Gardens and Villa play Soho July 13, 2011
Paul Wellman

GET HEAVY: Once a year, punks, hardcores, and heavy rock fans converge on S.B. for what is no doubt one of the most revered—and raucous—rock music parties the West Coast has to offer. Free of any big-name sponsors, or big-money expectations, the Sound and Fury Festival truly works to invigorate a scene—and provide a safe space for fans to get their mosh on. Starting this Friday, July 22, and stretching through Sunday, July 24, the Earl Warren Showground (3400 Calle Real) plays host to over 60 bands, including Advent, Secret People, Ceremony, Bracewar, Attitude, Alpha & Omega, and many (and I mean many) more. Expect three days worth of music that hits hard and shredders who aren’t afraid to crank things up to 11. (In other words, bring your ear plugs … just in case.)

For tickets to and information about this year’s Sound & Fury, visit

HEART BEATS: We’ve run many a fine word about the Proximity Theatre Company within these pages. The Santa Barbara-based collective is perhaps one of our theater community’s best, boasting seasonal avant-garde productions and creative teaching techniques that not only feature but revolve around developing young performers and using their ideas.

This week, for the third year running, the masterminds behind Proximity Theatre have concocted a fundraising event that’s as fun-loving and eccentric as the production it’s helping to support. On Sunday, July 24, SOhO (1221 State St.) plays host to Mad Hearts, a night-long celebration featuring dinner, dancing, and performances by an impressive roster of S.B. and SoCal musicians. Amongst the night’s live music highlights are local luminaries The Windmill Vandals, who’ve moved from high school notables to full-blown garage rock powerhouses since their inception in 2008. Also on the lineup: S.B. Afro-beat lovers (and party-starters) Wetlands and L.A.-based hip-hop-meets-soul outfit Sin City.

The show starts at 6:30 p.m. and is open to all ages. Call 962-7776 or visit for tickets and info.

ROAD WARRIORS: Also this week, Los Angeles-born Cambodian rockers Dengue Fever make a return trip to Santa Barbara in support of their semi-recent release Cannibal Courtship. Though the band made a stop here not that long ago (late April, to be exact), I highly doubt these guys will have any trouble filling a room. Led by frontwoman and vocal powerhouse Chhom Nimol, the sextet delivers groovy ’60s surf rock-inspired riffs that can get even the shyest wallflower up and moving. In addition, Nimol’s turns at the mike are equal parts captivating and riot inducing; blessed with a high, crisp register and a solid grasp of both English and her native Khmer, Nimol belts through numbers with an air of otherworldly mystery—and a whole lot of intense compassion. Needless to say, if you haven’t caught these six live yet, you best be there.

Dengue Fever plays SOhO on Friday, July 22 at 9 p.m. with openers Howlin Woods. Call 962-7776 or visit for tickets.

HOME SWEET HOME: Finally, a most necessary shout out must be made to Gardens & Villa, who turned their short-but-sweet mid-tour stop into an S.B. homecoming for the record books. The fellas, who released their self-titled debut full-length via Secretly Canadian on July 5, took to the stage in a jam-packed SOhO last Wednesday night for a proper album send-off. What fans and loyal friends got was a set of indie funk (“Orange Blossom”), jovial and wide-eyed guitar-and-synth rock (“Thorn Castles”), and a handful of new—and decidedly world-beat-infused—jams (“Avalanche,” “Domino”). And while it was hard not to take notice of Wednesday’s rapt (and sing-along-ready) crowd, frontman Chris Lynch provided the show-stopping distraction via his arsenal of flutes, which he busted out to a most spiritual effect on percussion-heavy numbers like “Neon Dove.” Needless to say, if the guys can pull that much energy out of a 350-person room, I shudder to think how sweaty they’ll be getting in the coming months.


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