With so much amazing live music making its way through our little county, it’s becoming downright difficult to keep the days straight-let alone get a good night’s sleep. Aside from this weekend’s big draws (New Pornographers’ frontman A.C. Newman at SOhO, Los Angelinos No Age at Velvet Jones, we’ll being playing host to some smaller-though equally must-see-performances in the next seven days. And on top of all that, promoters are giving us all the more reason to turn up early and score a great view, as the majority of this weekend’s opening acts are about as great as the bands they’re supporting. For a rundown of highlights for the days to come, read on below.
ZAPPA VS. JASON: Not often one to advocate the drive to Ventura in the name of live music (at that point, you may as well keep on truckin’ to Hollywood, right?), this week our neighbors to the south are offering up two shows that could not be more bizarrely different. Saturday, February 28, the Majestic Ventura Theater (26 S. Chestnut St.) presents the mother of all tribute shows, Zappa Plays Zappa 2009. Yes, I get that nothing will ever live up to the eccentric oddity and trippy sonic quality of Frank Zappa doing, well, pretty much anything-but this comes pretty darn close. Here, Dweezil (the eldest spawn of the late, great composer) hits the stage with a bunch of his dad’s old music buddies (Terry Bozzio, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Steve Vai) and rocks out to Poppa Zappa’s greatest tunes. Known for his unsurprisingly oddball characteristics, Dweezil will undoubtedly do his father proud on lead guitar and vocals. And who knows, they might even bust out one of those strangely sentimental Nat and Natalie-style duets. For tickets and info, call 653-0721 or visit venturatheater.net.
For something of the decidedly less dated variety, I suggest a stop by the quaint (and increasingly successful) Zoey’s Cafe’s Live at the Lodge (11 S. Ash St.) in downtown Ventura. On Friday, February 27, former Iowa City dweller Jason Reeves will return to the town he now calls home for a very special show in support of his debut album, The Magnificent Adventures of Heartache (and Other Frightening Tales :). Perhaps best known for being the man behind the majority of Cobbie Caillat‘s Coco, Reeves’s shtick is a little less saccharine sweet than his protegee. The tunes range from the upbeat to the gut-wrenching, but all showcase Reeves’s ability to write a good melody. The show starts at 8 p.m. and promises plenty of guest performers. Call 652-0091 or visit zoeyscafe.com.
TURN IT UP (AND DOWN): For a true hometown treat, I recommend a stop by the Brewhouse (229 W. Montecito St.) on Wednesday, March 4, for a slowed-down glimpse at one of the hands-down most talented guitarists in town. Together with Chris Chalk, axe man Alastair Greene (myspace.com/alastairgreeneband) will play an acoustic set that is sure to highlight some of his truly epic string skills. Greene will also playing with his (much louder) backing band on Wednesday, March 18, at James Joyce (513 State St.).
And while folk legend Kath Bloom‘s big-deal return will undoubtedly draw a crowd to Muddy Waters Cafe (508 E. Haley St.) next Thursday, March 5, it is opener Little Wings (kyledraws.com) that has my rapt attention. The super stripped-down outfit is the project of lone quirky visual artist-cum-folkie Kyle Field. Beyond the raw vocals and minimalist instrumentation, Field’s lyrics are filled to the brim with some truly poetic imagery. His latest, Grow, incorporates quiet harmonization and childlike curiosity in such a way as to be both listenable and undeniably thought provoking. Hey, if nothing else, Field is the perfect excuse to get in early and score a sweet spot in front for Kath’s big comeback. Visit clubmercy.com for details and ticket info.