The Sacramento Beat: Jestfest, Dante DaPrato Music Celebration lead the way for April concerts

·6 min read
Karlo Dayez

Spring is upon us, and Sacramento’s music scene has a pair of beautiful events starting off the new month on April 1. You’ll even have time to catch both of them.

Local artists, message Aaron Davis on Instagram if you have upcoming shows, @adavis_threetosee.

April appropriately starts with “an evening of foolery ... on the most foolish of days” at the appropriately-named Jestfest, a mini-circus for the senses of music and art headlined by L.A.-based fever dream indie pop act Cryogeyser. They’re flanked by local acts including fuzz-drenched post-punk rockers Blous3, whimsical lo-fi bedroom pop act Helladusty and unflappable longtime glam rock ruffians Mondo Deco, with Sloome, Wandawhat and Renewer rounding out the music bill.

There will also be acrobatics (we said it was a circus!) performed by the troupe from Aries Moon Circus and a sprawling art display known as “The Fool,” an exhibit featuring 45 visual artists each with their interpretation of a tarot card theme. And of course, drinks, including hard and soft kombucha from Gold Vibe, and food from the Vegan Circus truck. The whole shindig is a benefit for local community empowerment activists NorCal Resist (6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 1 at the Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S St. $20 adv./$25 door. sacjestfest.org).

Earlier in the day is the 3rd Annual Dante DaPrato Music Celebration, celebrating the life of the River City High School graduate who tragically died in 2018 at the age of 18. Like all gigs at SacYard, it’s free, but donations are being accepted to support three scholarships for music students at his alma mater, which have been awarded by the DaPrato family each of the last five years. Appropriately, the River City Regiment Band, composed of current RCHS students and alums, kicks off the music, flanked by surf rockers PHROGG — DaPrato formerly drummed for both acts. Americana/roots standouts Mike Blanchard & the Californios, and cheekily-named ensemble Home B4 Dark round out the afternoon bill (12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 1. 1725 33rd St. sacyard.beer).

“Transcendental folk” collaborative Elephant Revival always felt like one of those acts whose members would dandelion themselves across the musical landscape following their 2018 disbanding. The floret of Daniel Rodriguez has rapidly become a super bloom with his March release of “Vast Nothing,” his second full-length and follow-up to 2020’s knee-weakening “Sojourn of a Burning Sun.” With the incorruptible sweetness and breezy warmth in his new-best-friend folk, the Jack Johnson comparisons are easy to make (way less Hawaii, lots more Colorado). A stray tear, a casual grin, a moment of thought, or simply a gentle skygazing sigh can be found around every corner of “Vast Nothing” - a collection that can make any place on Earth feel like the only place on Earth. Singer/songwriter Reed Foehl opens (8 p.m. Sunday, April 2, at Harlow’s. $15/$18. www.harlows.com).

While Daniel Rodriguez holds court at Harlow’s, upstairs will be going off for Nickfest II, a budding tradition and party for longtime local musician Nick Marquez’s birthday, where they’ll celebrate him by making him play drums for about four straight hours. Marquez mans the kit for all three acts on the bill: Swan Ronson, a feisty razor’s-edge rock duo that showcases a whole different side of bandmate and local mainstay Samantha Henson, the rollicking TX3, and Raincheck Mondays (8 p.m. Sunday, April 2, at Starlet Room. $12/$15. www.harlows.com). At 11 a.m. that morning, Harlow’s hosts Mimosa Fest — that’s not music, it’s just a thing that’s happening.

Well, when an L.A. band name-drops Sacramento in song (see “Sonic Boom”), it’s only right that at some point they get the ticket to play the hallowed ground of the Crest Theatre, right? Hot jazz-soul-funk-roots co-op Dustbowl Revival will grace that stage this month after making Harlow’s a (mutually) coveted tour stop on recent treks, filling the rafters with frontman Z Lupetin’s jubilant, warmly earnest (and occasionally pointed) songwriting, co-vocalist Lashon Halley’s scorching pipes, and the kind of carnal brass howls that we presume to still be illegal in at least a dozen states. They’re sharing this bill with veteran Bay Area bluegrass royalty Hot Buttered Rum, with an opening slot from blues rock act GA-20 rounding out a brimming triple bill (7:30 p.m. Friday, April 21. $22.50-$39.50. crestsacramento.com/events).

The team from Sacramento Songwriter Circle has been hosting a cozy series of showcases every third Friday, providing a space for a different trio of local songwriters each month to show off their craft. On deck for April are autumnal Auburn-based indie folk singer Jenny Stenger, atmospheric Sacramento rapper Jakhari Smith, and R&B/jazz-tinged performer virgogabrielle (8 p.m. Friday, April 21, at Luna’s Cafe. $10). Sac Songwriter Circle also hosts open mic nights every first Friday (8 p.m. Friday, April 7, at Self Designs Art Gallery, 1801 L St.), as well as an all-genre songwriters meetup on fourth Wednesdays (6 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at Library of Musiclandria, 1219 S St. www.instagram.com/sacsongwritercircle)

It’s been a little while since we’ve heard the name Shannon Curtis ’round these parts, but the now Tacoma, Washington-based singer is back (for the evening) where it started with a new album in tow. 2022’s “Good to Me,” much like her 2021 record “2020101,” takes a cue from the Kate Bush renaissance with color-bombed ’80s synthpop hooks splattering a canvas already etched with emotionally-fraught lyrics pouring over the angst and madness of these uncertain times. As well as hosting a regular podcast, she’s also penned a companion book to the album, “Good to Me: A Roadmap to Personal Peace and Power In Hard Times” (8 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at the Sofia. $25. bstreettheatre.org).

Marty O’Reilly’s “Old Soul Orchestra” is technically no more, as his madcap brand of folk is now most frequently delivered as Marty O’Reilly Trio (typically upright bass and violin flanking his crooning resonator guitar). Truth be told, he could blindly swipe at the musical instruments counter at a thrift store and put whatever falls into the cart to work — he would make it all make sense with relative ease. Such is the ramshackle nature of the raspy balladeer’s sweetly haunting and relentlessly captivating soul-dusted blues-folk. He’s joined by the likewise enigmatic Sam Chase Trio (8 p.m. Thurs. April 27 at Starlet Room. $20. www.harlows.com).

Grab bag: The Golden Bear will get Sunday-funday rowdy with honky-tonkers and self-proclaimed “America’s riskiest country band” Country Risque, with Grass Valley rock act Farrow & the Peach Leaves and local alt-indie standout Harlequin Rose (Sunday, April 9, 2326 K St. www.instagram.com/goldenbear916); unstoppable troubadour Colin Hay is back at the Crest Theatre, with Lazlo Bane (8 p.m. Wednesday, April 12. $49.50-$69.50. crestsacramento.com/events); jubilant alt-rock/pop act Magic Giant returns to the foothills, this time at Nevada City’s Miners Foundry, with Mobley (8 p.m. Friday, April 14, 325 Spring St. $22/$25. minersfoundry.org); no formal music lineup yet as of this writing, but Auburn Hip Hop Congress’s free Some Kind of Earth Day Festival is set to go for April 23 at School Park Preserve, 55 College Way in Auburn.