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In the Mix

May 07, 2018 12:07PM ● By Paul Cotruvo

Paul Cotruvo

In the Mix

The Season of Live Music


Over the years, many of our local cities have stepped up to the plate and brought fantastic entertainment for our listening or dancing pleasure, usually in local parks or downtown venues. These have become great meeting places to catch up with friends and neighbors or just hang out with the family and expose the youngsters to “live” music. For me, there is contentment and joy in going to a concert in the park. I just love the casual atmosphere, the fresh air, the picnic dinner, and, of course, the entertainment. So check out some of my recommendations and mark your calendars.


Summer by the Lake Summer Concert Series always has great bands, and this year is no exception. The series is held on the lawn in front of City Hall (corner of Gregory and Cleaveland) every other Sunday, 6pm to 8pm. Some highlights this year: Eagles tribute band Midnight Flyer on May 27; The Fundamentals on June 10; Top Shelf brings a little Motown on July 22; get your hick on with The Bell Brothers on August 19; and, closing out the series on September 2, an amazing Beatles tribute band, The Sun Kings.


The annual Pleasant Hill Blues and Brews Festival is on July 20 and 21. Held in Pleasant Hill Park, this event is always a great time. The party starts on Friday night at 6:30pm with Midnight Flyer and The Big Jangle. On Saturday, to try and beat the heat, the show begins at the new time of 4pm. This year’s lineup will be The Spencer James Band, Delta Wires, Frankie G. & The Conviction, and, to close out the evening, Zydeco Flames.


The City of Clayton is presenting Concerts in the Grove Series on Saturdays, from 6:30 to 8:30pm. Some of the highlights of this annual event are Big Bang Beat on May 26, Pride and Joy on July 7, and East Bay Mudd on September 16.


If you can’t wait until the weekend, Thursday Nights have been thrown into the mix as well. The 27th Annual Music and Market Series, in Todos Santos Plaza in downtown Concord, always offers a wide range of music. Highlights are the great Prince tribute band The Purple One, always fun Lumberyard on June 21; the all-girl tribute to Led Zeppelin, Zepparella, on July 26; and a great Police tribute band, Stung, on August 9. These shows start at 6:30pm.


Over in Moraga, they have music on Thursday evenings as well, 6:30 to 8:30pm, at the Moraga Commons Park, off Moraga Blvd. Some of this year’s highlights will be the always fun David Martin’s Houseparty on July 4 and the great Michael Jackson tribute band Foreverland on July 19.


Other great concert series to check out is downtown Lafayette’s Rock the Plaza, every Friday night in June. The Thursday Night Music and Movie series comes back this year in downtown Martinez. This event is highly recommended as it is truly family-friendly.


Are you still with me? Let’s just say there are many diverse and fun shows to see. I’m positive I’ve left out some great events -- so much to see and so little time. Make sure you check out each city’s local website for more information, and I will see you out there! Go out and support local music!


Other events this month that I recommend:


The 39th Annual MECC Wine Tasting event on May 11, held at the Pleasant Hill Community Center, starting at 5pm. This benefit benefits the children’s programs at Martinez Early Childhood Center. This event not only goes for a good cause but also features some great musicians. Some of the highlights are Garageland Rodeo, Carol Caroompas and Keith Roberson, and The Three New Frantics. Get your tickets soon. Go to or call (925) 229-2000 for more information.


On May 24 Bob Dylan turns 77 years old. This calls for a celebration! So, on May 24 at Armando’s in downtown Martinez, we will do just that. I’ve assembled some of the best musicians in the area to help wish Bob another successful trip around the sun. This year’s lineup will be myself, Kevin Scott Kroner, Charles Waltmire and Rob Mccloskey. We will also have some amazing guests, including Mark Stanley, Elizabeth Lewis, and Frankie G. This will be a very special night, especially for all you Dylan heads. Last year’s show sold out, so get there early. Show starts at 8pm with $10 cover.


Quote of the Month: “Yesterday is just a memory. Tomorrow is never what it’s supposed to be” ~~Bob Dylan


Paul’s Picks for May:

May 5: David & Linda LaFlamme, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 8pm

May 10: Michelle Lambert, Rocco’s Pizzeria, 2909 Ygnacio Valley Rd., Walnut Creek, 8pm

May 12: Soulful Security, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 8pm

May 19: Native Elements, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 8pm

May 19: Stung, Dan’s Bar, 1524 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, 10pm

May 24: Bob Dylan Birthday Tribute, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 8pm

May 25: Lumberyard, WiseGirl, 1932 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill, 9pm

May 27: The Sunday Paper, Armando’s, 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, 4pm

May 27: Midnight Flyer, Summer by the Lake, Pleasant Hill City Hall, Gregory Ln. & Cleaveland Rd., 6pm