ROCKIN’ THE OLD WEST: With so many concert
venues to choose from in Santa Barbara County, most locals may
think they’ve seen it all. But even the most dedicated concert
lover might not be familiar with the Pozo Saloon.
Hidden off the beaten path of the major highways in rural San Luis
Obispo County, it’s a long way to go for a show. But if you’re
willing to make the trip, you’ll find the experience to be well
worth your time. About a half-hour’s drive off the 101 on the way
to, and past, Santa Margarita Lake, the Pozo Saloon is a quaint
little venue that was part of the once-bustling old western town of
Pozo. Since the rise of fast cars and freeways, the saloon is the
only part of the town that managed to survive. Now considered a
historical landmark and authentic relic of the Old West, the Pozo
Saloon has occasionally played host to favorites like
Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, and
Los Lobos. Its rustic and low-profile surroundings
make it a relaxing stage for both performers and fans.

This season, the Pozo’s already packin’ quite a quiver of bands.
This Sunday, March 26, reggae superstars Steel
share the stage with rootsy up-and-comers
Pepper. G-Love and Special Sauce
were slated to play on April 8, but just canceled their show in
favor of doing a corporate party. The Pozo season, whose additions
and changes are posted on the Web site,, continues
on May 21 with Eddie Money and the Fryed Brothers
and meanders into summer with Kansas on July 2.
There’s sure to be more great shows added soon, so keep an eye on for details. — Mary

WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST: In its lone Santa Barbara
appearance a few years ago, The Breakfast made
sure to leave a lasting impression. Playing to an empty Absinthe on
a dreary Monday night, the jamband from New Haven, Connecticut
treated it like a sold-out Fillmore — leaves one to wonder what the
group’s capable of when people actually show up. Like many bands
from the new generation, the improvisational quartet has integrated
the influences of its heroes into an authentic stew of sound.
Complementing a foundation of psychedelic rock with styles
including trance, funk, and reggae, The Breakfast seems to take
pride in throwing audiences for a loop. Led by high-flying guitar
assassin and singer Tim Palmieri, these Yankees
will be rolling through SOhO on Sunday, March 26.
 — Tyler Blue

VIVA LAS VELVET: It’s going to be a busy
weekend at Velvet Jones. Kicking it off on Thursday, March 23, will
be Southland, a down-home blues and classic and
country rock band whose endless supply of instruments and vocalists
has entertained audiences for the past 10 years. Stick around
afterward to see Dominic Balli. Then on Friday,
things start swingin’ a little faster to the piano and guitars of
returning rockers The 88. With The 88 will be
Goldspot, a newer but promising band whose style
lingers in the space between indie and pop. Next,
Grounded takes the stage, to end the night in a
fury of drums and punk. By Saturday, March 25, the music will be
blasting to the rock/punk/ska anthems of The
, a combination of two former Spanish rock bands
who bring unrivaled energy to their shows. Following them will be
The City Streets, an alt-country rock group
reminiscent of bands like The Clash. Last but not least, Grounded
will perform once again, finishing off the weekend in a crash of
symbols.  — MV

COLD SPRINGIN’: Former S.B. homeboy — and
contributor to this column — Roger Len Smith
returns from Austin to Santa Barbara this week to drop off a dose
of his latest songwriter rock offerings and slang some of his new
album, A Better Place. After a CD release party at Molly Malone’s
Irish Pub in Hollywood, Smith finds a cozy seat at Cold Spring
Tavern on Friday, March 24, with Claude Hopper in
support at 7 p.m., and then rides the Tsunami in Montecito on
Saturday, March 25, at 8 p.m.

DON’T MESS WITH VELTEXANS: If the thought of
seeing three incredible S.B. bands in one night interests to you,
then you’re lucky: Just make thy way to Rocks this Friday. That’s
when Boise, Idaho transplants-turned-locals The
will show off their razor-sharp riffs, smart
vocals, and snappy percussion that’s as tight as a virgin’s … drum.
They’re in the studio finishing their debut EP, and if their recent
three-song demo is any indication, the Vel-T’s are gonna rawk the
house first and ask questions later. Joining them are The
Hero and The Victor
and Springtime Is
, so set phasers to “stun,” lend a lobe, and dig
this gig. — Brier Random


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