- PHOTO COURTESY OF STILL TIME
- GET ‘EM WHILE YOU CAN! : Local super group Still Time plays one final show at Downtown Brew on Feb. 19 before they hit the road for four months of nationwide touring, where they’re expected to log upwards of 70 shows from New York to New Orleans, SXSW in Austin to the Pacific Northwest.
It’s the natural progression for this feel good sextet that plays hook-laden, folk rock in the Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews vein. They’ve already been added to regular rotation on commercial radio stations in both SLO and Santa Barbara counties, and they’re extra hot in San Francisco, where big crowds show up for the concerts. On the verge of making it big, the group figures the final push—the thing that will prove to booking agents, record labels, and industry insiders that they’re a serious band with a serious work ethic—is a national tour.
They recently bought a 27-foot RV, which is being converted to sleep the six band members, two girlfriends, but not harmonica player T-Bone’s dog. There are limits, people!
“We all get along great,” said lead singer Dan Curcio, “but this tour is going to challenge that! It’s going to be crowded and smelly in there.”
Can these guys survive? Hell yes, they can! All but T-Bone has been with the band since it formed in the Cal Poly dorms six years ago. Most of the band members live together on a Cayucos compound, where they sleep in a yurt, a converted chicken coop, and a shed … a very nice shed, really!
Musically, they’ve got a sound that appeals to all ages, and over their years together, they’ve become increasingly talented players who continue to expand their musical boundaries by incorporating new sounds into their pop-inflected formula.
Next Friday, Feb. 19 at Downtown Brew (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $10 presale or $12 at the door) is your last chance to see them until they return to SLO County in summer. Kapakahi and Central Currency will open.
After this year, I predict you’ll see Still Time opening for some of its heroes, and soon after that, headlining their own national tour. Today San Luis, tomorrow the world!
- PHOTO COURTESY OF SAMBADA
- PHAT TUESDAY : Mardi Gras lives on Feb. 16 when Brazilian transplant band SambaDa plays Downtown Brew.
For a while there, local police virtually extorted local bars into squelching any hint of a Mardi Gras celebration. Bar owners were essentially told that if they advertised a show as Mardi Gras-themed, they could expect the cops to crawl so far up their kiesters they’d taste pork in their mouths. Maybe the po-po can be forgiven since they were trying to avoid another riot and save the city, and its taxpayers, money. Sure, the ACLU sued the City and won that Mardi Gras celebrations were free speech, but public safety was at stake!
Well, for whatever reason, one local club—Downtown Brew—has decided to make a gentle foray into Fat Tuesday with a show by Brazilian transplant band SambaDa this Tuesday, Feb. 16 (8 p.m.; 21-and–older; $10). The band is also releasing its new album, Gente! The evening begins with DJ Mano Gil, and there’ll be a dance class with master dancer and lead vocalist Dandha Da Hora at 8:30 p.m.
The band has played local Mardi Gras balls of the past, bringing a sonic and visual spectacle that fits perfectly with the Fat Tuesday theme of excessive celebration prior to Lent. Playing samba, funk, and reggae-influenced songs, they also perform traditional dance and even capoeira, Brazil’s martial art dance form. So Mardi Gras is back … sort of. No parade. Plenty of cops patrolling the streets. No boob showing (dammit!). But what the hell? Laissez les bons temps rouler, kids, but no riots!
Since we’re talking DT Brew, here’s the rest of their line-up:
On Thursday, Feb. 11, hip-hop act Dead Prez hits the stage with opening act Pep Love and Public Defendaz (7:30; 16-and-older; $15 presale or $18 at the door). The Dead Presidents—M-1 and stic.man—are hip-hop revolutionaries, perhaps the most politically conscious rappers since Public Enemy. They are inspired by self-defense parties such as the Black Panthers and “speak the song of Huey and Malcolm with such a modern day pulse that it grabs your attention and broadens your perspective on life.”
On Saturday, Feb. 13, acoustic indie folk act Benjamin Winter & the Make Believe with opening act Chase McBride play the Brew (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $6 presale or $8 at the door). Winter, a former pro football prospect whose injuries aimed him into music, started a 77-date tour that landed him in Amsterdam a decade ago, where he settled and finished an album, picking up members for his current band the Make Believe. Hence, his sound straddles both American and European sensibilities.
On Valentine’s Day, Sunday, Feb. 14, G. Love & Special Sauce brings its rootsy, bluesy, hip-hop-inflected back porch Philly tunes to town (8 p.m.; 21-and-older; $25). We last saw Love at Pozo Saloon, where his intimate acoustic sound didn’t translate easily in an outdoor setting, which is why fans are excited about seeing him in the cozy environs of Downtown Brew. Get your tickets now! This one’s going fast. Redeye Empire will open the show, in support of their new album See to Sky.
On Wednesday, Feb. 17, check out reggae act Capleton with opening act Coco Tea (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $18 presale or $20 at the door). Capleton, aka—The Prophet, knows he’s fighting an uphill battle to win over the masses in his lifetime: “Bob Marley come do it and them fight him. And when Bob Marley dead, that’s when they start to endorse him. I already aware of this, I am not unaware. So I know the more them fight I is the more I get stronger.”
- PHOTO COURTESY OF CACHE VALLEY DRIFTERS
- PITCH PERFECT : Check out the Cache Valley Drifters at Painted Sky Studios on Feb. 18 or Musica Del Rio house concerts on Feb. 19.
Because they’re all busy with their various side projects, it’s not too often fans get a chance to see the best progressive bluegrass act ever! I’m talking about the Cache Valley Drifters, who deliver the tightest musicianship, the best three-part vocal harmonies, and the most innovative bluegrass arrangements of both traditional songs as well as contemporary rock tunes done bluegrass style. Quite simply, they’re awesome!
Together for 35 years, they were the original back-up band for legendary folk artist Kate Wolf. Today the Drifters consists of original founding member Bill Griffin (mandolin, guitar and vocals, since 1972), bass player and singer Wally Barnick (since 1975), and guitarist and mandolin player Mike Mullins, a pal since the early ‘70s and band member since 1992.
The group has become a mainstay at KCBX’s Live Oak Music Festival and can be enjoyed each Father’s Day morning at the Hot Licks Café at Live Oak Camp. Now check them out in the acoustically perfect setting of Painted Sky Studios next Thursday, Feb. 18 (927-8330) or Friday, Feb. 19 at Musica Del Rio house concerts (email@example.com).
It’s “Sweethearts Night” at Farmers’ Market this Thursday, Feb. 11, which means the Downtown Association will be making out with each and every one of you. And, yes, they’ll be using their tongues! OK, not really, but they’re encouraging lovers to stroll down Garden Street from 6 to 9 p.m. and listen to the sounds of The Gold Coast Chorus as they serenade lovers with love songs. There’ll also be a photo booth to capture those special memories.
Pasadena-based Old Californio blends their own dusty San Gabriel Mountain folk rock a little “Cosmic American Music,” as they call it. The play their first SLO Town show this Thursday, Feb. 11 at 9 p.m. in the Frog and Peach. They’re touring in support of Westering Again, which they recorded in their old chicken coop garage turned recording studio, setting out to “mix a gritty soup of bucolic rock’n’roll influenced as much by Moby Grape, The Band, and The Grateful Dead as by the chaparral canyons and ungovernable San Gabriel mountains themselves.”
Grrl rockers The Dirty Pink Slips bring their estrogen-fueled rock’n’roll to Camozzi’s in Atascadero this Thursday, Feb. 11, along with rock/punk act Warner Drive and Red Bullet Rising (9 p.m.; 21-and-older; $5). The Pink Slips may be the most fun to look at (hubba hubba!), but Warner Drive is the most accomplished, having sold out clubs like House of Blues and The Viper Room. The band recently finished recording their first full-length album with legendary producer Mike Clink (Guns N Roses, Sammy Hagar, Megadeth, Motley Crue) and famed producer James Michael (Deftones, Alanis Morissette, Motley Crue, Lillix).
- PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STONE FOXES
- GET FOXY! : Bay Area-based rock act The Stone Foxes play Cal Poly’s University Union Hour on Feb. 11 and Mr. Rick’s on Feb. 13.
Piano man Brent Dannells will bring his magic fingers to two shows this week: Thursday, Feb. 11, at 6:30 p.m. in the Clubhouse, to celebrate Leudi Gras (Fat Thursday!) “Musical host Anthony Roselli is bringing his trap drums in, and I, Piano Brent, will have Bertha, my 88-key electronic piano at hand to give renditions of New Orleans tunes as well other Carnival tunes,” said Dannells. Hear him Sunday, Feb. 14, when he leads an acoustic jam in the biergarten of Spike’s from 1 to 4 p.m.
On Friday, Feb. 12, Ras Rebel brings his rootsy reggae sounds to Frog and Peach for a 9 p.m. show. “Ras Rebel sticks to the traditions of old-school reggae by bringing the teachings of conscious lyrics and hard-hitting rhythms with his roots songs, while dropping the occasional club-banger for the DJs in the dancehall.”
The Dalton Mountain Gang, presented by The Knights of Columbus, Santa Lucia Council, will deliver an evening of bluegrass fun this Friday, Feb. 12 at Castoro Cellars Winery (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $20; call 888-DAMFINE). The Dalton Mountain Gang was selected as a finalist for the 2009 Northern California Bluegrass Society “Band of the Year,” and Yoseff Tucker took home the prize for the 2009 NCBS Guitar Player of the Year. Enjoy some dam fine wine and damn fine music!
- PHOTO COURTESY OF ANTIOQUIA
- THE NAKED TRUTH! : Oakland-based quartet Antioquia will deliver their peculiar blend of experimental rock and African-inspired polyrhythms at Mr. Rick’s on Feb. 12.
The Margie Nelson Jazz Group will deliver dance friendly swinging standards, tasty ‘50s Latin jazz, sultry ballads, and a few contemporary pop and blues songs thrown in this Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Clubhouse from 7 to 10 p.m.
Booker T. & the MGs tribute act The Booker Tease brings their butt-bumping badassery to The Pour House in Paso Robles, this Saturday, Feb.13 from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. “In addition to a beer list of about a gazillion great beers, we will be unleashing some new fantastic covers ‘Booker Tease style’ on listeners,” said the band. “Hint: a new Dusty Springfield cover will be unveiled (not that Dusty Springfield song ... that other one!).”
- PHOTO COURTESY OF PERMANENT ABILITY
- FUNKY TIME! : L.A.-based funk and alternative rock act Permanent Ability brings its earnest tunes to the Frog and Peach on Feb. 13
This Monday, Feb. 15, the Hamlet’s Famous Jazz Artist Series features one of the West Coast’s most celebrated jazz pianists, Tom Ranier, who’s also the musical director for the mega hit television series Dancing With The Stars. Bassist Luther Hughes and drummer Paul Kreibich, as well as series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake (vibraphone and vocals), will join Ranier during a 4 p.m. show ($15) and a 7:15 p.m. show ($12). See both for $20 (927-0567).
Glen Starkey will show you his boobs for beads, but if you give him $5, he’ll do you the favor of NOT showing you his boobs. Send an eCheck to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although it revolves around a crew of Los Angeles emcees (Phi Da Agony, Krondon and Mitchy Slick), the true heart of Strong Arm Steady’s second official release is the quirky, inventive beats provided by sonic manipulator Madlib. The instrumental production consistently arrives at you from left field. “Chittlins & Pepsi” deconstructs a Teddy Pendegrass soul ballad, reshuffling his syllables into a beat, while emcees name check Whole Foods, nutritional eating, and the “all natural, juice drinking” ladies at Trader Joe’s. With a few interludes, Strong Arm Steady gives Madlib free range to craft a head-spinning beat tape, with the emcee stepping in lock and sync to his woozy, free-wheeling beats. While the lyrics mainly inflate egos with braggadocio, every now and again a sense of irreverence is displayed. The two-minute “Smile” captures it best, as an ode to oral hygiene calling out Crest toothpaste, Aqua-fresh, and Dentyne. Another headphone invasion from hip-hop’s best innovator.
Opened in 1961, The Preservation Hall in New Orleans offered a center for the city’s legendary jazz performers to congregate under one roof. Though the personnel has switched, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band continues to showcase and sustain a national institution: New Orleans jazz. With their latest release, PHJB teams up with a number of acclaimed and legendary vocalists to help ensure the legacy of Preservation Hall and its outreach program continue into a new century. Opening the album, Andrew Bird returns to his early Squirrel Nut Zipper days, lending his voice, whistle, and violin to the ragtime boogie of “Shake It And Break It.” Tom Waits’ grizzled throat jumpstarts a celebration line with “Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing,” one of the earliest known recorded Mardi Gras songs. With a diverse musical admiration and assistance coming in from Pete Seeger, Merle Haggard, Yim Yames, Dr. John, Paolo Nutini, Steve Earle, and more, New Orleans jazz continues to sound authentically traditional even as it’s updated with a modern approach.
—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and mikovision.blogspot.com, where you’ll find archived reviews and soundclips.