OH SO OSO: The Santa Barbara-based band Oso has musical roots that extend all the way to Africa, where guitarist and vocalist Phil Taylor once played with the Gambian National Army Band. As a group, Oso has performed everywhere from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Bloomington, Indiana, to Chicago, Edinburgh, London, and an abandoned military base-where they performed with Scottish punksters Oi Polloi. Oso’s sound is a mix of folk rock and vibrant violins, ethereal techno touches, and philosophical lyrics, all with an upbeat, alt-rock delivery. Last February, Oso released Lonesome Tunnel Hum These Strong Arm Drones on iTunes, and the group has been touring the country to support it ever since. You can see these experts of eclecticism right when they take the stage at Isla Vista’s own Biko House on Saturday, January 26. The show starts at 9 p.m. and will also feature San Francisco’s Apple Pie Hopes.Visit myspace.com/biko_garage.-Mollie Vandor

MOSH MAYHEM: If you awoke this morning with an unrelenting desire to thrust your body into a frenzied mosh pit (and, really, who among us didn’t?), then this is your lucky weekend. The hardcore punkers of See It Through will thrash through Santa Barbara this Sunday, promising a hard-hitting dose of high-tempo beats and highly politicized lyrics. The Reno-based band currently embarked on a nine-state tour in support of its debut full-length album, Breakthrough. Slated to perform alongside See It Through are the distinctly faster and less melodic punk outfit Johnny Cage, a Santa Clarita Valley band looking to make waves throughout the SoCal hardcore scene. Both bands will rock the Biko House in Isla Vista this Sunday, January 27, at 8 p.m. Visit myspace.com/seeitthroughreno for info.-Joel Aurora

ROCKSTEADY VIBES: As anyone who has lived here knows, the West Coast is the best coast. California remains analogous with beautiful beaches, beautiful people, and a laid-back vibe that inspires international renown from phrases as simple as “chill dude.” The Expendables embody that sentiment just as effectively in their music. Hailing from Santa Cruz, they are famous contributors to the reggae-infused, surf-punk genre that exploded in the 1990s. Their illustrious peers include Slightly Stoopid, Pepper (from Hawaii), and legendary dubbsters Sublime. They’re set to play selections from their new self-titled album, as well as favorites like “24/7,” the hook-up ode “One Night Stand,” and a variety of their other raucous pseudo-reggae grooves. The Expendables hit Velvet Jones (423 State St.) on Tuesday, January 29, at 8 p.m. Call 965-8676 or visit velvet-jones.com.-Tyler Vickers

FORD’S PICKUP: Touring with blues, jazz, and rock’s finest, humbucking on his own line of Fender guitars, and recording a definitively ’80s blues-rock album, Talk to Your Daughter-which contained the cover of “Born Under a Bad Sign,” featured in Clint Eastwood’s Pink Cadillac-legendary fusion guitarist Robben Ford has racked up quite the resume. And Ford drives on, with his latest album, Truth, garnering a Grammy nod for its contemporary approach to blues subject matter and its well-rounded exploration of the genre’s sound. Ford’s vibrant tone, rollicking licks, and flair on the fret wire are effortlessly energetic. He kicks off his 2008 tour with a Central Coast appearance at SOhO (1221 State St.) on Wednesday, January 30. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.-Jessica Hilo

Reo Speedwagon

TAKE IT ON THE RUN: Undisputed arena rock kings and power balladeers REO Speedwagon take it on the road with a nonstop tour that passes through town this week. The band, whose popularity grew from years of relentless touring during the ’80s, are champions of live performance and rightfully so, with live album You Get What You Play For standing as certified proof of their disarming stage show. Now, decades later and touting their first studio release in over 10 years, Find Your Own Way Home, REO Speedwagon is following in the footsteps of comeback bands like Journey and Poison, and cashing in on the industry’s renewed interest in live hard rock and middle-aged, touring rockers. Though their feathered locks have begin to grey and Cronin’s Midwest drawl is now being served on a gravelly vocal platter, the boys’ wheels keep turnin’. REO Speedwagon plays the Chumash Casino (3400 E. Highway 246, Santa Ynez) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, January 31. Visit chumashcasino.com for tickets.-JH

THIS IS TRAINWRECK: Fans of Tenacious D, rejoice! Klip Calhoun (also known as Kyle Gass from Tenacious D) and his band are coming to town. Trainwreck‘s brand of rock mixes comedy, classic-meets-southern rock, the occasional flute, and awe-inspiring talent to create a show that is truly one-of-a-kind. Straddling the genres of comedy and good music is no easy feat, but the dudes of Trainwreck sure seem to have the combination pegged. They fuse influences like Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, AC/DC, Van Halen, and (of course) Spinal Tap, creating a catchy and side-splittingly entertaining act that should not be missed. Catch them at Velvet Jones on Thursday, January 31. Visit velvet-jones.com for details.-Stephanie Flint

MONOGAMOUS MOOGERS: Their headline on MySpace reads, “A family that Moogs together,” and that’s just what The Volt Per Octaves do. Since forming in 2004, TVPO has stuck to using Moog synthesizers to create delicious electronic pop tunes-all without the help of a computer. The S.B.-based husband-and-wife duo couldn’t be cuter as they produce a plethora of electronic beats side-by-side with the help of their unconventional instruments. Their daughter has even contributed to their albums, her synth-playing skills compliments of Mom and Dad. Check this family affair out as TVPO promotes its new album, Moogsaic, on Thursday, January 31, at 9 p.m. at Goleta’s Mercury Lounge (5871 Hollister Ave.). Visit myspace.com/mercurylounge for details.-Jessica Small


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