Benefit for FISH at Sebastiani Winery
James Marshall Berry
There will be a benefit for FISH (Friends in Sonoma Helping) tonight, Dec. 2, in the Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards tasting room, which is being called “A BackTrax Christmas Dance.” The event is being put on by Valley of the Mooneyhan Promotions, and when asked why the organizers chose FISH to be the benefactors, Oscar Mooneyhan explained it like this. “My family grew up dirt poor here in Sonoma, sometimes with no food and many times with no Christmas. Kids should not have to be hungry and go without. My father, Oscar Mooneyhan Sr., helped start FISH back in 1971 and we just wanted to give something back.” The event takes on the same spirit as FISH with a $10 requested donation at the door, but no one will be turned away, and if you can contribute more than the requested donation, that will be welcome as well. There will be cheese plates and light snacks available for purchase, Sebastiani wines and a silent auction as well, with many items donated by local merchants. “The community has been great in supporting us as a band, and we want to have some fun and help a good cause at the same time,” said Mooneyhan. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and BackTrax kicks off at 7 p.m. Holiday attire is suggested.
The last time this band was in town, we were getting texts and such saying we had to make it to the Blue Moon Saloon and check these guys out. Right, we thought. Upon arriving and seeing Izzy and the Catastrophics, it became clear that we had been missing out for quite some time. Close your eyes and you would think you had stumbled into a New Orleans jazz club. With a sound that is a cross between Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the Stray Cats, this band absolutely kicks ass.
The band has played more than 250 shows a year since 2008, and is polished to show for it. Front man Izzy Zaidman and the band have toured with the likes of the Reverend Horton Heat, Snoop Dog and more. So how does little Sonoma Valley end up with talent like this, and for no cover? Well, the story goes that one time when rolling through town, Izzy fell in love with a local gal, and the rest is history, and now the end of every leg of the tour ends in Sonoma Valley, with a couple shows for the hometown crowd. Next show is Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Blue Moon Saloon, kicking off at 9 p.m. and there is no cover.
The Sonoma Valley Jazz Society has bestowed its annual community grant to the Sonoma Music Arts School in the sum of $700. The school’s founder and Director Aldo Mosca will use the funds to provide for three young and gifted students whose families cannot afford lessons and also apply it to after-school music activities and directed education for children, for up to four months. Congratulations to Aldo and the school.
The Rett Hamer Blues Band will be at Little Switzerland on Saturday, Dec. 3, for a benefit show for their keyboard player, Jeff Smith. Smith suffered two strokes in September and is in a rehab facility. The prognosis is good, but he has a long way to go, and the band is playing for free and hoping to raise as much as possible through donations at the show. The night kicks off at 8 p.m.
Andrews Hall in the Sonoma Community Center will play host to two shows this weekend, one tonight, Dec. 2, called “Follies – Naughty and Nice Holiday All-Star Spectacular.” Whew. And they’re not joking, with talent such as Laura Benward, Ilene Briggin, the Hot Flashes, Kim Hughes, Dana Land, Bene Rather-Taylor, Paula Szoka, Cynthia Tarr, Natalie Tedrick, Sheila Whitney, Santa Claus and more. Showtime is 7 p.m. and for tickets, call 938-4626, ext. 1, or at the door. Saturday, Dec. 3, the center welcomes the New West Guitar Group for a no cover show that kicks off at 6:30 p.m. For more info, point your browser to www.sonomacommunitycenter.org.
The Sunflower Caffe continues its monthly artist reception tonight, Dec. 2, with JoyRide providing the sounds. The evening kicks off at 5 p.m. and this month, the venue is celebrating all the artists who have presented over the last year. There is no cover for the event.
Michael L. Castle continues what seems to be a weekly gig at Whole Foods Market in the Sonoma Marketplace today, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m.
The Plaza Bistro welcomes Judy Wexler tonight, Dec. 2, for a 7 p.m. show. Wexler is a natural storyteller with a distinctive expressive voice. Wexler’s CD, “Dreams & Shadows,” debuted at number two on the national jazz week chart. There is no music scheduled at
the Bistro for Saturday, Dec. 3.
The Kathmandu Corner has moved the start times for their shows up to 7:30 p.m., starting tonight, Dec. 2, with the Penny Hens. Saturday, Dec. 3, has Jason Walters and Tito Granda, also for a 7:30 p.m. show. There is no cover.
Murphy’s Irish Pub welcomes Loose Shoes tonight, Dec. 2, for an 8 p.m. show. Saturday, Dec. 3, brings in popular guitar-picker Andrew Freeman, also for an 8 p.m. show. Sunday, Dec. 4, has an early show, kicking off at 6:30 p.m. with Green House. There is no cover.
HopMonk Tavern Sonoma welcomes the Courtney Janes tonight, Dec. 2, for a 9 p.m. show. Saturday, Dec. 3, brings Garrin Benfield to the stage, also for a 9 p.m. show.
Little Switzerland welcomes Showcase the Band on Sunday, Dec. 4, for a dinner show that kicks off at 5 p.m.
Jami Jamison and her band will be at Papas Taverna on Lakeville Highway in Petaluma tonight, Dec. 2, for a 7 p.m. show
The Hellhounds are out of town all weekend, starting Saturday, Dec. 3, at Hartford Family Winery in Forestville at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, has the bluesmen in Cloverdale at the Citrus Fairgrounds as part of the Lions Club toy drive, kicking off at 11 a.m.
If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it. Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
J. M. Berry knows the local music scene. Listen to his weekly radio show at www.sonomamusic.com. He also knows website services and social media marketing. Check out his other skills at www.jmberry.com.
Editor’s Note: While there is no shortage of great concerts in Sonoma, sometimes it is fun to get out of the Valley. Here’s what you can hear within 45 minutes of fair Sonoma.
Manzarek – Rogers Band – Friday, Dec. 2; Mystic Theatre – Petaluma; 765-2121
Brothers Comatose – Saturday, Dec. 3; Mystic Theatre – Petaluma; 765-2121
Richard Thompsen – Tuesday-Wednesday, Dec. 6-7; Mystic Theatre – Petaluma; 765-2121
Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Thursday, Dec. 8; Mystic Theatre – Petaluma; 765-2121
Moonalice – Friday, Dec. 2; HopMonk Tavern – Sebastopol; 829-7300
Los Lobos – Friday, Dec. 2; The Fillmore – San Francisco; 415-346-6000
Tommy Castro – Sunday, Dec. 4; Biscuits & Blues – San Francisco; 415-292-2583
Shana Morrison – Friday, Dec. 2; George’s Nightclub – San Rafael; 415-226-0262
Wine Women & Song – Susan Z Breast cancer benefit – Saturday, Dec.3; Southern Pacific Smokehouse – Novato; 415-899-9600
Iggy & the Stooges – Sunday & Tuesday, Dec. 4 & 6; The Warfield – San Francisco; www.thewrarfieldtheater.com