There is something happening in the East Bay (but we don’t know what it is). There are new venues, new bands and a new music series! Here’s a small taste.

Effective immediately every 3rd Thursday, Bezerkeley’s Starry Plough will host The Berkeley Balkan Bacchanal, bringing local bands that focus on music from Greece, Turkey, Armenia and beyond. Last Thursday’s kick-off bash brought Disciples of Markos, Zoyres, and Janam. February 16th will feature Balkan brass band Inspector Gadje plus Radio Istanbul and Gramophone & Dynamo.

BBB organizer Dave Murray with Disciples of Markos playing 1930s Greek hash den ditties

Zoyres playing horn heavy klezmer, Balkan and more

Dan Auvil (founding member of Edessa) now playing Turkish, Romani, Sephardic and Appalacian with Janam

Over in Jack London Square, the newish venue Vitus is bringing all sorts of fresh stuff to Oaktown. I’m told the food is mighty tasty plus they got a full bar, Skee-Ball and pinball. On January 12th, Gravys Drop served up brand new material from local rocker Billy Grave (a veteran of Rock N Roll Adventure Kids and Nobunny). The catchy tunes mix 1 cup “Heroes and Villans” era Beach Boys, 1/2 cup Waylon Jennings with a pinch of The Seeds. Buy the tape only release from the awesome Burger Records for only $6!

Billy Grave with Gravys Drop

Gravys Drop, with serious guitar from Jay Rosen (recently spotted with Klaus Flouride backing up The Legendary Stardust Cowboy at the White Horse!), and check out that drummer’s super cool shirt…