Author: Paul Piazza

Paul Piazza is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in Sacramento and often finds excuses to go play disc golf. He covers all genres of music but loves old-school trash metal, Stax-era soul, freestyle hip-hop and the sounds of NOLA. However, the latest album he bought was Cambodian pop. Good music is good music.

My Morning Jacket Greek Theatre, Berkeley September 25, 2021 Photos by Paul Piazza. Recently, My Morning Jacket returned as a headliner to the Greek Theatre in Berkeley for the first time since 2012. The results were astounding as they played a absolutely powerhouse 20 song-set of new songs and favorites that clocked in at almost two and a half hours on a night in which one could feel the barely contained, and very palpable joy in the air at the return of kick ass live music to the Greek. The band were touring on their self-titled 2021 record, their first…

Read More

Dinner Party Frost Amphitheater, Palo Alto July 15, 2021 Photos by Paul Piazza. Last week, music lovers at the Frost Amphitheater in Palo Alto were treated to the live debut of Dinner Party, a remarkable 2020 r&b, jazz and hip-hop collaboration between Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Kamasi Washington, and 9th Wonder. On this night, Glasper and Martin ushered this music into the live realm along with a stellar cast including the remarkable trumpet player Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, bassist/vocalist Phenix, drummer Justin Tyson, and DJ Jahi Sundance. This was the second live show at the Stanford University venue that was…

Read More

Fantastic Negrito Frost Amphiteater, Palo Alto July 8, 2021 Photos by Paul Piazza. Live music roared back to life at the Frost Amphitheater on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto last week with an electrifying performance by Fantastic Negrito. The three-time Grammy winner from Oakland, along with a five member band, delivered a scintillating performance that never let up in engagement, intensity and incredible sounds. Fantastic Negrito is somewhat of an uncategorizable artist who seamlessly blends funk, soul, blues, rock, afropunk and folk into a savory stew of sounds that has caught fire worldwide. Restricted from touring like…

Read More

This week, we continue examining the different ways in which musicians are using video streams and other means to stay connected to fans while they attempt to earn a living during the pandemic, which has severely damaged the live music economy. There have been a few evolutions since we last checked in.  Innovations Livestreams options expand: Livestream pay to enter subscription series featuring full band and a variety of guests.  Artist: Marcus King Location: Sound stage in Nashville Venue: marcuskingband.com When: Monday premiere and rewatchable with 4-show subscription-Fee $30 for four shows or $10 each-proceeds go to MusicCares. If you…

Read More

During the pandemic, musicians and others in the music industry have been one of the most financially impacted groups. With large gatherings remaining out of the question and venues struggling to stay open, this has been a difficult time for economic survival from all angles in the music industry.  So how have musicians managed to remain afloat during these times? Heading into the spring of 2020, many bands and musicians had ambitious tours  booked, new music recorded, records were pressed and merchandise created. A large contingent of artists across the nation and world were fully set-up to have a fantastic…

Read More

The Wood Brothers Fox Theater, Oakland March 7, 2020 Photos by Paul Piazza It was most certainly a night to celebrate when The Wood Brothers rolled into Oakland and played their first-ever headlining show at the legendary Fox Theatre near the beginning of March. The sensational trio, comprised of brothers Chris and Oliver Wood and percussionist extraordinaire Jano Rix, had recently launched a tour promoting their excellent new record Kingdom in My Mind. Oakland was one of the early stops on the tour and many were looking forward to a night of their soulful folk and quirky charm. It also…

Read More

Marcus King Band Ace of Spades, Sacramento February 6, 2020 Photos by Paul Piazza  Marcus King has established himself as a musical force early in his life. The 23-year-old guitarist, who headlined at Ace of Spades in Sacramento with his band in early February, first picked up a guitar when he was eight and has been playing professionally since he was eleven. Since then, he has steadily gained a reputation as a staggeringly talented guitarist who pours a sophisticated, southern tinged essence into both the Gibson ES and Fender Telecaster that he favors as well as a soulful vocalist who…

Read More

Fortunate Youth Ace of Spades, Sacramento November 22, 2019 Photos by Paul Piazza Fortunate Youth recently played a show at Ace of Spades in Sacramento with fellow rising reggae star Mike Love. The band are currently touring behind their trio of Sugershack Sessions recordings and their latest single “Young and Innocent,” a collaboration with Jamaican dancehall legend Half Pint. Fortunate Youth formed in 2009 in Hermosa Beach. They have made big inroads on the California reggae scene over the span of the last decade. The band have released five albums and have toured relentlessly. They’ve gradually ascended the ladder of…

Read More

Gary Clark Jr. w/ Fantastic Negrito Greek Theater, Berkeley September 28, 2019 Photos by Paul Piazza Gary Clark Jr and his band played the Greek Theatre recently on autumn’s first cool Saturday night. The weather was just about right for Clark who has a somewhat aloof stage presence and prefers communicating with his guitar over talking to the audience. That seemed to be just fine with most in attendance who were expecting to see just that happen. The band are out on the road promoting Clark’s latest album, This Land, and he played a healthy amount of tracks from the…

Read More

Post Malone Golden 1 Center  September 17, 2019 Photos by Paul Piazza The day before Post Malone played his first ever headlining show at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, the chart-topping rapper from Texas spent his day hanging around in the area surrounding the arena. Countless locals posted selfies with the young rap superstar, known to most fans as just Posty these days, as he made his way around Sacramento’s DOCO (Downtown Commons) district on foot, casually stopping to interact with people. That would seem to be unimaginable for someone who has been charting insanely on the Billboard charts. That…

Read More

Revivalists Greek Theatre, Berkeley September 13, 2019 Photos by Paul Piazza The Revivalists have been on a tear over the last few years. After slugging it out on the Gulf Coast club circuit during the early part of this decade, they have steadily gained a rep as a must-see group with their fiery blend of rock and soul. They have proved that over and over again at festivals and clubs all over the nation and are now on their largest venue tour to date, which brought them to the Greek Theatre in Berkeley recently. Along with their relentless touring, another…

Read More

311 and Dirty Heads Papa Murphy’s Park, Sacramento August 16, 2019 Photos by Paul Piazza 311 and Dirty Heads, two of the nation’s most successful reggae rock acts, played in Sacramento recently at the end of an August week that saw the region’s hottest temperatures of the summer. The pairing, which celebrated 29 years of success for 311, was billed as a co-headliner with up and comers The Dirty Heads. The young Orange County band have seen much success in just a little over a decade together.  Fortunately for all of the overheated fans, the venues proximity to the American…

Read More

Ziek McCarter is the lead vocalist for Con Brio. Since arriving in the Bay Area from Texas almost nine years ago, he has gained a reputation as a frontman who is a tremendous vocalist with incendiary dance moves and astonishing agility as he often defies gravity on the stage. In his time with the band, they have evolved from a club band, to a festival must-see, to an international touring act. That’s quite a climb. He has also worked on other impressive music projects including an incredible live tribute collaboration of Prince’s “Dirty Mind” album with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.…

Read More

High Sierra Music Festival Quincy July 4 – 7, 2019 Photos by Paul Piazza The 29th annual High Sierra Music Festival took place in Quincy recently and was a four-day musical extravaganza. The campout festival happens over the Fourth of July weekend and has become an annual tradition for many who flock to the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds. This year’s four headliners were Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Dispatch, Umphrey’s McGee and Greensky Bluegrass. All were stellar during their Grandstand stage performances. Arguably, the High Sierra Music Festival or HSMF as it’s known to regulars, is the best music festival in California,…

Read More

Empire of the Sun Regency Ballroom June 24, 2019 Photos by Paul Piazza Empire of the Sun recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of their album Walking on a Dream with a three-night residency at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. The Australian electronic music group, which is the love child of Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore, have been a huge act overseas for quite some time but broke through in the U.S. about four years ago. This happened after a couple of key events. First, both Lady Gaga (“Applause”) and Wiz Khalifa (“The thrill”) did remixes of their music. Then,…

Read More

The Record Company Ace of Spades, Sacramento June 5, 2019 Photos by Paul Piazza The Record Company recently steamrolled into Sacramento on a Wednesday night and put on a performance at the Ace of Spades that left little doubt they are one of the best up and coming heavy blues rock outfits out there. Even though it was a school night and the Warriors were playing against the Raptors in the championship on television, the club was close to full. And the Los Angeles-based band delivered with a solid set drawing mostly from their two well-received albums. The trio have…

Read More

Rival Sons Ace of Spades, Sacramento May 6, 2019 Photos by Paul Piazza Monday night is a tough night to get people to go out to a gig. But when Rival Sons recently played Sacramento’s Ace of Spades at the beginning of the week, they sold-out the place. It wasn’t a big surprise because the Long Beach band have grown in stature with both fans and fellow musicians since their inception in 2009. Rival Sons have been getting serious notice as openers on big tours for a while and that reputation continued to grow when they had an impressive showing…

Read More

Chicano Batman Mystic Theater, Petaluma April 26, 2019 Photos by Paul Piazza It was a Friday night to remember at the Mystic Theater in Petaluma when Chicano Batman came into the sleepy Peninsula town on the eve of one of the biggest local traditions of the year – the annual Butter and Egg Festival. The Los Angeles based-band had sold out the show over a week in advance and everyone in the house was prepared to be immersed in the band’s contagious psychedelic soul and fiery rock-out energy. But nobody expected the epic show that the band brought to us…

Read More

Aterciopelados and Los Amigos Invisibles UC Theatre, Berkeley April 27, 2019 Photos by Paul Piazza On a recent spring Saturday night, a pair of legendary Latin music groups appeared at the UC Theatre in Berkeley. Aterciopelados of Columbia and Los Amigos Invisibles of Venezuela shared a double-bill that drew a packed house of adoring Latin music fans to the beautiful room on University Ave. Aterciopelados were one of the first bands from Columbia to gain international notice and are considered pioneers in the development of Latin alternative music. They fuse rock with a variety of Columbian and Latin American sounds…

Read More

Winter Wondergrass Festival Squaw Valley March 29 – 31, 2019 Photos by Paul Piazza. The weather was mild for the 5th Annual Winter Wondergrass Festival which took place recently at Squaw Valley. Unlike the previous year, where rain and light snow fell steadily throughout the three-day festival, the skies were crystal clear and the weather was pleasantly sunny. This resulted in more than a few fans showing up dressed lightly, many in t-shirts. Naturally, since this was the Sierras, it was wise to pack a jacket and other warm gear, because once the sun went down and the evening headliners…

Read More