Friday, September 27, 2013

If You Like It Then You'd Better Put A Ringtone On It

I don't quite know how to start today's column, because no matter what I say or how I say it, you're gonna either think I'm crazy, that I need to get on some ADD medication, or that I've got supernatural powers. Either way, as of October 9th, I'm either going to have to get a new ring tone.
OK, you're already scratching your head, right? I should probably explain. And you should definitely read all the way to the end, because I'm giving away tickets to a show I've been waiting years for.

The Backstory
You all probably know this, but many years ago the organization I work for, Jefferson Public Radio, purchased the Cascade Theatre and led the crusade to restore the glorious performance hall I like to call The Crown Jewel of Downtown Redding. It's now in its 10th year of operations. In those years, the Cascade stage has hosted hundreds upon hundreds of live music entertainment. Big stars, like Bill Cosby, The Fray, and Bonnie Raitt. We've had some good times there, haven't we?

My Incredible Supernatural Powers
The other part of the backstory is that my husband Eddie swears I have supernatural powers. Every time we have an argument that's totally his fault but he's too stubborn to admit it, it rains and he misses a day of work. Or he gets a flat tire. Or a sore throat. The man is convinced that when I've been wronged, I have the ability to wiggle my nose and work some kind of magical payback. I've always thought of it as karma, but I don't mind that he thinks I've been casting spells. Keeps him in line (not really).

What Does A Ring Tone Have To Do With Anything?
About 5 years ago, I got a new cell phone. One that allowed different ring tones for different callers, and not just the generic ones that came on the phone. I could purchase and download a snippet of a song off the internet and use it as a tone as well.  My favorite song at the time was Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am." I  bought that and used that for my new boyfriend's special ringtone. Whenever Eddie called, that was the song I'd hear. The following year, I was telling Ingrid that story in person when she came to perform at the Cascade Theatre.
Funny thing though. A few days before the show, I upgraded to a new phone, and was horrified to discover that my special Ingrid Michaelson ring tone was no longer available. I had to find a new one to serve as Eddie's special ring tone. I made a joke about it at the time, that I had to choose wisely, because whichever artist became the boyfriend's ringtone, would end up playing at the Cascade.
So I went big.
I chose a song from the musician who has ranked in my personal Top 10 list for many years, but had never played at the Cascade. The musician that we had tried and tried and tried to book, but had always slipped through our fingers. I chose the one artist I thought we'd never be able to land...just to see if maybe I had some supernatural powers after all.
I chose Michael Franti.

So guess who's playing at the Cascade Theatre October 9th.
Michael Franti.

It took years for this spell, if that's what we're gonna call it, to work. That's just how hard it was to lure Michael Franti to Redding. So just take my word for it. Even if you've never heard of him, or have no idea what he's all about, just go. Go to this show. Plan to dance. Plan to not be able to see unless you are standing up and shaking your booty. It is a booty shaking show. It is such a high energy, fun, booty shaking time that the Cascade Theatre even put up a disclaimer on the website. In red.  With three stars in front and behind it. If you're not already holding tickets to see this show, I hope by the time I'm done with you that when I show up for work in the morning, that I find you camping on the sidewalk in front of the Cascade Theatre Box Office (although you can just buy tickets right here.) After all, I put some long, hard thought into making this happen when I chose my ring tone.

By the way....feel free to help me figure out what my next ring tone should be. Don't be afraid to go big, but be realistic. Justin Timberlake just isn't going to play a venue the size of the Cascade Theatre right now. That kind of magic will take about 15 years to work. Or more.

The Top Ten Reasons You Should Go To This Show
I saw Michael Franti and his group Spearhead perform last week on David Letterman, and it inspired me to put together my own Top 10 list of reasons to go see Franti when he comes to town next week, along with my Top 10 (okay, Top 20) Favorite Franti Songs.

10. He's From Around Here  Michael Franti was raised in Davis, California, where his dad was a professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He went to Davis High, went on to the University of San Francisco.
 9.  He's super tall. He's a tall drink of pure spring water. Topping out at 6 foot 6, he's taller than Jack Johnson, Bob Marley, Sting and even Michael Jordan.
 8.  He's barefoot. The story goes that back in 2000 he decided to go barefoot for 3 days. Which turned into 13 years. Occasionally he'll wear flip flops when he comes across one of those No Shirt No Shoes No Service situations.
 7.  He's kid friendly. I'm not saying that he doesn't sing about heavy things once in awhile, things that we wish our kids didn't have to be exposed to in their lifetime. Things like war and genocide and drugs and political abuse. He does. But he also takes time to include kids in a lot of his shows, has done special family shows at Britt. He's even written a couple of children's books. And that's cool.
 6.  He's a serious activist. The list of the issues he is trying to further include peace, hunger, environmentalism and justice. He is truly someone with a big, strong heart, a man who works hard to make a positive change in the world through his music.
 5.  He's a filmmaker. He's been writing about the human cost of war for years, but about a decade ago, he decided to put his money where his words are, and visited war torn countries around the world, and made a documentary, "I Know I'm Not Alone."
 4.  He's a poet. While in college, Franti met a priest who inspired him to write poetry. Pretty soon he turned that into music, and that music in turn was inspired by the reggae & punk he was hearing on the college radio station. And you know me. I'm a sucker for a college radio station. I've practically lived in one for 30 years. He lived above the one at KUSF.
 3.  He's agreed to appear live on JPR the day of the show. I can't believe that not only did we land him for the show, He'll also be on the Rhythm & News Service of JPR at 1pm that same day! More info, and stream JPR live right here.
 2.  His music is fun, danceable, sexy, soulful, funky and meaningful (see today's playlist. I can't even begin to explain how wildly different his music can be from one moment to the next. You just have to listen to it yourself.

And finally.....the #1 reason you should go see Franti on October 9th at the Cascade Theatre...

 1.  We're giving away a pair of tickets to the show! Here's the part you were waiting for! Because now you realize you really need to be at this show, dontcha? If you want to win a pair, let us know in the comments below, and we'll draw a winner in a week and announce it here. Don't don't have to publicly announce your email address. Just leave a comment. We'll hunt you down like the NSA.

Click on the arrow below to listen to my Double Top 10 Favorite Franti Songs Of All Time So Far Playlist, or get it directly from the source at Grooveshark.
Double Top Ten Franti by Valerie Ing-Miller on Grooveshark

  1. Say Hey (I Love You) - This one was my ringtone for several years, in hopes that I could eventually work my magic powers on finalizing the Franti connection. Not that I'm really taking all the credit in getting him booked. Maria Kelly, take a bow. 
  2. The Sound of Sunshine - Perhaps his most commercial success and well known song
  3. Shake It - Honestly, the positive body image message in this song has made it my favorite Franti ever.
  4. Hello Bonjour
  5. Hey World (Remote Control Version) - His ability to do the same song about six different ways, each one entirely unique and wonderful in its own way has always amazed me.
  6. Hey World (Don't Give Up Version) - Totally different song. 
  7. Love Me Unique - And now you get to hear Franti's sexy side.
  8. Oh My God - One of his most meaningful tunes. How can he sing about all the horrible problems in the world and sound sexy while doing it?
  9. Love Invincible - This man has the funk in him! 
  10. Keepin' It Natural
  11. A Little Bit of Riddim 
  12. I'm Alive - He's touring to support his new album, "All People." This gem is the first single.
  13. Life Is Better With You - Another tune from the new album.
  14. Stay Human
  15. Yes I will
  16. Firefly
  17. Love'll Set Me Free - Another of my all time Franti Favorties.
  18. I Got Love For You
  19. The Future
  20. 11:59 - Another song from the new album that I'm pretty sure you'll hear if you show up at the Cascade on the 10th.

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