Singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles headlines this year's annual Kids Helping Kids benefit concert at the Granada Theatre.

FOR THE KIDS: The holiday season may have come to a close, but that certainly doesn’t mean the gift giving has ended. For starters, this Saturday marks the fifth annual Kids Helping Kids concert at the Granada Theatre (1214 State St.) organized and orchestrated by the students at San Marcos High School and benefiting organizations locally and internationally. Since 2002, the school’s advanced-placement economics students have been seeking out ways to “[make] a difference from the classroom to the community.” And in its 10 years of existence, Kids Helping Kids has successfully raised more than half a million dollars for groups near and far. (Recent donation recipients included the Santa Barbara Unity Shoppe and the Ubumwe Community Center in Rwanda.)

For this go-round, the students are brazenly upping the ante; they’ve set their financial goals higher and they’ve pulled a more-than-notable headliner in singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles. The Grammy-nominated popster may best be known as the voice behind 2007’s cloyingly ubiquitous “Love Song,” but in the years since she’s expanded her sound — and her piano chops — to include a world of new and varied sonic influences. (Her most recent full-length, Kaleidoscope Heart, features collaborations with Pharrell Williams and The Roots’ Questlove, for starters.)

Also locked in for Saturday’s Kids Helping Kids gig is opener and longtime organization supporter Tyrone Wells, who has had a performing role in the event for the past four years. Known for his pensive, heartfelt ballads and upbeat, production-rich serenades, Wells’ folk-tinged tunes have been featured in films and television shows consistently since 2009. His new record, Where We Meet, is already completed and scheduled for a March 2012 release, which means Saturday’s show is sure to include a wealth of new, as yet unheard live material. The all-ages show starts at 7 p.m. Call 899-2222 or visit for tickets and info. And for more about Kids Helping Kids, visit

SOUL ACOUSTIC: Also making folk-pop waves this week is Citizen Cope, who lands at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) for an intimate acoustic concert on Thursday, January 12, in support of his soon-to-be-released new album. Cope (aka Clarence Greenwood) is a Tennessee-born, Washington D.C.-raised singer/songwriter whose style very much embodies his divergent roots; his music is equal parts folk, soul, and contemporary pop-rock, and he’s written for everyone from Carlos Santana to Dido. Despite working alongside some of the biggest names in the biz, though, Greenwood’s solo career is deeply entrenched in grassroots ideologies. (After signing with Capitol Records and working with DreamWorks, he chose to found and run his own independent label in 2010.)

Nowadays, Greenwood is touring sans band and focusing heavily on the soulful harmonies and unlikely chord structures that have come to mark his approach to writing. He’s also licensing his songs to more commercials, televisions shows (Entourage, CSI: Miami), and films (Trouble the Water, Alpha Dog) than I have room to list. In short, whether or not you’re familiar with Cope’s back catalog, I recommend sitting in an getting yourself acquainted. The show starts at 8 p.m. Call 962-7776 or visit for tickets.

GOINGS ON: Punk-rockers rejoice—’90s stalwarts No Use For a Name return to S.B. and plug in at Velvet Jones (423 State St.) on Thursday, January 12. Visit for tickets. Also this week, the David Bromberg Quartet shares a double bill with Hot Tuna at the Lobero theatre (33 E. Canon Perdido St.) on Friday, January 6, at 8 p.m. For tickets and info, call 963-0761 or visit On Saturday, January 7, the co-headlining action continues when Venice Beach’s Paladino and Pasadena’s Old Californio take to the stage at Goleta’s Mercury Lounge (5871 Hollister Ave.) for a 21+ show at 8 p.m. Call 967-0907 for info.


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