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A Little Midweek Amnesia Is Good for the Soul

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Photo by Matthew Chroust

By Matthew Chroust
Staff Writer

I’m going to give you two pieces of advice. First off, don't take my advice. It's a dangerous precedent to set. The last person who took my advice ended up in a PhD program. He does not return my calls. 

And the second piece of advice is to go to Amnesia (853 Valencia St.) on a Monday or a Wednesday.  I know what you are thinking. A bar on a week night? Oh heavens, no! (Like I said, don’t take my advice). But here is the deal. There is free live music. And it's amazing. Before we dive into that too much, let’s break it down for you. Amnesia is a small bar with a stage in the back, which sells reasonably priced beer and is located within walking distance of the N-Judah if you aren’t wearing heels. (But really, it’s a week night. Who wears heels?)

Now, on to the music. On Wednesdays, Gaucho plays 1920s French jazz. Think accordion, horns, light drum set. Great background music when you have great company, and a great distraction when you run out of science-y things to talk about. They start around 7 p.m. and end early enough for you to make it home in time for a midnight viewing of Matlock. We all need our Andy Griffith. 

Mondays are blue-grass night, with a different band every week. It’s always someone worth checking out (no cover). The second Monday of every month is someone special: Toshio Hirano. He warbles out old cowboy tunes (think Jimmie Rodgers). But here is the special part. He emigrated from Japan in the 1970s to pursue traditional American music. At first he appears to be a novelty act, but his deep love of the music and his technical ability comes through. Especially touching is his renditions of “Thanks a Lot“ (Ernest Tubb, 1966). He is fast becoming one of my favorite acts in San Francisco, and is unique to The City. 

So if you are willing to take a risk, head over to Amnesia for a relaxed midweek night of music. 

Matthew Chroust is a third-year dental student.

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