Talk about diversity, this weekend in Sonoma County we have everything from a rap superstar, a country music legend, a New Orleans jam band and a classic punk-ska act straight from the ’80s. It’s unlikely you’ll see some of these names in venues so small, in fact, Dragonsmoke rarely leave the bayou for any shows.
Formed in 2001 in Petaluma, the band draws from a broad range of musical influences, blending rock, pop, progressive, acoustic and psychedelic sounds.
Luvplanet’s live show is full of vocal harmonies, guitar tone, seductive melodies and more. Guitarist Mark McGee has lived the rock-star life, having toured with Gregg Allman for more than 10 years and toured in 20 countries, sharing the stage with acts like Jeff Beck, Journey, Kansas, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more.
Settling down a bit in Sonoma County with his partner and vocalist Nicole Sutton, the band is big on laying down fresh hooks, meaningful lyrics and genuine emotional depth in their songs.
Venue: Tradewinds, Cotati, 707-795-7878
Saturday, Dec. 15 – Dwight Yoakam
Few entertainers have attained the iconic status of Dwight Yoakam. The Kentucky native immediately conjures up compelling, provocative images: A pale cowboy hat with the brim pulled low; poured-on blue jeans; intricate, catchy melodies paired with poignant, brilliant lyrics that mesmerize with their indelible imprint.
Too country for Nashville in the mid ’80s, but the truth is his music has always been too unique, too ruggedly individualistic to fit neatly into any one box. Like the icons he so admires, Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Yoakam is one of a kind.
He has taken his influences and filtered them into his own potent blend of country and rock that honors his musical predecessors and yet creates something beautifully new. With 12 gold albums and nine platinum or multi-platinum albums, including the triple-platinum “This Time,” along with two Grammys and a staggering 21 nominations, you could say he’s achieved the musical greatness enjoyed by his influences.
Venue: Wells Fargo Center, Santa Rosa, 707-546-3600
Snoop Dogg’s ability to stay at the forefront of popular culture and connect with his fans has resulted in unwavering relevance.
While he’s a TV and movie star, the founder and coach of a hugely successful youth football league and a savvy adapter of new technology, Snoop Dogg remains “Tha Doggfather of hip-hop.”
Incredibly, his music is as “doggumented” now as it was in 1992 around the launch of his timeless debut “Doggystyle.” In fact, a stronghold over the various social networking platforms makes him more accessible than ever.
With all eyes on the skinny kingpin from Long Beach, His latest release, Doggumentary, is the perfect title for the man who continues to occupy the throne as the world’s most famous rapper. This will be a rare chance to see the rapper in such an intimate venue.
Venue: Phoenix Theater, Petaluma, 707-762-3565
One of the earliest and most important ska revivalist groups, Birmingham’s the Beat formed in 1978, then had to immediately change their name to the English Beat in the U.S. to avoid confusion with Paul Collins’ band of the same name.
The multiracial band carved a distinct sound through the use of alternating lead vocals supported by a tight band, gave the act credibility and fleshed out its sound. An opening spot for the Selecter led to the band’s signing to 2-Tone, where they released the hit single “Tears of a Clown,” the Smokey Robinson classic.
In 1980, the act had string of hit singles in the U.K. Their debut LP, “I Just Can’t Stop It,” combined the early hits with other pop-ska-oriented material, but the band members decided to call it quits later in 1982, moving on to other projects, including General Public, and Fine Young Cannibals.
That ember was nursed back into a roaring flame in February 2003, when a dream came true for many Beat fans as the band reunited for a UK tour, culminating in a sold out command performance at the prestigious Royal Festival Hall.
Original vocalist and guitarist Dave Wakeling has continued to keep The English Beat alive with an amazing all-star ska backing band playing all the hits of The English Beat, General Public, and some new material as well. Opening the show is the Dirty Dub Band.
Venue: Mystic Theatre, Petaluma, 707-765-2121
Dragonsmoke formed as part of the New Orleans Jazz Fest tradition of the “Superjam.” The idea is to put together a band of people who don’t normally play together and see what happens.
With the dual vocals of Ivan Neville and Eric Lindell, matched with the Galactic rhythm section, the band quickly realized, “We are a great band,” and has played every Jazz Fest since it’s inception in 2003.
The debut of the act took place at the famed Dragon’s Den, hence the name of the band. The music centers around Lindell’s blue eyed soul, Neville’s funk and R&B, and Galactic’s groove. Besides a couple trips to the West Coast, this band has been strictly playing in New Orleans. Burrows and Dilbeck from the local act Frobeck open the show.
Venue: HopMonk Tavern, Sebastopol, 707- 829-7300
Bach’s sacred magnum opus glorifies voice and instrument with brilliant harmonies and depth of sound.
The B Minor Mass is a favorite of namesakes and founding donors of the Green Music Center, Donald and Maureen Green; the perfect composition to celebrate the 10th year of this popular series.
Santa Rosa Symphony Choral Director Robert Worth directs the Sonoma Bach Choir, five outstanding soloists and principal musicians of the orchestra in a concert that will thrill every listener.
Venue: The Donald and Maureen Green Music Center, Rohnert Park, 866-955-6040