The reggae-rock stylings of S.B.-based 5 Alarm will hit Rocks tonight, Thursday, January 17.
Kevin Baker

RING THE ALARM: Hitting closer to home than you probably think, the Santa Barbara based reggae-rock band 5 Alarm will take the stage at Rocks (801 State St.) tonight, Thursday, January 17, at 8:30 p.m., performing songs from their recently released third album, Dancing with the Sun. Fronted by Christian Love, son of Beach Boy Mike Love, 5 Alarm-whose influences include S.B. favorites Jack Johnson, Sublime, and Dave Matthews-tout an eclectic, rhythmic blend of reggae, pop, rock, and ska with plenty of new, refreshing energy. The tunes are decidedly retro, drawing inspiration from ’80s tunes while still managing to sound fresh and inventive. And just like Daddy’s Beach Boys, 5 Alarm aims to please audiences of all ages and walks of life with songs that are easy to sing along and dance to. Dinner reservations can be made by calling 884-1190, and additional information about 5 Alarm can be found by visiting, or -Lisa Engelbrektson

TONGUE TWISTA: Boasting is an inherent part of hip-hop, so when an emcee claims to hold the title of “Fastest Rapper in the World,” my immediate reaction is to smirk at its hyperbolic audacity. Yet, when Chicago’s Twista asserts the trophy in bold letters on his homepage, he’s got none other than the Guinness Book of World Records, which awarded him the prize in 1992, to back him up. The rapper rose to mainstream prominence in 2004 with the release of his third major label effort, Kamikaze. The album, sleekly produced by the omnipresent Kanye West, featured catchy throwback hooks and a wordy flow that eventually landed it at the top of the Billboard Rap and R&B charts. Last year, Twista paired with the likes of Pharrell Williams and R. Kelly to release his latest offering, Adrenaline Rush 2007, which further highlights the rapper’s minimalist beats and rapid, booty-chasing rhymes. Catch Twista at Velvet Jones (423 State St.) this Saturday, January 19, at 7 p.m. Call 965-8676 or visit for details. -Joel Aurora

CLASH OF THE CULTS: Since 2004, the Albuquerque pop-rock quintet The Ya Ya Boom Project has grown popular in its hometown through their blend of accessible pop and heavy-hitting punk. At its best, the band’s style is reminiscent of a Tragic Kingdom-era No Doubt (especially given the rebellious Gwen Stefani-like pipes of frontwoman Marisa Demarco) and, at its worst, channels the faux goth mayhem of Evanescence in, well, any era. The Ya Ya Boom Project recently embarked on a West Coast tour in support of its soon-to-be-released third album, the tentatively titled Sugar, and will hit the Santa Barbara Funkzone with the cult sensation Jason Webley. A Seattle-based music veteran, Webley’s frenzied accordion-laced harmonies and absurd stunts (including faking his death each winter as a kind of pre-hibernation ritual) has earned him fans throughout the U.S. and, apparently, a semi-celebrity status in Moscow. Both acts are set to take the stage at Muddy Waters Cafe (508 E. Haley St.) on Friday, January 18, at 8 p.m. Call 966-9328 or visit for more info. -JA

McVEY RETURNS TO S.B.: Requests have been made-numerous requests, according to Trinity Backstage music series coproducer Kate Wallace. Lovers of the singer/songwriter genre are pleading for the return of guitarist/vocalist John McVey. And in the first few weeks of the new year, their wish is being granted. Wallace first met McVey when they were running in the same Nashville, Tennessee, circles, frequently swapping tunes and tales at the annual Texas-based Kerrville Folk Festival. McVey’s smooth croon, impressive relationship with his guitar, and mysterious-but-not-threatening edge intrigued Wallace from the get-go. His voice has been compared to the likes of Dan Fogelberg or Daryl Hall, and his fans can’t rave enough. Live, McVey is enthralling, which is why he’s returning by special request to Santa Barbara’s most intimate of showspaces. The hall will be set up coffeehouse-style, the desserts will be well worth the calories, and the talent is sure to impress. Stop by Saturday, January 19, at 8 p.m. for this evening of sweet aural treats. Admission is $10 and Trinity Backstage is located at 1500 State St. Visit for details. -Felicia M. Tomasko

SKA IS NOT DEAD: Ska fans and good old-school music lovers, come on down to see Britain’s most influential ska band reignite the flames of the skanking craze we all adore this Friday, January 18, at SOhO. Fusing the best parts of soul, reggae, pop, punk, and-of course-dance-worthy rhythms, The English Beat is U.K. ska at its finest, best known for the oldies-but-goodies, “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Save it for Later” and “Stand Down Margaret.” Despite the band’s separation in 1979, the boys have since regrouped, renamed, and reformed with the knowledge that their sound and the movement was far from over. Come down and see the musical legends in action, starting at 9:30 p.m. with DJ Matt Armor‘s all-’80s dance set. Call 962-7776 or visit for details. -Stephanie Flint

Them Terribles

QUE TERRIBLE: It’s good to be the king, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that the position often leads to bouts of severe oppression, murky uprisings, and, eventually, a violent death. What better way, then, to spend Martin Luther King Jr. Monday than honoring the plight of pop punk would-be kings, Them Terribles? After being robbed of the crown on MTV2’s Dew Circuit Breakout contest by Seattleites The Myriad last month, Them Terribles return to town as part of their current West Coast tour, touting their classic sound of volatile garage rock and greaser charm. Catch our hometown hotshots with regal, alt rock hipsters Gillmor, Vogue in the Movement, Run Doris Run, Sink to See, and The Airlines at an all-ages show at Jensen’s Mainstage (2905 De La Vina). The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and additional info can be found by visiting -Jessica Hilo


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