The Friday, June 10, Column

Soundbytes – Huichica Music Festival

Heron Oblivion – Photo: Minivan

Now in it’s seventh year, the Huichica (who-cheek-a) music festival is in full swing this weekend, starting tonight, June 10, in the historic “Redwood Barn” and then again on Saturday, June 11, on three stages showcasing 30 acts over the two day event. Originally an idea by Jeff Bundschu and musician friend, Eric D. Johnson, the duo thought it might be fun to pair some indie-rock bands with local food and wine. Johnson was in the Fruit Bats at the time and his act, along with others became the first festival.

Once again, many of the acts we’ve never even heard of, and Bundschu likes it like that. “I’ve always liked to introduce people to new music, and the festival gives us that opportunity” said Bundschu. “We really want to introduce acts to Sonoma as we do our wine, in an approachable intimate setting with no pretense.” This year there are several returning acts and many new ones, including Radio Fliers who are made up of local Sonoma Valley musicians, now residing in El Cerrito.

With far too many to showcase individually, we’ve picked some that caught our eyes and ear.

After a three-year hiatus induced by a tragic life-changing event, Eric D. Johnson and the Fruit Bats are back in action and at the festival, along with a new album, “Absolute Loser.” “I’m finding my identity again,” says Johnson, “which is somehow, weirdly this dumb fake punk rock name that I put on a four-track tape.” The new album is almost a conglomeration of styles from the previous releases of the band, which focuses on Johnsosn’s vocals, and complex musical structures, with some songs having 10 layered guitar tracks. You can catch the act on the Barn Stage tonight, June 10, at 9:20 p.m. and Johnson playing a solo set today at 3 p.m. on the same stage.

Rodrigo Amarante is quite a coup for the small festival. The Brazillian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is known world-wide as a member of the act Los Hermanos, and has recently gone solo with an album release in 2014 called “Cavallo.” The album consists of songs created by Amarante based on his vision of his home town, one he realizes only actually exists in his own mind. Amarante will be performing solo tonight, June 10, on the Barn Stage at 7 p.m.

A combination of East Coast and West Coast performers, Heron Oblivion could be called an “All-Star Inde Band” with members carrying credentials from stints with “Comets on Fire,” “Sic Alps,” “Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound,” “Espers,” “Howlin Rain,” “Lowdown” and more. Band members Meg Baird, Noel V. Harmonson, Charlie Saufley and Ethan Miller started the act just as a jam improv act and with nudging from Miler and Harmonson, encouraging the band to play instruments they were familiar with but not known for. The act has a decidedly different vibe from song to song, and even within the songs, with some sounding like a song from a ‘40s speakeasy all the way to ones with screaming electric guitars and effects. On the songs that have vocals, Baird’s voice is soothing and haunting all at the same time. You can catch the act on the Barn Stage on Saturday, June 11, at 5 p.m.

Dengue Fever combines two unlikely music genres, Cambodian pop music and psychedelic rock into a truly unique sound, that even Peter Gabriel though enough if to sign them to his emerging record label, “Real World Records.” Formed in 2001 after Ethan Holtzman made a trip to Cambodia, he sought out a vocalist that could sing in Khmer, one of the languages of Cambodia and after discovering Chhom Nimol in a nightclub in Long Beach, CA. the act was complete. With now 10 album releases under their belts, the act also gives back to the Cambodian community by partnering with many charitable organizations in Cambodia, including forest and wildlife preservation.  You can catch the act at 8:10 in the Amphitheater Stage.

Like we mentioned, far too many great acts to cover them all, and for more info and schedule, point your browser to Parking is complimentary for Gundlach Bundschu wine club members and to encourage carpooling, free parking will be available to vehicles carrying three or more passengers or full 2 seat vehicles and motorcycles, otherwise parking fees will be in effect and are cash only. Tickets will be available at the door and the venue requests no coolers, pets, chairs, outside food or beverages or bad attitudes.


Set List – The Rundown


Annex Wine Bar, 865 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 938-7779
Tonight, June 10: Hannah Jern-Miller and Courtney Carroll. 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 11: Don Trotta with Mingo Lewis Jr. 7:30 p.m.

Barking Dog Roasters, 18133 Sonoma Hwy. Sonoma, 939-1905
Saturday, June 10: Carl and Eddie. 3 p.m.
Sunday, June 11: Tim McNamee. 3 p.m.

B. R. Cohn Winery, 15000 Sonoma Hwy. Glen Ellen, 800-330-4064
Sunday, June 12: Jason Bodlovich.  2 p.m.

Friday Farmers Market, Depot Park, 270 First St W. Sonoma
Today, June 10: Stewart Degner. 9:30 a.m.

Gundlach Bundschu Winery, 2000 Denmark St. Sonoma, 938-5277
Today, June 10: Huichica Music Festival.  3 p.m.
Saturday, June 11: Huichica Music Festival. 11 a.m.
35 bands on three stages – For more info:

HopMonk Tavern, 691 Broadway Sonoma, 935-9100
Tonight, June 10: Solid Air. 5 p.m. David Thom and Friends. 8 p.m.. 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 11: The Battlefield. 1 p.m. Witherward. 8 p.m.
Sunday, June 12: Nate Lopez. 1 p.m.

Lawn of Hood Mansion, N. Pythian Rd off Hwy 12, Santa Rosa, 833-6288
Tonight, June 10: “Funky Fridays” with Hour of Tower. 7 p.m.

Murphy’s Irish Pub, 464 First St. E. Sonoma, 935-0660
Tonight, June 10: Deluxe. 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 11: Mostly Simply Bluegrass. 8 p.m.
Sunday, June 12: Dawn Angelosante and Tony Gibson. 2 p.m.

Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs, 938-7587
Saturday, June 11: Karaoke. 7:30 p.m.

Plaza Bistro, 420 First St E. Sonoma, 996-4466
Tonight, June 10: Mike Zilber and Matt Clark. 7 p.m.

Rossi’s 1906 Dancehall, 401 Grove St. El Verano, 343-0044
Tonight, June 10: Tri-Tip Trio. 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 11: Grateful Bluegrass Boys and the Mesopotamians. 8 p.m.
Sunday, June 12: The Good Ol’ Boys. 5 p.m. Blues Jam. 9:30 p.m.

Schellville Grill, 22900 Broadway, Sonoma, 996-5151
Saturday, June 11: Butch Engle and Styx. 12:30 p.m.

Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards, 389 Fourth St. E. Sonoma, 933-3230
Tonight, June 10: Tilted Halos. 6 p.m.

Shiso Modern Asian Kitchen, 19161 Sonoma Hwy, Sonoma, 933-9331
Saturday, June 11: Full Circle. 7 p.m.

Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall, 452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma, 996-1364
Tonight, June 10: Staggerwing. 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 11: The Marks Brothers. 5 p.m. Bruce Gordon’s Blues project with Ian Lamson and Jeff Bruche. 8 p.m.
Sunday, June 12: “Open Mic and Mimosas.” 1 to 7 p.m. The Acrosonics. 4 p.m.

If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it.

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