Things are beginning to come back up to speed as we approach the end of the first month of a new year. Even the January calendar for the Center for New Music (C4NM) seems to have last-minute addition, while the Sunset Music | Arts Chamber/Ensemble Series will begin with some adventurous modernism from the last century. This will also be the first “double header” week of the new year from Outsound Presents. Here are the specifics:
Tuesday, January 24, 8:30 p.m., Elbo Room: This bar in the Mission will host a three-set evening of rock styles that venture far from the beaten path. Most familiar to regular readers will be the Grex art rock trio consisting of Karl Evangelista on guitar, Rei Scampavia on keyboards, and Robert Lopez on drums. A more psychedelic style will be offered by Cash Pony. This is a quartet of guitarists Charles Lloyd and Owen Kelley, bassist Stephen A. Wright, and drummer Gabe Katz. The remaining set will be taken by the experimental rock group VOCO, a trio of Alex Yeung on guitar, Tim Sullivan on drums, and Josh Martin on bass. The Elbo Room is located in the Mission at 647 Valencia Street. There will be a $6 cover charge.
Tuesday, January 24, 9 p.m., Bottom of the Hill: Bottom of the Hill has a reputation for being one of the noisiest venues in the city. The one time I visited the place, I found that the best way to listen to the music itself was from outside the front door. Their reputation is likely to continue with an evening of three sets, each a little less than an hour. Darren Johnston will open with a selection of songs and tunes he has called Broken Shadows. He will be followed by the return of Jack o’ the Clock, which apparently took a break to build up their decibel strength. In the final set Chris Peck will lead the group Ancient Baby.
Bottom of the Hill gets its name from being located at the foot of Potrero Hill at 1233 17th Street. Admission will be $10 at the door. However, tickets purchased in advance will be $8. Online purchase of tickets in advance is being handled by a Stubmatic.com event page.
Wednesday, January 25, 7:30 p.m., C4NM: The recent addition to this month’s calendar is a solo recital by pianist Holly Bowling. The full title of her program is An Evening with Holly Bowling: The Music of Phish & The Grateful Dead Reimagined for Solo Piano. Her arrangements are based on her own transcriptions of improvisations by both of these groups.
C4NM is located at 55 Taylor Street, about half a block north of where Golden Gate Avenue meets Market Street. General admission tickets will be sold at the door for $20. As usual, there will be a $15 rate for C4NM members; but this rate will also apply to advance purchases made online through a Vendini event page.
Thursday, January 26, 8 p.m., Luggage Store Gallery: The first Outsound Presents offering this week will be the weekly concert in the Luggage Store Creative Music series. This will be the usual evening of two sets, each a bit less than an hour. The opening set will be taken by the Key West trio of Brian Pedersen (saxophones), Sung Kim (ozukuri) and Randylee Sutherland (drums). They will be followed by the diverse sonorities of Swimming in Bengal. Tony Passarell divides his efforts among saxophone, flute, acoustic bass, harmonium, and percussion. Percussion is also provided by Rusi Gustafson, and Jed Brewer plays gourd guitar. The Luggage Store Gallery is at 1007 Market Street, directly across from the Golden Gate Theatre at the corner of Golden Gate Avenue and Taylor Street. As always admission will be on a sliding scale between $6 and $15.
Saturday, January 28, 7:30 p.m., Bird and Beckett Books and Records: The latest jazz offering at Bird and Beckett will be a trio led by Kasey Knudsen on alto saxophone with rhythm provided by Miles Wick on bass and Jordan Glenn on drums. These gigs usually consist of two sets. Bird and Beckett Books and Records is located at 653 Chenery Street, a short walk from the Glen Park station for both Muni and BART. Admission is free, but donations are always appreciated. The collections of both books and records are pretty impressive, so making a purchase will also be looked upon with great favor!
Saturday, January 28, 8 p.m., The Lab: This venue kicks off the new year with a performance by the Moe! Staiano Guitar Ensemble. Guitarists performing with Staiano will be Suki O'Kane, Karl Evangelista, Jay Korber, Jacob McCann, Matt Montgomery, Melne Murphy, Damon Waitkus, Robin Hiroko Walsh, Drew Wheeler, and Bill Wolter with Vicky Grossi on bass. The group will perform Away Towards the Light, a three-movement composition. There will also be an opening set by Ava Mendoza on electric guitar.
The Lab is located in the Mission at 2948 16th Street. This is a short walk from the corner of Mission Street, where there is both a BART station and bus stops for both north-south and east-west travel. Admission will be $12 with no charge for members of The Lab. Doors will open at 8 p.m.; and, since there is usually a large turnout for these events, early arrival is highly recommended, as is advance registration.
Sunday, January 29, 7:30 p.m., The Musicians Union Hall: The second offering from Outsound Presents will be the first Static Illusion Methodical Madness Series concert of the new year. The opening set will be entitled The Art of Skatch. The invented instrument duo called T.D. Skatchit will perform with oboist Kyle Bruckmann. They will be followed by the Sl(e)ight Ensemble, whose members are Jacob Lane on piano, Mia Bella D’Augelli on violin, Erika Oba on flute, and Devon Thrumston on cello. The Musicians Union Hall is located at 116 9th Street, near the corner of Mission Street. Admission is on a sliding scale between $10 and $15.
Sunday, January 29, 7:30 p.m., SFJAZZ Center: The Rova Saxophone Quartet will reprise their performance of John Coltrane’s “Ascension,” which was conceived to celebrate the 40th anniversary of this landmark composition. This piece has achieved monumental status in the history of free jazz practices. The original recording brought together eleven performers; and, on this occasion Rova will be jointed by Fred Frith on bass, Don Robinson on drums, Zeena Parkins on harp, and Trey Spruance on guitar. The second half of the evening will be a program entitled No Favorites and conceived as an homage to Butch Morris. Rova will be joined by a string quartet and a “power trio” of electric guitar, electric bass, and drums.