LUCK LIKE THE IRISH: Santa Barbara loves its summer celebrations, but anyone who’s been around for more than one season knows we get a bounce in our step when March and St. Pat’s Day roll around. As our clocks spring forward and the green clovers shoot upward, State Street–goers find themselves in luck, with plenty o’ music ahead.
This Saturday, March 17, after you’ve joined the Independent’s 11th annual St. Patrick’s Day Stroll (commencing at noon at the Indy office, 12 E. Figueroa St.), you can consider heralding another annual tradition as the venerable Spencer the Gardener plays with his band, The Worried Lads, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) at 5:30 p.m. Described by Spencer “as if the Kingston Trio took a trip to Ireland but were hijacked by pirates and taken to the Mexican Caribbean,” this all-ages show promises jolly jigs, giddy grooves, and seemingly, high-seas hijinks, in what will no doubt be a party of a gig.
It’s always a bit of a celebration with Spencer, that singing patron saint of Saint Barb’s summer spirit whose newest video, “Going to a Party,” takes the viewer on a fun, Jimmy Buffett–style tour festooned with Fiesta footage.
At Dargan’s (18 E. Ortega St.), the legendary Dannsair will continue its legacy as one of the area’s greatest Celtic- and Irish-inspired acts. It will play a pair of sets, one at noon and another at 5 p.m. A sort of melting pot of a band, the members of Dannsair collectively know how to reach back through the ages, find a time-tested tune, and refine it with all manner of modern influences. They do our sister city of Dingle proud.
Out in Goleta, new music grows as fresh as springtime grass. Also on St. Pat’s Day, Space Watch touches down at Mercury Lounge (5871 Hollister Ave., Goleta) with its Good Land–grown batch of acoustic blues, bluegrass, folk, and rock, starting at 8 p.m. Led by guitarists/singers Michael Nichols and Jake Wilson, the band also features SOhO sound engineer and area farmer Ky Takikawa on keys and mandolin and Phoenix Schick on bass. Word on the street is the Bryan Titus Trio’s Dustin Janson may join on cajon, as well.
Speaking of the Bryan Titus Trio, it plays M.Special Brewing Co. (6860 Cortona Dr., Bldg. C., Goleta) the night prior, at 6 p.m. Come the 17th, the Shepherd’s Pie Celtic Band will provide the Celtic cheer at 4 p.m. as the brewery hosts its third annual St. Paddy’s Day Steal the Pint celebration. The band’s wonderful whirl of whistles, banjo, mandolins, smallpipes, guitar, and bodhrán will have you smiling into the evening. OnE will keep the craic going at 7 p.m. with its 805 reggae vibes.
PHANTOM POWER: Feeling hungover on Sunday after all the revels? Phantom Pomps have you covered. The rockabilly-roots group will keep things crazy for the remaining weekend as it rocks you out of any woes in celebration of its new album at The Press Room (15 E. Ortega St.) on Sunday, March 18, 3 p.m. The incredibly amped-up act will invite you to “nurse your hangovers with Bloody Marys, Irish Car Bombs, or whatever floats your boats” as you happily headbang the ache out of your cranium.
ONE TINY DESK, ONE GIANT LEAP: In other news, wine country’s Emily Wryn was recently selected by NPR’s All Songs Considered as one of their Early-Bird Tiny Desk Contest Entries We Love. You can hear and see her perform the haunting “Quiet” on NPR’s website, where they praise her “poignant weariness.” Having sung Wryn’s praises in these pages in the past, it’s a joy to see one of our area’s best talents get the national recognition she deserves.