SURF’S UP: Club Mercy’s merciless concert schedule continues this week with a return visit from Costa Mesa’s beloved, party hardy surf rockers, the Growlers. In case you missed their super fun, super sweaty Muddy Waters gig last December, trust me when I say these guys can put on a show. Mixing a medley of influences—psych pop, ’60s surf, gypsy acid jazz—and a driving “play it loose, play it fast” sensibility, the Growlers’ live set demands to be danced to.
The band is currently out on tour, touting a slew of new jams in addition to the trippy, swirling numbers that make up last year’s breakthrough recording, Are You In or Out? Most recently, the sextet was spotted on the South by Southwest circuit (see above), playing alongside buzz bands like Leslie and The Badgers, Acid Mothers Temple, and recent S.B. visitors The Entrance Band.
This week, the guys have fellow experimentalist NOBUNNY along for the ride. If you’re into the stranger things in life, this is one opening act you seriously do not want to miss. Donning a rabbit mask (and often little else), NOBUNNY frontman/alter ego Justin Champlin is known for his bizarre strange antics, revolving door of backup musicians, and love of all things throwback. Musically, you can expect a mish-mash of Buddy Holly bounce, Cramps style ferocity, and the New York Dolls’ signature howling vocals and sloppy guitars. The whole, crazy shindig kicks off at Jensen’s Mainstage (2905 De la Vina St.) on Wednesday, April 7, at 8 p.m. Call 563-3200 or visit clubmercy.com for tickets.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Portland may be known for its neo-hippie chic and its uber quirky indie bands, but that isn’t all it has to offer. Case in point: Stumptown’s own folkie troubadour, Kasey Anderson. While Anderson’s songs greet backing band accompaniment with open arms, it’s their lyrical power and simple pop structures that make them resonate so deeply. Where “Sooner/Later” sounds like 2010’s answer to 1977’s Tom Petty, numbers like “Don’t Look Back” are pure, early Dylan-style poetry.
This Monday, April 5, Anderson brings his acoustic and harmonica to Muddy Waters Café (508 E. Haley St.) for a double bill with Santa Barbara’s own Natalie D-Napoleon. The songstress recently wrapped up her second straight year of shows at Austin’s annual (and much blogged about) South by Southwest tech conference and music festival, making Monday’s gig her first back in California. The double bill starts at 8 p.m. Call 966-9328 or visit myspace.com/muddycafesb for details.
CH-CH-CHANGES: In Kurt Loder-worthy news fodder, downtown Ventura’s beloved eatery cum music lounge, Zoey’s Café, is closing down shop … sort of. The El Jardin hotspot—best known for launching the stars of strummers like Colbie Callat and Timmy Curran—is on the move, and plans to reopen come mid April. Zoey’s 2.0 will inhabit the old Hush Restaurant & Lounge spot at 185 East Santa Clara Street, just down the road from the old, 1920s-style location. The move means many things for proprietors (and hubby and wife) Steve and Polly Hoganson, including a larger kitchen and growing menu. But the pair also promises that Zoey’s won’t be losing its venue vibe anytime soon. As for the farewell concert, the Hogansons celebrated their last night of business this past Saturday with a send-off concert from none other than Grant Lee Phillips.
In other music news, Santa Barbara’s own rising garage rockers, Martyrs, have officially denounced their namesake, saying too many other bands, films, and Biblical references are causing them more trouble than it’s worth. The trio—frontman Kyle Nicolaides, Avery Wheeler, and Joey Benenati—are now calling themselves Siren Son, and have a Web site to match. (Visit myspace.com/sirenson for the details.) And don’t worry, Martyrs fans; they still rock just as hard as they used to.