FEELIN’ IRIE: Arguably the best California-grown reggae band touring today, Soul Majestic returns to Santa Barbara this week for what is sure to be a skank-heavy and brick-rockin’ good time at SOhO this Friday, January 26. Headed up by S.B.-native Eric-I (aka Eric Iverson), the Santa Cruz-based band has had more than its fair share of epic shows throughout the years in the 805, including a magical late-summer affair at El Capitan Canyon a few years back. A seven-member band — complete with a wicked percussion section, the occasional horn or two, and the spine-tingling, smile-making vocals of Oriana Sanders — the group is taking time out from recording its new studio album to come and give concert goers a crash course in roots rock done right.
Speaking last week on the telephone, Eric-I expressed his excitement about coming home and trying out some of the band’s new material. “What we’re doing now is music that means something to us and makes us happy. … I think it’s going to be a great night,” he said.
And it’s about time. In the day and age of fading reggae stars and half-ass efforts by one-time legends, Soul Majestic delivers an invigorating and full-tilt, ass-shaking show that simultaneously reminds you of the power of the Jamaican sound and proves that good reggae is far from dead. And with a cover charge of only $10 and Eric-I’s forecast of two very long sets, this Friday looks to be yet another special evening with that sweet Majestic music. — Ethan Stewart ISLAND FAVORITES: Singer/songwriter Makana comes to S.B. by way of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. But don’t be fooled by his young and handsome face — this bright talent has been performing for more than 20 years and has shared the stage with such acts as Sting, Santana, Michael Franti, and local favorite, Jack Johnson. Although he has given up the ukulele, Makana still incorporates traditional Hawaiian sounds in his set, as well as bluegrass, rock, and folk. This international blend of music with an island twist is a first-class cure for the mid-work-week blues. The show and benefit for the local Surfrider Foundation is Tuesday, January 30 at 7:30 p.m. at SOhO. — Nicole de Ayora
RECORD BREAKER: For those of you jonesing for your weekly jazz fix, legend Al Jarreau will take the stage at the Chumash Casino Resort this Friday, January 26. A former nightclub singer at the Troubadour, Jarreau is a multifaceted musical veteran and the only person in history to have Grammys in three separate categories: jazz, pop, and R&B. And if that’s not enough for ya, how about this tidbit: Jarreau was recently honored by having a muffin named after him. Seriously. Isn’t that reason enough to hit the road for the Chumash? — Sheyla Molho
FIDDLERS ON THE ROAD: Longtime stompers of S.B. soil, Peter Feldmann and the Very Lonesome Boys take their folk-tinged bluegrass over the hill to the Santa Ynez Valley. The five-piece band — now in its 10th year and credited with founding the S.B. Old Town Fiddlers’ Convention — will take the stage at Santa Ynez Grange Hall this Saturday, January 27 at 8 p.m. — Sarah Hammill
ELEMENTAL ELECTRIC: After a holiday lull, the music scene picks back up where it left off with a bevy of selections for just about any music lover. Country blues master John Long will take the stage for the Santa Barbara Blues Society’s annual Member Appreciation Show on Saturday, January 27 at 7 p.m. in Warren Hall at Earl Warren Showgrounds. On the downtown circuit, Indy employee Will Engel shows his after-hours side with a night of music featuring friends Ted Hoagland and Samantha Tobey, to debut his latest release This Could be Heaven at SOhO on Wednesday, January 31 at 7:30 p.m. Later in the week, catch reeling renditions of Pink Floyd with Which One’s Pink? The powerhouse breaks it down at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31 at SOhO. — NdA GENIUS’S VELVET LANDING: The string of solid hip-hop continues at the Velvet Jones this weekend, when Genius, aka GZA (pronounced “jizza”), of the Wu Tang Clan comes to the State Street club on Friday, January 26, with DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill fame. GZA, whose post-Wu solo effort Liquid Swords still shines as one of the lyrical gems of the ’90s, and Muggs collaborated on last year’s critically acclaimed Grandmasters album. Known for his word-heavy raps describing the urban underworld through a lens of militant spiritualism, GZA remains a force of quality in a genre increasingly weighted down by commercialism and crap. And, this month, GZA and the rest of the Wu Tang Clan dropped Unreleased — which is a remixed album of never-before-heard tracks — and Natural Selection 2.0: A Digital Survival Guide, a digital-only release featuring the help of Pete Rock, Talib Kweli, and MF Doom. Friends showing up for Friday’s show include Akil of Jurassic 5, fellow clanmember Killah Priest, and Self Scientific. — Matt Kettmann