Music artists are always quick to respond when disaster strikes or when the need suddenly arises due to accident or illness. Rockers Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi quickly stepped up to the plate to play benefit concerts to help their home state of New Jersey recover after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
They can range from huge global events such as the We Are the World and Live Aid to small single-artist shows at the neighborhood coffehouse venue. And causes can range from world hunger and the AIDS epidemic to helping out a fellow musician who is ill and doesn't have health insurance.
And so it is with local music artists, venue owners and concert promoters — most are happy to pitch in when called upon, donating their time, services and money.
Two such events will be happening this weekend, the first a concert featuring avant-garde electronica artist RYAT, who performs Friday night at The New Wharf Theatre in Monterey and the Kiki's Kaleidoscope Benefit Concert Saturday night at the Fox Theater in Salinas featuring more than a dozen bands and solo performers.
The former is a benefit for local actress / singer / dancer Camila del la Llata, who is in treatment for acute leukemia and is in dire need of a bone marrow transplant.
The latter, which I will co-MC with organizer Kiki Wow, was initially a fundraiser for three groups — Arms of Angels, Chelsie Hill's Walk & Roll Foundation and The Carmel Valley History Center — has now been designated primarily as a charity to help victims of Hurrican Sandy on the East Coast.
The RYAT show will not only feature the quixotic producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and sound manipulator who uses live electronics, instruments, pedals and software to create avant-garde compositional tunes, but her longtime collaborator MAST (Tim Conley), a Nels Cline-esque guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer who toured as a guitar player for the Grammy Award-winning hip-hop band Digable Planets.
Opening the show will be up-and-coming SoCal singer-songwriter Beatrice Brigitte. Advance tickets are $10 and available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or $12 at the door. Info is also available through promoter Sam Skemp at 262-9148.
The event also features an after-party at a secret location featuring DJ sets by Hoodlum and Rhythm Fiend. In addition, del la Llata's family will have a booth set up to register potential bone marrow donor matches and selling raffle tickets to raise money for the young woman's cause.
Saturday's Sandy benefit in Salinas starts at 2 p.m. and features Dave Holodiloff Trio, Martin Shears, Kenny Stahl, Bryan Diamond, Phoenix Rising, Peter Mellinger, Valley Soul, Michael Martin, Kiki Wow, The Vibe Tribe, Roger Eddy Band, Red Beans & Rice, Troy O'Shann and other musical guests.
There will be a full bar, food purveyors, event merchandise and top-notch sound provided by the venue's Anthony Lane. Advance tickets are $20 at www.kikiwow.com until the day of the show, then $25 at the door. Doors open at 1 p.m. and the show goes until 10 p.m. The Fox Theater is at 241 Old Main St., Salinas. Kiki can be reached at 235-7662.
"I think people are '$35 dollared to death' around here with all of the events and are looking for something they can go to with friends and can enjoy outstanding music for hours," said Kiki about trying to keep the admission cost low. "This is a great venue for the bands to be seen and heard in full living color — and you can dance if you want to."
· Comedian Christopher "Kid" Reid of hip-hop duo Kid 'n' Play and "House Party" comedy fame, will perform Friday and Saturday night at Planet Gemini in Monterey. I've seen his show and the Kid, who has since lost the towering Afro, is pretty damn funny.
· You can catch the 2012 Golden Pine Cone award-winner for best local band, The Money Band, Friday night at Sly McFly's. Congrats guys!
· The Hyatt Regency Monterey's popular Sunday Jazz Jams have moved to Cibo in downtown Monterey, for now. Catch jam regulars David Morwood, Lee Durley and Mike Lent from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. this Sunday. Bring your axe if you're a player. Always free, always entertaining.
· Garage-rock fixture Mark Sultan (of The King Khan & BBQ Show and The Almighty Defenders) and The Audio Waltz perform Monday night in The Lobby at the Golden State Theatre in downtown Monterey. Doors at 7:30 p.m., $10 door, all ages.
· Catch my initial foray into radio Monday at 5 p.m. with my first "Five at Five" for KRML Radio, 102.1-FM, 1410-AM and online at krml.com. I'm also a guest on the second "Women on Top" show at 11 a.m. Sunday with Victoria Lara and Tiffany Decker.
And jazz fans, don't stress, there's a whole channel dedicated to jazz at krml.com, so you can still get your fix and jazz can continue its storied run at KRML. Mac out!GO!