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Slurping good music 

Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks hit Poly

click to enlarge HOTTER THAN A PISTOL! :  Incredible eclectic music man Dan Hicks will appear with his band The Hot Licks on Sept. 24 in Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DAN HICKS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF DAN HICKS
  • HOTTER THAN A PISTOL! : Incredible eclectic music man Dan Hicks will appear with his band The Hot Licks on Sept. 24 in Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre.
Think you can listen to Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks’ new album Tangled Tales without tapping your toes as a smile grows across your face like a canyon? Well, you can’t!

This scorching good new record will be brought to life on Friday, Sept. 24, when Cal Poly Arts presents the amazing and unique Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks in the Alex & Faye Spanos Theatre (8 p.m.; all ages; $36 general, $29 students at 756-2787).

Tom Waits called Hicks “fly, sly, wily, and dry,” while Elvis Costello declared Hicks “an American treasure.” If you like Leon Redbone, Django Reinhardt, swing, western, jazz, blues, and hippie eclecticism, you’re going to dig this dude.

He appeals across generations, playing with an old-time style with counter-culture cred, which propelled him onto the cover of Rolling Stone magazine twice. He’s been blowing minds, defining musical tastes, and educating newbies about music from across the ages since the ’60s.

Next up? On Oct. 12, Hicks will deliver a holiday album, Crazy for Christmas!, featuring seven Hicks originals (“I’ve Got Christmas By The Tail,” “Under the Mistletoe,” and “Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit”), plus some new interpretations of old favorites, like a hot scat epic of “Carol of the Bells.”

Ticket holders are invited to a free pre-show lecture held at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center’s Philips Recital Hall, presented by Cal Poly Music Department faculty member Ken Habib.

click to enlarge MASH UP! :  If you dig The Clash, Bob Marley, and Sublime, check out The Beautiful Girls at Downtown Brew on Sept. 28. - PHOTO BY TONY MOTT
  • PHOTO BY TONY MOTT
  • MASH UP! : If you dig The Clash, Bob Marley, and Sublime, check out The Beautiful Girls at Downtown Brew on Sept. 28.
DTB for you

Downtown Brew is giving you the weekend off, but the club hits the ground running next week on Tuesday, Sept. 28, with The Beautiful Girls (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $15 presale or $16 at the door), with Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad opening.

Touring nationwide in support of its fourth album, Spooks, The Beautiful Girls fuses the sounds of The Clash, Bob Marley, and Sublime into its own unique sounds.

“Frontman Mat McHugh experimented with progressive, hip-hop-style production elements typically restricted to the studio and kept off the live stage,” said their publicist. “For the new tour, however, The Beautiful Girls are tackling the feat of bringing all these sampled, delayed, and reverb-effected sounds to their live performances with integrated live sampling and sequencing. The audience will see five musicians pushing out what sounds like a 12-piece band on stage—the experience is truly the closest music fans could ever get to crawling inside their stereo headphones and losing themselves in the albums.”

“Onstage, I’m looking forward to going really big and three-dimensional,” McHugh said. “I want to step beyond being just a band performing and have some really interesting sonic stuff going on. There’s a lot of crazy atmospheric stuff happening on the record: weird, subtle things. I want to include it all.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, New York reggae collective the Easy Star All-Stars return to the club (8 p.m.; all ages; $19 presale or $20 at the door), with Cas Haley and local act Fish Out of Water, who’ve been touring relentlessly and have developed into a tight little trio. Remember, Easy Star is the act that made a modest splash with Dub Side of the Moon, their clever interpretation of Pink Floyd’s classic album Dark Side of the Moon. Later they took Radiohead’s OK Computer and turned it into Radiodread. Their last effort was Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band, a tribute to the Beatles classic. This October, the All-Stars will be releasing Dubber Side of the Moon.

click to enlarge OUI OUI! :  Two French chanteuses, Françoiz Breut (pictured) and Marianne Dissard, play the Steynberg Gallery on Sept. 29. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANCOIZ BREUT
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANCOIZ BREUT
  • OUI OUI! : Two French chanteuses, Françoiz Breut (pictured) and Marianne Dissard, play the Steynberg Gallery on Sept. 29.
Incroyablement belle musique

There’s something about the French language, its lyricism and rhythms, that makes it even more beautiful when sung. Witness the sounds of French chanteuses Françoiz Breut and Marianne Dissard, who will appear in concert at the Steynberg Gallery on Wednesday, Sept. 29 (8 p.m.; all ages; $18). Both are touring in support of wonderful new albums.

Breut, the original pioneer of the Nouvelle Scène Française, has recently released her fourth album, À L’Aveuglette, and French-born, Tucson-based Dissard has just delivered her sophomore effort, Paris One Takes. The two women are label-mates in Europe (Le Pop Musik) and met 10 years ago, when Marianne wrote a couple of songs for Françoiz with music provided by Joey Burns (Calexico) and Howe Gelb (Giant Sand).

Torch songs, pops tunes, ballads—all in French. Don’t miss this one!

More music …

On Thursday, Sept. 23 The Porch welcomes Greenwich Village folkie Rod MacDonald during Steve Key’s Songwriters at Play showcase (6:30 p.m.; free; all ages). MacDonald was integral to ’80s Greenwich folk renaissance, performing with the likes of Pete Seeger, Tom Chapin, Dave Van Ronk, Suzanne Vega, Doc Watson, John Gorka, and Emmylou Harris.

Skate rat turned indie rock star Matt Costa returns to town for a free in-store at Boo Boo Records on Thursday, Sept. 23 (7 p.m.; all ages; free). “When he last played here, it was solidly packed,” said Boo Boo’s Malik Thorne. “We’re hoping for another stellar in-store, especially since this is his only local performance until his October show at DTB.” Costa’s new album, Mobile Chateau on Brushfire Records, was released two days ago, so pick up a copy and get it signed.

If you’ve been jonesing for The Shamblers, who skipped town for the farflung regions, or The Wedding Industrial Complex, who took a hiatus to raise a couple of rugrats, your wait is over. On Thursday, Sept. 23, Frog and Peach hosts the triumphant return of both acts at 9 p.m. “Like the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes, after a nearly two-year hiatus, the husband and wife rock’n’roll duo of The Wedding Industrial Complex is rising from the vast, arid, apocalyptic wasteland of child rearing and they are ready to ROCK!” gushed singer-guitarist Derek Senn. “We’ll be opening for The Shamblers, the excellent trio that used to grace the stages of SLO before their lead vocalist Lucas Ohio left for fame and fortune in the Bay Area, drummer Colby James left to design prosthetic limbs to pay off that fancy, smarty pants Cal Poly degree, and Mike Marotto, their multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, headed off to Vermont (dirty hippie!) for his own child-rearing experiment. He is leaving behind his wife and 6-month-old for a quick trek to SLO so he can get a little taste of those bygone bachelor glory days when he used to ROCK! Wow, two bands coming together for a one-off show, both of them aching to escape their dull, dreary suburban nightmares and ROCK! Sounds like this one is going to ROCK!” Oh, do go on, Derek.

The incredibly awesome, thoroughly entertaining, and highly unpredictable Café Musique returns to the Steynberg Gallery on Friday, Sept. 24 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $15, call 547-0278). It’s the ensemble’s first SLO Town show since the release of their new CD, Catching Your Breath, in July. Tango on, friends.

Cuesta College’s Jazz Department is releasing a CD at a party and concert on Friday, Sept. 24, in the CPAC. The release party will precede the concert at 7:30 p.m. Call 546-3108 for details.

Songman and actor Jim Conroy will deliver his double threat goodness on Friday, Sept. 24, at a Reader’s Theatre at the SLO Little Theatre. “It’s a small part, but I believe it’s a really good play,” wrote Jim. “It’s called Side Man, about four past-their-prime jazz musicians and the family of one of them. It’s both funny and poignant and hits the mark all the way through for me.” This is a one-night-only show ($10; call 786-2440). “There will be some live music before and after the play, as well as liquor in the lobby,” Jim added.

The oh-so-filthy Dirty Pink Slips will be joined by Deathbear and Spirit Bird at Sweet Springs Saloon on Friday, Sept. 24, delivering an evening of raw, raucous, and totally righteous rock’n’roll (9 p.m.; 21-and-older). This marks the last show for the Dirty Pink Slips since band member Shea is pregnant and will be having a baby at the end of December. “Seeing a pregnant chick jump around with a guitar and bass in her hands is enough reason to check out the show by itself, but it should be a good one,” Shea claims. “Deathbear is going into the studio at the end of the month, Spirit Bird keeps kicking Central Coast ass, and the Dirty Pink Slips who lost their drummer has Rich Roche (Carnies and Cruel Romeos) filling in and will also be his last Central Coast gig before he moves north to Oregon to help with the family business.” Oh my, the tears will flow.

Attention travelers, Santa Barbara’s West Beach Music & Arts Festival is happening again in Chase Palm Park (300 E. Cabrillo Blvd), on Friday, Sept. 24 and Saturday, Sept. 25, just four blocks from its original location on West Beach, and will feature a vast array of artists in various music genres including UB40, Rebelution, Pretty Lights, Easy Star All-Stars, Collie Buddz with New Kingston, Katchafire, SOJA, JJ Grey & Mofro, Rey Fresco, The Beautiful Girls, and many more. If you’re heading down there, visit westbeachfestival.com for details.

EAT UP :  Hit the potluck and stay for the sounds of JimBo Trout & the Fishpeople when they play the Red Barn on Sept. 25. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JIMBO TROUT & THE FISHPEOPLE
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF JIMBO TROUT & THE FISHPEOPLE
  • EAT UP : Hit the potluck and stay for the sounds of JimBo Trout & the Fishpeople when they play the Red Barn on Sept. 25.
JimBo Trout and the Fishpeople hit Los Osos’ Red Barn on Saturday, Sept. 25 (potluck at 6 p.m.; show at 7; all ages; $10 at the door). The high energy, good-time band from San Francisco formed in 1992 to conjure up a musical gumbo of bluegrass, ragtime, blues, western swing, Appalachian, rock’n’roll, New Orleans, honkytonk, and more.

Sculpterra and other Back Roads Wineries are putting on a fundraiser to benefit music programs that have been cut from local elementary and middle schools. On Saturday, Sept. 25, check out the House Red Band at the Loading Chute from 6 to 9 p.m. and help keep local music programs alive.

Americana act Mud Thump return to The Clubhouse on Saturday, Sept. 25 (7 p.m.; all ages; $5 at the door), with opening act Poor Man’s Poison. That’s a lot of hootin’ and hollerin’ for five clams!

Cal Poly Music Department faculty members Jacalyn Kreitzer (mezzo-soprano), Brynn Albanese (violin), and Susan Azaret Davies (piano) will perform a recital at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, in Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre on campus. Expect works by J. S. Bach, Gustav Mahler, Charles Gounod, Richard Strauss, Richard Wagner, and Maurice Ravel. “All the works are dramatic, soulful, heart-rending, and at times bombastic,” Kreitzer said. “From pieces originally written for 100-piece orchestras, this recital will use transcriptions for voice, violin, and piano. The texts are about the struggles, pain, glory, and light of life by some of the greatest word masters: Hugo von Hoffmanstal, Alessandro Parisotti, Emile Augier, René de Saint-Marceaux, and Friedrich Ruckert.” Tickets to the recital are $10 ($6 for senior and students). Call 756-2787.

click to enlarge IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE! :  A new indie rock act featuring some familiar local faces lands in Sweet Springs Saloon on Sept. 25. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ONE TIME SPACEMAN
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF ONE TIME SPACEMAN
  • IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE! : A new indie rock act featuring some familiar local faces lands in Sweet Springs Saloon on Sept. 25.
Welcome, One Time Spaceman, the new alt-rock band on the Central Coast, which plays on Saturday, Sept. 25, at Sweet Springs Saloon (9 p.m.). Though Spaceman has just arrived, its members have been orbiting the local scene for some time: “The group features members of Functus, Zongo All-Stars, and Rancho Deluxe. Singer and guitarist Mark Adams is as fond of Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) as he is of Willie Nelson; bassist Dylan Johnson (who plays upright and electric) pulls from funk and jazz; guitarist Jacob Odell leans heavily on Texas blues; and Chandler Smiley is an indie rock fanatic with encyclopedic knowledge of a number of genres and a very creative drumming style,” according to Spaceman. Expect original songs influenced by acts such as The Raconteurs, The Clash, The Black Keys, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and the Grateful Dead.

On Sunday, Sept. 26, the Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet begins the fall season with Grant Stewart, regarded as one of NYC’s leading tenor saxophonists. Acclaimed by critics as a successor to former greats such as Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins, he’ll be joined by pianist Terry Trotter, bassist Luther Hughes, drummer Colin Bailey, and series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shomaker (vibraphone and vocals.) There’s a 4 p.m. show ($15), a 7:15 show ($12), or see both for $20. Call 927-0567 for reservations.

Music and art go together like peas and carrots, and rustic plein air art is best accompanied by the gritty, outdoor sounds of a fellow like Don Lampson, who’ll provide the entertainment during opening night of the 10th annual Plein Air Festival at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art on Monday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. You’ll revel in Don’s unique Americana sounds. Tickets are available in advance and cost $12 for Museum of Art members and $15 for nonmembers. The concert will be outside, weather permitting, so dress warmly.

Joy Mills of The Starlings wrote to tell me about her group’s local appearance: “We’ll be touring through SLO on Tuesday, Sept 28, appearing at Steynberg Gallery as part of the Songwriters at Play series hosted by Steve Key. The Starlings will be touring the American West in support of their third full-length album, Bright Light.” If you like soaring vocal harmonies, lively acoustic music, and a sweet blend of folk and country, be there! (6:30 p.m.; all ages; $5 at the door).

The Songwriters at Play at Spyglass Inn continues on Wednesday, Sept. 28, with touring folk duo Small Potatoes (6:30 p.m.; all ages; free). The Chicago-based duo of Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso say it has taken them years of careful indecision to develop a repertoire they describe as “Celtic to Cowboy.”

click to enlarge STRAIGHT, NO CHASER :  The Forbidden City Jazz Band continues to wow Wednesday night crowds at Mee Heng Low’s noodle house, as they will again on Sept. 29. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • STRAIGHT, NO CHASER : The Forbidden City Jazz Band continues to wow Wednesday night crowds at Mee Heng Low’s noodle house, as they will again on Sept. 29.
Jazz fans, if you’ve not yet been turned on to Mee Heng Low’s weekly Wednesday jazz nights with the Forbidden City Jazz Band, get ye to the Palm Street noodle house on Wednesday, Sept. 30, between 6 and 9 p.m. and check out these young lions of jazz. The local Cal Poly players (with occasional special guests—I saw Matthias Clark and Mark Pietri of Matthias and the Cry sit in last week) are terrific musicians with a deep knowledge of straight-ahead and be-bop jazz. Last week, I casually requested T Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser” and they launched into it with equal ease. The show’s free, the beer’s cold, and the noodles are delicious. Bring some dough for the tip jar. These cats are worth it!

click to enlarge UN MAS GRANDE ZAPATO! :  Benise brings his Spanish guitar and dancers to the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center on Sept. 29. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BENISE
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF BENISE
  • UN MAS GRANDE ZAPATO! : Benise brings his Spanish guitar and dancers to the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center on Sept. 29.
World music/dance superstar Benise, a fellow hailed as “The Prince of Spanish Guitar,” recently appeared on Dancing with the Stars, and now he and his Emmy Award-winning cast are coming to the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center on Wednesday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m., performing the sensational multi-media spectacle, The Spanish Guitar. “Airing as a PBS Pledge special, The Spanish Guitar originally filmed for more than three years and across 10 countries. The resulting theatrical world music and dance extravaganza has been called “the Latin Riverdance,” according to press materials. Student and adult tickets range from $16 to $44. Call 756-2787 for details.

Keep up with Glen Starkey via twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at Myspace.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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