The annual 3 Days in Space, a music festival put on by Killer Kern Records and The Empty Space, has become quite the go-to event since its inception. If anything, the event works not only as a live label compilation, a veritable sampler plate of the different bands on Killer Kern's artist roster, but as a solid representation of what makes our local bands so, well, killer.
It returns April 28 through 30 at the nonprofit theater's new location on Woodmere Drive.
The all-ages event is split into five segments: an evening show on Friday night and afternoon and evening shows on Saturday and Sunday.
Friday's event kicks off with boisterous punk quartet Latest Regret and post-punk Still Missing, whose 2022 self-titled release was my pick for album of the year. The evening closes with the "depressed post-rock" instrumental outfit Transmissions.
Saturday afternoon's set includes young, indie band Labellum; the solid post-punk rock band Some Gifts, which just released a strong new single "Psychic Tension," and two electronic live-looping guitar/drums duos: Contranistas and the Sacramento-based Cities You Wish You Were From, featuring Bakersfield native Eli Jenkins on guitar, bass and vocals.
Saturday evening starts with the energetic and dynamic punk trio Dropping In and closes with The Binges, fronted by event creator and Killer Kern Records owner Dylan Geurtsen. Even if you don't catch him with his band, chances are you'll see him at the merch table throughout the event.
Sunday afternoon features Tony Rae Tello; Americana act Bakersfield Cactus; the fantastic Best Dad, the solo project by Hate Drugs' frontman David Caploe; and bold, indie-sweethearts Make Mine Yours, led by the husband-wife team of Geoffrey and Robyn Dyer. I performed drums with them at the last two 3 Days in Space but they will be backed here by their drummer Chris Wulfekuehler. Highly recommended.
The event closes on Sunday evening with the festival's strongest lineup: the dreamy indie-pop of bands Eunith and Lou Beauty, party-starters Dancing Tommy whose latest album, "Pocket Change," is simply superb, and the dreamy Indigo Hush, whose music I once described as lovely, futuristic tunes that could make a robot cry.
DJs Lord Looney and Sabre from KSVG 103.5 FM and DJ Phantom Stranger will play music between sets. The visuals during the shows will be provided by Mellow Doses and the event's sound by Bakersfield Sound Co. (Disclosure: I work for Bakersfield Sound Co.).
For more information and a list of all the bands playing, visit The Empty Space's website, esonline.org, and click on the "Special Events" tab.
Admission for each of the five shows of the event will be $10, but for the adventurous, the loyal and/or the frugal, the three-day pass for $30 is the way to go. Half of the ticket sales will go toward The Empty Space, which launches its first season in the new location in June.
3 Days in Space, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 12:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, The Empty Space, 5417 Woodmere Drive. $10 for each individual show or $30 for the three days; tickets at esonline.org.
Record Store Day
While this Saturday's Record Store Day event might be a bit more subdued this year than in years prior — which once saw parked food trucks and DJs spinning music throughout the day — it's still the one day a year where music lovers can find one-of-a-kind special items relegated to a single-day availability.
Plan ahead by visiting recordstoreday.com and peruse their massive list to see what strikes your fancy. Don't delay! Of the two main record stores in town, Going Underground and World Records, only World Records is ordering inventory for the event.
Some of the releases I'm personally looking forward to are Victoria Hallman's "lost" 1982 album, "From Birmingham to Bakersfield." Co-produced by Buck Owens, the reissue from Omnivore Records (LP only) is a curious if entertaining sonic artifact of the "Urban Cowboy"-era that easily fits in the same space as early-1980s Dolly Parton, Crystal Gayle and Juice Newton. (Read more about the album in Sunday's Californian.)
Also on my list is actor Crispin "Hellion" Glover's 1989 album "The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution = Let It Be," which is a bizarre but interesting piece of performance art that's at times spoken word and other times … well, weird. Produced by Barnes & Barnes, of 1978 novelty song "Fish Heads" fame, the album is as odd, eccentric and unique a work as Glover has often portrayed himself to be.
I'm also looking forward to the double LP reissue of Orville Peck's mysterious, majestic and magnificent 2022 psychedelic country release "Bronco," which is as impressive a musical statement as it is unique.
Believe me when I say that there really is something for every musical taste on this year's RSD list, even if it is a bit light on classical music. If you happen to miss your chance to stop at a record store this Saturday, keep an eye on eBay or Discogs where leftover RSD albums go for a premium or to die in the wholesale bargain bin.
Bruce Gray, with featured artist Kelly Ryan, 8 p.m. April 29, Temblor Brewing Co., 3200 Buck Owens Blvd. Suite 200. $20, $35 for VIP; 18 and over; eventbrite.com.
It's been a real privilege seeing comedian Bruce Gray's evolution as a performer from his humble beginnings as a teenager performing at open mics. He recently told me that he used to go to karaoke nights around town asking if he could tell jokes instead of singing music.
In 2016 he moved to Los Angeles — with a short detour to Portland in 2020 and back to Los Angeles in 2021 — and honed his stagecraft to the level it's at now: professional headlining status. He'll return to Bakersfield to perform in that very capacity on April 29 at Temblor Brewing Co.
"Comedy in Bakersfield is so much bigger now," Gray said. "There's shows and mics every day of the week. There's even a full-time comedy club there. it's crazy."
Daniel Betts, the owner of that "full-time comedy club" The Well, will be one of that evening's opening acts. Gray headlined a show there back in 2022 that was billed as "the prodigal son returns!"
Also performing on April 29 will be local comic Marcos Alvarez, SoCal comic Tyler Guizar and the night's featured opening act, Los Angeles-based Kelly Ryan who has opened for the acerbically witty Anthony Jeselnik and recently Bert Kreischer on his arena tour.
Gray has put in the work and paid his dues, rising up the comedy ranks, going from running the door at The Comedy Store to being recently promoted to paid regular, "which is basically like getting called up to the big leagues of comedy," Gray said.
He also landed a bit part on the upcoming new season of the Netflix show "I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson."
"I'm excited to use this show as a fun homecoming and see a lot of old friends and comedy fans," Gray said. "I love being from Bakersfield and I'm very excited to be able to headline a show on Buck Owens Boulevard."
If you go to this 18-and-over show, I recommend you get to Temblor Brewing early (doors open at 6 p.m.), regardless if you purchased general admission or VIP seating. All of it is first-come, first-served. If you're going with a group, show up all together. Also, pay attention to when the kitchen closes (there is no food delivery for GA ticket holders). The shredded chicken nachos are especially tasty.
The Stompers, 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Pour House Bar & Grill, 4041 Fruitvale Ave.
James and Jenny Page, aka The Stompers, are a guitar and piano duo specializing in incendiary rock and roll, country, and rhythm and blues — with a heavy emphasis on the blues.
"We named our band because we both start songs by stomping our feet," Jenny said.
The pair will perform a rare local 21-and-over show Friday at the Pour House Bar & Grill.
Expect a lot of uptempo rock numbers featuring some Jerry Lee Lewis-style piano work by the excellent Mrs. Page and a harmonica solo or two by Mr. Page, who goes by the stage name "Whiteboy James."
His brooding intensity is bookended by his wife's effervescent smile and personality. Some couples make beautiful music together. These two — from their respective and combined originals, to their covers of Americana ranging from Bob Wills to The Blasters — make music to burn the house down.
"We're going to be playing some blues and some hillbilly stuff," James said.
Jenny added later, "To quote Big Manny (Manuel Gonzales from the East L.A. rock, Latin and blues band The Blazers): 'When in doubt, play more Chuck Berry.'"