No one big show, and nothing I'm absolutely nuts for, but there are a lot of little shows to keep you busy on this three-day weekend. Insult comic Lisa Lampanelli plays the Community Center Theatre Friday night, Maria Muldaur is at Marilyn's on K also Friday, and the Blue Man Group rocks Arco Arena with their high-tech conceptual performance "How to Be a Megastar 2.1" that originated off-Broadway a decade ago and is now a Las Vegas fixture.
Also in town Friday is The Devil Makes Three, which is two acoustic guitars and a stand-up bass, playing at Harlow's on Friday night. From what I've heard, they're kinda cool. Here they are in Vermont in 2006.
Further afield, Backwoods Jazz, an eclectic band that has local roots going back to 1960s Carmichael, has reunited and will be playing at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley on Friday and Saturday. I will be interviewing them tomorrow (Thursday) at 2 p.m. on KXJZ's Insight.
Gregg Coffin's new musical, "rightnextto me" is playing at the B Street well into February, and the composer is my first guest on my live talk show, "Musical Dialogues with David Watts Barton" at the Geery Theatre at 22nd and L Streets downtown. Coffin, a good singer/pianist and wonderful raconteur, will be playing the grand piano, demonstrating how he composes and playing his songs for what is likely the first time in some years for a live audience. It's going to be a very special evening, and tickets are going fast. You can get them at The Beat, only $10.
If you were disappointed by the cancellation of last weekend's concert to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Johnny Cash's legendary Folsom Prison concert, there's a consolation prize: Rusty Evans and Ring of Fire do a spot-on impersonation of Cash and his band, circa 1958. And they'll be playing Folsom's Powerhouse Pub tomorrow Thursday night. Cover is $5.
I hadn't even heard this of guy, but he's intriguing, a virtual rock 'n' roll Zelig. A survey of his career on his website yields some interesting, even amazing, information. For one thing, the guy cut his first single in 1957 - 1957! - which makes him laudable for just surviving. This stylistic chameleon was also a fixture in the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 60s, and for all I know, tried disco at some point. Evans' personal website doesn't have any MP3s, but the Apple Store has a bunch of his songs, including "I Dig Your Mind" and "My Rainbow Life" from his 1966 psychedelic foray, Psychedelic Moods. No, that's not a joke. I think.
Then there are a couple of local bands of note playing, both of them at Old Ironsides in downtown Sacramento. Sherman Baker and his band are playing there Friday night, doing songs off his new EP, Dreamers, which Baker told me is a bit of a fresh start for him. And there's a new band in town, Knock Knock, who the local taste-makers are buzzing about. On an initial listen, the record is familiar indie rock, but well-written, sung and played. It'll be interesting to see how the songs from their new CD, Girls on the Run, come across live when they play Old Ironsides Saturday night.
Matt White is a current buzzboy for his sweet, "romantic" pop songs, but while the guy could become a huge hit - for a while - I don't hear much more than a guy who listened to a lot of Coldplay and Duncan Sheik. Very smooth, fairly melodic and profoundly unoriginal. He'll be at the Boardwalk Thursday night, and very likely (I'm guessing) the Community Center Theatre in April, and Arco Arena by next year. And ultimately, a casino near you.
Finally, if you're over the whole musicians-playing-live thing, there are always DJs, and one of the most popular in NorCal is Kaskade, who will be bringing his bumpin' house tracks to The Park at 15th and L on Sunday night - because you may not have to get up early on Monday.