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Lafayette ‘Rock the Plaza’ Starting Aug. 1

July 29, 2008

By Sam Richards, Contra Costa Times, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Jul. 29–LAFAYETTE — Musicians love playing, most of them in front of appreciative crowds. The soon-to-begin third season of the “Rock the Plaza” series in downtown Lafayette will give some locals a chance to do that.

The Red House All-Stars, made up largely of musicians associated with Walnut Creek’s Red House Studios, kick off this year’s downtown Lafayette summer concert series Friday. The Ramblers, also with ties to Red House, will play the Aug. 15 concert.

Other bands headlining these “Rock the Plaza” shows are Walnut Creek-based Stagefrite (popular rock ‘n’ roll covers, Aug. 8), and the Spazmatics (mostly ’80s covers, Aug. 22).

All concerts will take place in Lafayette’s Plaza Park, at Mt. Diablo Boulevard and Moraga Road. All shows start at 6 p.m., and admission is free.

Red House Studios will have a tent set up at each show, giving folks a chance to pick up a guitar or bass, or sit behind a drum kit and get a feel for making music.

Raja Singh, who lives in Lafayette and owns Red House, said all four bands play danceable music — the All-Stars’ repertoire is mostly blues-oriented, while the Ramblers play more classic rock.

The members of those groups, along with many other bands, either got their start or honed their craft at Red House, described by Singh as a combination “music school/jam club/performance venue.”

“We’re trying to create an environment where people can come and really enjoy what they’re

doing,” he said.

Most of those musicians have jobs, families and other things going on in their lives that keep them from being full-time musicians. Of the scheduled August bands in Lafayette, only the Spazmatics are a full-time professional band, Singh said.

But Lamorinda and the Diablo Valley are home to hundreds of musicians who mostly, or entirely, do it for the love of it.

“Lafayette has countless numbers of musicians, both aspiring and accomplished, as well as music fans,” Singh said.

Sponsors for this year’s concerts are the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, the city of Lafayette, Red House Studios, Minutemen Press Lafayette, the Lamorinda Sun and Cedric Cheng Design of Concord.

Reach Sam Richards at 925-943-8241 or at srichards@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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To see more of the Contra Costa Times, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.contracostatimes.com/.

Copyright (c) 2008, Contra Costa Times, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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