FAR AND AWAY: While Crosby, Stills & Nash and Brandi Carlile spent their recent time in Santa Barbara representin’ for the good ole U-S-of-A with their similar but divergent forays into American folk rock, last week’s offerings from Club Mercy took a decidedly different-and undeniably worldly-approach to things. Taking cues from recent critically praised (and publicly appreciated) shows from L.A.’s resident Cambodian rockers Dengue Fever and Norway’s favorite electro-dance duo Datarock, the booking agent continued to bring the world rock, this time courtesy of Kenyans Extra Golden (extragolden.com), West Indian Girl (westindiangirl.com), and Venezuela’s Los Amigos Invisibles (amigosinvisibles.com).
Extra Golden took to a packed house at Muddy Waters Cafe (508 E. Haley St.) last Thursday night following an all-out dance-party-inducing set by Santa Barbara’s own oso (myspace.com/thebandoso). Despite an elongated takedown and setup between sets, the seven-piece (which hails from Nairobi, Kenya, and the U.S., collectively) managed to keep the crowd’s energy and spirits high once onstage. With an eclectic mix of psychedelic guitar distortion tricks, Tropic¡lia-style rhythms, and Benga beats, the guys set the perfect tone for the hot summer night-and the drum-and-dance melee that was to come by way of Solstice in the days to follow.
And speaking of Summer Solstice festivities, Mercy kept the good times rolling well into the night on Saturday, filling SOhO (1221 State St.) with a successfully mish-mashed sonic post-party. For those who could muster the energy, Los Angelinos West Indian Girl returned to town to share their unique blend of surf rock, electronic, and ambient pop as the opening act for Venezuela’s reigning kings of South American acid jazz, Los Amigos Invisibles. While the former took things to the next level with fine-tuned live versions of their new recorded offering, 4th & Wall, the latter filled the dance floor-and the stage-with samba-ready beats and a vocal dynamic the likes of which we rarely get to see in such a small setting. Following the SOhO set, the sextet headed down to Los Angeles’s renowned Hollywood Bowl (hollywoodbowl.com) for KCRW’s World Festival alongside Brazilian electro duo Thievery Corporation (theiverycorporation.com). For a running list of upcoming Club Mercy shows, visit clubmercy.com or myspace.com/clubmercy.
YOU OUGHTA KNOW: And for something that hits just a bit closer to home, I’d like to introduce the Ventura-bred boy who many are claiming just might be the next big thing. Meet Jonathan McEuen (and yes, he is indeed the son of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder John McEuen). With a folk-meets-pop-meets-alt-country shtick that calls to mind Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Brett Dennen, and Sean Hayes, the soulful heir to the folk rock throne will be taking his show up the coast and into SOhO (1221 State St.) next Sunday, July 6. With a new solo album in the works (you can check out Jonathan’s work with cousin Jamie Hanna on the duo’s self-titled debut, 2005’s Hanna-McEuen) and a backing band of touring all-stars (former bandmates to Richard Thompson, bassist Taras Prodaniuk and drummer Michael Jerome will be in tow), young Jonathan seems poised to hit it big. Visit jonathanmceuen.com for an audio sneak peak, and visit sohosb.com for tickets and set times.