Feature Image courtesy of Eric Molyneaux
Every year the state capital of California throws an entire summer of concerts in Cesar Chavez Park in the heart of downtown. I decided to attend the show featuring Secret Band(members of DGD), Eternity Forever(Kurt Travis, members of Strawberry Girls), and 2 other local bands: A Foreign Affair, and Lost Things. As well they had a DJ set by Billy Lane to start off the entire night and during changeovers between bands. The entire concert was free, but bands did have some merch for sale, including Kurt Travis’ label Esque Records. For me, the coolest thing about this particular show was that all of the bands were Sacramento locals or at least had a good following in the area.
I got stuck in traffic on the way from Chico, so unfortunately I missed Lost Things; luckily someone had a live stream going of their set though so I was able to watch it on the way. Even from the video, the band was playing great and bringing the kind of energy that was needed for the whole night. People kept piling into the event as Lost Things tore through their set, showing that when something is free, people will take advantage of it. You can find Lost Things most recent release titled “Tales of Tellers” which was released February of this year, as well links to social media I could find down below.
The next band to play, and perhaps the one to surprise me the most was the other local band named A Foreign Affair(AFA). With wailing vocals, soothing guitar tones, and tons of energy, the band really brought their all to this performance. Alex, the frontman, even admitted that his first show he ever attended was at a Concert In The Park at the same park they were playing at, I’m sure giving him some nostalgia and love for his city. Another really cool thing I noticed was CaliberTV being there to film most of the show, and I’m guessing they were the ones recording a music video for the boys in AFA. Currently the band is in the process of recording something new with producer Dryw Owens(A Lot Like Birds, From Indian Lakes, Hearts Like Lions). Most recent release from August of 2016, titled “Awake”, is posted down below, as well as their FB page.
For me, the next band to play was probably one of the biggest highlights of the night, being that it was their first performance ever as a band. Eternity Forever is comprised of Kurt Travis(DGD/A Lot Like Birds), Ben Rosett (Strawberry Girls), and Brandon Ewing(CHON). Joining them was Zachary Garren, also of Strawberry Girls, on bass and Kurt Travis’ sister doing harmonies with him. While he did the actual harmonies in the studio, Travis mentioned to me and some others after the show that he felt with how layered the recording is, having a second vocalist to do harmonies was needed. Overall, probably a good decision on their part because the performance sounded almost better than the recordings. Only thing that sucked was that the band only has 4 songs, so their performance was fairly short. The band has plans to release a 2nd EP later this year, and possibly even a tour after that. You can find their first release at their bandcamp(as well Apple Music & Spotify too), which happened to be released through Esque Records(Travis’ label) and Spirit Vision Records(Rosett’s label)
Finally, to close out the night we had the always thrilling, and crazy talented guys of Secret Band to close out the night. The band features 3 members of Dance Gavin Dance: Jon Mess, Will Swan, and Matt Mingus; along with Jordan McCoy and Martin Bianchini to join them on bass and guitar. Being a DGD side project of sorts, you can very much tell where their sound primarily comes from, yet with that they bring something even heavier than DGD has executed. Between Mess’ flawless screaming, Swan and Bianchini’s technical guitar work, McCoy’s driving and groovy bass lines, and Mingus’ pounding drums; the band simply knows what the fuck they are doing. This was the point in the show where a pit actually formed, also the time when the crowd was at its largest in size. Secret band is in the process of releasing another full length sometime in the near future, but you can find all their previous music at the bandcamp(iTunes & Spotify as well). Check their FB to keep up to date, however they hardly keep it up to date since it’s not their main project.
Overall, the concert was a blast and there was never that dreaded point of some concerts where you just want to leave already. The whole Concerts in the Park idea seems like a great way to get a community engaged and listening to music they wouldn’t normally go to if they had to pay. Yet, by far the coolest thing about this particular show was that all of the bands on the bill(from bigger acts to the local ones) all at one point or another had called Sacramento their home. If you live anywhere in the area, I highly suggest checking out any of the concerts, they’re happening all the way into July and they’re all 100% FREE!