Melvin Seals with the China Cats

Melvin Seals

Melvin Seals has been a powerful presence in the music industry for over 30 years with a long-established reputation as a performer, recording artist and producer. Melvin is most revered for his powerful, high-spirited, Hammond B-3 organ, and keyboards in the Jerry Garcia Band. Melvin spun his B-3 magic with the Jerry Garcia Band for 18 years and in doing so helped pioneer and define what has now become "Jam Band Music". From blues to funk to rock to jazz, Melvin Seals serves up a tasty mix with a little R&B and gospel thrown in to spice things up.

The China Cats

This Bay Area tribute band performs the songs of the Grateful Dead with spirited jams that carry their own genuine personality while paying homage to their musical forefathers. The band has shared the stage with Melvin Seals several times since 2014. Lead guitarist Matt Hartle brings experience from collaborations with Dead-family musicians, has an acclaimed body of original material, and is a founding member of Santa Cruz-based Shady Groove. Matt has shared the stage with guitarists including Henry Kaiser and Stu Allen, and is a current member of Painted Mandolin with Joe Craven. Scott has several solo albums to his credit with his band, Scott Cooper & the Barrelmakers. Keyboardist Steve Sofranko is a regular in Stu Allen & Mars Hotel. Roger formerly played bass in David Gans & the Sycamore Slough String Band and has performed with artists such as Michael Kang, David Nelson, Henry Kaiser and Frank Wakefield. Drummer Michael Owens is an in-demand player who is versed in New Orleans, jazz, reggae and African drumming.

Despite their various allegiances, China Cats is a full-fledged band, listening closely to one another as they share the happy tangle that defines Dead-style jams. They relish the use of familiar Dead motifs: bluegrassy phrasing on lines far outside the bluegrass idiom, group pauses with glimmering sustained notes, and overlapping scales that unfurled like maypole ribbons.

“The China Cats aren’t a cover band,” says Nicholas Meriweather, former archivist of the Grateful Dead collection at UC Santa Cruz. “They approach the Dead’s work with same kind of reverence and sophistication that the Dead themselves showed in their own forays into American roots music.”

David Gans

A David Gans "solo electric" performance is likely to consist of several elements: country-blues-style fingerpicking; loop-based improvisations created live in the moment; sweetly-sung ballads, original or borrowed; Grateful Dead songs reinterpreted to suit his voice and guitar; wry observations of the music-festival subculture and the larger world; soulful and passionate political commentary; favorites from the folk-rock canon of the last 50 years. Mix and match - it's never the same show twice, but it's always worth a listen.

$29 at the door

Tickets Available at the Door

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