Columbia Free Times

How Collaboration Between Bo White and Dear Blanca Highlights Their Respective Strengths

Friday at the Columbia Museum of Art; Saturday at New Brookland Tavern
By Jordan Lawrence
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |
Bo White (center)
When Dylan Dickerson and Marc Coty, then the lone full-time members of Columbia’s Dear Blanca, first ventured to Charlotte to record with Bo White, they were nervous and a bit overwhelmed. White was a college friend of Dickerson’s older brother, and the young singer and guitarist had long admired Yardwork, the exuberantly aggressive pop-rock band with which White spent a few years building up a small but loyal following around the Southeast. The elder musician had agreed to track the fresh-faced duo for free in his home studio, and they were wary of abusing
this kindness.

“I didn’t know him that well,” Dickerson explains, sitting beside bassist Cameron Powell, the most recent addition to Dear Blanca’s current quartet. “So I was like, ‘Man, this guy’s recording our record for free. We’ve got to be no frills, record this as quickly as possible, make it, like, no stress on this guy.’”

But it turned out that frills were what suited White best. As he approached the sessions for what would become Talker, Dear Blanca’s fraught and forthright 2013 debut, he was in the middle of his own project, a concept album exploring the impact of drug cartels in Latin America. Cobbling together a piecemeal studio orchestra over the course of a year, he released his savvy and sweeping Same Deal, New Patrones in 2012. The group’s already in that headspace, he decked Dear Blanca’s simmering indie rock with billowing horn charts and spacious keys, lending widescreen scope to Dickerson’s gruffly bellowed odes.

What: Bo White Y Su Orquesta
With: Banditos, Stagbriar, Shallow Palace
Where: Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main St.
When: Friday, Aug. 1, 7 p.m.
Price: $8 ($5 members)
More Info:
Having sparked a friendship and a fruitful collaboration, White and Dear Blanca returned to the well late last year, recording songs for Pobrecito, the sophomore album that the band released earlier this week. The new outing follows quick on the heels of Millennial Tombs, White’s third album in as many years, and while their latest efforts are definitely distinct, they also reinforce the bond between these talented artists.

When White and Dickerson first started working together, their songwriting styles contrasted starkly. Much of the material on Dear Blanca’s Talker is profoundly personal. Three of the songs deal directly with deaths in Dickerson’s family. White’s songs, while reliably passionate, usually detail narratives removed from his own experience.

2013’s lush and percolating Adornment followed this pattern. “Sly Dutch Youth Musics,” perhaps the best song of the bunch, slyly slams those who interlope in scenes they don’t understand, leaning on broad but detailed dissections of hipster stereotypes — “There’s nothing quite like blood on the guitar,” White offers, his comfortably piercing warble twisted by an audible sneer.

But life stalled White’s momentum earlier this year. He took ill, and while he declines to discuss the specifics of his condition, he ended up in the hospital, remaining with the intensive care unit for 19 days. “It was kind of a life-or-death situation at certain points,” he admits. Though only two songs reference this experience explicitly, Millennial Tombs, tracked quickly after his recovery, finds him working with increased urgency.

“I just kind of wanted to jump right back into things and started writing these songs,” White says. “If I got any kind of random idea, I didn’t want to shelve anything. So if a song ended up sounding a certain way, I just rolled with it. And then I got to the end of the album, and I had these random 11 songs and I just came up with the order.”

The new album is darker and more insular than Adornment. With his favorite microphone on the fritz, White opted for a starker, less sunny feel than he typically prefers, an aesthetic that lines up well with these songs, many of which are among the singer’s most personal. “Patient” contends with his sickness, driven by a morose bass line and eerie strings and keys as White recalls his darker moments: “I’ve been taking every pill they bring,” he murmurs. “I’ve been wondering if I’ll ever sing again.”

What: Dear Blanca
With: Junior Astronomers, The Howling Man, Keath Mead
Where: New Brookland Tavern, 122 State St.
When: Saturday, Aug. 2, 8 p.m.
Price: $5
More Info:
His restlessness following his illness results in some thrilling sonic detours, but even the record’s more whimsical moments come tinged with bleak thoughts. “Matinee” surges through lo-fi Pet Sounds splendor, its playful guitars and synthesizers frolicking with elegant glockenspiel and triumphant rhythms. But White’s jubilant chorus rings sarcastic, his tale of a drunk who performs private monologues proving far more damning than hopeful. “Then you go acting out in Sailor’s Park / Thinking no one sees you in the dark,” he sings. “Well they can, what’s more, they’re taking notes / Of all the missteps.”

Dear Blanca

But while Millennial Tombs drifts from White’s established approach, it’s the singer’s typically meticulous and detached songcraft that influences Dear Blanca’s latest batch. Having plumbed his personal life for Talker, a record that collected writings from as far back as high school, Dickerson strove to diversify his inspirations, mustering intimate emotions to bolster broad-stroke anthems and accessible ballads, making Pobrecito far more populist than its self-centered predecessor.

The powerful opener “Boulders” establishes the new record’s less adorned sonics, giving the combustible quartet — Dickerson, Coty, Powell and Dayne Lee, who contributes auxiliary percussion and luxurious backing vocals — room to spark and smoulder. That first song speaks in general but poetic terms about small-town malaise, keeping its emotions specific and its narrative vague, allowing listeners to insert their own experiences. “Come on, give up, and settle down,” Dickerson rumbles before his acoustic strums are overtaken by a bitter-sweet swell of drums and electric guitar, “Every stone is a boulder / Digging out graves in your hometown / Is just a part of getting older.”

Even when Pobrecito relies on Dickerson’s individual experience, it deals with circumstances that are relatable to almost anyone. “Huff,” for instance, invokes the French bulldog once owned by him and Lee, his girlfriend as well as his bandmate. The puppy passed away when it was about a month old, and Dickerson pays surprisingly poignant tribute. As ragged riffs send the song spiraling towards catharsis, the singer cries again and again, “I only want to hold you!”

“I’ve always envied [Bo’s] ability to really separate himself,” Dickerson offers. “The more I’ve tried to do that, I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s not bad to write personal songs.’ If I have a personal song to write, I’m going to write it, but I don’t want to be a one-trick pony. I know I can do that, so I want to try something where I’m not sure if I can.”

Ever supportive, White backs off with his production and arrangement, allowing the blossoming Dear Blanca room to stand on its own merits. A couple of songs come garnished by slight but vital injections of organ and lap steel, and the musical saw on the patiently striding “Noma” is a particularly nice touch. Once again, he gave the band exactly what it needed at the time, a testament to their intrinsic chemistry.

“I just enjoy what they’re doing,” White says. “I feel like it’s easy for me to step in and kind of shape it. I think if I was in Columbia, I might be playing in the band, you know? We just vibe pretty well.”

Columbia SC Club Calendar: July 30-Aug 5

By Free Times
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |

Wednesday 30

live music

Conundrum Music Hall: Hiroya Tsukamoto
Delaney’s: Scott Rankin
Main Street Cafe: Open Mic w/ Nikki L. H. Bomb andHerbie Jeffcoat
new brookland tavern: Barnwell, DYEL, Lochness Game Warden
Red Door Tavern: Acoustic Open Mic w/ Adam Corbett
Township Auditorium: Maxwell


555 Lounge: T & J’s Karaoke Checked 1/15
Art Bar: Linda’s Carraoke Checked 1/15
Corner Pocket: Karaoke Checked 1/15
CR Station House: Karaoke 1/15
Ozzie’s Country Island: Showtime Karaoke
Tsubaki: Karaoke Checked 1/15 Below too

dance, djs & misc.
British Bulldog Pub: Pub Trivia
Drip (Five points): Poetry Reading 1/22
Jillian’s: Trivia
Locals: Trivia
Mellow Mushroom: Trivia
Wet WILLIE’S: Quizon Trivia
The Whig: Trivi-YEAH
Wild Hare (Vista): QuizTheMasses Triviahecked

Thursday 31

live music

British BullDog Pub: The No Name Bluegrass Band
Delaney’s: Josh McCaa eekly below
Dano’s Pizza: McKenzie Butler’s Acoustic Allstars
Hemingway’s: Prettier Than Matt
new brookland tavern: Trees on Mars, Cryptodira, Johnny Booth, Human Beansauce, Senam Palmer
nicole’s Pub: Gerry Delgado
Pearlz Upstairz: Mark Rapp Psycho Jazz
Red Door Tavern: The Whiskey Jackets
wild wing cafe (Irmo): Acoustic Show w/ Brandon Hooker


Applebee’s (Oneil Ct.): Karaoke w/ DJ Regina
Bentley’s Beach House: Karaoke 2/19
Corner Pocket: Karaoke 1/15
KC’z Tavern: Kay’s Karaoke Checked 1/15
Kelly’s: Karaoke w/ DJ Snow 1/151/15,1/15
liberty on the lake: Karaoke w/ DJ Snow
ale House lounge: Linda’s Carraoke 1/15
Outsaloon: Billy Ray’s Karaoke 3/12
Ozzie’s Country Island: Showtime Karaoke 1/15
Shooter’s Grill & Pub: Karaoke with Bobby Whittle 6/4
South Lake Saloon: S.I.N. and Karaoke with D.J. Shelly O 5/28
Tsubaki: Karaoke Checked 1/15

dance, djs & misc.

Art Bar: Useless Trivia
Carolina Ale House (Vista): Trivia w/ Ryan
Carolina Wings (Cayce): Team Trivia
Carolina Wings (Lexington): Quizon Trivia
Corner Pocket: Shag Night
Foxfield BAr & Grill: Drunk Bingo
JILLIAN’S: Shaggin’ in the Shack
Main street Cafe: DJ
PT’s 1109: Thirsty Thursday Drag Show
Social: LUCiD once 7/30
TLC Sports Bar & Grill: Trivia
Uncle Fester’s: Quizon Trivia
The Wild Hare (Irmo): Quiz the Masses Trivia
The Woody: DJ Chadly D

Friday 1

live music

Bill’s Music Shop & Pickin’ Parlor: Open Bluegrass Jam
Blue Coyote: Interstate Exiles weekly 5/14
British BullDog Pub: Kelly Jo and Buffaloe
Columbia Museum of Art: Banditos, Bo White Y Su Orquesta, Stagbriar, Shallow Palace
Conundrum Music Hall: That Show hosted by Caleb(justCaleb)
Delaney’s: The Vivants
Gary’s Just one More Time: Full Throttle
Main street cafe: Gabriel Lopez & Lance Williams
new brookland tavern: fk mt., Ex-Breathers, Deism, Plight
Pearlz Upstairz: Robert Gardiner Jazz Quartet
River RAt Brewery: Dean Cook
tin roof: Brandon Stiles
wild wing cafe (Irmo): Bossman
wild wing cafe (the village): Tokyo Joe
wild wing cafe (the vista): Lewis Brice, John Wesley Satterfield, Bryson Jennings and Jukebox Mafia


Blue Fin: Linda’s Carraoke 1/15
Karl’s Korner: Karaoke 1/15
Liberty on the Lake: Karaoke 2/19
Outsaloon: DJ Ruckus Karaoke 3/12
Quaker Steak & Lube: Karaoke 4/30
S & E Rack & Grill: Billy Ray’s Karaoke
Shooter’s Grill & Pub: Karaoke with Bobby Whittle 6/4
South Lake Saloon: Dance Party/Karaoke w/ DJ Ruckus weekly 4/9
Tsubaki: Karaoke Checked 1/15
Ventures: Karaoke w/ Nancy 1/15

dance, djs & misc.

Art Bar: DJ Arambulance
Kelly’s: DJ Guy
Legion Post 215: Disco Night
Liberty Tap Room: DJ
Social: VINAI, M00DY once 7/30ce 7/23
TLC Sports Bar & Grill: DJ DDL
Uncle Fester’s: DJ Snow
The Woody: DJ

Saturday 2

live music

Art Bar: Grüzer, Space Coke, Thieving Coyote, Tripping the Mechanism
Buffalo Creek Marina: Gerry Delgado
Bill’s Music Shop & Pickin’ Parlor: Classic Country Music & Dancing w/ Real Country below
Finlay Park: Dante Lewis
Hemingway’s: Vince McKinley
Jillian’s: Modern Disruption
Liberty on the Lake: Relentless Gypsy
Moonshiners: Interstate Exiles
new brookland tavern: Dear Blanca, Junior Astronomers, The HowlingMan, Keath Mead
Pearlz Upstairz: Reggie Sullivan
skyline club: Josh Sawyer Band
Speakeasy: Robert Gardiner Jazz Quartet
tin roof: Seventy Six and Sunny
wild wing cafe (Irmo): Live Acoustic w/ David
wild wing cafe (the village): Good Times Duo
wild wing cafe (The Vista): Midnight City


Chevy’s: Nightowl Karaoke w/ Chris 2nd
Corner Pocket: Karaoke 1/15
Karl’s Korner: Karaoke 1/15
S & E Rack & Grill: Billy Ray’s Karaoke1/15
Shooter’s Grill & Pub: Karaoke 6/4
Tipsy Toad Tavern: Karaoke 1/15
Tsubaki: Karaoke Checked 1/15
Wet Willie’s: Karaoke 1/15

dance, djs & misc.

Blue: DJ Riggles
Liberty Tap Room: DJ
Lucky 13: DJ Red, DJ Chadly D
Main Street Cafe: DJ
Publick House: Quizon Trivia
Schooner’s: DJ
Uncle Fester’s: DJ Snow
Wild Wing Café (Irmo): DJ DDL
The Woody: DJ

Sunday 3

live music

All Star Pizza: Ray Piazzola weekly 6/11
British BullDog Pub: WXRY Unsigned w/ Freeway Music’s Riley Mayfield and The Schottelkotte Girl
Foxfield Bar and Grille: Sein zum Tode, Jerkagram, Fishwives
Liberty on the Lake: Jesse Moore
new brookland tavern: Earnest Ernest
wild wing cafe (Irmo): Evans McGill


Legion Post 215: Karaoke 1/15
PT’s 1109: Karaoke w/ DJ Snow 1/15
Tsubaki: Karaoke Checked 1/15

dance, djs & misc.

Kelly’s: Team Trivia
The Pizza Joint: Quizon Trivia
Speakeasy: Mo’ Betta Soul Sundays w/ DJ Preach Jacobs

Monday 4

live music

Kelly’s: Open Mic

dance, djs & misc.

Buckaroos Grill & Bar: DJ Ray Ray
Publick House: Quizon Trivia
Red Door Tavern: Comedy Open Mic weekly 7/30
Salty Nut Cafe: Trivia

Tuesday 5

live music below is weekly 6/11

All Star Pizza: Open Mic w/ Ray Piazzola
Bill’s Music Shop & Pickin’ Parlor: Songwriters Open Mic
Conundrum Music Hall: Marbin, eBlue
Foxfield Bar and Grille: Bitchmouth, Museum Mouth, Gouge Away, No Peace, Astro Cowboy
Lucky’s: Open Mic
South Lake Saloon: Open Mic w/ AL-G week


Bentley’s Beach House: Karaoke 2/19
CJ’s: Karaoke w/ DJ Slinky 1/15
Corner Pocket: Karaoke 1/15
Tsubaki: Karaoke Checked 1/15
Uncle Fester’s: Linda’s Carraoke 1/15
Wet Willie’s: Karaoke 1/15

dance, djs & misc.

Carolina Wings (Red BAnk): Quizon Trivia
Cover 3: Sex Trivia
Flying Saucer: Trivia Bowl
Liberty tap room: DJ
MainStreet cafe: Trivia
Mellow Mushroom (Lexington): Quizon Trivi
Quaker Steak & Lube: Team Trivia
STATE STReet PUB: Trivia
Wings & Ale (Columbia):Trivia
Yesterdays: Trivia

Wednesday 6

live music

Foxfield Bar and Grille: Axattack, Deathstill, Repellers


555 Lounge: T & J’s Karaoke Checked 1/15
Art Bar: Linda’s Carraoke Checked 1/15
Corner Pocket: Karaoke Checked 1/15
CR Station House: Karaoke 1/15
Ozzie’s Country Island: Showtime Karaoke Tsubaki: Karaoke Checked 1/15 Below too

dance, djs & misc.

British Bulldog Pub: Pub Trivia
Drip (Five points): Poetry Reading 1/22
Jillian’s: Trivia
Locals: Trivia
Mellow Mushroom: Trivia
Wet WILLIE’S: Quizon Trivia
The Whig: Trivi-YEAH
Wild Hare (Vista): QuizTheMasses Triviahecked 1/15 Below too

Adam Overstreet & Josh Miller at Jaco’s Corner in Downtown

By Christian Barker
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |
Photo by Christian Barker
Name: Adam Overstreet and Josh Miller
Setting: Jaco’s Corner (638 Bluff Rd.)

This place is kind of off the beaten path. How did you all find it?

J: This was the first bar I came to when I moved to Columbia from Missouri. It was just down the road, and there were a lot of locals but they were really friendly and I just kept coming back.

A: I came here about two years ago when Jaco’s celebrated their 100-year anniversary. My friends called me up and said I had to check out this bar, and I have been coming here almost every day ever since.

Yeah, I never even knew this place was a bar. It kinda looks like a house, but one of my friends recommended it to me.

A: That’s what this place is all about. Their slogan is “Where friends meet.”

So this bar is now over 100 years old. It must be the oldest bar in Columbia, right?

A: Yes, it is the oldest bar in Columbia, and it is the oldest bar in South Carolina. It is also in the top 20 oldest bars in the U.S. It is owned by the same family who opened it over 100 years ago. That picture on the wall is of the bartender’s great-great-grandfather and great-great-grandmother in front of this bar.

Wow, that is impressive. Google can’t even keep up with the names of the bars in Five Points because they are opening and closing them so quickly. How would you describe this bar?

A: It’s just a great place to come have a drink with friendly people. They don’t do live music or any of that electronic DJ crap.

What kind of music are you into?

A: I like good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. Josh and I are in a band actually.

What kind of music do you play?

J: We play death polka. [Laughs] And we wear corpse paint. It just covers the area around our eyes though ‘cause, you know, beards.

A: [Laughs] We are just rock ‘n’ roll.

Concerts in Columbia: Aug 1-6

fk mt., Ex-Breathers, Caleb(justCaleb), VINAI, M00DY, Space Coke, Earnest Ernest, Bitchmouth, Axattack
By Free Times
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |
North Carolina’s Museum Mouth plays Foxfield Bar and Grille on Tuesday.

Friday 1

fk mt., Ex-Breathers — With raw, hoarse vocals and enough fuzz to satisfy even the most jaded grunge refugee, fk mt. is a righteous blur of aggressive rock touchtones. Songs like “i can’t surf :(” pay rowdy homage to the self-debasing post-punk from Seattle’s late ’80s, while “out ov it” features hardened, darkened screamo instrumentation and bleak lyrics. Tallahassee’s Ex-Breathers lend support with barreling, no-brakes punk rock — the kind that requires incredible stamina to both hear and play. With Deism and Plight. — Corbie Hill

New Brookland Tavern: 8:30 p.m., $5 ($8 under 21); 791-4413,

Caleb(justCaleb) — This show is purported to be the last full set from host Caleb(justCaleb), a talented local emcee. The first single from his upcoming Dopebox mixtape is a remix of Drake’s “0 to 100” that trades the original’s bravado for a wide-ranging mix of social commentary and emotional vulnerability as Caleb’s dexterous, inexhaustible flow stretches the song past the six-minute mark. The rest of the expansive lineup is packed with local rap talents —H3RO, Cassy Renee and Cole Connor, for instance — as well as Brian Conner from the modern rock outfit Weaving the Fate. Matty Matt DJs. — Kyle Petersen

Conundrum Music Hall: 6:30 p.m., $5 ($8 under 21); 250-1295,

VINAI, M00DY — With dramatic bass drops, mid-tempo clubland beats, and samples strewn with f-bombs, the Italian electronica duo VINAI brings the rave to Social. Contrasting VINAI’s Euro-house, local producer M00DY opens with chill and spacious EDM — the calm before the storm, so to speak. What the two have in common, though, is a solidly positive vibe; it’s a party, after all, and anything less would get in the way of dancing your ass off. — Corbie Hill

Social: 8 p.m., free; 603-4313,

Saturday 2

Grüzer, Space Coke, Thieving Coyote, Tripping the Mechanism — An eclectic metal-centric bill headlined by the recently formed Grüzer, this show also includes the bluesy bluster of the local outfit Space Coke, the high-energy guitar histrionics of Florence’s Thieving Coyote, and sinewy epics of North Charleston’s Tripping the Mechanism. Grüzer — something of a local metal supergroup featuring former members of Death Valley Driver, DIAVOLO, Carolyn, SHAOKAHN and Mean Weiner — delivers sludgy doom metal with freewheeling arrangements. — Kyle Petersen

Art Bar: 8 p.m., $5; 929-0198,

Sunday 3

Earnest Ernest — Alternative folk four-piece Earnest Ernest began as a solo acoustic set by songwriter Branon Jaggers, evolving into a full band complete with piano, bass and percussion. The Tennessee-based group distinguishes itself with spoken-word-leaning vocals and chord structures that draw heavily on rootsy hallmarks from the ‘60s and ‘70s, reinforcing its tuneful fare with splashy cymbals, ambling bass lines and fetching harmonies. — Dade Driggers

New Brookland Tavern: 8:30 p.m., free; 728-0420,

Tuesday 5

Bitchmouth, Museum Mouth — While their names are similar, Museum Mouth and Bitchmouth are really very different. North Carolina’s Museum Mouth writes giddily neurotic pop-punk anthems rife with heartbreak and charming awkwardness, while Richmond, Virginia’s Bitchmouth is more into take-no-prisoners street-punk vitriol. But both bands defiantly own their oddball stances, a trait shared by their openers: Florida’s Gouge Away brings a pissed-off circle pit vibe, while No Peace prefers sleeker hardcore antics. Astro Cowboy lends some jangle to the bill, sprinting along with infectious garage riffs and purposefully gawky yelps. — Corbie Hill

Foxfield Bar and Grille: 8 p.m., free; 728-0420,

Wednesday 6

Axattack — In addition to booking many of Columbia’s best heavy bills and hosting his weekly Metal Cock radio show on WUSC, Alec Edelson also shreds with the thrash trio Axattack, which celebrates the release of its new Toxic Wasted EP. Playing to the style’s traditional strengths, the band surges with scalding confidence, ably distilling one of metal’s most famous strains with refreshingly few frills. Axattack is joined here by the ominously crusty Deathstill and the caustically groovy Repellers, a balanced and satisfying bill that highlights Edelson’s programming pedigree. — Jordan Lawrence

Foxfield Bar and Grille: 7 p.m., $5; 728-0420,

Irie Vibes Music Festival

Friday-Sunday, Aug. 1-3
Held last year in Tennessee, this fledgling reggae fest lands in South Carolina for 2014, boasting a 25-band lineup with the Fear Nuttin Band grabbing the headlining slot. The event will also feature several Palmetto State acts, including Sun-Dried Vibes and TreeHouse! Fans of The Movement should note the presence of Josh Swain, and Soda City will be represented by the hip-hop-infused folk of The Dubber. The rustic grooves delivered by Roots of a Rebellion and the earnest Avett-isms of The Dunder Chiefs diversify the lineup, giving non-reggae-philes easy points of entry. Camping is available with restrictions, and plenty of festival-style activities and vendors are planned. — Kevin Oliver

Magnolia Lodge: $60 weekend pass ($20 Friday; $30 Saturday; $10 Sunday);

The Vivants Pay Homage to San Francisco’s Suprisingly Rich Americana Heritage

Friday at Delaney's
By Patrick Wall
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |
Not far from where The Vivants frontwoman Emily Bonn lives in San Francisco, a stone’s throw down Post Street, is the Hamilton Pool and Recreation Center. On the building’s north wall is a mural; most people who walk by don’t even notice it, Bonn says. It depicts the history of black music in San Francisco, starting with tribal African drummers and gospel singers and running through vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley and into modern hip-hop. Among the notable figures depicted are Louie Jordan and Louis Armstrong, prominent early jazz musicians who often played the Fillmore, a few blocks away on Geary Street.

The mural sits in the heart of the Western Addition, one of the most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco. Nineteenth-century Victorian homes sit next to housing projects; swanky restaurants nestle alongside stalwart small businesses. Long ago, the neighborhood was the epicenter of San Francisco’s jazz scene, and one of the birthplaces of the jazzy country offshoot known as Western swing.

“It used to be called the Harlem of the West,” Bonn says. “And even though I grew up so close to San Francisco, I had no idea there was such rich tradition of jazz and R&B there until I moved there.”

What: The Vivants
Where: Delaney’s, 741 Saluda Ave.
When: Friday, Aug. 1, 9:30 p.m.
Price: Free
More Info:
But like many neighborhoods in major American cities, the Western Addition’s getting whitewashed by gentrification. People don’t even call the neighborhood by that name anymore, Bonn notes; they call it NoPa (shorthand for “north of Panhandle Park”). As the neighborhood gets reconditioned, its vibrant musical history is slowly getting lost, The Vivants’ latest record, the jaunty and vivacious Western Addition, is a love letter to Bonn’s historic ’hood.

“I really wanted to pay homage to [the Western Addition], especially since San Francisco is changing so rapidly,” she says. “It’s just getting wiped clean with the tech boom that’s happening. It’s heartbreaking.”

Though Bonn’s a native of California, her music and that of The Vivants is also tied to the South. Bonn grew up in Marin County, California, but she spent a few summers in the South, mostly in Atlanta, where she lived for a few years, but she also spent time in the mountains of North Carolina and Georgia. The Vivants also boast a Columbia connection in bassist and clarinetist James Touzel, a University of South Carolina music school graduate and ex-member of long-ago local rock band Fling.

It was during her time in the Southern hills that Bonn picked up on old-time music, which informed The Vivants’ earliest songs.

“It was just this welcoming sense of community,” she adds. “That was something that was lacking in my life growing up right outside of San Francisco; playing music was something you do where, you know, you have recitals. It was more, not competitive, but it was more goal-driven.”

While Western Addition still drips with old-timey charm, it also finds The Vivants drawing from a deep well of influences from the early vernacular of American music. “Only Got Time” bears distinct lineage to Appalachian folk. The shuffling “All in All” pulls from Western swing and Dixieland jazz. “Don’t Call Me Darling,” anchored by high and lonesome pedal steel, evokes early country-western ballads. “Touzel Twofer,” with its warbling woodwinds and tap-dance percussion, is a jolly ragtime swinger. And the grand instrumental highlight “Fillmore Swing” draws from all of the above, even rolling a bit of bebop into its marbled trombone solo.

Its title is a reference to the club that still sits in the center of the Western Addition, anchoring The Vivants’ accidental mission to keep the neighborhood’s vibrant musical history alive.

“I guess, sort of inadvertently, it’s educational,” Bonn says. “We hope people listen to it and say, ‘Hey, I want to check that music out.’”

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