.
This week, the ambitious elements will be on display when James performs with his band, featuring members of Oakland’s Once & Future Band, in Point Reyes Station. The show also features songwriter Danny Vitali, along with the talented DJ Sam Swig, who will be spinning vinyl. A percentage of the door sales goes to West Marin community radio station KWMR.
Danny James, Saturday, Feb. 17, Old Western Saloon, 11202 Hwy. 1, Point Reyes Station; 9pm; $15; 21 and over; 415/663-1661.