Alibi Spring Crawl 2004 is just around the bend (Saturday, April 24, in the heart of Downtown), so the time has come to convey a little information as roughly 12,000 of you gear up for the first major event of spring. As reported two weeks ago, this year's Spring Crawl will feature two national acts: Detroit '80s rockers The Romantics and San Francisco psych-rockers The Brian Jonestown Massacre. In Crawls to come, we'll gradually invite more national acts in an effort to diversify and attract regional and national attention to the events. But rest assured that the Crawls will always emphasize local music. ... Please note that wristband prices have increased on day of show to $20. Do the smart thing and get your cheap, all-access (with valid and proper I.D.) passes in advance through Saturday, April 23, at noon in one of four exciting, convenient ways: buy them on the Alibi website HERE; buy them at Natural Sound in Nob Hill (255-8295); buy them at Alibi Headquarters (411 Central NW); or by them from Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com or 883-7800). Beginning at 12:01 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, a wristband you could have purchased for just 15 bucks will cost you an Andrew Jackson. Pick up next week's issue, on stands Thursday, April 22, for all the details, complete venue schedules, maps, guides and all the Alibi Spring Crawl-related news you'll need. Now, go buy a wristband and prepare to join the fun!
Since the mid-'70s when guitarist Little Charlie Baty and harmonicist Rick Estrin first teamed up, Little Charlie and the Nightcats have been spreading their unique combination of Chicago blues, Texas swing, rockabilly—even surf music—across the States and Europe. And since the release of All the Way Crazy, their Alligator Records debut in 1987, the band have garnered raves from critics and fans alike, as well as a handful of Grammy nominations and a W.C. Handy award along the way. They've served as backing band for contemporary blues legend John Hammond on two phenomenal blues recordings and have toured with everyone from Robert Cray to the Allman Brothers.
Friday, April 16; Stella Blue (21 and over, 9 p.m.): When you think of bluegrass, your mind is drawn across the turnpike into the Delaware River Valley in the heart of New Jersey. OK, so New Jersey's among the last places in America you'd look if you were seeking the best newgrass jam band in the country, but it turns out that the Garden State is the birthplace of that very band: Railroad Earth. The sextet features some of the finest bluegass musicians working today, evidenced by recent invitations to play at some of the most prestigious bluegrass festivals in the world—Telluride and Grey Fox.
Sunday, April 18; Lensic Performing Arts Center (Santa Fe, all ages, 7 p.m.)/Thursday, April 22; Outpost Performance Space (all ages, 7 p.m.): Perhaps the only thing more amazing than listening to sarod master Amjad Ali Khan play his instrument in a setting of traditional accompaniment is listening to him trade licks with jazz virtuoso guitarist Charlie Byrd. Khan's collaboration with Byrd speaks to his ability to play exceptionally in any situation on an instrument that remains largely enigmatic to Westerners. The sarod is a 19-string fretless lute-like device made of teak wood and metal indigenous to India, where Khan is acknowledged as one of India's finest classical musicians and the foremost exponent of the sarod.
Otis Taylor is the most relevant blues artist working today, bar none. His 2003 release, Truth is Not Fiction, turned the blues on its ear with stripped-down acoustic songs that are swollen with emotion and spine-tingling urgency. With Double V, Taylor continues his journey into the darkest corners of American history, telling chilling stories of the struggle for civil rights, social unrest and spiritual longing atop perfectly hewn melodies that mine the rich traditions of African folk, African American spirituals, latter-day acoustic blues and roiling blues rock. Taylor's unconventional instrumentation and approach takes no prisoners.