Oakland’s funky R&B party band The California Honeydrops is coming to the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall on Thursday, October 19! Tickets for The California Honeydrops will go on sale this Friday, July 14 at 10 a.m.
$20.00 – Advance Purchase General Admission Standing
$25.00 – Day of Show General Admission Standing
Doors 7:00p.m. / Show 8:00p.m.
“Though from Oakland, their Southern-fried jazz is so authentic that [audiences] may wonder whether they’ve been transported to the Big Easy.” – LA Times
The California Honeydrops don’t just play music – they throw parties. Drawing on diverse musical influences including Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues and New Orleans Second-line, they have taken those parties all over the world, playing festivals of all kinds and touring widely across North America, Europe and Australia. The band was honored to tour with Bonnie Raitt on her 2016 North American album release tour and in the past has been privileged to support the likes of B.B. King, Allen Toussaint, Buddy Guy and Dr. John. Whether playing for audiences of thousands or in intimate venues where they can leave the stage and get down on the dance floor, The California Honeydrops’ shared vision and purpose remain: to make the audience dance and sing.
Founded by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski and percussionist Ben Malament, The Honeydrops got their start busking on the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area where they quickly developed a passionate local following. But the band’s roots stretch back to Wierzynski’s childhood in Poland where he soaked up the sounds of contraband American recordings by the likes of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong. Later, as a first-generation immigrant to the U.S. and child of political refugees, he assimilated himself by devouring American rock ‘n roll, soul, jazz and hip-hop recordings. His musical immersion continued at Oberlin College and on club circuit in Oakland, California.
With the additions of Johnny Bones on tenor sax and clarinet, Lorenzo Loera on keyboards and Beau Bradbury on bass, the band’s acclaimed shows often feature extensive off-stage jamming and crowd interaction. “The whole point is to erase the boundaries between the crowd and us,” Wierzynski says. “We don’t make setlists. We want requests. We want crowd involvement, to make people become a part of the whole by dancing along, singing, picking the songs and generally coming out of their shells.”
The Honeydrops’ latest release Like You Mean It is their most cohesive work to date, carrying a refreshing new sound and style in music. The 13 original songs range from infectious and danceable tunes to soulful ballads. Often uplifting and sometimes mournful, Wierzynski is able to balance powerful vocals with a conversational intimacy and humor that hark back to the golden age of soul and country music. The trumpet and saxophone shout out jubilant riffs, landing the listener somewhere between a New Orleans street parade and a Stax soul revue. The rhythm section churns out a unique fusion of Caribbean R&B and Second-line street beats that leaves the audience no choice but to dance, yet often leaves them wondering: “What kind of music is this?”
True to their roots as a street band, their shows are casual and spontaneous but always electrifying, and in the words of one fan, “radically inclusive.” Or as Honeydrops drummer Malament explains, “Come to the show, I don’t care if you don’t know what to call us. You’re gonna sweat, you’re gonna dance, you’re gonna sing, we’re gonna make this thing happen, TOGETHER.”
Presented in partnership with Flying Saucer Presents.