Thursday, February 21, 2008

Modesto : Off the Air

I guess this post is vaguely self-promotional. My band Rademacher is playing a showcase in Modesto on Friday called Off The Air. The show is at the Deva Café. In short : be there.

More importantly, I wanted to talk a little bit about Modesto and the Deva Café and Off The Air (and the man behind the showcase, Greg Edwards) and let y'all know how cool these places are and warmly recommend that as many traveling musicians try and get shows there as possible.

The City of Modesto has been home to a number of great bands (Grandaddy, Fiver, Built Like Alaska), and then related to this scene by extension are the Chicago band All Smiles, fronted by Jim Fairchild (formerly of Grandaddy) and the LA based Tigers Can Bite You (led by Modesto native, Dave Woody, formerly of Fiver) -- and Modesto is sure to play host to a number of others in the coming years. There is a wealth of young talent in the neighborhood. While I wouldn't necessarily consider Modesto a cultural hotspot, there are enough people there, who earnestly enjoy music, to make any stop there worthwhile.

Let’s start with the Deva Café. It is a little coffee shop located in the downtown of Modesto, which is a really polished neighborhood with nice landscaping and restored buildings, not like Fresno’s downtown (all rundown and silent). It is surrounded by posh wine bars and good restaurants and is a great destination for a meal, a cup of coffee or a show.

It is only open to 11, which kinda sucks for us late night sorts, but if you’re driving through Modesto to somewhere and need to use a little wi-fi, this place is really easy to get to from Highway 99, and the food is nothing short of phenomenal. I can highly recommend almost all their sandwiches : The Euphoria (chicken breast and pesto), the French Dip, the Warm Veggie sandwich. Everything is well-prepared and delicious and just under $10. Sooo good.

In the evening, they have shows here. They are all ages and the crowd is an eclectic mix of teenagers, scenesters and older folks just looking to listen to good music. There is no stage, and you, or the promoter, have to bring your own PA, but the vibe of the spot is pleasant (if not the acoustics).

If you manage to land a show promoted by Off the Air, well, than the whole atmosphere of the place tends to shift up a couple gears. They regularly reach capacity. We have played several of these showcases the last few years, and while the venue has changed (from the 500+ capacity Fat Cat Theater, to the 200 person Deva Café) the crowds and the organization has just continued to grow and get stronger.

Off the Air is promoted and put together by Greg Edwards a poet, artist and all around great guy that works his butt off to make each and everyone of his shows extra special. Most bills are usually made up of two local bands and a mid-level national touring band. One of my personal favorite Off the Air experiences was when we shared the bill with Division Day and Great Northern. Division Day is just a great band in general, but to see them brandish their keyboards and guitars in front of a large audience that didn’t know what to expect – well – it was pretty rad to see two hundred people totally swoon over a band at exactly the same time.

The hospitality that Edwards and his crew lavish on the artists is also really great – he’ll often provide food (vegan!), beer and a green room to touring bands as well as create awesome posters for each and every one of his shows. If you ever visit the Deva, just take a short tour around the interior and you’ll see a collection of some of the coolest contemporary poster art on the West Coast.

Deva Cafe
1202 J St
Modesto, CA 95354
(209) 572-3382
Get directions



Dany said...

you do a blog, too? you are a renaissance man....

ha, modesto aka molesto

Malcolm Sosa said...

gotta do something to keep busy.