The more things change, the more they stay the same. And the more the leaves change, the more the Santa Barbara music scene offers a healthy cross-section of live acts for music fans. Indeed, as we slip into the colder months, we have both classic sounds-Lou Reed, Gladys Knight, Paul Simon-and newer fare such as Abijah, TV on the Radio, and Xiu Xiu, to help us make the transition.
Inventor of “that freight train sound”-a six-beat rhythm that has infiltrated pop and rock songs for decades-Bo Diddley can claim quite a stake in music history, especially considering that the guy only has one Top 20 hit. That shouldn’t detract from his repertoire of memorable songs, including “Pretty Thing,” “Mona,” “Who Do You Love?,” and “You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover.” Diddley will be playing alongside blues guitarist Alvin Youngblood Hart and vocalist Ruthie Foster.
Mon., Sep.25, 8pm, Lobero Theatre, 963-0761 or lobero.com
From solo country hits like “Lady” to cult favorite cuts with various band projects like “Just Dropped In,” Rogers has proven to be a versatile mainstay of the music scene. What really makes him stand apart from his contemporaries, however, is the impact he’s made on pop culture. After all, he didn’t star in all those The Gambler movies for you to just ignore him.
Wed., Sep.27, 8pm, Chumash Casino, (800) 585-3737 or chumashcasino.com
TV on the Radio
With their latest album Return to Cookie Mountain having hit shelves this summer, this five-man group is making another attempt at gaining the world-wide recognition they deserve. TV on the Radio create vast, unique soundscapes from harmonies and guitars that makes one question exactly what constitutes a rock group. New York-based big beat group Gang Gang Dance opens.
Wed. Sep.27, 8pm, SOhO, 962-7776 or sohosb.com
Just when you think you’ve heard all of the Bob Marley relatives to join in the family business, another one comes to town. This one-the original Marley’s nephew-scored an international reggae hit with “Revelation” and consequently earned notices as one of Jamaica’s rising pop stars. He’ll play along with long-lived reggae band Dub Station.
Wed., Sep.27, 8pm, SOhO, 962-7776 or sohosb.com
Del Tha Funky Homosapien
Known for sampling the classiest of sources and incorporating humor into his rap, Del Tha Funky Homosapien has managed to set himself apart from his colleagues-including cousin Ice Cube-by taking a more light-hearted approach to the genre. Mike Relm, Bukue One, A-Plus, and Rebelution will also perform.
Thu., Sep.28, Velvet Jones, 965-8676 or velvet-jones.com
Ventura Hillsides Music Festival
This year’s benefit for the Ventura Land Conservancy will feature Michael McDonald, Jackson Browne, Crosby Loggins and the Lead Birds, and an up-and-coming singer named Brett Dennen, who was namechecked by John Mayer in a recent Rolling Stone article as a being the artist he can’t stop listening to.
Sat., Sep.30, 1pm, Arroyo Verde Park in Ventura, venturahillsides.org
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
During a time when the music of grandpa-grandma generation had become cool again, the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies performed under a name that most of us were too embarrassed to mention in front of said senior generation. Nonetheless, if you like swing, these guys are your thing.
Thu., Oct. 5, 9pm, SOhO, 962-7776 or sohosb.com
The Chico rock foursome, who recently dropped their first album in three years, comes to Santa Barbara to rock with their characteristic twang. Mother Hips embraces the legacy of California rock by incorporating the sounds of everyone from Merle Haggard to the Beach Boys.
Fri., Oct. 6, 9pm, SOhO, 962-7776 or sohosb.com
Easily one of the most influential figures in pop music history, Paul Simon doesn’t need an introduction. If you haven’t heard of him by now, then you’re probably too busy with your victrola to attend a concert anyway.
Sat., Oct. 7, 7pm, S.B. Bowl, 583-8700 or sbbowl.com
A talented practitioner of all things rock, Steve Earle dabbles in whatever subgenre suits his mood. Labels like “alt country,” “folk,” and “blues-grass” have marked the various stages of Earle’s career, but perhaps no word describes him better than “vocal.” That is, he uses music to espouse his political opinions to speak out against the links of the death penalty, war, and the man in the White House himself.
Wed., Oct. 11, 8pm, UCSB’s Campbell Hall, 893-3535 or artsandlectures.ucsb.edu
A digital global party just waiting to happen, this five-member group stuffs the music of India, Africa, and Latin America into a box and wraps it all in a veil of danceable electronica.
Wed., Oct. 11, 9 pm, SOhO, 962-7776 or sohosb.com
Sans all three Pips, she’s still an influential force in the world of soul. Gladys Knight may have only scored a single number one hit-“Midnight Train to Georgia”-but she’s proven that her solo act can still deliver the good and fill seats.
Thu., Oct. 12, 8pm, Chumash Casino, (800) 585-3737 or chumashcasino.com
Since the release of his signature hit, “No Tengo Dinero,” in1971, Juan Gabriel is still one of the most recognizable voices in the chorus of Latin pop stars that followed him. Returning to Santa Barbara for after his show at the Bowl last year, Gabriel promises to thrill fans with his talent for hitting all the right notes.
Sat., Oct. 21, 7pm, S.B. Bowl, 583-8700 or sbbowl.com
Jo Dee Messina
Her first-ever hit, 1996’s “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” sums up Jo Dee Messina’s sound nicely: equal parts country and pop. She’s treaded the line between genres ever since, and the result has been a loyal following that gladly recognized what sets Messina apart from country pop colleagues like Shania Twain and Faith Hill.
Sun., Oct. 22, Ventura Theater, 653-0721 or venturatheater.com
He’s generally credited as one of the factors leading to the booming popularity of country music in the 90s. But unlike many followers in that twangy throng, Clint Black managed to persist in popularity, releasing hit after hit. Expect tracks from his latest album, 2005’s Drinkin’ Songs & Other Logic.
Thu., Oct. 26, 8pm, Chumash Casino, (800) 585-3737 or chumashcasino.com
Late-career commercialization may have made colleagues like David Bowie and Iggy Pop less godly in stature, but Lou Reed is as much as an artist today as he was during his years with the Velvet Underground. His music, often a portal to a darker place that few artists had tread before him, aims to inspire rather than merely entertain.
Wed., Nov. 1, 8pm, UCSB’s Campbell Hall, 893-3535 or artsandlectures.ucsb.edu
The Celtic Fiddle Festival
Don’t think “folk” necessarily means “Americana,” because the Celtic Fiddle Festival presents some of the most talented musicians to embrace the cultural music of British Isles. Foremost among them is Giles Apap, a familiar same to Santa Barbarans whose lively fiddle style incorporates bluegrass and Gypsy elements.
Thu., Nov. 2, 8pm, Marjorie Luke Theatre, 569-1064
As if this post-punk quartet weren’t exciting enough, those who attend the concert will be present for the Hard to Find’s final show. The fact that you probably haven’t heard of the playfully creative Xiu Xiu makes them the ideal band to close the venue, which has been tricking under-the-radar rock gods into stopping here since 2001.
Fri., Nov. 8, 8:30pm, the Hard to Find, myspace.com/hardtofind
This Greek chanteuse has become iconic in her homeland for fusing the centuries of native folk music with the sounds of laika>, or modern Greek pop. Already a star the world over, Alexiou’s appearance in Santa Barbara marks her West Coast debut.
Fri., Dec. 1, 8pm, UCSB’s Campbell Hall, 893-3535 or artsandlectures.ucsb.edu
Formed in Baja California, this jam band defies stereotypes of the genre by implementing solid jazz roots into their psychedelic wanderings. Expect the loopy, the high-spirited, and the illusion of chaos masking thoroughly trained, maturely plotted-out sonic expeditions.
Thu., Dec. 14, 9pm, SOhO, 962-7776 or sohosb.com