From its inception in 1977 to this year’s 35th anniversary, the Mill Valley Film Festival and music have been joined at the hip, often to startling sonic results.
The festival's Music and the Movies events organized by Claire Wasserman and Stephanie Clarke have featured a broad spectrum of performers over the years, including Tangerine Dream, Ry Cooder and Harry Dean Stanton, as well as former Police drummer Stuart Copeland providing the live soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish.
A 1990 tribute to Saturday Night Live music director Hal Willner featured Mill Valley’s Bob Weir and a lineup that included Marianne Faithfull, Todd Rundgren, Charlie Haden and Michelle Shocked.
That tradition has continued in recent years, including inimitable events like last year’s raucous closing night of the Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra and the pairing of Marin sarod player Alam Khan and Weir and Rob Wasserman.
For the 35th anniversary, festival organizers have put music front and center throughout the 11-day event, from the star-studded Village Music All-Stars tribute concert at the Sweetwater Music Hall last Friday night to the Mill Valley ASCAP Music Café, a three-day series of daytime music concerts from an array of bands that hope to connect with filmmakers for possible collaborations.
The concerts, also at the Sweetwater, kick off Thursday at 1 p.m. with Bay Area troubadour Forest Sun and Hundred Waters, an alt-folk outfit with an electronic twist that hails from Gainesville, Florida, at 2 p.m.
Forest Sun’s rootsy Americana sound and laid-back California style was hailed by No Depression magazine as an “altogether a quiet joy in a raucous world,” while Hundred Waters drew some heavy praise from tastemaker Pitchfork.com, which said, “Their debut does more than enough to stand on its own, not only ambitious in its own right, but leaving little doubt about Hundred Waters' capability of handling wherever their ambition takes them from here.”
The Mill Valley ASCAP Music Café also includes a pair of Marin acts that have drawn their own share of acclaim. Pomplamoose, the Corte Madera-based duo of multi-instrumentalists Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn that rose to prominence in 2011 behind a series of Hyundai ads during the holiday season, will be performing at one of the showcases. The duo has been looking to connect with filmmakers. They perform at 3 p.m. Thursday.
And John Doe, co-founder of the acclaimed LA punk band X, recently moved to Fairfax and is looking to expand his film and TV work that includes landing his song "The Meanest Man in the World" on season four of Friday Night Lights. Doe plays at 4 p.m. Thursday.
The series includes six more acts through Saturday afternoon, capped by the 2am Club, the band founded by a pair of Tam High grads and named after the venerable Miller Ave. bar.
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