Mike Ness Punk legends Social Distortion are such a beloved Southern California institution that practically everybody from San Diego to Ventura thinks of them as an honorary local band. It makes sense: They play everywhere every year, often staying for up to 10 nights in a row. This, however, is a bit different. Gravel-voiced singer Mike Ness has decided to let the rest of the guys stay home and is hitting the road alone. His solo work, while containing a similar energy to Social D (and there is no mistaking that voice), is more stripped down, bringing the country and roots rock that has always burbled underneath his main band’s fervor to the fore. And while Social Distortion is one of those groups that’s bigger in SoCal than they are anywhere else, Ness by himself has attracted quite a high-profile cult that includes Bruce Springsteen, who performed alongside Ness recently in New Jersey. As celebrated as the Boss is back in the Garden State, Ness rules the Golden One, especially when he’s at the Ventura Theater, which is where he’ll be July 1.
The Bowmans I don’t know what this says about the music scene in Davenport, Iowa, but Sarah and Claire Bowman began their career there as “singing puppeteers.” In the ensuing years, the twin-sisterly duo has put down the marionettes and evolved into a full-fledged pop act, utilizing the harmonizing abilities they’ve had since the age of 3. They’ve toured the Midwest extensively, playing everything from coffee shops to outdoor festivals. But nowadays, their home base in New York, where they have carved a niche for themselves in that highly competitive market through their sublime vocal talents and top-notch musicianship. Not bad for a pair of ex-puppeteers from Iowa. The Bowmans play Zoey’s Café on June 27.