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In the Mix

Jan 30, 2020 12:05AM ● By Paul Cotruvo

Paul Cotruvo

 

In the Mix with the Cherished Armando’s

Just as I was wrapping up this article to submit, I received some devastating news. One of the best venues in our area is closing. Armando’s in Martinez has been going strong for more than 14 years and featured some of the best talent in the Bay Area and beyond. It appears that due to a dispute with the landlord, the last show will be held on February 9. It is very rare in our area to have a place that is strictly a music venue. Over the years, many genres of music shared that stage: jazz, bluegrass, blues, rock, folk, big band, and country. Owner Roy Jeans, a Martinez legend, wanted it all in his place. He also made shows the most affordable to attend. Live music is definitely a difficult thing to do on a small scale, but Roy and Eloise made it work. It is hard to put into words, but he created an atmosphere that musicians and patrons could only feel when they were there, like when sitting in the eclectic painted chairs or the comfy couch while listening to an up and coming artist or legends such as Maria Muldaur, Dan Hicks and David Lindley. It’s such an intimate setting. Roy will be looking for an alternative location, and we are hopeful and encouraged that Armando's will rise again and continue to be a cherished part of not only the musical landscape in Martinez but the Bay Area.

For some local reaction, I asked my fellow board members of the Martinez Music Mafia to make some statements and comments. As you will see, Armando’s was more than just another venue for bands to play. 

Scotty O’Neill: “My life has truly been impacted by Armando’s. From the early days, when it was looking like a true speakeasy, to getting organized with jazz acts, jams, open mics, I found a community out of this magical place. All because of Roy Jeans, who named Armando’s after his grandfather, and Eloise Cotton, who fostered a local and wider reach to national acts coming though. The aesthetic of this place never stopped evolving, both in visual and audio experience, because of Roy’s creative and artful approach to making that room the best in the Bay. And as a performer there, all I can say is it’s the best stage ever to work with outstanding sound and to play -- and always to an appreciative listening audience. No matter what happens going forward, we can all take respite in having this chapter in our lives to remember until our last breath.”

 

Brian Walker: “It’s sad to see this chapter in the life of Armando’s come to an end. Hopefully, a new chapter is right around the corner. Armando’s has done more to revitalize the cultural life of downtown Martinez than any other initiative attempted in recent memory.”

 

Bruce Campbell: “Aside from the obvious benefits of having Armando's in town (excellent live music on a regular basis), as a semi-pro musician, I benefited from the performing atmosphere, which was markedly different from bar gigs. It really helped me hone my stagecraft, mic technique, and dealing with sound people, etc. - things that musicians need to know but are rarely formerly taught.”

 

Chris Bryant: “Armando’s has been a sanctuary for myself and many others for great music in Martinez and the entire Bay Area -- the vibe and the room are unique. It’s been an honor to both play and work there the last few years, and it’s inspired me to strive harder to be better in both my own performances and those I organize and work on. The spirit will live on and, hopefully, rise again. The desire to perform there made us dig deeper musically. ”

 

Please check the Armando’s website for announcements of the last show on February 9. I have a feeling it will be amazing! www. armandosmartinez.com. Thank you, Roy and Eloise, for creating such a unique venue. We are indebted to you forever.

 

 

Quote of the Month:

“Time to move, time to get going, what lies ahead I have no way of knowing”

Tom Petty

 

Paul’s picks for February:

February 1: Hot for Teacher, Retro Junkie, 2112 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, 9pm

February 7: The New Frantics, Roxx on Main, 627 Main St., Martinez, 8:30pm

February 7: The Billy Bunch, Dan’s Bar, 1524 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, 10pm

February 8: Valarie Jay & the Americano’s, Roxx on Main, 627 Main St., Martinez, 8:30pm

February 13: Stephanie & Joey, Rocco’s Pizzeria, 2909 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek, 8:00pm

February 21: Junk Drawer, WiseGirl, 1932 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill, 9pm

February 22: Paul Trombetta, Back 40, 100 Coggins Drive, Pleasant Hill, 6pm

February 22: The Bell Brothers, Roxx on Main, 627 Main St., Martinez, 8:30pm

February 22: Lumberyard, WiseGirl, 1932 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill, 9pm

 

VENUES:

Armando’s: 707 Marina Vista, Martinez CA                        www.armandosmartinez.com

Back Forty: 100 Coggins Drive-Pleasant Hill, CA                  www. backforty.us

WiseGirl:  1932 Oak Park Blvd. Pleasant Hill, CA             www.wisegirlph.com

Dan’s Bar: 1524 Civic Drive Walnut Creek CA                      www.dansbar.com  

Roxx on Main-627 Main St. Martinez, CA                                      www.roxxonmain.com

Rocco’s Pizzeria: 2909 Ygnacio Valley Road Walnut Creek CA   www.roccospizzeria.com

Retro Junkie – 2112 N. Main Street Walnut Creek                        www.retrojunkiebar.com

Vinnies: 2045 Mt. Diablo Street-Concord, CA               www.vinniesbar.com