culture / music / sacramento / What I Am Listening To

What I’m Listening To: Gabi Garcia

What I’m Listening To is a series where we talk to exciting artists and musicians and get a five song slice of their current playlist. 

“Derby has been crucial to the success of the Blue Lamp.”

TUBE_Magazine_Melissa_Uroff_2016Gabi Garcia, co-owner of the Blue Lamp, and this month’s curator of the What I’m Listening To playlist, has been bringing great music to Sacramento since she and her husband took over the venue in 2013. “Live music and the arts are thriving right [now] in Sacramento. We enjoy that the Blue Lamp is used as a platform for locals to showcase their arts.”

Garcia spent years working up the street from the Lamp at Limelight. “[O]nce back in 2010 I talked to the Stoner brothers ([the]original Blue Lamp owners) about the possibility of them selling. In early 2013 we got a call asking if we were interested in buying Blue Lamp and my husband (Ben) and myself took the leap.” The couple became the official owners on Halloween that year. “It has been more work than anyone could have ever told us or we could have ever imagined and we’re no strangers to hard work, but at the end of the day when everyone is dancing and enjoying the music it is the most fun we have ever had.”

The Lamp is a well-known fixture in the Sacramento music scene and the Garcias are working hard to keep it that way. “We are trying to make Sacramento and specifically Blue Lamp a stop on national tours, so we can get the best in all underground music and arts to our town as well as a home for locals.” To this end, they support all types of music and performance. “Our calendar… includes Punk Rock, Metal, Hip Hop, Reggae, Indie, Country, Burlesque, Comedy, EDM and just about anything you can do in a venue our size.”

Before becoming co-owner of the Blue Lamp, Garcia helped found the Sacred City Derby Girls in 2006. She applied many of the things she learned from the Derby Girls to running the Lamp. “Derby has been crucial to the success of the Blue Lamp.” In 2006 Garcia had computer skills she described as “lacking and that’s being nice.” She had to improve quickly however because, “Derby wouldn’t not be what it is today without the internet, emails, yahoo groups, social media, etc. …[It] taught me how to manage 100 email conversations via 3 different accounts, social media (I still need help #oldladyproblems), build spreadsheets, to manage a team, to be humble, to take the losses and the wins, and [that] you get out of it what you put into it.”

So what is venue owner and former Derby girl Gabi Garcia listening to? “My favorite songs at the moment, man that’s tough. I’ll just give you 5 of my favorite songs.” And here they are:

Chuck Berry- ‘Maybellene’- Garcia considers it the “best road song ever” because it “[w]akes you up and you can’t help but sing and dance along. I love life on the open road.”


The Rolling Stones-‘Street Fighting Man’-“I heart Keith Richards. I [have] love[d] the Rolling Stones since I was a little kid. My parents introduced me to the Stones but the Stones introduced me to the Blues.”


Justin Bieber- ‘Love Yourself’-“I still have Bieber Fever,” she says, It is “[o]ne of those songs you hate, but decide to love to annoy your 13 year old daughter who’s into BVB, that’s Black Veil Brides if you didn’t know.”


G.G. Allin-‘Automatic’- ” 70/80’s Punk Rock is my jam, this is just a great example, I have 100s I could put here.”


Ween- ‘Gabrielle’- “It saved my marriage,” says Garcia, “Ween wrote a song “Gabrielle” and we went to a Ween show in a fight and they played this song and we couldn’t believe Ween wrote a song for us (true story except the part about Ween writing it for us). We got married after that.”

There are a lot of great shows coming up for the Blue Lamp, especially with summer just around the corner. The Lamp has an eclectic calendar, but “Ben and I come from such diverse backgrounds we are excited for almost every show,” Garcia says. The couple “would really love Sacramento’s support so we can continue to bring great music to our city.”

So come see one of these great upcoming events at the Blue Lamp:

Saturday May 14th-The TUBE. Circus

Sunday May 15th-James McCartney (the son of Paul McCartney)

Friday May 20th-MDC, Shove It, Beer Lords, MDL

Saturday May 21st-N-Men, Summer party w/Tony Alva’s band, His Eyes Have Fangs

Saturday June 4th- Dollyrots, Go Betty Go, Blame Betty, Pets

Thursday June 16th-Buck-O-Nine, The Screaming Bloody Marys + TBA

Monday July 11th-The Dickies, The Queers, The Moans

Saturday July 23rd-Slap Shot, HOODS, Fang, Black Saddle Hookers + TBA

Words: K. Hules

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