SAN FRANCISCO, December 13, 2012 – Napa, California, most famous for its award-winning wine, is also producing some down-and-dirty blues music.
When one thinks of the Napa Valley, one thinks of delicious restaurants, beautiful mountain scenery, and, of course, wine. What is less known is the musical and cultural side to Napa that has blossomed over the past several years.
As if being surrounded by some of the best wine in the world isn’t enough, the city of Napa boasts three of the best venues for entertainment: The Uptown Theatre, The Napa Valley Opera House, and Silo’s, where they “pair great wines with great music.”
This beautifully restored, art-deco theatre is a true masterpiece and the perfect venue for experiencing the blues and a lovely glass of wine. Located in downtown Napa, this historic landmark doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. It was initially opened during the depression in 1937 as a motion picture theatre, and was restored in 2000, with a few modifications, to its original beauty. The lights are exact replicas of those of the original era.
Blues legends such as John Mayall, Keb Mo, and George Thorogood have graced The Uptown’s stage. In fact, John Mayall put on quite a show in October at The Uptown. At age seventy-nine, Mayall hasn’t missed a beat and shows no signs of slowing. This timeless British legend showed off his masterful harmonica skills during an evening’s performance that eclipsed this writer’s already high expectations. The sound in the theatre was exquisite, the art-deco environment was the perfect setting, and Mayall’s show was spectacular — a blues-and-wine-lover’s dream come true.
Upcoming blues performances include: Steve Earle 1/5 (folk/blues), Gregg Allman 1/18 (in support of his new album Low County Blues), and Los Lobos 2/16.
Only a few years after the Civil War, this rare second-story theatre opened in 1879 as an opera house, but its glory was short-lived. The Opera House closed its doors in 1914 and lay dormant for eighty-nine years. After a $13 million facelift, the Opera House reopened in 2002, and now seems to feature everything except opera. Thanks to its operatic beginnings, the sound in the Opera House is nearly perfect; many artists choose to play acoustically.
The blues certainly come to the Opera House. Charlie Musselwhite recently performed here, in the cozy 450-seat theatre that makes any blues fan feel right at home. Musselwhite, unofficially the musician upon whom Blue Brothers character Elwood Blues was based, brought down the house with his electrifying harmonica playing and soulful lyrics. A long-time friend of John Lee Hooker, Musselwhite channels Johnny Lee and the south side of Chicago, while delivering an awesome blues performance.
Upcoming blues shows include: The Manzarek-Rogers Band 1/5 (featuring Ray Manzarek from The Doors), Mark Hummel’s Blues Harmonica Blowout: Jimmy Reed Tribute 1/12, and Allen Toussaint 2/7 (New Orleans R&B/soul).
Housed in the historic Napa Mill, this theatre is reminiscent of a speakeasy where outstanding Napa Valley wines are featured, as are the house craft beer, a full liquor bar, and light bites. Silo’s opens an hour before show time so you can settle in, grab a bite and some juicy Napa Cabernet before the show begins.
Upcoming blues shows include: Tim Hockenberry 12/19, Brittany Bexton 12/20, The Used Blues Band 12/29, Briefcase of Blues 12/31 (Blues Brothers cover band), The Sam Andrew Band 1/26, and The Unauthorized Rolling Stones 2/16.
Columnist Sherrie Perkovich offers an insider’s perspective of the very best San Francisco has to offer. Join her weekly to experience the best the City by the Bay has to offer - from parties to parks and everything in between.
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