The Van Allen Belt

The Van Allen Belt is the pop concept of multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Benjamin Ferris.  The project enlivens his style of patchwork storytelling in an experimental electronic environment as fronted by classically-influenced vocalist Tamar Kamin, and engineered by sound designer Scott Taylor. Their self-released catalog of original music currently includes 3 LPs, 2 EPs, & 1 single. New upcoming releases will include 1 LP, 1 EP and 1 album of covers. The release dates are TBA. 

The project started in 2007 with a 20 song debut “Meal Ticket to Purgatory.”  This home-recorded, lo-fi feast of psych-pop nuggets made with Ferris’ own recordings of guitar and keyboard along with multiple other musicians includes vocalists Tamar Kamin & former member Martine Mancini. Steeped in a twisted, awkwardly wry lyrical nostalgia for 1960's girl group pop a la Burt Bacharach and Phil Spector, the album received strong critical and underground approval.  An invitation to play with Stereolab and Atlas Sound catalyzed the members to create a live band capable of pulling off the heady concept. 

In 2009, the sophomore album “Superpowerfragilis” was an evolution further into sphere of pop social commentary, grabbing the complementary attention of Julian Cope at Head Heritage. The track “Camp Newton” was featured on Under The Radar spring sampler vol. 18 alongside artists such as Fleet Foxes, Okkerville River, Here We Go Magic, Reggie Watts, & Toro Y Moi. Tom Robinson also featured the track “Out To Lunch” on BBC 6 Introducing.  Supporting the record and flexing their cinematic talents, two self-produced music videos were released for the songs “Lovely In Akron” and “Out To Lunch” in 2010.  

Visual accompaniments became a permanent addition to the live show that would develop into an interconnected electronic hybrid of live musicians as Scott Taylor became the group’s sound designer and engineer. Once the group had refined their live concept, they began touring more frequently and between national stints performances, continued with Ferris’ home recordings. The “Songs” EP was released as a 45 rpm vinyl in 2013 and received international reviews from The Wire Magazine, Monolith Cocktail, MP3 Hugger, as well as from their local supporters at The Pittsburgh City Paper. A music video for the title track “Songs” premiered by Decoder soon after the release. The complementary LP that followed, "Heaven On A Branch" is a mature offering focused on youth, brimming with nuance it branches into a more personal territory and merges the recording style with the live performance in a more consistent way than with previous releases. 

The group will be playing a national US tour in October 2015 as a three-piece. Past festival showcases have included/will include AYE Festival, CBGB, CMJ, Deep Ellum Music & Arts Fest, Hot Water Hills Music & Arts Fest,  KC Psychfest, MPMF, NXNE, & SXSW.

Ben Ferris,­ keyboard
Tamar Kamin, ­vocals
Scott Taylor, ­mixing, sound design, visual projections

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Denny Denny Breakfast

DennyDennyBreakfast (ddb) is the music project of Bob LaDue based in Oakland CA. The live band has a rotating set of members, and no 2 ddb shows are ever the same. The music is influenced by pop music, death metal, cuban folkloric religious music, and many other genres. Bob enjoys making hummus, sour beer, instrument building, rumba, rock climbing, zombies and much more. All ddb music is available for a free download or donation on their website. 

Bob LaDue, ­ Guitar + Vocals
Jordan Glenn, ­ Drumset
Max Judelson, ­ Bass
Eli Wallace, Keys
Bob LaDue

Website | Music


Mark Clifford

Mark Clifford is a vibraphonist, composer, and percussionist living  in Oakland, CA. A much sought after performer and improviser, Clifford is equally involved in free improvisation, new music, jazz, and rock; he is involved in multiple projects in the Bay Area and around the Country. His performance experience spans worldwide; he has had the honor of playing alongside an array of esteemed contemporaries, including: Jeff Parker, Kjell Nordeson, Ches Smith, Joan La Barbara, Aram Shelton, Colin Stranahan, Ron Miles, Scott Amendola, Tatsuya Nakatani, Danny Meyer, Lisa Mezzacappa, So Percussion, Oakland Active Orchestra, and has served as a percussionist with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

s a composer, Clifford keeps busy writing music for a wide range of projects, ensembles, and commissions. He is the leader of The Dirty Snacks Ensemble, an eclectic post jazz ensemble in which he serves as the  composer, vibraphonist and vocalist.

Clifford’s recent writing employs strong conceptual parameters for long form works, such as basing compositional interval structures on the ratio of vertebrae in human spines in Fair Slope (2014). After improvising with his established parameters, he transcribes and orchestrates the results for the working ensemble. Throughout the composition process, Clifford works closely with the performers to emphasize each individual player’s strengths and interests.

Most recently, Clifford was commissioned to create a new work for San Francisco’s Switchboard Presents Series, which will premiere Levity Factions 2-6 for two vibraphones, two percussionists, and cello. Recent commissions of new works in late 2014 include Fair Slope, an interdisciplinary dance and performance piece in collaboration with choreographer Sam Stone, as well as No Awareness, a setting of a rhythmic transcription of a Kool Kieth verse for vibraphone, drums, and piano, for the Temescal Arts Center’s Composers Colloquium. Other past works include Toddler Hammock (2013) for the Oakland Active Orchestra, Winona (2013) & The Moods (2011) for the New Keys ensemble, and A Crimson Hexagon (2011) for Piano, Vibraphone, percussion, guitar, and four dancers in collaboration with the Sam Stone Rooftop Dance Collective.

Clifford graduated with a B.M. in Classical Percussion Performance from the Lamont School of Music where he received many accolades, including the 2012 undergraduate recital of distinction, the 2012 Frank Toth Memorial Award, and the 2011 Outstanding Student in Jazz and Commercial Studies Award. Clifford studied Percussion under Colorado Symphony Orchestra master percussionist John Kinzie, Jazz Theory and Composition under pianist Eric Gunnison, and Composition under William Hill. Clifford has also had the honor of studying percussion and marimba at Nagoya University in Japan with Tomomi Sugo and has studied vibraphone with two of his greatest heroes, Steve Nelson and Matt Moran.

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Doors 9pm, Show at 9:30pm
$10-15 Sliding Scale
 

 

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