Summer will close out with a bang on Saturday, August 20, at Pershing Park, where the entire community is invited to a free, family-friendly, picnic-perfect day full of some of the very best homegrown music S.B. has to offer. Bands will rock the park’s historic Plaza del Mar bandstand stage in the first concert to take place there in 10 years. Sponsored by KjEE and emceed by John Palminteri, with support from the S.B. Bowl’s Education Outreach program, the City of S.B., and its Parks & Recreation Department, this summer send-off marks the end of a season and, in some ways, the end of an era, just as it kicks off new beginnings and bright futures for some of S.B.’s most musically gifted youth.
The concert is the last to be organized by Roger Perry, the insurance broker who has quietly but not unnoticeably touched the lives of thousands through his generous volunteer efforts on behalf of the city’s music community (and, it should be noted, assists with the insurance needs of our very paper). Perry began his valiant volunteerism after seeing his son JT’s band perform several years ago, which was when he realized that young musicians in this town needed more support. Many free Skater’s Point concerts, youth band battles, Fourth of July festivities, and Fiesta shows later, Perry has decided to hang up his show organizer hat as one son leaves for college and another begins his pursuit of soccer dreams.
Perry says he hopes a successor will step in to continue providing music opportunities for youth. “It’s about the opportunity and the notoriety for the kids in our community,” he said. Until then, here’s a look at a few of the notable bands who will be playing this Saturday.
Headliners Layovr are going strong ever since bursting onto the scene with a fusion sound that is undoubtedly original, melding reggae, ’80s hair metal, and synth music into an outgoing style that is both excitingly exploratory and relaxingly rootsy. Calling it “trop rock,” the band describes their sound as evoking both Santa Barbara’s cozy coastal cool and their own adventurous spirit. “Being from the Bay Area, Santa Barbara always has felt kind of like a tropical island paradise to us,” bassist Thomas Semow said. “But really a lot of that imagery comes from our collective love for the outdoors.”
As testament to their musicianship, the band was hired on as Playback Recording Studio’s house band this year, doing session work for recording artists. “It’s helped us refine our chops as studio musicians. We’ve gotten to work with some really cool upcoming artists, and it’s always exciting watching new artists develop and being a part of that process,” Semow said.
While Agreeables vocalist and founder Rick Cipes may no longer qualify as a youth biologically, he certainly qualifies in spirit. The endlessly inventive and enduringly youthful performer has cycled through a variety of creative personae — widely read journalist, immersive actor, sardonic animator, and now app developer — while only recently landing on the agreeable superhero bandleader persona, aiming to save the world “one melody at a time.” Citing acts like Ryan Adams and The Jayhawks as influences, Cipes and band rescue subdued rooms with tremendous hooks, and save disheartened minds with inspiring and encouraging lyrics. Songs such as “Leap Before You Look” are aimed straight at the youth, with Cipes recommending young creators take chances early on. “Catch a seed, follow it, see where it grows,” he sings. “Go for it, try to be your best, and let the chips fall where they may.”
Not yet finished with high school, Brandi Rose already has a voice beyond her years. Her stirring vocals remind some listeners of Adele (her chief inspiration), and her singing has both graced S.B.’s recent Fourth of July celebrations and reverberated through the city’s parking lots — Rose has begun recording videos in them. Rose is in a state of developing her creative voice, embarking on a songwriting trajectory, and she credits the very community that shaped this show as her greatest teachers. “My mentality has really grown from all my elders in the music community,” she said. The stunningly talented Rose is evidence that Perry’s hard work has paid off. “Roger has been a really, really helpful guy; he’s put on many shows and helped me to get out there and be who I am today,” she said, also citing Spencer the Gardener as a mentor. “I’m very excited to see how this is all gonna be.”
The free KjEE Summer Rock Wrap-Up with Spencer Barnitz, Voodoo Lounge, La Boheme, The Agreeables, David Loeppke, Let Flo Go, Young Gunz, Brandi Rose, Vital Signs, and Layovr takes place Saturday, August 20, in Pershing Park (Cabrillo Blvd. and Castillo St.) from noon-8pm. See tinyurl.com/KjeeSummerRockWrapUp.