Songwriters Unplugged Showcase III featuring WomenROCK — by Jamie Freedman

Yoshi’s is the Bay Area’s ultimate destination for jazz, featuring touring and local acts on its intimate stage. But with the help of Bay Vibes and SonicZen Records, Yoshi’s is becoming a destination for singer/songwriters as well. Look out Hotel Utah!

Every Sunday night Yoshi’s SF lounge features “Songwriters Unplugged” where three singer/songwriters perform in-the-round sets. Some artists are on tour, but mostly they are local. Every few months, the showcase pulls out the big guns for the main stage. Thursday night was the third of these main stage showcases featuring a WomenROCK line-up with Bonnie HayesValerie OrthHeather CombsZiva Hadar and Anita Lofton.

One of the great things about these showcases is the variety. Each artist performed a relatively short set, so the audience got just a taste of each artist. If one of these fine people left you wanting more, you’re a new fan.

I was excited to see Bonnie Hayes in action, as she is a Bay Area veteran and teaches songwriting at the Blue Bear School of Music. Valerie Orth kicked it up a notch with a sultry performance and really cool interplay between her guitar stylings and those of bassist Veronika Safarova. Women like Safarova are exactly why I’m learning to play the bass.

ZIVA’s trio of grand piano, guitar and cello brought a big sound. With her powerful voice and mad piano skills, Ziva Hader had a blast playing Yoshi’s main stage Steinway. Heather Combs went solo, entertaining the audience with witty stage banter and it was a treat to discover recovering punk musician Anita Lofton. She’s one I’m going to keep my ears out for. (more)


Bird in the Tree by Deborah Crooks

WomenROCK, the Bay Area’s all-female musician, artist, and activist collective, continues to get bigger, better and more visible. On June 16,  WomenROCK stages its 4th year anniversary concert at The Independent, featuring a stellar line-up of Bay Are acts. *bernadette*, Stripmall Architecture, ZIVA, and Conspiracy of Venus along with some burlesque and comedy for good measure. Expect some of the best rock, pop, indie and vocals the accomplished community has to offer. Which is saying a lot. I asked several of the acts about their work and what audiences can expect on the 16th. (keep reading)


WomenROCK’s Goddesses of Harmony – 3rd Anniversary (Show Review)
by Alan Moore. 3/6/2009

I got a message from a group of women musicians in our network asking me to post one of their events at The Great American Music Hall for Thurs day, March 5, 2009, on my Bay Area Music Calendar. WomenROCK’s Goddesses of Harmony sounded like an event I would be interested in seeing, so much so that I began calling some friends to join me telling them that it would be an event that they just had to be at. The Goddesses of Harmony’s 3rd Year Anniversary Celebration, organized be a group of women artists calling themselves WomenROCK, was a result and dedication to the three years of collaborating, organizing and fundraising efforts.

The event featured Pamela Parker, Valerie Orth, *bernadette* and Kim Manning  of P-Funk.

“This will be an epic celebration of successful powerful, female artists working together to rise up in song to build community, empower and inspire,” said the promo sent to me by the celebration’s organizer, musician and WomenROCK visionary, *bernadette* “We are rocking the music industry in our own forward-moving and conscious-permeating way!”

What I witnessed that night didn’t disappoint me. In fact the show and vibe even surpassed my most wild expectations, and that is saying for a person known to harbor quite a few, including the power of music to change the world and other butterfly flights of fancy. I left with the feeling that this was one of the best shows I had ever seen in my life and had to seriously ponder could this be, especially since I was at concerts with John Lennon, Richie Havens, the Woodstock Reunion in Bethel, NY in ’97 (I did the butterfly release on the original Woodstock stage), the 35th and 40th anniversaries of the Summer of Love in Monterey (another event I was involved in as manager for the Musicians for Peace Stage with nearly 100 performers), the Power to the Peaceful with Michael Franti and a host of others. So I decided to wait and see if I felt the same way when I woke up the next day.

So now it is the Saturday morning following the show and I am still mulling over what was the best show I ever saw. I remember the night I was walking down 1st Avenue in New York and my way to the Fillmore East with tickets to see Joe Cocker and the Grease Band in my wallet. As I approached the theater I could see the marquis which read “Joe Cocker and Mad Dogs and Englishmen. I didn’t buy tickets for this show I thought. Did Joe Cocker have some fight with his band and have to get a quick substitution? I even started thinking that I didn’t want to be thinking that I was going to be disappointed. It turned out to be one the best collaborative shows I had ever seen. Mad Dogs and Englishmen included the likes of Eric Clapton, Leon Russell and Rita Cooledge. The WomenROCK event I saw last Thursday was no less of a disappoitment and included be special guest sit-ins by such nationally acclaimed musician allies as Gabby La La of Les Claypool’s Band, James Nash of the Waybacks, Jon Krimstock of Lauren Hill, Jay Bowman, Dave Brogan of ALO, Veronica Klaus, poet Sam Flot, Lantz Lazwell and many more!

Just like the Joe Cocker show, WomenROCK’s Goddesses of Harmony exceeded my wildest expectations and now has the distinction for being the first music review I felt called to write. WomenROCK will also launch the 2009 Harmony Festival’s Goddess Temple this June.

For those that might say this isn’t the form of standard review or that I wrote a story rather than a review, I would sum this all up more concisely with the following.

“WomenROCK’s Goddesses of Harmony was a funky multi-faceted colaborative musical psyhic orgasm that exceded even my wildest expectations. I highly recommend following these women and not miss experiencing any of their future extravaganzas. WomenROCK has the potential for being one of the leaders for women in
the music industry.”

Alan Moore
Musicians & Fine Artists for World Peace – Founder & director