DEAR SANTA: Seasonal penny pinching got you down? Fret not fellow music lovers, because post-holiday hoopla also means lots of amazing live music offerings for Santa Barbara fans. In the past few weeks alone, it seems S.B. venues large and small have been on a booking melee. Of the 2010 shows already making my to-do list: Nederlander presents Harry Connick Jr. at the Arlington Theatre on Tuesday, January 26. Club Mercy brings Dengue Fever back to SOhO on Thursday, January 7 and David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion fame) to SOhO on Sunday, March 7. Muddy Waters Cafe boasts shows from A.A. Bondy and Alberta Cross come January, and the incomparable Avett Brothers hit the Arlington on Wednesday, April 28. Consider your Christmas wish lists compiled.
ALL ABOARD: Closer on the calendar, Santa Barbara’s own Dannsair celebrate the release of their latest, The Galway Train with shows at Dargan’s and The James Joyce this weekend. For fans of traditional Irish tunes, Dannsair’s repertoire is about as authentic as they come. But for Celtic skeptics, the album also incorporates hints of harmonic pop and folk of a more familiar variety. In addition, the 11-piece possesses more than their fair share of musical talent, including flautist/composer Linda Holland, percussion maestro Arman Renga (of Ulysses S. Jasz fame), and six vocalists – and that’s just for starters. To catch the band live and in action, or to pick up a CD, you can swing by Dargan’s (18 E. Ortega St.) this Saturday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m., or head out to the Joyce (513 State St.) at 5:30 p.m.
HIP HOP’S HELPING HANDS: As a member of and producer for L.A. group The Living Legends, The Grouch has long been praised for his epic emcee skills. And as a solo artist, the accolades just seem to keep on comin’. This Tuesday, December 8, The Grouch brings his rhymes to Velvet Jones as part of his now annual How The Grouch Stole Christmas Tour. In addition to what promises to be an insane performance, the show is doubling as a fundraiser for Toys for Tots – and everyone who brings a donation item will score a “special gift” from the headliner himself. Seasons greetings aside, the show happens to coincide with the release date of The Grouch’s latest recording offering, Three Eyes Off the Time, which means new tunes and a celebratory release party atmosphere. Also along for the holiday-fueled ride are openers Mistah Fab, Fashawn, Exile, and DJ Fresh. Call 965-8676 or visit ticketweb.com for details.
GET DIRTY: The Aggrolites might just be the gateway drug to reggae appreciation. The L.A. quartet dubs their style “dirty reggae,” but the sounds they produce sound far crisper, cleaner, and stylized than the genre implies. Unlike their contemporaries, these guys steer clear of the rap-reggae mash up, instead choosing to incorporate authentic dance hall and island rhythms with vocals and hooks that immediately call to mind the catchy genius of The Specials and the gravely intensity of Mike Ness.
This Saturday, December 5, the Aggrolites head to Goleta’s Mercury Lounge for an extra special, extra intimate performance in support of their recently released full-length, IV. For tickets and info, call or visit clubmercy.com.