By CESAREO GARASA, Contributing columnist
Bakersfield has gone festival crazy. Not only are we just recovering (barely) from last weekend's Festival of Beers and the Greek Food Festival, we have three more coming up over the next several days: the Bakersfield Jazz Festival (more on Page 18), the CSUB spring barbecue and the Crawfish Festival at the Prime Cut.
Tonight's spring barbecue, which benefits athletics at Cal State, is the one with the most seniority in our town. Marking its 42nd year, it remains one of the most in-demand tickets of the year, drawing in the neighborhood of 3,000 attendees. Head chefs Gary and Adam Icardo (whose family has directed the cooking at each of the barbecues) will be preparing a meal of Harris Ranch New York steak or teriyaki chicken, with sides provided by local restaurants. Beer and wine will be served at the beer garden.
For the fun and daring, there is a '90s theme with a costume contest later on. Music for the event will be provided by Foster Campbell and Friends and their fun combo of rock and R&B covers.
Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Icardo Center on the CSUB campus. The event ends at 10:15 p.m. Information on the event can be found at gorunners.com.
On Saturday, the Prime Cut will host the 16th annual Crawfish Festival. Another popular event (usually selling out), it's aimed at the whole family, and with ribs, sausage, jambalaya and Crawfish flown in from Louisiana, no one will be walking away from the northwest restaurant hungry. Waddling? Maybe.
The festival starts at 1 p.m. and goes until 8. Food is served "roughly around" 2:30 to 6 p.m.
Kids' admission includes hot dogs and chips and a drink. There will be a bounce house, face- painting and a crawfish petting zoo. Regular restaurant fare will be available.
Entertainment will be provided by party band Mystic Red (full disclosure: I'll be sitting in with the band), the blues rock of Blonde Faith, and Bonne Musique Zydeco will supply the New Orleans feel. Local guitarist Bunky Spurling will perform indoors. With Mother's Day on Sunday, there are plenty of opportunities this weekend to make up for the time you accidentally broke the lamp.
CSUB Spring BBQ, 6 to 10 tonight, CSUB Icardo Center 150 Roadrunner Drive; $30, pre-sale, $35 at the door. 654-3473.
16th annual Crawfish Festival; 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Prime Cut 9500 Brimhall Road; $50, $15 for children (prices will be higher on the day of the event). 831-1413.
Metalachi and Meditated Assault at 9 p.m. Friday, Double Vision and Crimes of Passion at 9 p.m. Saturday, B Ryders, 7401 White Lane; $10 in advance, $12 at the door. 21 and over. 397-7304.
Oh my Lord, they're back.
If you're not familiar with Metalachi, you have been deprived of one of the most surreal and enjoyable musical experiences you will ever have at a show. A troupe of exceptional mariachi musicians -- decked out like a cross between Gwar, Kiss and Guns N' Roses in sombreros -- playing Mariachi-style versions of classic metal songs. They're making their way back to Bako to play at B Ryders Friday.
Slayer, Judas Priest, and Metallica are just a few of the bands they cover. They pretty much play every cool song by every cool vintage metal band ever. And the kicker? Everything they play rocks. Also, a non-stop fog machine and a light show will guarantee you sensory overload while your face melts from the molten lava coming from the stage.
The first time I saw them was at the old Fishlips, and I had no idea what to expect. Were they really mariachi? (yes) Did they re-create the songs respectfully? (yes) Do they sound good? (yes, yes, yes). When I walked into the fog-filled bar and heard and saw what was coming from the stage, I felt like I walked into a Robert Rodriquez movie. Seriously. I expected Antonio Banderas to show up with a guitar case and start killing Aztec vampires.
What stops the whole act from devolving into pure gimmick is the skill level of the musicians: These guys can play! Granted it takes a little bit of time to get used to trumpet on Ozzy's "Crazy Train" but after a few bars, you can't help but wonder why the original didn't have it in the first place.
As with any metal/hard rock show, it's not for the faint of heart -- more delicate sensibilities need-not-apply -- but to the rest, especially if you're a fan of metal, prepare to be rocked in a way you've never been rocked before. Local rockers Meditated Assault will kick the night off appropriately.
For those who prefer their rock a bit more Trans-Am than Tour-van, the tribute train keeps coming when two more bands, Double Vision and Crimes of Passion (Foreigner and Pat Benatar tributes, respectively), stop by B Ryders on Saturday to rock you like it's 1981. Two nights. One stage. Three different tribute bands. Break out the sleeveless T-shirts: You're gonna need them. Or maybe just use the '90s clothes you wore to the spring barbecue. Eventually, you're going to need a way to shed all the food you ate at the festivals -- maybe you should do it rocking out.