Concerts in Your Car
I made it to my first Concert in Your Car (but to be clear, it was in my car), last week when I saw Third Eye Blind. The main problem with being a single person and trying to abide by the social distancing rules is that I have to go to a concert in my car by myself. There is no six feet of distancing in my car. I also can’t go out with friends to dinner as the tables are not six feet in length, but that’s different story for another time. But honestly, I really didn’t mind the concert by myself, I’ve been attending shows solo for years taking photos and milling around while enjoying the music. In any case, I packed a dinner with beverage and headed over to the fairgrounds early enough to get a good spot.
Well it turns out, if you have excellent eyesight, there really isn’t a bad spot since they have large screens facing out on each side of the stage which is set up in the middle of the parking lot. And as for sound, you’re not listening to the concert via oversized speakers damaging your eardrums, instead you’re listening at a level you control in your car via personal devices. I used my car’s radio which actually has a nice speaker system. I minimized my eardrum damage by opting to turn up the speakers much later in the show. The band put on a great performance; I would wager it was even better than the last time they played in Ventura at the fair two years ago. Lead singer Stephen Jenkins quipped that they hadn’t played together since March 9 and didn’t even have a rehearsal or soundcheck; they clearly enjoyed performing again.
The crew from Concerts in Your Car have your safety in mind. It’s not a minimal crew either, from the front entrance all the way to the security personnel (some with large scary looking dogs) who patrol the grounds and gently remind those who have placed their face masks around their necks, to put them back up on the their face when they were outside their cars. But the best feature is the stage itself with a huge screen on each side and professional lighting and camera work. It was top-notch. The one attraction I did not participate in was the Zoom link where the large video screens featured people waiting for the show to start. I opted out of that feature because…well let’s be honest, it is a little sad sitting in your car by yourself waiting for a concert to start.
One more thing, if you do actually sit in your car and not outside in a chair or in the back of your truck, then you might want to bring something to wash your windows with as you will be driving through a dirt field in line to enter the fairgrounds. It’s not that you’re driving through the dirt field that’s the issue, but rather everyone else is too, and it’s the dirt from their tires that land on your front windshield. Lesson learned, pass it along.
There are still a number of shows lined up, and if the rumor mill is correct, a few more dates could be added. Still to come, Sublime with Rome for two shows on Friday, August 7 (5:30 and 9:30 pm), Rodney Atkins and Ross Ellis on Saturday, August 8 and Fitz and the Tantrums on Saturday, August 29. And don’t forget about Theater in your Car brought to you by the good folks at the Rubicon Theater with three nights for each performance of Forever Plaid, the 30th Reunion Concert from August 3 through the 5; Jimmy Messina and Friends August 17 through the 19 (the 18th features Tomothy B. Schmit and the 19th has Kenny Loggins); and Music of the Knights will run September 7 through 9 with special guest star Ted Neeley of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” All ticket information, and additional shows and movies can be found on their website, www.ConcertsInYourCar.com.
New Music and Projects
Alastair Greene’s email newsletter just revealed that Greene recently worked with former Dishwalla vocalist, J.R. Richards on a previously unreleased track from the Dishwalla 5 record. The track is called “Winter Sun (Piano Version)” and is on the maxi-disc version of the album now available via Bandcamp and all the usual digital and physical means of getting your music these days.
Crooked Eye Tommy with their brand of deep seeded blues and smokey southern rock will have their official CD release party down at the Oxnard performing Arts Center where they’re having their own version of drive-in style concerts. The party is scheduled for Friday, August 21 with sets from Jim Gustin and Truth Jones, Guy Martin and Jon English before the band takes the stage. Ticket details have not been revealed at press time, but you’ll want to secure that date on your calendar.
What was going to be a live event is now an online live streaming concert of “Delta by the Beach” from the Namba Performing Arts Space. This promises to be more than your average livestream with a screening of the film “True Delta,” an award-winning short documentary by Lee Quinby and Daniel Cowen that explores the Clarksdale, Mississippi roots of blues music. The live music will be from Doc Ventura, Milo Sledge and Eddie Layman.
The livestreaming event costs $10 and benefits Namba & the musical artists. First out more at www.NambaArts.com/delta-by-the-beach/. The live performance on Saturday, August 8, will be streamed via Crowdcast and then it will be available for viewing for one month after.
The Ventura Music Festival continues to share a video weekly highlighting artist in a series they call VMF’s Music Connects digital festival. They are accepting submissions and all genres are accepted from classical, to pop to roots, to jazz and everything in between. The most recent video featured an amazing cover from MC15 – Time for Three. All previous videos are available for viewing as well and all absolutely free at www.VenturaMusicFestival.org.
There are a number of venues that are offering livestream concerts on a consistent basis including The Winery Ventura every Thursday evening, the Ojai Underground Exchange every Friday and Saturday, as well as the Grammy winning studio, Carbonite Studios, out of Ojai. They all promote their shows either via Facebook, on their respective websites or via an email blast. VenturaRocks.com does its best to list them as well.
The latest installment of the VenturaRockSpot is up and live with an interview with my good friend Tommy Marsh of Crooked Eye Tommy. What is normally a fifteen-minute show turned out to be thirty as we had much ground to cover with the aforementioned new release, Coffee and Pain. I also get to play the new video of the title track in its entirety. You can find the video on the homepage of VenturaRocks.com.
The Pam Baumgardner Music Hour
I continue to produce my radio show from my home studio and I’m getting pretty good at it, you can hardly tell it’s all done remotely except for the occasional barking dog in the background. I share music from local artists in and around Ventura, as well as expanding to include the 805, but I also share music from bands who come to the 805 which covers a lot. The field has talent, there’s no doubt about that, and a lot of artists are continuing to produce from home as well. And while production on their music may not sound studio produced, it still communicates during this COVID-19 time of social distancing.
I’m always looking for more music to share, new or old, and if you have something you’d like to have played on FM radio (and world wide as we’re on the internet), just drop me at line at [email protected]. The Pam Baumgardner Music Hour airs at 104.1 FM in Ventura with a new show every two weeks debuting on a Tuesday at 5 pm, with rebroadcasts on Friday at 5 and Sundays at noon.
I’m certainly looking forward to getting out and seeing our local artists being able to play once again in a safe environment and hopefully while the weather is still great. I think it’s safe enough if an artist, duo or small ensemble is playing outdoors, with social distancing in place and where everyone who is not eating, drinking or singing on stage is wearing a mask. Maybe they have to add no dancing allowed. But let’s get serious, it’s no riskier, than just dining out; you’ve just added a little entertainment and given these guys some much deserved work!
Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or live) you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to Pa[email protected], and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.