Light Rail took home one of 19 Sammies at Saturday's festival (20 if you count the tie for Outstanding Hard Rock/Metal). Before the awards were handed out, they took the stage in the sweltering heat. A few songs in, they were joined by an unexpected guest. Hit the jump to find out who (hint: it's the other musical group in the title of this blog post).

And for good measure, here's one more video of the unique musical combination that Light Rail and Righteous Movement created:

Update: One more video from Righteous Movement, who decided to go with a beatbox song after going back and forth about which song to perform next.

Update: One more video of Righteous Movement and an interesting dance they taught the crowd.

Stay tuned for more videos from the Sammies music festival.

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In 2009, the Sacramento News & Review's Sammies belonged to Middle Class Rut. The two-piece band took home three awards, it was announced at today's music festival in Cesar Chavez park.

The members of MC Rut, who weren't actually present at the festival, took honors for Outstanding Rock, Outstanding Release/Album and Outstanding Sacramento Band.

Full list of winners after the jump:

Outstanding Emcee: Random Abiladeze

Outstanding Rock: MC Rut

Outstanding Punk/Hardcore: Final Summation

Outstanding Hard Rock/Metal: Man Automatic and Prieta (tie)

Outstanding Hip-hop/Rap: Righteous Movement

Outstanding Turntablist: DJ Epik

Outstanding Jazz/Blues/Latin: Ross Hammond

Outstanding Indie: The New Humans

Outstanding Country/Americana/Folk: Light Rail

Outstanding Experimental: Mom

Outstanding Singer-Songwriter: Be Brave Bold Robot

Outstanding Teen Band: Red Wire Army

Outstanding Reggae/Ska/Funk/Jam: Arden Park Roots

Outstanding Pop: Agent Ribbons

Outstanding Electronica: Tha Fruitbat

Outstanding Dance DJ: DJ Whores
(this was an open category where SN&R did not provide any nominees)

Outstanding Hip-hop Producer: Jae Synth

Outstanding Release/Album: MC Rut, MC Rut

Outstanding Sacramento Band: MC Rut

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Every once and a while, somebody interesting stops by Sacramento (No, the Yin Yang Twins don't count). Just because it's an artist you might not have heard of before doesn't mean it's not worth checking out.

Here are a couple out-of-towners stopping by on Friday:

The Hard to Get - The Hard to Get take turns between feathery rhythms and bright vocal harmonies. The lighter side of their repertoire shines - so it's probably appropriate they'll be in a low-key venue like Fox and Goose.

Guitarist / vocalist Melissa A. Kaplan describes the band's sound as an "indie rock duo in the spirit of The Pixies, Mates of State and Sleater-Kinney." They'll also be playing R5 Records on July 5 on their way back south to their native L.A.

Fox and Goose (21+)
9 p.m., $5
(with David Fletcher of Davis)

After the jump, someone a little more upbeat in a little more of an upbeat venue (and a free download):

Cursive - Cursive's music comes in waves, sometimes surging forward and sometimes lurching in all directions. The Omaha, Neb. natives will be at the Boardwalk for a $15 show. Their recent full-length, "Mama, I'm Swolen," earned three out of five stars from Rolling Stone.

The Hard to Get - Looking Good [MediaFire]

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Touring isn't easy for any band, but Middle Class (MC) Rut probably has it a little easier than most – the band is a duo, so there can't be too much equipment to load. That being said, the pair of guitarist Zack Lopez and drummer Sean Stockham are way louder and more energetic than any two-piece should be.

Middle Class Rut – Let it Go

After the jump, see what happened when the band asked the crowd at Cesar Chavez Park what it thought of the new 106.5 The Buzz.

Bonus: Here's one more song from the band's set:

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Defiantly politically incorrect metal band White Minorities is hoping to do some good tomorrow with a free benefit concert for Derek's Wish, an organization dedicated to helping families with children who are battling terminal cancer. Derek's Wish was founded by Cyndie French, whose heart-wrenching story was covered extensively in the Sacramento Bee in 2006.

The 21+ concert, which starts at 9:30 p.m. tomorrow at Callison's Bar and Grill, is free, but the band is asking for donations for Derek's Wish.

Bassist and band manager Troy "T-Bone" Jones, who said he's close friends with French, said this is White Minorities' first benefit concert. It comes at a poignant time for Jones, whose mother was recently diagnosed with cancer of the uterus.

"I recently found out about it, so this show is somewhat bittersweet," he said in an e-mail. Still, he's positive about the show.

"We would love to do nothing but benefit shows if we could," he said. "Not only do we have a good time like always, (but) we raise money for a good cause as well."

And in case you're as curious about the band's name as I first was, the explicit explanation (and a live video of the band) is after the jump.

From the band's MySpace bio:

We are White Minorities...if you are offended by the name GOOD, fuk being politically correct! It means nothing prejudice. We are a symbol of just how incorrect political correctness is. We are down with anyone who likes GOOD FUKIN' Music no matter what color u are..

White Minorities – Muzzle

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Tonight, former KWOD'ers Andy Hawk and DJ David X will again bring a free concert to the Powerhouse Pub in Folsom.

Here's a quick rundown of the lineup:

Plasma Cannon – Plasma Cannon seems to do two things very well: haunting, pipe-organ-fueled shanties and upbeat, melodic punk anthems. That may seem like an odd mix, but somehow the styles seem to fit well.

Radio Orangevale – Radio Orangevale plays off uneven rhythms and creates an unpredictable freight train of sound that seems to stumble forward in unexpected bursts.

Further reading:

SN&R Bio: Radio Orangevale

The Stash – The Stash is a seductive, light-hearted mix of pop and R&B with smooth melodies that float above dance-friendly backing beats. They're definitely a little more "club-friendly" than the other bands on the lineup, but that's not always a bad thing.

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Local rock duo Middle Class Rut just returned from Germany's largest music festival, the three-day Rock am Ring and Rock im Park. Their impression of the whirlwind festival is posted on the band's MySpace, but here's an excerpt:

on the days that we played, none other then limp bizkit headlined the whole festival. felt like the 90s all over again... but in a bad way. the shittiest part of the 90s. crazy that that dude has to just throw on a red hat, play really bad rap rock and 80k people will lose their minds. i made a note to bring my red hat next year.

Video from the band after the jump.

Middle Class Rut will be performing at this Friday's Concert in the Park in Cesar Chavez Park. The concert is free and starts at 5 p.m.

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Well, this is it. The end of the line. Tonight is your last chance to evaluate a few Sammies candidates at the same show before voting ends on Sunday.

9 p.m., $6

The Impotent Ninja (nominated for Outstanding Pop): At first listen, it's hard to guess how many members are in this band. When you realize it's a duo, it makes the soothing melodies, rhythmic guitar and danceable drum-loop foundations all the more impressive.

Jeepster (nominated for Outstanding Pop): Part endearing pop-rock melodies and part swirling haunted house theme music, Jeepster is hard to define, even for the paper that might give them an award. "Honestly, I’ve been sitting here over an hour and I still have yet to find a band they sound like," the Sacramento News & Review wrote. "That must mean something, right?"

ZuhG. (nominated for Outstanding Reggae/Ska/Funk/Jam): If there were more bands like ZuhG. around, the world would probably be a much more easygoing place. The band's guitars chop along with a steady rhythm while Bryan Nichols' vocals swirl back and forth with the sensual saxophone lines of "Bot."

Kate Gaffney (nominated for Outstanding Country/Americana/Folk): A Philadelphia native with strong pipes and a penchant for country staples like slide guitar and rich organ tones, Kate Gaffney brings some Nashville flavor to the table. Luckily, her songs lean more toward triumphant anthems rather than forlorn cries about pickups and lost love.

The Impotent Ninja – Corvus (four-song EP) [MediaFire]

Jeepster – Don't Go Too Far [MediaFire]

The final awards show and music festival will be June 27 (more on this later; stay tuned):

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There are only two Sammies showcase concerts left before the big awards show on June 27, and tonight is mohawk and circle pit night at the Press Club. Here's a preview of the three punk bands that will be performing.

9 p.m., $6

Boats! (nominated for Outstanding Punk/Hardcore): In a lot of ways, Boats! is just unpolished enough. The guitars have a dry growl and the drums a sort of hollow thud, but the bouncy rhythms and bare vocal lines competing for a couple minutes of attention balance it all out.

further reading:
Sacramento Bee - It's wild sailing for these Boats

Another Damn Disappointment (nominated for Outstanding Punk/Hardcore): Even if you don't pay attention to Sacramento's punk scene, it's hard to have not heard Another Damn Disappointment's name somewhere. The five-piece, uptempo punk band has been around for more than 10 years, and their energetic sound conjures up images of sweaty circle pits and crowd sing-alongs.

further reading:
Submerge – Relentless about the music

Final Summation (nominated for Outstanding Punk/Hardcore): Final Summation seems to only have one speed, but that's OK. Even when they're playing acoustic, guitarist Bear Williams looks like he's doing everything he can to not explode out of his seat and jump around the stage. That energy carries over to the full-band versions of their songs, too – urgent yet melodic.

Another Damn Disappointment - Dickhead

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If you didn't plan ahead and e-mail Dance Gavin Dance to reserve a spot at their CD release show tonight at Club Retro, you may be out of luck. In a bulletin posted at 3 p.m., the band relayed the news:

"If you have not heard back from the e-mail or from us, then you aren't on the list."

It goes on to point out that some people who reserved spots may not show, so die-hard fans who happen to be procrastinators might do well to try their luck anyway.

Otherwise, the full-album stream at Smart Punk will have to suffice.

Happiness, Dance Gavin Dance's new full-length album, is out today on Rise Records.

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The end of Sammies season is rapidly approaching, and the folks at the Sacramento News & Review are busy putting on the final showcase concerts before the big awards show June 27.

This week, there will be three consecutive showcase concerts featuring some of the nominated artists. Sac in Stereo will bring you a brief preview of each show before it happens.

9 p.m., $6
Torch Club (21 +)

Aaron King and The Imperials (nominated for Outstanding Jazz/Blues/Latin): Aaron King blends weighty grooves with agile flecks of piano accompaniment and all the flying guitar licks any blues band should bring to the table.

Light Rail (nominated for Outstanding Country/Americana/Folk): An upbeat back-and-forth of guitarist/vocalist Tyler Williams' creamy vocals and Shane Kalbach's melodic violin parts, Light Rail oozes weathervanes and steam engines Regional Transit lines.

Ricky Berger (nominated for Outstanding Pop and for Outstanding Release/Album): Ricky Berger is a soft-spoken singer-songwriter who can't seem to stick to one instrument for more than a couple songs. For more information, read this previous post.

Trainwreck Revival (nominated for Outstanding Country/Americana/Folk): Sometimes sultry, sometimes folksy and sometimes bluesy, Trainwreck Revival would sound right at home in a dark bar or at a sweltering summer barbecue.

Stay tuned for previews of Wednesday and Thursday's Sammies showcase concerts.

Light Rail - Sacramento (song starts at 4:18)

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Ricky Berger isn’t much on self-promotion.

“It’s uncomfortable for me to do it,” she said. “I hate pushing people to do things.”

The singer-songwriter is nominated for two Sammies this year (Outstanding Pop and Outstanding Release/Album), but she isn’t sure when voting ends or when winners are announced (June 14 and June 27, respectively). Maybe she’s just a little too shy for all the marketing work.

Last night at the Coffee Garden on Franklin Boulevard, she sang:

“I’m kinda shy
I’m the kind of girl who just likes to listen
and I don’t really party
I spend all my evenings with Ovaltine, the Golden Girls and my pajammies.”

Throughout the course of her performance, Berger took turns on the guitar, piano, xylophone, flute and ukulele (she didn’t bring her accordion). Her list of instruments to try next includes the stand-up bass, pedal harp, celesta and clarinet.

She started playing piano when she was 4, but her only formal musical training came in the form of a year of flute lessons and a couple years of piano lessons much later.

“I’m a big fan of just figuring it out,” she said.

During the three years she’s lived in Sacramento, she has figured out that she likes performing a lot more than she thought she would.

When Berger dropped out of high school at 17, she asked her grandmother in Natomas if she could live with her. She packed her bags and left her native Bakersfield, hoping to eventually become a songwriter.

“I totally caught the bug,” she said, adding that she never planned on performing so much. “I didn’t think I was good enough.”

Others would beg to differ. The Sacramento News & Review wrote Berger’s “notes tend to float into your ears and rattle around for days,” and Alive and Kicking said her “melodies are always catchy and simple. As are the lyrics.”

Berger has also been compared to Judy Garland by Midtown Monthly and Marty Deanda of DIG Records. She isn’t so sure about that.

“Most people just tell me I sound like myself,” she said. “Maybe it’s the red lipstick.”

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It would probably be hard to think of a less likely reggae star than Yellowman (born Winston Foster, aka King Yellowman). He grew up an orphan in Jamaica, and was shunned throughout his life for being an albino. He developed skin cancer, and in 1983, doctors told him he had only three years to live.

He has since gone on to release literally dozens of albums, and tonight will perform at Harlow's (2708 J St.) with locals DJ ESEF, Selektah KDK and King Hopeton.

Sacramento's DJ ESEF said he's honored to open for Yellowman.

"He is an inspiration for a lot of reggae fans," he wrote in an e-mail. "He always surprises me with his endless positive energy."

ESEF and KDK will open the show with a DJ set, then King Hopeton will perform a live-band set. ESEF and KDK will return for turntable sets before and after Yelloman's performance.

Doors open at 9 p.m., and admission is $20.

ESEF and KDK perform every Friday at the Capitol Garage for "Get Down to the Champion Sound," a reggae dancehall event.

Download a mixtape from ESEF from his website:

DJ ESEF - The Serious Mix, Vol. 1 [zip]

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Tonight at 8, former KWOD DJ Andy Hawk's Sounds of Sac showcase returns to the Powerhouse Pub in Old Folsom, with Smoke, Bastards of Young and The Ruin performing. It may be a bit far for midtown-ites, but perhaps the free cover will make up for that.

Of the three bands, Smoke is the only one I've seen live (I think I may have played a show with them back in the day). They're a solid, 4/20-friendly band with heavy Sublime influences.

I'm not sure I could describe Bastards of Young (Swagger City Records) any better than this description of their split LP, found on their MySpace:

Bastards of Young deliver six whiskey soaked anthems that will have you singing along before you even know the words.

The Ruin falls somewhere between the other two artists, with punchy guitar riffs leading into melodic alt-rock choruses.

I've got e-mails out to all three bands asking for permission to post downloadable MP3s, so hopefully you'll have some iPod fodder later today.

Update 5:55 p.m.: Here's a free download from The Ruin:

The Ruin - Slip Away [MF]

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