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Latin-centric L.A. party band Ozomatli plays the Fremont Theater on Jan.11 

When Ozomatli formed in 1995, they had a lofty goal in mind: to create a style of music that pays homage to eclectic Los Angeles street culture, from the Mexican songs that influenced their youth to reggae's dancehall vibe and its socially conscious lyrics to the hip-hop tracks that explored their urban reality.

They released their self-titled debut in 1998 and were quickly tapped to open for Carlos Santana on his Supernatural world tour. Since then, they've consistently delivered critically acclaimed albums, including a kids' album, Ozomatli Presents Ozokidz, and they've become the de facto house band for Gabriel Iglesias's TV show Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand Up Revolution.

click to enlarge STRAIGHT OUTTA LA Ozomatli brings their modern Latino, urban, hip-hop, and world music sounds to the Fremont Theater on Jan. 11. - PHOTO COURTESY OF OZOMATLI
  • Photo Courtesy Of Ozomatli
  • STRAIGHT OUTTA LA Ozomatli brings their modern Latino, urban, hip-hop, and world music sounds to the Fremont Theater on Jan. 11.

Thematically, their music celebrates Latino culture, fights for workers' rights, and promotes inclusivity of all peoples and cultures. In 2002, they won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album for their second album, Embrace the Chaos. Their third, Street Signs, won a Latin Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 2005. This sextet, often called "Los Dioses del Baile" (The Gods of Dance), delivers an amazing live show—tons of energy, danceable sounds, and an inspiring message.

Their newest album, 2017's Non-Stop: Mexico to Jamaica, "continues creating music for entire families and communities," according to press materials. "By re-creating these classic Latin songs, Ozo redefines their meaning and reimagines their beauty for generations to come."

As percussionist and MC Justin Poree, puts it, "Anyone who is 8 or 80 will recognize 'Sabor a Mi' or 'Besame Mucho.'"

See Ozomatli this Thursday, Jan. 11, at the Fremont Theater (9 p.m.; $25 at Boo Boo Records or eventbrite.com).

Also this week at the Fremont Theater, check out Petty Theft, a Tom Petty tribute show, on Saturday, Jan. 13 (8 p.m.; all ages; $20 at Boo Boo's and eventbrite.com). Expect two sets of classic Tom Petty hits.

Calling all party people!

There are cover bands and then there are The Cheeseballs, a band that transcends "cover band" categorization. They're simply too musically tight, too flamboyant, and too stage savvy to fit in the same category as the three aging high school buddies taking requests for "Free Bird" at the corner bar.

click to enlarge GET ON THE DANCE FLOOR! San Francisco party band The Cheeseballs will bring their soul, funk, R&B, pop, and rock cover hits to The Siren on Jan. 13. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CHEESEBALLS
  • Photo Courtesy Of The Cheeseballs
  • GET ON THE DANCE FLOOR! San Francisco party band The Cheeseballs will bring their soul, funk, R&B, pop, and rock cover hits to The Siren on Jan. 13.

The San Francisco band is fronted by Eric Cotton, who used to live in SLO and fronted the original reggae act Rock Steady Posse. His new band includes two female singers who are either backing Cotton or taking lead vocals. That diversity allows The Cheeseballs to deliver incredible versions of everything from Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" to Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" to Etta James' "At Last." As noted, the backing band is musically amazing!

At its heart, this is a high-energy party band, with synchronized dance moves and an eclectic and rotating repertoire of mostly funk, soul, R&B songs, and more—from '60s Motown classics to '80s new wave, all the rock favorites, and current hits.

This Saturday, Jan. 13, Numbskull and Good Medicine Presents teams with Morro Bay's The Siren to host The Cheeseballs (8 p.m.; 21-and-older; $15 presale at ticketfly.com or $20 at the door). It's going to be a par-tay!

Your cure for depression

click to enlarge ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH Colorado-based psychedelic reggae-rock act Zolopht will cure your depression at the Frog and Peach on Jan. 16. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ZOLOPHT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Zolopht
  • ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH Colorado-based psychedelic reggae-rock act Zolopht will cure your depression at the Frog and Peach on Jan. 16.

Colorado-based psychedelic reggae-rock act Zolopht, not to be confused with the anti-depressant Zoloft, does not cause drowsiness, decreased sex drive, or mild nausea (actual side effects of Zoloft), but they may cause uncontrollable dancing, head-bobbing, grooving, and ear-to-ear grinning.

Formed in 2009, they've since become a principal player in the Colorado music scene, describing their sound as "entirely unique" and "as catchy as it is progressive."

"We're making our first stop of a month-long run at Frog and Peach," Zac Grant (rhythm guitar and vocalist) said. "This will be our second time at Frog and Peach, and last time through we had a packed house."

The band has shared a stage with the likes of The Wailers, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Dirty Heads, Jeff Coffin, Sam Bush, and Eric Krasno. They've recorded two full-length albums and have another on the way.

Check them out on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at the Frog and Peach (10 p.m.; 21-and-older).

More music ...

click to enlarge SOLO SECOND ECHO Casey Stickley of the alt-rock band Second Echo, plays a solo set during the Jan. 11 BanjerDan Show at Last Stage West. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CASEY STICKLEY
  • Photo Courtesy Of Casey Stickley
  • SOLO SECOND ECHO Casey Stickley of the alt-rock band Second Echo, plays a solo set during the Jan. 11 BanjerDan Show at Last Stage West.

Casey Stickley of the band Second Echo, a Las Vegas-based alternative rock act, will do a solo set during The BanjerDan Show on Thursday, Jan. 11, at Last Stage West (6 p.m.; all ages). Second Echo is on the Spectra Music Group/Tabletop Records label, has been touring since 2006, and has been featured on more than 100 radio stations nationwide, with licensed works with several major TV networks including MTV, E!, Oxygen, Fox Sports, and NASCAR.

click to enlarge TWO BLUES The Duo-Tones—Johnny Johnson (left) and Ted Waterhouse—play Puffers of Pismo on Jan. 12. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE DUO-TONES
  • Photo Courtesy Of The Duo-Tones
  • TWO BLUES The Duo-Tones—Johnny Johnson (left) and Ted Waterhouse—play Puffers of Pismo on Jan. 12.

If you've never caught some live music at Puffers of Pismo, this Friday, Jan. 12, is the time. The intimate wine bar in downtown Pismo Beach hosts The Duo-Tones—singer-songwriter Ted Waterhouse (slide guitar and vocals) and Johnny Johnson (harmonica and vocals)—playing a free show from 6 to 9 p.m. Waterhouse is an award-winning songwriter and fine slide guitarist, and Johnson blows a mean mouth harp! Expect blues and related music.

Juan John (aka John De Hoyos) plays Last Stage West on Friday, Jan. 12 (6 p.m.; all ages). The Nashville-based guitarist will deliver a world-class acoustic performance fusing popular music, guitar virtuosity, and humor. He's opened for everyone from Hank Williams Jr. to Lee Brice to Charlie Daniels, and he's also a spokesman for McPherson Guitars. He's on the West Coast for the upcoming NAMM Show, so catch his act now because he may not be back for a while! He's a helluva fingerstyle guitar player!

Get classy!

click to enlarge FINGERSTYLE WIZ Nashville-based guitarist Juan John (aka John De Hoyos) plays Last Stage West on Jan. 12, delivering a world-class acoustic performance fusing popular music, guitar virtuosity, and humor. - PHOTO COURTESY OF KEVIN MARRON
  • Photo Courtesy Of Kevin Marron
  • FINGERSTYLE WIZ Nashville-based guitarist Juan John (aka John De Hoyos) plays Last Stage West on Jan. 12, delivering a world-class acoustic performance fusing popular music, guitar virtuosity, and humor.

Cal Poly's got your classical music needs covered this week starting with a benefit piano recital on Friday, Jan. 12, featuring Music Department Chair W. Terrence Spiller in the Spanos Theatre (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $14 general admission or $9 for students; (805) 756-4849). He'll perform Robert Schumann's "Papillons" ("Butterflies"), Op. 2, followed by his "Abegg" Variations, Op. 1. Then hear Frédéric Chopin's "Two Waltzes," Op. 69, and "Ballade in G Minor," Op. 23. The second half of the program "explores impressionistic and coloristic writing in three early 20th century compositions" by Claude Debussy, American composer Amy Beach, and Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera.

If Johann Sebastian Bach is more your speed, Cal Poly presents Bach Week from Tuesday, Jan. 16, through Saturday, Jan. 20, at various locations on campus as well as the SLO Mission.

"Bach Week features a range of events, including a chamber music performance on period instruments, collaborative performances of large vocal and instrumental works by students and professionals, two master classes, and a guest lecture or 'Akademie,'" according to the university.

A complete list of events is available at bachweek.calpoly.edu; admission is free to the campus events. Tickets for the concerts in the mission are $20 for premium public and premium student tickets, $15 for the general public, and $10 for general students; call (805) 756-4849. Why did Bach have so many children? Because he didn't have any organ stops! Δ

Keep up with New Times Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey via Twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at facebook.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.


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