- PHOTO COURTESY OF THE VANDALS
- MERRY F*CKIN’ XMAS : Of all the places they could have played, punk rock heroes the Vandals chose Downtown Brew for their annual Xmas Formal, on Dec. 4.
They could have gone anywhere to hold their annual Xmas Formal, but punk rock legends The Vandals chose Downtown Brew. Don your best duds, get in the Christmas spirit, and hit the Brew on Friday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.
“As you know, a Vandals show is an event in and of itself, but this is an über special occasion,” gushed Numbskull Production’s Eddy Burgos. “We’re going the full-on cheesy dance route. There will be a photo op backdrop, spiked punch, parent chaperones, and other formal dance-related shenanigans. So come stag or bring a date dressed in your Sunday’s best.”
The show is all ages and also features the Latin ska core kings Voodoo Glowskulls, plus Knockout! Woo hoo! Ho ho ho!
Oh yeah, and don’t forget reggae/soul act The Aggrolites the day before, on Thursday, Dec. 3 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $10 presale or $12 at the door). Their banner reads “Dirty Reggae.” That’s all you need to know.
Rock acts Alesana and From First to Last hit the Brew on Sunday, Dec. 6 (6 p.m.; all ages; $14 presale or $15 at the door). You can wallow in the bands’ exploration of heartache and bitterness. Mmm. Bitterness.
Get back into the holiday spirit, hip hop style, when Fashawn steals Christmas with the Grouch on Wednesday, Dec. 9 (8 p.m.; all ages; $20 presale or $22 at the door). It’s the third year for the “How the Grouch Stole Christmas Tour,” and he’s got 20-year-old hip-hop sensation Fashawn along with him.
Finally, mark your calendars for next Thursday, Dec. 10, when blues sensation Tommy Castro returns to the club (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $15 presale or $18 at the door). His new album Hard Believer rips!
- PHOTO COURTESY OF SEMILLERIMAGES.COM
- IS THAT YOU, DJANGO? : IS THAT YOU, BILLIE? The incredible Tipsy Gypsies bring their Django Reinhardt and Billie Holiday-inspired sound to their album release party at The Clubhouse on Dec. 4.
I first saw The Tipsy Gypsies at one of New Times photog Steve Miller’s studio shindigs and was immediately blown away by their tight musicianship, Django Reinhardt/Gypsy jazz sound, awesome original compositions, and saucy front woman Hillary Langdon, who puts her own spin on Billie Holiday’s vocal prowess.
Their new album Lipstick Holdup is a joy from its first track to the last, and the band will celebrate its release on Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Clubhouse.
“It’s going to be a great night,” said bassist Forrestt Williams. “We’re going to use the back bar and back dining room for our party, complete with plenty of room for chillin’, a dance floor for dancin’, a pool table, and two fun bands!”
That’s right, people! The Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band will open the show ($15 admission includes a copy of the new CD).
“The Red Skunk band is going to start the night off right at 7 p.m.,” added Williams. “Molly and her crew of young, talented vagabonds are going to take the stage and hopefully they won’t show us up! Then we’ll perform around 8. We’ll be playing all the songs on the disc, as well as a variety of old and brand-new-never-before-played live songs! Unfortunately, we’re going to have to ask everyone to look good and please have as much fun as humanly possible. I know that’s a lot to ask, but this sort of thing only happens once in a great while.”
OK, if you insist. If you need a pre-show taste, tune into 90.1 FM KCBX’s Morning Cup of Jazz on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. and hear the band.
- PHOTO BY PETER VARSHAVSKY
- TOM WAITS WITHOUT A SORE THROAT : Incredible composer, multi-instrumentalist, and performer Mark Growden hits the Steynberg Gallery to promote his excellent new album Saint Judas, on Dec. 4.
Internationally renowned San Francisco-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, and performer Mark Growden is heading for the Steynberg Gallery on Friday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. ($10).
Though his voice isn’t growly like Tom Waits, he certainly shares some of the troubadour’s unusual musical sensibilities, not to mention his crossover appeal to theater.
Growden has composed original musical scores for a number of dance and theater companies including Joe Goode Performance Group, The Crucible’s Fire Oddyssey, and Alonzo King’s Lines Contemporary Ballet, with whom he won the Isadora Duncan Award for Best Original Score for a New Dance Piece. He’s also scored several films including Blood Tea and Red String, which won Best Animation at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival and at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal.
He’s touring in support of his first studio album in eight years, Saint Judas, “a stunning exploration of moments of pain and catharsis, love and transformation, tenderness and desire,” according to press materials.
It’s a theatrical, dark, brooding, thrilling new album. Don’t miss this one!
- PHOTO COURTESY OF JORGE MIJANGOS
- SON JAROCHO : The Mexican folk music of multi-instrumentalist Jorge Mijangos happens on Dec. 5 at St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church.
Ready for a Mexican Christmas? The Red Barn Community Music Series presents the Son Jarocho folk music of multi-instrumentalist Jorge Mijangos on Saturday, Dec. 5 at St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church in Los Osos (7 p.m.; $10 at the door; 6 p.m. potluck). Special guests include fellow Cascada de Flores member Sabra Weber on marimbol and vocals, and talented young musician Juan Parroquín on guitarra de son.
Multi-instrumnetalist Mijangos originally hails from San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, and began playing guitar and singing at the young age of 5. “His versatility and sensitive playing have led him to perform and record throughout Mexico and parts of the U.S., including such venues as Salón Mexico, the Getty Museum, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and the Ford Theater, among others,” according to press materials.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC CHURCH
- RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE : See rising country star Eric Church at The Ranch on Dec. 5 in an Otter Productions/KJUG show.
“Love Your Love the Most,” Eric Church’s new single, made it to the No. 10 spot on the Billboard Country Charts before sinking to 29 when I last checked. It’s a helluva tune off his sophomore effort Carolina, and a display of his ever-growing songwriting skills.
A gushing write-up in the L.A. Times claimed, “He can drop a punch line with the deftness of Brad Paisley (‘Before She Does’), inspire a bit of hell-raising a la Waylon and Willie at their outlaw finest (‘Smoke a Little Smoke’), and fan the fires of romance as well as any of the heartthrobs dominating the country charts (‘Love Your Love the Most’).”
See Eric Church at The Ranch in San Miguel on Saturday, Dec. 5 in a 21-and-older, Otter Productions/KJUG show. Tickets available at all VALLITIX Central Coast outlets, by phone at (888) 825-5484, or online at vallitix.com.
Discovery Point Entertainment and La Bellasera Hotel and Suites will present the first in an ongoing monthly concert series on Thursday, Dec. 3, when The Nathan McEuen Band and Chelsea Williams play a 7 p.m. show at Paso Robles’ La Bellasera Hotel ($15).
- PHOTO COURTESY OF ASTRA KELLY
- HOT, SHOOTING ASTRA : Astra Kelly, a Chicago native now residing in San Diego, will blend her Chicago roots in funk and blues with rock at Frog and Peach on Dec. 3.
Too Late for Roses plays the Surfrider Free Fall Festival on Saturday, Dec.5 at the Cayucos Vets Hall. Starting at 11 a.m., eat great food, see local art, and hear other music including Fish Out of Water, Tropo, The Wadsworth Bluff Rats, The Dentures, Hear the Darlings Roar, and Chase McBride. Too Late is almost done with their new CD, which is being mastered by Joe Gastwirt (Talking Heads, 311), and the band says they’re “totally stoked to have him work on the record.”
The Cuesta College North County Chorus Ensemble will provide the a capella sounds on Saturday, Dec. 5 and Castoro Cellars will provide the mulled spiced wine and homemade cookies during the winery’s holiday open house in their warm, cozy tasting room between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and later that night, at 7:30 p.m., come to a concert by Molly’s Revenge ($20; call 888.DAM.FINE). Inga Swearingen and Moira Smiley will be special guests at the concert.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF KIRK FLETCHER
- YOUNG GUN : Awesome young blues ax man Kirk Fletcher will bring his ripping sounds to the SLO Vets Hall on Dec. 5.
Get your holiday spirit revved up when The Cal Poly Choirs present their annual show, “A Christmas Celebration,” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, in Harman Hall of the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center. Titled “Of Voices, Pipes, and Brass!” the concert presents music by all of the Cal Poly vocal ensembles, and Cal Poly organist Paul Wooding will be featured on the Forbes Pipe Organ, plus the Cal Poly Brass Ensemble will perform. Tickets are $10 for students, $16 and $19 for seniors, $17 and $20 for general admission (756-2787).
Check out the 3rd Annual Jazz Federation Fundraiser Concert at the Coalesce Bookstore on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m. ($25). Since 1983, the Jazz Fed has provided a home for jazz lovers as well as help to budding performers, so if you love jazz, here’s your chance to nurture its next wave. Call 772-2880 for reservations.
The Famous Jazz Artist Series in Cambria presents its annual season’s end concert that features series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake alone on Sunday, Dec. 6. The Shoemakes will be answering song requests, discussing their careers, and speaking about today’s jazz scene and many of its performers. One show only, at 4 p.m. ($15; call 927-0567).
- PHOTO COURTESY OF RED ROOSTER
- DRIVE YOUR TRACTOR! : Americana folk collective Red Rooster hits the Clubhouse on Dec. 6.
Americana act The Councilmen will rock the Frog and Peach on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 10 p.m., hot on the heels of the premier of their first video featuring the song “Boxcar Sermon” and their new self-titled CD.
Glen Starkey action figures with opposable thumbs, cheeseburgers, and beer-can accessories are now available, just in the time for the holidays! Order yours at email@example.com.
Authentic since its inception, Daptone Gold celebrates the little label that could, and did. Since its debut 7-inch release of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings in 2000, Daptone has been a beacon for original raw soul as well as a model for an independent record label navigating today’s tumultuous industry. Daptone Gold charts the vision and passion of Gabriel Roth, label co-owner, engineer, and bassist for the Dap-Kings. And listening to the heavyweight funk, gospel, and soul of the 23 tracks included here, Roth may be shining his pedestal alongside of Motown’s Berry Gordy and Stax’s Al Bell as unique and honored label boss. Featuring some of the label’s most popular songs from Sharon Jones, the Budos Band, and Menahan Street Band, Daptone Gold also dusts off previously unavailable cuts like Antibalas’s scorching rendition of Hector Lavoe hit “Che Che Cole” and Dap-King guitarist Binky Griptite’s soul-thumping “A Lover Like Me.” If you ever wished they made them like they used to make them, your genie has heard you. Hugely recommended.
Wrongly, some may try to explain Blakroc as a rap/rock collaboration, a lazy description that whiffs of the riff-heavy and lyricist delivery of originator Rage Against the Machine or secondary replicators like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. But with the gritty guitar and bass-heavy bashing drums of Black Keys providing the swampy-blues backbeat, Blakroc feels more akin to a producer lacing a hip-hop album with electric Mississippi Delta blues samples than a rock-punch revision of Aerosmith and Run-DMC’s “Walk This Way.” Succeed is what Blakroc mostly does. In an 11-day, off-the-cuff recording session, a crew of talented emcees (Mos Def, Raekwon, RZA, Pharoah Monch, Q-Tip, etc.) exquisitely lock into the Key’s thick blues jam. “On the Vista” finds Mos Def flipping between his dynamic rap and his natural croon. Pharoah Monch and the RZA’s “Dollaz & Sense” is a highlight, feeling equally studio loose and sharply in-tuned as Dan Auerbach’s squalling guitar work adds a menacing undertone, similar to RZA’s own Wu-Tang production. Resurrecting Ol’ Dirty Bastard for the opening track may have been a nice tribute, but it’s one of few sour spots, feeling forced and uninspired. Otherwise, consider Blakroc one of the few highlights in a lackluster year for hip-hop releases.
—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and mikovision.blogspot.com, where you’ll find archived reviews and soundclips.