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A touch of the Irish 

The Young Dubliners' new album mixes Celtic and good old American rock

click to enlarge IRISH EYES ARE CALLING :  The Young Dubliners return to Downtown Brew on Oct. 8. - PHOTO BY DAVID GWENNAP
  • IRISH EYES ARE CALLING : The Young Dubliners return to Downtown Brew on Oct. 8.
It’s been six months since The Young Dubliners’ last local show where they were hitting the road in support of their excellent new album Saints and Sinners, and they’ve been going pretty much non-stop since then. It’s not a stretch to say that this world famous act has become the hardest workin’ band in show business.


Frontman Keith Roberts now lives in Paso Robles, but he can probably count the nights he’s slept in his own bed on both hands since he and his band play upwards of 250 shows a year!


On Thursday, Oct. 8, they’ll appear with The Janks at Downtown Brew (7:30 p.m.; 21-and-older; $15).


Saints and Sinners is their eighth studio album, and it’s definitely among their best. The opening rave-up title track sets the tone: “Two day stubble/ Staying outta trouble/ Gather in a huddle/ Try to keep a hold of your mind ... Oh sweet Jaysus/ Will heaven save us/ Lived it hard but you’d hardly blame us/ Broke the mold when we stole the show/ No regrets if the truth be told.”


Saints and Sinners is an album that feels completely natural. The band may have built a reputation on Celtic rock, but most of the band members are American, and this time around many of the songs are straight-ahead American rockers.


“I think we’re songwriters before we’re Irish or American,” said Roberts. “Unlike some Celtic bands, we don’t write songs and then inject Celtic instruments to load it up to sound Irish. One song on the new album, ‘Buy Your Life’—there’s nothing Celtic about it; it came out the way it came out. We don’t add gratuitous Irish sounds.”


After the show, stay for the first installment of the Central Coast DJ Competition.


click to enlarge HAVE FAITH :  Catch the amazing and haunting sounds of Marianne Faithfull on Oct. 9 at the Henry Miller Library. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIANNE FAITHFULL
  • HAVE FAITH : Catch the amazing and haunting sounds of Marianne Faithfull on Oct. 9 at the Henry Miller Library.
Tropic of awesome!


What the heck’s happening up at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur? It couldn’t be farther off the beaten path, and yet world-class events  descend upon this rustic venue set amongst the majestic redwoods.


On Friday, Oct. 9, for instance, Marianne Faithfull performs a benefit concert for the library at 7:30 p.m. Previous years’ benefit concerts have included Patti Smith and her band, Henry Rollins, Laurie Anderson and, last year, Philip Glass and Wendy Sutter. Not too shabby, eh?


“The benefit is in support of the important cultural contributions made by the HM Library as well as their ongoing work of preserving and making publicly available the significant archives under Library stewardship,” according to organizers.


Recently the British pop singer, who got her start in 1964, has enjoyed appearances on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and World Café, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS Sunday Morning, and a stellar performance at The City Winery in New York City. She’s currently in the middle of a tour for her Decca debut Easy Come, Easy Go, “a hauntingly beautiful, timeless collection of twelve popular songs reinterpreted in Marianne’s own unique style, and each personally selected by the artist herself,” according to her publicist.


Tickets are available by calling (831) 667-2574 or online at


Cool jazz (insert snapping fingers here)


City Nights Jazz presents reed player Ray Pizzi, who’ll perform with the Mike Raynor Group at the Inn at Morro Bay on Friday Oct. 9 from 7 to 10 p.m., but what makes this show especially exciting is the inclusion of local poet Francesca Nemko, who’ll join Pizzi to add her wordjazz improvisations to the evening.

   These two artists have worked together for many years in the Los Angeles area. Everyone interested in poetry already knows about Francesca, who’s both an accomplished poet and inspiring poetry teacher with two books of published poetry: Childless Mother and Of Parrots and Paradigms. As for Pizzi, according to Tim Price of, “Ray Pizzi’s harmonically sophisticated, introspective style on saxes, flute, clarinet, bassoon is the highest level of communication. It’s music music, combined with openness, clarity, simplicity, substance, lyricism, and energy that always communicates with the listener. He is a true to life master of instrumental timbres and sonic realism. Ray Pizzi will resonate in your ears with truth, wisdom and inspiration.”


Pizzi’s worked with tons of great artists: Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Zappa, Ravi Shankar, Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones, Lalo Schifrin, Sarah Vaughn, Nancy Wilson, Madonna, James Brown, Woody Herman, and—whew!—even more.


Don’t miss this evening of great jazz and hipster spokenword.

click to enlarge TUNE IN :  State Radio plays Oct. 9 at Downtown Brew. - PHOTO BY AARON SNYDER
  • TUNE IN : State Radio plays Oct. 9 at Downtown Brew.
Do the right thing


What’s happened to the state of rock’n’roll? Gone are the days when bands trashed hotel rooms and left destruction in their wake. Instead of being up to no good, they’re up to good!


For example, rock trio State Radio recently released their third album, Let It Go, and they’re promoting it with a stop at Downtown Brew on Friday, Oct. 9, but the band—Chad Stokes (formerly frontman of Dispatch), Mike “Mad Dog” Najarian, and Chuck Fay—have what they call an Action Calendar ( where they list what service projects they’ll be doing in each city on their tour.


 What the hell?


“They’re making it their mission to inspire fans through their music and by example to be organizers in their own communities,” according to their press release.


I checked their website and didn’t see any service project for their SLO gig, so maybe after the show you can asked them to loofah your grandmother’s stretch marks or something. Dusty Rhodes and the River Band opens the show (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $13 … includes a free album download).


The next do-gooder rock act is Norfolk, VA alternative trio MAE, who wants to make a difference, too, so they’re “currently in the midst of a social movement” called 12 Songs, 12 Months, 1 Goal: Make a Difference, which includes three separate collections of music: (M)ORNING, (A)FTERNOON, and (E)VENING  (which spells MAE!). They’re partnering with charitable and humanitarian organizations and coming to Downtown Brew on Wednesday, Oct. 14 on their headlining tour with Locksley and Deas Vail supporting (7 p.m.; all ages; $14 presale, $15 at the door).


So far this year, MAE has raised more than $50K. The group partnered with their local Habitat for Humanity to build a home for a family in need. They joined with Donors Choose to help teachers across the country get the supplies they’re lacking for their classrooms. Before each show, MAE will also donate their time at every stop of this fall tour by volunteering at local community events such as soup kitchens, homeless shelters, clothing and food drives, with their local fans known as the “Maeteamers.” After each show, MAE will perform an acoustic set for donations, all of which will go directly to the local chapter of Donors Choose.


I guess that’s pretty cool, but I miss the sound of a TV crashing out of a third floor hotel room. Just saying.

click to enlarge GROWING BLUEGRASS :  On Oct. 10, the Painted Sky Concert Series in association with The Yew Tree presents bluegrass and folk musicians Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum. - PHOTO BY ANNE HAMERSKY
  • GROWING BLUEGRASS : On Oct. 10, the Painted Sky Concert Series in association with The Yew Tree presents bluegrass and folk musicians Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum.
A night to remember


Experiencing a concert at Painted Sky Studios is sort of like having world-class musicians play for you and a few friends in your living room, if your living room happens to be a state-of-the-art recording studio with stunning acoustics.


On Saturday, Oct. 10, the Painted Sky Concert Series in association with The Yew Tree presents bluegrass and folk musicians Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum in an intimate 8 p.m. acoustic concert—their first appearance in Cambria! Lewis is a Grammy winner and two-time International Bluegrass Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year; hers is a name synonymous with bluegrass as she’s been at the forefront of the scene for 30 years.


She formed a musical partnership with mandolin ace Tom Rozum in 1986 when he first joined her band Grant Street. Since then, they’ve recorded 12 albums and performed around the world. Their 1995 album, The Oak and the Laurel, earned them a Grammy nomination.


Drawing on traditionals, select covers of contemporary artists, and Lewis’ own exquisitely crafted songs, this duo will present a fine selection of esoteric tunes delivered with exceptional musicianship.


Tickets cost $18 (available at the Yew Tree, the Cambria Business Center, or by calling 927-8330).


DEEP ROOTS :  Roots reggae act Groundation hits Downtown Brew on Oct. 10, with a new album in tow. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GROUNDATION
  • DEEP ROOTS : Roots reggae act Groundation hits Downtown Brew on Oct. 10, with a new album in tow.
Get grounded


Roots reggae favorites Groundation returns to Downtown Brew on Saturday, Oct. 10 to support their new album Here I Am, which debuted on top ten lists in several countries throughout Europe last month and was only recently released here. That might seem like a surprise since the band was formed in California, but like a lot of U.S. bands, Groundation was embraced more fully in Europe than here. They headline gigs in France, for instance, with crowds as big as 7,000 people. They’re lucky to pack in 300 at Downtown Brew … but that may be changing.


“They are just now beginning to make their splash in the US,” noted their publicist Carrie Lombardi. “Their album just recently debuted at No. 9 on CMJ’s World Charts [it’s currently at No. 8]. You may also have also just recently seen their name in the news for filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against Fergie.”


Groundation claims that the Black Eyed Peas track called “Voodoo Doll” sung by Fergie is plagiarized from their track “Waterfall of Groundation.”


Here I Am “picks up where the previous albums have left off in a collective and linear story that seeks to interpret these truly historic times that we are living in,” said the band’s press materials. “On full display is Groundation’s signature style of crystallizing the ongoing worldwide struggle for consciousness into an amalgam of drum and bass heavy roots reggae, the swirling horns and organ of jazz/funk fusion and the masterful production of truly transcendental dub.”


The Kicks will open the show (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $18 presale or $20 at the door). Groundation will also be at Boo Boo Records for an in-store at 5:30 p.m., to give you a little taste before the show


Share the dream


Let’s raise some money, people! Sharing the Dream, a nonprofit that’s provided culturally responsive events to locals since 1994, will host an afternoon concert on Saturday, Oct. 11, with a new partner, SLO Green Jobs Corps, “in the hope of bringing real solutions to the forefront of the issues of diversity, poverty, and climate change,” according to organizer Michael LoveGene.


Grammy Award-winning artist Louie Ortega, local sensation Al “Shival” Redwine, and up-and-coming band HBI will perform during the 1 to 4 p.m. fundraiser, which will be emceed by Jackson Blue, host of the Evening Blues Show on KCBX.


Ortega recently rejoined the Texas Tornados, the great Tex-Mex band that went on hiatus due to the deaths of two core members. He’s recently returned from some successful East Coast dates with the band, with whom he won a Grammy for his performance and translation of the 1990 song “Soy de San Luis.”


Shival has played with everyone from Carlos Santana to Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart to Nigerian drummer and Grammy winner Babatunde Olatunji to master percussionists Airto Moriera and Renaldo Jackson.


Sharing the Dream honors Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of equal respect for all people. SLO Green Jobs Corps lifts at-risk youth and unemployed adults out of poverty through job training, education, and placement in green industries.


Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for general admission (at the SLO Chamber of Commerce and Boo Boo Records), and include food by Bon Temps Creole Café. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. In the interest of reducing oil consumption and carbon output, attendees are encouraged to bicycle or carpool.  It happens at a ranch located at 1615 Tiffany Ranch Road, Arroyo Grande.


Want to help out? Contact Michael LoveGene at

Funk flu


Ready for an evening of music that’s so infectious you’ll wished you’d gotten a flu shot first? Then look no farther than the AVANTI and Damon Castillo Band show on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at Mother’s Tavern.


AVANTI’s the new pop-rock sheriff in town, hot off their recent performance with Tyrone Wells at Downtown Brew last May. AVANTI frontman Michael Annuzzi, a Cal Poly Music graduate and former musical entertainment supervisor for ASI Events, said, “It was an honor working with the students of Cal Poly, holding a sort of behind-the-scenes music industry job, and now I am excited to be in front of the microphone doing what I love most.”


The Damon Castillo Band is, of course, better known, having recently graced the cover of Soundcheck magazine as well as winning Best Band in the first annual New Times Music Awards … oh yeah, and that little gig they did down at Avila Beach with the SLO Symphony.


Added Annuzzi, “I’m excited to share the stage with such an amazing band, and performing at Mo/Tav after its recent renovations with stage, sound, and lighting set up—it’s going to be an awesome night!”


Tickets are $10 at the door, $9 in advance, and $7 for students (at the venue and Boo Boo’s, or at

More music…


LA-based singer-songwriter Amanda Holmes, who attended USC’s Thornton School of Music, returns to SLO Town on Friday, Oct. 9 for an 8 p.m. pass-the-hat show at Linnaea’s Café. This time around she’s bringing her musical pal Andrew Redel. If you like original folk, this is it.


It’s not too late to get tickets for the Bandecky Bash Music Festival at Lake San Antonio this weekend. You can go for the day on either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, Oct. 9, 10, or 11 for just $35, or experience all three days and two nights of camping for only $50! See Boston’s Powerman 5000, Ozzfest favs Motograter, and local acts like Criticnue, Axia, Rusted Stone, and 16 others. Get all the details at Tickets are available at Boo Boo Records, the Clark Center, Cheap Thrills, or Boyd’s Tobacco.


This weekend is the 18th Annual Big Sur Jade Festival, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Oct. 9 through 11, at Pacific Valley School. Admission is free, and the entertainment line-up extensive: Zongo All Stars, ZZAH, Valerie Johnson & The New Sound Boogie Band, The Mighty Croon Dogs, The Demos, Calinambe, RoughHouse, Lenny Blue & The Otter Guys, Smokehouse Swing Band, Seamus Conroy, Snap Jackson & The Knock On Wood Players, Dan Singer & Jud Davidson, Frankie & The Ride, Benot Serat, Project 41, Steve Mozzetti & Bobby SantaCruz, Blackwater, and Tracy Morgan.

Sea Pines Golf Resort begins its Indian Summer Concert Series on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 4 to 7 p.m. with Cuesta Ridge and the Tipsy Gypsies. It sounds like the beginning of a great tradition, and it’s free.


Unless my Spanish fails me, De La Bahia’s new album translates to Forever Hot. De La Bahia plays a dance party at the Inn at Morro Bay on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 8 to 10:30 p.m., delivering Latin jazz and salsa music from their new album Siempre Caliente. This show is free, but bring some dough to pick up a copy of the new recording.


The Clark Center hosts The Sons of the San Joaquin on Saturday, Oct. 10. The award-winning cowboy trio carries on in the tradition of the Sons of the Pioneers. Call 489-9444 for tickets.


click to enlarge LEGEND! :  Bryds founder Roger McGuinn plays Oct. 10 at Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ROGER MCGUINN
  • LEGEND! : Bryds founder Roger McGuinn plays Oct. 10 at Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre.
Get ready to “Turn, Turn, Turn” to the sounds of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and former Bryds founder Roger McGuinn, who is credited with inventing folk rock by plugging his twelve-string Rickenbacker into Bob Dylan’s songbook. At 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, the singer-songwriter and master guitarist will perform a unique evening of folk music at Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre, with local favorite Jill Knight opening. “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Eight Miles High,” “Ballad of Easy Rider”—can you afford to miss this chance to see this amazing performer? Tickets range from $30 to $38. Call 756-2787.


Ready for a blast of nostalgia, not to mention an evening of awesome jazz? On Sunday, Oct. 11, a group of SLO High alumni will join forces from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Monday Club to raise money for a new crop of SLO High musicians. Some of these alumni have gone on to professional music careers (trumpeter Robert Alberts and drummer Ross Sears, for instance), while other alums have enjoyed a life-long affair with their instruments even though they make their living else-wise. See both the SLOHS All-Star Alumni Jazz Band as well as the exceptionally talented San Luis Obispo High School Jazz Band. Proceeds from this event go directly to the SLO High Band and ensure that all band members have instruments to play, uniforms to wear, and can participate in parades and field competitions. Tickets are $20 at the door, or they’re available through any SLO High Band member.


Jazz guitar great Bruce Forman returns to Cambria as the featured player for the next Famous Jazz Artist Series concert at the Hamlet on Sunday, Oct. 11. The multi-award-winning performer is also an accomplished composer, having supplied the musical score to the Academy Award-winning Clint Eastwood film Million Dollar Baby. Bassist Luther Hughes, drummer Paul Kreibich, and series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake (vibraphone and vocals) will join him for a 4 p.m. show ($15) and 7:15 p.m. show ($12). See both for $20. Call 927-0567 for reservations.


click to enlarge TORCH SONG TEMPTRESS :  Tucson-based, French-born chanteuse Marianne Dissard will perform songs from her gorgeous debut album L’Entredeux (In Between Two) on Oct. 13 at the Steynberg Gallery. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIANNE DISSARD
  • TORCH SONG TEMPTRESS : Tucson-based, French-born chanteuse Marianne Dissard will perform songs from her gorgeous debut album L’Entredeux (In Between Two) on Oct. 13 at the Steynberg Gallery.
French torch singer Marianne Dissard and her band return to the Steynberg Gallery on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m., with Andrew Collberg opening the show. “We had such a great sold-out show last spring at the Steynberg, we are coming back! SLO is it!” said Dissard, whose voice sounds like the cool exhale of a French cigarette in a dimly lit basement nightclub just around midnight. Don’t miss her!


Keep your eyes peeled for metalhead New Times photographer Steve Miller’s Black Dahlia Murder write-up in the music section next week. The band plays next Thursday, Oct. 15 at Downtown Brew with Skeltonwitch (6 p.m.; all ages; $15 presale or $17 at the door).


Glen Starkey dreams of fighting Gandhi … and losing! Kidney punch him yourself at





CD Reviews


Karen O and the Kids—Where the Wild Things Are

                  Creating the soundtrack to the widely anticipated movie, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O gathers up the key instruments that are universal amongst children’s playtime: handclaps, shouting, percussive shakers, and sugar-spiked exuberance. With the help of a kids’ choir and a few fellow indie rockers (Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox, Greg Kurstin of the Bird and the Bee, her fellow bandmates), Karen O and the Kids assemble ramshackled, punky-folk anthems that can inflate to cinematic, screen-filling proportions (“All Is Love”) or collapse to dispirited, heartfelt ballads (“Worried Shoes”). Being a construct for a soundtrack, instrumental scores exist next to full-fledged songs, thus every track won’t have Karen O’s gleeful, crackling vocals floating through it. But tracks like the hyperactive “Capsize” with its screeching guitar and its woozy center, or the downcast ache of “Hidaway,” feel like excerpts from a Yeah Yeah Yeahs album and make this soundtrack a “worth-wild” ride.





Black Heart Procession—6

                  San Diego’s Black Heart Procession prefers the shadowy corners, as its name may suggest, but their sound skips over the industrial aggressiveness of black-clad goth entirely. Instead, their mood and lyrical moroseness center on the religious metaphors and bleak self-destruction that haunts the works of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave. On 6, Black Heart Procession took their time creating these depressed vignettes, executing them simultaneously as they recorded a new Three Mile Pilot album, their legendary secondary outfit. Opening with “When You Finish Me,” its Cave-like delivery and melancholy piano begins shuddering out of daylight as this album sinks into the roots of Americana gloom. “Heaven and Hell” stirs with a Wurlitzer gospel organ and somber marching line, as a perceived savior is instead the punishing finisher, while “All My Steps” is a junkyard tango with its percussion instruments resembling clattering hubcap and oil barrel, as a Spanish guitar begins the affair. Black Heart Procession moves exceptionally well between the cheerless emotions of Leonard Cohen to the rickety dramatics of Tom Waits, showcasing the demons on their back.


—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and, where you’ll find archived reviews and soundclips.



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