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RAGG redux 

The local goth metal act revamps and is ready to scare

click to enlarge THEY AIM TO MAIM! :  Goth metal act RAGG is the main attraction at the Midstate Scare on All Hallow’s Eve, Oct. 31! - PHOTO COURTESY OF RAGG
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF RAGG
  • THEY AIM TO MAIM! : Goth metal act RAGG is the main attraction at the Midstate Scare on All Hallow’s Eve, Oct. 31!
RAGG’s the band that takes a licking and keeps on ticking … like a time bomb that will explode awesome goth metal music all over your Halloween night. Ka-boom!

 

They’ve been around for years and years, gone through more band members than fictional groupie Penny Lane, been sued, been stewed, won awards, been to psycho wards. They’re like the undead! They just keep coming at you!

 

The band’s unchanging core members—Anthony Bolin and Monique Grajeda—recently added a new front woman, Tia Dair, a blonde bombshell who hails from Ventura and previously fronted Surf and Black.

 

“Her background includes having been a rock radio personality and voiceover artist for Ventura County’s KCOP 95.9 The Octopus, as well as the station’s billboard model and Playboy regular,” explained the band. “Her love of music started as a child, having sung alongside her Grammy- and Oscar- nominated grandfather, Tom Adair, as he played the songs he’d written and composed for Frank Sinatra and the Mickey Mouse Club. Who knew that singing Frank Sinatra and Mouseketeer songs would develop into Tia’s melodic goth metal vocal style?”

 

The band also added a new bassist, J.R. Castro, a former professional poker player, who said, “I’m from something of a diverse musical background. I’ve played four-string electric bass and sang backup vocals with a few different local acts with different arrangements ranging from old school punk rock, acoustic pop rock, rock and blues standards, roots reggae, hip hop, even jam music. As a fan of many different types of music from Black Sabbath to Bob Marley to the Beatles, I draw influences from all these genres and incorporate them into my own style. I utilize both finger and pick style out of necessity due to a carpal tunnel injury that limits the dexterity in my right hand.”

 

And finally, Tom Hoopes is the new drummer. He also drums for Depths of Chaos and recently toured with a band called Vesterion.

 

See RAGG on Saturday, Oct. 31 at the Midstate Scare (250 Traffic Way, Arroyo Grande) from 8 to 10 p.m. Society’s Child opens the show.

 

“Come check out the Haunted House!” added Bolin. “It’s pretty sick, and it’s open Thursdays through Saturdays from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.”

Brew me a river

 

Who is MC Chris? Apparently, according to his myspace page, he is the sum total of a list, of which this is a small part: “I sit Indian style. I like Barack Obama and I registered voters this summer. Gobama! My favorite Star Wars character is Jar Jar Binks and I collect Jar Jar stuff. I’ve been journaling or blogging since I was 13. I’m unlucky in love, but I never give up. I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and I like to walk the bridge into Manhattan, but I think I’ll be moving when I get home. The yuppies have invaded. I have a habit of hooking up with girls from Texas and Florida. I rap and do cartoon voices, but I think my folks are waiting for me to get serious. I got this idea from Taylor Swift’s myspace page. I have a crush on Taylor Swift.” See MC Chris with opening act Whole Wheat Bread on Thursday, Oct. 29 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $12), followed by the Central Coast DJ Competition when DJ C.flo faces off against DJ Oso Mighty.

 

Pack up your air guitar in its invisible case with all those invisible rock’n’roll stickers all over it, and head down to the Brew on Friday, Oct. 30 so you can plug into your invisible stack of Marshalls and unleash a barrage of serious pantomimed guitar licks during the 2nd Annual Air Guitar Competition (9 p.m.; 21-and-older; $5 at the door). The event is sponsored by Traditional Tattoo and DTB.

 

The Brew will set up its Halloween House of Horror on Saturday, Oct. 31 (9 p.m.; 21-and-older; $5 at the door). Hosted by the Brew, Traditional Tattoo, and KZOZ 93.3, the event features a “Haunted House with live actors and all the props to freak you out! Your tour guide will lead you on a twisting horror-filled tour, introducing you to sideshow freaks like Jonny the Zit Eater and Toilet Boy.” You can also enter a costume contest.

 

Check out Minus the Bear on Sunday, Nov. 1 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $17 presale or $19 at the door). The Seattle-based indie rock act is known for its amusing song titles such as “Hey, Wanna Throw Up? Get Me Naked” and “PlayMonkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!” And if you’re looking for a little psych-shoegaze-indie-pop to light up your life, that’s just what you’ll get if Twin Tigers’ new album Gray Waves is any indication of their live show. The Athens-based band joins Minus the Bear.

 

click to enlarge STEP RIGHT UP! :  Rusted Root takes to the Downtown Brew stage on Nov. 2, touring to support their newest offering, Stereo Rodeo, their first studio album in seven years. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RUSTED ROOT
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF RUSTED ROOT
  • STEP RIGHT UP! : Rusted Root takes to the Downtown Brew stage on Nov. 2, touring to support their newest offering, Stereo Rodeo, their first studio album in seven years.
Rusted Root takes the stage on Monday, Nov. 2 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $16 presale or $18 at the door), touring to support their newest offering, Stereo Rodeo, their first studio album in seven years. “We named our record Stereo Rodeo after a song that I started writing back when we were recording our last studio record. It’s really just a great name,” said band founder/leader Michael Glabicki in press materials. “We were all just so into the music,” added vocalist/percussionist Liz Berlin about the recording process, “The synergy and excitement on this album is so fresh and energizing.” Rusted Root’s new single, a cover of the Elvis Presley hit “Suspicious Minds,” penned by the late esteemed songwriter Bennie Benjamin, has also just been released.

 

click to enlarge JOIN THE CIRCLE :  Get a big, fat dose of reggae on Nov. 3 when multi-Grammy Award-winning Inner Circle returns to Downtown Brew. - PHOTO COURTESY OF INNER CIRCLE
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF INNER CIRCLE
  • JOIN THE CIRCLE : Get a big, fat dose of reggae on Nov. 3 when multi-Grammy Award-winning Inner Circle returns to Downtown Brew.
Get a big, fat dose of reggae on Tuesday, Nov. 3 when multi-Grammy Award-winning Inner Circle returns to the Brew (7 p.m.; all ages; $12 presale or $14 at the door) to promote State of da World, which the band calls its “ultimate statement.” Featuring guest performances by Damian and Stephen Marley, Luciano, Junior Reid, Slightly Stoopid, and more, the album lays down the socially conscious message of this legendary roots act. “Weed is a plant that grows, like any number of herbs, that people use that God gave us for healing,“ asserted founding Inner Circle member Roger Lewis. “Yet you have pharmaceutical companies making artificial drugs all the time with side-effects they know are harmful to people. Weed needs to be de-criminalized but they make it into a political football.” Local band Klockwyze opens the show.

 

A triple-header of indie rock is headed your way on Wednesday, Nov. 4 when Nothing Ever Stays, Sleep for Sleepers, and Monster Eats the Pilot hits DTB (7 p.m.; all ages; $6 presale or $8 at the door). Nothing Ever Stays will deliver neo-classics such as “The Revenge of Holden Caulfield.”

 

click to enlarge HALLOWEEN JAZZ :  Santa Barbara jazz vocalist Margie Nelson joins the Mike Raynor Group at the Inn at Morro Bay on Oct. 31. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARGIE NELSON
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF MARGIE NELSON
  • HALLOWEEN JAZZ : Santa Barbara jazz vocalist Margie Nelson joins the Mike Raynor Group at the Inn at Morro Bay on Oct. 31.
All Hallow’s Eve

 

Let’s talk about Halloween. Of course, the scariest thing to imagine is me dressed as Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz, clad in nothing save a red, white, and blue Speedo and a bevy of gold medals. Savor the mental pictures … savor it … OK, let’s move on.

 

Santa Barbara jazz vocalist Margie Nelson joins the Mike Raynor Group at the Inn at Morro Bay on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 7 to 10 p.m. Nelson, a founding member of the popular vocal band the Swizzle Sisters—which did fabulous three-part harmonies and emulated the “girl group sound” of the ’50s and ’60s—has turned her talents to the sultry standards and flaming torch songs of the Great American Songbook.

 

click to enlarge FORTUNATE SON :  Scary good blues awaits at the SLO Blues Society’s Ronnie Baker Brooks (son of Lonnie!) show on Oct. 31 at the SLO Vets Hall. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RONNIE BAKER BROOKS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF RONNIE BAKER BROOKS
  • FORTUNATE SON : Scary good blues awaits at the SLO Blues Society’s Ronnie Baker Brooks (son of Lonnie!) show on Oct. 31 at the SLO Vets Hall.
Scary good blues awaits at the SLO Blues Society’s Ronnie Baker Brooks show on Saturday, Oct. 31, which also includes opening act Pryor Baird & the Deacons at 8 p.m. in the SLO Vets Hall If you’ve never been to one of these shows, let me tell you, they’re a hoot. The demographic swings upward, with most attendees in the 30 to 60 age group, and since it’s Halloween, there’ll be a 10 p.m. costume contest. As for Brooks, the man rocks that ax like he learned from a master, and he did. His pops is Lonnie Brooks. Tickets are $17 for Blues Society members and $20 for the general public, available at the door. You’ve got to be 21.

 

The Jim “I Hear Dead People”  Townsend Blues Band will bring another special themed show to the SLO Down Pub on Saturday, Oct. 31: The music of famous DEAD ROCKSTARS! Dance to the music of your favorite deceased musicians like Billie Holiday, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury, Janis Joplin, and more. Come in costume! Win prizes! The cover’s $3.

 

click to enlarge HIP HUG-HER! :  On Oct. 31, Sweet Springs Saloon hosts Booker Tease, a four-piece rock/Memphis soul stew act that revisits and redefines the music of seminal ’60s soul group Booker T. and the MG’s. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BOOKER TEASE
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF BOOKER TEASE
  • HIP HUG-HER! : On Oct. 31, Sweet Springs Saloon hosts Booker Tease, a four-piece rock/Memphis soul stew act that revisits and redefines the music of seminal ’60s soul group Booker T. and the MG’s.
Sweet Springs Saloon has a killer double bill for Saturday, Oct. 31 when Booker Tease opens for the Zongo! All Stars. The Booker Tease, a four-piece rock/Memphis soul stew act, revisits and redefines a familiar sound—the music of seminal ’60s soul group Booker T. and the MG’s. They also thrown in covers by acts like the Meters and King Curtis. Zongo heats up the club next with its rousing Latin jazz sound. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. and includes cash prizes for the best costumes.

 

Rock cover act Rough House hits Mozzi’s in Cambria’s East Village on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., and they’ll also play nearby the next day, Sunday, Nov. 1, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Las Cambritas. Spooky!

 

click to enlarge LEGENDS! :  Former Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers member Chris Hillman (left) and his longtime collaborator Herb Pedersen return to the Central Coast next Nov. 7, for a benefit concert that will be recorded for a live CD at Edwards Barn. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS HILLMAN AND HERB PEDERSEN
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS HILLMAN AND HERB PEDERSEN
  • LEGENDS! : Former Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers member Chris Hillman (left) and his longtime collaborator Herb Pedersen return to the Central Coast next Nov. 7, for a benefit concert that will be recorded for a live CD at Edwards Barn.
Church music

 

Prepare to worship at the feet of a Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer!

 

The promoters wanted you to know about this one early, so here goes: Former Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers member Chris Hillman and his longtime collaborator Herb Pedersen return to the Central Coast next Saturday, Nov. 7, for a benefit concert that will be recorded for a live CD at Edwards Barn (1095 Pomeroy Rd, at the corner of Willow, in Nipomo). Your $70 donation benefits Santa Maria’s Orthodox Church of the Annunciation’s building project, and includes a dinner of fine Eastern European and Eastern Mediterranean culinary specialties. There will also be a silent auction and no-host bar (local wines and beer).

Hillman and Pedersen will be accompanied by special guest musicians Bill Bryson (bass), David Mansfield (violin), and Larry Park (acoustic guitar).

 

For tickets and information, please contact Luci at 265-7829 or e-mail tickets@odox.org.

 

More music…

 

If you’re downtown on Thursday, Oct. 29 during Farmers Market and see a roving group of undead zombies, please do not aim for their heads. They’re not actually zombies. They’re just a bunch of pranksters, part of Traditional Tattoos Halloween weekend festivities. You will be charged with murder of you kill one of these zombies. Seriously.

 

Dr. Dangerous wants to get you in the mood for Halloween a day early, when this band plays the SLO Down Pub on Friday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. “We’ll have our usual scary rockin’ blues and boogie for you, and the Pub will handle all the libations and floor space for a fun way to kick off the weekend’s activities for all you big kids,” said the Doc. “Costumes are encouraged, so don’t be shy. We won’t be! Don’t have a psychotic reaction! Just come on out for an injection of good times with your lil’ ol’ Dangerous crew of demented musical fiends … if you dare!”

 

The Golden Child is one of my favorite guilty pleasures, so I have a soft spot in my heart for monks. Next Thursday, Nov. 5, The Mystical Arts of Tibet tours, featuring the famed multi-phonic singers of Drepung Loseling Monastery, play a 7 p.m. concert in the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center. Student and adult tickets range from $20 to $38. Call 756-2787 to reserve yours. A free pre-show lecture will be presented by a Drepung Loseling spokesperson at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center Gallery Level Lobby. Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 3, the monks will create a sacred Tibetan sand mandala during a four-day free public exhibition and residency held at the McPhee University Union on the Cal Poly campus.

 

Funk the Band, a 5-piece ska-funk act from the south Bay Area, plays the Frog and Peach on Sunday, Nov. 1 from 10 to midnight. Phat sounds to skank to!


Do you have the chops?

 

The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) has extended its deadline for entering until Dec. 2. ISC accepts entries from all levels of songwriters, both amateur and professional, and gives away more than $150,000 in cash and prizes (including a grand prize of $25,000 cash and $20,000 in music equipment and other prizes).

 

The judging panel is ISC’s most impressive to date and includes 56 high-profile judges such as Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20), Timbaland, Steve Winwood, Journey, McCoy Tyner, Wynonna, Michael W. Smith, Youssou N’Dour, Robbie Williams, and many more.

 

Visit songwritingcompetition.com for details.

 

Glen Starkey wants to fight a bag of kittens. Explain to him the many levels upon which that is wrong, so wrong, at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

 

 

CD Reviews

starkey-cd-breakestra.jpg
Breakestra—Dusk Till Dawn
After a four-year recess, Los Angeles’ Breakestra returns with the authentic party-funk that cultivated their fabled Rootdown club nights into a centerpoint for rare-groove and soul connoisseurs worldwide. Using the influence of the Meters and the J.B.’s as their launching point, Dusk Till Dawn continues to push them beyond their origins as a cover band of funk’s greatest sampled breaks and riffs. In fact, with the addition of new female vocalist Afrodyete, tracks like “Come On Over” revisit the terrain of funky divas like Marva Whitney and Lyn Collins. But Breakestra is still the one-man show of Miles “Music Man” Tackett as he provides not only the vision but bass, drum, guitar, keyboard, and vocals for the majority of the album, gaining assistance from a strong roster of studio musicians when needed. He controls everything but the horns of New Orleans funk instrumental “Back at the Boathouse,” and gives Mixmaster Wolf’s husky voice open space to preach over his acid-funk of “Show You the Way.” Not visionary in any way, but authentically perfect for getting up on your good foot.


starkey-cd-heliocentric.jpg
The Heliocentrics—Fallen Angels: The Singles Collection
Built around the tireless energy of drummer Malcolm Catto, The Heliocentrics dabble on the outer orbits of soul-jazz with a gravitational pull that fuses the noisy, extraterrestrial vision of Sun Ra and the boom-bap funk of producers like DJ Shadow. On Fallen Angels, The Heliocentrics collect onto CD some of their previously LP-only releases, thus filling out a discography of one of jazz’s newest inventors of deranged, wobbly eccentricities. Supplied with a sitar, saz, Turkish vocalist, and intricate polyrhythms, “Distant Star” opens the album with a decidedly Middle-Eastern bent, only to get updated a track later with the sharp lyrics by Percee P and MF Doom delivering a stream of consciousness flow. “The Gorn” pushes dissonances at every turn and break, but stays with the lines of its raw, funky flute soul, while “Vibrations of the Fallen Angels” seems to stuff numerous genres into a whirling blender (psych, sitar-funk, avant-garde, and piano jazz), yet inexplicably remains a listenable head trip. Not for the unadventurous, but if you can imagine the noir of Portishead shaken up slightly with free-form jazz, then consider this your new elixir.

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

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