It's a Benefit: Calder Spanier Memorial II Two-and-a-half weeks ago, Charlie Hunter and a host of local jazz figureheads performed at a benefit and memorial for Calder Spanier, a colleague who died in a car accident on the Bay Bridge in early December. The event was a sold-out success; the Great American Music Hall had to turn away several musicians and jazz fans who had seen Spanier play and wanted to show support for Spanier's wife, Madeline Banks. The night was important for two reasons. First, those who remembered Spanier from his days with Charlie Hunter's band, or from one of his various side projects, had an opportunity to talk with one another, play his songs, and tell stories about a guy they remember bubbling with enthusiasm and charisma. Second, the organizers were able to donate a significant amount of cash to Banks, who is pregnant. On Wednesday, Feb. 4 (that's today), at Bimbo's, another set of musicians will throw another fete for Spanier and his widow. This time, however, it's all about the money. Bimbo's booker Harry Duncan says that he's interested in putting as much cash as possible into Banks' pocket. With that goal in mind, the big-time Primus will play the relatively small venue along with Michael Franti (of Spearhead and Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy) and opening group Masaoka-Amendola-Dunn & DJ Marko, with DJ Polywog. (The connection is not the non sequitur it seems: Primus' Les Claypool produced the first Hunter record and Primus, Spearhead, and Hunter all share the same management company.) Banks, who has moved back to her family in Sweden, is impressed with the support. "All of these talented musicians giving of their time and of themselves on our behalf is touching to me," Banks wrote in a letter to Duncan. "Calder would be amazed and flattered by the outpouring of the music community." (J.S.)

Book 'Em Since the Mission's Kilowatt stopped offering live music last November, the corner of 16th Street and Albion has been all but void of screaming fuzz guitar, garage-rock pickups, and mop-topped rockers with a penchant for beer baths. Don't think for a minute that's the case at the home/office of former Kilowatt booker Dave Kaplan. Back in December, Kaplan started up Easy Action, a booking agency focused on building up a roster of many of the acts that had made the Kilowatt an obligatory destination for indie-rock scenesters: Mensclub, the Drags, the Insomniacs, et al. Now just two months later, Easy Action, besides acts like Helios Creed, Chrome, and Japanese punk sensations the Registrators, does all of the in-house booking for Estrus -- the Northwest's pre-eminent garage-rock label, home to the Fells, the Galaxy Trio, and countless others. Says Kaplan, "Booking a nightclub is more instantly gratifying, but [with the agency] I can be completely selective about the bands I choose, and I'm not stuck in a nightclub all weekend. It's good." Local boys on the Kaplan radar: Dustin Donaldson's I Am Spoonbender; local Easy Action shows coming up: Chrome at the Great American Music Hall, and Mensclub at the Bottom of the Hill. (S.T.)

"I guarantee you I will screw this song up": Robert Arriaga (R.A.), Johnny DiPaola (J.D.P.), Karl D. Esturbense (K.D.E.), Jeff Stark (J.S.), Silke Tudor (S.T.), Heather Wisner (H.W.), and Bill Wyman (B.W.). Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to jstark@sfweekly.com, or mail it to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly.

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