FRESH STARTS: In addition to the physical devastation and destruction last week’s Jesusita Fire wreaked on our county, the wind-fueled beast certainly did a number on the arts. Whether it was imminent danger, necessary respect, or a simple fear of power outage, plenty of venues had to pull the plug on much of the weekend’s city-wide entertainment programming. In the world of rock ‘n’ roll, Mike Doughty, Her Space Holiday, Katy Perry, and Katchafire all fell victim to burning fears, with some scheduling return dates, and others simply calling their loss what it is: a small bummer in the wake of a big tragedy.
That being said, it appears that we’ve got more than enough to make up for last week’s defeat-including one very special and very timely return of some of S.B.’s favorite music-makers.
FAMILY REUNION: At the end of 2008, following the loss of their home in November’s Tea Fire, our beloved electronic duo, The Volt Per Octaves, packed up and made the move north to Portland, Oregon. And since their departure, at least one little watering hole has not felt the same. Lucky for us (and ironically enough), TVPOs (made up of husband and wife Nick and Anna Montoya) will make their highly anticipated return home to Elsie’s (117 W. De la Guerra St.) this Saturday, May 16, at 10 p.m.
And don’t be fooled, as this isn’t just any oddly timed stop through town for the duo: The show will mark the official S.B. release of the band’s third album, Via Human Error. In addition to six beautifully orchestrated, at times otherworldly tracks, the Moog-loving duo also have some pretty big-deal collaborators on board for the release, including Brian Kehew (Moog Cookbook, Air, The Who), Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Nine Inch Nails), and Bernie Worrell (P-Funk, Talking Heads). Needless to say, it promises to be a happy homecoming for the Montoyas, and a packed night at Elsie’s for those of us who simply want to check it out in person. For more information, call 963-4503 or visit myspace.com/thevoltperoctaves. CDs will be available the night of the show, as well as online at cdbaby.com.
WORTH THE DRIVE: Also working their way into the mix this week are two off-the-beaten-path performances that are definitely not worth missing. First up, Wilco’s Mikael Jorgensen will bring his side project, Pronto, to the Ojai Valley Woman’s Club (441 E. Ojai Ave.) on Friday, May 15, at 8 p.m. The band currently are touring the West Coast in support of their multi-tiered debut release, All Is Golden. And in addition to the folk-tinged pop rock sounds of Jorgensen’s outfit, the night comes complete with a performance by Scarnella, featuring Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, with all proceeds benefiting the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation. In other words, it’s a night full of rock ‘n’ roll royalty with a good cause to boot. For ticket info, call 646-9152.
Also this week, New York gypsy punks Gogol Bordello will play the Majestic Ventura Theater (26 S. Chestnut St.) on Wednesday, May 20. Known for their almost absurdly high-energy live shows-and their eccentric pirate of a frontman, Eugene H¼tz-the band can best be described as a rocking hybrid of klezmer, cabaret, folk, and punk. Expect dancing, moshing, and a lot of fist pumping. For info, call 653-0721 or visit venturatheater.net.
Closer to home, acoustic rock will invade SOhO (1221 State St.) on Tuesday, May 19, when the Schyler Douglas Band, Grover Anderson, Lee Koch, and Jen & Abby pool their talents for this extra special all-ages show. Starting at 6:45 p.m., the lineup promises everything from old-school punk (Douglas) to John Mayer-style strumming (Anderson, Koch) to Jenny Lewis-inspired alt-country (Jen & Abby). For tickets and info, call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.