It’s becoming difficult to choose what show to attend here in Napa anymore. Didn’t used to be that way. I remember fifteen years ago being excited that a Rolling Stones tribute was scheduled to play at Silos. Our music scene was terribly bland. Save for a few traveling past favorites that would occasionally roll through for a winery gig or a stint at the Napa County Fair- us residents of Napa had to look elsewhere for live music. Flash forward fifteen years, and what a difference. Walking down to the streets of Napa on a Thursday night yielded at least 10 options for live music –this night we chose to attend the NW tour finale of Zak Fennie and MOSS (aka Brandon Kerrigan) at JAM Cellars.
Zak Fennie has graduated in the Napa music scene from a local’s favorite street busker to a multi-talented artist. His shows at Blue Note in Napa and also at his infamous house parties, always feature new and unsigned artists of various musical genres. It is easy to support Zak and enjoy his singer-songwriting skills. This night he had his close friend MOSS open the show, which was a SPACE COWBOY vs Aliens theme. They encouraged guests to dress in costume, themed to the title of their NW tour called “The Wild West Tour.” It’s an odd sight to see so many cowboy hats in a wine bar downtown, but lots of fun (YeehaaW!)
MOSS played a nicely planned set consisting of songs off his recent release “We Don’t Get Mad, We Get Even.” He has a very progressive rock sound that compliments his poetic lyrics. His song “The Birds” has a very cool and eerie guitar riff that reminds me of some freaky horror movie. Moss’s pedal board and link to his loop, get used properly to achieve a very new vibe. One of the concert-goers around me likened his sound to Radiohead, which is a valid comparison. I personally love how MOSS merges his guitar with a throwback electro style, with abrupt rhythm change and focus.
Next Zak played a few of his acoustic songs. Many fans of Zak’s remember him first from his busking days in front of Whole Foods Market or in the Dwight Murray Plaza downtown. It is very refreshing seeing an artist always stay grounded and close to their roots. The slightly rowdy crowd enjoyed hearing Zak play “Swoon” and they were rewarded with a surprise when the beatboxer/dj/rapper “SaveGabe” jumped up for a few songs including “Just a Phase” and sick renditions “ Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and of Lil NAS X ‘s “Old Town Road.” Again.. (Yeehaw!)
The best shows always stay on time, so as to not feel like a drag. This show had a great cadence. Everything appeared to be seamless, and the sound was great. JAM cellars had Amit Peer as the sound tech this evening, and he always does an amazing job. Zak finished up the show by inviting his band on. This includes the bassist James Yokoi, MOSS on guitar, and his older brother Joel Fennie on drums. James plays in the bands “Roots Man Project” and the “Forgotten Dreamers” (previously Serf and James.) Joel has played in Serf and James and also was the drummer for the amazing band “The Iron Heart”. Definitely, as Zak stated “His hired guns!” They played a great 30-minute set consisting of good old fashioned rock and roll highlighted by the final song –a cover of The Killers “When We Were Young”.
John and Michelle from JAM cellars have really supported local music if you are in Napa and visiting-stop by their tasting room! Or if you see their wines Jam Cab, Butter Chardonnay, Or Candy Rose, buy and drink them!
Next, I’m attending Con Brio at the Connolly Ranch Earth Night! Check back for more on them.
ZAK FENNIE: spotify.com/artist/1AEGkgLB0eBRmBHm3eOQk1
FORGOTTEN DREAMERS: spotify.com/artist/1O4gX2EGGlNau7YpfoE22J
THE IRON HEART: spotify.com/artist/5EM6gDaa2l8PEy7mh1DVoH/about
JAM CELLARS: jamcellars.com/JaMwithUs/Visit-JaM-Cellars-Napa