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American treasures 

Woody's progeny make good

click to enlarge ALL IN THE FAMILY :  Three generations of the Guthrie Clan, including Arlo and his son, three daughters, and seven grandkids, will appear April 20 at the Clark Center. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ARLO GUTHRIE
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF ARLO GUTHRIE
  • ALL IN THE FAMILY : Three generations of the Guthrie Clan, including Arlo and his son, three daughters, and seven grandkids, will appear April 20 at the Clark Center.
Woody Guthrie left two important legacies: a wealth of quintessential American folk music, and a family of offspring who have carried on his work of chronicling the ever-evolving American milieu.

On Tuesday, April 20, at 8 p.m. in Arroyo Grande’s Clark Center (489-9444), three generations of Guthries, headed by Woody’s kid Arlo, roll through the county during a stop on their nationwide “Guthrie Family Rides Again” tour.

The tour marks the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, as well as the release of Arlo Guthrie: Tales of ’69 (a recently discovered lost tape from 1969) and Arlo’s daughter’s new album, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Family: Go Waggaloo.

Tales of ’69 features nine live performances of Arlo’s narrative tales of the hippie generation, including classics such as “The Unbelievable Motorcycle Tale,” “If You Would Just Drop By,” “Alice—Before Time Began,” and “Hurry To Me.” Recorded just prior to Woodstock, the recording of a Long Island, N.Y., concert features an epic 28-minute talking blues tale, as well as three previously unrecorded songs.

On Go Waggaloo, Sarah Lee croons utterly charming folk songs in a Victoria Williams-style little-girl voice. The entire recording will appeal to both children and adults, and it includes three tracks featuring lyrics by Woody Guthrie that have never before been set to music.

During the concert, the Guthrie Family will also pay tribute to such distinguished artists as Billy Bragg, Wilco, Eliza Gilkyson, Janis Ian, Wenzel, the Klezmatics, and others as they perform many of their newly written tunes that also feature unpublished Woody Guthrie lyrics.

Other participating family members include Arlo’s son Abe, who has contributed keyboards and backing vocals to his father’s live shows since the ’80s; his other two daughters, Cathy and Annie; Sarah Lee’s musical partner and husband Johnny Irion; and some of Arlo’s grandkids, who will join in the fun on certain songs.

“We did a tour like this—it was called the Legacy Tour—about three or four years ago,” Arlo explained in press materials. “And it was me and my son, Abe, who’s been working with me a good 25 years, and my daughter Sarah Lee and her husband, Johnny Irion. We were doing a lot of Woody’s old material, the stuff that made him popular to begin with, and some of our own songs. It was such a good time, we thought, ‘Let’s take everybody.’ These kinda tours take a couple of years to put together. But finally we got around to taking the entire family, which is my four kids and my seven grandkids, and a good friend, Terry A La Berry, who’s been playing with me for over 30 years now. That’s primarily the show that we’re doing on this tour. I’ve worked on and off with all my kids for a number of years. We had such a great time when we did the family tour three years ago—I couldn’t wait to do it again.”

click to enlarge PLASTIC PERFECTION :  New Zealand-based psychedelic pop act Bachelorette will create hypnotic electronica with a plastic sheen on April 15 at Downtown Brew. - PHOTO BY LOUISE CLIFTON
  • PHOTO BY LOUISE CLIFTON
  • PLASTIC PERFECTION : New Zealand-based psychedelic pop act Bachelorette will create hypnotic electronica with a plastic sheen on April 15 at Downtown Brew.
The weird, the high, and the Hawaiian

Downtown Brew mixes it up this week with several must-see shows. Wash the horrible memories of Tax Day out of your mind on Thursday, April 15, when Beach House and supporting act Bachelorette (8 p.m.; all ages; $12) will deliver you into a new world of compelling yet utter weirdness. Beach House bills itself as an indie/visual/alternative act that creates dark, dreamy, hypnotic music covered by Nico-like vocals. Opening act Bachelorette is a New Zealand-based one-member psychedelic pop act. Annabel Alpers creates hypnotic electronica with a plastic sheen. Awesome!

Fight for your right to party on Sunday, April 18, when rapper Afroman hosts a slightly early 4/20 party (8 p.m.; all ages; $15 presale or $17 at the door). “The first tape I made was about my eighth-grade teacher,” recalled the 30-year-old rapper, whose real name is Joseph Foreman. “She got me kicked out of school for sagging my pants, which was a big deal back then. So I wrote this song about her and it sold about 400 copies: It was selling to teachers, students, just about everybody. And I realized that, even though I wasn’t at school, my song was at school, so in a way I was still there. All these people would come by my house just to give me comments about how cool they thought the song was.”

Indie rock act Ra Ra Riot hits the club on Monday, April 19 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $12 presale or $14 at the door). The ensemble creates an indie rock sound with chamber pop flourishes (courtesy of a small string section). Cool.

click to enlarge READY TO BLOW UP! :  Hot up and coming Sashamon returns to Downtown Brew for a 4/20 party on April 20. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SASHAMON
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF SASHAMON
  • READY TO BLOW UP! : Hot up and coming Sashamon returns to Downtown Brew for a 4/20 party on April 20.
The real 4/20 party happens on Tuesday, April 20, when the increasingly popular Sashamon returns to the club with opening acts Bare Feet and Nada Rasta (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $15). Hailing from Hawaiian royalty, he plays his own brand of reggae, indie, and ska—frequently on a ukulele. This guy’s blowing up! You may want to jump on tickets early.

click to enlarge JAZZ, FOOD, AND FUN :  Sustenance cooking studio is hosting former Steve Miller Band member Jenny Lee Lewis on April 18 during a fundraiser for Hospice. - PHOTO COURTESY OF KENNY LEE LEWIS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF KENNY LEE LEWIS
  • JAZZ, FOOD, AND FUN : Sustenance cooking studio is hosting former Steve Miller Band member Jenny Lee Lewis on April 18 during a fundraiser for Hospice.
  From Steve Miller to jazz master

I recently discovered Sustenance, a food club and cooking studio that allows you to buy five- or 10-meal lunch tickets for $50 or $100. Then you show up between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday and they feed you something super healthy and extra delicious ($10 a meal? Yep!)

While I was in there eating a fresh salad with beets, feta cheese, and grilled chicken, I found out the club/cooking studio is hosting a fundraiser on Sunday, April 18, at 2 p.m. with former Steve Miller Band member Kenny Lee Lewis, who’s transitioned into a hot smooth jazz guitarist.

This show is the first in a series of spring “Sandwich and Sangria” concerts. To purchase tickets, become a “fan” of Sustenance Studio on Facebook. Or just come in for lunch (yummy!). Tickets cost $15 for members and fans, $25 for non-members. A portion of the proceeds will go to Hospice Partners of San Luis Obispo County.

If you’re feeling ritzy and have $500 and 29 friends, Sustenance is also offering a special VIP balcony: “We’re going to let one lucky group of 30 people sit on the balcony, enjoy 360 degree views of SLO, and have sandwiches on us! If you need to do a little relaxing, celebrating of a special occasion, or thank a special group of people, this is for you!! First come, first serve basis.”

Sustenance is in the two story yellow building on Santa Barbara Street, next to Brooks Woodcraft.

 Record Store Day!

SLO Town’s blessed with two killer independent record stores, the kind of stores that have been disappearing across America at an alarming rate. Thanks to the Internet, MP3s, and rampant piracy, stores like Boo Boo Records and Cheap Thrills are an endangered species, yet somehow our local shops have struggled through by offering experiences you just can’t get when you’re downloading music on the ’net.

click to enlarge A TON ‘O SHOWS :  Rootsy folk rock act the Northstar Session plays several shows this week: April 15 at Last Stage West; April 16 at the Clubhouse; April 17 at Boo Boo Records and later at the Steynberg Gallery. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NORTHSTAR SESSION
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NORTHSTAR SESSION
  • A TON ‘O SHOWS : Rootsy folk rock act the Northstar Session plays several shows this week: April 15 at Last Stage West; April 16 at the Clubhouse; April 17 at Boo Boo Records and later at the Steynberg Gallery.
Saturday, April 17, is Record Store Day, and Cheap Thrills will be hosting an afternoon of live music by local musicians starting at noon. Check out alternative band Swan Thief, singer-songwriter Matt Suarez, Piano Brent and the SLO Blues All-Stars, singer-songwriter Anthony Roselli, and folk group Blackwater Union.

Over at Boo Boo’s, they have The Northstar Session (11 a.m.), Sparrow’s Gate (noon), Jade Jackson (1 p.m.), Tipsy Gypsies (2 p.m.), Ghostporn (3 p.m.), Booker Tease (4 p.m.), Dirt Dress (5 p.m.), and Cafe Musique (6 p.m.).

Support your local record stores!

 SLO County Idol!

Who’s the best singer in SLO County? Find out on Saturday, April 24, when 15 contestants (who ponied up $250 each to enter) compete to be crowned 2010’s Entertainer of the Year at the Pismo Beach Business Improvement Group’s “Back to the ’40s” concert ($25 tickets: call Maggie at 403-7964 or Jason at 878-5208).

click to enlarge SMOOTHER THAN A RIVER STONE :  Local smooth jazz juggernauts Urban 805 will play a set and then back featured performer Phil Crosby, Jr. (Bing’s grandkid) during the Pismo Beach Business Improvement Group’s “Back to the ’40s” Entertainer of the Year contest, which features 15 contestants on April 24 in the Pismo Vets Hall. - PHOTO COURTESY OF URBAN 805
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF URBAN 805
  • SMOOTHER THAN A RIVER STONE : Local smooth jazz juggernauts Urban 805 will play a set and then back featured performer Phil Crosby, Jr. (Bing’s grandkid) during the Pismo Beach Business Improvement Group’s “Back to the ’40s” Entertainer of the Year contest, which features 15 contestants on April 24 in the Pismo Vets Hall.
The evening begins with sexy jazz chanteuse Salli Layaye singing the “National Anthem,” followed by a set by super smooth jazz act Urban 805—George Pandis (trumpet and flugelhorn), Mitt Watts (guitar and synth), Charles Biggs (keyboards and overtone), Warfus “Moon” Powell (keyboards and synth), Terrance Kyer (drum and percussion), and Michael Fierro (bass)—then the first round of performances by the contestants, then a set by Bing Crosby’s grandson Phil Crosby, Jr. (backed by Urban 805), and then performances by the five finalists to determine who goes home with the prizes: $100 for fifth place, $150 for fourth place, $300 for third place, $600 for second place, and a whopping $1,000 for first place.

The contestants aren’t the only ones who can bring home the bacon. Concertgoers are encouraged to dress in their best natty ’40s attire to win best “’40s Outfit.” There’ll also be a gift raffle and silent auction, and food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Pismo Beach Business Improvement Group’s president Maggie Wright (who’s a hugger, so watch out she doesn’t crush your corsage), said this is her group’s major fundraiser for the year. In the past, they’ve raised more than $50,000 to contribute to local projects such as the Pismo Beach Happy Times Preschool, the Automated External Defibrillator placed on the Pismo pier, the Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center, the SLO Food Bank, and others.

Some sponsors include U.S. Bank, Mo/Tav, JJ’s Market, and Tanner Jacks. Seating is limited to 400, so call for your ticket today!

 More music …

Give peace a dance! Eliyahu and The Qadim Ensemble, a group of Jewish and Arabic musicians who promote peace through their music, will play at the Steynberg Gallery on Thursday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. ($15 at the door). Hear ancient music from Israel, the Middle East, North Africa, Iran, and Turkey. They focus on performing the message of peace, unity, and conciliation through music. This concert is presented by the SLO Jewish Community Center.

On “You Come Up Like A Rose,” the first single off of the Northstar Session’s upcoming EP Winter Collection, the group delivers a sizzlingly melancholy shoe gazer. You can get more of the same—acoustic style—when they play a bevy of shows this week. See the Northstar Session on Thursday, April 15, at Last Stage West at 6 p.m.; Friday, April 16, at The Clubhouse at 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 17, at Boo Boo Records at 11 a.m. and the Steynberg Gallery at 8 p.m. “We normally play as an electric four-piece, but we’re doing this short promo tour to promote the release of the first of three EPs that we’re releasing this year,” explained band member Matthew Szlachetka, who describes his group as a rootsy-folky rock band from L.A.: “People give us a comparison of Delaney & Bonnie/ The Band/ Tom Petty/ Wilco.”

The Divine Crime, a nine-piece female-fronted reggae and rock band, hits Frog and Peach on Friday, April 16, at 9:30 p.m. The band just won High Times Magazine’s “Band of the Month” and debuted their first album Obliquity last month. Check it!

Sweet Springs Saloon in Los Osos is going to host a not-to-be-missed rock and metal extravaganza on Saturday, April 17, at 9 p.m., when Society’s Child, RAGG, and Depths of Chaos plan to rock your freakin’ socks clean off. Heads will bob, heads will roll.

click to enlarge DANCE LIKE NOBODY’S WATCHING :  Esalen’s DJ Brian will spin at the Yum Session on April 18 at the SLO Monday Club. Get in on the fun during this Sunday morning ecstatic dance session. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE YUM SESSION
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE YUM SESSION
  • DANCE LIKE NOBODY’S WATCHING : Esalen’s DJ Brian will spin at the Yum Session on April 18 at the SLO Monday Club. Get in on the fun during this Sunday morning ecstatic dance session.
The YUM Session, your place for a little Sunday morning ecstatic dance, returns to the Monday Club on Sunday, April 18, with Esalen disc spinner DJ Brian. “Experienced by thousands of participants during west coast regional tours, these movement sessions use music as the bridge between deep trusting and spontaneous connection. Explore soulful body awareness through breath, through beat, through dance, through movement!” said organizers. “Continuous musical elements blend East, West, and World grooves with ambient sound landscapes, moving you through an energetic wave into a blissful stillness at journey’s end.” The event begins at 10:44 a.m. and runs two hours. Exercise and ecstasy!

San Francisco’s all-woman band Blame Sally, which just released its fourth album, Night of 1000 Stars, hits the Steynberg Gallery on Sunday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. ($10 at the door). Expect incredible harmony vocals and stellar musicianship from these four gorgeous ladies: Pam Delgado (percussion and vocals); Renee Harcourt (guitar, bass, and vocals); Jeri Jones (guitar, bass, and vocals); and Monica Pasqual (piano, accordion, and vocals).

 Glen Starkey is dizzyingly useless. Think of another thing he’s not good for and send it to gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

 

 

 

 

CD Reviews

 

 

Starkey-cd-madlib_medicine_show.jpg
Madlib—Medicine Show No. 3: Beat Konducta In Africa

Releasing a once-a-month music series, Madlib is showcasing why he’s our most impressive producer. Like a modern-era Alan Lomax, Madlib hunts out obscure vinyl, cutting across genres to feed his own musical investigation. From his raw beat tapes composed of Bollywood samples or Blaxploitation soul, he’s as much a student as he is a talented reproducer, like an oil painter mimicking the old masters to learn their style. With his latest Medicine Show release, Madlib digs into swath of African albums to create a heady stew of thick bouncing beats, chopped and rearranged, then layered with voice samples that guide you through a history of African accomplishments. It’s an artistic exercise. Confine yourself to one musical input, and craft a continuous 78-minute run. Everything revolves around the head nod, whether it’s fluttering, wonky staccato drum patterns or hurly-burly, oversaturated audio stimulus. Each of the 43 tracks is a miniature aural journey, and with a new mix due every month, Madlib may be the best professor you have this year.

 

 

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Various Artists—Lagos Disco Inferno

The ’70s disco backlash focused its resentment on the genre’s repetitive and formulaic sound, the overload of tepid and bland synth-generated strings and horns, and the glut of quick-to-cash-in schlock. But outside the American borders, it still held sway over urban youth that craved energized dance floor ecstasy. Nigeria already had a burgeoning music scene, and coupled with its vibrant nightclubs and international record label studios, local acts jumped to feed the demand of the funk and disco club scene. Lagos Disco Inferno sweats with 12 African translations of disco, rougher and more insistent than its Western cousin, favoring powerful horn sections to airy string ensembles. Asiko Rock Group’s “Everybody Get Down” sounds like a loose Kool & The Gang with dirt in the grooves. An early influence on Fela Kuti, Geraldo Pino’s “African Hustle” surges with heavy drums and a frenzied Moog act that recalls Herbie Hancock at his funkiest. This is still music for the dance floor, but it can keep your attention away from flashing lights and polyester suits. These are musicians letting loose, keeping the rhythm steady, and putting more ooga booga in their beat than boogie oogie.

 

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

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