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Drunken monkey style bluegrass fu!

Whiskey Chimp boxes your ears with badassery!

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With a name like Whiskey Chimp, you know you’re going to get taken on some weird genre-bending romp that defies bluegrass conventions. Calling themselves an “insurgent string band,” Whiskey Chimp is touring in support of their sophomore release, Ventura.

An insurgent is a rebel who revolts against civil authority or an established government, and while Whiskey Chimp is definitely playing bluegrass, it’s by no means statically traditional or predictable. In fact, they treat string band music with a self-proclaimed “whimsical irreverence that could make the old guard shake their banjos in protest.”

WEIRD CIRCLE :  Whiskey Chimp takes bluegrass and then twists and turns it into some totally freakin’ good other thing. See for yourself on May 31 at Monteleone’s Rock. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WHISKEY CHIMP
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF WHISKEY CHIMP
  • WEIRD CIRCLE : Whiskey Chimp takes bluegrass and then twists and turns it into some totally freakin’ good other thing. See for yourself on May 31 at Monteleone’s Rock.
Featuring tight four-part harmonies and blazing instrumental prowess, the Chimp—as they’re affectionately known by fans—takes listeners on a ride that moves from the traditional mariachi ballad “El Rey” to Chimp originals, including the title song “Ventura” having been written by homesick Chimp member Brent Harding while on the road with punk act Social Distortion.

Also included is a revival-tent spiritual about moths flying toward the flame, the grimly amusing “If I’d a Shot You Sooner (I’d Be Out of Jail by Now),” the Gypsy-campfire sound of “Dirty Water,” and eight more songs written and sung by each of the band members in turn.

These are guys raised on punk, heavy metal, country, mariachi, rockabilly, Cajun, and even jugband music, so no genre goes unbent.

Whiskey Chimp is Chris Cairns (Chris Cairns Band, Porch Dogs) on traditional bluegrass banjo; Toby Emery (Jackass, Raging Arb) on punk vocals and mandolin; Bill Flores (The Tatters, Porch Dogs) on accordian, clarinet, dobro, and fiddle; Stanley Gonzales (Sykotik Sinfoney) on vocals and rock’n’roll ukulele; Brent Harding (Deke Dickerson, Social Distortion) on vocals and slapping upright bass; Mark Parson (Flambeau, Fernest Arceneaux) on cajun-styled vocals and fiddle; and Cory Scrivner (The Barrel Dodgers) on roots and folk based vocals and guitar.

See Whiskey Chimp at Paso Robles’ Monteleone’s Rock on Saturday, May 31, at 8 p.m. The cover’s $4.



Young lion!
Jazz fans will be stoked to know that Cal Poly has booked one of the new young lions of jazz for the “Jazz Night” concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 30, in Harman Hall in the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center.

TAYLOR MADE :  Pianist Taylor Eigsti, an ¸ber-talented young jazz star, performs with some of Cal Poly’s jazz bands on May 30 at the PAC’s Christopher Cohan Center. - PHOTO BY DEVIN DEHAVEN
  • PHOTO BY DEVIN DEHAVEN
  • TAYLOR MADE : Pianist Taylor Eigsti, an ¸ber-talented young jazz star, performs with some of Cal Poly’s jazz bands on May 30 at the PAC’s Christopher Cohan Center.
Pianist Taylor Eigsti will perform with both Cal Poly’s University Jazz Band No. 1 and the Cal Poly Jazz Combo. University Jazz Band No. 2 and another jazz combo will also be performing in concert.

Eigsti, just 23 years old, has already received two Grammy Award nominations. He began his professional career when he was only 8. At 13, he opened for Dave Brubeck. His breakout recording, Lucky to Be Me, was in the top 15 most-played jazz albums on radio during 2006.

He plays straight-ahead jazz that heads in some very refreshing new directions, according to Paul Rinzler, director of jazz studies at Cal Poly and director of the University Jazz Bands.

Tickets are $6 and $10 for students, $10 and $13 for seniors and Jazz Federation members, and $12 and $15 for the general public. Call 756-2787 or visit the PAC Ticket Office.



The disease and the cure

DARK PUNK :  Alkaline Trio brings their dark-edged punk rock to Downtown Brew on June 5 for an all-ages show. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ALKALINE TRIO
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF ALKALINE TRIO
  • DARK PUNK : Alkaline Trio brings their dark-edged punk rock to Downtown Brew on June 5 for an all-ages show.
Here’s the disease, people, as told by the Alkaline Trio: “Follow me here: Punk rock is like Joan Rivers. In an ongoing quest for eternal youth, it continually tears at the flesh of its own face, pushing and prodding and tightening and twisting until what emerges is a boring old monster that, somehow, everyone is OK with looking at. And this far down the line, punk rock has been reshaped so many times it sometimes looks like a busload of 70-something sun-bunnies in coastal Florida, face lifted into an army of look-a-likes. Somewhere along the ride, its mean spirit left the tuneful bands for hardcore and metal, and punk rock filled with melody became nice. And funny. And safe.”

Here’s the cure: The Alkaline Trio, led by guitarist-vocalist Matt Skiba.

“There’s definitely a reason we play the kind of music that we do,” Skiba said. “We offer kids a little darker slice of punk rock. Hopefully it separates us from bands that sing about going to the mall and chewing bubblegum.”

See Alkaline Trio with opening act Broadway Calls next Thursday, June 5, for an all-ages, 5 p.m. show at Downtown Brew. Advance tickets are $18 at Boo Boo’s and the venue.



Make your Live Oak plans, people!

DON'T WASTE ANOTHER SECOND! :  Nanci Griffith is one of dozens of performers set to appear at the 20th Anniversary Live Oak Music Festival on June 13 to 15 at Camp San Marcos. Buy your tickets today before it’s too late! - PHOTO COURTESY OF NANCI GRIFFITH
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF NANCI GRIFFITH
  • DON'T WASTE ANOTHER SECOND! : Nanci Griffith is one of dozens of performers set to appear at the 20th Anniversary Live Oak Music Festival on June 13 to 15 at Camp San Marcos. Buy your tickets today before it’s too late!
 In two short weeks, music-loving campers will be descending on Santa Barbara’s Live Oak Camp to attend the 20th Anniversary of the Live Oak Music Festival, a three-day event and fundraiser to benefit local public radio station KCBX 90.1 FM.

It’s not too late to get tickets for the Friday through Sunday, June 13 to 15 festival, which features a stellar lineup of performers, not to mention zillions of opportunities for musicians and music lovers to jam and hang out. A few of the highlights include Latin percussionist Poncho Sanchez; roots, soul, and gospel performer Nappy Brown; and Grammy Award-winning country chanteuse Nanci Griffith.

This popular event was conceived in 1988 when a few local music lovers sat down at Linnaea’s CafÈ and decided to have a concert at Biddle Park near Arroyo Grande. That led to a two-day event at then-named Camp San Marco in 1990, and it’s grown into one of California’s premiere, family-oriented music festivals.

To see the complete three-day concert line-up and to order your tickets for the 2008 Live Oak Music Festival, visit the website at www.liveoakfest.org or order by phone at 781-3030. Full festival adult tickets are $115, teen tickets are $75, and children’s tickets are $35. Day tickets are $35 for adults and teens, and $15 for children. One hundred percent of Live Oak proceeds go to support KCBX Public Radio!



More music
Don’t forget about New York’s swirly, psychedelic indie rock sweethearts Nightmare of You, who bring their spunky pop sound to Downtown Brew on Thursday, May 29, for a 16-and-older, $10 advance show ($12 at the door). The Graduate, Paper Rivals, and Edison Glass open.

ON TOP OF THE WORLD, MA! :  SLO Town’s favorite breezy Cali pop jammers The Mother Hips return to Downtown Brew on May 30 with local favorites the Threes and Nines opening. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MOTHER HIPS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF MOTHER HIPS
  • ON TOP OF THE WORLD, MA! : SLO Town’s favorite breezy Cali pop jammers The Mother Hips return to Downtown Brew on May 30 with local favorites the Threes and Nines opening.
City Nights Jazz brings San Diego vocalist Karin Carson to the county for a Friday, May 30, gig with the Mike Raynor Group at the Inn at Morro Bay. Carson, who’s been singing since she was a wee kid, has a new album coming out called The Time Is Now. See her from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.

SLO Town’s favorite breezy Cali pop jammers The Mother Hips return to Downtown Brew on Friday, May 30, for an 8 p.m. show. While the group hasn’t released a new album since last year’s excellent Kiss the Crystal Flake, last month they came out with a split 7-inch limited edition single with The Bees featuring a special screen-printed sleeve and an exclusive new song from each band: “Papa Echo” by The Bees and “Childish Dreams” by The Mother Hips. Advance tickets are $15 at Boo Boo’s and the venue. Threes and Nines will open the show.

Founded in the Inland Empire in 2005 but now functioning all over California (Inland Empire, San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and Humboldt), the Manifest Crew is a Rasta collective organization that focuses on promotion of the team’s artists, which include reggae singers, chanters, DJs, sound systems, hip hop emcees, clothing companies, craft vendors, and more. On Friday, May 30, members of the Manifest Crew appear at Frog and Peach. Jah Womb is a reggae chanter from the Inland Empire now residing in Humboldt. Abba Roots Hi Fi Sound is from the Inland Empire and San Diego, also now residing in Humboldt. Ites T is a DJ hailing from Santa Cruz. Jah Shiloh is out of Los Angeles, now living in—yep—Humboldt. B Jah is from the Inland Empire via San Diego, now residing somewhere in northern Cali.

Every once in awhile, I’ll be channel surfing and come across Channel 2, the public access station, and occasionally my timing will be right to catch Peggy Penny, the relentlessly upbeat local singer with her giant blonde hair and indefatigable attitude. I can’t help but stop and watch for a few minutes: She’s got spunk, people, and loads of it. See her and her guitarist Rockin’ Robin when they offer cover songs from five decades of rock’n’roll at Arroyo Grande’s newest venue, the SLO Down Pub (1200 E. Grand Ave.) on Saturday, May 31, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. The cover’s $5.

Austin-based singer-songwriter Mario Matteoli plays The Clubhouse on Saturday, May 31, at 8:30 p.m. ($10 cover). The Eureka-born-and-raised performer started playing guitar at 14, inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, and Clarence White. Stints in bluegrass and rock bands led to
WOMB WITH A VIEW:  Jah Womb, a socially conscious reggae chanter, is one member of the Manifest Crew, a Rasta collective appearing May 30 at Frog and Peach. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JAH WOMB
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF JAH WOMB
  • WOMB WITH A VIEW: Jah Womb, a socially conscious reggae chanter, is one member of the Manifest Crew, a Rasta collective appearing May 30 at Frog and Peach.
Matteoli hitting the road with buddies Brian Salvi and Darren Hoff, where they made their way to Austin and became The Weary Boys. Most recently, Matteoli and friends Cary Ozanian, Mark Ambrose, and Matt Hubbard began work on his first self-released solo album, Hard Luck Hittin’, which was released in 2006.

The Cal Poly Symphony and Choirs—more than 200 people on stage!—will perform Carl Orff’s legendary masterpiece “Carmina Burana” at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 31, in the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center. Set to Latin, German, and French songs of a 13th-century manuscript containing satirical moral poems, love songs, and drinking and gaming songs, “Carmina Burana” features three guest soloists: Soprano Mary Sue Gee, from Los Osos, sings the role of one of the nameless lovers; tenor Jonathan Mack, from Los Angeles, will perform the roast swan, a favorite; and Santa Barbara resident Emil Cristescu, baritone, will sing several roles, including the abbot of idle pleasure. Tickets for the concert are $10 and $12 for the public; $8 and $10 for seniors; and $6 for students. Call 756-2787 to reserve yours.

Jammy Ojai-based rock act Shades of Day plays Frog and Peach on Saturday, May 31, at 10 p.m. Voted best band in Ventura County the last two years, they’ve opened for such diverse acts as Blondie, Little Feat, Snow Patrol, Alter Bridge, Edwin McCain, Sugarcult, ALO, and Devon Allman’s Honeytribe. One song on their MySpace page, “Dying Embers,” sounds like a lost Pearl Jam ballad. Other songs just plain rock É hard!

WEARY NO LONGER :  Austin-based singer-songwriter Mario Matteoli of The Weary Boys fame plays The Clubhouse this May 31. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIO MATTEOLI
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIO MATTEOLI
  • WEARY NO LONGER : Austin-based singer-songwriter Mario Matteoli of The Weary Boys fame plays The Clubhouse this May 31.
The Vocal Arts Ensemble plays a couple of shows this week: Saturday, May 31, at 8 p.m. in Mission San Luis Obispo; and Sunday, June 1, at 3 p.m. at the Cambria Presbyterian Church. Tickets are available online at www.VocalArts.org or by calling 541-6797.

Guitarist Doug Macdonald and his quartet play the next concert at the Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet in Cambria on Sunday, June 1. Macdonald, who’s played with jazz greats such as Stan Getz and George Shearing, as well as vocalist Rosemary Clooney, will be joined by Marty Harris on piano, Harvey Newmark on bass, and Jack LeCompte on drums. Series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake (vibraphone and vocals) will also be on hand. See the 4 p.m. show for $15, the 7:15 p.m. show for $12, or both for $20. Call for reservations: 927-0567.

The final concert of the Forbes Pipe Organ Recital Series will be performed by Cal Poly music professor and University Organist Paul Woodring on Sunday, June 1, at 3 p.m. in the Cohan Center. Woodring will be performing scary Phantom of the Opera-type music. Okay, that’s not true, but it would be cool. Instead, Woodring performs an eclectic program featuring Max Reger’s Introduction and Passacaglia; Marcel Grandjany’s Aria in Classic Style; Raynor Brown’s Sonata #9; Six Pieces for Flute-Clock by J.M. Haydn; De Grigny’s Suite on “Veni Creator”; Cesar Franck’s Chorale #2 in B minor; Arvo Part’s Annum Per Annum; Joseph Clokey’s Fireside Fantasies with narrator, and Woodring’s own Shake ‘n’ Bake Rag. He will not be wearing a melted-looking half mask. Tickets range from $14 to $26. Call 756-2787.

I haven’t heard The Whigs, the band that headlines Downtown Brew on Tuesday, June 3, during a Numbskull Productions 21-and-older, 8 p.m. show with Francis and the Absolute opening, but a review of their album Mission Control on PitchforkMedia.com noted that it takes cojones to do the sort of stuff they do as if no one’s ever done it before. Tickets are $10 in advance at Boo Boo’s and the venue.



Music news
Well, she’s done it again! Cambria resident Jude Johnstone, a songwriter whose music has been recorded by everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Stevie Nicks to Bette Midler to Trisha Yearwood to Johnny Cash, recently learned that her song “Hold On” will be on Emmylou Harris’ new album All I Intended To Be on Nonesuch Records.

LAST ORGAN TRANSPLANT :  The final concert of the Forbes Pipe Organ Recital Series will be performed by Cal Poly music professor and University Organist Paul Woodring on June 1. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL WOODRING
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL WOODRING
  • LAST ORGAN TRANSPLANT : The final concert of the Forbes Pipe Organ Recital Series will be performed by Cal Poly music professor and University Organist Paul Woodring on June 1.
Johnstone, who’s also a very talented photographer, has been writing music for other artists for more than a decade, but six years ago she decided to start recording her own material when she released her performance debut, Coming of Age. “Hold On” first appeared on Johnstone’s 2005 BoJak Records release On a Good Day, her second release.

“Emmylou Harris has always been a great inspiration to me both professionally and personally, and for her to include one of my songs on such a heartfelt collection is a thrill I won’t get over any time soon,” Johnstone said in a Billboard press release.

And Johnstone isn’t the only local music celeb with big news to report. Cal Poly music professor and composer Craig Russell is about to see his new work premiere at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 8.

The 2 p.m. concert will feature guest performances by renowned guitarist JosÈ MarÌa Gallardo del Rey, Grammy Award-winning violinist and SLO County resident Kathleen Lenski, and French hornist Richard Todd. Gallardo del Rey will open the program with Russell’s “Concierto Rom·ntico.” The program continues with “Rhapsody for Horn and Orchestra,” a five-movement work exploring varied musical styles and featuring Todd. Lenski will perform Russell’s most recent creation, “Ecos armÛnicos,” which explores the sounds of California’s past by drawing on tunes from the late 18th and early 19th century mission communities and presidio fortresses.

Tickets to the concert may be purchased through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-866-448-7849 or (213) 480-3232.






CD Reviews



Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump—Original Heavyweight Afrobeat Highlife & Afro-Funk

starkey_-_nigeria_70.jpg
Continuing with the blueprint originated on its 2001 Nigeria 70 release, Strut Records combs deeper into West Africa’s abundant musical scene, compiling a second collection of its diverse output. At once Western by way of the heavy flood of British and American involvement during World War II, Nigeria’s music community flourished with ample clubs, and eventually new styles exploded along with the rise of the electric guitar. This masterfully curated volume shifts effortlessly between the soul, jazz, rock, and dub influences adopted within its native scene, yet its sound remains distinctly African, bubbling with syncopated percussive grooves and lively ju-ju guitar rhythms. Peter King’s "African Dialects" settles in with hard funk rhythms, but those warm Rhodes sounds and the production sophistication are reminiscent of the late-’70s soul jazz label CTI. Chief Checker’s "Africa Irie" sums up the decidedly Rasta-influenced dubbed out roots reggae track, while The Immortals lean into the soul rock that found fame for Eric Burdon and War. A perfect manicured compilation with rich linear notes, this is a summer must have.





Al Green—Lay It Down

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Is there another musical artist who has contributed so much to population growth? Al Green merged deep southern soul smoothness and seductiveness into a perfect hit-making machine, and now returns to the top of his form with his career pinnacle album Lay It Down. Green expertly ropes production assistance from two knowing soul connoisseurs: The Roots’ Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson is world renowned for his skills behind a drum kit and staggering musical knowledge, and keyboardist James Poyser’s Soulquarian collective has put organic touches on albums by D’Angelo and Erykah Badu. Together they’ve perfectly revived the sound of Green’s Willie Mitchell-produced era, harnessing percolating warm Rhodes keys and crisp snare drums, along with exceptionally arranged horns provided by the Dap-Kings, yet all the while removing any clutter to allow Green’s voice to center in the spotlight. Even the collaborations win, as Corinne Bailey Rae’s sultry slow duet on "Take Your Time" is an album standout. What Rick Rubin did for Johnny Cash—returning the lustrous shine to a musical legend—Thompson and Poyser lovingly repeat for Al. Recommended!

—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and KCBX’s "Night Train."

 


 

Glen Starkey doesn’t trust reality. After all, it’s only a collective hunch. Show him the awful truth at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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