Morrissey Yes, that Morrissey. As in, Steven Patrick Morrissey, the exceptionally literate, coolly asexual indie rock icon who, in the ’80s heyday of the Smiths, the superlatively influential English band he once fronted, saved thousands of pale, depressed, sexually confused teenagers and college students from hanging themselves with their neckties. As in, the guy who made getting run over by a double-decker bus while standing side by side with your significant other seem devastatingly romantic. As in, the man who, after splitting from songwriting cohort Johnny Marr, continued to inspire the masses with his poetry and vaguely Kermit-sounding voice with his solo work, some of it nearly as iconic as the incomparably brilliant stuff he created with his Manchester mates. Yeah, that Morrissey. As in, the one who is performing at the Ventura Theater on June 5. (Sold out).

The Smithereens Sometime in the late ’70s, New Jersey songwriter Pat DiNizio placed a newspaper ad looking for fellow musicians influenced by Buddy Holly, Elvis Costello and the Clash. Through that advertisement, the Smithereens were born. Fusing British pop sensibilities with a powerful rhythmic backbone, the group stood out among the ’80s college rock pack — although it took a while for them to get noticed. The band spent its formative years supporting old schoolers like the Beau Brummels and Otis Blackwell while absorbing numerous label rejections of their own material. Finally, in 1986, they signed to Enigma and released Especially For You. Its lead single, “Blood & Roses,” became an MTV staple. And all of a sudden, the Smithereens were off and running. While they never quite transcended their cult status, the band remains active; their latest disc, this year’s Meet The Smithereens!, is a tribute to the early Beatles, whose melodic sense clearly inspired DiNizio when he placed that ad more than 20 years ago. The Smithereens perform at the Canyon on June 1.



Fishbone Fishbone was spawned from the same colorful gene pool as Jane’s Addiction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yet, while those bands helped usher in the alternative era, the all-black ensemble never achieved nearly the same mainstream success. Some may blame music industry racism for that; others may say their adrenalized combination of ska, funk, punk and metal was just too far out for mass consumption. Regardless of the reason, Fishbone remains one of the most underrated bands on the planet. After over 20 years and multiple lineup changes, the band is still soldiering forward and still delivering the most high-energy live show you’re ever likely to see. Witness one of the hidden treasures of the Lollapalooza Generation, still red hot and funky two decades on, at the Canyon on May 26.

Mikey Dread Mikey Dread’s career began in Jamaica in the 1970s, with the weekly radio program Dread at the Controls, a show that for the first time focused solely local island musicians rather than imported product. From there, Dread used his fame as a DJ to become an artist in his own right, collaborating with legendary producer Lee Perry, recording his own theme song and following with several singles that reverberated across the country. After quitting the airwaves in 1978, he was hired by the Clash to open the iconic English punk band’s ’79 tour. At that point, Dread became forever linked to the Clash in the minds of Western music aficionados, especially after he produced their massive dub-inflected single “Bankrobber” and sections of the Sandanista! album. Since then, Dread has continued to perform, both back home, in the UK and in the states. His appearance at the Drink on May 24 affords Ventura reggae fans a chance to catch a living legend in action.

Beautimous Beautimous has been kicking around Ventura County for years now, slinging their brand of ’70s hard rock inspired post-grunge pop at the walls of clubs and dive bars throughout the area, some of which may not even exist anymore. After having opened for an impressive list of major names — from Gene Loves Jezebel to King’s X to Nerf Herder to Long Beach Short Bus to legendary MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer — the group is now preparing to celebrate another accomplishment: the release of their new album, Six Pack. Come celebrate with them at Red Cove on May 26.



Prezident Brown If only our elected officials were more like Prezident Brown. At the very least, the State of the Union Address would be a lot more fun to sit through. Popularizing a unique form of vocalizing he calls “the chanting stylee” — a combination of rough-and-boisterous dancehall and spiritual Nyabinghi incantations — the Jamaican-born deejay released his first single in 1988, when he was known as Dancehall Doctor. He was not elected to Prezident until hooking up with Burning Spear producer Jack Ruby, who oversaw the production of his early hits. Touring the UK in the mid-’90s, his cult following expanded, so much so that the man’s approval rating is relatively higher than that of Prezident Bush. Brown presses flesh and kisses babies — figuratively speaking — at the Drink on May 17.

Kristy Krüger Singer-songwriter Kristy Krüger has the kind of impressive musical pedigree that is increasingly rare in the age where anyone can upload a two-minute video clip to the Internet and become a star overnight: she began playing classical piano at age 5; studied jazz at the same school as Norah Jones and Edie Brickell; won a special award from the Texas Music Teachers’ Association as a high school senior; graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Music Industry; had her third album, 2003’s Unauthorized Guide to the Human Anatomy (a collaboration with Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum), named Album of the Year at the Just Plain Folks Independent Music Awards; and, with her recently released fourth album, Songs from a Dead Man’s Couch, has been described by local media in her hometown of Dallas as “a female Tom Waits.” But all these accolades and accomplishments pale in comparison to what she is doing now: touring the United States, performing in the name of her brother, Lt. Gen. Eric Krüger, who was killed in Iraq last November. As a tribute to his memory, she is visiting every state in the union, because, as she says, “He died in the name of this country, so I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’d like him to be remembered in every state in this country.” Support her traveling memorial when Krüger performs at Zoey’s on May 20.

Jason Bentley KCRW fans know Jason Bentley as the host of Metropolis, the public radio station’s thrice-weekly hypno-electro music program, and of the similarly-minded After Hours on Saturday evenings on KROQ. In addition to serving up beats for listeners from Palm Springs to Santa Barbara, the Los Angeles DJ has also worked as a soundtrack supervisor on a multitude of films (including the Matrix trilogy), commercials and video games, as well as a remixer for artists such as the Flaming Lips. Between doing all this, the guy still finds time to do live gigs — at art museums. On May 17, Bentley helps kick off the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Nights, an exhibit showcasing the spirit of Mexico, both ancient and modern. Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State St., Santa Barbara, (805) 884-6454.



Earth Crisis Back in the 1990s, New York’s Earth Crisis was the hardest, baddest bunch of militant vegans in America. As figureheads of the country’s straight-edge hardcore scene, the group was known for its barrel-chested guitars and the growled vocals of singer and mastermind Karl Buechner. They preached using violence to end the violence and degradation caused by animal abusers and drug dealers. Their unflinching stance and commitment to their moral ground received more attention than their music during their heyday, which could have led to the band’s demise in 2001. Earlier this year, however, the group announced a reunion, and the band is back to punching floors and taking names. Druggies and carnivores beware: Earth Crisis is coming to the Ventura Theater on May 5, and they’re bringing local hardcore heroes the Warriors with them.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy The ill-fated neo-swing revival died a predictable death as quickly as it was born almost 10 years ago now, but you wouldn’t know it from the career of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Formed in Ventura in 1993, the band got caught up in the Zoot Suit Mania that swept the country in the late ’90s, a phenomenon it helped usher in thanks to its appearance in the indie comedy classic Swingers. The group signed to Capitol, had a hit record and single and reached what common knowledge would indicate as their zenith, performing at the Super Bowl XXXIII Halftime Show alongside Gloria Estefan and Stevie Wonder. It should have been downhill from there. But just last year, the band played 200 gigs — everything from corporate parties to 40,000-seat amphitheaters — ending 2006 with two nights at the Hollywood Bowl and a sold-out New Year’s Eve show at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Who says swing is dead? BBVD play the Canyon on May 4.

The Ian McFeron Band The Ian McFeron Band first came to public attention thanks to an AM radio station in their hometown of Seattle known “the Mountain,” which gave deserved airplay to the first single off their 2003 debut Don’t Look Back, “Love Me Twice,” knocking off such heavyweights as Modest Mouse and Ray LaMontagne on the station’s weekly new music competition. Songwriting machine McFeron has written three albums since then. Let It Ride is the latest, and it lives up to the quality of the one that dominated local radio up in Seattle, bouncing from acoustic folk to alt-country to soulful ballads to even a few dance jams. Welcome McFeron and his titular band at Zoey’s on May 4.








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