$59.50 – General Admission Floor
$79.50 – Reserved Seating
$59.50 – Reserved Balcony
*plus applicable service fees
Join us at The Den one hour before doors for food & drinks!
All doors & show times subject to change
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Tower’s musical odyssey actually began in 1968 when Emilio Castillo met Stephen “Doc” Kupka in July of that year. When Doc auditioned during a band rehearsal at Emilio’s house, Emilio’s father called him into the kitchen and offered the following advice: “Hire that guy, he’s got something.” Doc and his signature baritone sax sound were now in the band, and on August 13, 1968, Tower of Power, as we know them today, began playing gigs, and soon became very well known in the area.
Many other bands came out of the San Francisco Bay area in the late 60’s. Bands like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Big Brother, Journey, Cold Blood and others all helped to define the “San Francisco Sound.” Tower of Power has always claimed Oakland, California as their hometown. Playing area venues and making a name for themselves, Tower of Power’s big break was just around the corner.
After playing at a Tuesday night audition at the Fillmore in 1970, Tower was signed to Bill Graham’s San Francisco records and their first album, “East Bay Grease,” was recorded. All of the compositions were original tunes written by Castillo and Kupka. Their next album, “Bump City,” was recorded on the Warner Brothers label, and this led to a string of hits and memorable albums that include many of the songs that TOP fans come out in force to hear, even to this day. Over the years, the Tower of Power Horns have recorded with hundreds of artists as diverse as Aerosmith, Elton John, Little Feat, Phish, Santana, Heart, and many others, forever infusing the radio airwaves with Tower’s musical DNA.
Since the beginning, Tower of Power has never stopped touring and recording. Always in demand, the band never fails to entertain and amaze their fans. Tower is truly blessed to have a dedicated following that often travels to see the band, and in many cases fans will plan their vacation or work schedule around an appearance of TOP.
Each year Tower of Power tours the United States, Japan and Europe, playing to sold out crowds all over the world. Recent releases include their 40th Anniversary Concert Blu Ray recorded at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco and “Hipper Than Hip” a remstered gem that was tucked away in the Warner Brothers vault since 1974. Tower has never been busier or more in demand. New generations of fans come to see the band perform as their timeless music continues to excite fans of all ages. We hope you enjoy this website, which will be growing and evolving continually to include more band history, information on alumni members, and regular updates on Tower of Power.
The show will feature Berkeley born Lenny Pickett, leader of Tower of Power horn section in the 70’s. Pickett joined SNL In 1985 and has lead the band since 1995. He is also a professor of jazz saxophone at New York University. Pickett has worked with Little Feat, Huey Lewis, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Madonna, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Taking Heads, Paul McCartney
There’s a moment before each Con Brio show — before the backflips, the guitar solos, the buoyant horn lines over bass, drum and synth — when all seven band members come in for a huddle. It’s a way to say grace; an acknowledgment of live music as a team sport; a moment of stillness before they explode.
“Let’s work,” they say, their heads bowed together. And then they do.
Named for an Italian musical direction meaning ‘with spirit,’ Con Brio is a San Francisco Bay Area band that plays soul, psych-rock and R&B as fresh and freethinking as the place they call home. With charismatic singer Ziek McCarter bringing “the dance moves, splits and all, of James Brown” (KQED) and a band that “comes across like a party punk version of Sly and the Family Stone” (Consequence of Sound), Con Brio is known to convert anyone who sees their electric live show.
Founded in 2013 by veteran players with vastly different musical backgrounds*, the band quickly became a favorite up and down the West Coast, then across the U.S., and then overseas in places like Japan and the Netherlands. In 2016, Con Brio’s debut LP Paradise paired uplifting dance party-starters (and some psychotropic electric guitar work from Benjamin Andrews) with powerful lyrics about inequality and the Black Lives Matter movement, instantly putting the band on the map for their earnest, inspiring, and thoroughly American ethos.
Explorer, out on July 6th, both builds on the success of Paradise and serves as a travelogue of sorts — a reflection on the two years of nearly nonstop touring that followed their first record’s success. (The band, known in the industry for their tireless work ethic, has played high-profile sets at Outside Lands, Lollapalooza, Bumbershoot, Austin City Limits, Japan’s Fuji Rock, the Montreal Jazz Festival, Australia’s Bluesfest Byron Bay, and the Netherlands’ North Sea Jazz Festival, to name just a few.)
Having proved themselves on an international stage, Con Brio breaks new ground on Explorer, expanding beyond raw energy and retro sounds toward a more contemporary, layered production style, all delivered with road-tested confidence.
On “I Wanna” — a lusty, mischievous ode to the art of catching a stranger’s eye across a crowded club — McCarter pours his voice, richer than ever, over a thick, irresistibly danceable rhythm from Jonathan Kirchner (bass) and Andrew Laubacher (drums). “Body Language” slows that theme to a simmer, with a nimble, lyrical horn line from Marcus Stephens (saxophone) and Brendan Liu (trumpet) front and center.
Songs like “United State of Mind” and “Royal Rage,” meanwhile, reflect on America’s current political moment, urging strength and perspective in the face of cynicism and apathy. Over a cheerful guitar lick from Andrews, the former track sings the praises of travel, the ways it can make the world feel bigger and smaller all at once — and how sometimes you have to leave home to see it with fresh eyes. “Rage” is a rally cry, a call to resistance, with Laubacher’s kick drum leading the march: “Feeling the world pulling apart, where is the we in who we are?” asks McCarter. “When will it end, where do we start?’
Then there’s Con Brio’s tendency to upend expectations: they’ve never been afraid of a little genre-bending. “Heart Shaped Box” began as a fun cover the band arranged on a whim on a rare day off on tour; within weeks it became one of the most exciting moments in the band’s live show. On the record, it’s a playful yet potent tribute, served surprisingly well by horns and a smart, slinky synth line from Patrick Glynn.
Ultimately, Explorer is a leap for Con Brio in more ways than one. It’s a big record, with plenty of joy, a few growing pains, and more questions than answers. What does it mean to be an American band traveling the world in the year 2018 with a message of hope and tolerance? The record sounds, unsurprisingly, like a band on the verge.
Wherever Explorer takes them, they go with open eyes. They’re ready to huddle up, take the stage, and get to work — where they’ve found that, night after night, the things that divide us don’t stand a chance on the dance floor.