Todd Hannigan There are a lot of surfer-songwriters around today, many of them extremely popular, especially in this region. But Todd Hannigan brings a level of musical sophistication to the genre unseen from many other artists. Often compared to Nick Drake and Elliott Smith, Hannigan’s acoustic sound has a wafting elegance that seems to come naturally from the Ventura native, and a rhythmic sense inherited from his travels to Australia, Indonesia, Ecuador and Africa. He made his name nationally with his work on Jack Johnson’s Thicker Than Water soundtrack, but on his own debut album, Volume 1, Hannigan displays fully the talent that has made him a fast rising name in the surf-folk world. Hannigan rides the New Year wave at Mai’s Café.

Cheap Trick If you’re a political figure, there is nothing cooler you can do nowadays than go one-on-one with Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report. But imagine if you’re a musician, and already a reasonably cool one at that, and you appear on the show not to spar with the bespectacled faux-conservative, but to do what you do best: shred a double-neck guitar. Your hipness levels would soar through the friggin’ roof! That’s exactly what happened when Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen joined in an all-star jam on the show’s theme song at the end of the mock news commentary program a few months ago. And not only that, but Nielsen wrote the damn song, too! Suffice to say, Nielsen, and by proxy Cheap Trick, are just about the coolest late-1970s rockers on the planet right now. But anyone who has ever listened to — and inevitably sang along with — hits like “Surrender,” “Dream Police” and, of course, “I Want You To Want Me,” already knows that. Ring in the New Year with Cheap Trick at the Canyon (and considering the tinnitus that’s likely to follow the show, we mean that literally).



Deepak Ventura’s resident traveling folk singer, Deepak — or Deepakalypse, depending on when you catch him — is a throwback to the old-school troubadours of yore, those world-weary travelers living with their feet on the pavement and only a guitar to their name. At least, that’s how it seems. When he sings his songs in his cracked voice over a bluesy riff, it certainly seems like he’s already seen it all. In 2005, he recorded his first professionally pressed album all by his lonesome — just like how he often performs — and, naturally, he’s hitting the streets, promoting it in that grassroots way all true independent artists do: bringing it straight to the people. And straight to the people it will go when Deepak performs with brothers-in-beards Franklin For Short at Zoey’s Café on Dec. 21.

Rikka Z According to family legend, singer-songwriter Rikka Zimmerman came out of the womb sing. Or, she practically did, at least. Born in Ojai, Zimmerman recorded her first EP, Cowboy Nights at a studio in her hometown and has made the quaint country town her base. Her sound is brilliantly lush West Coast country, a testament to childhood spent around banjos, fiddles, acoustic guitars and bowed saws. Not surprisingly, Rikka’s soonest upcoming performance is also in Ojai, at the Deer Lodge on Dec. 20.



Set Your Goals No disrespect to San Francisco-based hardcore act Set Your goals or L.A. punks the Briggs, but neither of these bands are really the reason why this show is included as a Pick of the Week. Their gig at Alpine just happens to be the venue’s final show ever. Open for just about two years, the multifaceted youth center — which, along with housing two live music clubs, a skate park, rock climbing wall, game room and Laundromat — is shutting its doors after Dec. 15. Its closure marks the end of one of the last major all-age venues in the county. A few places still exist for bands to play, sure, but none on the level of Alpine in terms of size and sound system quality. It is a significant blow to the area’s rock scene, but hey, why not go out in style? Or, at least, a massive circle pit?

White Buffalo The grizzly singer-songwriter known simply as White Buffalo prefers to remain as mysterious as the rare animal which bears his name. (Or wait — is it the other way around?) He is a big, bearded galoot of a man, with a voice to match. Despite having only an EP as his only recorded output thus far, the dude is quickly amassing a following within the acoustic folk community. According to his enigmatic bio, he has hundreds of songs written, however, a portion of which will likely be performed when the elusive Buffalo plays Zoey’s Café on Dec. 15 with openers Todd Hannigan & the Heavy 29s, Tony Barnes and Teddy Jack.



Kohli’s Kickass Christmas Ball Mike Kohli has long been a name familiar to local music fans. His Kohli Rocks Entertainment has been alive in one form or another for over 10 years. In the course of that time he’s hosted a radio show, worked as a dj at numerous events, promoted countless concerts and club nights, published an online newsletter and written for local papers (including the Reporter years ago). His events, though sometimes downright disastrous (his brief and chaotic involvement with the Elk’s Lodge all-ages shows is legendary in local music history) always have a certain charm and vision, and his “Kohli’s Kick Ass Christmas Ball” is a good example. Taking place at Nicholby’s Dec. 7, the bill features a truly eclectic mix of artists including a solo set by 8stops7 front man, Evan Sula-Goff and the brutal riffage of local metal band, Preachers and Pornstars (pictured). It’s an uneven lineup in venue now best known for Q104.7 parties, but it’s guaranteed Kohli will find a way to make it all come together in his unique way.

Franklin For Short A lot of once powerful Ventura County bands have passed on in recent years, but just as many continue soldiering on. Case in point: Franklin For Short. Long regarded as one of the area’s best groups, the indie pop woodsmen continue to perform and make tremendous music despite the recent harsh climate of the local scene at the moment. It should come as no surprise, then, that the band is aligning itself with one of the county’s most promising new venues, the Experimental Café in Downtown Oxnard. On Dec. 12, Franklin plays the up-and-coming coffee shop, along with Fear Mia, Deepak and a host of other artists as part of the café’s ongoing Wide Open Wednesdays live music series.








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