If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Jimmy Sakurai has taken that reverence into overdrive.
Sakurai makes a living performing as Led Zeppelin’s guitarist Jimmy Page in a way that goes beyond slavish imitation, method acting or even complete immersion. It’s as if he doesn’t just play what Jimmy Page played, or wore what he wore, but he could tell what he was thinking. Jimmy Sakurai is a rock 'n' roll samurai.
Sakurai’s main gigs are with JBLZE — Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Evening — the Zeppelin tribute act put together by Jason Bonham, the son of Zeppelin’s late drummer John Bonham, and Sakurai’s own tribute band Mr. Jimmy Led Zeppelin Revival. The latter will perform this Friday at Molly Malone’s in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles-based musician and artist Joel Pelletier will be on bass and keyboards and Frankie Banali, formerly of Quiet Riot, will be on drums. The singer will be Bakersfield’s own August Young.
The show will be a recreation of the famous bootleg of the 1977 “Listen To This Eddie” concert at the Los Angeles Forum.
“What we are doing is more than a tribute show,” Young said, “It’s a revival. Jimmy’s vision is to take people back to a certain time period and make you feel like you are watching live Led Zeppelin instead of album Led Zeppelin.”
According to Young, Sakurai’s fan base is quite broad and people from all around the world will be attending. So if this rock 'n' roll road trip sound like fun to you, buy your tickets now.
A huge word of warning: No tickets will be sold at the door. Contact Sherry Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets and availability. Parking is also scarce, so be prepared to pay some money, around $15-$25, for parking. If you’re hungry, I recommend Canter’s Deli, which is relatively close by.
On Sunday, Young will be back in Bakersfield performing with his own band, The Aviators, at the 1933 Event Center as they gear up for the release of their fourth album, "Flowers and Moonshine" and first EP, "606 Sessions." The all-ages show is free to attend.
“It’ll be your typical high-octane Aviators show people have come to know and love over the years,” Young said.
Mr. Jimmy Led Zeppelin Revival, 8 p.m. Friday, Molly Malone’s, 575 S. Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles. $37, $57 for reserved VIP seating; tickets must be purchased in advance by contacting Sherry Anderson at email@example.com.
The Aviators, 2 p.m. Sunday, 1933 Event Center, 7900 Downing St. Free.
Local family band opening for tribute show
On Saturday, the 1933 Event Center will host a tribute night of its own with Children of the Korn and BYOB, Las Vegas-based tribute acts for Korn and System of a Down, respectively. Both bands are relatively new — Children of the Korn has been around for around eight months and BYOB for three — but have made quite the impact in their native Las Vegas.
How does Children of the Korn feel about performing in Korn’s hometown? Well, surprised; according to drummer Craig Nielson, who performs in both Children of the Korn and BYOB. Surprised in an “Oops! No offense,” sort of way we’re kind of used to hearing in Bakersfield.
“I'm kind of speechless about it,” Nielson said. “I didn't realize that Jonathan (Davis, Korn’s singer) still lived there and that people intimately involved in that camp obviously still live there. I thought everybody just moved to L.A. or somewhere else. So to actually be playing in the city that Jonathan still lives in is really kind of amazing.”
For fans of the era where these two acts were at their zenith, get there early to catch the opening act Psyde Affect. The band is three brothers and their father on bass and, even though it might sound a bit corny on paper, these guys are no slouches in the power department.
Scott Staver, the former bassist for the popular early-aughts local metal band Temperd, and his three sons — Schyler (pronounced shy-ler), 27, on vocals; Zach, 18, on guitar; and Keanu Ramos, 23, on drums — perform music that could have stepped straight out of 2004 but with a renewed fire that makes it feel reinvented.
After months of hearing his kids play in the garage, the senior Staver, 48, joined the band when his wife, Jacqueline, in a pique of both motherly and spousal wisdom, asked him to either join his kids’ band or stop telling them what to play.
Staver said, “I told them, 'Hey I want to jump in and play with you guys,' and they were like, 'Well, we've been waiting for you to come out here and do that.'"
The band started in November of 2017: The three brothers worked on the music, Dad helped with the arrangements and Mom acted as the band’s promoter, manager and booking agent, making it all into a total family affair.
“First it was just playing in the garage, having a good time and now all of a sudden it’s turned into just an amazing thing,” said Staver.
They’re playing frequently but not actively courting the very success that turns other bands into tribute bands of them. They describe themselves as “Serious Amateurs” on their gigmor.com profile and I can’t think of a better or more accurate term to describe them.
They’re in that stage between one foot in the garage and riding that wave of possibility that the elder Staver knows all too well and which keeps him openly pragmatic.
“It’s my last hurrah, man," Staver said. “So if something happens I’m down, you know?"
Children of the Korn (Korn tribute) and BYOB (System of a Down tribute) with Psyde Affect, 6-10 p.m. Saturday, 1933 Event Center, 7900 Downey St. $12 advance (plus fees) at livemusiccity.com, $15 at the door. 829-5377.