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Concerts in the Park: Baby Grand headlining

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If Baby Grand keeps their current lineup and releases an album this year, it will be a huge first for the band. It will be the first time one of their albums shares the same lineup as their current gigging band.

This Friday at Cesar Chavez Plaza, Baby Grand will bring their most solid unit ever: a six-piece playing mellow organic pop. Opening for them will be Dog Party, The Poplollys and Ricky Berger.

Dog Party is a duo consisting of 11- and 13-year-old sisters who play original songs and covers on drums and guitar. The Poplollys are a local trio who play Americana style country, while another favorite, multi-instrumentalist Ricky Berger, sings mellow folk music.

Baby Grand first formed back in 1999 by husband and wife Tim and Gerri White. Once a power-pop/punk band, their sound has been getting progressively softer.

"At the point that I joined on guitar, we sort of took the band in a different direction," said Cory Vick, who has been with the band since 2004. "We’re still a pop band lyrically, but structurally it’s much more acoustic-based, folk-pop kind of stuff."

Vick admitted that the band has struggled to keep a steady lineup, but he’s proud that the band’s current lineup is the strongest they’ve ever had.

Vick, who has been the guitarist for Baby Grand on their last two EPs, did not appear on their first album back in 2002. But he’s excited about the new album, which consists of twelve songs, because having a steady band means being able to concentrate on recording, he said.

"[The upcoming recording] is the first time we’ve actually really captured what we sound like live," he added. "[By recording this] it’s the first time it feels like a real band."

By bringing down the volume, and learning to use dynamics in composing music, the band has been able to feature Gerri White’s soft but soulful voice. "We’re not louder, but I think our sound is actually bigger," Vick said.

He’s also excited about playing Concerts in the Park to reach a new audience. "It’s [going to be a] mix of state workers who get off work in their office attire, your downtown street people and younger kids," he said.

The band has played shows with the other acts before, and they’ve become friends. "I think while all four bands are different musically, anybody who would come to this show would find something appealing in all four bands," he said.

Friday Night Concerts in the Park take place at Cesar Chavez Plaza on 10th and J streets from 5 to 9 p.m. every Friday until Aug. 14.

Don’t forget that your Friday night festivities continue if you show your wristband to one of the following businesses:

Brew it Up!: $4 drafts, Bacardi, Jack Daniels and 3 Olives cocktails, plus half-price appetizers

Fuzio Universal Bistro: $3 drafts, $5 martinis, plus a selection of $3 appetizers

Marilyn’s on K: $1 off well drinks, $3 draft Bud Light

Parlare Euro Lounge: $3 domestic beers, $5 wine, $4 assorted appetizers

Pyramid Alehouse: $2 pints of Curveball

Sofia on 11th: $3 drafts, $4 wines, $4 wells and and half-price appetizers

Table 260: Half off appetizer menu, 10 percent off dinner, $5 drink special on Sac Soul

Toppingz Pizza inside Image Lounge: $2.50 Bud and Bud Light, $4 Jack Daniels, appetizers starting at $1

Sheraton Grand Hotel’s PMB Bar: $3.50 Bud and Bud Light (bottle or draft), $5 nachos or artichoke dip

Amourath Lounge at Hyatt: $1 off Bud, Bud Light and all appetizers

Citizen Hotel: $99/night weekend rate for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights in a deluxe king, queen or dual-double-bedroom. This deal is exclusively for the Concerts in the Park, and for information on how to book the room, call (916) 447-2700.

*photographs credit Ted Angel 

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