Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

El Rey says “Adios”

In Entertainment on April 15, 2013 at 8:00 am
Vicente Fernandez Sr performs in front of a sold out Stockton Arena

Vicente Fernandez Sr performs in front of a sold out Stockton Arena

You’re underestimating how popular Vicente Fernandez is. I sure did. I thought I knew what I was getting in to. The 73-year-old Latin sensation has released over 60 albums with a majority of them achieving gold status or better and is the undisputed king of ranchera music. He has sold out arenas all over the world for decades and has sold out the Stockton Arena three times since its opening. His latest effort was to be his last as he embarks on the final leg of his farewell tour, a string of makeup dates for shows he had to cancel after a lump that was later revealed to be benign was discovered on his liver. He is insanely, incredibly popular and one of the music industry’s true legends. Knowing all of that still doesn’t really prepare you for the moment he arrives on stage.
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Events Calendar for the Weekend of 12/15-12/18

In Entertainment on December 14, 2011 at 11:02 am

Thursday Dec. 15th

ABA Basketball at Lincoln High School 7pm

No, it’s not the 1970s and Dr J won’t be slumming it in a high school gym this season. These days the American Basketball Association is a fledgling minor league composed of teams with varying degrees of financial solvency. Stockton’s offering is the Port City Pirates, and on Thursday they’ll be playing what I assume is their division rival the Richmond Rockets (all games during the season are apparently played within the team’s division to presumably save on travel costs). The Pirates’ previous outing was a 22 point victory over something called the Shizuoka Gymrats (final score 142-120), so the league is apparently defense optional.

Friday Dec. 16th

Decemberween at the Plea for Peace Center 7pm $5

Speak for Yourself, the Vapidales, Skouts Honor, and The Electric Shoes play the Plea for Peace Center this weekend with the theme of covers. They’ll all be covering music by their favorite bands including New Found Glory and MxPx.

Saturday Dec. 17th

Hip-hop at the Plea for Peace Center 7pm

In a departure from their normal offerings, the Plea for Peace Center will feature multiple local hip-hop acts on Saturday. Young Cee, Boonut, Daynut, Filthy Family Ent., SOSA, and some live DJs will all be there for your enjoyment

Sunday Dec. 18th

“White Christmas” at the Bob Hope Theatre 2pm $8

If you haven’t gotten your fix of Christmas events yet, then head on down to the Bob Hope Sunday for a showing of the Bing Crosby classic “White Christmas”.

Events Calendar for the Weekend of 12/8-12/11

In Entertainment on December 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Thursday Dec. 8th

CPAC Texas Roadhouse Dinner Fundraiser at the CPAC Center 5pm-7pm $12

If you love Texas Roadhouse’s pulled pork and ribs but don’t feel like driving to Elk Grove or Tracy then Child Abuse Prevention Council has you covered with their second annual fundraiser. You don’t even have to park your car since the meals will be delivered drive-thru style at the CPAC Center on California St. Supporting a great organization while eating BBQ on the cheap is what we like to call win-win.

Friday Dec. 9th

Jazz on the Mile at Whirlow’s 6:30pm

Jazz on the Miracle Mile! Be there! (This is literally all the information given about the event)

Saturday Dec. 10th

Holiday Concert at the Lincoln Center Brick Walk 2:00pm Free

Frank Bailey, Travis Vega, Tony Washington, and more will be at Lincoln Center this weekend to play a free holiday concert for those feeling especially Christmasy this weekend.

Sunday Dec. 11th

Indie Night at the Plea For Peace Center 6:00pm $5-$10

Sunday marks the final day of the Plea For Peace Center’s 3 year anniversary spectacular. The lineup off local bands includes Flibert, Alitak, The Switch, Dufferman in Carrels, Sweaty Fat Kid, and The Village. One of those bands involves the Port City Sun’s very own Adam Messinger, so be sure to stop by any day this weekend for what are sure to be some great shows celebrating one of Stockton’s great independant venues.

“The Migration Tour” comes to Stockton

In Entertainment on December 3, 2011 at 1:42 am

Wednesday night the Plea for Peace Center hosted Chris Staples, Gardening, Not Architecture, and the Corduroys.  While sometimes local bands take the stage, this was not one of those nights.  Gardening, Not Architecture and Chris Staples have been on their “Migration Tour” across the country, stopping in Patterson the night before.   While I love my Stockton bands, it was nice to see some music coming out of Seattle and Sacramento.

The evening started as Chris Staples took the stage.  Staples’ music hit me right out of the gate as he sang about Cincinnati and how it has fallen from the beautiful city it used to be.  His lyrics were poetic yet easy to relate to.  There is something compelling about a man pouring his heart and soul out through a guitar and singing.  I can’t really explain it, because its something you can only experience when you’re in the performers presence.  Staples’ words grabbed the crowd by the ear and gently strung it along the same path he walks.

Gardening, Not Architecture was the next performer on stage.  While Staples just was, GNA had a little more show elements to her performance.  To start with there were no lights except for a wall of dancing lights behind her.  There was a laptop set up next to her that played backing tracks as she played bass.  It was quite impressive to see her sing and play all the bass parts with precision.  The music of GNA was melodic, but her voice reminded me of the likes of Veruca Salt or Liz Phair.  Electornic drums, gutiar, bass, and a variety of other bells and whistles came together to form a nice harmony.  While she played all tracks from her first album, “First LP”, she revealed during the set that earlier in the week she had released a second album entitled “Saboteur”.  After hearing her set, I’m excited to hear more.  All of her music is available on iTunes and  You can find more information about her at, as well.

Video courtesy of Brian Bautista

The last band to take the stage was The Corduroys.  They were composed of Autumn Sky, Adrian Bourgeois and Brian Jennings.  All of the memebers hailed from Sacramento.  While they were relatively new as a band, all of them are established as solo musicians.  This brought a different feel to each of their songs, as they rotated through the three songwriters’ set lists.  Autumn and Brian both played guitar, while Adrian swapped between piano and guitar.  Early in their set they had to fight through technical problems but they didn’t let that stop them.  Their voices combined to form a smooth super voice which had quite a bit of texture to it.  As far as musical style goes, I would say that they skewed more towards the country/adult alternative side of things.  While it wasn’t my favorite style of music, their politeness on stage would make it difficult for even Stalin to dislike them.  He could probably do it though, because Stalin was a mean jerk.  The set lasted for the better part of an hour as they played song after song.

Overall the night was fun, and well worth the $5 entry fee.  The Plea for Peace Center continues to draw acts from all over as well as focus on the local scene.  The talent in the room was huge but I was rather saddened that more people didn’t make an attempt to come out.  While the Plea for Peace seems to have a decent turn out for their weekend shows, they do run a variety of shows during the week.  This was a good show that the weekend crowd missed out on.

Events Calendar for the Weekend of 12/1-12/4

In Entertainment on November 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Thursday Dec. 1st

El Concilio “Navidad in El Valle” Holiday Tamale Fundraiser at the Stockton Civic Auditorium Lunch: 11am-2pm Dinner: 5pm-8pm $10

Do you love fresh tamales like me but don’t feel like stalking random Hispanic-looking people in the Wal-Mart parking lot hoping they’ll offer to sell you tamales out of the trunk of their car like some sort of corn meal related drug deal? Then El Concilio’s got you covered with their annual tamale fundraiser. This year the proceeds will go towards food baskets for needy families in the area. $10 gets you two tamales, beans, and rice. They have to go meals but you can also head inside for the full event which features music, a raffle, pictures with Santa, and the Ballet Folkloricio Dancers. More information, including online ticket purchasing, is available at the El Concilio website.

Friday Dec. 2nd

Holiday Jazz Concert at the Yosemite Meat Market 7pm $10

If jazz and delicious food are your thing, you should head on down to the Yosemite Meat Market on Yosemite St Friday night for some holiday jazz music as perfomed by Wendi Maxwell and the Tres Hot Jazz Band.

209 Metal Showcase at the Plea for Peace Center 7pm $5

Bombs Overhead, Stainless Barrell, California Medication, Skry, Az’real, and Invader will unleash metal mayhem on Stockton Friday night, making the Plea for Peace Center the place to be for local metalheads.

Saturday Dec. 3rd

Delta Relfections Lighted Boat Parade at the Downtown Stockton Waterfront 5pm Free

In its 31st year, the Lighted Boat Parade is one of many local events that symbolizes he beginning of the holiday season. Decorated boats will fill the waterfront as the final part of a full day of downtown Christmas-themed events going on Saturday.

Sunday Dec. 4th

Santa Sunday at the Haggin Museum 1pm-4pm $5 ($2.50 for kids)

With the Christmas season in full swing the Haggin Museum gets in on the holiday fun on Sunday. Santa will be on hand for pictures with the kids as is usual for events like this. In addition to St. Nick the kids can scour the museum for slightly creepy looking elves that are mixed in to the museum’s normal displays. Also, free cookies and punch!

Plea For Peace Hosts Eclectic Local Showcase

In Entertainment on November 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Kismet Aura shares the positive energy.

Where in Stockton can you see 6 bands for $5? The Plea for Peace Center.  This past Sunday saw Bears, The Village, 5150, A Place Called Home, Kismet Aura, and Godspeed209 take the stage.  This was easily one of the most eclectic shows I’ve ever been to.  The show was like going to a smorgasbord with food I’ve never tasted before.  Each band was a sample of something new, with some tastes preferred over others.

The night started off with Bears.  While I arrived as they were finishing up, what I heard reminded me of a slightly less depressed Craft Spells.  Their synth played upbeats, as their guitarist hammered the same note pattern providing a delight to the ears.

As they stepped off, Village stepped on. This three piece band hammered on staccato rifts as their lead singer sang in a staccato rhythm.  The choppy guitar riffs provided a distinctly different sound.  The band hasn’t been formed very long, but they sound like the infant child of Talking Heads and Interpol.  With music this good, the band is definitely one to keep an eye out for.

Who else does it like Village? No one!

As the night progressed, the music shifted to heavier and harder stuff. While Bears skewed more popish, and Village were more rock-ish, 5150 were deep rifts that bellowed from the stalagmites of caves.  Their style was dark  and varied from fast to almost a slow pause.  The lead singer screamed his lyrics aggressively, and while it wasn’t necessarily my thing, there was a crowd for it.   Their music seemed to have no beginning and have no end with their speeding up and slowing of the gravely rifts.  Young teens lined against the wall playing what seemed to be a twisted game of red rover.  They would thrash back and forth from one side, slam dancing into each other all to the beat of the music.  5150’s lead singer would often hop in with them while singing.  This band had energy, and there is no denying that their music captured the crowd.

A Place Called Home followed them and was a slight step down from the pure aggression that 5150 brought.  I personally enjoyed them more than 5150, as they were able to take the thick rifts and various speeds and turn them into more melodious tunes.   My favorite part of their set was watching them interact with the crowd.  Slam dancing continued as they ripped through their songs with the guitarist, and the lead singer demanding the audience get involved with them.  Again, the band wasn’t really my cup of tea, but if you’re into heavy but melodic rock this might be for you.

As the previous two bands demanded much from the audience, a small crowd huddled around Kismet Aura.  Bob Lame and Kim Eng played drums and guitar respectively. It was a combination that produced songs you could tap your foot to.  These simple but fun songs radiated with intensity, and the guitar provided ambiances that lead the path.  Bob’s intensity on the drums was fun to watch as he trusted himself fully into the beat.  Like a wild man, Bob would sing a phrase repeated as he pounded the set. This would cue Kim to sing another repeated phrase.  With each song the crowd slowly grew, and they were truly a sight to catch.  The guitar evoked a Sonic Youth feel with its waves of chords.  Their voices meshed and sounded as if nothing else was important to say except for their lyrical repetition.  After the set ended Bob and Kim seemed rather unhappy with the performance, but I thought they were great.  If this was an off day, I can only imagine their perfect set.

The last band to take the stage was Godspeed209.  While I’ve only seen them once before, and liked them well enough, I wondered about their ability to headline.  Would everyone see them as worth sticking around for at the end of the night?  My doubt slowly chipped away in just watching them set up.  First came two guitars, which is quite standard.  Next came two basses, which is unconventional.  Then two drum kits were set up.  They didn’t have the two drum kits the last time I saw them, but I knew with RJ Mar as one of the drummers it was sure to succeed.  The band fought reverb a little bit between sets and during spots in songs but handled it like pros.  Tearing into their first song, lead singer John Steiner wasted no time finding his way into the audience.  The crowd seemed rather burnt out on slamming into each other but this didn’t stop Steiner from attempting it.  He let the music over take him as his throaty scream unleashed lyrics. Their early 90’s Seattle sound is like no other band in Stockton.  When I say early 90’s I don’t mean that clichéd happy to be a downer crap.  I’m talking about music that was proud to incorporate the best parts of punk and hard rock to create a fusion that is face meltingly fresh.  Stiener and crew lose themselves in the music and you can tell that they’re having fun.  Time and space doesn’t exist, it’s just fun times playing loud noisy music.  After this performance there is no doubt in my mind that these guys can carry a show.  As time goes on, I hope their fan base builds to prove it.  They at least have one fan who will have his eyes open for their next show.

Events Calendar for the Weekend of 11/24-11/27

In Entertainment on November 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Thursday Nov. 24th

Run & Walk Against Hunger at Banner Island Ball Park 8:00am $40 ($20 for kids)

Thursday is obviously Thanksgiving, a day for expressing gratefulness and gorging on food, alcohol, and football. Obviously most of you will be busy trying to avoid that Aunt that’s always trying to get you involved in her pyramid scheme, but if you feel like paying somebody so you can run then the 7th Annual Run and Walk Against Hunger fundraiser is the event for you. Raise some money for charity and…well…run. It’s what the season is all about. Plus, after dinner you won’t be able to run like that for a week, so it’ll be good to get it out of your system. Plus you should finish up before the HarBowl starts.

Friday Nov. 25th

The Wild Wild Firefighters at the Plea for Peace Center 7:00pm Free

Middagh Goodwin and Jim Ulrich reunite on Friday night to perform as one of their earliest acts, the Wild Wild Firefighters in this free show at the Plea For Peace Center with some of Stockton’s more talented musicians filling out the rest of the band.

Saturday Nov. 26th

Nothing. That’s right, I wasn’t able to find an event for Saturday. Oh well, there’s always minor league hockey.

Sunday Nov. 27th

Kismet Aura, Bears, Place Called Home, Godspeed, and The Village at the Plea for Peace Center 5:30pm $5

Rounding out the weekend is another Plea for Peace show since every other venue in Stockton seems to be taking the weekend off. If you’ve recovered from your food coma by Sunday then head on down to the Plea for Peace Center to see some pretty good local bands tear it up.

Events Calendar for the 11/17-11/20 Weekend

In Entertainment on November 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Thursday Nov. 17th

Pierced Ear Poetry Slam at the Plea for Peace Center 7pm

The Plea for Peace Center plays host to a poetry slam put on by local non-profit With Our Words Thursday night. There isn’t much information out about the show aside from the fact that it’s happening, but WOW usually has some sort of guest poet of varying degrees of noteriety so check it out if poetry is your thing.

Friday Nov. 18th

2011 Fine Arts Festival at St. Basil’s Greek Orthodox Church 4pm-8pm (10am-4pm on Saturday) Free

Multiple pieces of art from various mediums will be on display at St. Basil’s this weekend for their Fine Arts Festival. Ceramics, paintings, and photography are just a few items that will be on display during this free 2-day event.

Saturday Nov. 19th

Kismet Aura, Monster Treasure, and Buttons at 8542 Yarmouth Dr 7pm $3

Adam covered this in the story literally right next to this one, but I figured I’d mention it here too. Adam says the first two bands are pretty good so that’s a good enough endorsement for me.

Sunday Nov. 20th

Jazz on the Waterfront at Whatever They’re Calling the Downtown Waterfront Hotel Now 6pm $25

Like Jazz? Saxophonist Jeanette Harris will be performing some at the Sheraton Lexington University Plaza Waterfront Hotel. It’s literally the only thing going on on Sunday.

House shows provide different, intimate musical experience

In Entertainment on November 16, 2011 at 11:01 am


By Adam Messinger

You haven’t lived until you have been crammed into a kitchen with a bunch of strangers, listening to a band blasting music five feet away from your face. Last weekend, at 8542 Yarmouth Drive, Godspeed209, Steeproof, and Charles Albright melted my face off with their awesomeness.

As I stepped into the house, I saw a couple of my friends drinking their beers while watching a movie about an elf walking around with a ring. There were plenty of places to sit and talk between sets, and art covering the walls. The music starting at 8:30pm brought everyone rushing into the kitchen.

Godspeed209 started things off with lead singer John Steiner bellowing out the lyrics as the band pumped up the jams fast and hard. As the set went on, John became a one man mosh pit and rolled into the crowd with most of the people pushing him back toward the band. John got lost in the performance once the music started. It was almost as if the audience wasn’t there as he let the music consume his every move. As I sat and listened to Godspeed209, it made me wonder if this was the type of music you would hear if you walked into a house show in Washington circa 1988. It was heavy, and had a speedy girth to it. The lyrics were thick through John’s screams and if you could understand them, you had a skill that few posess. This didn’t stop me from enjoying the band though. They were too big for the kitchen, and thankfully they will show us what they can do on stage November 27 th at the Plea for Peace Center.

After Godspeed209’s set ended, Stockton’s soul of punk took the stage. That’s right, Steeproof is the soul of Stockton’s punk rock scene. Steeproof started out as Danny Sperry’s acoustic act which has evolved into a full band. I’ve seen Danny play multiple times in the last few years and he gets better with each performance. This was my second show seeing them as a full band and they did not disappoint. Their performance as a band was solid, and their songs were tight. Danny stuck with the acoustic guitar keeping in spirit with Steeproof’s roots. They belted out some beloved favorites such as “I Drink It Black” and “Planet Earth”. Possibly my favorite thing about Steeproof is the fun energy they project when performing. There is no doubt that they’re having fun playing when they take the stage. Another added bonus was they were handing out their new album “Winnemucca” between songs.

Closing out the night was Charles Albright from Sacramento. This was my first time seeing them, and if I had the chance I would see them again. They had a sound that was reminiscent of 90s underground alternative music when it was good, and combined it with an inspiring indy sound. They won me over with their cover of Nirvana’s Breed. Covering Nirvana is a make or break with me, and they pulled it off beautifully.

The show had a cover of $3 and was every bit worth it. The show ended fairly early enough for one to get to their 9am job the next day without too much exhaustion. It provided an intimate look at the bands. They will also be hosting a show on Saturday, November 19th at 7pm with a $3 cover. Next week’s line up consists of Kismet Aura, Monster Treasure, and Buttons. Monster Treasure and Kismet Aura are a couple favorites of mine and are sure to impress. They sound like no other local band I’ve heard. While I’m not familiar with Buttons, I do trust the hosts since they provided a killer line up for the most recent show.

Local band Novacain celebrates 16 years

In Entertainment on November 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

(From L-R) Middagh Goodwin, Jim Ricks, Andrew Hemans, and Dan Tounian rounded out Novacain’s most-recent fluctuating lineup

By Adam Messinger

This past Friday, the Plea for Peace Center featured a headlining band that has been playing music in the 209 for 16 years. Novacain, fronted by Plea for Peace curator Middagh Goodwin, is a freeflow noise band.

Goodwin himself described it to me as “90% music, 10% performance art”. I realized as he came out into the crowd and danced with each individual member that this would never be seen again. Goodwin made it clear that he was the only consistent member of Novacain.  Just like its music, its members ebb and flow with people filling in on various instruments for each show.  For this particular show he had “Jumpin” Jim Ricks on keys, Andrew Hemans on drums, and Dan Tounian on bass.  With each song they created a new cacophony of music.  They would all play their respective instruments as Goodwin switched between his saxophone, trumpet, and slinkeymaphone.

There were times in the show where he would simply conduct them on speed or rhythm.  During one particular part Goodwin conducted everyone to stop the song, and then proceeded to have individual conversations with each band member to see if they were up for going “possum crazy”.  After their mutual decision was made, Goodwin screamed into the microphone as each member began rapidly whaling on their instrument.

I looked around the room during this insanity and realized only one thing was lacking: there were far too few people in the room.  Our small group drank in the show, but it wasn’t going to be the water cooler conversation the next day at work.  I wanted to talk with my friends about this.  I want an everyday Stocktonian to know what I’m talking about when I refer to “The Novacain show at Plea for Peace”.

Few places in Stockton host live music.  There is Stockton Arena for the marquee names, The Bob Hope Theater for the big names, and The Plea for Peace for names that have developed or are developing a cult following.  While the Arena, and the Bob Hope have names once or twice a month, Plea for Peace manages to have a variety of shows every night.

We need to promote our homegrown talent to our friends.  Word of mouth is all we have, and as that grows, the chances of keeping around venues like Plea for Peace increase.