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Omicron schmomicron: Live music marches on 

Editor's note: Due to COVID-19 concerns, Fruition (Jan. 11 at The Siren) and Cubensis (Jan. 7 at SLO Brew Rock) have canceled, and Thee Scared Souls  (Jan. 12 at SLO Brew Rock) rescheduled to Feb. 10. Check with other venues concerning upcoming concerts as the situation is fluid and more cancelations are expected.

Though by all accounts the COVID-19 omicron variant is surging unabated, causing what's been described as a "tidal wave" of infections and as many as 1 million new cases a day, live music is still happening in SLO County. If you're vaccinated, boosted, masked, and ready to get down with your bad self, read on.

click to enlarge PORTLAND'S FINEST Quirky and engaging folk-rock quintet Fruition plays a Numbskull and Good Medicine show on Jan. 11 at The Siren. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JAY BLAKESBERG
  • Photo Courtesy Of Jay Blakesberg
  • PORTLAND'S FINEST Quirky and engaging folk-rock quintet Fruition plays a Numbskull and Good Medicine show on Jan. 11 at The Siren.

In the week's biggest show, Numbskull and Good Medicine are bringing Fruition with Goodnight, Texas, on Tuesday, Jan. 11, to The Siren in Morro Bay (7 p.m.; 21-and-older; $20 plus fees presale at eventbrite.com or $25 at the door).

Fruition is touring in support of Broken at the Break of Day (2020), their newest album, which the band says "shines a light on all five members, whether it's on the traded lead vocals of 'Dawn' or the irresistible rhythms of 'Where Can I Turn.'"

The Portland-based folk-rock quintet—known for elements of soul, bluegrass, and country—has been together for more than a decade, creating a sound marked by engaging and unique songwriting and tight harmonies.

They're quirky as heck and super interesting. Check out, for instance, their song "Nothing More Than Spinning," which they describe as "a folk song interpreted by Queen." The song's video features amazing archival footage by Philip Medicus from the 1939 World's Fair, and the song comes off like music to accompany a vintage carnival ride.

Featuring Jay Cobb Anderson (electric guitar, vocals), Kellen Asebroek (piano, acoustic guitar vocals), Jeff Leonard (bass), Mimi Naja (mandolin, electric guitar, vocals), and Tyler Thompson (drums), they recorded the seven-song album in record time.

"This process was the quickest the band had ever wrote and recorded the songs," Thompson said in press materials. "All the songs obviously fit either a 'day' or 'night' theme, but the whole rehearsing and recording process had to be done in about half the amount of time we were used to. That time limitation leant us to not overthink things, play instinctually and all live in the studio with very minimal overdubs. All the songs are very different, but I think the speedy process naturally created some sonic congruency."

"We pushed ourselves like never before. But in the end, it all turned out great," Anderson said about the sessions for Broken at the Break of Day. "It was a bit more of a hectic process to get things done and recorded. I can't believe it sounds so good when we did it all so fast."

click to enlarge ALT-ROCK HITMAKERS The Unlikely Candidates, whose 2019 song "Novocaine" remains a huge hit, plays The Siren on Jan. 7. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SYDNEY ANGEL PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Photo Courtesy Of Sydney Angel Photography
  • ALT-ROCK HITMAKERS The Unlikely Candidates, whose 2019 song "Novocaine" remains a huge hit, plays The Siren on Jan. 7.

Also this week at The Siren, check out The Unlikely Candidates with The Criticals on Friday, Jan. 7 (7:30 p.m.; 21-and-older; $18 plus fees presale at thesirenmorrobay.com or $20 at the door).

The Unlikely Candidates are still riding high on the release of their hit song "Novocaine," which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 a couple of years ago and is hooky and unforgettably rockin'. It's had more than 37 million views on YouTube and has more than 55 million worldwide streams. The band's newest single is "Gemini," which may remind some listeners of Maroon 5.

As for openers The Criticals, they're a Nashville-based rock band that lists The Stone Roses, Jane's Addiction, and The Doors as inspiration. Together, this should be a great night of rock 'n' roll.

click to enlarge DEADHEADS UNITE Grateful Dead tribute act Cubensis plays on Jan. 7 at SLO Brew Rock. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CUBENSIS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Cubensis
  • DEADHEADS UNITE Grateful Dead tribute act Cubensis plays on Jan. 7 at SLO Brew Rock.

Meanwhile at SLO Brew Rock ...

Grateful Dead tribute act Cubensis plays SLO Brew Rock on Friday, Jan. 7 (7 p.m.; 18-and-older; $20 plus fees at slobrew.com or $25 plus fees day of show) with the Ron "Pigpen" McKernan-focused tribute band The Alligators opening. That's a whole lotta Deadhead love coming your way, brought to you by Skull & Roses.

Also this week at SLO Brew Rock, (((folkYEAH!))) and SLO Brew Live present Thee Sacred Souls on Wednesday, Jan. 12 (7 p.m.; 18-and-older; $25 plus fees presale at slobrew.com or $28 plus fees day of show). According to their bio, that band was "inspired by the souldies around which they were reared," and it took me a hot second to figure out "souldies" are soul oldies—the kind of falsetto Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye hits that were radio staples in the '70s.

click to enlarge OLD SCHOOL SOUL Thee Sacred Souls will bring their smooth falsetto soul sounds to SLO Brew Rock on Jan. 12. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THEE SACRED SOULS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Thee Sacred Souls
  • OLD SCHOOL SOUL Thee Sacred Souls will bring their smooth falsetto soul sounds to SLO Brew Rock on Jan. 12.

Check out the band's first single, "Weak for your Love," and you'll see they're right in that pocket. This is smooth-like-butter music, and I haven't seen a better nod to old-school soul since Lenny Kravitz hit the scene in the mid-'80s. Definitely worth a look. This trio is going to be big.

More music ...

W. Terrence Spiller presents a piano recital on Friday, Jan. 7, in the Spanos Theatre on Cal Poly's campus (7:30 p.m.; ages 5 and older; $10 to $20 at pacslo.org). The professor emeritus from the university's music program is playing to benefit the Music Department Scholarship Fund, performing works by Clara and Robert Schumann, who Spiller called "two of the most important musicians from 19th-century Germany, as well as one of the most famous married couples in music history." The second half of the program features a French repertoire: Frédéric Chopin's "Fantasy in F Minor," Op. 49; Francis Poulenc's "Trois mouvements perpétuels"; Maurice Ravel's "Pavane pour une infante défunte;" and Claude Debussy's "L'Isle Joyeuse."

A true super group plays Puffers of Pismo this Saturday, Jan. 8, when MiniNova takes the stage at 7 p.m. The group features Kenny Lee Lewis (guitar) from the Steve Miller Band, Scott Martin (saxophones and woodwinds) from WAR, Jim Stromberg (drums/percussion), and David Keif (bass).

"We play a mix of Latin and jazz funk music that's pretty infectious!" Martin said. "It's a smaller version of our group called SuperNova. Hope you can come hang!" Δ

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

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