Around 2012, I discovered a weirdo (but accessible) local music scene in the East Bay. Downtown Oakland was becoming more active, and a select few of the bars and clubs presented these experimental sounds. Those shows, along with the ones at not-so-legal warehouse venues, made me want to go out every night. When one gives up attachment to a genre, appreciating music becomes an endless plunge into a sonic world of skronk, whooshes, and bleeps. On the other hand, the widening of my musical landscape helped me appreciate familiar singer/songwriters, rock, and traditional jazz with fresh ears.
I would like to think I’ve become a part of this local community, like a family photographer. Some of these people have become friends, and they even encourage me to play music. As one can imagine, in such an expensive area the musicians sometimes move away, and the venues change. Yet there are always new faces joining the scene, and the offerings have not diminished.
Unnatural Ways (L to R: Ava Mendoza, Nick Tamburro [on drums], Dominique Leone), Bar 355; Oakland, March 3, 2013
Linda Hagood at Hook Line and Sinker, A Musician’s Storytelling Series, Disco Volante; Oakland, June 12, 2013
Black Spirituals (L to R: Zachary James Watkins and Marshall Trammell), Active Music Festival, Duende; Oakland, February 22, 2014
Moe! Staiano and Ensemble (L to R : Vicky Grossi, John Shiurba, Jordan Glenn, & Christina Stanley; not pictured: Chris Broderick, Evelyn Davis, Nava Dunkelman, Karl Alfonso Evangelista, Aaron Novak, Suki O’Kane, and Moe! Staiano), Active Music Festival, Duende; Oakland, February 22, 2014
Enablers (L to R: Joe Goldring, Pete Holmes, and Sam Ospovat; not pictured: Kevin Thomson), Warehouse Show; Oakland, May 3, 2014
King Woman (L to R: Kristina Esfandiari and Colin Gallagher; not pictured: Peter Arensdorf and Joey Raygoza), The New Parish; Oakland, November 11, 2015
Little My (Nathaniel Parsons; not pictured: Adam McCauley, Matt Stahl, and Rick Weldon), Warehouse Show; Oakland, June 18, 2016
OrcheSperry (L to R: Gabby Fluke-Mogul, Tim Perkis, Tom Djil, Danishta Rivero, Zachary James Watkins, Sharkiface, John Shiurba, Kyle Bruckmann, Aurora Josephson, Theo Padouvas, Ron Heglin, & Tom Bickley; not pictured: Tim DeCillis, Thomas Dimuzio, Jordan Glenn, Kelley Kipperman, Ava Lynch, Lisa Mezzacappa, Julie Moon, Suki O’Kane, Crystal Pascucci, Jon Raskin, Karen Stackpole, Biggi Vinkeloe, Cory Wright, and composer/conductor Phillip Greenlief); Berkeley Arts Festival, November 28, 2016
Lord Tang (Dominic Cramp), Warehouse Show; Oakland, February 3, 2017
Sam Clifton’s stuff at Doors That Only Open In Silence (an open participation improvisational workshop), Temescal Arts Center; Oakland, March 19, 2017