North Bay Bands Go Online for Weekend of Virtual Concerts

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North Bay star Buzzy Martin kicks off the weekend with a Friday evening web concert on HopMonk's Facebook page.

It’s Friday, and that usually means dozens of live events in the North Bay—especially concerts—are gearing up to rock audiences in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties.

Of course, things are not usual right now, and while venues across the region remain closed and Covid-19 cases continue to mount, the best way to get that earful of local talent you’ve been craving is to go online with these live-streaming shows coming up May 29–31.

HopMonk Tavern’s three locations in Sebastopol, Sonoma and Novato usually host weekly concerts featuring local and touring stars. Yet, the Covid-19 sheltering has kept all three stages empty since mid-March. So for the last month, the folks at HopMonk have made do—in the absence of live events—with the online concert series, “In the Meantime.”

This weekend, the “In the Meantime” series packs in several virtual shows, beginning with a set by longtime North Bay–musician Buzzy Martin tonight, May 29, at 6pm. Martin’s beloved brand of “Baby Boomer Rock ’n’ Roll” has won him fans and friends around the country, and he has performed with members of the Doobie Brothers, Pablo Cruise, Journey, Santana, Les Claypool of Primus and Huey Lewis and the News. Martin is also known for his offstage acts of selfless citizenship—such as teaching music programs to at-risk youth in juvenile halls and inmates at San Quentin Prison—which have earned him official civic recognition.

Tomorrow, May 30, HopMonk presents a virtual concert at 4:30pm with Evan Fraser and Vir McCoy, accomplished multi-instrumentalists who have been recording and performing music together in bands like Dogon Lights, Dirtwire and others over the last 20 years.

On Sunday, May 31, HopMonk gives the virtual floor to North Bay singer-songwriter Stella Heath. Before the stay-at-home orders went into effect in March, Heath was one of the busiest musicians in the region, averaging four gigs a week with her bands the Billie Holiday Project, Bandjango Collectif and others.

Since the sheltering, Heath has remained busy, only this time online. In addition to her Sunday afternoon set for the “In the Meantime” series, Heath can be heard singing with Bandjango Collectif bandmate Skyler Stover on Saturday, May 30, with Spicy Vines Winery’s live streaming show at 6pm. The two will perform stripped-down versions of their band’s blended jazz-and-folk tunes for that Saturday evening stream.

Also on Saturday, the second episode of Living Room Live, the free online venture from the organizers of Rivertown Revival and Friends of the Petaluma River, continues to present all of the best parts of the canceled Rivertown Revival. Starting at 7pm on May 30, the streaming showcase, hosted by musician and music promoter Josh Windmiller, will feature performances by the purveyors of San Francisco soul Royal Jelly Jive, world music masters La Gente SF, the original North Bay bad boy Frankie Boots and Petaluma singer-songwriter Hannah Jern-Miller.

Finally, several North Bay stars come together this Sunday, May 31, at 11am, for the latest installment of UnderCovered, a concert series hosted by newly formed artist initiative Social Distance Live. The UnderCovered series so far has featured local musicians performing covers of their favorite songs by groups such as the Velvet Underground and artists such as Bob Dylan (specifically Dylan’s work from 1979–1989).

This weekend, UnderCovered sets its sights on the songs of Joni Mitchell, and scheduled artists include Alison Harris performing “Come in Out of the Cold,” Dawn Angelosante performing “River” and Gowdey Caitlin and Jeremy Lyon teaming up on the song “California.”

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