- PHOTO COURTESY OF BOB WEIR AND RATDOG
- PREPARE FOR A JOURNEY : Grateful Dead cofounder Bob Weir and his band RatDog will take listeners on a mystical trip when they perform at the Pozo Saloon on Sept. 6.
A founding member of the Grateful Dead, Weir’s musical legacy as an utterly strange rhythm guitar player and songwriter lives on. He played with the Dead until their dissolution following Garcia’s death in 1995, and since then he’s made his primary musical home in RatDog. RatDog has evolved from a blues revue into a musical fusion of backgrounds and talents, with complex, energetic, and adventurous music that takes fans to new and mystical places—just perfect for the scenic outdoor venue at the Pozo Saloon.
Also performing will be Jackie Greene, known as a young blues prodigy with a smoky voice. From soulful ballads to ballsy rockers, Green has earned a worldwide fan base.
The Pozo Saloon’s Labor Day Boogie features Bob Weir and RatDog, with Jackie Greene and Carney, on Sunday, Sept. 6. Doors open at 1 p.m., and the music starts at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $32.50, on sale at Boo Boo’s and Cheap Thrills in SLO, the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande, and Boyds Tobacco Shop in Paso Robles, plus the Pozo box office and pozosaloon.com, or call 1-888-512-SHOW. Bring a can of food to donate to the SLO County Food Bank.
- PHOTO BY JERED SCOTT
- PUNKABILLY : MxPx frontman Mike Herrera brings his alt-country-flavored new band, Tumbledown, to Downtown Brew on Sept. 4.
Frontman for punk group MxPx, Mike Herrara, has a new swagger in his music. His new alt-country-pop-punkabilly band, Mike Herrera’s Tumbledown, just released a second single from their self-titled debut album. “Butcher of San Antone” is now available in a video version on shockhound.com. Described as reminiscent of Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash, they perform songs of love and heartbreak. In support of their album and the new single, Mike Herrera’s Tumbledown comes to Downtown Brew (1119 Garden St. in SLO) on Friday, Sept. 4. John Nolan of Taking Back Sunday is co-headlining this show, which promises to be fun and entertaining. Doors open at 7 p.m. for this all-ages show, and tickets cost $8 advance, $10 at the door. You can learn more about the band at myspace.com/tumbledowncountry.
Downtown Brew is planning another exciting show, so mark your calendars now. Southern Culture on the Skids and Los Straitjackets are coming to town on Thursday, Sept. 10. Tickets are on sale now at Boo Boo Records and ticketweb.com, $16 advance and $18 at the door. This is a 21-and-over show, folks, and it’ll be fun! More on this next week.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF TREVOR HALL
- THE SEARCHER : Trevor Hall will bring his spiritually enlightened songs to the Cliffs on Sept. 7 at 2 p.m.
Trevor Hall—a lanky, blond singer-songwriter—grew up in South Carolina and in 10th grade traveled to California to study at the international boarding school Idyllwild School of the Arts, where he met musicians and artists from around the world. The experience, he said, resulted in some of the best years of his life.
“My greatest lesson there was observing how art spoke to everyone … no matter what race, what faith, or what country you were from,” he noted.
In his senior year, he signed a record deal with Geffen Records.
“Unfortunately, other than an EP, none of the records I made with Geffen ever came out,” lamented Hall. “They dropped me from the label in 2008, but that didn’t deter me. I picked up my guitar and wrote 14 new songs.”
He released an independent acoustic album called This Is Blue that led to a deal with Vanguard, which recently released a self-titled 13-track collection of infectiously hooky folk and roots-infected pop rock songs with a strong spiritual message of tolerance, unity, and love. With a voice that will remind some of Peter Gabriel and a decidedly Indian swami vibe, Trevor Hall seems poised to be embraced by a much bigger audience.
Trevor Hall will appear at 2 p.m. at the Cliffs on Monday, Sept. 7. He spoke to New Times by phone.
New Times Your album’s lead track contains very few lines and speaks of “internal heights.” What do you mean by that?
Trevor Hall Well, that song is kind of like the summary of what I’m trying to do in my life: to maintain internal heights. It means to maintain a positive and righteous life, engage in selfless service, practice love. The song says, “To see the transcendent being/ Must keep both my hands clean/ keep my heart light/ Maintain internal heights.”
New Times The song feels like a mantra. Is that how you meant it?
Trevor Hall Yeah, definitely. I just wrote those few lines and I thought the song’s done and I wanted to just keep repeating [those lines].
New Times A song like “Who You Gonna Turn To,” which is imploring listeners to seek a higher consciousness—do you believe music can guide someone to enlightenment?
Trevor Hall Yes, absolutely. Music is able to speak on many levels. It’s … I don’t know what else to say except that music is so powerful, so powerful.
New Times In “Unity,” when you sing “They’re telling me He is different but I just don’t believe it,” I read that as saying Jesus isn’t the only path. Do I have that right?
Trevor Hall It’s not about just that. There’re so many fanatics in so many beliefs systems, people saying this is different from that, this is right and that’s wrong.
New Times Your message seems to be tolerance of other religions and other paths. Hinduism and Buddhism both seem well suited to that idea. The Rig Veda, in fact, says there are many paths to one God. Why do you think so many Christians and Muslims seem to have such a difficult time with that concept?
Trevor Hall I don’t know. I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s just [Christians and Muslims]. I think it’s everywhere. Fanatics exist in all types of things. I don’t know what they feel or what their reasons are for that outlook.
New Times Tell me a little about the path you took to your philosophical outlook.
Trevor Hall Well, you know, I think that Bob Marley said, “Who feels it knows it,” and if you have a spiritual feeling in your heart, it’s hard to ignore; it’s a very strong force. At some point I got a taste of this higher power, and I don’t want to go back to “regular” food. Once I got a taste of that higher consciousness and spirit, I wanted more, began exploring more, largely exploring that through music.
New Times When you perform live, what should audiences expect? Are they going to get preached to, or can people come and enjoy the music as art?
Trevor Hall I’m not a preacher. I don’t preach. The songs aren’t saying “come join this” or “do that and if you don’t than this will happen.” I’m singing about my path, my experience, and if they get something out of that, great, and if not, fine, move on. I’m just trying to share what I got.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF RACHAEL SAGE
- PLAYFUL SCHTICK : New York City songstress Rachael Sage brings her “Sequins and Shpiel” show to the Pour House in Paso Robles on Sept. 9.
If you missed this year’s Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, you’ve still got a chance to catch one of the highlights. New York City songstress and keyboardist Rachael Sage has a critically acclaimed show, “Sequins and Shpiel” West Coast swing, described in publicity material as “a healthy mix of vaudevillian shtick, playful Yiddishkeit, and Sage’s signature pianistic flair.”
Rachael Sage has performed with the New York City Ballet and studied at the Actors Studio, plus she’s a grand prize winner in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for her rock tunes. Her infectious melodies, poetic lyrics, and outrageous stage banter have also earned her a spot on Performing Songwriter magazine’s list of Top 100 Independent Artists of the Past 15 Years.
Her latest self-produced album, Chandelier, was mixed by Kevin Killen of U2 and Elvis Costello fame, and contains 13 tracks of what Performing Songwriter calls “engaging pop arrangements and gripping melodies.”
With her characteristic warm, intelligent New York indie charm, Rachael Sage performs on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. in Paso Robles at the Pour House, 1331 Vendels Circle, down the road from Firestone Brewery.
Don’t show up for these shows
Bruce Howard of Otter Productions has announced that the Avila Beach Golf Resort has cancelled the planned Bayou by the Bay concert set for Saturday, Sept. 6, which would have brought us Dr. John, John Lee Hooker Jr., and a host of other notables. Boo hoo!
And the Downtown Brew show with Jamaican-born reggae star Richie Spice, originally planned for Thursday, Sept. 3, has also been cancelled.
More music …
The enchanting vocal stylings of Santa Margarita’s Jade Jackson will fill that town’s favorite watering hole, the Porch, on Friday, Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. If you haven’t been to the Porch yet, what are you waiting for? It’s as comfortable as your own living room. Find it at 22322 El Camino, in the heart of town.
Fighting Chance takes the stage at Mongo’s in Grover Beach on Friday, Sept. 4. This hard-working local band has played in more than 40 states in the last five years, so this could be a rare chance to hear their ska-infused reggae locally. Check them out at fightingchancemusic.net.
The laid-back vibes of Los Osos provide the perfect environment for inspiring a reggae rock band. Hear for yourself when Oso Sol (is that Sunny Bear?) strikes up the beat, with original tunes, tasty harmonies, and rhythm that just won’t quit. You’ve got two chances to catch them, and both upcoming shows are free: Friday, Sept. 4, outdoors at Terraza Grill next to SLO’s Mission Plaza from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., and then again Sunday, Sept. 6 at Mr. Rick’s in Avila Beach from 3 to 7 p.m.
Head to Sylvester Vineyard and Winery (5115 Buena Vista Drive in Paso Robles) for a free musical treat, when Faultline, Calinambe, and Zongo Allstars bring their world music beats to this lush, park-like setting on Saturday, Sept. 5 from 3 to 9 p.m. Wine and food will be available, and proceeds go to the winery’s Pullman Restoration Project. Contact them at sylvesterwinery.com or call 227-4000 for more information.
If craft beer’s more your thing than wine, you’re in luck. The first-ever Brews and Bites event is coming to SLO Mission Plaza, courtesy of the newly founded San Luis Brewers Guild. The music is free, and beer tasting fee is $8 including a commemorative glass and three tastes. After that, tastes cost a buck each. Music will be provided by reggae rockers Shival Experience, alt-country band PennyJar, and acoustic artist Matt Suarez. The fun goes from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 5, and proceeds benefit ECOSLO. More info at slobrewsandbites.com.
Get ready for some fine indie pop with Matthias and the Cry. Matthias, also known as Matt Clark, says, “The Cry floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.” Prepare to be stung, in a good way of course, on Saturday, Sept. 5 at Sweet Springs in Los Osos. The 9:30 p.m. show is for 21-and-over, and the cover’s five bucks at the door.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF DEVASTATING KARATE
- BOWLING, ANYONE? : Humorous band Devastating Karate rolls out their cowpunk honky tonk on Sept. 6 at Frog and Peach.
Cambria’s Pinedorado Days always offer a fun time, with a parade, art show, car show, and the danceable grooves of the Mighty Croon Dogs on Sunday, Sept. 6 at the Pinedorado grounds next to the Cambria Vets Hall on Main Street. It’s free, folks!
Don’t miss the Central Coast Music Showcase, featuring local acoustic artists performing in a benefit for Sojourn, on Sunday, Sept. 6 from noon to 6 p.m. at Del Mar Park in Morro Bay. To get there, turn east off Highway 1 on San Jacinto, then north on Ironwood. You’ll also find food, beer, wine, an auction, a raffle, and a peddlers’ fair, along with kids’ activities. Call 471-0576 to find out more.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF MOIRA AND VOCO
- THEY SING LIKE BIRDS : The Arroyo Grande Village Summer Concert Series features Moira Smiley and VOCO with Inga Swearingen on Sept. 6.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO SYMPHONY
- TUNES BY THE BAY : The San Luis Obispo Symphony presents its immensely popular Pops-by-the-Sea concert, featuring the Damon Castillo Band and songs from Hollywood, on Sept. 6 at the Avila Beach Golf Resort.
Mother’s Tavern in downtown SLO is bringing the Overlooked Underground Tour to town, featuring three Bay Area bands: Bored Stiff, Opio, and Z-Man. It’s the last stop of the tour, so it should be a good one. Check it out on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF GLEN MILLER ORCHESTRA
- BIG BAND : Expect all the old jazz favorites when the Glenn Miller Orchestra comes to the PAC on Sept. 10.
New Times contributor Kathy Johnston is filling in for Glen Starkey, who’s back from staycation next week. Welcome him back at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even with the worldwide touch of the Internet, it took a dig in a Philadelphia record shop to turn up an international gem. Recorded in 1973 at Ginger Baker's studio in Lagos, Nigeria, Na Teef Know De Road ... was the second outing for Nicholas Addo-Nettey, a Ghanaian whose musical talents eventually landed him a gig with Fela Kuti's Africa 70. But it was Fela himself, upon hearing his bandmate's solo effort, who demanded him to never play it again. Thus it dropped into obscurity for 30 years, now being resuscitated by the soul connoisseur label Daptone, home to Sharon Jones and the Budos Band. Opening with the 11-minute smoker “Na Teef Know,” the first vocals don't kick in until five minutes, giving you ample time to stew in the polyrhythmic brew of horns, drums, and the funkiest of organs. A serious slice of authentic Afrobeat.
Los Angeles hardcore acts have always departed from the aesthetics of their East Coast rivals, but never quite like this. The Bronx drop the blistering velocity of their usual punk rock entirely, instead tapping into the Nortenos and Boleros of Mexican mariachi that add as much to the culture of the Los Angeles music scene as Black Flag did. Since they’re outfitted in official charro outfits and topped off with wide-brimmed hats, you may instinctually consider this a one-off mockery. But with the assistance of Los Lobos's David Hidalgo and his son Vincent, Mariachi El Bronx sounds fully educated. “Cell Mates” opens with a wall of blasting trumpets as weeping violins and violas accent an inmate’s pleading love to his hopefully waiting girlfriend. Hidalgo's accordion punctuates “Clown Powder” and the closing ranchera “My Love,” an aching ballad of an abandoned relationship. The Bronx offers a terrific side-step to keep the kids guessing, and maybe gain a few new appreciations.
—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and mikovision.blogspot.com, where you’ll find archived reviews and soundclips.