A Press Democrat Blog


Dan Taylor on the fine arts scene.

Sebastopol’s HopMonk Tavern hosts Johnny Downer Memorial Celebration

Sebastopol’s HopMonk Tavern will host the fifth annual Johnny Downer Memorial Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 4, honoring a local musician and raising money to support music education. A popular local guitarist, Downer died in 2009. The Johnny Downer Music Memorial Fund was set up by his mother, Carol Esonis. Over the last four years the fund has raised more than $16,000 for sheet music, instruments and music teachers. The tribute will feature some 40 musicians, starting at 1:30 p.m. in… Read More »

HopMonk in Novato schedules gay and lesbian benefit

The HopMonk Tavern in Novato will host a “Comedy For Equality” show, starring Bay Area comedians Marga Gomez and Johnny Steele, on Friday, March 29. All of the proceeds will be donated to Spectrum Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center in San Rafael. Singer and songwriter Michelle Shocked was originally scheduled to play the venue on that date, but her show was canceled in the wake of her anti-gay remarks from the stage of Yoshi’s in San Francisco on March… Read More »

Michelle Shocked’s comments at SF show prompt cancellation in Novato

Dean Biersch, owner of the three North Bay HopMonk Taverns, has cancelled singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked’s March 29 show at HopMonk’s Novato venue. The cancellation was prompted by Shocked’s anti-gay rant during a performance on Sunday night, March 17, at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, which has sparked a firestorm of online comment. Entertainment Weekly reported ”… her comments onstage … effectively cleared out the venue once offended concertgoers began leaving. ” Tweets from those who attended the concert included,   “… she… Read More »

Musselwhite plays the HopMonk in Sebastopol

You don’t have to go down South to hear authentic blues. On Friday, Oct. 12, Sonoma County’s own Mississippi-born, Memphis-raised, harmonica master brings his personal style of real blues to Sebastopol. Musselwhite has recorded with Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, The Blind Boys of Alabama, INXS and, most recently, Cyndi Lauper. The harmonica virtuoso was inducted into the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall Of Fame in 2010, has been nominated for six Grammy Awards and… Read More »

Sonoma’s HopMonk Tavern celebrates first anniversary

The HopMonk Tavern marks its One-Year Anniversary Celebration starting at 5 p.m. today (Wednesday, Nov.  23) with free hors d’oeuvres and live music. Champion finger picker Keith Richman will play an acoustic set starting at 5 p.m. And popular singer,  guitarist and bandleader Pat Jordan, who played at the club’s opening a year ago, will perform from 9 to 11 p.m. The Sonoma pub is a companion to the older HopMonk Tavern in Sebastopol. Owner Dean Biersch is a co-founder… Read More »

Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band

Sometimes a band’s name is enough to make you stop and at least notice where the group is playing. It’s hard to top a name like Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band. The six-piece funk band from Asheville, N.C., rolls into the HopMonk Tavern, 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol, for one show at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7. You can count on an unpredictable stage show, and some hip-shaking music. The group, known as The Booty Band for short, just released… Read More »

Garaj Mahal plays HopMonk in Sebastopol

Creative band names are always fun, and Garaj Mahal has to be one of the cleverest. And the music’s good, too. The funk and jazz jam band plays at a release party for its sixth and newest CD, “More Mr. Nice Guy,” on Friday, July 23, at the HopMonk Tavern, 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. Garaj Mahal includes Fareed Haque on guitars, Sean Rickman on drums, Kai Eckhardt on bass and Eric Levy on keyboards. The acoustic guitar duo Isaac Carter… Read More »

Shotgun Wedding Quintet hits Sebastopol

The Shotgun Wedding Quintet, rooted in San Francisco’s infamous Jazz Mafia Collective, is a band that crosses musical boundaries with giant strides. Armed with electronic sampling devices, and sounding like a band twice its size, the fivesome appeals to hip hop fans and jazz enthusiasts alike. The band plays Friday, May 28, at the HopMonk Tavern, 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. Robert Herrerra and the 808 Band open at 9:30 p.m.  Tickets cost $15. Information; 829-7300, hopmonk.com.

Two shows by Little Feat guitarists

Just a last-minute reminder: Guitarists Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett of the classic Little Feat band will perform twice in Sonoma County this weekend: – 8 p.m. Saturday, March 27, at the Ramekins Event Center, 450 W Spain St., in Sonoma. $40. 933-0450, ramkekins,com. – 8 p.m. Sunday, March 28, at the Hopmonk Tavern, 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. $40. 829-7300, hopmonk.com. Little Feat, founded in Los Angeles in 1969, went through many personnel changes, but both Barrere dates back to… Read More »