March 3, 2024

Here are updates about live music around the Bay. First up, Kilowatt in SF’s Mission district which changed ownership late last year. They’re booking hard-edged bands for now but as the saying goes: scratch the surface of any punk and you’ll find a cowboy underneath. If an Americana band finds its way to Kilowatt, Hicks with Sticks will let you know. Kilowatt’s bare bones website is under construction but it does offer a “subscribe” option. Find Kilowatt’s upcoming events on Facebook and Instagram.

A change of ownership is also underway at Gestalt which is across the street from Kilowatt, and it is a venue where bands familiar to HWS, like Whiskey Pills, have played. Gestalt has faltered due to management issues and this change comes at the right time.

Asiento, also in the Mission, had a brief run as Madam Racecar but that phase hit a wall so it’s back to business as usual without live music. A similar wall was hit by Westwood, a western themed bar and restaurant on Lombard in SF. It opened before the pandemic and featured live music on Wednesdays, but live music appears to have been sacrificed to their mechanical bull.

In pre-pandemic times, Hotel Utah, also in SF, offered live music most days of the month. Now, weekends are booked and weeknight music is slowly ramping up as well. Speisekammer, a German restaurant in Alameda, has resumed music every weekend including HWS-flavored bands like Jinx Jones and Mitch Polzak.

Little Hill Lounge, a bar in El Cerrito, is becoming the go-to venue for East Bay Americana. Trans-Pecos Department of Dust and Wire, Hank Rother, Moonshine Maybelline and Mike Hellman Band are among its weekend bands and Nashville Honeymoon plays there every second Thursday.

Club Deluxe on Haight Street closed for remodeling last autumn. It needed floor joist repairs and ADA-complaint bathrooms among other things, but opening walls and floors in old SF buildings brings unexpected surprises. This summer seems like a reasonable guess at its reopening date.

We close with the Baltic Kiss, formerly The Baltic located in Point Richmond. This restaurant and bar had a thriving music scene in the ’00s, but things went down ending with it closing for a few years. Now it’s alive and well having been taken over by former owners of the Black Star Pirate BBQ who are serving up a tasty mix of music and Louisiana cuisine. There is new life in the place and good vibrations make it a great place for a date.

A complete list of venues that host live Americana, and links to their calendars, can always be found on the Hicks with Sticks Venues page.