STAYING #805STRONG: Grief: It leaves no season unspoiled, no person untouched, no rule unbroken. As we continue to learn the many ways to grieve, as communities, as nations, and alone, we learn as well the many ways to be strong. At SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.), they offer us not one but two chances to share the strength of our hearts and the skills of our dancing feet with this week’s #805Strong benefit concerts.
The first is an all-star experience featuring many of our area code’s finest reggae and reggae-inspired acts on Saturday, February 24, at 9 p.m. Soul Majestic headlines, backed by a full 805 showcase featuring all (or members) of Cornerstone, One Two Tree, King Zero, and Dylan Judah, plus Santa Cruz’s Shylah Ray, Rastan, and CaletoTV … and special guests, to boot. The sum total of these acts, who are known for simulating the rejuvenating effects of sunshine itself in even the darkest of clubs, is sure to offer abundant love, gratitude, and grooves to get lost in. Jah bless, bless.
On Tuesday, February 27, at 6:30 p.m., you can help honor first responders at the second #805Strong benefit, with the Pete Muller Band, the Doublewide Kings, Haddon Cord, and David Segall all set to sing their hearts out for some of the strongest hearted, strongest souled among us. Muller’s swinging piano, the Kings’ fired-up guitar, Cord’s beautiful voice, and Segall’s soothing melodies will all entwine for a meaningful evening.
GIMME KING SHELTER: Speaking of regal band names, King Shelter is gonna rock the socks off Velvet Jones (423 State St.) with S.B.’s very own Naked Walrus and Oakland’s Mt. Eddy on Friday, February 23, at 8 p.m. Per the phrase, you may want to wear several sock pairs, given the mega-melodic rock roller rink they’ll spin you ’round with. Although King Shelter’s debut EP was called Failure, its trajectory for now suggests quite the opposite, with sold-out shows and a growing fan base lending evidence. Mt. Eddy, meanwhile, shares actual genetics with Green Day — frontman Jakob Armstrong’s father is Billie Joe Armstrong, and the punk/pop-punk spirit runs through their veins, with some slightly Strokes-y vibes for good measure.
CHAPMAN MASTER: For something very cool and different, check out Alex Nahas, who plays a no-cover show at the Mercury Lounge (5871 Hollister Ave., Goleta) on Thursday, February 22, at 8 p.m. Nahas, who hails from New York, wields a chapman stick, a unique fretboard instrument from which he pulls evocative sounds. He also sings, with a dramatic vocal pathos that reminds me of Echo and the Bunnymen singer Ian McCulloch. Throw in Nahas’s inventive rhythms, and you’ve got the ingredients for a great gig.
CHIEFLY O’KEEFE: March is just around the corner, with more than madness to look forward to. On Saturday, March 3, 7 p.m., at The Red Piano (519 State St.), S.B.’s Todd O’Keefe will celebrate the release of his new album, Salvador. Having played with luminaries such as Ray Davies, Jeff Beck, Black Francis, and Elvis Costello, O’Keefe shows his own songwriting strength on Salvador, with that kind of driving, everyman, emotional emission abiding a sort of Randy Newman balance between playful and plaintive. Expect to hear more about O’Keefe over the course of the year, as he’s yet another S.B. musician whose shift in prominence from supporter to lead man has shown his abundance of talents.
THRILLIN’ VILLAINS: They’re back! Also on March 3, Vaud and the Villains will get the party started at SOhO, bringing back to town their big-band sound and cabaret show at 9 p.m. Though Mardi Gras has already kicked off, the L.A.-based orchestra prefers to laissez les bon temps rouler into eternity. Hopefully you didn’t give up dancing for Lent.