Humphrey’s Concerts By The Bay 2014

Humphreys Concerts venue with new Lexus scrims 2010

The venerable venue by the water just announced its current season, and the lineup includes some true gems, many familiar favorites and a few new arrivals.

Here are some highlights:

April 16                BROKEN BELLS = Danger Mouse + The Shins. That is a simplistic formula, but the duo of Brian (Danger Mouse) Burton and James Mercer, lead singer for The Shins will be accompanied by a full band. Expect to hear much from their great album “Holding on For Life” from late last year.

April 17                BRYAN FERRY – here is a guy who grew up poor, once toured in toreador pants and became a dapper crooner. The former Roxy Music lead singer now revels in his appearance as the house band from the recent Great Gatsby film. Expect an evening full of tracks across his varied career.

May 13                  LINDSEY STIRLING – Given that she has the most viewed video on YouTube, hers is a great example of doing it without the once-traditional major label support. Expect an eclectic blend of electronica and Celtic strains.

May 18                  GREGG ALLMAN – He helped build the sound that defined Southern rock. Although his brother is long gone, his spirit rings in every show. Expect lots of classics, cuts from Gregg’s solo years and a likely encore of “Whipping Post.”

June 17                 STEVE WINWOOD – Easily the most consistently underrated superstar to emerge from Britain in the 60s. He is a god on the Hammond B3 organ, and when I first saw him in concert and he strapped on a guitar I was in shock. I last saw him at Humphrey’s a couple years ago, and he was again tremendous. Expect songs from across his prolific career, including Traffic classics and gems from his wildly popular resurgence in the mid 80s.

July 1                     STEVE MARTIN & THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS FEATURING EDIE BRICKELL – Another Humphrey’s favorite, Martin continues his exploration on the banjo. Few would have thought this wild and crazy guy would evolve into an award winning bluegrass musician, but he is a polymath almost without peer: comedian, actor, writer, director, musician, art collector. Hardly a dilettante, he is accomplished in each of those pursuits. Expect some fine picking, some fine vocals from Mrs. Paul Simon [er, Edie Brickell] and some gently humorous between song patter.

July 13                  STEELY DAN – Always the most popular band named after a sex toy, this curmudgeonly duo is known for their razor sharp studio arrangements. Last time I saw them live they skillfully recreated the sounds of their recordings, but left room for some seemingly improvisatory jazz explorations. Expect all the big hits, but hopefully not “Bodhisattva,” which my college roommate played incessantly and which I have heard often enough.

July 17                  CHRIS ISAAK – A perennial fave at Humphrey’s, the man from Modesto will be funnier than Steve Martin between songs, will lovingly mock the canoe people next door and will deliver a supremely satisfying set. Expect three songs right from the start, then his opening between song banter and an eventual rush to the stage, which the bouncers will valiantly try to prevent.

Chris Isaak channels Roy Orbison, Ricky Nelson and a host of influences yet remains original.

Chris Isaak channels Roy Orbison, Ricky Nelson and a host of influences yet remains original.

July 23                  LYLE LOVETT AND HIS LARGE BAND – Like Steve Martin, Lovett has been in myriad films (14, count ‘em) and like Isaak, Lovett has an engaging stage presence. Like all three performers, he is no stranger to the Humphrey stage and will likewise sell out the show. Expect Lovett’s wonderful Texan blend of country, folk, gospel, blues and swing.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.