Unrelenting sixteenth notes, wavering subtly, played with rhythmic precision and singular invention—it's a bass line so iconic, they made a T-shirt out of it. This is bassist Francis "Rocco" Prestia's contribution to Tower of Power's "What Is Hip?," and it still stands strongly as advice for aspiring bassists on taste over flash, especially in the showy, slappy-poppy world of funk bass playing.
Not that "showmanship" is absent from Tower of Power's vocabulary. No matter how many new members have entered the East Bay juggernaut's ranks, the recruitment is, evidently, the same, with tight musicianship and dynamic arrangements alongside good ol' synchronized dance moves. (When current singer Larry Braggs sings "I'm down on my knees," you can guess what the entire 10-piece band does next.)
Tower of Power have played fairs in Sonoma County at least a dozen times, but the other acts in Petaluma this weekend are perennial returnees, too—Rick Springfield (June 23), the Charlie Daniels Band (June 24), Blue Öyster Cult and Foghat (June 25), none of which can come within 10 miles of the dynamism of Tower of Power. Take a ride to Bump City on Wednesday, June 22, at the Sonoma-Marin Fair. 100 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma. 8pm. Free with $10$15 fair admission. 707.283.3247.