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Apr 24th
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The Down Beets

music_LYLBDownBeetsWhile most bands are busy employing more technology in their show, splattering the stage from one end to the other with cutting-edge gear, the Down Beets are running in the opposite direction—and it’s made them run into each other. Last spring the 4-year-old alt-country bluegrass quartet decided to simplify things by changing into a one-mic format. At first, however, crowding around a single mic took a bit of getting used to. Singer Sheila Golden explains: “I totally got whacked in the head a few times by the banjo, I’ve whacked Jay [Lampel] with the guitar, and at a couple shows Jeremy [Lampel] had to run around to the other side to get near the mic. It can be really comical but we’re getting better.” “Getting better” has meant burgeoning into a sweet Del McCoury performance style that’s revolutionized the band.

These days, without having to worry about soundguys or a cable-entangling set-up, the Beets woo audiences with an intimate show that lends itself to down-home harmonies and orchestrated choreography, which they’re bringing to Don Quixote’s on Wednesday, March 31, alongside MilkDrive. While Golden takes on songwriting and rhythm guitar duties, twin brothers Jay and Jeremy Lampel (both formerly of StrungOver) whisk together a hot picking combo of three-finger style banjo and mandolin, while standup bassist Mike Luke often adds a rockabilly slap approach. Hitting up the Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair, the Big Sur Bluegrass Festival, and the occasional farmers’ market around town, the band fittingly procures a dynamic folk show that’s homegrown, organic and, of course, tasty. There’s the rockabilly of “Will I Still Like You When I’m Sober?”, the satirical gospel of “He’s Got My Back,” and the traditional slow waltz of “Little Girl’s Lament.” But whether swinging or subdued, the Down Beets are now doing it closer than ever. Golden says the members’ tight proximity on stage these days has been a progressive step back in time. “When you play in a room through one mic you can really capture the essence of traditional acoustic music.” She adds, “Plus, it’s just nice to be able to hear each other.” | Linda Koffman

 


INFO: 7:30 p.m. Wed., March 31. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $8. 603-2294. myspace.com/thedownbeets.
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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

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Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

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