Underground heroes of blues punk, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, will roll into Grass Valley Sunday with opening acts Shockwave Riderz and Black Cat Grave for a concert presented by the Center for the Arts.
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is: Jon Spencer (vocals and guitar), Judah Bauer (guitar) and Russell Simins (drums). Simins, Spencer, and Bauer came together in the early 1990s when power trios were not uncommon in their native New York City punk scene.
Their musical style is largely rooted in rock and roll and draws influences from punk, blues, garage, rockabilly, soul, noise rock, rhythm and blues and hip hop.
“What we do can be a little wild and crazy. I think the band is a little confusing for some people, but if you see us live it makes sense,” said Spencer.
They have released seven official studio albums, numerous singles, out-take albums, compilations, remix albums and in 2010, a series of expanded reissues along with the full-length studio album, “Meat and Bone.” The band’s influences range from ragged bluesmen like R.L. Burnside and Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers to James Brown and Public Enemy.
“Just look at someone like Hound Dog Taylor, or Muddy Waters. You can make the case that’s a kind of blues punk. I never thought there was much of a difference between blues music and punk rock. But we weren’t the first. We had some great shoulders to stand on,” said Spencer.
Spencer has two other bands —Boss Hog, with his wife, Cristina Martinez, and 1980s-born garage-rock outfit Pussy Galore. Bauer spends time gigging with his band 20 Miles and touring with Cat Power.
Black Cat Grave is a duo out of the San Francisco Bay Area featuring Bryan Kehoe on guitar and vocals and Tim “Soya” Solyan on drums and vocals. The band is an eclectic mix of Rockabilly, Hillbilly, Polka, Opera and everything in between. The two first began playing music during more than 10 years ago in the band, The Kehoe Nation.
Fast and furious guitar leads and in-your-face drumming is the driving force of Black Cat Grave. Kehoe’s unique range of vocal styling is best viewed live.Kehoe comes from the 1980s and 1990s Bay Area music scene. Kehoe toured and recorded as the guitar/ vocal sideman in the band M.I.R.V. for a decade. He has worked with musicians and bands such as: Jerry Cantrell, Ministry, Frog Brigade, Poontang Wranglers and Polkacide. Kehoe and his old pal Les Claypool (Primus) performed together on Les Claypool’s side project, Duo de Twang. They released the new CD, “4 Foot Shack” in February.
Tim ‘Soya’ Solyan is the longtime drummer for Sonoma County punk band, The Victims Family. To date, the band started in 1989 has five CDs, has extensively toured the U.S. and Europe. After a run of live gigs and his work playing on The Kehoe Nation CD, “Music For Livers,” Tim has once again joined forces with Bryan Kehoe to be the other half of Black Cat Grave.
Sunday’s dance concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22 for members of the Cetner, $25 for the general public and are available at the Center’s Box Office in person, by phone at 530-274-8384 ext. 14, online at www.thecenterforthearts.org or at BriarPatch Co-op.