Center launches new Discover series |
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Center launches new Discover series

The Center for the Arts wasted no time in securing the talents of Sara Zahn after the Haven Underground closed earlier this year. In her new role as the Center's program associate, Zahn and the Center will offer emerging talent in the music field through the Discover Series.

"The Discover series is a curated series of new music. Part of our mission is to educate and the Discover Series is a great way to inform our audiences about new music while building new audiences for the Center. We hope that patrons and Center members will try something new and trust that if it is at the Center, it is of only the highest quality, and you know it will be good," said Executive Director Julie Baker.

With renovations underway at the Center for the Arts' "Off Center Stage," the slightly hidden black box theater located behind the Center's Main Stage on Richardson Street, the Discover Series debuts this weekend with two uniquely different yet wildly entertaining shows back to back. Starting with the return of Washington, D.C.-based seasoned rockers Dead Meadow Friday and the Bay Area's renowned eclectic and energetic sextet Battlehooch Saturday.

With a focus on quality independent music, the newly established Discover Series brings emerging talent along with established independent artists of all genres to Nevada County.

"Every successful performer, artist and band has its beginnings starting with a local fanbase, endless touring, word of mouth and luck of the draw," Zahn said. "Affordable, fresh, and appealing to music lovers and aficionados of all ages, the Discover Series brings to Nevada County music that is well on its way and deserving to be a household name. The Center for the Arts' Discover Series invites you to play a part in music history showcasing talented touring musicians on their path to success."

Dead Meadow with local opener Red Cloud Friday

While not necessarily new to the scene, this rock 'n' roll trio has garnered respect in music circles across the globe. Dead Meadow's unique marriage of Black Sabbath riffs, dreamy layers of guitar-fuzz bliss and singer Jason Simon's melodic croon have won over both psychedelic pop/rock and stoner rock fans alike.

Formed in the fall of 1998 out the ashes of Washington, D.C., local indie rock bands The Impossible Five and Coulour with singer-guitarist Jason Simon, bassist Steve Kille and drummer Mark Laughlin, the three members set out to fuse their love of early-'70s hard rock and '60s psychedelia with their love of fantasy and horror writers J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft, righteously drawing their sound from such classic rock legends as Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath.

Friday, the Center's Discover Series and (((folkYEAH!))) will present Dead Meadow for those 21 and older at the Off Center Stage, 314 Richardson St. in Grass Valley. Tickets to the 8 p.m. concert are $10 for members of the Center or $12 for non-members and are available at the Center's box office in person, by phone at 530-274-8384, ext. 14, or online at and at BriarPatch Co-op.

Battlehooch with local opener Uncle Junior

What can a rock band do that hasn't been done yet? How much can you twist and mutate a genre until it turns into something new? These are the questions that lie at the heart of Battlehooch's music. Its latest album, "Hot Lungs" (released in February), is a full-length meditation on the answers for those questions. With songs ranging from symphonically epic to intimately beautiful, "Hot Lungs" is an album that captures the widescreen nature of Battlehooch's sound.

While the stealthy juggling act of instruments and monster masks is definitely a highlight to their show, antics and voltage are not the only things that comprise Battlehooch. They refrain from cranking out sheer volume and opt for presence. Battlehooch follows the utopian model of musical co-op as opposed to standard rock band format, and this is what makes their classic-meets-current sound so believable. You believe it when you see one-man wind section Tom Hurlbut dressed in homage to Hunter S. Thompson with an American flag worn as a cape. You also see it in bassist Grant Goodrich's hair-buried face as he ironically hides in the corner of the stage despite his 6-foot stature. Looks and energy alone make Battlehooch a '60s time warp, but it is more than a kitchy throwback.

Battlehooch is AJ McKinley on guitar, Ben Juodvalkis on synth, Grant Goodrich on bass, Pat Smithon vocals, Ryan Huber on drums and Tom Hurlbut on winds and brass.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. Saturday show are $8 for members, $10 for non-members and are available at the Center's box office in person, by phone at 530-274-8384, ext. 14, or online at and at BriarPatch Co-op. It will also be at the Off Center Stage, 314 Richardson St. in Grass Valley.

For more about the band, go to