OLD SPANISH DAYS, NEW ECLECTIC TUNES: Forget the cervezas, rodeos, and cascarones; this weekend, it’s all about the music. From the Fiesta-sanctioned mercados to one-off events and State Street venues, downtown is going to be brimming with live tunes throughout this, the 85th annual Old Spanish Days Festival. And your biggest task, music lover, is just to know where to be and when.
Last night at the Mercado de la Guerra, S.B.’s own pIE kicked things off, with Santa Barbara Academy of Rock’s own band, Foldback Time, soon after unleashing an onslaught of classic rock hits. Hollywood U2 closed things out with their flawless tribute act to the Dublin hit makers.
Tonight, Thursday, August 6, get in the spirit with Viente del Sur from 5-6 p.m., then salsa the night away to tunes from All-Star Latin Music and La Luz Roja de San Marcos. On Friday night, De la Guerra Plaza comes alive with the sounds of Santa Barbara’s own original Latin rockers The Anthony Prieto Band, followed up by live music from Fickles and The Bomb . And on Saturday, August 8, be sure to catch all the up-and-coming action when The Sunshine Brothers, Loomis & the Lust, Rey Fresco, and Johnny Cash tribute band Cash’d Out play back-to-back sets from 6:15-10 p.m.
If all that isn’t enough to whet your Fiesta whistle, well then look no further than State Street proper for plenty of stellar concert options. On Saturday night, SOhO (1221 State St.) plays host to veritable Fiesta staple Spencer the Gardener starting at 9 p.m. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com. And down the road a ways, Velvet Jones (423 State St.) is packing in the entertainment starting Friday, August 7, with ’80s cover band phenoms the Lone Angels. Then, on Saturday, get your groove on to the tunes of DJ Johnny Blaze. For tickets and info, call 965-8676 or visit velvet-jones.com. For more on Fiesta entertainment schedules, including a look at what’s happening at the Mercado del Norte, visit oldspanishdays-fiesta.org.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH: For S.B. dwellers wishing to escape the mercado madness, remember that a good, Fiesta-free time can still be had without leaving town. Take, for example, Club Mercy’s weekend offering, Dezarie, who takes on SOhO this Friday night. This St. Croix native may be best known for her work with fellow reggae legend Midnite, but that certainly doesn’t mean she can’t hold her own. Armed with a voice that’s equal parts powerfully soulful and hypnotically melodic, Dezarie meticulously weaves empowering lyrics over classic reggae riffs and beats. The result is pure, authentic Caribbean roots musicianship that simply can’t be matched by its Pacific Coast counterparts. Dezarie’s show starts at 9 p.m. Call 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com for tickets and info.
If a true out-of-town experience is what you’re after, I’d suggest a day trip up to the Pozo Saloon (90 W. Pozo Rd., Santa Margarita) this Sunday, where you can catch rap legend Ice Cube in all his hip-hop glory. Since busting onto the West Coast rap scene with N.W.A. back in the late ’80s, Cube has gone on to release a string of successful solo records (War & Peace, Vol. 1 & 2; Lethal Injection), cameo on more records than I could name, and launch quite the lucrative film career (Friday, Three Kings, Barbershop). The show starts at 2 p.m. with openers 40 Oz. Freaks, Klockwyze, and Santa Barbara’s own Public Defendaz. Call (888) 512-SHOW or visit pozosaloon.com for tickets and details.