I can’t let tomorrow’s benefit go by without including my own two cents, which is about what I have jingling at the bottom of my pocket right now.
These are, as you may have heard, difficult times. There is much ado about a lot of things – money, morals, the Marina – the list goes on and on. And it is exactly in times such as these that entertainment becomes imperative. It’s not a distraction so much as a balm, a way to find the joy in the most fearful corners of our lives. But not just any entertainment can nurture us back to mental health. Sure, plenty of things on TV can distract us, plenty of games on a field can replace the adrenaline of panic with the adrenaline of winning or losing. But to really connect with the kind of entertainment that feeds us, that sings to our better angels, we need music. Or theater. Or literature. Or NASCAR. No, just kidding about that last one.
Anyway, we have the Campbell for theater, and the newly-remodeled library for literature. And, right here in Martinez, we have Armando’s for music. How fortunate is this? Let’s consider.
If you live in Orinda, say, or Lafayette, you’re doing well. But not well enough to have a music club right down the street from your house. For that, you have to come here, or drive to Berkeley. Good luck with parking in Berkeley.
Simply put, if you haven’t been to Armando’s yet, because you’re thinking it’s a bar scene, you’re making a terrible mistake. Armando’s is not a bar. It’s a music club. It’s a small, intimate place where people just like you go to hear the kinds of music you can’t hear in bars. It’s the kind of place that books bluegrass one night, Mal Sharpe’s Dixieland jazz band the next night, a hard-core blues guy like Mark Hummel another, and a folk trio on yet another night. It’s safe to say that Armando’s will have more than a few acts you will love, if you try them out. And you don’t have to wait in line for tickets, you get to sit in comfortable chairs and enjoy the music close up and intimate, with a great sound system, in a small, friendly room.
The owner of Armando’s, Roy Jeans, has been running the place for six years. And times are also tough for him. He’s in danger of losing this place, and that would be a crime. So tomorrow night, Roy is holding a benefit for the place. He’s hosting a bunch of long-time players (myself included – I was among the first to play that glorious stage and continue to play there regularly) who will perform, and play behind some tunes that Roy wants to do himself.
It’s a hefty door charge: $50. That’s $40 more than the usual entrance fee, but this is a benefit to help him pay some back rent and keep the doors open.
In tough times, sometimes you have to take care of yourself. Going to Armando’s tomorrow night is one very good way to do that. If you’ve been there, you know what a magical place it is. If you haven’t been, you owe it to yourself to try it out. And tomorrow night would be a perfect time to do that.