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The apple doesn't fall far from the tree 

Sean Lennon sings, sways, rocks, and souls

Like his famous pop, Sean Lennon is something of a renaissance man: musician, visual artist, actor, newsmaker, socially conscious human being.

On Saturday, April 28, he plays a 7 p.m. Downtown Brew show with acts Women & Children and Kamila Thompson opening (18-and-older $16.50 advance at Boo Boo's).

Born Sean Taro Ono Lennon in 1975 to musicians and peace

click to enlarge GIVE SEAN A CHANCE :  Sean Lennon, son of John, plays Downtown Brew on April 28 in support of his new album, Friendly Fire, which proves he is worthy of the Lennon moniker. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SEAN LENNON
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF SEAN LENNON
  • GIVE SEAN A CHANCE : Sean Lennon, son of John, plays Downtown Brew on April 28 in support of his new album, Friendly Fire, which proves he is worthy of the Lennon moniker.
# activists John Lennon and Yoko Ono, he turned his famous father into a househusband for five years before the former Beatle's untimely death in 1980.

Sean was educated at two exclusive private boarding schools, at Institut Le Rosey (which Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, King Albert II of Belgium, Dodi Al-Fayed, and Strokes members Julian Casablancas and Albert Hammond, Jr. also attended) in Switzerland, and at the Ethical Culture School and Dalton School, in New York City.

He first appeared on his mother's 1981 album Season of Glass, reciting a story that his father used to tell him. At the age of 9, he performed the song "It's Alright" on Yoko's tribute album Every Man Has A Woman (1984). In 1988, Sean was featured in the cast of Michael Jackson's Moonwalker. He also appeared on Lenny Kravitz's album Mama Said (1991) and formed backing-band IMA for his mother's album Rising (1995). It might be fair to wonder if he'd have gotten as far without his lineage, and the answer is probably not, but there's no denying his exceptional talent.

He spent some time with New York-based Japanese duo Cibo Matto before releasing his 1998 solo album Into the Sun on the Beastie Boys' record label, Grand Royal Records. Regarding the endeavor, Sean said, "I think I found the only label on the planet who doesn't care who my parents are and what my name is. It's a good feeling to know that I wouldn't have gotten the offer if they wouldn't have liked my songs. That's pretty rare in the music business!"

Today, Sean records on Capitol Records, yet no material surfaced until early February 2006 on his MySpace page a song called "Dead Meat" that became the first single from his new album, Friendly Fire.

Grab a listen on downtownbrew.com and see why famous father or not this Lennon is the real thing.

click to enlarge PUNK BABES :  Punk rock cover act Kiss N Tell bids a fond farewell to member Katrina Dixon (front left) on April 28 at Hoovers Live. - PHOTO BY TARA MILLS
  • PHOTO BY TARA MILLS
  • PUNK BABES : Punk rock cover act Kiss N Tell bids a fond farewell to member Katrina Dixon (front left) on April 28 at Hoovers Live.

# 8Adios, chicas calientas!
A while ago, I caught a chick-fronted punk rock cover act at Downtown Brew. Two spunky chicas were ripping through one classic punk cover after another, getting by on sass and badittude (the best way to get by, if you ask me). One of those girls, Katrina Dixon, is moving away, and so they're getting together for one last hurrah.

You've got to check out Kiss N' Tell one last time when they play Saturday, April 28, at Hoovers in Atascadero. The band includes Dixon, Sam (the other chica, no last name, like Charo!), Robby Hart, and Zach Cornejo, who also play in Criticnue, which is also on the bill that evening, along with Axia and AFRO.

The show, hosted by Pistol Pete, kicks off at 9 p.m.

 

 

Grass Roots Tuesday Part Deux

click to enlarge HIS ROOTS ARE SHOWING :  Former Muses and Virgil Cane singer Butch Boswell comes out of hiding to play Downtown Brews Grass Roots Tuesdays on May 1, with Sam Sharp of The Playbacks, and members of AFRO (who also play April 28 at Hoovers Live). - PHOTO COURTESY OF BUTCH BOSWELL
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF BUTCH BOSWELL
  • HIS ROOTS ARE SHOWING : Former Muses and Virgil Cane singer Butch Boswell comes out of hiding to play Downtown Brews Grass Roots Tuesdays on May 1, with Sam Sharp of The Playbacks, and members of AFRO (who also play April 28 at Hoovers Live).
# Two Tuesdays ago, Downtown Brew set out on a great adventure: a night devoted to local acts playing in a stripped-down acoustic format. To call the night a success would be an understatement.

The stage was decorated by couches and plants and white strings of lights. The vibe was ?berchill. The crowd was big enough to fill the joint without being cramped, and everyone was in good spirits and digging music by Blind Melon's new frontman Travis Warren, Dan Curcio from New Longview, and members of Axia and Criticnue (not to mention dollar pints and a scant $2 cover, which goes to the bands).

This week, Grass Roots Tuesday, on Tuesday, May 1, marches on with a new line-up of killer local musicians. The Playbacks (featuring Sam Sharp, formerly of Joose), members of AFRO (A Funk Rock Organization), and Butch Boswell (formerly of The Muses and Virgil Cane) will perform beginning at 8 p.m.

This will be my first glimpse at Sharp's new project. The soulful frontman from Joose never fails to impress.

AFRO, a funky act that can sound like Sublime and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, ought to be great in an acoustic setting. I had a chance to see guitarist Jake Rodrigues play acoustic at a barbecue, so I know this band can bust out some killer tunes with the volume down.

I'm especially looking forward to seeing Boswell, who for my money is the best singer/songwriter in the county. His songs are like little nuggets of intelligent narrative adventure, and his voice and instrumental prowess on strings and keyboard offer a lot of diversity for a solo performer.

Catch the vibe at Grass Roots Tuesday, people.

click to enlarge PREPARE TO BE AMAZED :  The modestly named Jeffrey Scott & His Amazing Band will bring their award-winning stage show to the Frog and Peach on May 1. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFFERY SCOTT & HIS AMAZING BAND
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFFERY SCOTT & HIS AMAZING BAND
  • PREPARE TO BE AMAZED : The modestly named Jeffrey Scott & His Amazing Band will bring their award-winning stage show to the Frog and Peach on May 1.

# Kicking indie rock ass and taking indie fan names
The Frog and Peach has two great independent bands lined up for Tuesday, May 1. (They must be trying to compete with Downtown Brew's Grass Roots Tuesdays. Lucky for you, it's pint night at both places.)

The Ian McFeron Trio hits the Peach at 6 p.m. McFeron, a prolific songwriter, has drawn comparisons to Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams. Let It Ride is the performer's fourth album in five years!

Spanning themes of love and heartbreak, faith and despair, political corruption and hope, the record has been out just a month and its title track "Comfort in the Bottle" has since been placed in regular rotation at KMTT 103.7 FM "The Mountain" in Seattle.

The modestly named Jeffrey Scott & His Amazing Band will bring their award-winning stage show to the Frog and Peach at 9 p.m. They just released their sophomore effort, The Herald, which can be heard on myspace.com/jeffreyscottmusic.

Scott's music is something of an oddity strange little tunes that are highly affecting and quickly creep under your skin. If I we're you, and I am (we're all kindred spirits, man), I'd plan on drifting between the Peach and Brew, soaking up the Tuesday night scene the new best night for live music in the week.

Mexican jazz diva
Mexican pianist and vocalist Iraida Noriega has embraced

click to enlarge SWEET AND LOWDOWN :  On April 28, Pocket Productions returns with a nice little orchestral folk pop collective called Loch Lomond at SLOs Steynberg Gallery. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LOCH LOMOND
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF LOCH LOMOND
  • SWEET AND LOWDOWN : On April 28, Pocket Productions returns with a nice little orchestral folk pop collective called Loch Lomond at SLOs Steynberg Gallery.
# America's quintessential musical idiom jazz and made it her own. Receiving critical praise for her fusion of Mexican and Latin American musical forms with North American jazz, as well as her ability to reinterpret North American jazz standards with ease and grace, she's now considered a leading figure in the Mexican jazz scene. On Thursday, May 3, Noriega makes a rare Central Coast appearance in the Monday Club at 8 p.m. She'll be joined on stage by Mexican bassist Agustin Bernal. Tickets are $20 advance (Boo Boo's) or $25 at the door.

More music
Steve Harding & Elizabeth Wright perform at SLO's Borders Books on Saturday, April 28, from 2 to 4 p.m. Expect to hear tunes from the duo's The Troubadour CD and "Cobblestones," a musical radio play by Steve Harding on The Mountain Road Label. There's also two forthcoming DVD music videos as well: "Our Days of Summer Love" and "The Lass with the Scarlett Quill Pen," slated for release in July 2007. Learn more at myspace.com/steveandelizabeth.

On Saturday, April 28, Pocket Productions returns with a nice little orchestral folk pop collective called Loch Lomond (on Hush Records out of Portland, Ore.), playing at 8 p.m. in SLO's Steynberg Gallery. Sweetly melancholic, Loch Lomond frontman Richie Young paints gloriously somber moments that break your heart, yet you never want them to end. Paso Robles-based folky alternative act The Iamb as well as Grover Beach's Threes and Nines will open the show. This is a $5, all-ages affair.

click to enlarge SLIGHTLY KICKASS :  Rock/reggae/acoustic rock juggernaut Slightly Stoopid plays Pozo Saloon on April 29. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SLIGHTLY STOOPID
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF SLIGHTLY STOOPID
  • SLIGHTLY KICKASS : Rock/reggae/acoustic rock juggernaut Slightly Stoopid plays Pozo Saloon on April 29.

# Rock/reggae/acoustic rock juggernauts Slightly Stoopid, with opening act Barrington Levy, play Pozo Saloon on Sunday, April 29, for a 1:30 p.m. show (all-ages, $28). The group lists Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Dr. Dre, Sublime, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Police, and Miles Davis as influences and they kick ass. The end.

The 18th Annual Drum Circuit Drum Competition will feature 26 local drummers who will compete for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in two categories: "15 and under" and "16 and over." Prizes and trophies will be awarded to the winners, and each contestant will play a three-minute drum solo. Special guest Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Rod Stewart, Jon Fogerty, Joe Cocker, Santana, and many others), will participate as a judge and perform as well. All proceeds go to SLO-CAP (San Luis Obispo County Child Abuse Prevention Council). Last year The Drum Circuit Drum Shop and Drum School raised $2,800. Check it out at the Graduate on Sunday, April 29, beginning at 1 p.m. This all-ages event is free.

Internationally renowned saxophonist Red Holloway, along with Famous Jazz Artist Series concert co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake, will perform with the college combos of Cuesta and Cal Poly at the Hamlet in Cambria on Sunday, April 29, at 4 p.m. Proceeds go to the college music departments. Tickets are $15, $10 for students. Call 927-0567 for reservations.

click to enlarge KING CRITIC :  Former Rolling Stone writer and editor Greil Marcus will speak on "American Popular Culture" at Cal Poly on April 27. Marcus is considered one of the most important rock critics in the world. - PHOTO BY THIERRY ARDITTI
  • PHOTO BY THIERRY ARDITTI
  • KING CRITIC : Former Rolling Stone writer and editor Greil Marcus will speak on "American Popular Culture" at Cal Poly on April 27. Marcus is considered one of the most important rock critics in the world.

# Award-winning pianist Anyssa Neumann will present a free piano recital at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, in Room 218 of the Davidson Music Center on the Cal Poly campus. The 22-year-old Sacramento native has studied with Eduardus Halim, Marc Silverman, Phillip Kawin, Richard Cionco, and Natsuki Fukasawa.

Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum are coming to Green Acres Lavender Farm in Atascadero on Thursday, May 3, at 7 p.m. Get the details at GreenAcresLavenderFarm.com.

Slim Jim Phantom (formerly of the Stray Cats), Cadillac Angels, and Tres Gatos play the Mods-n-Rockers bike tour concert on Thursday, May 3, at Downtown Brew. Hosted by ACE Cafe of London, the event features a ride of British bikes and Italian scooters from Los Angeles (stopping in SLO for the night) and then onto Humboldt the next day. Garden Street will be closed off for a bike show. The music starts at about 6 p.m. Learn more at www.mods-n-rockers.com, or read more in next week's New Times. And don't get fingerprints on my '73 Triumph Tiger, bitches!

The greatest rock critic ever!
It's hard to overstate the importance of former Rolling Stone writer and editor Greil Marcus, who will be the final speaker in Cal Poly's WriterSpeak series on Friday, April 27, at 7 p.m. in the Fischer Science Building, Room 286, on campus.

As my friend and Cal Poly English faculty colleague Jim Cushing says, "What Bob Marley is to reggae, what the Beatles are to '60s English rock, Greil Marcus is to rock criticism. There's Greil Marcus, and then there's everybody else."

Indeed, Marcus is considered one of today's most influential cultural critics, and will speak on "American Popular Culture." His first book, 1975's Mystery Train, placed rock'n'roll within the context of American cultural archetypes from Moby Dick to Jay Gatsby to Stagger Lee. He's also written Dead Elvis, a collection of writings about Elvis Presley published in 1991, and Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes, which connected the American subconscious with Bob Dylan's bootlegs, in 1997.

The WriterSpeak event is free and open to the public.

Dudley did right
Dudley Gimpel, the Ernie Ball "Music Man" guitar designer, recently learned what his friends long suspected: He's a rock god.

click to enlarge VINTAGE 1976 :  Ernie Ball guitar designer Dudley Gimpel (front and center), and original member of The Rockin Hollywoods, is being inducted to the Minnesota Rock Country Hall of Fame this week. Congratulations from New Times, Dudley. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ROCKIN HOLLYWOODS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ROCKIN HOLLYWOODS
  • VINTAGE 1976 : Ernie Ball guitar designer Dudley Gimpel (front and center), and original member of The Rockin Hollywoods, is being inducted to the Minnesota Rock Country Hall of Fame this week. Congratulations from New Times, Dudley.

# "I don't know if this would be of interest to you or the New Times readers of SLO, but my past has come back to haunt me in a very flattering way," wrote Gimpel. "The band I played with in Minnesota back in the '70s The Rockin' Hollywoods is being inducted to the Minnesota Rock Country Hall of Fame. As an original member, they have asked me to be part of the ceremony that includes the original band playing a few tunes. I'm headed back to Minneapolis for the event on April 28."

Past inductees include the likes of Bob Dylan, Bobby Vee, Jonathan Edwards, Eddie Cochran, and the Andrews Sisters. Learn more about the Hall of Fame at www.rockcountryhall.com and check out The Rockin' Hollywoods at www.rockinhollywoods.com.

The Rockin' Hollywoods (without Gimpel) appeared in the movie Feeling Minnesota starring Keanu Reeves and Cameron Diaz, and still perform regularly around the Midwest.

 

 

CD Reviews

Spank Rock Fabriclive 33

Erupting from the hyper-digestive Baltimore scene, where anything can be altered for the eager hips of the dance floor (mashed up '80s pop, dirty south hip-hop versed over revved up electro, and booty shaking Miami bass and its Brazilian balie funk cousin), Spank Rock takes their guilty fun to the UK, spinning live in the London club Fabric. Track recognition over deep-crate digging sets the play list, as well as wild genre shifts that seem magical in their ingenuity as well as seamlessness. Opening with the hand clap break of Kurtis Blow's hip hop classic "The Breaks," the hard bounce sustains into Brazilian dance punk outfit CSS and then loosens into the album's front third of electronic familiars: Kano, Dominatrix, and Yello. Grin-inducing mash-ups sample both Yes and The Romantics, the latter flawlessly synthesize into the electro feminist sound clash of Chicks On Speed. As their first legitimate "above-ground" mixed tape, Spank Rock continues to court your guilty pleasure. Give in. Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and KCBX's "Night Train."

 

Mavis Staples - We'll Never Turn Back

This decade boasts a cherished moment for soul rediscoveries: old veterans sounding new as Joe Henry has spotlighted both Solomon Burke and Bettye LaVette, while new debuts like Amy Winehouse retreat into a supposed antiquated Motown sound. Mavis Staples, the front daughter for her father's family band The Staple Singers, re-emerges with assistance of known relic-finder Ry Cooder (Buena Vista Social Club) and a songbook full of Civil Rights-era hymns. As Martin Luther King's warm-up act, The Staples Singers stamped the late '60s and early '70s with their brand of gospel soul. We'll Never Turn Back re-taps this energy, with its passion only increased with the presence of the original vocalists from the SNCC Freedom Singers, as well as Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Shifting between throaty and fiery spiritual sung proclamations ("99 1") to the hymnal sweetness of self-penned "My Own Eyes," Mavis' voice still delivers its loved gritty expression.

Malik Miko Thorne, of Boo Boo Records and KCBX's "Night Train."

 

Glen Starkey was recently inducted into the Fluff and Fold Hall of Fame, due to his exemplary laundry skills. Tell him to hold the starch at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

 

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