Hello, Kitty

Positively State Street

Rikka Z
Paul Wellman

HOME SWEET HOME: Say what you will about the acoustics, stage setup, or overall curiousness that is watching a band play at everyone’s favorite kitschy dance club, but the folks behind The Wildcat‘s ongoing Tuesday night music scene are sure working hard. Case in point: the showspace’s new double-bill procedure, which has a different band rotating in with May’s current resident, Ojai’s own Shades of Day. The first rock act to claim the Kitty as its home, Shades will be playing every Tuesday night with a new opening act of their choosing. Odd though it may seem, the four-week stint is all part of the band’s effort to unleash a bunch of new material on the unsuspecting S.B. public. And the tunes, all of which were recorded last month in the band’s own Ojai studio, are about as straightforward rock ‘n’ roll as they come. (Think Live meets Pearl Jam.) In conjunction with their live efforts, Shades of Day will be posting each new tune to their MySpace page (myspace.com/manyshadesofday) one by one as they’re performed. Voted the best band in Ventura County by the VC Reporter for the past two years in a row, I wouldn’t be surprised if these guys found their way to mainstream rock radio sometime in the very near future. Thus far, the Tuesday night residency has hosted an opening set from The Youth and Beauty Brigade (myspace.com/theYBB). Swing by Tuesday, May 20, for the show with serene popsters The Northstar Session (myspace.com/thenorthstarsession), and Tuesday, May 27, for a double bill with the S.B. indie rockers of The Veltexans (myspace.com/veltexans).

THURSDAY NIGHT LIVE: With Eek-A-Mouse drawing sizable crowds to Velvet Jones, and S.B.’s own oso dishing up the fiddle rock tunes at Reds Cafe in celebration of Kristen Spalding’s new off-the-beaten-path art opening, Thursday night seemed to present the problem of simply too much to do and not enough time to do it in. But for the lucky few (or perhaps simply the few who couldn’t prove they were 21), Muddy Waters Cafe provided a sweet sonic treat for fans of all ages-thanks in part to a strong showing by L.A.’s The ATMA. The three-piece, who made the stop through town en route to their Saturday, May 10, gig at San Fran’s Retox Lounge, brought with them an eclectic-and energy-filled-set that provided endless entertainment for all who bothered to swing by. Led by a singer/guitarist who simply goes by the moniker The Oblivious Driver, the trio turned up the volume early on Thursday night, playing tunes from both their current album, On My Artichoke, and the soon-to-be-released Machetes of Gold. The sound was a mind-altering mix of jazz, folk, and pure 1960s psychedelia that came across as both forward-thinking and delightfully accessible. Add drummer/tambourine extraordinaire Lucas Ventura’s penchant for crowd interaction-and stylistic resemblance to The Muppet Show‘s Animal-and you’ve got yourself a fairly decent snapshot of the evening’s festivities. Here’s hoping the guys had at least half as much fun playing as the rest of us did watching them work. Visit myspace.com/theatma for a taste, and keep your ears peeled for future S.B. dates.

COMING UP THIS WEEK: Soon to hit a club, bar, coffeehouse, or random street corner near you, Area 51 (area51livemusic.com) will crank up the volume with a set chockfull of cover tunes when they hit SOhO (1221 State St.) this Friday, May 23. This Saturday, May 24, Muddy Waters Cafe (508 E. Haley St.) plays host to Howlin Rain (howlinrain.com). And last, but most certainly not least, the Santa Barbara Songwriter Showcase will close out its season with a bang this Thursday, May 15, at Jensen’s Guitar Mainstage (2905 De la Vina St.) with a stellar lineup of tunes from Nathan McEuen, Rikka Z, Joe Cicero, and Bob Ballard. And for a full interview with Rikka Z, visit independent.com/rikka.


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