As the saying goes, March comes in like a lion and goes out like
a lamb. Music‑wise, we’ve been having a pretty decent lamb already,
but our future lion is ready to roar, especially with undated
rumors coming from the S.B. Bowl that in the coming months we can
expect everyone from Sinead O’Connor (backed by reggae’s infamous
duo Sly & Robbie), Matisyahu, Trey Anastasio, Damian Marley,
Los Lonely Boys, and The Strokes to Martina McBride, John Mayer,
Yellowcard, INXS, Nine Inch Nails, and — fingers crossed — the
Black Crowes and Fiona Apple. (Details shall arrive in the paper in
the next few weeks.) As well, UCSB’s offerings continue to
excite — think Taj Mahal, B.B. King, Pinback, and
Blackalicious — while SOhO, the Chumash Casino, and the Majestic
Ventura Theatre provide the steady flow we need to get through our
weeks. And there are other great surprises and series along the
way. Santa Barbara’s soundtrack for the transition out of winter
looks to be a fitting one.
The Coral Sea and Asobi Seksu S.B.’s top art
rockers keep their moody aura alive with a gig at The Merc, sharing
the bill alongside Brooklyn’s Asobi Seksu. The Sea just signed a
deal with both English and American labels, and begin a tour of
England this weekend too. Check ’em at home before it’s too late.
Thu., Mar. 23, 8pm; The Mercury Lounge; 967 0907.
Very Lonesome Boys Homegrown bluegrass is where
it’s at these days, and thankfully, we have Peter Feldmann and his
Very Lonesome Boys to show us the way. Sat., Mar. 25, 8pm; Santa
Ynez Valley Grange Hall, Los Olivos; bluegrass west.com.
Emma’s Revolution Serving as the entertainment
part of the intellectual menu — whose heart is the two day
discussion American Empire: Christian Critiques and Responses with
David Ray Griffin and George Regas — the politically charged duo of
Pat Humphries and Sandy O shall inform and enthuse. The following
Trinity Backstage act is poetic folkie Dana Cooper on April 22.
Sat., Mar. 25, 8pm; Trinity Episcopal Church;
Hollywood U2 and Highway 61 The tribute band
craze shows no signs of receding, and these two bands — which, if
you can’t figure it out, cover U2 and Bob Dylan respectively — are
some of the country’s best. So hop in the time machine for some
good times. Sat., Mar. 25, 9pm; SOhO; 962 7776 or
The Messengers Out of the musical soup that was
Isla Vista in the mid ’90s emerged The Messengers, a rootsy
collective that managed to survive graduation and keep the tunes
alive into their professional lives. But then real life got in the
way, and they parted for a couple years. Now they’re back in this
reunion show. Fri., Mar. 31, 9pm; SOhO; 962 7776 or
Small Potatoes Tom Lee’s SongTree Concert
Series at the Live Oak church continues with this “cowboy to
Celtic” duo, and then happens again on May 6 when The Tatters and
Rebecca Troon come to Goleta. Sat., Apr. 1, 7:30pm; Live Oak
Unitarian Universalist Congregation; 403 2639 or songtree.org.
Ojai Classic Rock Festival Making the half hour
drive to our sister city in the hills will be definitely worth it
for this day of rock ’n’ roll tribute bands with the likes of
Grateful Dead keyboardist Vince Welnick (sitting in with Dead
tributeers Cubensis). Also playing in this benefit for the RageJax
Foundation will be Which One’s Pink, Led Zepagain, The Almost
Brothers, The Neil Deal, and Peace Frog. Sat., Apr. 1, noon 10pm;
Ojai’s Libbey Bowl; 640 9014 or ragejaxfoundation.com.
Mary Chapin Carpenter and Anne Lamott Two
powerful voices join together for a special night of folk country
fusion and spoken word performance. Mary Chapin Carpenter has
played for countless audiences since her 1987 debut album Hometown
Girl while Anne Lamott has entertained readers for years with her
wry wit and self deprecating humor. Both are well versed in the art
of keeping an audience entertained. Tue., Apr. 4, 8pm; UCSB’s
Campbell Hall; 893 3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Chris Isaak A rock star in the classic sense of
the term, Chris Isaak draws on the influences of legends like Elvis
Presley and Roy Orbison to create a unique brand of rockabilly.
Isaak, who became a household name with the release of the oh so
sensual video for his hit “Wicked Game,” further adds to his
coolness factor by being the go to soundtrack contributor for
director David Lynch. Thu., Apr. 6, 8pm; Chumash Casino; (800) 583
3737 or chumashcasino.com.
I Hate Kate Kicking off a series of free
noontime performances in Storke Plaza at UCSB is this alterna pop
quartet from Huntington Beach. The acts to follow are Halifax on
April 13, Asian in Rock Tour on April 17, and One Republic on April
24. Thu., Apr. 6; UCSB’s Storke Plaza; free.
G. Love & Special Sauce An honest to god
hit that has since sunk back into to the Philadelphia underground
scene from whence it came, G. Love & Special Sauce developed a
nationwide following with their self titled 1994 debut. Since then,
the trio has continued to bounce around soul, R&B, funk, and
Beastie Boys era rap with tremendous results. Thu., Apr. 6;
Majestic Ventura Theatre; 652 0721 or venturatheater.net.
Naked Voices and Brothas from Otha MothasA
capella never sounded so cool, but thanks to these UCSB vocal
troupes, there’s a whole new sound goin’ round, which many people
first discovered at the closing night of February’s Film Festival.
This time, they play at the Maritime Museum, down on the harbor.
Hopefully, it’s a sign that we can see them more downtown this
year. Fri., Apr. 7, 7pm; S.B. Maritime Museum; 962 8404 or
AM, David Berkeley, Gary Jules, and BuchananAs
part of the monthly Tuesday night Element songwriter series at
SOhO, these four dudes elevate lyrics to the importance they
deserve. AM, who hails from New Orleans, was named by the L.A.
Weekly as the top songwriter in town while Gary Jules is best known
for the remake he did of “Mad World,” which was part of the
remarkable soundtrack to Donnie Darko. Tue., Apr. 11, 7:30pm; SOhO;
962 7776 or www.sohosb.com.
The Colour with The ShysRowdy, raucous rock is
what’s being promised here with The Colour — who rely on blues
guitar and tambourine tearing — and The Shys, a multi talented
electric/acoustic band with tons of promise, White Stripes y
distored vocals, and stage consuming energy. Thu., Apr. 13, 9pm;
SOhO; 962 7776 or www.sohosb.com.
Leann Rimes Chalk up two unexpected victories
for Leann Rimes. When her debut single “Blue” hit the radio in
1996, fans were shocked that such a powerful voice came out of a 13
year old girl. Then Rimes weathered the struggles of childhood
stardom to continue a respectable country career. After a brief
flirtation with mainstream pop with her album Twisted Angel, Rimes
returned to the country roots that made her a success with her 2005
release, This Woman. Thu., Apr. 13, 8pm; Chumash Casino; (800) 583
3737 or chumashcasino.com.
Pinback Though Pinback achieved mainstream
success with its 2004 hit, “Fortress,” the band had by then been
honing its sophisticated indie sound for five years by flirting
with various subgenres like low fi, emo, and out and out pop. Since
its eponymous debut album, the two man band — the improbably named
Armistead Burwell Smith IV and partner Rob Crow — have drawn
critical praise and enthusiasm from an increasing legion of fans.
Thu., Apr. 20, 8:30pm; UCSB’s The Hub; 893 2064.
Spencer the Gardener and Peyote Surf Trip Dance
your butt off for a good cause at this benefit for the Surfrider
Foundation with the mariachi/salsa/alterna pop of Spencer the
Gardener and the surf music tunes of Peyote Surf Trip. Surf flicks
will fill the blank spaces too. Fri., Apr. 21, 9pm; SOhO; 962 7776
Sings Like Hell: Sonya Kitchell Band and The Cynical
Girls In the first show of Sings Like Hell’s 19th season,
the “honey-textured” tunes of Sonya Kitchell shall crash into the
hi-fi pop of The Cynical Girls, who are Marti Jones and Amy Rigby.
The rest of the series includes a May 12 show with the legendary
Richard Thompson, a May 20 show with Kris Delmhorst and the Shannon
McNalley Band, and a June 10 show with Australia’s The Greencards
and Caroline Herring. Sat., Apr. 22, 7:30pm; Lobero Theatre;
963-0761 or singslikehell.com.
The Headlights and Numbers Like Dinosaurs
Goleta fringe rock mainstay The Hard to Find ushers us into a new
season of under the radar sonic explorations with this
doubleheader. Indie pop trio The Headlights defy initial
comparisons to the Postal Service by delving into a jangly sound
more evocative of ’90s garage pop. Meanwhile, Numbers Like
Dinosaurs combines two guys from Santa Rosa, an electronic drum
set, and emo with apparently Jurassic sized results. Sat., Apr. 22,
8pm; The Hard to Find, 7190 Hollister Ave.;
Taj Mahal and Mavis Staples What could better
complement the plaintive sounds of blues than sultry and sensuous
soul? Taj Mahal and Mavis Staples suggest an answer to that
question: not much. A fixture of the blues scene for the past 40
years, Taj Mahal has mastered his own idiosyncratic genre while
Mavis Staples, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, has
successfully belted out soul hits since being in her family’s band,
The Staple Singers. Tue., Apr. 25, 8pm; UCSB’s Campbell Hall; 893
3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
30 Seconds to Mars Jared Leto may still be best
known as the illiterate guy on My So-Called Life, but like Keanu
Reeves, Juliette Lewis, and, um, David Hasselhoff, this actor has a
musical bent as well. Go to see an earnest rock band try its
damnedest, go to see Jared Leto attempt to overcome the stigma
facing all actors turned rockers, or go to live out unfulfilled
Jordan Catalano fantasies. Thu., Apr. 27; Majestic Ventura Theatre;
652 0721 or venturatheater.net.
Blackalicious Hip hop’s happeningest duo from
the Bay Area lands at UCSB for a performance of rhythmic flows,
heavy beats, and conscious, non ego driven rap. It’s their first
time through town since the release of The Craft, and it’ll be
worth enduring The Hub’s idiosyncracies. Mon., May 1, 8:30pm;
UCSB’s The Hub; 893 2064.
Tyrone Wells An all new series is planning to
finally utilize UCSB’s Lagoon Lawn for something other than
graduation. Soulful rocker Tyrone Wells, who will also be playing
at SOhO that night for a CD release party with the Pawn Shop Kings,
kick starts this noontime campus series. Tue., May 2, noon; UCSB’s
Lagoon Lawn; free; also at SOhO, 8pm; 962 7776 or
Jake Shimabukuro Hide your ukuleles because
when this 28 year old picking virtuoso comes through town, all
small necked guitar ish things may crumble beneath his power. Known
worldwide as the most revolutionary ukulele player alive, Jake
Shimabukuro blends everything from Hawaiian classics to flamenco
and Hendrix. Wed., May 10, 8:30pm; SOhO; 962 7776 or
B.B. King In celebration of his 80th birthday,
blues legend B.B. King has been touring the United States and
spending each night with his number one lady: Lucille, his guitar.
The man Rolling Stone magazine dubbed the greatest guitarist alive
today first achieved superstardom in 1969, with his cover of Roy
Hawkins’s “The Thrill Is Gone.” It ain’t gone yet. Tue., May 16,
8pm; Arlington Theatre; 893 3535 or
Coalition of the Willing Billed as drummer
Bobby Previte’s “super bar band,” this coalition features Charlie
Hunter playing a six string for the first time in years, Steve
Berstein from Sex Mob on trumpet, and Jamie Saft on Hammond. Tue.,
May 23, 8pm; SOhO; 962 7776 or www.sohosb.com.