NOTE: The Sactown Rundown will appear on Sac Press every Wednesday, with a focus on smaller club shows, festivals and events in Sacramento and surrounding areas.
Fruit Bats with These United States – If you haven’t been to a show on the deliciously intimate patio at Sophia’s in Davis this summer, this is the one to catch. Hailing from Portland (by way of the Windy City), Eric Johnson’s long-time project the Fruit Bats has at times had to share its enigmatic front man with the likes of Vetiver and the Shins, but he always finds time to come back to the indie folk ensemble that he founded over 10 years ago. With an ever-rotating cast of characters, Johnson remains the centerpiece of the group with his honey coated vocal snap (a ray of sunlight streaming through the autumn haze of a James Mercer) and razor sharp songwriting that drives the group’s rollicking pop sensibilities – like finding a plush oasis with a playground in the middle of a concrete jungle. Joining Fruit Bats is These United States, a group of fellas from Kentucky doing cannonballs into a pool of psychedelic, guitar-driven Americana that finds a common thread between Gram Parsons, the Flaming Lips and Wilco with brain-twisting and foot-tapping results. 8 p.m. doors/ 9 p.m. show Friday. Sophia’s Thai Kitchen, 129 E St., Davis. $7. 21+. www.sophiasthaikitchen.com. Check out sessions from both bands on Daytrotter; Fruit Bats are here, and These United States here, there and everywhere.
Edwin McCain – Somewhere in Hootie & the Blowfish’s backyard is a gravesite for the mid-tempo alternative pop bands of the middle ‘90s, but it seems that someone forgot to tell Edwin McCain there’s a plot reserved for him. The man behind the inescapable “I’ll Be” which dominated airwaves in 1998 has been a proverbial pop music termite for the last 15 years, nibbling his way in and out of the foundation of the genre, nesting, and reproducing seemingly at will. That’s not to say that anyone’s in a hurry to tent the house and fog him out; his natural, syrupy style has become a bedrock of contemporary pop and rock. “An Evening with Edwin McCain” gets started early, to make room for another ensemble seemingly immune to the normal shelf life of a pop fad (see below). 7:30 p.m. Friday. Harlow’s, 2708 J St. $22.50. 21+. www.harlows.com.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – Admit it, you once rocked a zoot suit, a flapper dress, or at least a pair of two-toned struttin’ shoes during the swing craze of the late ‘90s. As popular as it got, that fad was destined to get busted up like a gin mill during prohibition under the weight of its own popularity, but the cats from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy ignored the limitations of a short-lived revival and have kept the big band swing vibe alive with a consistent live performance schedule. Hits like “You and Me and the Bottle Makes Three Tonight (Baby)” and “Go Daddy-O” will make even the neophyte swing dancers compromise their dignity and rotator cuffs out on the dance floor. 10 p.m. Friday. Harlow’s, 2708 J St. $30.00. 21+. www.harlows.com.
Marilyn’s Anniversary Party – Although the locally cut 2002 Bob Dylan tribute album “Positively 12th & K” now has a bit of a mislaid title, it’s hard to argue against the 2005 move to the new below-ground digs at 9th and K for Marilyn’s (wait, does “Subterranean Homesick Blues” now have a whole other meaning?). Marilyn’s celebrates their 11th anniversary with a crème de la crème of local outfits, featuring the jazz-inflected wallop of Walking Spanish, the sax and sex drenched throwback rock licks of the Snobs, the rock and roll juggernaut of Prieta (think Black Sabbath meets Soundgarden meets Buddy Guy), and the freak-out sound wall of Black Tar Caviar. Also scheduled is Dirt Nap, and the promise of a “surprise.” 8 p.m. Saturday. Marilyn’s on K, 908 K St. $5. 21+. www.marilynsonk.com.
Wanderlust Festival – This one requires a drive, but there’s plenty to mellow you out after the trek up the hill. This festival is centered around the yoga, with some of the best teachers in the country assembled at Squaw Valley, but of particular note to electronica and club rock fans is a DJ set from the venerable Moby, and performances from Yard Dogs Road Show, Brazilian Girls, the sonic assault of San Francisco’s Bassnectar, the hip-hop, dub and brass band stew of Beats Antique, and many more. Three and four-day passes are sold out, but you can still select a single day to your liking. Thursday-Sunday. 1960 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley. $29.50-$140. www.wanderlustfestival.com.
Mark Your Calendar: Chuck Ragan – The former lead man of Hot Water Music explores his softer side (sort of). August 13. Blue Lamp, 1400 Alhambra Blvd. $TBA. www.myspace.com/bluelamp. Check out Chuck Ragan on Daytrotter.