Things to count your blessings for in Sacramento:
1. The best that the local music scene has to offer, all played free.
2. A giant beer garden that features the best people watching to be found anywhere in town.
3. The fact that we have now finally gotten to the point where, when people say "we’re going to the park tonight," no one asks "you mean the Park Ultra Lounge?" anymore.
Downtown Sacramento Partnership has unveiled the lineup for what is and has always been "the park" in this town, the Friday Night Concerts in the Park series, which has been packing thousands into Cesar Chavez Plaza every Friday summer evening for the last 20 seasons. The series begins Friday, May 6 and runs through August 12.
If you were a patron last year, you probably noticed that the beer garden area is overall much larger, which means shorter lines (woohoo!!) and more room to roam. Concurrently, it was noticable that the sound volume and quality was remarkably better in the ol’ beer garden last year, correcting what had always been one of the series’ biggest things to quibble over (there isn’t much else to complain about).
Hey, we hooch goblins like hearing the music, too…despite all the "OMGs" and ancillary chatter you hear in there.
This year’s lineup, courtesy again of long time local promoter Jerry Perry, features the usual "them agains" and a hefty stock of "who deys" with an advertised 29 first time performers and six new headliners, including funk jockeys the Nibblers, rock juggernauts Prieta, and the about to go "KABOOM" Walking Spanish.
Perennial headliners include Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, Mumbo Gumbo, and (gotta have em!) the Brodys.
While the series always features all local acts, I’ve only seen two "cheats" so far: Nicki Bluhm, who resides in San Francisco (but is just too good to ignore), and Agent Ribbons, which currently resides in Austin, TX – but we’ll welcome them home with open arms any time.
As began last year, the Downtown Sac Partnership will offer their "Locally Grown, Internationally Known" walking tour that offers a glimpse of the history of live music in Sacramento before each concert, and there are tons of food and drink specials around the neighborhood if you can avoid tearing off that CIP wristband. Details on both are here.
Here is the full lineup for the summer. See y’all at Cesar Chavez…I’ll be the guy answering the "who is this band" questions. Hey, DSP, can I get a booth and an "Answer Man" name tag? (OK, I just want beer tickets)
The Tattooed Love Dogs
Aaron King & The Imperials
The Golden Cadillacs
Miss Lonely Hearts*
The Dreaded Diamond*
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats
The Freebadge Serenaders*
Mick Martin & The Blues Rockers
Tess and Hip Trash*
The Kyle Rowland Band*
Island Of Black And White*
Los Blazing Hangovers
Kepi Ghoulie Electric
Gerald Pease Combo
The Bell Boys* with James Cavern* and Jesi Naomi*
The Nickel Slots CD Release(*)
Whiskey & Stitches
The Denver Piledrivers*
Jet Black Popes*
Jem & Scout*
Musical Charis (*)
Be Brave Bold Robot*
A Single Second* CD Release
*29 first time acts
(*) 6 first time headliners