By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — While session veteran and keyboard/trumpet player Marc Capelle is frequently setting backsides in motion at the helm of his all-star R&B revue Marc & the Casuals, the busy musician still manages to make time for other projects. While the versatile player frequently performs with groups paying tribute to specific bands or songwriters, he has partnered with SF Sketchfest for two special nights of music at the Chapel in San Francisco’s Mission District for the festival.
This Saturday, he reconvenes his all-star aggregation the Red Room Orchestra to salute the music of ‘Twin Peaks,’ the surreal television show by iconic director David Lynch that saw a revival with ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ on Showtime last year. Lynch’s films have always put music in the spotlight, from the singing Lady in the Radiator from the director’s 1977 debut and the bizarre visage of Dean Stockwell lip syncing to the Roy Orbison hit “In Dreams” in his Oscar-nominated breakthrough Blue Velvet through his use of both ’50s and modern rock in Wild at Heart and Lost Highway during the ’90s.
Lynch made music a cornerstone of ‘Twin Peaks’ and its 1992 cinematic prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, collaborating with his longtime composer Angelo Badalamenti on original songs like the hit “Mysteries of Love” sung by Julee Cruise (who would release a full album of Lynch/Badalamenti tunes and appeared in both the series and film). The revival of ‘Twin Peaks’ has continued to spotlight music, featuring a variety of artists performing during episodes including Nine Inch Nails, Sharon Van Etten and Au Revoir Simone.
Last summer after an initial more stripped-down performance at the Chapel bar with a smaller ensemble, Capelle gathered a high-powered group of San Francisco musicians to pay tribute to the music of ‘Twin Peaks’ and more Lynch-related offerings at the music venue, taking the stage with an expanded group that was christened the Red Room Orchestra in front of a packed house for a transporting night of atmospheric music.
The musicians reprise that performance for this SF Sketchfest-sponsored show (co-presented by Noise Pop and Jay Siegan Presents) this Saturday. Plenty of familiar faces from the Casuals’ stable of regular players including Persephone’s Bees guitarist Tom Ayers, drummer Todd Roper (Chuck Prophet, Cake) and saxophonist Tom Griesser as well frequent guest vocalists Mark Eitzel (American Music Club) Karina Denike (NOFX, Dancehall Crashers) and Karla Milosevich (Helen Lundy Trio). Additional auxiliary members include percussionist/drummer Toby Dammit (Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Swans, Residents), Dirty Ghosts guitarist Allyson Baker and violinist/vocalist Dina Maccabee (Real Vocal String Quartet, Ramon & Jessica).
The connection to the Sketchfest and the fact that the festival is holding a tribute to ‘Twin Peaks’ at the Castro Theatre Saturday afternoon have further elevated the star-power that will be on hand with a number of the actors from the show scheduled to make appearances with word ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ cast member and musical collaborator with David Lynch actress/vocalist Chrysta Bell and actor Ray Wise (who played Laura Palmer’s father Leland in the original show) would be among the onstage participants. For Saturday’s celebration at the Chapel, respected Popscene selector DJ Omar will also be spinning ‘Twin Peaks’ appropriate tunes before and between sets by the live band. Fans are encouraged to dress in costume and participate in the planned Audrey Horne dance contest.
Capelle and his capable co-conspirators will tackle a decidedly different body of work the following Thursday, presenting two separate sets paying tribute to the creative musical curation of director Wes Anderson and the songs used for his films Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. While praised for his meticulous visual style and unique storytelling ever since his debut film Bottle Rocket in 1996, Anderson has been equally celebrated for his keen ear and impeccable taste in creating memorable soundtracks.
While one of Anderson’s notable musical collaborators gave fans a chance to experience a particularly memorable soundtrack in person last year when Brazilian singer Seu Jorge traveled the U.S. performing his hypnotic solo acoustic renditions of David Bowie classics that the director featured in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, these two sets will give Anderson enthusiasts a rare opportunity to hear the music from two classic films.
The Rushmore soundtrack helped revive interest in the unsung ’60s British band the Creation with the inclusion of the classic and now familiar song “Making Time” along with an array of classic and obscure British Invasion hits from the Kinks, Cat Stevens, the Who, Chad and Jeremy, the Faces and Unit 4+2. The Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack offered up another eclectic mix tape from Anderson with the melancholy film giving a musical spotlight to Nico and the Velvet Underground as well as tunes ranging from punk greats the Clash and the Ramones to delicate balladeers Nick Drake, Emitt Rhodes and Elliot Smith.
While Capelle will again include many of the same musicians from the Casuals and the Red Room Orchestra, special guests taking the stage at the Chapel for these two sets include local proto punk/power pop legends Cyril Jordan and Roy Loney of the Flamin’ Groovies, bassist Devin Hoff (Nels Cline, Vijay Iyer, Xiu Xiu), Cibo Matto co-founder Yuka C. Honda, Mekons and Waco Brothers principle Jon Langford, cellist Helen Newby, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down frontwoman Thao Nguyen, guitarist John Roderick (Harvey Danger, The Long Winters), clarinet maestro Ben Goldberg and many others.
These two performances will be dedicated to the memory of Ralph Carney, the beloved multi-instrumentalist and sax player who made his home in San Francisco for the better part of two decades. Known for both his membership with Cleveland-based avant-rock band Tin Huey in the late ’70s and as a noted session player for Tom Waits, the B-52s, Elvis Costello and a myriad of others. The onetime San Francisco resident Carney was scheduled to perform the concerts, but tragically died last month after being critically injured in an accident at his Portland, OR home.
SF Sketchfest Presents The Music of ‘Twin Peaks’
Saturday, January 13, 8 p.m. $25-$30
The Music of Rushmore: A Live Performance of the Soundtrack
Thursday, January 18, 6:30 p.m. $42-$47
The Music of The Royal Tenenbaums: A Live Performance of the Soundtrack
Thursday, January 18, 10 p.m. $42-$47