by Drew Mackie

small problem: Despite publicity and popularity among frequenters
of the Santa Barbara music scene, the Dreamtime Continuum is a bit
of a mystery to this music columnist. It can be said without
hesitation, however, that this cooperative of musicians and
spiritualists will offer a respite from anything that most people
have come to recognize as typical downtown fare. For example, the
Dreamtime Continuum turned the holiday season on its head by
choosing to celebrate the Winter Solstice — a seasonal event born
of the planet’s movement through space rather than any
religious-themed holiday. The show will purportedly include some
combination of dancing and trancing — or, in their words,
“polyrhythmic ecstasy” — as well as didgeridoos at some point. And,
after all, what’s a solstice without didgeridoos? Discover the
Dreamtime Continuum for yourself at SOhO on Thursday, December 21
at 7 p.m.

SAVE FARRIS: Gene Farris is the self-described
“sinister minister of electronica’s changing sound.” When
translated, that amounts to Farris being a deejay of some acclaim,
and one of the bigger names to emerge from the Chicago house music
scene. At a young age, Farris fell in love with the diverse sounds
of new wave, disco, and soul and began fusing them into a unified
sound. In 1998, he realized his dream of creating his own record
label, Farris Wheel Recordings, which currently boasts a variety of
deejays, vocalists, and jazz performers. Expect the combined powers
of Farris’s considerable musical experience at his performance at
the Wildcat Lounge on Thursday, December 21. Turntable-savvy
cohorts DJ Hogg and Curly will also take turns in the booth.

BIKO BEAT: Oh, those Biko kids and their music.
For those who cannot seem to find the music they like in the
downtown scene, Isla Vista’s Biko House will be offering its
regular biweekly night of experimental music. And though management
is mum on who exactly will take the stage, expect the best of Santa
Barbara’s local indie, avante garde, and otherwise strange and
great bands, plus whoever cool might be visiting this week. Like
every Experimental Music Night, there is no charge or age
restriction. So no matter who you are or how much cash you have in
your pocket, you have no excuse not to be at the Biko House on
Thursday, December 21 at 8 p.m.

BONE MACHINE: It’s the 10-piece band that has
been playing the best in soulful reggae compositions for the past
17 years: Jah Bone. This band — which boasts a trombone, trumpet,
and tenor sax in addition to the usual reggae ingredients — has
shared a stage with such big-name acts as Burning Spear, the
Wailing Souls, and the Mighty Diamonds. It’s no wonder a team of
musicians with so much performing experience — both individually
and as a unit — could muster such staying power. Hear what nearly
two decades of practice sounds like at SOhO on Saturday, December
23 at 10 p.m.

COLD SPRING ETERNAL: Yes, you have shopping to
do. Yes, your surly relatives are en route to your house. And yes,
your house is proving to be a maze of tinsel and fake pine sprigs.
But why not escape this pre-Christmas chaos by heading up to Cold
Spring Tavern off Highway 154 for an afternoon of live music? Los
Angeles’s the Brian Travis Band will be playing at the historic
restaurant on Saturday, December 23, 2-5 p.m. This rocking foursome
recently signed with Santa Barbara label Ranch Records to release
their sophomore musical effort. That same evening, Cold Spring
Tavern will host Cinder Jean and Kate Bennett. The former grew up
in Santa Barbara and recently released Strands of Time, an album
that sums up her past 10 years of performing, recording, and being
inspired by the likes of Judy Collins, Carly Simon, and James
Taylor. The latter, also a local, composed the songs on her album
Over the Moon as an ode to the mountains and oceans of S.B. A
student of Jim Messina, Bennett combines powerful vocals with adept
guitar work. n


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