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"People are probably going to give me [s***] about this," said Sol Peligro lead singer Sam Miranda. "Watching John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever [at] eight years old, I thought, 'This guy is cool.'"
Though his band Sol Peligro plays reggae-influenced cumbia music -- not disco -- Miranda points to this moment as the first time he knew he wanted to be in a band. Friday night, Sol Peligro will be headlining a Concert in the Park that includes Retrograde Revolution and La Noche Oskura (click links for MySpace).
Retrograde Revolution sounds like a Yellowman-influenced reggae/hip hop outfit, while La Noche Oskura combines punk and ska to sound like a Mexican Sublime.
Miranda formed Sol Peligro in 2004, a year after leaving his previous band, Raigambre, because he was going to be a father. Raigambre had been a success, winning a Sammie, his band mates often practicing up to four times per week.
As soon as Miranda found out that a baby was on the way, he left the band on good terms. It allowed the band to focus on music and allowed him to take a full-time job at a dental insurance company to prepare for the baby.
After 20 years of performing as a musician, Miranda reflected on why this was the wise choice. "Now I have a family to think about," he said.
"Music was a fun thing to do, [but] years ago I used to catch myself being bummed out about it," he added. "I was trying too hard to make it a living, and it took the fun out of it."
So when Miranda formed Sol Peligro, he vowed that the band would simply be in it for the fun. In the first year of its existence, he invited members of different Sacramento bands like Bucho, Sinclair and Filibuster to accompany him.
Once the band made a name for itself and recorded an album, Gritos de mi Pueblo, 2005, Miranda sought out more permanent members. One thing that all 10 of the current band members have in common is a full-time job.
Besides Miranda, the band features a four-piece horn section: two trumpets, sax and trombone. The rhythm section includes a keyboard player, two guitarists, a bass player, percussionist and drummer.
As for the band name, which translates literally to 'dangerous/threatening sun,' "it doesn't mean [anything], it's just a cool name," Miranda said. "It's just a name, so our music, and the content of our lyrics speak for what we stand for."
In 2006, the band won a Sammie for best World/Latin band. "That to me was cool; I contributed enough [to the music scene] that I got recognized," Miranda recalled.
Besides the Sammie, the biggest moment for the band so far was "doing a show at Harlow's with a group out of Texas called Grupo Fantasma," Miranda added. Grupo Fantasma occasionally backs Prince and was nominated for a Grammy earlier this year.
Miranda said he is happy to be playing the last Concert in the Park for the season, but equally excited for the End of Summer Festival, which will continue for the next five Fridays in Cesar Chavez Plaza.
"I saw the lineup and I [thought], 'Oh yeah, that's frickin' great,'" he said. "It's a great opportunity for people to get in there, and it's a great venue, especially for somebody who's starting out."
Friday Night Concerts in the Park take place at Cesar Chavez Plaza on 10th and J Streets from 5 to 9 p.m. every Friday until Aug. 14. The season continues as "The End of Summer Fest" at Cesar Chavez Plaza every Friday night from Aug. 21 through Sept. 18.
Don't forget that your Friday night festivities continue if you show your wristband to one of the following businesses:
Brew it Up!: $4 drafts, Bacardi, Jack Daniels and 3 Olives cocktails, plus half-price appetizers
Fuzio Universal Bistro: $3 drafts, $5 martinis, plus a selection of $3 appetizers
Marilyn's on K: $1 off well drinks, $3 draft Bud Light
Parlare Euro Lounge: $3 domestic beers, $5 wine, $4 assorted appetizers
Pyramid Alehouse: $2 pints of Curveball
Sofia on 11th: $3 drafts, $4 wines, $4 wells and and half-price appetizers
Table 260: Half off appetizer menu, 10 percent off dinner, $5 drink special on Sac Soul
Toppingz Pizza inside Image Lounge: $2.50 Bud and Bud Light, $4 Jack Daniels, appetizers starting at $1
Sheraton Grand Hotel's PMB Bar: $3.50 Bud and Bud Light (bottle or draft), $5 nachos or artichoke dip
Amourath Lounge at Hyatt: $1 off Bud, Bud Light and all appetizers
Citizen Hotel: $99/night weekend rate for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights in a deluxe king, queen or dual-double-bedroom. This deal is exclusively for the Concerts in the Park, and for information on how to book the room, call 916-447-2700.
photograph credit Stephen Bingen