Head for the Hills bring bluegrass to the South Bay on Wednesday. Photo by Tobin Voggesser
The folks at Saint Rocke are celebrating the holiday season with the unlikely marriage of bluegrass, grilled cheese and craft beer. Every Wednesday in December, a bluegrass band is rocking the Hermosa Beach stage in a series named “The Strings and Cheese Incidents” where a pre-sale ticket gets you a complimentary pint of craft beer and grilled cheese sandwiches are $5 all night.
Taking the stage on Wednesday, December 11 is Head for the Hills, an acclaimed Colorado quartet that has gained nation-wide attention for their unique acoustic bluegrass sound. The members, Adam Kinghorn on guitar, Michael Chappell on mandolin, Joe Lessard on fiddle, and Matt Loewen on bass, met as students at Colorado State University.
“We started in dorm room about 10 years ago,” Lessard said. “But we didn’t get serious about touring until around 2005.”
Touring has brought Head for the Hills all over the Midwest, California and the South. Wednesday will be their first show in the South Bay.
In terms of sound, the band is rooted in bluegrass but the members hail from a variety of influences. Lessard plays in a hip hop group and Kinghorn and Chappell came from punk bands.
“We struggle to define our sound, as happens,” Lessard said. “It’s bluegrass instruments, though no banjo, and we use those instruments to go in a lot of different directions. We do our own music but we also venture into rock covers from White Stripes to Peter Gabriel.”
Head for the Hills has performed and appeared at Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Wakarusa Music Festival, SxSW, NPR-Ideastream, High Sierra Music Festival, DelFest and RockyGrass Festival. They also appeared on the River’s Rising Flood Compilation to benefit Colorado Flood victims alongside Furthur, Widespread Panic and Devotchka.
Head for the Hills was named “Best of Colorado” for four consecutive years via Westword Music Showcase in Denver and also co-released a craft beer with Odell Brewing Company of Colorado. The blend of bluegrass and craft beer taking over Saint Rocke this month is a natural forum for quartet.
The Strings and Cheese Incidents at Saint Rocke continues on December 18 with Dustbowl Revival, an eight- member self-dubbed roots and jazz collective. The Venice-based band describes themselves as merging “old school bluegrass, gospel, jug-band, swamp blues and the hot swing of the 1930’s to form a spicy roots cocktail.” Dustbowl Revival was just awarded the designation of 2013‘s Best Live Band in Los Angeles by the LA Weekly.
Head for the Hills headlines The Strings and Cheese Incidents at Saint Rocke, 142 Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach, on Wednesday, December 11 at 8:30 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at www.saintrocke.com.