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British ska band The English Beat headlines June 15 at Live Oak Fest 

Ever have one of those high school-era bands that just felt like the soundtrack to your life? Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Billy Idol, Pet Shop Boys, The Specials, Talking Heads—they all held a cherished place, but none more so than The English Beat. They're a band I've seen live probably more than any other, and on Saturday, June 15, at the Live Oak Music Festival at El Chorro Regional Park, I'm going to experience them in a way I never have before: performing outdoors under the stars in front of a huge crowd of screaming, pogo-dancing fans (8:45 to 10:45 p.m.; all ages; tickets at liveoakfest.org).

click to enlarge WAKELING IN THE WILD English Beat frontman Dave Wakeling will entertain the Live Oak Music Fest throngs on June 15. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE LIVE OAK MUSIC FESTIVAL
  • Photo Courtesy Of The Live Oak Music Festival
  • WAKELING IN THE WILD English Beat frontman Dave Wakeling will entertain the Live Oak Music Fest throngs on June 15.

Formed in Birmingham, England, in 1978, as The Beat, their American success predicated a name change to The English Beat because Paul Collins' band The Beat had already established itself in the states in 1977. Collins' Beat went on to have a pretty big hit with "Rock N Roll Girl" in 1979, but they couldn't touch the stream of dance ready new wave power pop and ska unleashed by Dave Wakeling and The English Beat when their debut album I Just Can't Stop It was released in the U.S. in 1980. "Mirror in the Bathroom," "Hands Off ... She's Mine," "Twist & Crawl," "Rough Rider," "Stand Down Margaret," "Can't Get Used to Losing You" (an amazing take on a song made famous by Andy Williams no less), and "Best Friend"—a debut in which more than half the cuts were hits!

They followed up with Wha'ppen? (1981) and Special Beat Service (1982) and a string of more hits such as "Save it for Later," "I Confess," "Too Nice to Talk To," and "All Out to Get You." In 1983, Wakeling continued his success and signature sound with a new Birmingham group, General Public, and hits such as "Tenderness," "I'll Take You There," and "Never You Done That."

You can expect to hear lots, if not most, of these hits, and I'm happy to report, Wakeling's voice and guitar sound as good as ever. Don't miss this one! Grab a day ticket or camp for the weekend.

Also on Saturday starting at 8 a.m. and running until 1 a.m. Sunday morning, experience indie folk jazz artist Jessi Carr, bluesy roots singer-songwriter Azere Wilson, reggae heroes Resination, roots country-rock-soul singer Madeline Hawthorne, funky New Orleans brass band The Soul Rebels, Afro-Brazilian drumline Samba Loca, outlaw country blues and rockabilly star Jessie Dayton, saxophone- and drum-driven cave music trio Moon Hooch, Irish rockers The Young Dubliners, Latin soul and psychedelia trio Los Tranquilos, Afro-Mexican Americana futurists Las Cafeteras, and late night dance party king Vince Cimo's Hot Fire.

click to enlarge OLD SOU Singer-songwriter Charles Wesley Godwin plays the historic Fremont Theater in downtown SLO on June 12. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CHARLES WESLEY GODWIN
  • Photo Courtesy Of Charles Wesley Godwin
  • OLD SOU Singer-songwriter Charles Wesley Godwin plays the historic Fremont Theater in downtown SLO on June 12.

Fremont Theater

Spellbinding country-folk singer-songwriter Charles Wesley Godwin plays on Wednesday, June 12 (8 p.m.; all ages; $30 to $37 at prekindle.com) with Cole Chaney and Tyler Halverson opening. Three terrific performers in one night.

Godwin was studying finance at West Virginia University when he picked up the guitar and began songwriting, listing the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, and Chris Prine as inspiration. He released his debut, Seneca, in 2019, as a "love letter to West Virginia." His second, 2021's How the Mighty Fall, he described as more semiautobiographical. He's currently touring in support of Family Ties, with songs that pay tribute to close family members.

"I decided I was going to write about my life and my family," Godwin explained in press materials. "It's where my heart was guiding me: to be super personal and dig right into the weeds of my life."

He seems to appeal to a wide audience, noting, "My shows will range from like 18-year-olds to 80-year-olds. That's a pretty unique thing. There's a lot more people at my shows and they're a lot more excited than ever before. I don't feel like a fish out of water anymore. I had fun when it was just 100 people back in 2021. Now that it's 10 or 20 times that, it's just even better."

Also at the Fremont, You Should Be Dancing—A Tribute to the Bee Gees arrives on Saturday, June 8 (8 p.m.; all ages; $29.95 prekindle.com), with a live band backing three singers who capture the falsetto harmonies of the famed sibling trio. Disco lives!

Often caustic but bitingly funny comedian Kathy Griffin: My Life on the PTSD-List brings her shtick on Sunday, June 9 (8 p.m.; all ages; $39.50 to $99.50 at prekindle.com). Often controversial, she's not for wimps.

Numbskull and Good Medicine

Marty O'Reilly kicks off the week on Friday, June 7, in Club Car Bar (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $12 at goodmedicinepresents.com). According to his bio, the singer-songwriter's "music is like describing a dream. It feels familiar, but at the same time unchartered. His songs sound bluesy but not blues, folk but not folk, soulful but not soul. Marty's voice is beautiful and unique, his lyrics stark yet lush over gritty electrified guitar, melding beautifully into genre-defying music within the vast definitions of Americana. One can hear an urgency and complexity in the songs, expressing something elemental and perhaps contradictory: love and anger, joy and pain, real and imagined."

click to enlarge WRY EYE James McMurtry returns for another go-around in support of his terrific album, The Horses and the Hounds, playing a Numbskull and Good Medicine Presents show at The Siren. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMES MCMURTY
  • Photo Courtesy Of James Mcmurty
  • WRY EYE James McMurtry returns for another go-around in support of his terrific album, The Horses and the Hounds, playing a Numbskull and Good Medicine Presents show at The Siren.

Iconoclastic singer-songwriter James McMurtry returns to The Siren on Wednesday, June 12 (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $25 at goodmedicinepresent.com). I've written previously about his amazing new album, The Horses and the Hounds, about which McMurtry said, "There's a definite Los Angeles vibe to this record. The ghost of Warren Zevon seems to be stomping around among the guitar tracks. Don't know how he got in there. He never signed on for work for hire."

McMurtry, a deeply wry raconteur, puts on an amazing live show and writes songs that burrow under your skin and stay there.

The Siren

As usual, the Morro Bay club is swinging for the fences, starting with a doubleheader called School's Out For Summer with beer-grass party band The Mother Corn Shuckers and "cosmic mountain music" act Wolf Jett on Friday, June 7 (7:30 p.m.; 21-amd-older; $20 at tixr.com). Get ready to dance.

click to enlarge CRAZY ON YOU Heart fans, check out tribute act Heartless playing The Siren on June 8. - PHOTO COURTESY OF HEARTLESS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Heartless
  • CRAZY ON YOU Heart fans, check out tribute act Heartless playing The Siren on June 8.

American rock band Heart, fronted by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, have a had a long career, forming in 1973 and still playing, but that hasn't stopped tribute acts like Heartless from taking on the band's classic repertoire. "Heartless a Tribute to Heart is California's premier Heart Tribute Band, inspired by more than 30 years of rock 'n' roll magic from sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. At every performance, Heartless a Tribute to Heart takes you on a musical journey from the 1970s to today!" their bio explains. "Barracuda," "Crazy On You," "Dog & Butterfly"—you'll hear it on Saturday, June 8 (8 p.m.; 21-and-older; $20 at tixr.com).

click to enlarge VINTAGE STYLE, MODERN SOUNDS Feel the rock 'n' roll swagger of the Reckless Ones on June 9, in The Siren. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RECKLESS ONES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Reckless Ones
  • VINTAGE STYLE, MODERN SOUNDS Feel the rock 'n' roll swagger of the Reckless Ones on June 9, in The Siren.

Ready for some unbridled rock 'n' roll swagger? Check out Reckless Ones on Sunday, June 9 (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; free). The Los Angeles-based roots-rock trio delivers electrifying vintage style and modern sounds.

Finally, Bon Bon Vivant with Crown City Bombers on Thursday, June 13 (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $17 at tixr.com). "Bon Bon Vivant is a genre bending band from New Orleans that pull from singer-songwriter/ pop/ Americana/ dark ballads and up-tempo indie dance music, ... but they would prefer you to just listen to the music," the band announced. Crown City Bombers is old-school rockabilly and early rock.

Rod & Hammer Rock

I told you about it last week, but don't forget Rod & Hammer Rock presents Aurora's Light: A Lucidity Pre-Party with EDM artists such as Tropo, Elysian Moon, Luna Jay, and others on Thursday, June 6 (doors at 7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $20 at ticketweb.com).

click to enlarge SOULMEN SoCal funk, R&B, and rock act Charities play Rod & Hammer Rock on June 7. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CHARITIES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Charities
  • SOULMEN SoCal funk, R&B, and rock act Charities play Rod & Hammer Rock on June 7.

The other big show is The Charities with Los So-Lows play Friday, June 7 (doors at 7 p.m.; 18-and-older; $20 at ticketweb.com). The Charities mix soul, rock, R&B, and funk. "With a deep reverence for vintage aesthetic, the band immerses themselves in a timeless allure, infusing their music with a nostalgic charm that resonates with audiences of all ages," according to their bio.

Hailing from Oxnard, Los So-Los play their own brand of soul they called OxSoul.

The Clark Center

You either like Elton John's music or you're wrong. "Bennie and the Jets," "Philadelphia Freedom," "Crocodile Rock," "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road," "Candle in the Wind"—he and lyricist Bernie Taupin were unstoppable. Get your fix when the Clark Center presents Remember When Rock Was Young—The Elton John Experience on Friday, June 7 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $45 to $75 at clarkcenter.org). Singer-pianist Craig A. Meyer brings the legend to life.

More music ...

The Cal Poly Symphony and Cal Poly Choirs will perform celebrated works from the French and American repertory on Saturday, June 8, in the Performing Arts Center (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $15 and $20 for the public, and $10 for students and SLO Jazz Fed members at the Cal Poly ticket office or by calling (805) 756-4849). Δ

Contact Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey at [email protected].

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