As if the typical characters of Sonoma Valley aren’t enough every day, just factor in an excuse to become even more of a character; an alter ego perhaps, and an event like Halloween. Then throw in a costume contest, live music and a tavern or two, and look out. Many venues are having celebrations this weekend; we’ll kick off the column with the rundown of all the weekends’ events. Tonight, Oct. 29, has vocalist Dana Land putting down jazz standards at the Plaza Bistro, and there will be a costume contest as well. Showtime is 7 p.m. Ten Foot Tone will be at the El Verano Inn for their annual appearance on Saturday, Oct. 30, with a costume contest and what has been promised as “spooky dancing.” Showtime is 9 p.m. BackTrax rock band will headline Steiners Tavern for their annual Halloween party on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 9 p.m. Little Switzerland will have it’s annual party featuring some of the best punk rock in the north bay on Saturday, Oct. 30, featuring Modern Action, with members of the Bodies and the Briefs, Roadside Bombs, Get Dead, Oil!, High and Tight, the Porch Junkies and Scotch Eggs. That show gets underway at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, brings Showcase the Band to Lokal for a 2 p.m. show. Murphy’s Irish Pub has the Cork Pullers for their annual Halloween party on Sunday, Oct. 31, for a 6 p.m. start. The Blue Moon Saloon will have the Sunday Night Blues Jam on Sunday, Oct. 31, and will have a costume contest that winners will receive cash prizes for the best costume, as well as drink specials for all costumed attendees. The show kicks off at 9 p.m.
Sonoma Valley lost a true supporter of local music recently. Michael J. Kelley, who was involved in a tragic motorcycle accident over a year ago, lost his battle for recovery to a bout of pneumonia on Sunday, Oct. 17, surrounded by friends. There will be a memorial and fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Sonoma Valley Womans Club, kicking off at 4 p.m. After a short ceremony, many local musicians will gather for a song or two to remember Michael. The details are still being sorted out, but so far have Pete Olson, Sue Albano and Mark Dennis, Greg Volker, David Robbins and Dave Aguilar lined up. Anyone that knew Michael J. Kelley is welcome to attend.
Jess Petty and Ken Chambers will be at the Ledson Lounge on the Plaza tonight, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m.
Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards will have EZ Kewl tonight, Oct. 29, at 6:30 p.m.
The Lodge at Sonoma has John Groves in the piano lounge tonight, Oct. 29, for a 7 p.m. show. Saturday, Oct. 30, brings John MacKay to the lounge. MacKay, originally from Canada and now making his home in New Zealand, is also an active composer and involved in different musical genres, including jazz, contemporary classical and theatre music. That show is also at 7 p.m. and there is no cover for either show.
Murphy’s Irish Pub will have Out of the Blue tonight, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, has Keystone Station from Marin County, playing traditional bluegrass in the style of Bill Monroe. That show is also at 8 p.m.
Olive & Vine will have blues from the Rett Hamer Band tonight, Oct. 29, for a 7 p.m. show. Olive & Vine is in Glen Ellen within the Jack London Village and offers small plates and has a nice wine selection. There is no cover for the show.
EZ Kewl is making the rounds this weekend as well, starting with a show tonight, Oct. 29, at Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards for a 6:30 p.m. start. You can also catch the hardest working band in Sonoma Valley at the Schellville Grill on Saturday, Oct. 30, for a dinner set.
Mondo American Beer Garden has the eclectic sounds of the Ralph Cetola Experience on Saturday, Oct. 30, for a 7 p.m. show. You never know who may show up to play with Cetola, including Cetola, but he always puts on a great show. The extravaganza kicks off at 7 p.m.
Steiners Tavern has the Sean Carscadden Trio tonight, Oct. 29, for a 10 p.m. show. With Carscadden will be Andrew Emer on stand-up bass and J. B. Duff on drums. There is no cover for the show.
Lokal will have the sounds of the Erik Lindquist Trio on Saturday, Oct. 30, for a 6:30 p.m. show. Lindquist grew up here in Sonoma Valley and has recently returned from Los Angeles. Lokal offers a nice selection of beers on tap and describes the menu as “European Soul Food.” There is no cover for the show.
There is an interesting show coming up the Trinity Church on Sunday. Oct. 31, at 2 p.m. A series of twenty four unique chamber music concerts being performed over a period of two years, each concert focuses on composers whose last names begin with a featured letter, from a to z. The series rolls into Sonoma Valley with concert number ten featuring the letter “J.” Admission is by donation, and part of the proceeds will benefit the church. The “J” concert will include three compositions, one from 1950 and two from 2010, by Sonoma resident, composer and pianist Warner Jepson, and will also feature the music of Leos Janacek (1854-1928), Paul Juon (1872-1940) and more. For more info, call the church at 938-4846.
Murphy’s Irish Pub will be welcoming back a favorite son on Monday, Nov. 1, when Whitney Lockert swings back into town from New York City. Since it’s knitting night, you can still knit, just to music. The show starts at 7 p.m.
Jon Popenoe will be at the Lagunitas Tap Room in Petaluma on Saturday, Oct. 30, for a 3 p.m. show.