CALLING ALL BANDS: Hey music makers! Still haven’t signed up for 2012’s Downtown Sound battle of the bands? Well, now’s your chance. This year’s call for submissions comes to a close on Friday, September 7, at midnight. What’s in for you? Well, let me tell ya. Starting Thursday, September 13, all bands that enter will take part in a weeklong online vote-off at Following this first round, the top six vote-getters (plus two extra-special editor’s picks) will move on to the two-night Downtown Sound semifinals, where they’ll compete live onstage for the approval of an audience (and a handful of our handpicked judges). And the top two winners from each of those semifinals: They’ll battle it out onstage at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) on Thursday, October 18, for the Downtown Sound grand prize.

What’s up for grabs, you ask? Well, for starters, the winner of Downtown Sound will score a prime spot on this year’s New Noise Music Festival lineup and a coveted feature in this very paper. They’ll also take home a killer prize package that includes a day’s worth of professional recording time at Santa Barbara Sound Design, a guitar and strings from Ernie Ball, a professional photo shoot courtesy of Cara Robbins Photography, apparel, gift cards, and a whole lotta schwag. They’ll also get to boast the title of 2012’s Best Santa Barbara Band.

Now that your interest is piqued, head on over to and sign up. Everyone who submits will not only have a crack at the prizes; they’ll also get a permanent band profile at that features their band’s stats, picture, and music. So, what are you waiting for?

ALSO THIS WEEK: If you’re looking for a good show with a feel-good message, I suggest heading over to SOhO this Thursday, September 6, for the Endless Summer Soirée. This benefit concert for the Santa Barbara Leukemia & Lymphoma Society features a night’s worth of laid-back music makers, including Fusion Table, Brady Lee, Erin Pearson, Rusty Lindsey, and the S.B. return of the David Courtenay Band. Since departing for Chicago five years ago, Courtenay has kept plenty busy spreading his musical wings. Earlier this year, he released Love & Shame, his debut album with a project called Modern Conversation. Since returning to the 805, though, Courtenay has been focused on the band that bears his name. Alongside guitarist Jonathan Brownfield, bassist Joe Rizk, and drummer Jamie Haggar, Courtenay has created a sound that is, as he puts it, “definitely West Coast.” Drawing inspiration from his love of surfing, Courtenay’s music is a mellow and reggae-tinged acoustic-rock affair (i.e., the perfect playlist for the tail end of summer). The all-ages party starts at 8 p.m. For tickets, info, and dinner reservations, call 962-7776 or visit

The S.B. music keeps on coming on Wednesday, September 12. It’s then that Indy faves Blue Suns make their big hometown return at SOhO. These indie-rockin’ youngsters took their British Invasion shtick to the next level this summer, flying overseas (gear in tow) to tour the U.K. While we’ve yet to get the details of their big excursion, I’m betting money all that gigging has them playing like a well-oiled machine. Head out to welcome them back at 8 p.m. The all-ages show also features a set by fellow S.B. band Freakin’ on Speakers.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: If you’re down to make a drive this week, I suggest spending Thursday, September 13, heading south to the Majestic Ventura Theater (26 S. Chestnut St., Ventura). It’s there that San Diego alt-prog band Pinback makes a special appearance in support of their upcoming release, Information Retrieved. The album — their fifth studio release and first since 2007’s Autumn of the Seraphs — is already gaining plenty of buzz within the alt-rock scene. It’s also just might be this year’s surprise comeback record. The show starts at 8 p.m. with opener Clownvis Presley. For tickets and info, call 653-0721 or visit

MuddFest 2012

THERE WILL BE MUDD: What makes a music scene? I’m not too sure. But last weekend, I witnessed one of the more memorable musical experiences of my S.B. life. Over the course of 48 hours, in a lifeless parking lot on the corner of Olive and Haley streets, I watched 50-some-odd music fans, friends, players, and advocates come out, stapler guns blazin’. The reason: MuddFest 2012. Call it silly, but this pipe dream of a music festival in support of a venue that’s really a coffee shop united more people working in or around music in Santa Barbara than I have seen in all 10 of my years in this city.

Even before Saturday’s long and illustrious lineup — which lasted ’til well past 3 a.m. for some — there were folks crawling out of the woodwork to volunteer their time. While naming them all would mean taking up more space than this column has to offer, it’s worth noting a handful of the MVPs. New Noise S.B., Mutiny Studios, and KCSB all lent their blood, sweat, and tears. John Clark and the Santa Barbara City College Music Department gave us more gear than we should probably mention. And the bands, sound engineers, lighting experts, set decorators, vendors, and door folks — well, you know who you are, and you know that Saturday you did something great (think $5,000 for Muddy Waters) and that you helped breathe some new life into our community in the process


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