- PHOTO BY JEREMYSAFFER.COM
- EARS WILL BLEED, HEADS WILL BANG : Extreme heavy metal band Black Dahlia Murder headlines Downtown Brew on Oct. 15.
When he heard Black Dahlia Murder was coming to Downtown Brew on Thursday, Oct. 15 with Skeltonwitch and Trap Them (6 p.m.; all ages; $15 presale or $17 at the door), he begged me to let him write something, so metal fans, what follows is a take on the show by one of your own.
“It’s amazing with the size of San Luis Obispo that we attract the talent that we do in the music scene. There are bands that are world renowned coming through on a monthly basis that are amazing, astounding, and awe inspiring—all in realms that don’t include the extreme metal scene.
“Last year, Downtown Brew hosted the absolutely mind-blowingly awesome The Ocean, which included a cast of musicians from throughout Europe. The band played with the intensity that would have been felt by a crowd of 50,000, but it was only about 35 bodies total. I left with whiplash from all the head-banging I did that evening, and I’ll relish the day forever because of the intimacy that the venue provided combined with the passion and ferocity with which the band played.
“It’s been a long time coming, but Downtown Brew has another band coming that’s a giant in the extreme metal scene: The Black Dahlia Murder. This is a call to all metal aficionados, all metal wannabes, all metal posers: Come out and support a band and venue where you can see absolutely mind-blowing bands play, then actually walk home afterward instead of driving 200 or more miles when the concert is over.
“Usually I wouldn’t want the posers and wannabes to come, but in this case for my own selfish needs, I want you to come so that this venue will continue to book these incredibly insane bands. It’s not about you; it’s about me! (Hint hint: Downtown Brew, there’s a show you could have on Nov. 27 that includes Vader, Decrepit Birth, Warbringer, The Amenta, SWWAATS, and most importantly Augury! That is, of course, if SLO Town could actually come out and support the music scene that is provided to them.)
“If you happen to be overly curious and want to be exposed to something new, something immense and talented, something that is so technically perfect and extreme, then come to this show. I swear if Brahms, Bach, and Beethoven were alive today, they would freak out at the talent that bands like this possess. Black Dahlia released their first full length CD, Unhallowed, in 2003 and their latest, Deflorate, just this year for a total of four full-length attacks on the senses that would make their biggest influence, Sweden’s At the Gates, very proud.
“The speed of the picking of the guitars, the precision of the drumming, the dual vocal aggression puts these guys at the pinnacle of their style in the extreme metal scene, and there’s not another band that can touch them at what they do. You’ll be able to get up front, bang your head, mosh until you’re covered in bruises, or just sit back in wonder at the immense talent presented by these five musicians who play not for the million-dollar sneaker deals, the Grammys, or commercial fame, but rather for the fact that they love what they do and it comes out fully in the music they play. It’s not to be missed. It’s not a concert, it’s an experience, and it’s here in SLO Town! Be metal, be curious, or stay at home and be a pussy!”
And while we’re on the subject…
Downtown Brew continues its relentless tear of shows, one after another, so many even the club owners are FREAKING OUT!
“I can’t believe what a busy week it’s gonna be,” said Korie Newman. “Black Dahlia Murder followed by Round 2 of the Central Coast DJ Competition between DJ Beatfreakz vs. DJ Tony A. Then Devil Makes Three with Old Man Markley, then the Miss Downtown Brew Bikini and Lingerie Contest for a $1000 prize, two tickets to EVERY show for the year, plus $1 house pints. Then The Queers, then Swollen Members rounded out by Koffin Kats! Whew! What’s crazy is there’s no break since Straylight Run’s next Thursday with Round 3 of the DJ competition, then Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, and on and on.”
Oh geez, that’s tough, Korie. Sorry you have to be out every night listening to awesome music and drinking beer. We mere mortals really feel for you.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. On Friday, Oct. 16, one of my favorite Downtown Brew regulars, Devil Makes Three, returns to the club with their amazingly percussive yet drummerless acoustic Americana bluegrass/folk power trio explosion (7:30 p.m.; 21-or-older; $15). Imagine a hot jazz trio with punk sensibilities ripping through hook-laden bluegrass tunes. Old Man Markley opens the show.
On Saturday, Oct. 17, men should wear loose pants and women should bring mace as DTB turns into a hotbed of sweaty, awesome, strutting babes during the Miss Downtown Brew Bikini and Lingerie Contest. The eight finalists will be vying for a cool thousand bucks, plus two free passes to all the club’s shows and $1 house pints for a year (9 p.m.; 21-and-older; $5 at the door).
Come Monday, Oct. 19, hilarious gay punk act The Queers (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $10 presale or $12 at the door) will bring their patented “outrageously decadent, sex/drugs glam-punk with the fury of early punk-rock” to the stage, with opening act TA 80. Enjoy classic songs such as “We’d Have A Riot Doing Heroin,” “Fagtown,” “I Want Cunt,” “Kicked Out of the Webelos,” “I Spent the Rent,” “This Place Sucks,” “I Like Young Girls,” “Nothing To Do,” “I Didn’t Puke,” and “Fuck You.”
More sexually charged music is on its way on Tuesday, Oct. 20 when Canadian hip hop act Swollen Members plays with opening act Big B (8 p.m.; all ages; $16 presale or $18 at the door). According to their bio, “Swollen Members are ready to let the industry and fans know they are some of the most lethal MCs spitting in the game with the release of their new studio album Armed to the Teeth.”
Rock and psychobilly act Koffin Kats takes the DTB stage on Wednesday, Oct. 21 (8 p.m.; all ages; $10). I’ve yet to have the privilege, but here’s what their press materials say: “Call them what you want. Punk? Rock? Psychobilly? Or just plain wrong. The Koffin Kats don’t even know what to consider themselves but firmly believe in the spirit of rock’n’roll and all of its excess and beautiful evil. Having influences ranging from bands such as Alice Cooper, Motley Crue, The Quakes, Tom Waits, and Bad Religion, the sound is everything but normal.” Sister Axe opens!
Finally, mark your calendars for next Thursday, Oct. 22, when Straylight Run and Lydia deliver an evening of rock, alternative, and experimental music to the Brew (7 p.m.; all ages; $12 presale or $13 at the door).
- PHOTO COURTESY OF KARL DENSON
- TINY UNIVERSE, BIG SOUND : Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe headlines the Pozo GreenFest on Oct. 18.
On Sunday, Oct. 18 is the 2nd Annual Pozo GreenFest, an event so green that you better freakin’ car pool or you’ll ruin everything!
From 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., you can get down to the sounds of acts like Blue Turtle Seduction (1:30 p.m.), Still Time (2:45 p.m.), Fishbone (4 p.m.), and headliner Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (5:30 p.m.), all of whom will be performing off bio-diesel-powered generators and Mobile Green Power solar power.
The festival is a celebration to bring awareness to the green economy and alternative sources of energy. “Our goal is to educate the public about healthier and more sustainable practices leading to a more environmentally conscious local community and world culture,” said organizers. “This event will encourage the local community to support environmentally friendly goods and services.”
The day will include local vendors and green information with local organic and vegetarian food and the famous Pozo barbecue. Get tickets at Boo Boo Records, Cheap Thrills, Boyd’s Tobacco Shop, or online at pozosaloon.com.
Mo/Tav steps up
When Ash Management took over Mother’s Tavern, I had hoped they’d be going head-to-head with Downtown Brew, creating a battle royale that would fire-up the already fiery downtown scene, but Mo/Tav’s been a little slow getting rolling, maybe because they don’t want to compete against Ash’s other nightclub, Frog and Peach.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF EDWARD SHARPE & THE MAGNETIC ZEROES
I’ve only checked out their myspace, but I totally dig their sound. Get online and hear for yourself.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF GAELIC STORM
- TITANIC BAND! : Gaelic Storm, the Irish band from the film Titanic, brings its rollicking, reeling, Celtic stomp music to the Performing Arts Center’s Cohan Center on Oct. 21.
Pretty much from the first shouted “Hey, what’s the rumpus?” on the opening track of their new album What’s the Rumpus?, Gaelic Storm grabs listeners by the ears and gets them moving. It’s the sort of music that’s going to be real, real hard to sit still and listen to when they deliver an evening of rollicking, reeling, Celtic stomp music on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center’s Cohan Center.
Remember that scene in Titanic, when Leonardo DiCaprio brings Kate Winslet to the lower decks where the common riff-raff are having a party, and they dance a jig to that amazing Irish band? Well, that band is Gaelic Storm!
The group mixes fresh arrangements of traditionals with inventive originals like “The Night I Punched Russell Crowe,” a true story involving singer Patrick Murphy. How many bands have singers who can claim to have punched a freakin’ gladiator in the head, eh?
Student and adult tickets for the performance range from $20 to $38. Call 756-2787.
Do you like Bulgarian zydeco, klezmer, and West African rhythms, wild bagpipes, and trumpet and accordion played by one person at the same time? Then check out Round Mountain when they play the Clubhouse on Friday, Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. for a free all-ages show. The duo includes multi-instrumentalist brothers Char Rothschild (accordion, banjo, dobro, Thracian gaida, guitar, highland pipes, saz, trumpet, vocals) and Robby Rothschild (Irish bouzouki, cajón, calabash, djembe, kora, percussion, tupan, vocals).
- PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL HARLEY
- KID’S STUFF : Two-time Grammy Award winner, NPR commentator, and acclaimed children’s storyteller and musician Bill Harley will bring his delightful show to Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre on Oct. 16.
- PHOTO BY STEVE FISCH
- THEY’RE AN AMERICANA BAND : The Steynberg Gallery hosts the Rita Hosking Trio—(left to right) Rita Hosking, Sean Feder, and Bill Dakin—on Oct. 16.
It’s the end of an era, people. “Jody Mulgrew here. I’m retiring The Johnny Starlings proper from active service. The Johnny Starlings—well, a handful of them anyway—are playing one final show together at Castoro Cellars on Saturday, Oct. 17 (noon to 4 p.m.) as part of Castoro’s Harvest Wine Weekend. The concert is free and open to the lawn-chair-wielding, picnic-toting public. Music will begin at noon with special guest Derek Senn, followed by two sets with the Johnny Starlings.” Don’t worry, folks. Mulgrew will continue to perform as a solo artist.
You can catch some music by The JD Project on Saturday, Oct. 17 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. during the Grand Opening weekend of Paso Robles’ newest boutique winery, Rockin’ R Winery (8500 Union Road, Unit C; wine tasting and Tuscan food specialties will also be available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Think of the music as a warm-up to the Sunday, Oct. 18 event, when for a suggested donation of $5 per person, visitors will be invited to remove their shoes and socks, roll-up their pants or skirts, and experience the feel of traditional pisage (foot crushing) of grapes for as long as their heart desires. Proceeds from this event will go to ARTS Obispo (San Luis Obispo County Arts Council) and Paso Robles Art Association. For directions or more information, visit rockinRwinery.com.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PORCH CAFE
- TRIPLE TROUBLE : (Left to right) Crusty Don Lampson is an awe-inspiring singer-songwriter, and Charlie Kleemann and Eric Brittain are superb musicians. Together, this band of brothers will pick and sing a matinee performance on Oct. 17 at the Porch Café in Santa Margarita.
Dirty Pink Slips bring their grrl-powered rock to Sweet Springs Saloon on Saturday, Oct. 17 (9:30 p.m.; 21-and-older; $5 at the door). Who doesn’t like to be growled at by hot chicks with guitars?
On Sunday, Oct. 18, at Morovino Winery (550 1st Street, Avila Beach), check out some live music by local guitarist Mark Owens from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. during a wine and Cal Poly Creamery cheese tasting. The cost is $5 per person, refunded with a wine purchase.
Master Paraguayan harpist Ramón Romero performs at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (1344 Nipomo St., SLO) on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 3 p.m., playing music from the folk harp traditions of different regions of Latin America. Local harpist Aurora Denny will join the fun. A donation of $10 is suggested.
Consider this a quick heads-up to remind you to mark your calendars for the 33rd Annual Jubilee-By-The-Sea next Thursday, Oct. 22 through Sunday, Oct. 25 at venues throughout Pismo Beach. See 20 acts on five stages perform a total of 118 shows. Big band, Dixieland, swing—they’ve got it all. For badges (Yes, you do need stinking badges) call 773-4382 or 800-443-7778. All-Event badges are $20 to $80. Daily badges are $20 to $40. Get more info at pismojazz.com.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF MERRELL FANKHAUSER
- OH SO YOUNG! : Arroyo Grande resident Merrell Fankhauser recently had a track from his 1967 album Fapardokly album, “Tomorrow’s Girl,” included on the new Rhino box set Where The Action Is! L.A. Nuggets 1965-1968.
Merrell Fankhauser is awesome! Whether it’s ripping the surf guitar on ’60s-era track “Wipeout!,” exploring the hipster sounds of his 1967 Fapardokly album, or the psychedelic hippie milieu of his ’70s Mu albums, or even camping it up on his Tiki Lounge Show, Fankhauser is pure entertainment, a guy who loves what he’s doing. He also continues to receive accolades, most recently with the inclusion of the Fapardokly track “Tomorrow’s Girl” on the new Rhino box set Where The Action Is! L.A. Nuggets 1965-1968, which is now out and available everywhere.
“My song that was played on American Bandstand in ’67, ‘Tomorrow’s Girl,’ by Merrell and the Exiles (later released on the Fapardokly LP) is in the set,” said Fankhauser, who lives in Arroyo Grande. “It’s a great historical coffee table book with great info on all the bands and artists that played on the Sunset Strip in the ’60s with four CDs, featuring The Mamas & Papas, The Doors, Steppenwolf, The Seeds, and everybody you can think of from that time period. I’m doing a Rhino signing event in Hollywood Sunday, Nov. 1, at the Egyptian Theater from 3 to 6 p.m. with Jackie De Shannon and other artists and bands in the Rhino set.”
Get out there and buy the set, or if you’re in Hollyweird, stop by and have Merrell sign your boob or something. Oh, and if you happen to have a sealed copy of Fapardokly, it’s now worth $1,000. ∆
Glen Starkey always carries a Sharpie in case some babe wants him to sign her boob or something. Tell him to keep his Sharpie in his pants at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the black and white album cover to the tinny, hollow recording process, everything on Frank Fairfield’s debut screams authentic. Or mimicry. For eleven songs, you can’t find fault with the pure talent Fairfield shows. His voice creaks and tremors like the venerable Appalachian country music he admires. With a blazing hand, he works the banjo, guitar, and fiddle as you’d picture the sun-dried fingers of Dock Boggs or Elizabeth Cotten doing, and his song selection is just as scholarly. From the mid-19th century post-Civil War minstrel “To the Sweet Sunny South” or his quick playing opening arrangement of the John Henry steel driving song “Nine Pound Hammer,” Fairfield has steeped long and hard on a tradition he is respectfully keeping alive. But unlike the equally studied hand of Gillian Welch, Fairfield replicates instead of innovates, which boxes his album as an excellent academic survey. But what a terrific foreshadowing of possible future greatness.
Cringing at actor side-projects has become a natural reaction given the bevy of sour outcomes, but award Ryan Gosling a chance, for his partnership with fellow horror fan Zach Shields has yielded a first-rate macabre soundtrack for the Halloween season. Originally envisioned as a stage production, Dead Man’s Bones has the heft of grandeur, yet a number of rules kept it from over-inflating. Besides eliminating electric guitars and click tracks and including a kid’s choir, they constrained themselves further with allowing only three takes for any performance. With such self-imposed amateurism, it’s a wonder how they’ve accomplished such a realized spectral musical. Howling ghouls accent “Dead Hearts” as shattering glass confuses the cymbals and the thudding bass drum recalls Poe’s beating heart beneath the floorboard. A greasy Cramps-like bashing romp stains “In the Room Where You Sleep,” while “My Body’s A Zombie for You” starts as a ’50s line stroll, ending with a fully exuberant choir hand-clapping and cheerleading in unison: “I’m a Z-O-M / B-I-E. Zombie!” A bewildering surprise from an unlikely source, Dead Man’s Bones is a magical listen.
—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and mikovision.blogspot.com, where you’ll find archived reviews and soundclips.