If you’re wondering what happened to the rave scene, the answer is it’s changed its name to Steve. No, that’s not quite right.
“Glenn,” wrote Collective Effort Events promoter Johnny Kenny, who can’t spell my name, but no biggie, “if you haven’t noticed there is a ‘dance music movement’ sweeping the nation and the world, and San Luis Obispo is on the razor’s edge of this movement.”
Holy guacamole, Batman! Holy W. Somerset Maugham! Holy Bill Murray playing Larry Darrell! We’re on the freakin’ razor’s edge here!
“In 2011, many of the world’s BIGGEST dance music producers/DJs have come to SLO to play for a thriving community who supports this movement,” explained Kenny, using small words and capital letters for emphasis so even a dolt like me could understand. “For a town this small it is an anomaly that so many of the world’s top artists would play here, and it has a lot of the dance music insiders, agents, managers, and artists referring to San Luis Obispo as the ‘Austin Texas of Dance Music.’”
Wow, even Austin isn’t the “Austin of Dance Music!” We are! Reading between Kenny’s lines, the problem is New Times has abdicated its responsibility by not promoting these dance events as much as we should, so snarkiness aside, dance freaks, here’s what you need to know.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE AOKI
- THE WORLD’S MOST ICONIC! : Dance music producer and DJ Steve Aoki headlines a show at the Alex Madonna Expo Center on Dec. 1.
On Thursday, Dec. 1, Collective Effort Events brings “the world’s most iconic DJ/producer” Steve Aoki to the Madonna Inn.
“This is going to be a concert SLO will not soon forget with opening sets by Bart B More (‘Dutch Superstar,’ Netherlands), Tommy Noble (Santa Barbara), and DJ MakJ (SLO),” Kenny added. “This Collective Effort Events production will feature massive sound and lighting, and we look forward to seeing all of your smiling faces on the dance floor.”
It happens in the Alex Madonna Expo Center with doors at 7 p.m. You must be 18-and-older to attend, and those 21-and-older can buy drinks, too. General admission tickets are $30, or pay $40 for VIP tickets, which apparently means you won’t have to wait in line with the riff-raff but can instead wait in the smaller line with the other Very Important People With Ten Extra Dollars. Buy tickets at Boo Boo Records or online at steveaokislo.eventbrite.com.
The razor’s edge! The Austin of Dance Music! Wow!
Songwriters at Play
- PHOTO BY MELISSA CASTRO
- THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN : Ken Oak and Ed Gorski return for two more Songwriters at Play shows: Dec. 1 at the Porch and Dec. 4 at Sculpterra.
“The boys are back in town!” gushed Songwriters at Play co-promoter Bonnie Nelson. Oak and Gorski will be featured at the Porch on Thursday, Dec. 1 (6:30 p.m.; all ages; pass the hat), and at Sculpterra Winery on Sunday, Dec. 4 (1 p.m.; all ages; pass the hat). The “cello rock” act formed in 2005 and has done 10 national tours, sold more than 30,000 albums, and secured numerous TV and film placements such as the Dreamworks film She’s the Man, Lifetime’s A Nanny’s Secret, and CSI: NY. They’re touring in support of their fourth album, Love Destroyer.
The Spot will host musical theater veteran Gale McNeeley on Monday, Dec. 5 (7 p.m.; all ages; $10 at the door). The Broadway actor, singer, and dancer will reprise his hit show Over the Rainbow, a “tribute to Yip Harburg—the most famous lyricist you’ve never heard of,” said McNeeley, who’ll be accompanied on piano by his musical partner Betty Faas.
Carbon City Lights, the stage name of Michael Ibrahim, plays Kreuzberg on Tuesday, Dec. 6 (6:30 p.m.; all ages; pass the hat). An Egyptian native, Ibrahim grew up in Saudi Arabia, lived in Toronto, but now has moved to the area. “Moving to San Luis Obispo from Toronto has definitely been a big change for me, and I’ve noticed a change musically as well, since my first record, With or Without,” Ibrahim said. “This has been a very exciting year in my life, and I’m really proud of my progress musically. My second album Rusted Diamonds is available on iTunes. Head over to carboncitylights.com to get some free music as well!”
SLO Brew to the rescue!
Even though it’s dead week at Cal Poly and finals week next week, that isn’t stopping SLO Brew from delivering the musical goods with four shows and a little something for everyone.
Reggae act Tribal Seeds kicks things off on Saturday, Dec. 3 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $14 presale or $16 at the door), with Fortunate Youth opening the show. If you’re a fan of Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, and Midnite, you’ll be happy to know that Tribal Seeds lists the three as main influences. Fortunate Youth is a seven-piece with a rootsy vibe and heavy bass lines. Get irie.
On Sunday, Dec. 4, things take a turn toward indie rock when Bonnie Dune returns with opening act Vanaprasta (7 p.m.; all ages; $13 presale or $15 at the door). If you like Toad the Wet Sprocket, Bonnie Dune is right up your alley. Vanaprasta, on the other hand, is an experimental rock act from the trendy Silver Lake area of Los Angeles who says this of their sound: “Influences range from the monstrous blues riffs of Dark Side of the Moon, to the driving rhythms of Silent Alarm, the funk of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and the raw three-part guitar harmonies from The Bends.”
- PHOTO COURTESY OF JACKSON TAYLOR
- HAVE A BEER WITH JACKSON : Honky-tonk hero Jackson Taylor brings his narrative tunes of woe and wonder to SLO Brew on Dec. 5.
You can get honkied and tonked when honky-tonk hero Jackson Taylor takes the stage on Monday, Dec. 5 (7:30 p.m.; 18-and-older; $10 presale or $12 at the door). The musical storyteller delivers narrative tunes filled with passion and joy as much as sorrow and disappointment.
Finally, hip-hop fans will get theirs when Dom Kennedy arrives on Wednesday, Dec. 7 (8 p.m.; all ages; $15 presale or $16 at the door), with Skeme opening the show. Kennedy first appeared on the scene in 2008 with his debut 25th Hour, a mixed tape that still gets airplay in So-Cal. Fellow L.A. emcee Skeme, aka Lonnie Kimball, finds his rap informed by the blues tradition.
Get some live music!
One, two, TRIPLE!
They’re not a single threat, not even a double threat, no! I’m talking about Triple Threat, a classic rock trio influenced by the icons: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, The Doors, and Black Sabbath. They’ll play Frog and Peach on Tuesday, Dec. 6 (and Saturday, Dec. 17) at 10 p.m.
Their Tuesday show, which falls on Pint Night (yee haw!), is a CD release party for their rocking new self-titled debut album, which is an all-too-brief seven-song knockout rock’n’roll punch.
It’s exactly the sort of quality retro-rock I’d expect from these three inveterate local players: Bill Starling (vocals and guitar), Greg Jackson (drums and vocals), and Freeman Lee (bass and vocals).
Though Triple Threat has been around for seven years, they’ve mostly been known as a spot-on classic rock cover band, but over the years they’ve been writing their own material, and I’m here to tell you, it stacks up nicely with the classics the band covers.
This is just plain good rock’n’roll: ripping guitar work, rock steady rhythm, and three strong singers delivering some heavy tunes with a relaxed demeanor. Good stuff!
More music …
- PHOTO COURTESY OF FOOLPROOF FOUR
- ALT-COUNTRY HEROES: San Francisco’s Foolproof Four plays an in-store at Boo Boo Records and the Frog and Peach on Dec. 1.
You’ve heard of Triple Threat, now meet Foolproof Four, who’ll play Thursday, Dec. 1, starting with a 5:30 p.m. in-store at Boo Boo Records before heading to Frog and Peach at 8 p.m. The San Francisco folk rock act is a bit of a misnomer as they tour as a duo, delivering alt-country music that’s been described as evoking “the cool moments of the careers of the Bee Gees and Kenny Rogers.” Intriguing, no?
- PHOTO COURTESY OF TAKE IT SLO
- HOLIDAY FUN! : Get into the holidays with two concerts by Take It SLO, Cal Poly’s excellent a cappella ensemble, when they perform Dec. 1 and Dec. 4 at Cal Poly.
Get into the holidays with two concerts by Take It SLO, Cal Poly’s excellent a cappella ensemble, when they perform Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. in Room 218 in the Davidson Music Center on campus. “The 16-member vocal ensemble will perform a variety of songs designed to raise the holiday spirit, plus some new works and old favorites, all arranged by the students,” according to press materials. Admission at the door will be $7 for the public and $5 for students.
This past summer, the Damon Castillo Band joined the SLO Symphony for Pops by the Sea, and now they’re teaming up with Cal Poly’s University Jazz Bands for their Fall Jazz Concert on Friday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. in the Spanos Theatre at Cal Poly. “The university’s big band and jazz combo will perform well-known standards and cutting-edge contemporary jazz,” according to press materials. “The band, with music major Olivia Tenney as featured vocalist, will play Pat Metheny’s ‘See the World’ and the world premiere of music alumnus Steve Carlton’s ‘Close Call,’ among other works. The Damon Castillo Band will perform the finale.” Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 for seniors and SLO Jazz Fed members, and $6 for students. Call 756-2787 to reserve yours.
Keep the Christmas spirit flowing on Saturday, Dec. 3, when PolyPhonics, The University Singers, and the Cal Poly Early Music Ensemble will bring the holiday spirit to Cal Poly during “A Christmas Celebration—A Jubilee for Choir, Brass, and Organ,” at 8 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center. Tickets cost $10 for students, $16 and $19 for seniors, or $17 and $20 for general admission (756-2787).
- PHOTO COURTESY OF KEITH GREENINGER AND DAYAN KAI
- TROUBADOURS : Música Del Río House Concerts continues its fine tradition of bringing excellent performers to an intimate setting when Keith Greeninger and Dayan Kai perform on Dec. 3.
Atascadero’s wonderful house concert series, Música Del Río House Concerts, continues its fine tradition of bringing excellent performers to an intimate setting when Keith Greeninger and Dayan Kai perform on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. ($15; call 466-6941 or visit musicadelrio.org to reserve seats). With pure, emotionally resonant voices and songs to stir the soul, these two performers promise to deliver an unforgettable evening of music.
If you want to hear the Damon Castillo Band in a more intimate setting, head to D’Anbino on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. for some “pop, layered with funky jazz, and full of old-school soul.” There’s a $10 admission ($5 for Record Club).
- PHOTO COURTESY OF CAL POLY ARTS
- SUPERB! : On Dec. 4, Cal Poly has a special treat for classic music fans when the Calder Quartet, which even the notoriously fickle New York Times hails as “superb,” comes to the Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre.
On Sunday, Dec. 4, Cal Poly has a special treat for classical music fans when the Calder Quartet, which even the notoriously fickle New York Times hails as “superb,” comes to the Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre for a 3 p.m. concert. You’ll hear Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C Major, K. 465 (“Dissonance”), Jacob Ter Veldhuis’ String Quartet No. 3, (“There Must Be Some Way Out of Here”), and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 2 in E minor, Op. 59 (“Razumovsky”). Student and adult tickets cost $29 and $36 (756-2787).
It’s become a veritable tradition, so once again Molly’s Revenge and special guest vocalist Christa Burch will be performing their annual Celtic Christmas Celebration of music, song, and dance at South Bay Community Center in Los Osos on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 4 p.m. The Rosemary Turco Irish Dancers will also be appearing at the concert. Tickets cost $20 at Boo Boo Records.
And speaking of traditions, it’s time for the Famous Jazz Artist Series annual salute to the fine college jazz professors on the Central Coast on Sunday, Dec. 4 (4 p.m.; $15 general admission or $10 for students; call 927-0567). Pianist Paul Rinzler (Cal Poly) and saxophonist Ron McCarley (Cuesta) will perform along with other members of their music department staffs.
Keep up with Glen Starkey via twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at Myspace.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.