HOME, SWEET HOME: There are few bands that have done more for the Santa Barbara music scene than oso. Since forming in 2004, the gypsy jazz folksters have conquered nearly every venue in town, and stirred up more impromptu dance parties than even we could count.
Now, almost a year to the day after the release of their last record (and subsequent hiatus), the so-called “DIY cultural ambassadors of Santa Barbara” return home for a reunion show of mighty proportions. This Wednesday, June 15, drummer Tim Beutler, violinist Nick Coventry, bassist Andrew Fedders, and guitarist/vocalist Phil Taylor will converge onstage from spots literally across the globe (Beutler’s spent the past six months in Berlin, Taylor in Eastern Europe and Maine).
For old friends, family, and fans, the night is sure to be a memorable one. And for those young S.B. players who’ve never caught oso live, prepare yourselves: This is one set that is guaranteed to change the way you listen to music. Want to see for yourself? The guys take to SOhO (1221 State St.) for an all-ages show on June 15 at 8 p.m. Call 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com.
PDX PRIDE: For years now, it seems, there’s been a wonderful sister-city vibe flowing between S.B. and Portland, Oregon. And thanks to the strong relationship between P-town’s Tender Loving Empire label and our own Muddy Waters Café (508 E. Haley St.)—and the myriad S.B. music makers who have flown north of late—it’s a trend I doubt will die anytime soon.
This week, the Portland-S.B. love fest continues with a night of musical friendships born on the road. On Thursday, June 9, our own Mutineers and The Chris Story XXXperience team up with newfound Portland band buddies Brothers Young and Hurtbird for a show at the Mud. The lineup promises something for everyone: Story brings the garage rock, the Mutes shred Americana, Hurtbird is an eccentric indie hip-hop act, and Brothers Young boast some seriously moody folk-rock numbers. The all-ages Muddy Waters show starts at 8 p.m. Call 966-9328 for info.
WORTH THE DRIVE: Also this week, the Majestic Ventura Theater (26 S. Chestnut St., Ventura) plays host to Jack’s Mannequin, which kicks off a headlining tour on Tuesday, June 14. Since forming as a side project of former Something Corporate frontman Andrew McMahon in 2004, Mannequin has released two startling albums (2005’s Everything in Transit and 2008’s The Glass Passenger) and seen its mastermind go through no shortage of heartbreak. In 2005, McMahon was diagnosed with and treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which threatened to put a halt to the project even before the band’s first full-fledged tour. Nowadays, a healthy and happy McMahon is reported to be putting the finishing touches on a third record, slated for release later this summer. I’ve got no doubt both the show and the record will be brimming with the twinkling piano tones, reverberating vocals, and deeply personal lyricism that McMahon has long been known for. For tickets and information, call 653-0118 or visit venturatheater.net.
And if you’re searching for a good excuse to head up the Conejo Grade, look no further than Open Borders. In what has to be one of the smartest “pop-up” venue ventures I’ve ever seen, a group of young creatives has invaded a former Borders location in Thousand Oaks to create a massive (and remarkably impressive) art and performance space. Running through August 7, the Open Borders concert series plays host to an eccentric collection of artists. (This week it’s Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks on June 9 and a tribute to Woodie Guthrie featuring folk legend Ramblin’ Jack Elliott on June 11. Later in the season, Ozomatli, The Entrance Band, and MURS take the stage.) In addition, all proceeds from the door benefit nonprofit causes, including Teen Line, The Trevor Project, SEVA, CAUSE, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. For a full rundown, visit openborders2011.com.