HEADING SOUTH: As concert season begins its annual molasses-style slow down, I start relishing the few and far between sonic treats that tend to pop up this time of year. Case in point: Club Mercy’s new quasi-residency at the near-enough Majestic Ventura Theater. This week, in a serious one-two punch of musical goodness, rock fans can treat themselves to live sets from something old and something new in the guitar-music landscape. On Thursday, December 5, ’80s punk-rock icons X hit the stage at the Majestic. Boasting a solid core of all-original members that includes John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom, and D.J. Bonebrake, the X of 2013 is still going strong and rocking hard and fast. Come Friday, December 6, indie-music aficionados can celebrate the long-awaited South Coast arrival of Foals. The Oxford, England–based post-rock outfit is touring in support of their truly phenomenal third album, 2012’s Holy Fire, and based on the hearsay, they put on a live show that elevates the recorded stuff to new heights. Both shows are all-ages and start at 8 p.m. The Majestic Ventura Theatre is located at 26 South Chestnut Street, Ventura. Want tickets? Call (805) 653-0721 or visit clubmercy.blogspot.com.
KEYS AND MACHINES: Also on the upcoming-concert calendar, SBDIY hosts Advance Base at the Biko Co-op Garage in Isla Vista (6612 Sueno Rd.) on Friday, December 13. The brainchild of Owen Ashworth (Casiotone for the Painfully Alone), Advance Base makes dreamy bedroom pop for cold-weather listens. The keys play in prominently, whether they’re emanating from a Rhodes electric or a Wurlitzer, and the melodies are sweet, sad little things that call to mind early Death Cab for Cutie recordings. Still, what makes Ashworth a worthy find is all in the vocals, which are solemn, low and slow, and delightfully reminiscent of a young Bill Callahan. Add to that the fact that Isla Vista will be all cleared out for the holiday season, and you’ve got yourself the makings for a perfectly intimate night of music — along with ample parking options! The show is all-ages and starts at 8 p.m. Sadwich, Goldy, and Cave Babies open the show. Visit sbdiy.org for info.
THIS WEEK: Things get worldly at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) when Club Mercy brings L.A. act Dengue Fever back to town for a preholiday show on Sunday, December 8. For the unacquainted, Dengue Fever started back in 2001 as a musical ethnography project of sorts, led by brothers Zac and Ethan Holtzman. Fascinated with Cambodian pop music — and the Pol Pot regime that fought so hard against it — the Holtzmans began to immerse themselves in the sounds (and rare recordings) of the Far East. Around that time, they teamed up with L.A. singer Chhom Nimol, a pint-sized powerhouse whose native Cambodian seemed the perfect vocal addition to the Holtzman’s throwback instrumental vibe. In the years since, Chhom has picked up a whole lot of English and now vacillates between both tongues for Dengue Fever songs. And onstage, her range, mixed with Zac’s oddly psycho surfy guitar tones, is nothing short of breathtaking. The band plugs in for an all-ages show at 8:30 p.m. Call (805) 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.blogspot.com for tickets and info.
And finally, San Diego’s The Silent Comedy returns to town this Friday, December 6, for a show with Strange Vine, Naked Walrus, and The Pullman at Velvet Jones (423 State St.). Self-described “whiskey-fueled tent revivalists,” the band is doing the big, harmony-filled folk thing. You’ll get glimpses of gentle, swaying arrangements, too, but they’re few and far between, and sandwiched by plenty of big, bar-rock-indebted guitar moves. The show starts at 8 p.m. Call (805) 965-8676 or visit velvet-jones.com for tickets and info.