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July 10, 2007

Battle of the Bands; Marshall Law Band, Redwood City, CA 7.4.07

     Welcome to my hometown, Redwood City, California -- a suburb of about 76,000 people, about 25 miles south of San Francisco.   The town's motto is "Climate Best by Government Test."   When a certain "government" was searching for the "world's most temperament climate" back in the 1930's, Redwood City, California was tops on the list.  (Rumor has it that the "government" which made this discovery was Hitler's Nazi party ... but let's not dwell on that -- just remember that the climate is, indeed, nearly perfect.)    And it was a perfect day for Northern California's largest 4th of July Parade.

     What does all this have to do with the summer concert series?     Well, at the parade this morning we saw our first glimpse of two local bands who will be competing later today in a "Battle of the Bands."  Marching Bands, that is -- the Stanford University Marching Band...


and the California Aggies (University of California, Davis) Marching Band.
  After the parade, the City throws a party which lasts the rest of the day -- there's a carnival (with those expensive rides & midway games); an art & wine festival; a car show; and live music on 3 stages.
     I headed over to watch the "Battle of the Bands," sending my 8 and 11-year old boys off to the carnival with $20 each.    (Any guesses how much time that bought me to enjoy the music whine-free??)   Not long.   Turns out the 11-year old spent $10 of his money playing a game, winning yet-another GIANT Sponge Bob Squarepants ... he already has about 3 of those stupid things from previous fairs & carnivals.    But this one is DIFFERENT ... it's a Gotta-Have-It NINJA Sponge Bob Squarepants!  The 8-year old spent his entire $20 playing a game where the prizes were live goldfish.    Now what kind of a sick mind thought it would be a good idea to let kids win live animals as "prizes?"    His $20 bought him two 50-cent goldfish -- and now we've got to go to the pet supply store (if we can find one open on the 4th of July) to buy a bowl, food, and water purification drops.     But I digress ...  <<big sigh>>
     The Battle of the Bands was high energy and FUN, and the crowd was really enjoying the performances.  The Stanford Band was on one side of the closed-off downtown street, and the UC Davis band was on the other, and they took turns wow-ing the audience with song after song.    I was impressed with the respect and good sportsmanship the band members showed each other -- they danced along with and clapped for each other's performances.


     How could anyone pick a winner?    The UC Davis band played more songs I knew and could sing along with and I thoroughly enjoyed their music -- the Stanford Band ... well, what can I say about the Stanford Band?    They're nuts!  They put on a SHOW!   They're dressed like guests of a very strange costume party, they're totally irreverant,


they dance the can-can and sometimes play their instruments while standing on one leg (with instrument under the leg they're holding in the air) and they're pretty decent musicians to boot!    At one point a Stanford trombone player climbed out on the roof of a nearby building for her "solo" ... not to be outdone, a UC Davis xylophone player climbed out on the same roof for her one-note solo in the Aggies' next number.
     {Note:  You may have seen the tall building in the background regularly on the nightly news a couple years ago ... this is the San Mateo County Courthouse (and Jail) which "hosted" Scott Peterson while he was on trial for the murder of his wife and unborn child.    If you're over 45 you may also recall that this was the site of the trial of kidnapped-heiress-turned-bank-robber, Patricia Hearst, in the 1970's.}
     I would have loved to have stayed for the entire Battle between these talented and exuberant musicians ... but the music of the "Marshall Law Band" playing up the street was calling to me ... and then there was the matter of "Carl" and "Little Naruto" (the goldfish already have names) who needed to be attended to.   They were either going to be swung around in their plastic bag by an excited 8-year old ... or put in the rather warm car (did I mention it was about 80 degrees?)     I decided the car was the least inhumane spot for the poor fish, and they seem to have survived the ordeal.


     The Marshall Law Band is a local group who I've heard playing at the 4th of July festival in the past.  Sam Marshall is the lead guitarist.    I loved their selection of cover tunes of some of the best and most influential guitar players of all time -- Chuck Berry, Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King, Bo Diddley, and Carlos Santana, to name a few -- and Sam Marshall can play them all!


     I found myself searching for hidden musicians ... how could all this music be coming out of just these three guys?!?


     When I got home I "googled" this band, bookmarked their website, and e-mailed my favorite local live music venue to suggest they book the Marshall Law Band.  (Ain't technology great?)


Happy 4th of July!
P.S.  Posted this on the 5th and couldn't figure out why it didn't show up!   Just realized I posted it as a "draft" and didn't click "publish now."    DUH!

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one of our former clifford students competed in this...they were in battle of the bands from kfox last year and came in second! hope you had a nice evening downtown!

Tina miller

Hi there Sam....it's wildkitty! I miss seeing you up in Woodside every weekend...miss your music terribly. I'm but I listen to both your CD's all the time...! Hope your happy and doing well...! I miss your smile!



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