Amoeblog

Review of Amoebapalooza Berkeley at The Night Light, Oakland - January 12th, 2014

Posted by Billyjam, January 13, 2014 11:57am | Post a Comment

You know how big music festivals like the Warped Tour, Lollapalooza, or Rock The Bells always have different stages presenting different acts for concert goers to choose from? Well last night's Bay Area Amoeba Music annual music festival/staff party event, which takes its name from the aforementioned Lollapalooza, also had two different stages but at two different clubs on both sides of the Bay Bridge presenting Amoebapalooza 2014.

These events, one at Brick & Mortar in San Francisco and the other at The Night Light in Oakland, offered up a richly diverse night of entertainment for both East Bay and West Bay peeps. Since I missed out on the SF event, opting instead to head down to the Jack London Square area Oakland venue for the evening, I will be anxious to read about Amoebapalooza San Francisco 2014 here on the Amoeblog in the coming days. Meantime let me tell you about last night's Night Light East Bay Amoebapalooza: it was Fun with a capital F, and all for no cover at the door. Unlike the SF show it did not offer a non-stop parade of bands but rather a nicely balanced night with just two bands (both high caliber), a DJ (excellent), and a stand-up comedian (really good), complimentary pizza and tasty cupcakes baked by former Amoebite Ryan, plus prizes that nearly everyone in the house was lucky enough to win.

Continue reading...

The Town Part VII: Oakland Faders DJ Collective Proves There's Strength In Numbers

Posted by Billyjam, February 16, 2011 08:22pm | Post a Comment

The super-talented East Bay based Oakland Faders hip-hop DJ collective has grown in its ranks since founding members DJs Spair and Platurn formed the party rockin'/turntablist group, originally a DJ duo, a dozen years ago. These days Spair, while still officially a member, resides down in Las Vegas where he DJs clubs, casinos, and big parties, while back in The Town (Oakland) DJ Platurn is now flanked by such renowned fellow Oakland Faders as Joe Quixx, DJ Zeph, DJ Enki, DJ Mere, and Ammbush. Meanwhile, another Oakland Fader in exile, DJ Icewater, currently resides in Brooklyn, New York but makes regular trips back to the East Bay to collaborate with his crew. Same with DJ Spair, who was up from Nevada in the Bay two weekends ago with the crew to DJ for the monthly Fade at Era party in Oakland at Era Art Bar & Lounge.

Each DJ of the eight member Oakland Faders has his own rich Bay Area hip-hop history that collectively dates back to before the Faders formed. And if you were to round up all of the productions, remixes, records and mixtape CDs that the Oakland Faders are responsible for, both individually and as a crew, you'd fill several crates with some top quality hip-hop. At Amoeba look for these releases as well as for their PCKPR (Piece Keeper Clothing) line T's with an exclusive CD.

One thing that I have always loved about the Oakland Faders is their Oakland Raiders derived logo above, something that has evolved slightly over the years. "The first time we did the Oakland Faders logo we actually used the [Raiders] logo. That was back about ten years ago in the Stray Records days. And that was a straight rip but you can only run with that for so long," said Platurn in reference to the common knowledge of how well guarded copyrighted NFL logos can be. "So right now it's kind of a cartoon derivative of it at this stage. Basically we took the swords and made them into [turntable] tone arms, and instead of a helmet he's wearing headphones."

Continue reading...

The Town Pt VI: Oakland's Cole Coffee, Where Conversation is Celebrated & Music is Appreciated

Posted by Billyjam, February 9, 2011 11:11am | Post a Comment

Long before Oakland (aka "The Town") was a hipster destination teeming with endless cafes offering good quality coffee, there was the North Oakland coffee spot known as Royal Coffee, and in more recent years known as Cole Coffee. In 1987, Royal Coffee, which morphed into Cole Coffee in 2005, first opened on 63rd Street near College Avenue in North Oakland near the Berkeley border. Offering strong, quality, affordable coffee with no pretensions and located just half a block down from La Farine bakery, it immediately built a loyal following. Even the recent era influx of new Oakland cafes similarly offering choices of quality coffees and teas has not affected the College & 63rd Street business one bit. This is because Cole, nee Royal, is as much of a social gathering point as it is a place to buy a good cuppa joe.

When Cole Coffee's owner Michael Murphy purchased the business from Royal Coffee six years ago,  changing the name to Cole Coffee at the time, he was already quite familiar with the business and its loyal clientele. "I managed Royal Coffee from 1992 until I puchased the business in 2005," he told me. He recalled how back when he started managing the business that, "Royal only had the 63rd Street location and then opened the cafe in 1995." Cole Coffee is one business split into two locations that are side by side. At the front cafe part (corner of 63rd & College) you can sit down inside or outside and specialty coffees are custom made on drip in front of you. Then the Cole Coffee shop round the corner down a bit on 63rd (with an apartment door entrance separating the two) is where you can buy coffee by the pound to go and cups of the reliably strong roasted and tasty house coffee. About a dozen small round green cafe tables line the outside on 63rd and snake up around onto College.

Continue reading...

FINDING BEAUTY IN THE CONCRETE STRUCTURE OF FREEWAYS

Posted by Billyjam, March 28, 2008 10:11am | Post a Comment
       

While certainly not the same form of beauty as found in nature, there is undoubtedly something beautiful to behold in the shapes and forms of freeway and highway structures - especially elevated ones.  Aerial views of these intricate freeway interchanges, commonly found in major urban areas such as the MacArthur Maze in the East Bay, can often be as breathtaking (to some eyes) as some sights in nature, such as looking at a river meandering its way down a mountain side towards the sea.  Equally satisfying is the view looking up from below at these giant concrete creations.

I thought of this recently as I cycled the dirt track along the railway tracks under the elevated merging 580 and 880 freeways in a desolate (except for the overhead rumble of traffic and the occasional homeless encampment) part of Oakland and Emeryville - not far from where that oil tanker burst into flames and screwed up the freeway structure about a year ago.  From the relatively peaceful vantage point, directly below this network of connector ramps that merge the East Bay's major interstate freeways and highways, one can, without being bothered, take in the engineering beauty of the concrete roadways as they wind and meld together overhead.