Tuesday, May 26, 2015

PUBlication: Citrus Mistress

Citrus Mistress | Hop Valley Brewing Co.
Hop Valley Brewing Company hails from one of my favorite places, Eugene (Go Ducks). Oregon is a mecca for tasty suds. The artisans at Hop Valley brew an array of amazing beers, I particularly enjoy their line-up of IPA's. One of the freshest tasting they put out is the Citrus Mistress.

This seasonal IPA starts with aromatic punch and finishes with the refreshing quality of citrus. Four types of hops are used in the brewing process, along with grapefruit peels. First you notice the lush scent of the Mistress, a tropical bouquet. It pours a bit darker, perhaps due to the rich Munich malt. Initially the pallet registers grapefruit and a subtle bitterness through the hops. The malt has less of a presence in tasting. After that it's simple, enjoy the pure drink-ability of Hop Valley's Citrus Mistress IPA. 6.5% | 80 IBU 

Grab a 22oz. or a six pack to enjoy this well-crafted seasonal India Pale Ale. Drink responsibly. 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Elvis Perkins | The Chapel

Elvis Perkins | The Chapel
Last Saturday night Elvis Perkins played The Chapel on Valencia in San Francisco. I was stoked for the show and on a vintage store we happened upon. I scored an amazing Troy Robe blanket, as well as, an Ely western shirt with pearl snaps, thanks Schauplatz. Feeling like a bandit we made our way into the venue. I was really into the use of space. The Chapel has a minimalistic layout. An old choir balcony has been transformed into a bar with the best seats in the house. The spot you should go to if arriving early. With limited seating and an aura of intimacy, The Chapel seems worthy.

The Mukluks consist of Peter Bingen and Monique Wentzel. They play soft and tell stories over the smooth hum of a lone guitar, or even a dulcimer. For as awesome as the venue was, the crowd left a lot to be desired. Rude is when the audience fails to realize they are not the attraction. I felt bad for the artists. I heard a young man next to me say, "worst audience ever." Another women shouted, "shut-up." Peter used the outburst to loosen tension by asking comically, "was that meant for us."

This was my first time seeing Elvis Perkins live. As he and his band-mates moved from the green-room staircase to their places on-stage, I was seeing a different portrait than the one I had imagined. His moppy appearance was juxtaposed by his tucked-in shirt. Sauntering to the mic he tuned-up while beginning to tell us that he had lost his grandmother in Marrakesh earlier in the day. With the sadness of such a statement he did an amazing job of sharing both feeling and memories. His presence was warm like the pink jacket he was sporting. The same pink that his Grandmother had made fashionable in the 30's. The gravity of such news most likely set the subdued tone for what would be an adult lullaby throughout the night. 

"Good Friday" began with the warmth of a harmonium. His voice is the type that you want to hear. This was a good first song with a bit of pace. A little later he played "On Rotation" from his new album, I Aubade. It was clear early on that keyboardist, Mitchell Robe, was more than capable of  working remote, yet strong nuances into each song—making them better, richer, more like the score of a film. A couple of tracks passed before we heard, "My Kind," which incorporated some sly slap-drumming. The song's persistence unfolded, evolving with the Moog to a spookier side. Once again the keys were killing it. The next number sounded off with Elvis showcasing his harmonica. 

As the trio made fairytale like music, Mr. Perkins offered us the chance at nostalgia. He would play "Sleep Sandwich," off of his record, Ash Wednesday. Then came "Gasolina," another new one. My favorite song of the night was next, a rousing version of "Hey." The band was playing rock and roll on this one as Elvis sang, 'I'll take you anywhere.' An autoharp appeared as the bassist switched instruments. "Doomsday" turned out to be a display of vocal prowess, Elvis' voice was entirely captivating. The same guitar he picked all night was the main tool in building one song onto the other. "My $2," "Hogus Pogus," and "The Passage of the Black Genie," allowed for detours with Perkins playing flute while the bassist hit the vibes. The striker at the space station stayed put behind the veil of keys, knobs, and Moog trickery. "Shampoo," the hit track from ...In Dearland confirmed the crescendo. They all sizzled while he pleaded, 'you are worth your weight in gold, you are worth your weigh in sorrow.' The words to "Shampoo" mean something to me. I cannot explain it. My only hope is that I'm worth my weight.

He would encore with "While You Were Sleeping," beginning solo before the band reemerged. The finisher, if you will, was the opening lyrics to the last song of the night, "All Today."

Oh to be somewhere
Or somebody else
Oh to have someone
All to myself

Say that you love me
Say good lines
Say the love you have
Won't never die

Just drop the mic Elvis. eightychoices.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Weekend Plans

It's the middle of May, whoa? If you're looking for something to get into this weekend there's a handful of diverse concerts making stops in The Bay area. Whether you enjoy virtuosic bluegrass, modern hip hop, or contemporary bands rooted in singer songwriter nostalgia, there's hopefully a   live show for you. View the list below.

May 14-17 | Rhiannon Giddens and the Carolina Chocolate Drops | SF Jazz Center
This North Carolina band is otherworldly. Rhiannon is easily one of the better fiddle/banjo players in modern music and her voice in angelic. Her band-mates can burn it down too. Tickets run between $25 and $45. They play traditional Afro-centric bluegrass that's rooted in real soul. Listen to their stories and please get out of your seat.

May 15 | Lord Huron | Fox Theater
Lord Huron has been gaining steam for a couple of years now. They're incredibly tight musically with  lyricism that is both familiar and worthy, as if smithing a story. Lonesome Dreams, their debut album, had a hold on me. Three years later they've released Strange Trails, which layers the listener in warmth like a handmade quilt. Other times their sonic tales haunt as the security blanket gets pulled away—sad and energetic are not mutually exclusive. This is going to be good.

May 15 | Timber Timbre | The Fillmore 
Call it what you will, mood music, freak folk, psyche-blues, what have you. Or call it nothing and just enjoy the unique qualities that allow Timber Timbre to create landscapes of energy. Their grooves bend between the world they are in and the one the audience thinks they know. They make me aware of conundrums. Confusion is a learning tool and they've taught themselves how to channel the periphery. Intrigued?

May 16 | Elvis Perkins | The Chapel 
Intimate venue, superb songwriting, hip neighborhood, must be Elvis Perkins in the Mission. His songs ebb with honest subtlety. Sounds and words mix like wind cooling your senses. His latest effort, I Aubade, soothes, almost lulling us away from the truth in each verse. Selfishly, I hope to hear a number or two from Elvis Perkins In Dearland, one of my favorite records. Enjoy the setting and  the sooth-saying.

May 16 | Ilovemakonnen | The Independent
"I'm a not so regular person in a not so regular world, and I'm just making the most of it and embracing myself." Sounds like someone who can recognize the moment. This young MC/beat-maker has something to say and finds humorous of ways of doing so. Fresh content and an eclectic scene are sure to unfold inside The Independent.  

May 17 | Wavy Gravy's 79th Birthday | Sonoma Mountain
Join Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Steve Kimock & Friends, The California Honeydrops and Hot Buttered Rum for a mini-festival in Rohnert Park. Wavy Gravy will be the host of this SEVA benefit event. Have fun this weekend, there are plenty of options.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Lagunitas Live

Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma is primed for another awesome season of free outdoor concerts. Recently they released their schedule of events—it's pretty amazing. Peep the list to the left. 

Trampled By Turtles kick off the 2015 lineup and unfortunately, tickets are already gone. But there's plenty more to see if you're social media savvy. I suggest checking in on Facebook of the artist(s) you're most interested in seeing to get ticket information.

The super secret show is usually rad. No one knows who it is, even after acquiring tickets—you just have to take a chance. Last year Lucius played an outstanding secret show. 

Hanni El Khatib, Shovels & Rope, and Charles Bradley with his Extraordinaries, are the performers you should not miss. See you at the Lagunitas mini amphitheater


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

PUBlication: Boonville Review

Boonville became a beer mecca on May 2nd as it does every year, by hosting perhaps the best beer fest in the west. This event is pretty much a can't miss (I did miss last year due to a wedding). Each time I've attended it's been a blast—even that time I was mangled the morning after. This year I was far more adult. Agent M and I set up camp while mentally and physically priming ourselves for mass ale consumption, we did well on this front. With a good crew of friends nearby and my younger cousin, who was a first-timer, it felt familiar yet exciting. There were seven breweries that I had to hit. I only missed one, Oakshire out of Oregon. So without rambling too long I'll get into my favorites and skip writing about those that didn't live up to my hype. 

My first of the day was an Easy Jack session IPA from Firestone Walker—I'd had it before and I'll have it again. It's one of the best session IPA's out there. It's dry hopped with a global array from North America, Europe and New Zealand. 4.5% | 45-50 IBU

Next up and a few tents away was Ballast Point, father of the Sculpin. I've had plenty of their magical suds and still had never had Grapefruit Sculpin*** on draught. The nose was even more citric and fresh. I can't believe how good this beer is. It has ascended into my all-time desert-island list. Already a darling in the bottle, on tap it's even more fragrant. With, if you can believe it, a smoother finish. Hopping an ale along five stages does produce something unique—the gold-medal standard for fruit infused IPA's. 7% | 70 IBU 

Drakes puts out a great line of beer. I've found most of their stuff to be on point. One particular session of theirs I'd never tasted was the Alpha Session IPA. It had a nuttiness up front, but it was the crazy good aftertaste that encouraged me to get another one immediately. Multiple hop varietals and 2-row barley create this delicate yet fierce limited seasonal session. 3.8% | 50 IBU

Rubicon is representing the capitol city quite nicely. Having been acquainted with the Hop Sauce, I knew they could kick out an awesome IPA. At Beer Fest I wanted to dive into something new from them. I went for the Monkey Knife Fight (great name). I'll be looking to pick up the Knife Fight whenever I can. Mount Hood hops are used initially and then dry hopping occurs later with Cascade hops. 5.4%

Faction also brought the heat. As far as pale ale's go, this was one of the two best, more on that note later. Simply named the Faction Pale Ale***, this beast epitomizes the west coast influence on being hop forward. The medley of hops dictate all the action up front. The finish is so smooth. That's all I kept saying, "smooth." Considerable amounts of Simcoe, CTZ and Mosaic hops produce the profile. 5.2% | 45 IBU 

The best "Kölsch" of the day, or any day for that matter, belongs to Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. They were new to me and won me over. They two dudes manning the tent were also super friendly and knowledgeable, one of them was a brewer. The FMB 101*** is Kölsch inspired, fermented like an ale and cold-conditioned like a lager. Straight delicious. 4.8% | 20 IBU

Berryessa Brewing Company creates some damn fine beer, they were also one of my two favorite breweries of the day (the other is below). Keep in mind I was frequenting brewers that were new to me or hard to get locally. The brew master at Berryessa is a Washingtonian who set up shop in the small town of Winters. As for double IPA's, Double Tap*** was the finest I tasted in Boonville. 8.5% | 70+ IBU

Berryessa's other libation was a Session Saison, which was phenomenal. There was a mellow sweetness mingling in the foggy body, with slight notes of banana and tangy citrus. 4%

Pizza Port was one of the two breweries I wanted to taste from the most. The other shall remain nameless. As mentioned earlier, I had two favorite pale's, The Ladies Man*** was the other. An assortment of citrus fruits came through first, then a mix of floral memories. Not too bitter and good on the back end. Being on the pale ale train was rewarding. 5.7%

Pizza Port was also offering a blonde. I'm pretty sure it was Revelation, sorry for the lack of certainty. It was Belgian styled and banana was prevalent, which I like. Thanks for pouring. 8.5%


*** denotes favorite beers | underlined denotes favorite breweries

Monday, May 4, 2015


Steph Curry is the 2015 NBA MVP. Congratulations, keep cooking the Western Conference up. Curry received 100 of a possible 130 first place votes. He's the second Warrior to win the award, Wilt won it in 1960 when the team was still in Philadelphia. This Warrior came to play.

Curry | NBA MVP | 2015 

Results: 1. Curry 2. Harden 3. LeBron (only the third player to finish in the top-5 ten consecutive years.) 4. Westbrook 5. Davis 6. Paul 


Friday, May 1, 2015

May Day

This weekend is packed with things to do. Whether you want to get out and enjoy the beauty of northern California, or perhaps relax at home with a bevy of sporting events, there's something for everyone on May 2nd. Check out the list below.

Festival of Feathers - The third annual Festival of Feathers,  hosted by the Bird Rescue Center, as wells as their 21 resident raptors, takes place in Santa Rosa and runs from 11am-3pm.

Boonville Beer Fest - Let the debauchery commence. This annual first camping trip marks the 19th anniversary of the Legendary Boonville Beer Festival. I'll be attending this party, so a follow-up review is in order. Drink responsibly and Enjoy

Sneaker Con - Sneaker heads beware—you will spend money. Richmond's Craneway Pavilion hosts this touring collection of kicks. It Runs from 11am-6pm.

The Kentucky Derby - The most exciting two minutes in sports is always at Churchill Downs. With an anticipated start time of 3:24pm PT, get ready to watch the deepest field in years. I'll be drinking beers while listening to, "and down the stretch they come!"

Clippers v. Spurs (Game 7) - Post the big horse race you can continue to veg-out on sports with the best first round match-up the NBA has seen in quite sometime. It's too bad that one of these teams will be done, but damn it's been entertaining. The game kicks of at 5pm PT.

Mayweather v. Pacquiao  - MGM - Las Vegas - 8:30pm PT. This is the biggest fight in years. What more can you want? It looked as though Mayweather was sending straight beat-down laser beams at Manny. He was all business. The MGM Grand was pro Pacquiao to my surprise. After watching the weigh-in live, I think Floyd's 'bout to go medieval. Money v. Pac Man. Go Money! U.S.A. 

Mezzanine - For a late-night capper the Mezzanine is offering up some beats in the form of Griz and The Floozies. This Party's sure to run late. Have fun this weekend and be safe.