Fall began yesterday, and perhaps you noticed, as I have, what a splendor of shows have come with the seasonal changing of the guard. What we lack in fall color, we more than make up for in a preponderance of performances.
Tonight, Thursday, September 24, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, Trails and Ways return to their honorary stomping grounds in S.B., where they recently blazed a trail as the showstopping openers for White Arrows in the winter. Since then, they have put out a new album, titled Pathology, which singer Keith Brown says is inspired by societal and climate anxieties and conceals a dark heart beneath its shiny exterior. “There’s a tension between that glossy, sugary space and the emotions for us that are very raw and real,” he said. Hear their grooving new song “Skeletons” — an irresistible bumper written to capture the scene of a post-apocalyptic nightclub — and catch them at SOhO to see why they are one of the biggest and best new bands to come out of Northern California’s East Bay.
Saturday, September 26, brings some rock to Velvet Jones, where one of S.B.’s most promising new bands, Me & Dinosaur, will release its debut EP. Having been around for a few years now, it’s hard to believe it’s the first official release from these area favorites. May it be the beginning of a veritable Jurassic World of good tidings for the band — with fewer accidents.
The following night, Sunday, September 27, ’90s shoegazer act Swervedriver plays the same stage. The criminally unknown band is often likened to its somewhat more famous U.K. brethren of the shoegazer “scene” — as with most genres, their affiliation was more a lazy media invention than anything — and has found some continued longevity since reuniting a few years ago. Gateway Drugs open (as gateway drugs often do). Alternatively, at SOhO, young pop songstress Zella Day promises a great live show; Indy writer Ryan Mandell recently quoted her as saying, “I think that my live shows are what are driving my record and that people have a very real, visceral reaction at my shows.” (Read Ryan’s full story about the young songstress at independent.com/zelladay.)
Fall brings change, but it often also signifies a return. What better time for homegrown singer Malynda Hale to revisit her roots when she plays SOhO on Tuesday, September 29. The entrepreneurial and powerful singer, who moves crowds with her songs of deep emotion and devotion, has been a busy bee since graduating from Dos Pueblos about a decade ago. Not merely a singer, she also appears on numerous television shows, is the spokesperson for vegan makeup company Valana Minerals and founded The meTOO! Campaign, which promotes equality for marginalized couples. Having worked tirelessly for years, Hale is now able to pursue her passions full-time, but it took some humility to achieve such an impressive résumé. “One of the things I’ve learned is get rid of your pride and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she said. “There will be a lot of trial and error, a lot of hit or miss, and you just have to keep trying and not give up, and if it’s something you really want, you will find a way to get it.”
And as fall closes the door on one season, we bid a fond farewell to Bill Bold, who played with the Anthony Pietro band, Gallows Pole, the Soul Biscuit Band, and others. “He was a kind, gentle, soft-spoken soul whose passion for soul and funk was unmatched, and he leaves behind a family and an entire community of musicians who loved and will sorely miss him,” says friend Eddie Diamond. We salute you, Mr. Bold. Here’s to an awesome solo at the great gig in the sky.