Maybe I have terrorism fatigue, but I’m starting to wonder about rapper Immortal Technique, who plays a Numbskull and Good Medicine Presents show at SLO Brew on Thursday, Nov. 19 (8p.m.; all ages; $20 presale or $22 at the door).
“The purpose of life is a life with purpose,” he’s rapped, “so I’d rather die for a cause than live a life that is worthless.”
He’s spoken about martyrdom and militancy. He poses with machineguns. Is he just another gangsta rapper who’s wrapped himself in a different kind of violence and hatred?
I have to wonder about both his ego and his sensitivity to marginalized people when he raps things like, “Attempts to extinguish me don’t even bother me none, like retarded kids throwing ice cubes at the sun;” or his false-choice politics when he raps about his adversaries, “Tell them the truth and they call you a traitor. Talk to them honestly and they call you a hater.”
Yes, he’s easy to dismiss as another anger-monger, but I—and you—would be wrong if we looked only at this surface image of Immortal Technique, who in his raps also digs deep into corrupt politics, social ills, and America’s mixed-message foreign policies: “All they talk about is terrorism on the television. They tell you to listen, but they don’t really tell you they mission. They funded Al-Qaeda, and now they blame the Muslim religion even though Bin Laden was a CIA tactician. They gave him billions of dollars, and they funded his purpose. Fahrenheit 9/11—that’s just scratchin’ surface.”
What kind of a man is Immortal Technique? He’s the kind of artist who used profits from his record sales and benefit concerts to build a school, orphanage, and medical facility in Afghanistan, traveling to Kabul to oversee the final stages of construction.
You don’t like his politics? Cool. But he deserves respect, and he might be telling America just what it needs to hear as we find ourselves at another crossroads and look for another scapegoat. The show is hosted by Poison Pen and DJ Static, and also includes local rapper Wynn.
Also this week at SLO Brew under the Numbskull and Good Medicine Presents banner is up-and-coming SLO Town EDM DJ Tasty Treat on Friday, Nov. 20 (8 p.m.; 18-and-older; $10 presale or $15 at the door), with SPYK3 and Syence.
Pop punk and emo rock act Frnkiero andthe Cellabration plays Saturday, Nov. 21 (7 p.m.; all ages; $15 presale or $17 at the door). Said frontman Frank Iero, former My Chemical Romance guitarist, “The funny thing about belonging to a scene is that at a certain point, there becomes all these factions. Are you pop-punk? Are you emo? Are you post-hardcore? Hardcore? Are you a fuckin’ hipster? In my last band, these factions were waiting to see, ‘What are these guys? They came from here, they’re not really this, we need to label them somehow.’ The reality was had we decided we were something, that scene wouldn’t have wanted us anyway. It wasn’t like getting picked for a kickball team in elementary school. It was like, ‘Well, you’ve got to go to a team, so you better decide soon. But none of us fuckin’ want you.’ So we decided to do our own thing.”
Soulful Jackie Greene closes out SLO Brew’s week on Sunday, Nov. 22 (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $20 presale or $25 at the door) with Strange Vine opening. Greene’s sort of the king of side projects, most recently Trigger Hippy, featuring Steve Gorman of The Black Crowes and Joan Osborne, but he’s fantastic on his own. If you’ve yet to see him, wait no longer.
Try it! You’ll like it!
If you’re the type who thinks, “I don’t really like classical music. It’s not my thing,” but all you know about classical are a few Beethoven, Haden, and Bach pieces, hold your horses, buster!
This Saturday, Nov. 21, your head will explode with joy when you witness the Orchestra Novo Chamber Players under direction of Maestro Michael Nowak and featuring guest vocalist Maria Jette and guest violinist Brynn Albanese in a program including arias by Handel and Mozart, folk songs by Luciano Berio, and über-moderne composer Igor Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du Soldat” at SLO’s Congregation Beth David (7:30 p.m.; $35 and $55; tickets available at orchestranovo.com; all ages).
“This is going to be an awesome Concert,” Albanese promised. “I’m looking forward to representing The Soldier and The Devil in the Stravinsky! I’ll be performing the work on my Luis and Clark Carbon Fiber Violin—The Black Beauty.”
This will be unforgettable for classical lovers, and for the uninitiated, ka-pow!
And speaking of music and politics, I’m watching Dulcie Taylor’s new video for her freedom anthem “Not Here, Not Today” on YouTube. Featuring a mix of Taylor singing and ripping on guitar and archival footage of iconic historical moments in America’s continuing march toward greater inclusivity and freedom, it’s a stirring reminder of what makes America great and why the terrorists can’t win against a free people.
The song is the first single off Taylor’s excellent new album Wind Over Stone, and touring for the record has been keeping this diminutive Southern belle busy. This week Dulcie Taylor—now an Atascadero resident—returns to the Central Coast with a Santa Maria show at Costa de Oro Winery on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 3 p.m. Then she’s at Pismo’s Sea Venture Resort on Sunday, Nov. 29, at 3 p.m.
More music …
Singer-songwriter Natalie Haskins plays a free, all ages solo show this Thursday, Nov. 19, at the Libertine Pub at 7 p.m. If you miss that one, catch her at a Good Medicine Presents pop-up concert on Friday, Nov. 20, at Tooth & Nail Winery (5:45 p.m.; all ages; free). Haskins has really been coming into her own, working with Joe Koenig and his band the Homewreckers and honing her own original Americana material. “Just played a three hour solo acoustic set with no repeats and no music stand,” she recently posted on Facebook. “I feel pretty good about that right now. Only took me eight years to make it happen.” Don’t let her modesty fool you. She’s got skills to pay the bills.
Jazz saxophonist Dave Becker simply kills it! Now the SLO County Jazz Federation will host an evening of Blue Note-era jazz this Saturday, Nov. 21, with the Dave Becker All-Star Quintet at Unity Concert Hall (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $20 general admission or $10 for students at Boo Boo’s or brownpapertickets.com). Think the Cannonball Adderly Quintet and you’ll have an idea of what to expect from Dave Becker (woodwinds), Bob Bennett (trumpet and flugelhorn), Marshall Otwell (piano), Dylan Johnson (bass), and Darrell Voss (drums).
The Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble will be joined by the multi-award-winning Chookasian Armenian Folk Music Ensemble and by renowned Arabic violinist Adel Eskander in its Fall Concert on Saturday, Nov. 21, in Harman Hall in the Performing Arts Center (8 p.m.; $12 and $14 for the public and $9 and $12 for students; call 756-4849). Expect music and dance from Lebanon and Egypt, and music from Armenia, Greece, and the extended region. This is the music terrorists don’t want you to hear!
Twofish guitarist and author Julian Phillips appears two nights at Last Stage West where he’ll play music and sign copies of his new sci-fi novel The Mars Outpost: Surviving Tharsis Montes. See him Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 21 and 22 (6:30 to 9 p.m.; free; all ages).
The Basin Street Regulars host Ulysses Jazz from Santa Barbara this Sunday, Nov. 22, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the Pismo Beach Vets Hall. Ulysses plays energized New Orleans jazz and pop songs from the ’20s and ’30s by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, Kurt Weill, and Hoagy Carmichael. Cool Notes of the Cuesta College jazz program will play intermission from 2 to 3 p.m. Admission is $10.
The Cal Poly Symphony performs three nature-inspired works in Harman Hall on Sunday, Nov. 22 (3 p.m.; $12 and $14 for the public and $9 and $12 for students; call 756-4849). Hear Felix Mendelssohn’s overture to “The Hebrides,” a new work by Cal Poly Music Professor Antonio G. Barata titled “Great Wings,” and Ottorino Respighi’s “Pines of Rome.”
I’ve got to give a shout-out to the annual Beaverstock Music Festival, which had more than 4,000 attendees this year and raised a whopping $16,700 for the Templeton Education Foundation (TEF).
Niels and Bimmer Udsen founded Castoro Cellars in 1983, and after many successful years in business decided to give back to the community in 2013 with the first Beaverstock festival. The Udsens’ sons—Max and Luke, who now help with the winery and run the music festival—attended school in Templeton from first grade through high school graduation, which made the TEF the perfect recipient. Bravo, Castoro Cellars and Beaverstock!
Keep up with Glen Starkey via twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at facebook.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.