Florida's Against Me! is just one of more than 50 bands slated to play this Sunday's Vans Warped Tour stop in Ventura.

GET WARPED: It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 20 years since Kevin Lyman’s punk-meets-extreme-sports fest/tour first got off the ground. But in its 17th run, the annual Vans Warped Tour is still going strong, boasting some of the biggest and fastest up-and-coming punk, hip-hop, reggae, electronic, pop, and rock artists on the alternative circuit today. This Sunday, July 3, the travelling music show rolls into Ventura’s Seaside Park (10 W. Harbor Blvd.) for yet another day of fun in the beachside sun (not to mention a few acts that are well worth the short jaunt down the 101).

As in years past, Warped 2011 is all about highlighting what’s next, but (also as in years past) they’re openly embracing their roots, with sets from some of the alt-rock world’s most firmly established names. Among Sunday’s highlights, you’ll find seminal Florida ska lovers Less Than Jake, longtime pop rockers Hellogoodbye and Simple Plan, and reputable punkers Against Me! and Unwritten Law.

Still, the main draw to Sunday’s Warped stop seems to be electro duo 3OH!3. Hailing from Boulder, Colorado, the recently arrived outfit (made up of Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte) sports a frighteningly catchy mix of laser-fast beats, production-heavy synth lines, and cheeky hip-hop-light: in other words, the perfect soundtrack for kickflipping through summer. Warped Tour 2011 kicks off at Seaside Park at 11 a.m. Visit warpedtour.com for tickets and info.

SUMMER STRUMMER: For a musical outing that’s closer to home—and surely easier on the eardrums and tan lines—this Thursday brings nouveau flamenco artist Ottmar Liebert to SOhO for an intimate concert in support of his recently released studio album, Santa Fe. The multiple Grammy nominee’s latest is titled for the New Mexico home where he first began his flamenco career. And like the city with which it shares its name, Santa Fe is awash in warm, Southwestern-inspired tones. The guitars are crisp, bright, and undeniably sultry, and the percussion is quietly understated and wide-ranging—players employ everything from djembe, bongos, and dumbek to timbales, cajón, and udu. In addition, Thursday’s show will find Liebert onstage alongside his longtime collaborators and touring band, Luna Negra. And played fully orchestrated, these tracks will no doubt drift perfectly into Santa Barbara’s cool summer nights. Ottmar Liebert plays SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) on Thursday, June 30, at 8:30 p.m. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com for tickets.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Solstice technicalities aside, last weekend marked the official kickoff of summer concert season in S.B. And in no small way, Friday night set the bar high. In the span of just a couple hours, music fans with their ears to the ground were able to hop from Jeff Bridges’s semi-secret showing at Alameda Park to The Mountain Goats’ riveting performance at SOhO. For Bridges, the night was just one in a short line of pop-up appearances he’s been making in and around town of late, all in anticipation of his soon-to-come release for Blue Note Records (due out August 16). While the actor-turned-music-man only delivered three tunes, the few hundred of us in attendance soaked it up. Plus, he delivered a killer cover of Dylan’s “The Man in Me” (famously off the soundtrack to The Big Lebowski). We call that a Solstice win-win.

Later in the night, it was lead Mountain Goat John Darnielle who had audience members gushing. Not only did the frontman wind his way into hearts on Friday via an assaulting and emotional set list, he did so with a smile—and a raging fever. Illness or no, Darnielle gave it his all and proved himself one of indie rock’s hands-down must-see live acts—if not for the vocal stretches and lyrical genius, then for the asides, which were as smart as they were hilarious


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