- PHOTO COURTESY OF SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS
- DEEP FRIED DELIGHT : Southern Culture on the Skids brings their campy, romping live show to Downtown Brew on Sept. 10.
Exhibit A: The lyrics to “Cheap Motels.” Well out on the bypass/ Not too far/ There’s a joint that’s a jumpin’/ When they close up the bars// Well if walls could talk/ Man, the stories they’d tell/ Holding up the roof on a cheap motel/ Holding up the roof on a cheap motel// You can rent ’em all night/ But they’re cheaper by the hour/ The towels are clean/ But they still smell sour// The night clerk’s smiling/ ’Cause he’s usually stoned/ But you can do out there/ What you can’t do at home.
This trio of faux trailer trash revels in creating a parody of the most stereotypical Deep South clichés, but they do it with an obvious reverence for the culture they’re lampooning. It doesn’t hurt that the songs are a hoot!
On Thursday, Sept. 10, Southern Culture on the Skids headlines a show that—get this—also includes the awesome Mexican wrestler-masked instrumental group Los Straitjackets! This Downtown Brew, 21-and-older, 7 p.m. show costs $16 presale or $18 at the door. That’s two freakishly awesome camp bands for one low price!
And while we’re on the subject of Downtown Brew, here’s what else is happening at the club this week:
On Saturday, Sept. 12, mysterious acoustic rock guy The White Buffalo plays a 7:30 p.m., all-ages show for $10. He’s performed a couple of underground shows locally, but I always seemed to miss him, but then again, in Native American lore the white buffalo is a sacred and elusive being. This White Buffalo is no different: he’s a touring machine, but he seems to always be under the radar. He’s written hundreds of songs, yet he’s only released one EP. Unravel the mystery on Saturday.
- PHOTO BY DOUG COOMBE
- SOUL MAN : He may not look like a Motor City soul man, but Mayer Hawthorne was clearly influenced by the Motown sounds of his native Michigan. Hear for yourself on Sept. 13 at Downtown Brew.
On Tuesday, Sept. 15, Joshua James, with Cory Chisel opening, plays an 8 p.m., all-ages show that costs $8 presale or $10 at the door. James is just 25, but he’s already released his second collection of splendidly conceived songs on Build Me This. Think of him as America’s heartland poet, grabbing the baton passed by Bob Dylan and Neil Young and running with it.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA
- IN THE MOOD? : Want to relive the swingin’ sounds of the Big Band glory days? Check out the Glenn Miller Orchestra on Sept. 10 at the Performing Arts Center.
Nobody knows what happened to Glenn Miller. After leading one of the most popular Big Bands in the history of swing music, he joined the Army to entertain the troops. In 1944, his plane simply disappeared in bad weather while traveling to France, but from 1938 until his disappearance, he was The Man!
A few of his signature recordings included “In the Mood,” “American Patrol,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Tuxedo Junction,” “Moonlight Serenade,” “Little Brown Jug,” and “Pennsylvania 6-5000.” And even though he was gone, people weren’t ready to let him go. They’re still not, which is why the Glenn Miller Orchestra is still going strong 65 years later.
On Thursday, Sept.10, at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center, The Glenn Miller Orchestra will perform hits made famous by its vanished leader as well as other great tunes from its repertoire of more than 1,700 compositions.
The 19-member group features musical director Larry O’Brien, five saxophone players, four trumpeters, four trombonists, and three rhythm musicians (piano, bass, and drums). Two vocalists perform individually and as part of The Moonlight Serenaders vocal group.
“Mostly we play the old songs,” explained O’Brien. “We manage to insert new ones from time to time, but those are songs that lend themselves to the Miller sound.”
I’ve seen the orchestra a couple of times, and though Miller is gone, his spirit lives on in the musical magic of this talented ensemble.
Student and adult tickets range from $20 to $48. Buy them at the Performing Arts Center Ticket Office or by calling 756-2787.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF STUART MASON
- THURSDAY’S CHILD : Bluegrass superstar Stuart Mason recently changed his weekly Gather Wine Bar gig to Thursday, so check him and his special guests out every Thursday, including Sept. 10.
Molly’s Revenge guitarist Stuart Mason has switched his Gather Wine Bar weekly gig from every Wednesday to every Thursday, including Thursday, Sept. 10. Check him, and whatever surprise musical guest he brings along, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. “Gather Wine Bar has proven to be a great venue for my old-time traditional music,” said Stuart. “The place has a vintage vibe to it, the folks are warm and friendly, and something about all the wood brings out the tone of my acoustic instruments. Every week I invite one or two fiddlers or pickers to join in, and suddenly we have a band!” The native West Virginian has won awards for traditional singing (Goleta Old-Time Fiddler’s Convention), mandola (Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest), and songwriting (West Coast Songwriter’s Association). New Times recently included “Devil’s Box,” a song from his solo release Appalachian Bride, on the first New Times Music Awards Top Twenty CD. That’s how awesome he is!
If you’ve never been to the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, there’s a great reason to go on Friday, Sept. 11. That’s when Chicago songwriter Al Rose joins creative forces with the improv group Varoom to celebrate the works of Henry Miller beginning at 7:30 p.m. The library definitely has a cool scene going: a beautiful setting, avant-garde entertainment, and an eclectic crowd that’s almost as fun as what’s happening on stage. Varoom, an improvisational trio that specializes in unique, long-form improvisation shows, will (for the first time ever!) be performing Henry Miller Unscripted, a completely improvised play inspired by the works of Henry Miller. Call 831-667-2574 or visit henrymiller.org to get your $17 presale tickets, or pay $20 at the door.
Grammy Award-winning violinist Kathy Lenski, a classical performer who’s added immeasurably to the local scene since moving to Los Osos several years ago, has sadly developed some physical problems that have left her unable to play and often in a great deal of pain. She’s in dire need of expensive tests to discover the source of the malady and hopefully find a cure, but like too many musicians, she’s under-insured. Well, just as she’s added to the local classical music scene, now it hopes to return the favor by raising funds on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 3 p.m. with a special fundraising house concert featuring Paul Severtson, Louise King, Marti Lindholme, Nancy Piver, Richard Webb, Stanley Stern, and others. Call 528-6557 for reservations as seating is limited.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF THE RICHARD GREEN BAND
- GREENIES : The Richard Green Band performs on Sept. 12 at the Steynberg Gallery, which they’ll be filming for an upcoming music video.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF BEARFOOT
- PHOTO COURTESY OF FUNCTUS
- GET FUNKY! : Awesome funk trio Functus plays Sept 12 at Sweet Springs Saloon.
Danny Naccarado, Kenny Blackwell, Greg Astel, and Wally Barnick (The Demos) play Green Acres Lavender Farm in Atascadero on Saturday, Sept. 12. Singer Kasey Jones will also perform. Call 466-0837 for details.
“This past week was a monumental one as Cuesta Ridge finally got our recording project underway by entering into the studio and hammering out a buncha songs,” said drummer Brent Vander Weide. “We’re off to a great start and can hardly wait to get it down solid and out to you. Of course, we plan to spend the time necessary to put out something of which we can be proud. Speaking of … we’re proud to announce that we’ve recently been added to the Saturday, Oct. 3 Harbor Fest lineup along with Canned Heat!” Before that, however, you can catch CR on Sunday, Sept. 13 at Castoro Cellars from 1 to 4 p.m. Better yet, the show is free.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF KIM ANGELIS
- SOUNDS LIKE AN ANGEL : Internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso and composer Kim Angelis plays Coalesce Bookstore on Sept. 13.
On Sunday, Sept. 13, guitarist Ron Eschete and his trio will be the next attraction at the Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet in Cambria. Eschete’s made numerous highly acclaimed recordings with such jazz giants as Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, and Dizzy Gillespie. On Sunday he’ll be joined by Todd Johnson (bass) and Kendall Kaye (drums) as well as series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake (vibraphone and vocals). See the 4 p.m. show for $15, the 7:15 for $12, or both for $20. Call 927-0567 for reservations.
Seattle’s Levator returns to the Frog and Peach on Monday, Sept. 14 for a free, 21-and-older, 10 p.m. show. The shoe-gazing, psychedelic indie rock act yaps your vein and shoots in a tranquilizer of gauzy sounds that will remind listeners of Morphine, Sonic Youth, and Mazzy Star. Trip-tastic!
Painted Sky Studios has an intimate evening of Celtic music scheduled for you when Paddy Keenan returns to the Cambria venue on Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. The Irish uilleann pipe player is back for this third show in as many years, and word is he loves playing here as much as we love hearing him play. Tickets are $20 (927-8330).
Glen Starkey is back from vacation and he’s very, very angry about it. Send him a virtual piña colada to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hearing Mayer Hawthorne’s falsetto croon on “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out”—a Northern soul breakbeat that harnesses doo-wop sentimentality—you’ll instantly understand the fuss the soul community is making over this Michigan native. Reviving the ’60s sound of the Impressions, Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes, and Motown for the 21st century, Mayer Hawthorne’s stunning debut continues the mood and aesthetics that Raphael Saadiq recently displayed on his album, The Way I See It: a return to the nostalgic era of the Big Chill. On “Maybe So, Maybe No,” Hawthorne replicates Curtis Mayfield’s best production, down to the anthem-like horn arrangements. The dirty, sexy guitar solo on “Green Eye Love” taps the energy Ernie Isley brought to his brothers’ smoky ballads. And while you may initially be baffled that all this authenticity is arriving out of the lungs of a 29-year-old, spectacled white kid, the fact that multi-instrumentalist Mayer Hawthorne wrote, played, and arranged the majority of this debut himself is what really should melt your mind.
Recording an entire album in Pakistan, Victoria Bergsman is moving quickly away from the twee-pop she first founded with the Concretes and the breathy coyness she delivered on Peter Björn and John’s “Young Folks.” East of Eden, her second full-length under Taken By Trees, taps into the Sufi tradition of legends like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, an influence that both Eddie Vedder and Peter Gabriel have tapped for their music. Outside of the turmoil an unmarried woman can cause in an extremely patriarchal society (Bergsman was nearly carried off as public property), East of Eden captures an organic, beguiling beauty. With flutes encircling around tablas and Eastern violins, Bergsman has crafted a gentle, seductive spell that can sound distinctly foreign as on the traditionally sung “Wapas Karna” or like a fresh take on indie-pop as she interprets the Animal Collective’s “My Boys” into a cute xylophone bop.
—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and mikovision.blogspot.com, where you’ll find archived reviews and soundclips.