Hippie alert! Next month will be the 45th anniversary of the Monterey Pop Festival, which drew tens of thousands of people to the California seaside and cast a long shadow across the rest of '60s music. But where Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding and The Who made the Monterey Pop headlines, the backbone of the festival was a quartet of bands all from the same San Francisco neighborhood: The Grateful Dead, bluegrass pickers who became the pied pipers of the Haight-Ashbury; Jefferson Airplane, both pop and acid rock; brassy, bluesy Texas refugees Big Brother & the Holding Company; and the star-crossed Moby Grape, whom many in the scene said was the greatest (and weirdest) band of them all. Across town was Creedence Clearwater Revival, Northern California kids who preferred Elvis and Screamin' Jay Hawkins to drugs and wound up writing almost the entire soundtrack to the Vietnam War. Together they made a red, white and blue — if not quite all-American — nucleus that kept U.S. rock off life support when the British Invasion was at its height. (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band also dates to June 1967.) Even today, this music is at the core of many local bands, so five of them are gathering at Dan Electro's Friday for a Memorial Day weekend classic-rock blowout saluting the Summer of Love, with the Volunteers (Jefferson Airplane), JuJu Eyeball (Grateful Dead), Kozmic Pearl (Big Brother, with Myrna Sanders as Janis Joplin), Snit's Dog & Pony Show (CCR) and CowJazz (Moby Grape). Wear some flowers in your hair.
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