Talent runs so deep and is so plentiful this weekend that it can’t help but spill over into the clubs. Here’s a Hicks with Sticks look at what’s going on after the sun sets on Hardly Strictly‘s three-day weekend run. Slim‘s and Great American Music Hall, which book the festival, hosts Calexico/Robert Ellis at Slim’s on Saturday, also Nick Lowe/Sturgill Simpson at GAMH on Friday, followed by Billy Bragg for a seated show on Saturday. The Bragg show is supported by “special guests” who, as we shall see, will be all over San Francisco this weekend. Bragg also plays an earlier Saturday show (3pm) at Amoeba in S.F.
Case in point: The Freakons plus special guests at The Chapel on Friday. The Freakons, Freakwater plus the Mekons, generally operating out of Chicago, have many friends playing the festival, and Rico Bell, the accordionist for the Mekons, has many more locally from the late ’90s and early 2000s when he lived in the Bay Area. Steve Earle/Justin Townes Earle play The Chapel on Sunday, listed as headlining and opening acts, but of course likely to perform at least a few songs together.
The Independent goes local by hosting Hot Buttered Rum/Front Country on Friday and Sonoma County’s The Easy Leaves with the East Bay’s West Coast Ramblers on Saturday. San Francisco resident, Greg Yanito of the B-Stars, will also on hand Saturday as a DJ and the host of a free dance lesson. It’ll be Hippy Paradise Night on Sunday when Leftover Salmon checks in “with friends.”
It’s a big bluegrass weekend at the The Plough and the Stars on Clement Street, a short walk from the festival. Shelby Ash presents Big Jugs/Mountain Men/Deep Chatham on Friday and comes right back with Windy Hill/Little Country Giants/Steep Ravine on Saturday.
Rockers Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express host two early shows, both starting at 7:30 Friday and Saturday at the Make-Out Room. This is one of the longest-running Hardly Strictly sideshows and consistently one of the best. Its early start time makes it perfect for catching double shows since The Chapel is just down Valencia Street, as is Amnesia which hosts The Deslondes/Eight Bells/Pony Hunt on Saturday. Amnesia’s weekend is bracketed by regulars Misisipi Mike and the Midnight Gamblers on Thursday and Front Country on Monday.
The Dead Winter Carpenters headline Friday and Saturday shows at Brick and Mortar with Lonesome Locomotive/Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah on the first night and Ocha la Rosa/Jigsaw Rose on the second.
The Riptide, partly owned by Les James of Red Meat, has emerged as a player in the alt-Hardly Strictly sweepstakes. Conor Oberst and Jenny Lewis (appearing at the Bridge School concert later this month) both dropped by last year, but the big show is expected to be on Sunday when Christopher Ford hosts his monthly Hillbilly Hootenanny. This hoot has always been popular with local performers, but now that the Riptide is on the H-S performers’ radar… who knows?
Velo Rouge, a cozy Sunset District café about a mile and a half from the festival will be bursting with local talent as Jeanie & Chuck, Bohemian Highway, Misisipi Mike Wolf, The T-Sisters, Pam Brandon & Maurice Tani, Quake City Jug Band, the Shut-Ins, and who knows who else perform. If so many performers out-number the audience, is it an after-party or a house party?
Though not necessarily connected to H-S, Saturday marks Kit Lopez‘s final show with The Branded Men at Speisekammer in Alameda. She’s looking to start an 80’s band while The Branded Men plan to carry on with Tom Armstrong at least once each month and “special guests,” like Dave Gonzalez of The Paladins at other times.
See the sidebar on this page for more from the locals and here is the link to Hardly Strictly’s schedule.