SUPASTAR AT VELVET: Amid their steady offerings of punk, indie rock, and the sort of music that makes SoCal scream, Velvet Jones on State Street occasionally throws in a hip-hop superstar. Adding to the list that already includes 2 Live Crew and KRS-One will be underground hip-hop supastar Talib Kweli, the favorite rapper of such heavyweights as Jay-Z and 50 Cent, who touches down at Velvet this Saturday, September 2. The Brooklyn-raised Kweli, who broke into the hip-hop world as part of Black Star with Mos Def, is on tour to promote his October 2006 release Ear Drum, which boasts the help of such esteemed artists as Norah Jones, Kanye West, and Rick Rubin as well as up-and-comers Jean Grae, Strong Arm Steady, and UGK. It’ll be a Velvet show for the record books. — Matt Kettmann
A KING THING: Santa Barbara funk rockers The Kings of Spain (the kingsofspain.com) are staking their claim to musical fame. A couple months ago, NBC launched its StarTomorrow reality show — a sort of American Idol spin-off — which debuted on TV but has been running since then completely online (startomorrow.com). Bands face off head-to-head, and web surfers vote for their favorite pre-recorded song, which airs on the StarTomorrow site. Not only did Will Loomis and Adam Baltieri’s band make the original 100-band cut (pared down from thousands trying to get in), but they just won their first-round battle against a band called Qwiksand. “At first, playing in the NBC studios was intimidating,” said Loomis. “But once we got past the cover songs and started playing our originals, we locked into a groove and had a lot of fun.” You can see The Kings get into their groove live and free of charge this Friday, September 1, 8 p.m., at Cold Spring Tavern. — Josh Brayer
BLUES FLY MIGHTY: Named band of the year four times at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers bring their kinetic show to SOhO on September 1. Led by Piazza’s quick, vibrato harmonica riffs — which only pause when the front man uses his air to sing — the band plays mostly in an up-tempo style that Piazza calls “swingin’ style blues.” His wife, Honey, plays the keyboard and shares background vocals with guitarist Henry Carvajal; drummer Dave Kidda rounds out the band. Piazza began his music career in 1965 with The Dirty Blues Band, and formed The Mighty Flyers in 1980. The band has since played thousands of gigs around the globe and recorded more than a dozen acclaimed releases, most recent of which was the 2005 album, For the Chosen Who. “It will be a visual show as well as audio,” Piazza said. “In our shows, all four of us are really acting out on stage.” — Joe Rosenheim
THE PRIETO SHOW: Latin R&B splashes all over SOhO’s stage on Sunday, September 3, when Anthony Prieto and his 14-piece band, who played to more than 500 Fiesta-funkin’ souls at Mercado del Norte, take over. Prieto, a Santa Barbara native whose music is better known down south than in his hometown, wears many hats as a city worker, California condor volunteer, and singer. His 2004 release Life, Love, & Desire continues to sell on CDBaby.com, so expect a bunch of sweet songs from that album. “It’s so nice to jam in my own backyard again!” Prieto said. So support your neighbor and check him out. — MK
OTRAS COSAS: Goleta’s Girsh Park is getting in the outdoor concert habit with its kickoff to its late-summer shows with Prime Time Bank on Sunday, September 3 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The concerts will be every Sunday through October 8, with other highlights being Luna Gitana on September 10, The Porch Dogs on September 24, and Ulysses S. Jasz on October 8. … The Wildcat’s rock-out Tuesdays continue on September 5 with singer Brittany Battastini. … And Rocks continues to rock with Lisa Goe, Two Loons for Tea, and Dominic Balli on Thursday, August 31; Kris Angelis on Friday, September 1; and Orlando Napier & The Cats ’n’ Dogs, Matt McAvene, and Change on Saturday, September 2.