THE END IS NEAR: If you’ve been reading these pages (or checking your Facebook feeds) of late, you know that this Thursday, October 18, brings with it the final round of our 2012 Downtown Sound Battle of the Bands. After two nights of stiff competition, four Santa Barbara-based acts have proved themselves worthy of vying for the top prize. From Thursday night’s semifinals, hard rockers Broken Machine and Americana pub crooners The Mutineers scored finalist glory. Saturday’s show brought triumphant sets from Jake Jeanson and his folkie orchestra and funky blues lovers Freakin’ on Speakers. Come Thursday, all four acts will take the stage at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) for an audience of friends, fans, and a panel of judges. There they’ll perform in an attempt to take home the most audience votes, as well as win over our judges.
As with all good battles, Thursday’s show is a winner-take-all deal, with the top act receiving more than $5,000 worth of prizes, including professional recording time at Santa Barbara Sound Design; a guitar, a bass, strings, and gear from Ernie Ball; a slot at this year’s New Noise Music Festival; air time on KJEE 92.9; a professional photography session with Cara Robbins Photography; gift certificates from Wahoo’s Fish Tacos; and a feature article in The Santa Barbara Independent’s yearly music issue. With that much on the line, the competition is bound to be fierce, and the crowd is sure to be big. The Downtown Sound Finals start at 8 p.m. For presale tickets and info, call (805) 962-7776 or visit newnoisesb.org.
GAME ON: For those hoping to get their dance on this weekend, look no further than Casa de la Raza (601 E. Montecito St.) on Thursday, October 25. There, dubstep dynamo Datsik takes to the tables for a night of high-octane beats, bleeps, and bloops. The project of Canadian deejay and producer Troy Beetles, Datsik has long been heralded as one to watch in the electronic dance music scene. Unlike many of his bass-loving genre-mates, Datsik has a tendency to deliver hard-hitting beats and aggressive, almost industrial soundscapes. But rather than go the metal-meets-electro route (à la Skrillex), Beetles incorporates a lot of eight-bit noise and video game influences. (In fact, the nickname Datsik first came from Beetles’s Xbox gamer tag.) Add to that an all-star list of collaborators and remix subjects, like The Crystal Method, Wu-Tang Clan, Bassnectar, and UCSB alum Steve Aoki, and you’ve got yourself a night of hard dancing that, simply put, is one of Santa Barbara’s rarest live music offerings. The show starts at 8 p.m. For tickets and info, visit dubsb.eventbrite.com.
ALSO THIS WEEK: On Sunday, October 21, at 9 p.m., SOhO plays host to former Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle, who’s currently touring on behalf of his brand-new solo record, Dept. of Disappearance. The follow-up to 2009’s Yours Truly, The Commuter finds Lytle embracing more electronic tones, though his signature soft-spoken deliveries and acoustic guitar are still front and center. As Lytle describes it, the songs are like “strange, brilliant autistic kids with very peculiar social skills. But there are a few conventional, good-looking ones who go out and shake hands and get the good jobs.” Whether you’re in the market for the odd or the approachable, it’s a ticket well worth seeking out.
And on Thursday, October 25, at 9:30 p.m., SOhO welcomes former Slowdive frontman Neil Halstead. A shoegaze hero in his own right, Halstead’s solo compositions are as poignant and character-driven as his back catalog, and his newest release, Palindrome Hunches, is, in my opinion, one of the more stunning and overlooked albums of the year. Call (805) 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com for tickets and info.