While speaking with Chris Levick, the director of tour publicity for Alligator Records about Shemekia Copeland's upcoming gig at World Records, Levick mentioned that the label has been swamped as its artists return to pre-pandemic touring schedules. She added, "It's a good thing."
She's not the only one sharing that sentiment. I've heard how "crazy" it's been lately from other musicians, promoters and publicists, and as someone who covers and actively participates in our local music scene, I don't see that pace slowing down anytime soon.
This is a good thing as this sonic boom provides us with a bevy of live music options for all manner of musical tastes.
In a sea of worthy entertainment options happening over the next two weeks, here are a few to consider. At Temblor Brewing Co. alone there are three all-ages events that check a variety of boxes.
On Friday, Detroit-based post-punk quartet Protomartyr will perform in support of its upcoming album, "Formal Growth in the Desert," due out in June.
The band's latest single, "Make Way," is emblematic of its sonically aggressive sound: guitars so crunchy and thick they almost envelop the thumping rhythm section, an interesting mixture of styles and textures — in this case, a shuffling, spaghetti-Western vibe amid the aggressive sonic austerity — and singer Joe Casey's explosive and expressive baritone.
As Dax Dominguez, half of the live-looping instrumental duo Contranistas, which will also perform at this show, said, Protomartyr is "like a darker Interpol." Fans of 400 Blows, The National and, yes, Interpol would dig them.
The Breeders' Kelley Deal has performed and toured with these Michigan mavens before but I'm not sure if she'll be at the Temblor show. Los Angeles-based darkwave act Immortal Nightbody will also perform.
The next weekend on April 1, the palette will be cleansed of mid-aughts dark music abandon and recalibrated to ask "Arrre yooou rrreeeadyyy?"
To rumble? No. To get your freak on a leash on with Sugar: The Nu-Metal Party DJ Experience, where the soundtrack of the night will belong to the kind of music whose genesis started in modest all-ages venues in our very own downtown.
"In the years when nu-metal dominated the airwaves, and Korn was breaking out of Bakersfield, the subgenre graduated out of the club scene," said Sugar co-founder Steve Soboslai.
"Hearing these songs in a club environment almost takes it back to the underground days and that's a big part of what we wanted to do with Sugar."
The event mirrors the recent slate of emo nights that have popped up lately as the new nostalgia du jour. For a lot of the audience this event appeals to, it's a fun escape back to 1993-2005. The days when System of a Down, Korn, Deftones and Limp Bizkit ruled MTV (remember that channel?), we all became acquainted with a guy named Napoleon Dynamite and everyone — and I mean everyone — was quoting "The Chappelle Show."
Younger audience members will likely indulge in their first deep-dive foray into the intoxicating effects of nostalgia. The older members will be having deep dives of their own but less about the music — which will be appreciated — but more about the people they shared the music with. Or, for quite a few, about the people they knew that helped create it.
Sugar is an event that could only be appreciated in this way, so personally, so proprietarily, in Bakersfield more so than any other town.
Also, when the DJ plays Slipknot, expect the crowd at Temblor to lose their minds. Or, more likely, go "Insane in the braaain."
The very next day, on April 2, SoCal punk pioneer Black Flag will return to Bakersfield at Temblor Brewing performing its 1984 album "My War" in its entirety as well as a greatest hits set.
The band's 1981 debut "Damaged," with songs like the goofy and sarcastic "TV Party," "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme" and one of the most powerful anthems of survival and self-reliance ever created, "Rise Above," was a landmark of hardcore punk rock.
"My War," its second full-length release, branched off into a slower, heavier, Black Sabbath-ish direction, especially on the album's second side. If there was a ground zero for the grunge movement of the 1990s, this is it.
Black Flag's current singer, Mike Vallely, not only crushes his role as frontman, but obviously relishes the gig like it's a birthright. He's having a blast up there and so is the rest of the band. I'm curious to see how Vallely will approach the slower, sludgier songs on "My War" like "Nothing Left Inside." Anyone who caught guitarist Greg Ginn's solo show at Sports & Spirits a few years back is already aware of his free-form bonkers flights into orbit.
Let the naysayers naysay. Black Flag will Rise Above.
Protomartyr, Immortal Nightbody, Contranistas, 8 p.m. Friday; Sugar: The Nu-Metal Party DJ Experience, 9 p.m. April 1; Black Flag, 7 p.m. April 2; Temblor Brewing Co., 3200 Buck Owens Blvd. $15 for Friday, $18 for April 1, $35 for April 2; ticketweb.com.
For music lovers wanting a more relaxed and intimate setting but with music no less engaging, exciting or intense, the Los Angeles-based ACE Trio will perform Saturday at Emmanuel Lutheran as part of the Bakersfield Recital Series.
The ACE trio is Shannon Rose Canchola-Limon on flute, Micah Wright on clarinet and Leon Thomasian on piano. While Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla, whose 1960s work "Four Seasons of Buenos Aires" was interpreted by the trio on an excellent 2020 EP, might not be a household name on the same level as, say, Coldplay, it's in the discovery of music we aren't fully familiar with that is the real joy of concerts like these.
You don't need to have a familiarity with the material to enjoy this performance. You will be moved, transported, awed and touched by its delicate emotional resonance. As the group posted on its social media page, "(We are) so beyond excited for our recital coming up (in Bakersfield). We've worked hard to bring you an all-contemporary program filled with diversity and beauty."
Who knows? You may even get to hear some Coldplay after all. They happened to release a version of "The Scientist" in 2021.
ACE Trio, presented by the Bakersfield Recital Series, 7 p.m. Saturday, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 1900 Baker St. $10, $5 for students/seniors.
Lastly, acclaimed blues and soul singer Shemekia Copeland will be at World Records on April 1.
Copeland, a multiple Blues Music Award winner, including the 2021 B.B King Entertainer of the Year, and the 2022 Downbeat Critics poll blues artist of the year, released her 10th album "Done Come Too Far" in 2022. It was nominated for best contemporary blues album at the 65th annual Grammy Awards. It was Copeland's fifth nomination overall.
As she's done before, most notably on the stunning "Clotilda's on Fire" about the sinking of the last known U.S. slave ship on her 2020 album "Uncivil War," Copeland boldly sings about topics that galvanize controversy with an unflinching, raw delivery. On "Clotilda's ...” Copeland refers to the destroyed schooner as a "she," that "took souls on a horrible trip" and whose "morning song was the crack of a whip."
On the "Done Come Too Far" album alone, she tackles racism, social injustice and even sexual assault with a transparent, unhesitating fearlessness.
When she sings about school shootings on "Pink Turns to Red" or singing "If you think we're stopping, you got it wrong" on the album opener "Too Far to be Gone,” she's not making some kind of partisan political statement, she's reporting what she feels as a mother and a Black woman living in America's past, present and future. It's both personal and universal and defies minimization.
As Copeland sang on "Clotilda's on Fire," "We're still living with her ghost." Expect her World Records performance to be a report straight from the heart of that fire.
Shemekia Copeland, Part 112 of the No Stinkin' Service Charge Blues Series, doors open at 6 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. April 1, World Records, 2815 F St. $40; for more information go to shopworldrecords.com or call 661-325-1982.