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<b>NINE LIVES:</b> Oxnard’s CATWALK is the brainchild of Nic Hessler, who’ll bring his surfy garage pop to the Good? Bad?! Rad! festival next month.

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NINE LIVES: Oxnard’s CATWALK is the brainchild of Nic Hessler, who’ll bring his surfy garage pop to the Good? Bad?! Rad! festival next month.


Summer’s Fringe Benefits

Exploring Seasonal Oddities in Pop, Rock, and Beyond


FRINGE BENEFITS: With the Santa Barbara Bowl season finally starting to heat up, and Summer Solstice right around the corner, it seems that concert season has officially begun on the South Coast. And while the coming months may offer some big gets — and even bigger crowds — especially in the live music world, I can’t help but set my eye on some of the fringier stuff coming down the pike.

If you’ve been waiting around patiently for a festival worth attending, I’ve got good news to report. Next month, Reckless Boys are throwing a musical party that you’re not going to want to miss, featuring some of SoCal’s brightest up-and-coming acts. They’re calling it Good? Bad?! Rad!, and it’s taking place on Saturday, July 26, at Malibu Plains Club in Oxnard. Even better, it’s flaunting a bill that’s rife with 805 talent, including headliners CATWALK, Watercolor Paintings, and Dante Elephante. Also sharing space on the marquee are L.A.’s Adult Books, Captions, The Flytraps, Suburban Moms, and The Shrills, among many, many others. The whole thing kicks off at 2 p.m. and is open to all ages. For the full lineup, visit good-bad-rad.tumblr.com.

Closer to home (by both date and place standards), on Wednesday, June 25, the Biko Co-op Garage welcomes Desert Center, a low and droney instrumental duo whom I first watched work their magic in a packed downtown living room late last year. Then, the pair was going by Cairo, and though the name has changed, the jams are staying the original course. Part jazz fusion, part ambient post-rock, Desert Center’s sound is a subtly driving experiment in blending builds and grooves. The bass lines are the backbone, and they skulk around the drum fills with a brooding sort of anxiety. Fans of Godspeed You! Black Emperor will not be disappointed. The all-ages show starts at 7:30 p.m. Visit SB DIY on Facebook for info.

And on Tuesday, July 1, the Biko delivers yet again with an appearance by Rhode Island brass band What Cheer? Brigade, whose catalog of players looks too large for a tour bus — never mind the co-op’s tiny venue space. Elbow room aside, this one promises big fun. The Brigade’s high-spirited take on marching-band cacophony is rooted in the South, but its flavor is equal parts New England quirk and New Orleans pomp and circumstance. The revelry starts at 7:30 p.m. with openers The Mothras. Visit sbdiy.org for info.

DANCE YOURSELF CLEAN: Also making the summer must-do list is We the Beat’s next disco-imbued installment, which takes over SOhO Restaurant & Music Club on Wednesday, July 2, with headliners The Knocks. The electronic duo of Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson recently released the latest in a long line of solid EPs, Comfortable, which injects the pair’s groovy calling-card sound with the spirit of Daft Punk and sexuality of Prince. Original material aside, the pair has also amassed a remix list in recent years that’s too long and star-studded to summarize. (Think Haim, Foster the People, Ellie Goulding, and Passion Pit, for starters.) If you’re looking for a jumping-off point, seek out the fairly new “Savior” (featuring Ra Ra Riot’s Wes Miles on lead vocals). It’s a perfect entry into The Knocks’ particular brand of ’80s worship.

For those craving a big, bold night on the dance floor, get your tickets early — this one is sure to sell out long before doors open. Visit theknocks.nightout.com for tickets and info.

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