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Masters of mash-ups

Ozomatli returns to the Central Coast with its eclectic mix of fused styles

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Now a dozen years into a unique experiment that's mixed musicians of different ethnicities, artistic sensibilities, and political philosophies, Ozomatli has emerged as a wholly unique entity.

SIGN OF THE TIMES :  Ozomatli--pioneer of Spanish-English mash-ups of hip hop, salsa, cumbia, dub, and Middle Eastern funk--plays Nov. 11 at the SLO Vets Hall. - PHOTO COURTESY OF OZOMATLI
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF OZOMATLI
  • SIGN OF THE TIMES : Ozomatli--pioneer of Spanish-English mash-ups of hip hop, salsa, cumbia, dub, and Middle Eastern funk--plays Nov. 11 at the SLO Vets Hall.

# That band continues to pioneer Spanish-English mash-ups of hip hop, salsa, cumbia, dub, and Middle Eastern funk, and on their fourth studio album, Don't Mess With the Dragon, Ozomatli proves that instead of their stream of innovation growing dry, it's continued to be replenished by a wellspring of musical inspiration.

"There is more of a sense of personal responsibility on this one," bassist Wil-Dog Abers said on the band's website, ozomati.com. "All of us are on this road of being more responsible in our own lives, becoming happier human beings, healthier in our lives outside of the band. In the process of making the record, people were really deep in the process of getting their lives together. It made a big difference. People growing up, people taking care of their own lives--the healthier people get, the better the music gets."

The band also claims to have discovered a new sense of collaborative synergy on Dragon.


"It's always a struggle to be creative together, as a unit, but this was by far our best time in the studio together," said percussionist Jiro Yamaguchi. "It takes maturity to work together and we are all getting better at communicating."

"In the past, we would be like, this song is a Raul song, this song is an Asdru song, and this song is a Justin song. There wasn't much room for interplay. On this record, we have more interplay all the characters work together into a whole book instead of just being in a bunch of short stories," Wil Dog added.

Check out Ozomatli with special guests SambaD? on Sunday, Nov. 11, at the SLO Vets Hall.

Advanced tickets are $25 at Boo Boo's or online at inticketing.com ($30 at the door). The doors for this all-ages show open at 7 p.m. with music starting at 7:30. Ozomatli will also be doing a free in-store performance in Boo Boo's at 3 p.m. Last time, they ended up leading a samba line down Monterey Street, so prepare yourselves.

Meeeeow!

Amy Lavere is a saucy little kitten, a sultry crooner whose voice has been accurately described as "equal parts Dolly Parton, Billie Holiday, Liz Phair, and Shirley Temple."

LITTLE PRINCESS OF GYPSY POP :  Amy Lavere--a saucy little kitten and sultry crooner whose voice has been accurately described as "equal parts Dolly Parton, Billie Holiday, Liz Phair, and Shirley Temple"--plays Nov. 9 at AdMinds Studios. - PHOTO COURTESY OF AMY LAVERE
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF AMY LAVERE
  • LITTLE PRINCESS OF GYPSY POP : Amy Lavere--a saucy little kitten and sultry crooner whose voice has been accurately described as "equal parts Dolly Parton, Billie Holiday, Liz Phair, and Shirley Temple"--plays Nov. 9 at AdMinds Studios.

# A few months ago, I caught her standing-room-only show at Steynberg Gallery, and it was mesmerizing! I kept thinking of that line from Romeo and Juliet: "Ah, to be a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek." I really wanted to be that upright bass she was caressing one minute and slapping the crap out of the next. Hurts so good!

Lavere, a budding actress, appeared in Black Snake Moan and starred as rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson in Walk the Line, but her first love is music, and on her newest CD--Anvils & Anchors--she positively knocks listeners back on their collective heels with these amazing country/gypsy/jazz songs she writes and a voice and style that's like a lullaby for grownups.

This time through town, Lavere plays an all-ages 8 p.m. show at artMinds Studio on Friday, Nov. 9. Get advanced $16.50 tickets at Boo Boo's.

Folkadelic

Whether it's named after that big ol' hunk of granite or that fickle but frequently gnarly right point break, the musical El Capitan shares with those two natural elements a bucolic majesty, a quiet soulfulness, an air of countryside freedom, a joie de vivre.

SALUTE THE CAPTAIN :  El Capitan, purveyor of buoyant, joyous, soaring folkadelic rock, plays Nov. 10 at the Steynberg Gallery. - PHOTO COURTESY OF EL CAPITAN
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF EL CAPITAN
  • SALUTE THE CAPTAIN : El Capitan, purveyor of buoyant, joyous, soaring folkadelic rock, plays Nov. 10 at the Steynberg Gallery.

# It's hard to put a label on the quartet's sound, which can feel like a can kicked along a dirt road by Victoria Williams and Mark Olson or a sticky Georgia back porch jam session with Vic Chesnutt or the practiced gospel of a sunset summer camp vespers service.

El Cap's music is buoyant, joyous, soaring, folkadelic rock, and you can see and hear for yourself on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Steynberg Gallery during an all-ages, 8 p.m., $5 show. The Fog and Dog Day open the show.

 


Average irony

You can be forgiven for wondering how one of rock history's most highly regarded soul and funk bands could hail from Scotland. Somehow, it's possible.

In 1972, the Average White Band formed in Glasgow and quickly perfected a derivative but convincing R&B sound, started touring Europe, was eventually picked up by classic R&B label Atlantic Records, and scored a string of gold records. Clearly the name comes with a healthy dose of irony.

When the band plays on Sunday, Nov. 11, at Downtown Brew, you'll find that founding members Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre have augmented their line-up with some American players who happen to be black, so they're still not an average white band.

This 21-and-older show costs $24 advance and starts at 8 p.m. Local funky favorite Siko will open.

There's pie!

EAT YOUR PIE :  L.A.-based singer-songwriter Lindsay Tomasic and her band will bring their sweet folksy sounds to a benefit concert for the Food Bank Coalition of SLO County on Nov. 12 at the Cayucos Vets Hall. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LINDSAY TOMASIC
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF LINDSAY TOMASIC
  • EAT YOUR PIE : L.A.-based singer-songwriter Lindsay Tomasic and her band will bring their sweet folksy sounds to a benefit concert for the Food Bank Coalition of SLO County on Nov. 12 at the Cayucos Vets Hall.

# L.A.-based singer-songwriter Lindsay Tomasic and her band will bring their sweet folksy sounds to a benefit concert for the Food Bank Coalition of SLO County on Monday, Nov. 12, at the Cayucos Vets Hall.

Seeing as how it'll be Veterans' Day, you can celebrate our armed forces' service to our country and support a great nonprofit organization that helps our hungry neighbors.

Your $10 ticket and a dish to share gains you access to the concert, a potluck supper, and a slice of pumpkin pie! (Hmm! Interestingly enough, Tomasic has a song called "Save Your Fork, There's Pie.")

The doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner and a belly dancing demonstration. A full bar is available, as is a silent auction and a food drive, so bring some extra canned goods for donation. Get advanced tickets in Cayucos at Ruddell's Smoke House, the Sea Shanty, or at the door.

 

 

More music

Pozo Saloon--which has taken a real public tongue lashing from its neighbors in New Times' letters section since our cover story a month ago--is keeping its chin up and marching on with an "Indian Summer Harvest Festival Party" on Friday, Nov. 9. It's going to be a jam rocker and funk fetishist paradise with Functus, Mama's Cookin', and Mind's Eye hitting the stage. The concert, in memory of Samantha Surgeoner, also features various acoustic jams and DJs, and a lightshow by Third Eye Illumination. Doors for the all-ages show open at 4 p.m., and you can buy your $15 tickets at the main gate the day of the show.

Sublime tribute act The LBC (formerly Sublime Unauthorized) returns to Downtown Brew on Friday, Nov. 9, for a 9 p.m., 18-and-older show. Fronted by Q-Ball, who was a friend of Sublime's deceased singer Bradley Nowell, performs nothing but Sublime covers and does a damn good job re-creating the magic plus, his band shows up on time and isn't too fucked up to play. Impossible Sunday and Starving Millionaires open the show. Get presale tickets for $14.50.

The Marc Atkinson Trio is the next SLO Folks concert lined up for Friday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. in Coalesce Bookstore (772-2880 $20) and Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. outdoors at Castoro Cellars (238-0725 $20). Atkinson is one of Canada's greatest and most innovative guitar players, and he's also a founding member, composer, co-producer, and performer in the twice-Juno-nominated, award-winning roots sensation, The Bills. Sonnie Brown will interview the Marc Atkinson Trio on her Minstrel Song Show on KCBX 90.1 FM on Saturday around 2:30 p.m.

Cal Poly fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha and Downtown Brew host a benefit concert to raise money for scholarships in the name of Lambda's fallen brother Spencer Wood, who, if you don't remember, was found dead after Pepper's Avila Beach Concert in the summer of 2006. Still Time, The Arch Dukes, and Play It By play on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. Presale tickets are $11.50 (at the venue or Boo Boo's) or $15 at the door. You must be 18 or older to attend.

The Painted Sky Concert Series presents an evening of acoustic Celtic music with Banshee in the Kitchen on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 8 p.m. The female trio features Brenda Hunter (fiddle, hammered dulcimer) Jill Egland (flute, accordion, whistle), and Mary Tulin (six- and 12-string guitar, bouzouki) playing traditional Celtic tunes but finding a point between classic and modern, then mixing fun and talent to create a "banshee-fying" sound. Advance $18 tickets are available at Boo Boo's, the Cambria Business Center, or by calling 927-8330.

Dave Wakeling & The English Beat return to the Central Coast, this time hitting the South County with a Saturday, Nov. 10, show at Mongo's Saloon in Grover Beach. If you caught the last couple of Beat shows in SLO Town, you know how great Wakeling and company still sound, playing all the hits from the Beat as well as his post-Beat band, General Public. I dare you not to get up and skank around the dance floor to "I Confess," "Tenderness," and "Mirror in the Bathroom." Get advance $28 tickets at Mongo's Saloon or all Vallitix outlets.

Zongo!, a brand new band filled with veteran local Latin jazz players, managed to attract a crowd of upwards of 300 on their very first gig last month, and now they play again on Saturday, Nov. 10, at Sweet Springs Saloon. Get ready to shake it like you mean it at 9:30 p.m.

Unfinished Business Productions and Starfire Productions will present a '60s Rock'n'Roll Dance Concert featuring Unfinished Business on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Grange Hall from 8 p.m. to midnight. Admission is $10 at the door. Dance to covers from The Animals, The Zombies, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, various Motown artists, and many more.

On Sunday, Nov. 11, the Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet in Cambria presents its annual salute to the college jazz educators of the Central Coast. Professors Paul Rinzler (piano, Cal Poly) and Ron McCarley (saxophone, Cuesta) and their quartet will play at 4 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 927-0567 for reservations.

Nebraska songwriter Brad Colerick and Stuart Mason of Molly's Revenge play a 7 p.m., $10 concert at Linnaea's cafe on Sunday, Nov. 11. Expect some Americana, folk, and Celtic stylings from two top-notch performers.

San Francisco-based instrumental indie rock act Parker Street Cinema brings its cinematic sounds to Frog and Peach on Monday, Nov. 12. The band describes itself as "a kinetic trio that wields piano, bass, and drums (along with the occasional sample) to craft the kind of dynamic narratives Gershwin might have written if handed a distortion pedal or three." Look for a new full-length album from the band in December.

Numbskull Productions is bringing The Almost--brainchild of Underoath's Aaron Gillespie--back to Downtown Brew on Tuesday, Nov. 13, for an all-ages, 7:30 p.m. show with Mike Herrera of MXPX and local band Nothing Ever Stays opening. Tickets are $13.50 advance.

Piano grrl Tiff Jimber has been nominated for the AAA Album of the Year at the L.A. Music Awards, and her vocals have been featured in movies such as The Grudge and Hide and Seek. Now check her out when she plays on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Clubhouse for a free, 7:30 p.m., all-ages concert. "I'm continuously being compared to Tori Amos," Jimber said. "It's a huge compliment, but after the 10,000th mention you start to wonder if people just mention her name because they aren't familiar with any other female rock piano artist."

Ian McFeron, a prolific songwriter whose lyrical prose and fervent work ethic has drawn comparisons to Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams, plays Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Frog and Peach beginning at 8 p.m. He's touring in support of his fourth full-length CD, Let It Ride.

Vocalist Robin Adler--inspired by the likes of Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Betty Carter--performs with the Mike Raynor Group on Wednesday Nov. 14, at the SeaVenture Hotel from 6 to 9 p.m., and again on Friday, Nov. 16, at the Inn at Morro Bay from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. "Robin is an amazing performer, when she performed with us in March, she brought the house down," Raynor said. "If you missed that show, here is another chance to see her."

The SLO Downtown Association and Radio Central Coast (KPIG 94.9 & The Beach 95.3/100.5 Classic Hits) present local western swing-abilly act The Bangin' 58's on Thursday, Nov. 15, at the SLO Farmers' Market. The band is fronted by SLO City Councilmember and Mother's Tavern owner Paul Brown and features five of the best western swing players in the county. Check out this free show from 7 to 8:30 pm. at the intersection of Nipomo and Higuera streets.

Go buy some tickets for the Thursday, Nov. 15, Eliza Gilkyson show at Cambria's The Painted Sky Studios. Gilkyson is a true gem of Americana folk, a songwriter on par with Lucinda Williams. Presale tickets are $17, available at Cambria Business Center or by phone at 546-2857.

Or you can go buy some tickets for the return of the Young Dubliners, who play Downtown Brew on Thursday, Nov. 15, for a 21-and-older, $16.50 presale show.

Local trio Dustbowl Aristocracy (Kenny Blackwell, Piper Heisig, and Billy Foppiano) brings Celtic, bluegrass, blues, jazz, and beyond to Coalesce Bookstore on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. Call 772-2880 to reserve $15 tickets.

Nashville husband-and-wife team Stacey Earle (sister of Steve) and Mark Stuart play Green Acres Lavender Farm on Thursday, Nov. 15. Call 466-0837 to reserve your $20 ticket.

 

CD Reviews

Citay--Little Kingdoms

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# Built upon the guitar and synthesizer dynamics of Ezra Feinberg (Piano Music) and Tim Green (Fucking Champs), with layer upon layer added until it reaches an operatic apex, Citay hints at the mystic euphoria of entering the Emerald City. Maybe that's too grand a vision, but nestle these shimmering psychedelic ambient pop confections in your ear buds, and a bike ride at dusk will become transcendent. There's a dreamy quality to its expansive noodling and elongated compositions, reminiscent of Jerry Garcia's solo guitar exploration from counter-culture film Zabriskie Point. But when the synthesizers and electric piano intertwine around the rich acoustic guitar licks, you may mistakenly believe you're listening to outtakes from Pink Floyd's Meddle. It's a shame the term "hippie" is scuffed with such a negative connotation, because Citay has constructed a calm, trippy enclave where escape from the whirly-burly of the outside world is the only term of entrance.

 

 

Jay-Z--American Gangster

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# Hip hop is largely consumed by flashy images and larger-than-life narratives. And like American novelists and cinema directors, there's a pervasive fascination with the rise and splendor of Mafioso and gangster mentality, though rarely with its inevitable downfall. Enter rap's crowning prince, Jay-Z. He's conquered the charts, sits in the plumb chair as a major record label executive, and his rags-to-riches story is near fairy-tale caliber in its ascent. Inspired by the movie adaptation of drug lord Frank Lucas' life, American Gangster allows Jay-Z to return to the game he split 10 albums back, as he entered the music industry as a former street hustler. Featuring his clear-worded, inventively metered rhymes and clever and humorous similes, metaphor, and allusions, Jay-Z is backed by an ensemble of producers (Just Blaze, Neptunes, Jermaine Dupri) who sample '70s soul (Isley Brothers, Curtis Mayfield) as the template for near half of the tracks. Considering that these are well-worn themes, Jay-Z's exuberance and charming braggadocio continually entertains: "I got watches I ain't seen in months/Apartment at the Trump, I only slept in it once."

-Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and KCBX's "Night Train."


Glen Starkey is officially endorsing Steven Colbert for president. Tell him to move to North Carolina so he can vote in the primary at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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