As we mentioned in this space several weeks ago, while the main stage lineup for the 2023 Mill Valley Music Fest on May 13-14 is an absolutely teeming with incredibly performers – Oakland-born singer/songwriter Michael Franti and his long-standing band Spearhead; Sacramento alt-rock pioneers Cake; New Orleans’ very own Grammy Award-nominated and former NPR Tiny Desk Contest winner Tank and the Bangas; Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew’s REMAIN IN LIGHT; Seattle seven-piece The Dip; retro-soul revivalist Durand Jones; southern soul singer Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears; Grammy-nominated Valerie June, a folk-soul singer known for her unique blend of Appalachian music; Oakland’s own African psych-rock band Orchestra Gold and multi-piece Mill Valley student residents The Alive – the Sweetwater Side Stage, powered by the legendary Sweetwater Music Hall, is also loaded with talent.
We just added yet another blockbuster band to the Sweetwater Stage to join the six bands performing across two days at the southern end of Friends Field. Those bands will perform while our ace sound crew turns over the main stage between bands.
The latest addition is Yorn’s Apostles, a young heavy punk rock band hailing from the San Francisco North Bay. Consisting of Max Weinberg and Sammy Anderson, both sharing guitar and vocal duties along with bassist Aelita Urick and Magnus Wiig on drums, the group was formed out of the Tamalpais High School Music Program. As the band continues playing their original music across the Bay Area from The Phoenix Theater in Petaluma to Berkeley’s 924 Gilman, they bring a unique combination of heavy riffs and punk rock intensity to their live shows.
Here’s a taste of them performing at the Sweetwater in April:
Marble Party (May 13)
Founded in 2008, Marble Party is Marin-based power pop standout featuring hook-filled melodies, lush harmonies and tasteful musical surprises. Their songs move smoothly between British-influenced 60s pop, American indie rock, and SF psychedelia. Time and Time Again, their new album co-produced by Marble Party and Damien Rassmussen, boasts lid-lifting power pop anthems, wistful ballads and a raw closer featuring Tim Bluhm of The Mother Hips. MORE INFO.
Laura Benitez & the Heartache (May 13)
Laura Benitez and the Heartache use the three chord tools of country music to tell the simple, unvarnished truth about love, too much whiskey, and the call of the road. With a powerful voice and strong lyrics, band front-woman Laura Benitez is known for choosing subjects that are unusual and for telling old stories in new ways. Their new album, “California Centuries,” finds the band delving deep into themes of collective denial (“Bad Things”), gaslighting (“Invisible” and “Gaslight”) and romantic lessons learned (“I’m the One” and “Are You Using Your Heart”). Their twangy honesty shines through in straightforward arrangements and spare instrumentation. MORE INFO.
Alex Jordan (MAY 13)
Alex is a singer and multi-instrumentalist who has been surrounded by music his whole life. In the spring of 2022, he traveled to the Finishing School studio in Austin, TX to record his second full-length album with a band under the production guidance of Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), with mastering by Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Wilco) which is scheduled for release in 2023, and prior to that he debuted solo record The Subtle Exhibitionist in May of 2020. From 2014 to the end of 2019, Alex was a member of Midnight North, adding the piano and Hammond B3 to his arsenal, playing with Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Peter Rowan, and many others. MORE INFO.
Asher Belsky (MAY 14)
“Asher plays with a sense of soul that belies his age.” – Guitar Player Magazine
Not many 18 year olds can say they’ve performed at a prestigious festival or are endorsed by a major guitar brand, but Asher Belsky has already done it all proving that sometimes age is just a number and real musicality is simply undeniable. Asher has also performed at The Fillmore (SF) and The Beacon Theater (NYC) as a featured artist at the Allman Family Revival, played The Warfield (SF) with ALO, played at San Francisco’s Black Cat jazz club with Maurice “Mobetta” Brown and Mike “Blaque Dynamite” Mitchell, and opened for Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival playing a set with Marcus King. Asher has also played the National Anthem for the Golden State Warriors at the Chase Center. MORE INFO.
Matt Jaffe (MAY 14)
After cutting his teeth on open mics around the Bay Area, San Francisco songwriter Matt Jaffe was discovered by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads. Together, they produced his first album at the age of 16, cementing Matt’s dedication to music. Soon, he formed a band, dropped out of college, and has not looked back. Since then, Matt has cowritten with Chuck Prophet and Tom Higgenson of Plain White T’s, crisscrossed the country opening for Blues Traveler and Alejandro Escovedo, and recorded half a dozen albums alongside luminaries of the Bay Area music scene. Inspired by the great lineage of rock n’ roll, he marries literary lyrics with the undeniable urge to dance. Having had seizures since 2015, Matt also uses his music to unite local and national epilepsy communities. Matt recently released his sixth album, White Roses in the Snow, and is in the process of finishing its followup. MORE INFO.
Anna Harrell (MAY 14)
Anna Harrell is a seventeen-year-old singer-songwriter from Mill Valley California, in her Senior Year at Tam High School. Anna began writing songs when she was twelve years old as a mechanism to reflect on her experiences in the world around her. After years of crafting her musicality, she has recently begun releasing her music into the world. You can find her singles “Greedy” and “Call” out on all music streaming platforms and look out for her debut EP ‘When You Get This,’ set to come out in April of 2023. MORE INFO.
MORE COVERAGE OF THE MILL VALLEY MUSIC FEST.
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