Cool Yule

by Drew Mackie

Gene_Farris.jpgSOLAR CELEBRATION: A small problem: Despite publicity and popularity among frequenters of the Santa Barbara music scene, the Dreamtime Continuum is a bit of a mystery to this music columnist. It can be said without hesitation, however, that this cooperative of musicians and spiritualists will offer a respite from anything that most people have come to recognize as typical downtown fare. For example, the Dreamtime Continuum turned the holiday season on its head by choosing to celebrate the Winter Solstice — a seasonal event born of the planet’s movement through space rather than any religious-themed holiday. The show will purportedly include some combination of dancing and trancing — or, in their words, “polyrhythmic ecstasy” — as well as didgeridoos at some point. And, after all, what’s a solstice without didgeridoos? Discover the Dreamtime Continuum for yourself at SOhO on Thursday, December 21 at 7 p.m.

SAVE FARRIS: Gene Farris is the self-described “sinister minister of electronica’s changing sound.” When translated, that amounts to Farris being a deejay of some acclaim, and one of the bigger names to emerge from the Chicago house music scene. At a young age, Farris fell in love with the diverse sounds of new wave, disco, and soul and began fusing them into a unified sound. In 1998, he realized his dream of creating his own record label, Farris Wheel Recordings, which currently boasts a variety of deejays, vocalists, and jazz performers. Expect the combined powers of Farris’s considerable musical experience at his performance at the Wildcat Lounge on Thursday, December 21. Turntable-savvy cohorts DJ Hogg and Curly will also take turns in the booth.

BIKO BEAT: Oh, those Biko kids and their music. For those who cannot seem to find the music they like in the downtown scene, Isla Vista’s Biko House will be offering its regular biweekly night of experimental music. And though management is mum on who exactly will take the stage, expect the best of Santa Barbara’s local indie, avante garde, and otherwise strange and great bands, plus whoever cool might be visiting this week. Like every Experimental Music Night, there is no charge or age restriction. So no matter who you are or how much cash you have in your pocket, you have no excuse not to be at the Biko House on Thursday, December 21 at 8 p.m.

BONE MACHINE: It’s the 10-piece band that has been playing the best in soulful reggae compositions for the past 17 years: Jah Bone. This band — which boasts a trombone, trumpet, and tenor sax in addition to the usual reggae ingredients — has shared a stage with such big-name acts as Burning Spear, the Wailing Souls, and the Mighty Diamonds. It’s no wonder a team of musicians with so much performing experience — both individually and as a unit — could muster such staying power. Hear what nearly two decades of practice sounds like at SOhO on Saturday, December 23 at 10 p.m.

COLD SPRING ETERNAL: Yes, you have shopping to do. Yes, your surly relatives are en route to your house. And yes, your house is proving to be a maze of tinsel and fake pine sprigs. But why not escape this pre-Christmas chaos by heading up to Cold Spring Tavern off Highway 154 for an afternoon of live music? Los Angeles’s the Brian Travis Band will be playing at the historic restaurant on Saturday, December 23, 2-5 p.m. This rocking foursome recently signed with Santa Barbara label Ranch Records to release their sophomore musical effort. That same evening, Cold Spring Tavern will host Cinder Jean and Kate Bennett. The former grew up in Santa Barbara and recently released Strands of Time, an album that sums up her past 10 years of performing, recording, and being inspired by the likes of Judy Collins, Carly Simon, and James Taylor. The latter, also a local, composed the songs on her album Over the Moon as an ode to the mountains and oceans of S.B. A student of Jim Messina, Bennett combines powerful vocals with adept guitar work. n

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