A nearly 30-year-old Mill Valley tradition kicks off this Sunday with the first of Arts Commission’s Concerts in the Plaza over the next four weekends.

The event – free and open to the public on the Depot Plaza – features two bands each on the first three Sunday afternoons, with Beso Negro headlining the entire two-hour final show on Sunday, Aug. 24.

Concerts on the Plaza begins at 1 pm Sunday with the T Sisters, a trio of Bay Area sisters whose “subtle throwback aesthetic calls to mind classic trios past, from the Andrews Sisters and 1960′s girl groups to the sirens from the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? Steep Ravine, a folk-bluegrass band that draws its lyrical inspiration from Mount Tamalpais, follows the T Sisters at 2 pm.

Those who loved the soundtrack to the 2007 film Into the Wild should check out the August 10 performance of Jerry Hannan, who wrote one of the songs performed by Eddie Vedder in the film. Hannan, “a storyteller, known for his thought provoking and poignant lyrics and exuberant performances,” hits the stage at 1 pm, with flautist Matt Eakle, best known for his extensive work over the years with the likes of David Grisman and Jerry Garcia.

On August 17, rock n roll fans will get a chance to take a trip in the Wayback Machine and get a look at one of the Bay Area’s emerging, buzzworthy bands, all in the span of two hours. Beatles Flashback, a tribute to the Fab Four, kicks the day off at 1 pm, with local prodigies Matt Jaffe & the Distractions following at 2 pm. Frontman and guitarist Jaffe is joined by Terra Linda resident Alex Coltharp on drums and Novato musician Sammie Fischer on bass. The group plays a sharp brand of smart indie rock, drawing on a range of influences from the Talking Heads and Ted Leo & The Pharmacists to the Decemberists and Django Reinhardt.

Speaking of Reinhardt, Beso Negro, the final group of the Concerts in the Plaza series, has built its reputation by drawing its influence from the famed gypsy jazz guitarist and injecting it with a modern sensibility, transforming the genre “into a vibrant new beats” that is “darker, faster, more danceable, more blues, more Gypsy.” Beso Negro has been burning up stages throughout the Bay Area in recent years and its August 24 performance should serve as a fitting capper to this stretch of fantastic and free live shows  in the Depot Plaza. 

The 411: Concerts in the Plaza begins Sunday, August 3, from 1 pm – 3 pm and runs at the same times through August 24. Bring lawn chairs and your dancing shoes. Click here for more details.

Want to know what’s happening around town? Click here to subscribe to the Enjoy Mill Valley Blog by Email!