Once again, we find ourselves in the midst of the holiday season and on the precipice of the night before Thanksgiving. The evening where friends and family reunite and go on about the town, with a significant number of those revelers secure in the knowledge that most of them will be able to eat away their hangovers the next day.
A few humble suggestions for those of you planning on such revelry:
● If you’re set on indulging in the liquid form of holiday spirit, please use a ride-sharing or good ol’ fashioned taxicab service (DDI is still around as well to drive your car home if needed). No matter what part of town you’re in, it’s a solid investment considering the possible alternatives that will assure you and yours a not-so-happy holiday — at best.
● Stock up on libations beforehand in case you’re entertaining the notion of a possible after-party, and be aware that the rates for ride-sharing services usually go up the later the night goes.
● Bartenders, servers, drivers and bouncers are working their butts off. Do not belittle, whistle at or demean them. Be generous and patient. If you’re attending a show with live music, please show your appreciation and clap for them. It really does mean the world to performers to feel listened to.
● Don’t try to start a fight to show off your sick jujitsu moves because you might be shocked to find out that others have been practicing them as well. Again, possibly resulting in a not-so-happy holiday for all involved — at best.
● Do a little research and have a bit of a game plan. Make reservations and cancel if you can’t make it. The same goes for canceling rides if needed: Don’t just take off without canceling. It ties up drivers that could be helping someone else.
In general: Be courteous, be nice and be considerate.
Entertainment-wise, there are a lot of options for Wednesday evening. Here are a few live-music ones (All events are free and for all ages unless noted).
The annual Groovestock fundraiser event put on by bassist Ray Sadolsky will be at Lengthwise Pub, featuring Orphan Jon with Chronic Blue, The Appletons, Warfield, Travis Byler, and Foster Campbell & Friends. Donations and proceeds from the raffles will go to the Bakersfield Homeless Center. The show starts at 7 p.m. at 2900 Calloway Drive.
Vince Galindo and Country Deluxe will be performing vintage country and western music at 9 p.m. at Sandrini’s Public House, 1918 Eye St. Admission is $5 for the 21-and-over show.
Angel’s Roost, a trio fronted by singer/killer guitar player Bronson Slaughter (yes, that is his real name) will play some fantastic country and Southern rock at Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler, 8660 Rosedale Highway, starting at 7 p.m. The band's cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone” is a highlight. Be prepared for line dancing.
Blonde Faith will play some solid rock covers at Ethel’s Old Corral, 4310 Alfred Harrell Highway, at 7 p.m. Latin rock and cumbia mavens Velorio will perform at Elements Venue’s “Thanksgiving Eve Pachanga" (6 p.m. at 3401 Chester Ave, Suite H; $10-$20 in advance, $15-$25 at the door; 21 and over only), and Mento Buru will be at Temblor Brewing Co., 3200 Buck Owens Blvd., Suite 200 (free admission before 8 p.m., $5 after 8 p.m.) Disclosure: I will be playing this show with Mento Buru.
“Depeche Mode: SPIRITS in the Forest,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Reading Cinemas Valley Plaza, 2000 Wible Road; 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, Studio Movie Grill, 2733 Calloway Drive. $12 at Reading Cinemas, $15 at Studio Movie Grill.
It’s perfectly fitting that the new documentary “Depeche Mode: SPIRITS in the Forest,” is told from the point of view of select fans since very few bands can even come close to the fandom Depeche Mode has.
To say it verges on the reverent is an understatement. The synth-pop group has maintained a rare devotional purity from their fans, and even though they’re decades away from their peak “Violator”-era success, they still pull in huge numbers from their concerts.
Much like their equally revered peers The Cure, what was once considered “alternative music” consistently — and easily — sells out arenas. According to the film’s news release, Depeche Mode “performed to more than 3 million fans at 115 shows across the globe” on the Global Spirit Tour for its 2017 album, "Spirit."
Directed by longtime collaborator Anton Corbijn, "Depeche Mode: SPIRITS in the Forest,” is not only a concert film, but a documentary told through select fans' testimonies about the band's impact on their lives. The performances for the film were filmed during the last shows of the Global Spirit Tour at Berlin’s Waldbühne (aka the “Forest Stage”).
Two theaters in town will screen the film: Reading Cinemas on Thursday and Studio Grill on Thursday and Sunday. Events like these give fans a uniting concert experiencing without having to wait for the band to go on the road again. Don’t wait to buy tickets; there were only a few left at the time of this writing, proving once again that when it comes to Depeche Mode, it appears we “Just Can’t Get Enough.”
Mason Ramsey, "How's Your Girl & How's Your Family" Tour, 8 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd. $20; buckowens.com
While at first glance, it might be easy to dismiss 13-year-old country music internet sensation Mason Ramsey, it would be wise to remember that age can sometimes only be a number. Both LeAnn Rimes and Tanya Tucker had hits at 13 years old (“Blue” and “Delta Dawn,” respectively) and in our new era of instant YouTube celebrities, Ramsey’s millions of likes and views cannot be discounted. He’ll perform at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace this Friday.
Also, the kid has some serious charisma. In the video for his recent single “Twang,” his voice might still be that of a young teenager (he recently turned 13 on Nov. 16), but he delivers a performance with the confidence of a seasoned pro. Even his musical output — which includes 2018 debut single “Famous,” Lil Nas X’s third “Old Town Road” remix with Billy Ray Cyrus and Young Thug, and his version of Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues” that made him a viral star — positions him as this modern nexus where country music’s past and the future meet. Heck, he even kinda looks like a young Buck Owens.
Whether or not he remains a curiosity or a legitimate talent is a crossroad that Ramsey will be coming to soon enough. But for now, it’s up to the impressive young Mr. Ramsey to show us what he’s got. Here’s to hoping he has what it takes to do so for a very long time to come.