Oakland’s 40th St. is home to 1234Go! Records and Billie Joe Armstrong’s guitar shop, Broken Guitars. For the past few years, a block party complete with food and live music has been thrown there to celebrate local vendors and musicians. Last year I moshed with Green Day’s drummer Tre Cool while his wife’s band performed, so when I saw their touring guitarist Jason White’s band, California, on the lineup, I knew I couldn’t miss it.
The event was super cute. There were lots of little tables set up with artists selling their products, activities for kids like playdough and legos, and even a booth from the Oakland Public Library, as well as the obvious assortment of food trucks.
The best was an ugly produce delivery service. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more Oakland than that.
One of my favorite restaurants just happens to be located on 40th St., The Homeroom, so rather than get grub from a truck, I got mac’n’cheese to-go and ate on the sidewalk facing the stage like the adult that I am.
Younger Lovers were playing, who I’m not really familiar with, but they said they’re playing Warped Tour this summer. Frontman Brontez Purnell is black and openly gay, so he joked that the reason they got asked to play Warped is for diversity purposes. They were pretty funny and I liked their music.
I saw Jason White as I was wandering down the street, and I attempted to snap a creeper shot of him. Of course he turned and looked right in my direction at the last second.
I didn’t wanna bother him, so I held myself back from asking for a picture. But of course as my luck would have it, Michelle Cruz Gonzales of Spitboy and Kamala and the Karnivores was talking to him. She sees me and calls me over by name.
I met Michelle at the Lookouting and Lookout Bookout earlier this year. I was happy enough that she remembered my face, but I was really surprised she remembered my name. She let me hang out with her and her friends the rest of the day. She’s super sweet. I really like her.
There weren’t really set times or anything, so I was judging by what I’d read on Facebook. California was supposedly going on at 3:00, but without a schedule, there was no way to know for sure. Are they headlining? Are they playing when they feel like playing? How does this work?
They ended up hitting the stage closer to 3:30, so it wasn’t all that far off from when I’d expected.
Jason had disappeared earlier supposedly to go play, but when I first glanced at the stage getting set up for them, I didn’t recognize the girl I saw so I assumed it was another band. Then we hear Jason’s voice, and all the ladies get excited.
“There’s a girl in this band!”
Her name was Jordan and she was filling in for their bassist Dustin Clark. Apparently she had to learn all the songs super fast on short notice, but she was awesome, and it’s always great to see a female killing it onstage.
Obviously Billie sings for Green Day, so I don’t hear Jason’s voice much. But I really loved it. California was awesome. I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to finally see them live, but I would definitely see them again and check out their music. They were really good. I was thoroughly impressed.
After their set, this guy named Zach introduced himself to me. I swear I recognize him from somewhere, but I couldn’t put my finger on where and stupidly didn’t try to figure it out.
Zach: “I’ve seen you around.”
Me: “Yeah, I’m kinda everywhere.”
Before Michelle left, she told me I remind her of herself, how I was able to come out to this event alone even though I wasn’t sure if I’d know anyone there. It’s the best way to live, and going to shows by myself is how I even have most of the friends I do today. Pretty excited I can count her among them now.