Young musicians shine at Concert on the Green

By May 16, 2011

Uncle Tony will perform at Saturday's Concert on the Green, a benefit for the Davis High School Blue & White Foundation. Courtesy photo

Uncle Tony will perform at Saturday's Concert on the Green, a benefit for the Davis High School Blue & White Foundation. Courtesy photo

Check it out
What: Concert on the Green, to benefit the Davis High School Blue & White Foundation

When: 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Wildhorse Golf Course, 2323 Rockwell Drive

Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for ages 10 and under

Info: http://www.dhsblueandwhite.org

Want to see four young, talented local bands rock the stage? Come to the third annual Davis High School Concert on the Green at 5 p.m. Saturday at Wildhorse Golf Course, 2323 Rockwell Drive in Davis.

The show benefits the Davis High School Blue & White Foundation, whose mission is to encourage, strengthen and sustain the interaction between DHS and its alumni and friends, and to encourage philanthropic support for the school.

The day kicks off at 10 a.m. with the seventh annual golf tournament. The Concert on the Green follows, and features One Eyed Rhyno, Smack Jupiter, Downhill from Here and Uncle Tony.

Walking into Uncle Tony’s practice space, I found the band midway through “Play that Funky Music.” Bassist Spencer Snow and drummer Carson Bernard were locked into a tight groove. Guitarist Jason Harris played masterful leads while front man Jack Davis wailed.

Not just funky, Uncle Tony also rocks. The band broke into No Doubt’s “Hella Good.” With a heavy bass riff in place of synths, the pop tune was transformed into a raging rock song.

“We call it Hecca Good,” band manager Steve Harris said. That’s fitting, as the band rehearses at First Baptist Church. The band has religious ties, but Harris said, “We don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a Christian rock band. It can be very formulaic.”

Uncle Tony formed in March 2009. “Spencer, Carson and I played in the church’s youth band for a year before Uncle Tony,” Jason Harris said.

Jack Davis was brought into the band in January 2010. “I do a lot of musical theater, so the guys knew I could sing,” Davis said.
Listening to the band’s original songs, it’s apparent that Tool is an influence.

“That’s Jack,” the band said in unison. “I’m a big Tool fan,” Davis said.

The Tool influence works, giving the band a maturity lacking in many high school bands.

Steve Harris is not only the band manager but also Jason Harris’ father. It’s apparent that Harris has a passion for the band and wants them to succeed. And while he has a cool, calm demeanor, I had to ask, is he a drill sergeant?

“You have to ask them,” Harris smiled. “I have my moments. I’m in a band myself so I know what needs to be done.”

His strategy is working; Uncle Tony won the 2011 city of Davis Battle of the Bands, were finalists at the 2011 Jammies and co-headlined Harlow’s with One Eyed Rhyno.

Not just a talented group of guys, they’re also philanthropists, donating musical services to charity events and causes, including STAPP (Sacramento Teens Against Peer Pressure), the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and the World’s Greatest Bicycle Parade in Davis.

What’s next for Uncle Tony? A hard-rocking tour across the U.S? Carson Bernard beamed, “I dream about that every night!”

For more on Uncle Tony, visit http://www.uncletonyband.com.

Guitarist James “Jimmy” Hunter started One Eyed Rhyno when he was 9 years old. Now 16, Hunter continues to rock alongside his big sister Elaine on drums and Matt Swartzendruber on bass. Jimmy Hunter has collaborated with Grammy-winning songwriters in Nashville and has sat in with Todd Rungren and Mickey Thomas at the Pearl on the River.

Elaine Hunter currently works with David Stevenson Fischer and his company, Songs for Film and T.V. For more information on the band, visit http://www.oneeyedrhyno.com.

Fans of Silversun Pickups, Kings of Leon and early U2 will love Downhill From Here. Nat Lefkoff’s guitar playing is rooted in folk, while Nate Cenzer is influenced by Slash and The Edge. Bassist Simon Rothenberg is schooled in metal and funk. Drummer

Jacob Cross comes from a jazz background. For more on the band, visit http://www.myspace.com/downfromh.

If you like Hotwire, you’ll love Smack Jupiter, as it features three Hotwire members. The band emerged in the summer of 2010 with an energetic mix of originals and covers. The band members have been nominated for the 2010 Sammies’ Teen Band of the year. They’ve played on “Good Morning Sacramento” as well as at Picnic Day, the Yolo County Fair and a host of other venues in the Sacramento area. For more, visit http://www.smackjupiter.com.

Tickets to the Concert on the Green are $10 for adults, $5 for ages 10 and under. Food and beverages will be for sale, and lawn chairs and blankets are encouraged. For more information, visit http://www.dhsblueandwhite.org.

Landon Christensen

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