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Zen Mountain Poets play The Siren on March 8, in support of their charting new album, Stellar Ignition 

I imagine first-time listeners of Zen Mountain Poets might experience what early listeners of the Grateful Dead might have felt: a sense that this music is authentic, heartfelt, organic, and honest. The group's only gotten better as they've progressed, and like the Dead, they boast a long list of alumni.

click to enlarge HIPPIE VIBES Groovy psychedelic neo-prog folk jazz act Zen Mountain Poets will play Morro Bay's The Siren on March 8. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ZEN MOUNTAIN POETS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Zen Mountain Poets
  • HIPPIE VIBES Groovy psychedelic neo-prog folk jazz act Zen Mountain Poets will play Morro Bay's The Siren on March 8.

Their current incarnation features Robyn Saxer (keyboards, French horn, ukulele, accordion, and vocals), bandleader Billy Clayton (guitar and vocals), Jeremy Lemmen (bass), and Anthony Roselli (drums, harmonica, and vocals), and the quartet's riding high on their most recent recording, Stellar Ignition.

"We are incredibly thrilled," Roselli said. "As I mentioned some weeks ago, we're still on the jam band charts and having nationwide publicity on more than 400 radio stations. It's all going very well, so well to the point we've recently been able to collaborate with Mickey Hart from the Grateful Dead."

The band is also opening for Joe Craven's band Painted Mandolin in Morro Bay's The Siren on Friday, March 8 (7:30 p.m.; 21-and-older; $18 at tixr.com). Craven is the longtime emcee for the Live Oak Music Festival (this year on June 14 to 16 at El Chorro Regional Park. Tickets at liveoakfest.org).

But back to Zen Mountain, who Roselli says has yet another album in the works.

"Our sound is as unique and powerful as ever," Roselli said, "and with the current traction we've had with our new album, we've gotten recognized nationally and will continue that wave with upcoming tours and playing larger shows and festivals. We've been in the top 10 of the Relix/Jam band charts for the last four months. We are truly excited!"

It's impossible to pigeonhole the band's sound, but there are elements of psychedelia, folk, jazz, and more. Let's call it space rock flying straight into the cosmos.

Also this week at The Siren ...

Candy-O: The Ultimate Tribute to The Cars and Ric Ocasek is on Saturday, March 2 (8 p.m.; 21-and-older; $20 at tixr.com). I saw The Cars in my first big stadium concert in 1979 in San Diego. I got hit in the back of the head hard by a Frisbee, but I still love the band. So many great songs!

Montreal garage-rocker Mark Sultan (of The King Khan & BBQ Show) brings his bluesy punk rock craziness to The Siren, with opener Plywood Love, on Sunday, March 3 (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $17 at tixr.com).

NYC rock band The Thing with local opener Margot Sinclair play on Wednesday, March 6 (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $12 at tixr.com). The Thing formed when Michael Carter, Jack Bradley, and Zane Acord were in high school, and were influenced by '60s pioneers such as the Kinks, Grand Funk Railroad, and artists of The Nuggets Compilation series.

Margot Sinclair began in 2022 as Buenavista. Their bio explains, "Each member's unique taste of music makes it difficult to confine their sound into one singular genre."

Numbskull and Good Medicine

The Dustbowl Revival always delivers an amazing and eclectic night American music like swing, jazz, bluegrass, and roots, and on Thursday, Feb. 29, they'll play in Club Car Bar (8 p.m.; all ages; $23 at goodmedicinepresents.com) with LA-based multi-instrumentalist player Abby Posner delivering her own brand of genre-jumping music.

Iconic So-Cal skate punk act Agent Orange plays on Friday, March 1, in The Siren (8 p.m.; 21-and-older; $20 at goodmedicinepresents.com). They've been mixing punk and surf music since 1979. Seattle-based punks The Drowns will open.

Déjà vu: Olivia Rodrigo with DJ Blade Trip was rescheduled to Friday, March 1, at Club Car Bar (8 p.m.; all ages; $12 presale at goodmedicinepresents.com or $15 day of show). Rodrigo, a singer and actress, is best known for starring on the Disney television programs Bizaardvark and the mockumentary High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.

click to enlarge NOLA AMERICANA Numbskull and Good Medicine present New Orleans quintet The Deslondes on March 4. - COURTESY PHOTO BY BOBBI WERNIG
  • Courtesy Photo By Bobbi Wernig
  • NOLA AMERICANA Numbskull and Good Medicine present New Orleans quintet The Deslondes on March 4.

New Orleans-based Americana quintet The Deslondes play on Monday, March 4, in Club Car Bar (7 p.m.; all ages; $16 at goodmedicinepresents.com). The group—Dan Cutler, Sam Doores, Riley Downing, Cameron Snyder, and John James Tourville—have continued to evolve their sound, adding "saxophone, flute, and synth to string arrangements and a full drum kit for the first time," according to their bio. They're touring in support of their newest, Ways & Means.

"The title reminds me of being young, getting into the music business, going through everything, and coming out of it," Downing observed. "We're taking a look right, left, and back at ourselves."

Fremont Theater

Ready for some My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, and more classic emo bands? The Fremont's got you covered when The Emo Night Tour returns on Friday, March 1 (8 p.m.; 18-and-older; $20 at prekindle.com). Hear all your favorite bands playing their hits.

click to enlarge HITMAKER Genre-jumping multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson plays the historic Fremont Theater on March 5. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GOOD VIBEZ
  • Photo Courtesy Of Good Vibez
  • HITMAKER Genre-jumping multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson plays the historic Fremont Theater on March 5.

The historic downtown SLO theater's big show of the week is Brian Culbertson on The Trilogy Tour on Tuesday, March 5 (8 p.m.; all ages; $39.50 to $79.50 at prekindle.com). The multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter is touring in support of The Trilogy, 30 songs in three albums that, according to press materials, "describes the three-part arc of a long-term relationship: the hot and steamy 'falling in love' phase, the rocky middle when perhaps they even break up for a bit, and the couple reunites to live 'happily ever after' phase. The Trilogy Tour will feature a mix of songs from The Trilogy Albums, as well as the greatest hits from Brian Culbertson's catalog."

click to enlarge BROOM BASH OPUS Percussion and dance extravaganza Stomp returns to Cal Poly's Performing Arts Center on March 3. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAL POLY ARTS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Cal Poly Arts
  • BROOM BASH OPUS Percussion and dance extravaganza Stomp returns to Cal Poly's Performing Arts Center on March 3.

Cal Poly Arts

You're in a for a percussive and visual treat when Stomp returns to Cal Poly's Performing Arts Center on Sunday, March 3 (7 p.m.; $59 to $92 at calpolyarts.org). "The eight-member troupe uses everything but conventional percussion instruments—matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps—to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms," according to press materials.

click to enlarge MILLION-DOLLAR DANCER Caroline Borole stars in PROUD Tina: The Ultimate Tribute to Tina Turner at the Clark Center on March 1. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CLARK CENTER
  • Photo Courtesy Of The Clark Center
  • MILLION-DOLLAR DANCER Caroline Borole stars in PROUD Tina: The Ultimate Tribute to Tina Turner at the Clark Center on March 1.

The Clark Center

No one will ever replace showstopping R&B performer Tina Turner, but Caroline Borole comes darn close. The South African-born singer and dancer stars in PROUD Tina: The Ultimate Tribute to Tina Turner on Friday, March 1 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $45 to $75 at clarkcenter.org). Featuring a live band and dancers, this is an electrifying show paying tribute to one of the greatest performers of the 1970s through the 1990s.

If you're in the mood for some smooth big band sounds, check out the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra on Saturday, March 2 (2 and 7 p.m.; all ages; $29 to $55 at clarkcenter.org). Miller passed in 1944, but his legacy has lived on. This incarnation of his band began in 1956, and delivers hits such as "Moonlight Serenade," "Tuxedo Junction," "Chattanooga Choo Choo," "Pennsylvania 6-5000," "String of Pearls," and of course "In the Mood."

More music ...

French violin virtuoso and Arroyo Grande resident Gilles Apap will join the SLO Symphony on Saturday, March 2, in the Performing Arts Center, to perform Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Bartok's Violin Rhapsody No.1, as well as Leo Weiner's Hungarian Folk Dance Suite—a symphony in four movements based on Hungarian folk melodies and in a late romantic style (7:30 p.m.; $12 to $82 at pacslo.org). Δ

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

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