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Five pointed star 

Downtown Brew cleans up with five killer shows

How does Downtown Brew love thee? Let me count the ways! The SLO Town nightspot has been rolling out the shows like mad for the last couple of weeks, and this week shows no sign of abating.

The weekend kicks off early this Thursday, Oct. 9, when reggae favorites Iration lights a big fat roll of irie and blows it all over

PAPAS AND BEER! :  Local reggae act Green Ribbon (with friends) plays for a Mexico beach crowd see them Oct. 9 at Downtown Brew with Iration and Natural Incense. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GREEN RIBBON
  • PAPAS AND BEER! : Local reggae act Green Ribbon (with friends) plays for a Mexico beach crowd see them Oct. 9 at Downtown Brew with Iration and Natural Incense.
  listeners. Hailing from Hawaii but now living in Santa Barbara, their latest album is called No Time For Rest, and judging by their non-stop touring schedule, it’s aptly named indeed. Opening up is local act Green Ribbon, who’ll make you feel like you’re partying in Mexico on the beach. Natural Incense will also play a set. The show’s 18-and-older and starts at 8 p.m., and with tickets at only $5, you may want to buy ‘em early.

On Friday, Oct. 10 there’s a two-band Mano-a-Mana face off between Cuesta Ridge and the Dirty Pink Slips: boys against girls! Cuesta Ridge is one of the finest live acoustic music acts in the county, offering tight musicianship and vocal harmonies that will stop listeners in their tracks. Bluegrass and folk are merely departure points for these innovative players. The Dirty Pink Slips are an awesome all-girl punk’n’roll act—sexy, dangerous, and totally up for fun. This one’s also at 8 p.m. and only $5, but you have to be 21 or older to attend.

On Sunday, Oct. 12, you'll feel the love—Jaguar Love, that is. The super-group trio (featuring Johnny Whitney on vocals,Cody Votolato on guitar, and J. Clark on drums) hail from Portland and recently released a self-titled EP to follow up their debut full length Take Me to the Sea, on indie-hip label Matador Records. They’ve been touring with Queens of the Stone Age, The Faint, and Crystal Antlers, among others, and are getting ready to hit the road with Tokyo-based new wave/rock band Polysics. Prepare yourself for hook-laden indie rock nuggies! Tickets for this all-ages, 8 p.m. show cost $10.

On Tuesday, Oct. 14, pop/rock/surf singer-songwriter Matt White will hit DTB in support of his Geffen Records/Interscope debut Best Days, which features the radio friendly song “Love.” Rolling Stone Magazine praised White for “updating classic Billy-and-Elton-style Top Forty with Tears for Fears melodrama, Lovin’ Spoonful sunshine, even a touch of Freddie Mercury-style falsetto theatrics.” White was chosen as one of Rolling Stone’s 10 artists to watch, as well. He’s sponsored by The Gap! Expect some nice khakis and a collared shirt. This all-ages, 7:30 p.m. show costs $10 and features opening act Sharon Little.

Finally, Americana singer-songwriter Jackie Greene plays the club next Thursday, Oct. 16. You may remember him from Skinny Singers, which features members of Mother Hips. This time he’s coming with his own band, and Still Time lead singer Dan Curcio will open the 7:30 p.m., 21-and-older show with an acoustic solo set. Tickets cost $15 advance or $17 at the door.

Congratulations to Downtown Brew, which is celebrating its third anniversary, and deserves hearty credit for returning live music to San Luis Obispo! Keep ‘em coming!


Experience the mystery!

Indian classical music group the Jugalbandi Ensemble plays a concert at the Steynberg Gallery this Saturday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. Jugalbandi “is the art of weaving multiple instruments or voices in the creative expression of classical Indian ragas.” 

click to enlarge MOUNTAIN BOYS :  Bluegrass and beyond act Cuesta Ridge (pictured) faces off against all girl punk’n’roll act The Dirty Pink Slips at Downtown Brew on Oct. 10. - PHOTO BY STEPHANIE BOWEN
  • MOUNTAIN BOYS : Bluegrass and beyond act Cuesta Ridge (pictured) faces off against all girl punk’n’roll act The Dirty Pink Slips at Downtown Brew on Oct. 10.

  The ensemble includes Partho Sarothy (sarod), considered one of the finest classical musicians from India and a disciple of the legendary Pandit Ravi Shankar. His music embodies the heritage of Hindustani raga music, and explores harmony and tranquility while employing a meditative approach. Partho, based in Calcutta, has been performing for the last 30 years in India and all over the world.

Paul Livingstone (sitar) has studied his instrument rigorously for the past 22 years in India and U.S., and is also a disciple of Shankar. He began his studies of Hindustani music at the age of 15 and has also learned extensively from Amiya Dasgupta and Rajeev Taranath.

Sarothy and Livingston will be accompanied by tabla artist Shashanka Bakshi, who has performed and taught the classical art of tabla for more than 40 years.

Tickets cost $20 (at Boo Boo Records or the venue), $15 for students.


More music

click to enlarge HEAR THE LOVE :  Jaguar Love brings their indie-rock nuggets to Downtown Brew on Oct. 12. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL LAVINE
  • HEAR THE LOVE : Jaguar Love brings their indie-rock nuggets to Downtown Brew on Oct. 12.

Don’t forget about Grammy Award-winning jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis, who stars in the mesmerizing musical program Marsalis Brasilianos in the Cohan Center this Thursday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. The show features Marsalis in a unique collaboration with the Philarmonia Brasileira, led by conductor Gil Jardim. A free pre-concert lecture by Cal Poly music professor Ken Habib will be given at the Performing Arts Center Pavilion at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $42 to $48. Call 756-2787 for availability.

The Central Coast Follies, under the direction of Jason Sumabat, presents “Good Vibrations!,” a series of fundraising shows to benefit Parkinson’s research. See the show Thursday and Friday, Oct. 9 and 10, at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 11 and 12, at 2 p.m., in the Clark Center. Tickets cost $19 (group rates available) by calling 489-9444.

SLO folks favorites Small Potatoes roll through this weekend on Friday, Oct.10, at Coalesce Bookstore at 7 p.m. (772-2880) and at Castoro Cellars on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. (238-0725). Sonnie Brown will interview them at 3 p.m. on Saturday during her Minstrel Song Show from 2 to 4 p.m. on KCBX 90.1 FM. In case you don’t know, Small Potatoes call themselves eclecto-maniacs and describe their music as “Celtic to Cowboy.” They say it took them “years of careful indecision” to come up with a mix of country, blues, swing, and Irish folk. Tickets cost $15.

It’s time for the 17th Annual Big Sur Jade Festival this Friday through Sunday, Oct. 10 to 12, at Pacific Valley School, 40 miles north of Cambria on Highway. 1, in the Los Padres National Forest. This annual benefit for Pacific Valley School, a K-12 public school with a total student body of 20, provides educational grants for the students and has provided needed classroom space and a community center for the Pacific Valley community. It’s also one of the largest lapidary arts shows in the world, and features three days of live musical entertainment, including Dave Adams and Zoe Tree, The Mighty Croon Dogs, the Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble, Calinambe, Frankie & The Ride, and many, many others—too many to list! Admission is free.

click to enlarge FALL INTO MATT WHITE :  The Gap-sponsored on-the-rise radio darling Matt White plays Downtown Brew on Oct. 14. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MATT WHITE
  • FALL INTO MATT WHITE : The Gap-sponsored on-the-rise radio darling Matt White plays Downtown Brew on Oct. 14.

The Bungee Jumpin’ Cows stampede into the Spanos Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 11, during a special 11 a.m. matinee—perfect for kids! The Cows—described as “the Far Side” of music—sing of science and environmental responsibility. This performance will be filmed for public viewing at a later date, so the Spanos audience will get to be part of the “crazy for Cows” concert energy. Tickets cost $18 or $14 for students. Buy them at the PAC Ticket Office or call 756-2787

L.A.-based acoustic singer/songwriter JayaR will play Linnaea’s Cafe this Saturday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m. “We’ll be traveling this weekend as an acoustic duo, though it tends to be a sort of revolving door of musicians I play with, with a style that has been deemed ‘high powered acoustic,’” said JayaR.

Mmm. Pink Floyd among the redwoods in Big Sur I can almost hear the trees breathing right now (or maybe that’s a mushroom flashback).

This Saturday, Oct. 11, Pink Floyd tribute act House of Floyd, a seven-piece band whose show features lights, lasers, and multimedia, will play Dark Side of the Moon and more outdoors at the Henry Miller Library beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $22 order them through

Grammy-winner Louie Ortega, Shival, Eric Brittain, Garth Wilwand, Profane Remy, and Maheyla & The Ritual will all perform this Sunday, Oct. 12, from 1 to 5 p.m. at 1615 Tiffany Ranch Road in Edna Valley for the “Sharing the Dream” annual fundraiser. Your $15 ticket includes music and food, plus a chance to win one of several raffle prizes. The proceeds from this event helps Sharing the Dream organize and promote the celebrations of the Nationally recognized King Holiday Weekend and Black History Month in San Luis Obispo County.

The North SLO County Concert Association celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and kicks off this new season with a show at Trinity Lutheran Church (940 Creston Road, Paso Robles) this Sunday, Oct. 12, at 3 p.m., featuring Three Swingin’ Tenors, who will present favorites from the Great American Songbook. For more info, call 239-2770 or 238-5342.

click to enlarge GET MASHED :  Rich Prezioso (left) and Jacquie Manning are the Chicago-based duo Small Potatoes. Catch them at Coalesce Bookstore on Oct 10. and at Castoro Cellars on Oct. 11. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SMALL POTATOES
  • GET MASHED : Rich Prezioso (left) and Jacquie Manning are the Chicago-based duo Small Potatoes. Catch them at Coalesce Bookstore on Oct 10. and at Castoro Cellars on Oct. 11.

On-the-rise NYC jazz drummer Matt Slocum is the next attraction at the Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet in Cambria on Sunday, Oct. 12. His trio will include two prominent West Coast jazz names—pianist Bill Cunliffe and bassist Darek Oles. Concert series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake will also be on hand. There’s a $15, 4 p.m. show and there’s a $12, 7:15 p.m. show, or see both for $20. Reservations are recommended call 927-0567.

Enjoy an alfresco style dinner concert featuring a performance by Damon Castillo with special guest Supervisor-Elect Adam Hill on Sunday, Oct. 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Del Mar Park, in north Morro Bay. Catering will be provided Shine Cafe and Brambles Restaurant. There’s a $15 suggested adult donation (kids $5). BYOB! Use the “DONATE” Button at Specify “Pasta Dinner RSVP” when confirming your donation. To RSVP by phone call Maya at 771-9608. This is a fundraiser for Morro Bay City Council candidate Noah Smukler.

This Sunday, Oct. 12, the magnificent Forbes Pipe Organ will not be the only instrument in full force during a 3 p.m. concert featuring the Millennia Consort. The Consort, considered California’s premiere “organ plus” ensemble, “presents a unique concert experience with world-class musicians, showcasing the best of the new and the best of the known. Resonant brass accompanies the organ in an expansive program designed to highlight and complement the entire musicality of a Millennia concert,” according to press materials. The program will feature Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and new works by Bay Area composer/organist John Karl Hirten, including a set of four Irish tunes entitled Ceathair and a premiere performance of The Pinot Suite. Tickets cost $14 to $26, with student discounts available. Buy them at the PAC Ticket Office or call 756-2787.

Russian-born jazz chanteuse Sophie Milman brings her swinging quartet to Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre at 8 p.m. next Thursday, Oct. 16. If you like your jazz in the Diana Krall vein, get your tickets now. Milman is on a roll right now, recently winning the 2008 Juno Award (Canada’s version of a Grammy) for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year for her 2006 release, Make Someone Happy. Expect sparkling renditions of such classics as “Fever,” “It Might As Well Be Spring,” and “People Will Say We’re In Love” from this talented and gorgeous 24-year-old. Buy $34 tickets at the PAC Ticket Office or call 756-2787.


Earth first!

Famed “Wipe Out!” guitarist Merrell Fankhauser has made a foray into eco-rock with his new single “Move to Higher Ground,” a melodic warning about the state of the environment.

“I was watching KSBY news one night when we were having the California fires, then the Iowa flood, and then the recent Gulf Coast storms,” explained the Arroyo Grande resident. “Everything—including the war, environment, and economy—hit me like a ton of bricks and the song popped out in 15 minutes! I got the band together and recorded it and sent a demo to a music distributor in Iowa City,, and they got it on the radio there and then started selling them and giving a portion of the sales to Iowa and Gulf Coast flood relief. It’s on more than 150 radio stations from Poland, to Greece, to Spain, and the U.K. so far, and a video’s on Hope we can help some folks out. I am personally donating all my royalties to flood relief.”

The catchy tune also features drummer Art Dougall, fiddler Julie Beaver, and harmonica player Ray Wells. Order yours at


CD Reviews



Casiotone For The Painfully Alone—Town Topic EP

Over the course of 22 minutes, Owen Ashworth’s one-man band, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, builds tiny cinematic interludes from the synthesized tones of Casio keyboards and their drum machine beats. As rudimentary as this sounds, the compositions are quite melodic and incredibly charming. Commissioned by Laurel Nakadate for his independent film, Stay The Same Never Change, Ashworth also reworks a few older songs, stripping off their vocals, reducing them back to their early incarnation as lo-fi demos. The majority of the tracks are instrumental and deceptively simple, yet they still coax out of feeling of cinematic wonderment, and you can’t help but see little visual vignettes playing within your own head. Included are a few of his half-minute catchy ambient melodies that popped up as ringtones within the movie. A departure from his usually heartbroken sagas, CFTPA still makes pop gems from what often seems like thrift store finds.




Raphael Saadiq—The Way I See It

Unapologetically, Raphael Saadiq, former frontman for º‰s R&B group Tony Toni Tone, delivers a solo album sewn with the sound that brought fame to Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield, and Sam Cooke, without a stitch of mockery. His two previous solo efforts delved into neo-soul and the cinematic sound of a Shaft-like Blaxploitation hero, respectively. With his third solo release, The Way I See It, he revives Motown and the œ‰s soul era with perfect emulation and shining revision. From the tambourine snap in the Impressions-influenced “Keep Marchin’” to “Just One Kiss,” which evokes the spirit of Smokey and the Miracles even with the addition of Joss Stone, Raphael nails the nuances of every style faithfully. Whether its the sleek falsetto of the Delfonics sound-a-alike “Oh Girl” or the spirited handclaps in “Let’s Take A Walk,” which houses the subtle eroticism of Marvin Gaye, each song triggers a memory of the Big Chill, American Bandstand, or your favorite oldies station. Art Laboe will definitely have something new to consider.

—Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and KCBX’s “Night Train.”

Glen Starkey is just a regular Joe Six-Pack, you betcha! Throw him a wink and a nod at


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