The Labor Day holiday fast approaches and there are many opportunities to hear live music through the three-day weekend. The 85-year-old blues legend Buddy Guy was originally scheduled to perform Friday evening at the Golden State Theatre in downtown Monterey. Due to the recent surge in COVID cases in the United States, Guy’s team heeded the advice of his doctor to hold off on performing through September and unfortunately that included his appearance in Monterey. Guy is rescheduled to appear in Monterey March 4 and he resumes touring Oct. 7.
Golden State Theatre’s return to live events is still healthy and proceeding well. The opening event Aug. 20 with comedienne Nikki Glaser was a sell-out. Every seat in the theater was filled according to producer Ben Bransford.
“It was a great first night after a year and a half of nothing,” Bransford said. “The first show to come back with literally a full house was pretty special for me and the new ownership and production staff, everyone who has been working so hard to get the theater back in working condition and honestly to have a theater to come back to. I know they were all thrilled.”
Before the event, the theater staff sent out notices with an update on how COVID protocols had changed since the tickets first went on sale. People were asked to bring proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the concert. Those who did so were allowed the option to go without a mask. Anyone who didn’t have proof was required to wear one. Bransford said a lot of people wore masks whether they were vaccinated or not and he observed in the theater it was about a 50/50 split.
“People were excited to come back. That was cool,” he said. “For now people are allowed to come in without vaccine or test proof but have to wear a mask the whole time. People got different wristbands accordingly. I would say there were a few handfuls of people who had neither the vaccine card or negative test proof.”
Bransford said he stays in touch with the Monterey County Health Department and follows the advice as it comes.
“Between the vaccine/negative test check-ins, and also just checking IDs and tickets and all the stuff that is required to get into a show,” he said, “it took longer than people are used to and certainly the theater has been used to in the past. We had a line clear down the city block and around the corner. I would say all things considered it actually went quite smoothly. But the check-in process took and is going to take a lot longer than pre-COVID. You can’t just show up a half-hour before the show and get your ticket scanned and kind of waltz right in. Now it’s going to require getting there an hour before. We’ll ask our patrons to come in earlier in the day to show all that stuff and get their wristband ahead of time, so when they do come they only have to get their ticket scanned and come in. We’re doing all we can to do pre-checks and clears and so it’s as comfortable as possible. I would say public perception-wise, we didn’t get one complaint about the line or a complaint about getting the vaccine checks.”
Coming up next is Chris Botti on Sept. 10, followed by The Beach Boys, Sept. 16; Y&T, Sept. 18; and Judy Collins, Sept. 25. Please visit www.goldenstatetheatre.com to get tickets and see about all the upcoming shows.
It was great to catch up with blues, jazz and soul food restaurant/club Deja Blue owner Daryl Choates on the phone to hear about what’s happening at the Broadway Avenue, Seaside soul food restaurant and club. It’s been open again since June, presenting live music three times a week.
“We don’t charge a cover, but people need to buy a beverage and food,” Choates said. “We have plenty of seating. If the inside (105 seats) ever gets full we can still put 90 people outside on the patio. It’s a nice patio with simulcast TV and everything.”
You can hear Don Caruth & the Joint Chiefs Saturday, 3-6 p.m. playing some funky soul and blues. They’re a popular Central Coast dance band. Sunday from 3-6 p.m., reggae stalwart Tony Miles puts on a patio party, also very well attended. Wednesday is Happy Hour Jazz with The Legends from 5-8 p.m. The group consists of Leon Joyce, Lee Durley and Scotty Wright, all well known locally, with Joyce at the helm as musical director/drummer. Both Durley and Wright are great jazz and blues singers. Recent performers on Saturdays include blues belter Lady Bianca this last week and dynamic blues and soul singer Terrie Odabi before that.
More next week about the upcoming Monterey Jazz Festival After Hour Jazz Parties to be held at five or more venues around the Peninsula, one being Deja Blue.
Carmel Valley’s Folktale Winery & Vineyards with KRML Radio have another Live in the Garden concert Monday with Absofacto. The brainchild of Los Angeles-based Jonathan Visger, Absofacto offers up a fluid sound of dream pop, art rock and electronic music. Kinder Creatures opens at 6 p.m., doors are at 5 p.m. Reservations are required, 21 and over, priority seating is $65, general seating is $45. Ticket links and more info are at www.folktalewinery.com.
Also, tonight (Thursday) at Folktale is the opening night of the 45th San Francisco Comedy Competition, 5-8 p.m., priority seating $50, general $30. The second round takes place the following Thursday, Sept. 9.
Odds and ends
Tickets are still available for the Patti Smith Trio Words & Music, at Big Sur’s Henry Miller Memorial Library, two nights, Monday and Tuesday, presented by FolkYeah! Gates are at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Shuttle only, vaccinated or proof of negative COVID test only. Sold only in packages of two, three and four tickets at $135 apiece plus fees. Please visit either www.folkyeah.com or www.henrymiller.org for link to EventBrite and event info.
Also, The Chuck Brewer Band is at Sly McFly’s on Cannery Row, Monday, 9-11:30 p.m. for a Labor Day Bash. The singer, harmonica player and saxophonist leads an all-star band on tunes that range from blues, to rock and pop.
Contributed by local news sources