Sweet Jimmie" Ward, the man who owned and operated Oakland nightclub Sweet Jimmie's at 577 18th Street, died Friday, Feb. 5, at the age of 74 due to heart problems, according to the Oakland Tribune. Ward, a former longshoreman who often wore a ship captain's hat, had been in the bar business for more than forty years. Sweet Jimmie's (located in the space now occupied by the New Parish), opened in 1987, was a popular spot for the well-heeled, mature crowd, attracting local celebrities and players from the Raiders and the A's. Its Saturday-night lip-synching contests were broadcast on Soul Beat, and at one point it was one of the biggest live-music clubs in Oakland. Sweet Jimmie's son, David Ward, took over the club around 2004 and changed the format from blues and soul to more hip-hop oriented. However, the Wards closed the club in April 2006 after numerous problems with police and with city officials due to nearby violence. "In all their attempts to shut us down, it just wasn't worth the gamble," said son David, aka Sweets, in a 2006 interview with the Express.
A Lifetime Achievement Award Show & Benefit for Sweet Jimmie will be held on Sunday, February 21, at Kimball's (522 2nd St., Oakland), starting at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $25. To purchase, call 510-681-5422, 510-417-2380, or 510-499-4070.
Black Metal Comes to Berkeley
A black metal documentary that's gained cultish popularity despite hardly any advertising is coming to Berkeley's Elmwood Theater (2966 College Ave.) starting March 5. Until the Light Takes Us, directed by formerly San Francisco-based filmmakers Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell, tells the story of black metal — and, in particular, the ideology behind the music genre that resulted in numerous (and highly sensationalized) church burnings, suicides, and murders in the mid-Nineties in Norway. To understand what this movement is truly about, the filmmakers moved to Norway for several years and interviewed musicians such as Fenriz of Darkthrone, Frost of Satyricon, and Varg Vikernes (who was convicted of the murder of his Mayhem bandmate). It's the first time that the documentary is screening in the Bay Area since its limited run at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts last year. The Express is sponsoring this screening.
Oakland Compilation CD Party
Beatbeat Whisper's Davyd Nereo has put together a compilation CD of fifteen Oakland bands and solo artists called Our Last Bastion of Home. Featuring artists such Ash Reiter, the Blank Tapes, Belly of the Whale, Jen Weisberg, Mark Deutsch, Lavendirt, Pine, Quinn Deveaux, Roberto Miguel, Soft Shells, Ayla Nereo, Zach Houston, and more, the album was the second such compilation that Nereo has put out. Other local comps have been organized by Matt Adams, Greg Ashley, and others, and "there are more in the pipeline," says Nereo. "There are also cool comps from Portland (TLE and others), Santa Cruz, Sonoma County. I think it's a thing like mixtapes that's been made easier through the Internet and other digital means."
Get a sampling of the music on Last Bastion and buy the record at this Friday, Feb. 19's free CD release party at the Uptown (1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland). The all-acoustic night will feature performances by Belly of the Whale, Roberto Miguel, Jen Weisberg Experience, and Isabella. Starts at 9 p.m.
During the month of February, Amoeba Music is raising money for Doctor's Without Borders working in Haiti by donating and matching sales of certain titles, available at Amoeba.com. The indie record store is also raising money at all three of its stores, and all of those donations will also be matched by Amoeba (up to $1,000 per individual donation). ... Bridge Artspace (23 Maine Ave., Richmond), a former storage facility that was recently transformed into an art space, will offer a session to teach musicians how to put together a proper promo pack. Moderated by Sydney Metrick, a producer at Point Richmond Music, "Get Booked" will include a panel of professionals to "give you tips and answer your questions." It happens on Saturday, Feb. 20. 1-4 p.m., $35. ... Oakland band Religious Girls is offering its five-song EP Open Your Heart to Fantasy for download on a sliding scale (minimum $5) at ReligiousGirls.bandcamp.com. The noise-rock foursome is currently on a small break to work on a new live set and EP. ... Ben Bernstein, a bassist, engineer, and producer, is offering specials at his Petting Zoo Studio in Oakland. Book three days of studio time or three-song packages during the month of February and get 15 percent off the usual rate. Also, first-time clients will receive a $150/day rate. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. ... Bay Area alternative band Addison will celebrate the release of its Lay the Budda Down EP at Cafe du Nord (2170 Market St., San Francisco) on Friday, Feb. 19. 9:30 p.m., $10. ... Stripmall Architecture will unveil some of its new material for the first time at the Retox Lounge (628 20th St., San Francisco) on Friday, Feb. 19. The band will not only play songs from its forthcoming album, Feathersongs for Factory Girls, but also will offer a limited number of promo copies of its new single, limited-edition posters, and display its album art for its remix project. 9:30 p.m., $8 ... Noise Pop kicks off Feb. 18 with a pre-party at the California Academy of Sciences (55 Music Concourse Dr., San Francisco). Performers include Brookhaven, the Frail, DJ Sleazemore, and Popscene's Disco Shawn. 6-10 p.m., $12. ... Veil Veil Vanish releases its album Change in the Neon Light on Feb. 23.