- PHOTO COURTESY OF MERLE HAGGARD
- LIVING LEGEND : Country superstar Merle Haggard plays the PAC on Sept. 30.
Um, yeah, sort of. Turns out the song was kind of a satire, but don’t tell Haggard’s fans who still aren’t in on the joke, not that you could pull them away from their Tea Bagger, Death Panels, Birther rallies. Tea bagger? Yes, some people really are so obtuse and out-of-touch they call themselves that proudly. But I digress.
Haggard, of course, is coming to the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center on Wednesday, Sept. 30 to play with his longtime band The Strangers, delivering hits from his four-decades-long career—“Branded Man,” “The Fugitive,” “Mama Tried,” “Sing Me Back Home,” “The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde,” “Hungry Eyes,” “Workin’ Man Blues,” “The Fightin’ Side of Me” … well, I could go on and on. The man’s a hit machine who sings about the downtrodden, the ne’er-do-wells, the working man, and of course the outlaws.
It’s material he knows. An Oklahoma transplant, his father died of a brain tumor when Haggard was 9, and he took to the rails by age 14. In and out of reformatories, from which he regularly escaped, he involved himself in petty crimes and was married with children by 20, when drunk off his noggin’, he broke into a café, which he claims he thought was open for business. He did three years in San Quentin. After prison, he went to Bakersfield and with such folks as Buck Owens developed what’s become known as the “Bakersfield Sound.”
Country and gospel act the Malpass Brothers will open the 8 p.m. show. Tickets range from $46 to $58. Call 756-2787 or visit the box office.
Start your weekend with a little hip-hop on Thursday, Sept. 24 when Downtown Brew brings The Pack to the club (8 p.m.; all ages; $18 presale or $22 at the door). The three-year-old Bay Area collective includes all under-21 emcees Young L, 20; Lil Uno, 18; Stunna Man, 20; and Lil B, 18, who met while attending Berkeley High School. The first single, 2006’s “Vans,” was about—you guessed it—shoes. KO the Legend will open the show.
Prog and alt-rock aficionados RX Bandits return to the Brew on Saturday, Sept. 26 (7 p.m.; all ages; $13 presale or $15 at the door). According to their bio, “Emerging in 1997 from Orange County’s thriving ska-punk scene, the band quickly began to make a name for itself as a unit willing to take musical risks and lyrical stances.” The punkish outfit has grown to a sextet replete with horns.
On Sunday, Sept. 27, reggae/rock/dub act SOJA (7 p.m.; all ages; $13 presale or $15 at the door) hits DTB. “The new album is called Get Wiser—that’s the idea,” said guitarist Jacob Hemphill. “We as a society tend to have blinders on. We’re trying to uplift people’s consciousness by breaking down what makes us blind. To do this, we got to bring back truth. People get wiser.”
Finally, mark your calendar for Thursday, Oct. 1, when breezy, ’70s-inspired Cali-rock act The Mother Hips returns to the Brew (7:30; 21-and-older; $15 presale or $17 at the door).
Tickets for all Downtown Brew shows are available at Boo Boo Records or online at ticketweb.com.
Hot Pozo Daze
Pepper returns to the Central Coast on Saturday, Sept. 26 with an outdoor show at the world-famous Pozo Saloon. Doors open at noon with music starting at 1 p.m. Reggae fans know all about how awesome Pepper is, but one of their opening acts is definitely a rising star.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF REBELUTION
- TALKIN’ ‘BOUT A REBELUTION : Santa Barbara-based reggae act Rebelution is one of several bands playing Pozo Saloon on Sept. 26.
Iration, Giant Panda, Guerilla Dub Squad, and more are also on the bill. Call (888) 512-SHOW or visit pozosaloon.com for tickets.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF BRIAN FINNEGAN AND WILLIAM COULTER
- THE CELTICS ARE COMING : Painted Sky Studios returns with another intimate evening of acoustic Celtic music featuring Brian Finnegan and William Coulter on Sept. 27.
Painted Sky Studios returns with another intimate evening of acoustic Celtic music featuring Brian Finnegan and William Coulter on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. Finnegan is considered one of Ireland’s most innovative flutists who for a dozen years has been the creative and driving force of the band Flook. When Flook members decided to go their separate ways, Finnegan hooked up with Grammy Award-winning and Gourd music recording artist and guitar guru William Coulter at a music camp.
“The spirited sparks kindled there by the kindred spirits fired the dynamic duo into performing a spree of California concerts as a prelude to an Irish tour,” according to press information.
Tickets are $18, available at Boo Boo Records, The Yew Tree, Cambria Business Center, or by calling 927-8330.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF DAMON CASTILLO BAND
- GOING GREEN : The Damon Castillo Band plays Sept. 24 on the corner of Nipomo and Higuera to promote the Downtown Association’s new greening of Farmers Market.
The SLO Downtown Association along with First Solar and the Pacific Energy Company will present the Damon Castillo Band at the Farmers Market’s “going green” Main Stage kick-off event on Sept. 24 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the corner of Nipomo and Higuera. “In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint and preserve our environment, the Downtown Association is beginning an initiative to ‘go green’ at Farmers Market,” wrote the association in a press release. “The initiative will include eliminating Styrofoam products, reducing the use of plastic bags, and offering a ‘green incentive award’ program that will recognize vendors who use recyclable products at their booths.” Hear Castillo and save the freakin’ planet!
- PHOTO COURTESY OF DEVIN WALLACE
- POLITICO : Tunesmith Devin Wallace takes aim at government folly once again, reminding Obama that Afghanistan should be spelled V-i-e-t-n-a-m, at Otter Rock Café on Sept. 24.
Thursday, Sept. 24, check out the Central Coast’s newest hot spot, Instinct, when it presents an evening of local music. Jason Lytle (of Slick Bishop), Heath Seager (of Criticnue), Urijah Garcia (of Echo of Ages), and Amy Estrada will be performing their music acoustically, around-the-campfire-style! Doors open at 9 p.m. The cover’s $3.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL GULEZIAN
- GOT GULEZIAN? : The Hoot Road Show 2009 proudly presents an evening for guitar lovers featuring Michael Gulezian at the Coalesce Bookstore on Sept. 25.
City Nights Jazz presents Julie Kelly, performing with the Mike Raynor Group at the Inn at Morro Bay on Friday, Sept. 25 from 7 to 10 p.m. According to the late jazz critic Leonard Feather, “Julie Kelly radiates a sense of joy and spontaneity. Listening to her, you are reminded that jazz singing is still alive and well!”
Dr. Danger resumes its monthly residency at the SLO Down Pub starting Friday, Sept 25, beginning at 7:30 p.m. The show’s free and will be packed with some special guests. “If you can only make one show, this is the one as some old friends will be joining us,” wrote the band.
La Guitarra California Festival, a three-day classical guitar festival held every two years at Allan Hancock College, returns Friday, Sept. 25 through Sunday, Sept. 27. Enjoy this “Celebration of Guitar” as it presents an amazing lineup of 17 internationally acclaimed artists over 14 events. There will be 10 major concerts, three master classes, a free lecture, a guitar silent-auction, dozens of luthier exhibits, and a display of the famous Forderer Collection of Rare and Historic Guitars. Artists include Manuel Barrueco, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ), Carlos Barbosa-Lima, David Tanenbaum, Berta Rojas, David Leisner, Jérémy Jouve, Carlos Perez, Judicaël Perroy, Michael Partington, the Alturas Duo, and more. Visit laguitarracalifornia.com for details and tickets.
New Times Arts Editor Ashley “Eye-Gouger” Schwellenbach told you all about Wake the Dead in last week’s paper, so consider this a reminder. On Saturday, Sept. 26, the hot, NorCal septet will bring its traditional Celtic music and Grateful Dead songs to Castoro Cellars beginning at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6 with a catered dinner by Bon Temps Creole Café available). Learn more at . Tickets for the concert are $22 (238-0725).
Get ready to unleash your inner Latin dancer on Saturday, Sept. 26 when De La Bahia play from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the SLO Down Pub. Enjoy a night of Latin jazz and salsa dancing featuring original music from De La Bahia’s new album Siempre Caliente. That’s “always hot” to you, gringo. The show’s free!
- PHOTO COURTESY OF SILENT TREATMENT
- GRUNGE REDUX : See Silent Treatment on Sept. 26 at Frog and Peach where they’ll perform songs from their new album New American Dream.
North County rock act Rusted Stone plays Instinct on Saturday, Sept. 26, with Society’s Child opening. “This is our first headlining show at the club, so we want this to go over big,” said Shawn Logan. Presale tickets are $8, or pay $10 and also get a 5-song EP, or pay $15 and get a T-shirt and admission. “But that’s not all,” gushed Logan. “We’re also doing giveaways! With your ticket stub from the presale ticket, there’s a number on it (don’t lose the stub!) and we’re giving away two tickets to the Bandecky Bash in October ($100 to $150 value), a new Blue Tooth from California Wireless ($75 value), $60 gift certificate from Complete Escape (for a facial or massage from Amerens Foster), and more!” Sound like you can’t afford NOT to go to this show, people! Throw in some Ginsu Knives, a ShamWow, and a Snuggie and
“We’re doing something different on the last Sunday of each month, starting Sunday, Sept. 27,” explained Bob of Bob and Wendy. “We’re calling it ‘Bob and Wendy and ... .’ Our first guest will be Zebedee Zaitz of Sparrows Gate. The format will be a Bob and Wendy set followed by Zeb. Then we’ll do some stuff together. It’s from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Steynberg Gallery.” No cover charge for now! “My hope is that participants will view this as a venue to try new material in front of a friendly, casual audience,” added Bob.
Pacific Repertory Opera presents Opera in the Vineyard on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 4 p.m. at Vina Robles Winery. The concert features opera, operetta, and musical theater, and showcases the talents of this season’s mainstage performers. Call 541-5369 or visit propera.org to learn about the various ticket and dinner packages.
On Sunday, Sept. 27, check out NYC trumpet star Richie Vitale when he appears as the next attraction at the Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet. Vitale, a longtime featured soloist with the famous Village Vanguard Orchestra, has garnered much critical praised for his numerous recordings. All-star San Francisco rhythm section John Witalla (bass) and Ron Marabuto (drums) will back him up, and series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake will also appear. See the 4 p.m. show for $15, the 7:15 show for $12, or both for $20 (reservations at 927-0567).
Orange County-based Dan Krikorian, on a West Coast tour to promote his sophomore CD Colors and Chords, plays the Clubhouse on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. According to his publicist, “Over the past few years, Dan has gained a strong local following through live concerts, TV appearances, and radio air play. His material is thoughtful and catchy, a unique blend of acoustic, folk, and pop music.”
Mark your calendar for Austin Hartley-Leonard, who plays the Porch on Thursday, Oct. 1 and Linnaea’s Café on Friday, Oct. 2. He currently lives in Los Angeles and is on a national tour in support of his debut release, Franklin Avenue, on Mother West Records.
Glen Starkey is corrupting our youth. Let your complaints fall on deaf ears at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since his 2001 solo debut, Richard Hawley has built a reputation as a gentleman of the night, offering somber and romantic pleadings for the after-hours crowd. His warm baritone delivery of sad ballads recalls the Sinatra era of song, where lingering cigarette smoke and tumblers inched with Scotch open your emotions for wistful remembrances. On Truelove’s Gutter, Hawley doesn’t disappoint. He clears out vast space for his songs to gain lift; horns and string orchestration swell from quiet beginnings. The seven-minute, melancholic narrative of “Soldier On” amplifies to an epic grandeur that Morrissey would appreciate. With the repeated refrain on “Open Up Your Door” from an imploring lover, Hawley captures an intimate, pressing moment. “As the Dawn Breaks” opens the album cinematically, an instrumental interlude preceding Hawley’s confessional whisper, sounding as if he’s leaning in close to your ear. The morning songbird offers reprieve from a night of reflective searching. Hawley surrenders a heartfelt album of tender resignations, a minor masterful work.
With their sophomore release, The Dynamites continue the Memphis soul of their debut, but now, they sound not only tighter but in the moment. Fronted by the grizzled, power voice of their 65-year-old singer Charles Walker and livened by the James Brown-influenced material written by guitarist Leo Black, Burn It Down is pure funk and soul ... well, dynamite. Pulling the rugged sound of Johnnie Taylor as backed by the Stax house band, as well as the Godfather himself, it may not capture the glory as enthusiastically as Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, but it can pull you up on the good foot. They slow it down to low-rider soul on “I Got Love (For You),” recalling James and Bobby Purify’s “I’m Your Puppet” with its tinkling bells. Recorded in just over a week, Burn It Down sounds immediate with a hard punch that can get lost by way of fiddling. The Dynamites are an impressive retro-soul act, another of Nashville’s finest.
—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and mikovision.blogspot.com, where you’ll find archived reviews and soundclips.