Music Tonight: Badfish and Hot Tuna

Like bands named after fish? Tonight's your dream night for live music

click to enlarge Fish! (Photo: Diliff)
Fish! (Photo: Diliff)

For my blog post earlier this morning, I wrote a piece about Lightnin' Hopkins' 100th birthday and a huge lightning/thunder storm passed through downtown (it was sunny without a cloud in the sky when I started writing). Then I wrote about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's induction ceremonies. When I was done, I checked my email and found I had been sent an invitation to attend this year's ceremony in Cleveland (yes, I'm totally going). So before I tell you what's going on tonight in town for live-music cravers, I'd just like to put it out there that it would be super cool to win the Powerball jackpot this week. Just saying …

Now back to your regularly scheduled rundown of music events in the area tonight …

• Lest you ever think stupid band names are a recent phenomenon, Rock legends Hot Tuna are just one example of proof to the contrary. The bluesy rockers were formed as a side project for Jefferson Airplane members who were sidelined when singer Grace Slick had throat surgery in early 1969. Members Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen also played some mostly acoustic duo shows. Both projects featured reworked versions of American Blues and Country tunes. A live album was recorded and released in 1970 titled Hot Tuna. The band was so satisfying for the musicians that they began opening Airplane shows with a mix of electric and acoustic tunes. By the end of 1970, Hot Tuna became it's own "real band," led by Casady and Kaukonen, who continued to mix the acoustic/electric formats at live shows (save for a period in the mid-’70s when the band went in a heavier, louder Rock & Roll direction). The group split in 1977 and reunited in the ’80s for a successful touring run featuring various Airplane members. Casady and Kaukonen have kept Hot Tuna alive, off and on, ever since, with a revolving door membership (G.E. Smith and Charlie Musselwhite have been honorary Hot Tunaheads over the past decade or so).

The pair has also kept the acoustic/electric dichotomy alive. For tonight's show at the 20th Century Theater, according to the billing, they'll be doing their acoustic set. A year ago, Hot Tuna released its first album of new material in 20 years, Steady As She Goes, which was very well received. Read more here then get to Oakley tonight for the group's 8 p.m. concert. Tickets are $30 at the door.

Here's a clip from the twosome's earliest days as Hot Tuna:

• In other bands-with-fish-related-names news …

Badfish is named for a Sublime song for very good reason — they're a tribute band dedicated to the music of the SoCal Ska/Punk/Pop band whose career was cut short with the death of singer Bradley Nowell but whose legacy has only continued to grow since Nowell's passing. Badfish also has a non-tribute/all-original side — the members' band Scotty Don't serves as "opening act" to its Sublime revue. Read more about the group here.

Badfish/Scotty Don't performs tonight at Bogart's at 8 p.m. Tickets to the all ages-show are $15. Great local Reggae band The Cliftones open things up.

Now close your eyes. Can you pick out the real Sublime between the clips below?

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