Reeling and rocking a Saturday night

The Greek and I share certain proclivities and tastes. What better wingman for a Saturday night double-header? Add to this we were in similar mental states at the start of the evening and let's just say I'm pleased to find upon inspection I have every thing in my possession this morning that I had with me when I left my apartment last night.
The first gig was Slavic Soul Party at the Swedish American Hall, another of SFJazz's outside the box shows. SSP is a nine-piece, New York based band who take Roma music (that's the politically correct way to identify anything you might want to label gypsy, fyi) and filter it through a variety of musical influences, whipping up a pretty irresistible brew of dance music. It's Baltic funk, anchored in the rhythm section of Matt Moran on snare drum and cow bell, Chris Stromquist on bass drum and cymbal (only one!) and the tireless Ron Caswell on tuba. Who needs a bass when you have a tuba?
The rest of it is all brass and an accordion and it rocks harder than you would believe unless of course you've seen this kind of thing before. Roma music tends to start in one place before moving on to somewhere you don't expect- yeah, kind of like a pick pocket. Almost all of SSP's tunes started off in one groove and then morphed into an entirely different rhythm, sometimes subtly, sometimes not, always led by the drummers, who have an uncanny way of taking the most primitive instruments and using them in highly sophisticated ways. One of the best things about this ensemble is how they take what initially sounds like a glorious mess and turn it into something that's deceptively sophisticated. It looks easy, but it's certainly not, though the sold-out crowd dancing through it all probably didn't even care.
SFJazz has had a pretty great run for their fall festival, which is winding down this weekend with sold-out shows by Roseanne Cash and Vijay Iyer today. The remaining gigs for which tickets are available are Marcus Shelby on 11/20 and Arturo Sandoval, who'll be performing on January 8th after postponing his gig last month due to the death of his mother. I have to tip my hat to this vital non-profit for bringing a great array of artists to the City this year, as they always do- this is a very well-run organization who really make an impact on the local music scene with their fantastic programming. They are currently planning on building their own venue on Franklin and when that becomes a reality it's going to be fantastic- you can learn more about it here. Get on their mailing list to make sure you don't miss what's coming in the spring- they are putting on some of the best shows in the Bay Area.

The downside to the Swedish American Hall is there's no bar- you have to downstairs to the Cafe Du Nord to have a drink and the Greek and I found ourselves down in the hole, so to speak. Eventually we got out of there and made our way to the Red Devil to see AC/DShe.
The band was great. 5 women playing nothing but Bon Scott-era AC/DC songs. Lead singer Amy Ward sounds so much like Bon and is such a great performer I think the guys should fire Brian Johnson and hire her to replace him. How awesome would that be?
The remainder of the evening shall remain unwritten about. At least by me. Let there be rock.