Here at UC Berkeley, people come from all over — across the street, across the bay and across the world. For those of us who have come from close by, it’s easy to get our fix of the culture we know: We can just pop back home on a train or a bus. But if you come from farther afield, it might be harder to get a slice of home when it’s what you’re craving. Local music venues are here to help. Whether you’re after Australian punk, Chinese opera or contemporary Mexican jazz-classical this summer, the Bay Area’s got you covered.
First up, down under: Fresh from playing at Burger Boogaloo in Oakland, the Gooch Palms serves up garage punk and plenty of color — with guitarist Leroy Macqueen’s mullet and drummer Kat Friend’s dynamic pink hair — at the Chapel for $15 on Aug. 9. Hailing from Australia, the Gooch Palms is energetic and raw, peppering its raucous, catchy songs with down-to-earth onstage banter. For fans of FIDLAR, Ty Segall.
If it’s something a little more Northern and a little more genre defying you’re after, try Vasen, a Swedish group. Featuring instruments as diverse as the viola, nykelharpa (a 16-string relative of the fiddle) and 12-string guitar, Vasen offers melodic, joyous tunes at the Freight and Salvage on Sunday for $24-26. For fans of Groupa, Ranarim.
From the other end of the globe but at the same venue, catch Villalobos Brothers at the Freight and Salvage on Aug. 9 for $26-28. With its roots in Xalapa, Mexico, the band consists of brothers Ernesto, Alberto and Luis Villalobos — as well as Humberto Flores, Leo Sherman and Rosa Avila — and features a range of instruments, from bass to vocals to violin to guitar. Currently based in New York, the sextet draws influences from rock, jazz, classical and folk to produce contemporary Mexican music that’s uplifting and peaceful at the same time. For fans of Manuel M Ponce, Magaby.
Crossing the globe, listen to some short operettas from the Enchantment Plot and Bloodshed in Wei-Yang Palace at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on Aug. 2. These live performances are part of the fundraiser for Gum Moon Women’s Residence and the Asian Women’s Resource Center, or AWRC, which was established to provide support services to Asian immigrant women and families with children, according to the organization’s website. By purchasing tickets for about $30, you can help support the AWRC and see some cool Chinese operettas, too.
If your summer plans are a little less “make a date” and a little more “make it up as you go along,” the Starry Plough is always a good bet for drop-in entertainment, as it has music or other events every day of the week. On Mondays and Sundays, the focus is on the pub’s Irish heritage. On Mondays, pop in for Irish dancing and ceili for a suggested donation of $5, and on Sundays, the pub hosts live traditional Irish music with players and singers welcomed for no fee, although donations are appreciated.