The Big Squeeze Sounds in Costa Mesa

Masters of the bellows make for Orange County (with accordions in tow).

LATE-SUMMER SQUEEZE: Watchers of trends might make casual note of the fact that two of our state's biggest accordionist gatherings both fall about a month apart, near the end of summer and the beginning of fall. We're not sure if this is a time of year made for the sound of the wheezy squeezy sweetness of the bellows-and-keys-laden instrument, but maybe. After all, the warm weather is bidding us adieu, the days are growing shorter, the breezes are growing brisker, and the accordion can summon that nostalgic, pensive mood of change so well. Or it could be that Cotati and Costa Mesa -- ohhhh, another similarity, two C cities -- just happened to schedule their accordion festivals a month apart, to let all of those talented musicians and their busy fingers rest. Whatever the case, we're always happy to see The Big Squeeze -- that's the Costa Mesa accordion jam -- pop up just a few weeks after the NorCal, Lady-in-Spain-lovin' Cotati gathering has wrapped. Ready, accordion lovers?

THE DATE AND DETAILS: The accordion aficionados will make for the Orange County Marketplace on the last Sunday in September. That's Sept. 29, and there shall be a few stages to choose from. Lisa Haley & The Zydekats'll be performing, as will Porterhouse Bob and Down to the Bone. (Do zydeco and accordion-playing artists just have the best names? Science, please test this theory, which we believe to be correct.) Open jams and zydeco dance lessons will be on the flow, too (and both are free). Plus you can bring your accordion in for repairs or simply to be admired. Aren't they the prettiest of instruments, or way up there, at least? All of those pearly, shell-sparkly details. It just feels like you're strapped into a work of art.

Admission is two bucks, and there are loads more accordionists to enjoy. Honest, if you enjoy the bellows and wheezes, you gotta go Cotati or Costa Mesa this time of year. Yep, there are other solid gatherings, but we're glad to live in a state with a few bellow-big majors.

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