It is high praise indeed if you are playing a show and of the seven people in the audience three of them happen to be Robert Crumb, his wife Aileen and director Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Ghost World, Bad Santa). I had heard The Divine Jug Band a few weeks before at Papa Toby's Revolution Cafe and was so impressed by their outrageous and just plain wacky performance that I traveled across town to Socha to catch them again. What I didn't know was that their music was a favorite of the Crumbs and Zwigoff.
When the band finished, and people were milling about, two of the musicians started spontaneously playing a tune and singing quietly. I was standing just behind Mr. Crumb and to my surprise he began to sing along softly, just under his breath, I see he was smiling and they couldn't hear him -- but he knew all the words.
The Divine Jug Band plays their super hillbilly music at Socha on Tuesdays, just a few doors down from the hip nightspot, Knockout. On a typical weeknight, dozens of drunk twenty-somethings get busy dancing to electronica while amazing music is going on next door at Socha. In addition to Socha, Andre and Jennifer Larzul also own Papa Toby's Revolution Cafe, Alamo Square Seafood Grill, and Bluejay Cafe. Their cafes in the Mission are currently some of the best places in town to hear live music nearly every night of the week, and it's all free.
Another musical treasure worth checking out is the ad hoc classical string section, which wavers between trio and septet (depending on their schedules), that appear at Revolution Cafe on Sunday evenings. This presents a solid alternative to the bar scene in the Mission, for those of us who have hungered for something to do at night without drinking. Now you can sip your tea and listen to Beethoven or short Vivaldi pieces. And who knows, next time you pass by you might see somebody famous lurking in the shadows.
Visit Socha's music schedule (at myspace.com).