From Texas to Glasgow

This Week Brings Live Tunes from The Mars Volta, Glasvegas

Omar RodriÌguez-LoÌpez.

SINCE THEY’VE BEEN GONE:Sure, it hasn’t been all that long since 2008’s The Bedlam in Goliath reaffirmed the musical worth of Omar Rodr-guez-L³pez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala‘s The Mars Volta, but that certainly doesn’t mean I’m not waiting with baited breath for the release of its follow-up. While the duo’s fifth studio creation, Octahedron, won’t be reaching my ears in its entirety until it drops on June 23, fans like me can certainly relish in the fact that the pair will be making an impromptu stop not too far away this week. In case you missed it, the Volta fellas added a June 9 stop at the Majestic Ventura Theater (26 S. Chestnut St., Ventura) to the start of their upcoming tour itinerary, and as of press time, tickets actually were still available.

For the unacquainted, Rodr-guez-L³pez and Bixler-Zavala’s union began back in 1993 when they formed At the Drive-In in El Paso, Texas, alongside Jim Ward, Paul Hinojos, and Tony Hajjar. Drugs, egos, and creative differences eventually caused the players to split, forming Sparta and The Mars Volta in the band’s wake. Today, many consider Rodr-guez-L³pez and Bixler-Zavala to be the reigning kings of experimental prog-rock. (They were even crowned Best Prog-Rock Band by Rolling Stone back in 2008.) All accolades aside, Octahedron is getting plenty of buzz on its own, thanks in part to the album’s first single, “Since We’ve Been Wrong,” a meandering, melancholy number that takes the band’s signature guitar builds and distorted vocals to new, epic heights. The guys will play the Majestic this Tuesday, June 9, at 7 p.m. For tickets and show info, call 653-0721 or visit

ROCKIN’ (AND SOFT ROCKIN’) ROOTS:Looking a bit closer to home, this week seems to be packing quite the hometown punch in terms of show dates. On the softer side of things, acoustic songstress Meghan Lehman will celebrate the release of her inaugural full-length, A Stranger Here, this Thursday, June 4, at Velvet Jones (423 State St.) at 7 p.m. Following Lehman’s show, Ventura’s Rey Fresco will close out the night. Call 965-8676 or visit for info. Also on June 4, Rey Villalobos (of Coral Sea fame) brings his aptly titled solo project, Villalobos, to The Mercury Lounge (5871 Hollister Ave., Goleta) for the venue’s weekly Thursday Night Live free concert series. Call 967-0907 or visit for details.

On Thursday, June 11, Santa Barbara stalwarts Mad Caddies will bring their long-established take on ska to the Velvet Jones stage alongside relative newcomers-and skillful pop rock pros-Tommy and the High Pilots. The High Pilots, who’ve been touring nearly year ’round for the past two, are about as firmly rooted in S.B. County as their headliners. Created out of the ashes of former State Street staple Holden, the guys are now charging hard with their pristine Phantom Planet-meets-Jason-Mraz-style songwriting. For info, call 965-8676 or visit

SCOTTISH INVASION:Remember back a couple years when Scotland seemed to be exporting more indie bands than anyone could logically keep up with? (Franz Ferdinand, Snow Patrol, and The Fratellis quickly come to mind.) Then perhaps the name Glasvegas rings a bell. The band, fronted by consummate crooner James Allan, is perhaps one of the most promising young bands to come out of the Glasgow movement, mixing (as their name suggests) Killers-esque synth and vocal warbles with something decidedly more Scottish (and no, I’m not talking about bagpipes). The result is a sparkling mix of Morrissey-style builds, Roy Orbison-inspired melodies and hooks, and dark and brooding guitar parts that could only come from Europe (see single “Daddy’s Gone” for a closer look). The band will bring their tunes to SOhO (1221 State St.) this Wednesday, June 10, at 8 p.m. for an all-ages show. Call 962-7776 or visit for details.


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