- PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MOUNTAIN GOATS
- CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN : Awesome, quirky, infectious act The Mountain Goats play Downtown Brew on Nov. 13.
Darnielle, who at one time hoped his “day job” would be as a poet, now uses his literary talents in service of song, and he’s clearly got a knack for conjuring a time and place not only literally (mid-’70s Watergate; think Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm) but figuratively as well (inside the mind of a scared kid hiding from his parents’ disintegrating marriage).
The Durham, North Carolina-based band is essentially Darnielle and a select group of rotating bassists (Peter Hughes, Rachel Ware) who tour around playing his quirky, infectious songs. See The Mountain Goats at Downtown Brew on Friday, Nov. 13 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $16 presale or $18 at the door). This is kind of a big deal since they’re only playing three Cali shows, and the other two are at way bigger venues (the Henry Fonda Theatre and the Fillmore). Final Fantasy opens.
The Brew also has hip-hop impresario Andre “Dre Dog” Nickatina on Thursday, Nov. 12 (7:30 p.m.; 18 and older; $25), followed by the Central Coast DJ Competition semi-finals between DJ Donk vs. DJ Tony A and DJ Sol vs. DJ Oso Mighty (10:45 p.m.; 21 and older; $2 at the door).
Jamming, looping fav Keller Williams returns to the Brew on Sunday, Nov. 15 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $20 presale or $23 at the door). Thanks to technology and a whopping pile of talent, Williams is able to play various instruments into a recording device that plays them in a loop as he layers more instrumentation on top until he creates a near-orchestral wall of sound. If you’ve never seen him, it’s an awesome sight to behold.
Get a dose of grindcore and new wave when Finch, Bless the Fall, and Drop Dead Gorgeous hit the Brew on Monday, Nov. 16 (6:30 p.m.; all ages; $15).
Reggae fav Pato Banton returns on Wednesday, Nov. 18 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $15 presale and $17 at the door).
And mark your calendar for The Flobots next Thursday, Nov. 19 (7 p.m.; all ages; $18 presale or $20 at the door). The progressive hip-hop ensemble features two emcees, a phat R&B backing band, a classically trained violinist, and a jazz trumpet player. Hip-hop backed by live music? That’s right, so damn right.
Now celebrating their 13th year together, Ireland’s Aodh Og O’Tuama and California’s Christy Martin—aka the husband and wife duo Four Shillings Short—have lined up a bevy of local shows: On Thursday, Nov. 12, they’ll play on KCPR 93.1FM from 10 to noon on Musica Americana; Friday, Nov. 13, they’ll be at the Pour House from 7 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 14, they’ll appear on KCBX 90.1FM for Song Town from 2 to 4 p.m.; later that night they’ll do a benefit concert for the Cuesta College North County Chorus at Castoro Cellars from 7 to 9:30 p.m. ($20; call 238-0725); and Sunday, Nov. 15, catch them at the SLO Down Pub from 5 to 8 p.m. The multi-instrumentalists will take you on a musical trip around the world.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF AMY OBENSKI
Sammy Eubanks, six-time Male Vocalist of the Year winner, plays San Miguel’s rustic Elkhorn Bar on Friday, Nov. 13 at 9 p.m. and Paso’s Pine Street Saloon on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 9 p.m. He’s considered one of Spokane’s most guarded treasures.
Pozo Saloon is sneaking in one more killer show before the season ends when Julian Marley and The Uprising featuring Stephen Marley hits the grassy field behind the saloon on Saturday, Nov. 14 (noon; all ages; tickets are at Boo Boo’s, Cheap Thrills, Boyd’s Tobacco, and the Clark Center). The saloon had a pretty good run this past year: Charlie Daniels, Don Carlos, Matisyahu, Shooter Jennings, Ice Cube, Bob Weir and RatDog, Blues Traveler, Sugar Ray, Pepper, Rebelution, Karl Denson. and Fishbone. Now see two of Bob Marley’s kids light up the Pozo afternoon.
Morro Bay Sings Joni is a living tribute to amazing singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14 to benefit the Morro Bay Community Foundation, which provides recreational scholarships to financially assist needy families in Cayucos, Los Osos, and Morro Bay by offsetting the cost for their children’s participation in the Morro Bay Recreation and Parks Department’s recreational activities, as well as school age licensed childcare. Tickets are $20 presale (at Ruddell’s Smokehouse, Coalesce Bookstore, and Volumes of Pleasure; or call 234-2980) or $30 at the door. Come at 5 p.m. to enjoy food and drink, or come at 7 and see four talented singer-songwriters along with their friends each play a set of Joni Mitchell songs. Hear Allison Keller and her husband Dan (of Cuesta Ridge); Raeme Miner (of Resination); Jody Mulgrew; and Lindsay Tomasic.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF MARGIE NELSON
- SING IT, SISTER : Vocalist Margie Nelson joins the Michael Raynor Group on Nov. 14 at the Clubhouse.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN WESSEL
- CIRCA 1977 : Jethro Tull founding member Glenn Cornick (left) and local musician John Wessel kick back in the late ’70s. The old friends will play as Locomotive Breath on Nov. 14 at Cambria Pines Lodge, doing a tribute to the music of Jethro Tull.
Nina Ryne and Jan Grigsby present an album release party on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the SLO Down Pub from 8 to 10 p.m. Titled Lost and Found, the record features both original material as well as select covers such as Bob Dylan’s Forever Young and Kate Wolf’s Give Yourself To Love.
Brand-new old-time bluegrass band Little Black Train plays two shows this weekend: Saturday, Nov. 14 at Sage Eco Gardens and Nursery’s customer appreciation party from 4 to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 15 at the Steynberg Gallery (7 p.m.; $15 at the door). Made up of Central Coast players John Weed (fiddle), Kenny Blackwell (mandolin), and Stuart Mason (guitar), the band took its name from a traditional Carter Family gospel song. They fuse old-time Americana with Celtic and original pieces to produce what they have dubbed “oldternative” bluegrass.
Singer-songwriter Ben Justus hits Frog and Peach on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. to promote his new CD Without Reason. He’ll return again on Tuesday, Nov. 17 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. “Those will likely be the last shows this year on the Central Coast,” he said.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF THE IAN MCFERON BAND
- PHOTO COURTESY OF HAVILAH BOTTICELLI
- THREE’S A CHARM : Austin-based Havilah appears Nov. 17 at the Clubhouse; Nov. 18 at Linnaea’s Café; and, finally, Nov. 19 at the Cliffs.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF STONEY LARUE
- GET STONEY! : Red Dirt artist Stoney LaRue returns to the Graduate on Nov. 19.
Get your ax restrung for soup
“Now more than ever our local Food Bank needs our help and support,” said Matt Franscioni of Matt’s Music Stage & School. “We’re creating a great incentive for you to help called ‘ReString For Food.’ On Saturday, Nov. 14, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., bring in a minimum of two cans of food and we’ll will inspect your guitar and install a new set of D’Addario Strings for free! That’s a $40 value!” Sweet. (No creamed corn, jerks!)
Glen Starkey is a unique snowflake, just like every other snowflake. Turn him yellow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every few years, interest flourishes for artists whose international recognition only dented American consciousness. It was the re-issued catalogs of Fela Kuti and Serge Gainsbourg that ignited curiosity and culminated in new appreciation. Now, we see Ethiopian bandleader, arranger, keyboard, and vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke obtaining the career retrospective he deserves. From New York to Addis Ababa showcases Astatke’s development as he melded Ethiopian traditional melodies to Western jazz orchestration, and the unique sound he pioneered. Really, where else do you hear such an astonishing and unique range of sound from one individual? The steel drum on “Asiyo Belema” recalls the Latin-jazz of Tito Puente, while the sentimental saxophone on ballad “Tezeta” would bring a tear to Ben Webster’s eye. “Ebo Lala” returns you to Addis Ababa with scintillating poly-rhythms and African vocals. Consider “Yegelle Tezeta” his hit: Punctuated with steamy sax runs, an exotica-grooved organ, and tight, crisp drum beat, it’s the amalgamation of all his influences tuned perfectly.
Expanding the vocabulary and sonic innovation of the toy-like harmonica, Little Walter stands next to Jimi Hendrix in changing the prevailing attitudes of what their chosen instrument could attain. Running his mouth harp through cheap microphones and over-stressed amplifiers, Little Walter blew and improvised like a jazz player; his phrasing swooped around the beat and anticipated the guitar melody with incisive, electrified shrieks and elongated wails. Eventually he landed not only the role as Muddy Waters’ sideman, but also became the house harpist for Chess Records recordings and launched himself into fronting his own band. Though the five-disc Complete Chess Masters lists itself as a near two decade collection, the heart of Little Walter’s repertoire is captured during his early to mid-’50s, where his kinetic harp racked up a string of R&B hits, often backed by his own lissome vocals. Packaged in a six-paneled foldout, this is a beautiful tribute to one of the under-acknowledged heroes of Chess Records.
—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and mikovision.blogspot.com, where you’ll find archived reviews and soundclips.