El Gran Silencio

Cumbia, hip-hop, rock, ska, reggaeton — nothing is off limits to El Gran Silencio, for more than a decade one of Mexico’s most unique and adventurous bands. But their sound is more than just a multi-stylistic hodgepodge: It is a reflection of the youth culture of their hometown, Monterrey. The unofficial capital of the Latin alternative scene, the city has long been a convergence point for Mexican and Colombian musical cultures, and its proximity to the border has also allowed bits of American pop-culture to find their way into the community. All those influences spiral around each other and explode outward on El Gran Silencio’s albums. It is a sonic representation of what it’s like to grow up amid a hub of shared experiences. Coming together in 1993, the group’s primary goal has been to preserve the urban folklore of their native region while giving voice to the invisible fragments of a society that is largely unknown to those on the outside — a place where the people have “accordion-shaped hearts.” Judging by their large international fan base, they have certainly been successful in bringing the spirit of Monterrey to the world. Fueled by a live show brimming with non-stop energy, the quintet brings “Chuntaro Style” to the Ventura Theatre on Sept. 30.

The Triggers

In less than a year, Los Angeles-based punk quartet, the Triggers, have accomplished more than most groups are capable of in their entire lifetime. Forming in fall 2005, the band has already dropped a fiery EP and is currently wrapping up work on their debut full-length, which will be distributed in places as far-flung as Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. It is a testament to their sound, a tight, forceful mix of rockabilly, ska, traditional Latin music and driving, blistering punk rock. The foursome is now set to rattle the walls of Sans Souci on Sept. 28, along with local Guns ‘n’ Roses tribute band Pistols ‘n’ Pilez.

Relay For Life

What better way to spend an altruistic 24 hours than running in support of cancer survivors and to raise money for research and listen to some local music at the same time? The Relay For Life, beginning at 10 a.m. at Oxnard High School on Sept. 30 and going all the way until 10 the following morning, presents just such an opportunity. Performers include: reggae mainstays GTP & the Hot Steppers; mixed-bag artists Deep Sea; the self-explanatory Preachers Blues Band; rockers the Bushwackers; folk rock group Rhythm & Lace; and many more. Good cause, good music — what more could you ask for? Oxnard High School, 3400 W. Gonzales Rd., Oxnard.



Bo Diddley

The Lobero Theater’s “R&B at the Lobero” series got off to a transcendent start last month with a performance by the incomparable Dr. John. Now, the intimate concert hall does itself one even better, bringing the legendary Bo Diddley to Santa Barbara on Sept. 25. As if it needs to be said, Diddley is credited, along with the likes of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley, as being one of the architects of rock’n’roll. But how many of those artists actually have a rhythm named after them? Plenty of musicians over the decades have borrowed the thumping Bo Diddley Beat, but none have been able to match Diddley’s one-of-a-kind sound, a loose, heavily rhythmic, sparse groove anchored by Bo’s bellowing vocals and trembling box guitar work. Diddley remains one of the few remaining links to rock’s glorious roots and an astoundingly charismatic presence well into his 70s. This is an increasingly rare chance to catch the man in action at an impossibly personal venue. Lobero Theater, 33 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara, 963-0761.

G. Love & Special Sauce

Garrett Dutton — better known to college students as G. Love — is truly a jack of all trades. But if you’ve ever heard the music he makes with his band, Special Sauce, that would be obvious. He sings (in a voice like a mash-up of Dave Matthews and Dr. John), raps (well, kinda), plays guitar and harmonica, and mixes together everything from rock and blues to R&B and hip-hop to funk and psychedelia. His hybrid style and rigorous touring has earned him a devoted following mainly amongst fans of Jack Johnson (who released 2004’s Hustle on his Brushfire Records imprint), Ben Harper and, yes, Dave Matthews Band. But the extent of his appeal is far wider than that. If you’re into music at all, you’ll find something to enjoy when G. Love & Special Sauce perform at the Ventura Theatre on Sept. 21.

Tom Freund

Fresh off a tour with friend Ben Harper, Tom Freund is resuming his regular duties as an acclaimed singer-songwriter in the Tom Waits vein. A talented stand-up bassist and session player, Freund has collaborated with a host of big-name musical talent over the course of four independently released solo albums (the fifth is on the way), including DJ Bonebrake of X, Jon Brion, organist Jimmy Smith and members of the Blind Boys of Alabama and Jeff Buckley’s band. His music draws from slices of Americana and folk traditions as well as his own raspy-voiced take on the songwriting idiom, and he’ll be performing at Zoey’s Café on Sept. 22 with local hero Nathan McEuen and his Trio.



Strung Out

Originally from Ventura, veteran skate-punks Strung Out left the county not long after its formation more than a decade ago in search of the masses, and it found them. Signing to popular indie label Fat Wreck Chords — the imprint owned and operated by Fat Mike of NOFX — a year after getting together, the band has established itself as one of the figureheads of the Warped Tour sect, mixing pop-punk melodies with skillful metal-esque musicianship and a blitzkrieg, mosh-inducing headlong charge. It’s been close to 15 years now since they started their journey, and every once and a while, the band returns to the general area where it began for a homecoming that is bound to be sweaty, kinetic and non-stop. And considering Orange County hardcore forefathers the Adolescents are opening up, the show at the Canyon on Sept. 16 should be pushed straight over the edge.


After exploding onto L.A.’s Latin Alternative music scene in 2002, it did not take long for the eccentric four-piece — singer Maria Fernanda Karolis, drummer Fernando Torreblance, bassist Michel Denegri and guitarist Luis Torreblanca — to establish themselves as one of the most creative groups in the city. Fusing a pop sensibility with driving rock musicianship and a raw, funky groove, the band has gradually amassed a strong fan base over the past four years. The group spent most of the last year in the studio, recording vehemently and rarely playing live. Now that they’ve emerged with an as-yet-released album their Web site promises to be a “masterpiece that will turn around and give a new and unique way of music,” people are clamoring for a chance to see them live again. And Ventura County will have its opportunity on Sept. 14 at Sans Souci when the quartet performs along with Santa Barbara’s Bexo and Oxnard’s own

Colin Giles

Well, the guy has got the right influences. Colin Giles, a Calabasas-based singer-songwriter-surfer in the mold of Jack Johnson, Timmy Curran and seemingly every other dude from California who has ever paddled out on a longboard, loves strumming reggae-tinged jams on his acoustic guitar. What makes Giles stand out, though, is that while most of contemporaries are inspired by the same obvious sources — Bob Marley, Sublime, etc. — he goes deeper, into the soulful vocals of relatively lesser-known legends such as John Holt, Ken Boothe, Desmond Dekker, Alton Ellis and Delroy Wilson. It comes across when he performs with his group, Big Sound, and translates even greater by himself, which is how he will be at Zoey’s on Sept. 15.




It ain’t easy being a member of 311. Don’t get that statement wrong, these five L.A.-by-way-of-Omaha natives have thus far had a rather charmed career, building up a massive, intensely loyal fanbase on the foundation of their energetic, pioneering mash-up of rock, rap, reggae and funk and by touring incessantly pretty much since their inception. But over the course of 16 years and ten albums, the band has never been much of a critical favorite, derided for their earnestness and the cornfed rhymes of frontman Nick Hexum. Not that any of that really matters, of course. Every night, the group goes out and plays with a determination to prove the naysayers wrong, and so far, so good. There are few guarantees in life, but a jam-packed 311 performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl once a year is about as close as you’ll ever get to one. The band rolls its party bus into the Bowl on Sept. 9, with frat-ska punks Pepper and the legendary Wailers in tow.

Confessions Of A Monster

Armed with rollicking drums, blitzkrieg standup bass and “a voice to wake the dead,” Confessions of a Monster don’t fit into any particular category too comfortably. Some may call it psychobilly — that mutant mash-up of punk and ’50s rockabilly — but, in practice, this local female-fronted trio (two women, one guy) incorporates a spirit and a fervor entirely of its own design. Categorize them however you want, but there’s one thing for sure: They’re quickly making headway on becoming the best band in the county. See for yourself at DJ’s on Sept. 9.

Park bench prophets

Funky, fearless and out-there: That’s the best way to describe local three-piece Park Bench Prophets, and really, it doesn’t even come close to fully encapsulating their sound. With bass, organ and drums courtesy of Tony Cicero of Ventura’s instrumental surf kings the Phantom Riders, they’re locked somewhere between Medeski, Martin & Wood and some avant-garde rapper that’s still toiling in the underground, yet to be heard by mainstream ears. Some say it may seem impossible for such a groundbreaking act to come out of this county, but it has. After taking a brief hiatus, the group is back, performing at Zoey’s on Sept. 9.

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