Breaking News! (OK, it’s a personal pet peeve when the evening news starts every other story with “Breaking News,” but it must work because it grabs my attention every time.)
So please forgive me, but … Breaking News! Mike Gibbons, a crazy-talented locally famous singer-songwriter, will perform at Alameda’s High Street Station on Friday Aug. 3, accompanied by cellist Rebecca Roudman. How did we manage to snag such raw talent right here on our little island? I happen to be his wife’s aunt. That’s how.
But wait – there’s more! Mike asked the (not quite yet) locally famous Marshall Bonnes, our future son-in-law, to open for him. You get two, count them, two official Alice Lewis family members for the price of just one! It’s a “Buy One Get One Free” deal, and you don’t even need a rewards card to claim yours.
Mike is my favorite nephew-in-law. (OK, technically he’s my only nephew-in-law but he’s a keeper all the same.) My niece Louise met him before his career took off when he held a day job installing roof racks in Marin. She needed a roof rack. Sparks flew, and not from the electric drill motor.
Mike grew up on four different continents and his music reflects that diversity. In 2005 he released his first CD, Jetlag Chronicles, followed by Loose Ends in 2008. He wrote and recorded his 2011 release Marigolds: The Bangkok Sessions in Thailand, where he spent five years as a child and returned to live with my niece in 2010. Our daughter Sarah visited them there during the tempestuous Red Shirt protests. I was a mess from overprotective maternal angst. (Sarah makes a habit of adding adventure to her adventures.)
Back to Mike’s bio: Fellow KFOG Fogheads might know that the radio station selected Mike’s song “Mason Jar Dreams” for their Local Scene Vol. 6. I own that CD as well as all his others, but I don’t get to hear Mike perform live often because most of his concerts begin after my bedtime, and way on the other side of a bridge.
It’s an Alameda thing. In my imagination, Mayor Gilmore raises the bridges and closes the Posey Tube when she turns off the City Hall lights and we’re all tucked in for the night. So to have a Mike Gibbons performance right here in our town at a reasonable hour is my idea of perfect.
I have traveled off island to hear him perform at the Hotel Utah, the Independent, Yoshi’s San Francisco, the Great American Music Hall, and at Sweetwater in Mill Valley. My favorite song is “Through the Floor,” and he plays it for me whenever he knows I’m in the audience. When he played it at the Great American Music Hall my brother Jamie, Mike’s father-in-law, asked me to dance.
I was twirling in circles at the end of Jamie’s arm until my sweaty palm slipped from his grip. I flew off like a Frisbee, landing hard on my rump. It gave the song a more literal interpretation. (Through the floor … get it?) Fortunately the only damage done was to my dignity, and that was totaled long ago.
So it’s on to opening act — Marshall Bonnes, who plans to marry our youngest daughter Emily this fall. They met while working together at a summer camp in Washington’s San Juan Islands. Although he’s not locally famous … yet … I have heard Marshall perform several times in a venue we like to call “Base Station” or perhaps more correctly, - “BaySt-ation.” It’s an underground scene in an undisclosed location somewhere in Alameda’s Gold Coast district. Very cozy. In fact, it feels just like home.
For the past decade, Marshall has played and performed in Indie-rock, art-rock, punk and metal bands. Living two flights up, I am truly grateful that he has put his punk/metal days behind him. His current style sounds like the soothing, hypnotic soundtrack to a planetarium show. Marshall describes it as genre-experimental / minimal / folkscape. He plays guitar, synthesizer, banjo, piano, and a whole slew of random hand instruments as well as sound recordings manipulated by computer programs. True cutting edge stuff. It’s dreamy, sleepy and “aleatoric.”
Marshall — seriously? I had to look that one up. According to Wikipedia, aleatoric music is "music in which some element of the composition is left to chance, and/or some primary element of a composed work's realization is left to the determination of its performer(s).” Thanks, Marsh. I love broadening my vocabulary. A writer can never have too many words. I will try to use "aleatoric" at every opportunity so I commit it to memory.
So please join Mike, Marshall and me at High Street Station on Friday, Aug. 3. Marshall leads the show at 7 p.m. with Mike and cellist Rebecca Roudman following. If you live in Alameda, you can be snug in your bed by 10:15.
But if he plays “Through the Floor,” please don’t ask me to dance. I am not about to risk landing flat on my fanny in front of the locals. Alameda’s way too small a town.
Fun facts to know and tell:
- Mike’s music. http://mikegibbons.net
- Marshall’s music: http://soundcloud.com/elcaraballo
- High Street Station: http://www.highstreetstationcafe.com
- $10 cover charge for the music. Reservations recommended for dinner, which runs about $15.