Hopmonk Sebastopol gets a few annual visits from certain bands, and Dragon Smoke is one of the most highly anticipated of the year. The Beer Garden was heated and covered, and the entrance for this show was through The Abbey (the enclosed venue), into the Beer Garden because it has a larger capacity than The Abbey. The Dragon Smoke show in the Hopmonk Beer Garden on this cool December evening had 350 attendees.
Dragon Smoke began at 5 and played for 90 minutes to an adoring crowd that seemed to love every minute of music pumped at them from the Uncle Bill stage. Everyone was on their feet enjoying Dragon Smokes' annual December performance. The band played a sold out show in San Francisco at The Independant the night before this gig in Sebastopol.
If you are unfamiliar with this band... They are all pro players, with the rhythm section coming from Gallactic along with the smooth and funky vocals from Ivan Neville and Eric Lindell. All four, very seasoned musicians indeed.
Dragon Smokes' music is a 'superjam' band producing a genre of music called, "blue eyed soul' at it's core. Formed in New Orleans in 2003 with artists that didnt play together, but when these guys got together, they knew they were onto something special. With Ivan Nevilles R&B Funk vocals and keyboards combined with Eric Lindells' Blue Eyed Soul guitar and vocals, and Robert Mecurio with his own expertise on bass. All supported by Stanton Moore providing a back beat that takes center stage (just because it's awesome). Stanton Moore is a super talented drummer, and one of my personal favorites! I'd attend any gig where Stanton was the drummer. Being that this is also Gallactics' rhythm section, Dragon Smoke could not lose when they played together for the first time at the famous Dragon's Den at Jazz Fest. Hence this is how and where Dragon Smoke was born.
They only seem to play the Bay Area and NOLA, but they are considering touring elsewhere as they really have loads of fun when they do. Not to mention the following of adoring fans they now have. They are even talking about recording an album soon.
If you read The Music Soup on the regular, you know I have a special appreciation for great drummers, and Stanton Moore is one of them. He always delivers the goods. If you're like me and love the sound of hard hitting, amazing drummers then in my opinion, Moore is one of the best! He supplies the drums that these fantastic musicians deserve. All four are rich with talent. And I am so grateful that they come to Sebastopol yearly and share their music with us in the North Bay. The locals know the players and it's always a fun show!
I'd highly suggest you catch a Dragon Smoke show, as it's always a treat! And if you're ever in New Orleans, there's probably a good chance that you can attend a Dragon Smoke show as it's their stomping ground for live shows.
© Cheryl Alterman Photography 2023