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Durand Jones & The Indications bring their sweet soul sounds to the Fremont Theater May 23 and 24 

click to enlarge PURE SOUL Durand Jones & The Indications play two nights in a row at the Fremont Theater, May 23 and 24, featuring the high-low harmonies of Aaron Frazer and Durand Jones. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DURAND JONES & THE INDICATIONS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF DURAND JONES & THE INDICATIONS
  • PURE SOUL Durand Jones & The Indications play two nights in a row at the Fremont Theater, May 23 and 24, featuring the high-low harmonies of Aaron Frazer and Durand Jones.

About a decade ago, the seeds of a contemporary American soul band were sewn in Bloomington, Indiana. Blake Rhein and Aaron Frazer, students at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, were part of the blues rock act Charlie Patton's War with Kyle Houpt and Justin Hubler, a group that did some regional and national touring.

When Rhein and Frazer met Louisiana native Durand Jones, who was doing post-graduate classical saxophone studies, they bonded over a shared love of old 45 rpm soul records and a desire to write songs that resonated with the same '60s and '70s vibe. Between fall of 2012 and 2014, they wrote and recorded a series of original songs on a 4-track, and in May 2014, they played what they thought would be a one-off show.

Instead, Ohio soul label Colemine Records came calling and asked to release the recordings, some as 45s and then as Durand Jones & The Indications' self-titled debut album. They played another "one-off" show in April 2016 before going off on their separate careers. But something unusual happened. They had ignited a flame that wouldn't go out.

Critics and independent record stores selling their debut made clear they were onto something special, and in 2017, the band united and toured. Steve Okonski replaced Hubler on organ, their debut album was reissued by Bloomington label Dead Oceans with new live material added to it, and the band was off and running. Michael Mongomery eventually replaced Houpt, and they've been steadily gaining fans ever since.

They're so popular, Durand Jones & The Indications is scheduled to play the Fremont Theater two nights in a row, on Monday, May 23 (8 p.m.; all ages; only $80 signed merchandise bundle tickets remain available at seetickets.us) and Tuesday, May 24 (8 p.m.; all ages; $30 to $80 at seetickets.us) with special guest La Doña opening.

Amazing retro sounds and stellar musicianship, incredible high-low harmonies between Frazer's falsetto and Jones' soulful rumble, and a willingness to push the boundaries have made this a band to watch.

Bastille and Lord Huron

Vina Robles Amphitheatre has two very cool shows this week. Bastille plays on Saturday, May 21 (8 p.m.; $40 to $50 at ticketmaster.com) with Alice Merton opening. Bastille recently released their latest single "Shut Off The Lights" off their fourth studio album, Give Me The Future.

click to enlarge MYSTERIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL Lord Huron plays Vina Robles Amphitheatre on May 24, touring in support of their 2021 critically acclaimed album Long Lost. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LORD HURON
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF LORD HURON
  • MYSTERIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL Lord Huron plays Vina Robles Amphitheatre on May 24, touring in support of their 2021 critically acclaimed album Long Lost.

LA Indie rock act Lord Huron plays Vina on Tuesday, May 24 (8 p.m.; $42.50 to $52.50 at ticketmaster.com). Mixing Western, folk, rock, and pop, the band conjures thoughts of Neil Young, The Band, and My Morning Jacket. Their newest is Long Lost, released about a year ago, which "garnered nearly 50 million streams and counting, captured the No. 1 on The Americana/Folk Album and Tastemaker Albums Chart, No. 2 on Vinyl Albums & Alternative Albums chart, No. 3 Top Rock Albums Chart, No. 4 Top Album Sales Chart, and No. 23 on the Billboard 200 chart."

Big Brew nights

SLO Brew Rock has a slate of fun shows lined up starting with 1984: '80s Dance Party, the official SLO Pridefest afterparty, on Saturday, May 21 (8:30 p.m.; 21-and-older; $5 at ticketweb.com). Costumes are "strongly encouraged," and DJ Ryann will lay down a three-hour set of the best in disco and new wave.

Mapache returns to the SLO Brew Rock on Sunday, May 22 (7 p.m.; all ages; $20 at ticketweb.com). The California-based duo featuring vocalists and guitarists Sam Blasucci and Clay Finch blend harmony vocals with melodic late-'60s and early-'70s folk rock sounds.

click to enlarge ETHEREAL DREAMSCAPE Weyes Blood brings her moody and melancholic psyche-folk sounds to SLO Brew Rock on May 25. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BRETT STANLEY
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF BRETT STANLEY
  • ETHEREAL DREAMSCAPE Weyes Blood brings her moody and melancholic psyche-folk sounds to SLO Brew Rock on May 25.

Ethereal psyche rock artist Weyes Blood and opener Sam Burton play SLO Brew Rock on Wednesday, May 25 (7 p.m.; all ages; $25 at ticketweb.com). Weyes Blood is Natalie Mering, who was raised in a musical family and began writing songs under the moniker Wise Blood at age 15. Her sound is orchestral and distinctive, with melancholy songs with apocalyptic themes.

More music ...

The Coffis Brothers with AJ Lee & Blue Summit play Castoro Cellars this Friday, May 20 (6 to 10 p.m.; all ages; $20 at castorocellers.com; kids 12 and under free). Born in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Jamie and Kellen Coffis "don't tend to overthink their music," according to their bio. "Nothing in their repertoire is overwrought or outstays its welcome. This is pure roots rock, focused on melody, harmony, rhythm, and mood."

click to enlarge PURE CALIFORNIA The Coffis Brothers bring their Santa Cruz Mountain sounds to Castoro Cellars on May 20, with music reminiscent of The Byrds and The Jayhawks. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE COFFIS BROTHERS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE COFFIS BROTHERS
  • PURE CALIFORNIA The Coffis Brothers bring their Santa Cruz Mountain sounds to Castoro Cellars on May 20, with music reminiscent of The Byrds and The Jayhawks.

Surf-tinged grunge band The Happys with Chuck Robertson & Friends play The Siren on Friday, May 20 (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $5 at eventbrite.com). "The Happys acquired a reputation with their rowdy live performances," according to press materials, and for the last 26 years, Chuck Robertson has been the lead singer of the ska-punk-dixie-reggae band the Mad Caddies.

The sixth annual Ukulele Festival will be held in A.G.'s Heritage Park this Saturday, May 21 (11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Arroyo Grande Valley, you'll hear Flaming Ukuleles, Oasis Ukulele Orchestra, Happy Together Ukulele Band, Five Cities Strummers, Hula Cove Ukulele Singers, Saturday Strummers Ukulele Club, SLO Strummers Ukulele Society, and others.

Arroyo Grande Library will host writer Raymond H. McDonald for a presentation about his book, Merle Haggard was a Friend of Mine: A memoir, Saturday, May 21, at 2 p.m.

McDonald will read excerpts from his 2021 memoir and perform songs relating to his friendship with musician Merle Haggard at this outdoor program.

click to enlarge LET’S SWING Lizzy and the Triggermen bring their ’30s and ’40s big band jazz vocal sounds to the Clark Center on May 21, Armed Forces Day, with half-priced tickets for all U.S. Military personnel. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LIZZY AND THE TRIGGERMEN
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF LIZZY AND THE TRIGGERMEN
  • LET’S SWING Lizzy and the Triggermen bring their ’30s and ’40s big band jazz vocal sounds to the Clark Center on May 21, Armed Forces Day, with half-priced tickets for all U.S. Military personnel.

Lizzy and the Triggermen play the Clark Center on Friday, May 20 (7:30 p.m.; $22 to $58 at clarkcenter.org, with half-price tickets for U.S. Military personnel in honor of Armed Forces Day). Powerhouse vocalist Lizzy Shapiro is backed by a terrific big band that's been called "one of the hottest swing bands in LA."

Jazz Vespers returns to SLO's First Presbyterian Church on Sunday, May 22 (4 p.m.), with The Jazz Alley Review, a local septet playing everything from traditional to hard bop, jazz/rock, and fusion. The concert is free but donations are appreciated.

Organist Ken Cowan and violinist Naho Parrini are featured in the next installment of the Forbes Organ Series on Thursday, May 26 (7:30 p.m.; $25.60 to $32 at calpolyarts.org) in the Harold Miossi Hall of the Performing Arts Center. Cowan is regarded "as one of North America's finest concert organists and praised for his dazzling artistry, impeccable technique, and imaginative programming." Δ

Contact Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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