Sounding the 805

Tasty ska/punk at Golden China

By Chris Mastrovito 08/19/2010

It’s long been known for its kick-ass karaoke bar (voted No.1 in this paper consistently), or maybe the dining ambience, or maybe even the killer chow mein, but a venue for a huge punk show headlined by ska-core pioneers The Voodoo Glow Skulls? OK, Golden China, you overachieving overachievers, now you’re just being greedy.

With no events at the Ventura Theater Friday night (nor all weekend), the Chinese food staple transformed itself into a wide-open concert venue packed all night with crowds of several hundred people from all over the county, anxious to see one of the weekend’s only “real” local shows, and in spite of the Friday the 13th  boogeymen, the night raged on without incident. Local promoter Ezra Brooks Robison (drummer for local reggae bands The Divine Crime and Rising Son), together with Red Cent Productions organized the 21-plus event, which was seemingly anomalous and “random,” given that few knew bands could even play there. Apparently, following a recent show at the restaurant by The Divine Crime a few weeks ago, Golden China started holding local shows in its main dining room with a stage set up against the restaurant’s front windows. Ever watch a punk band near the calm trickle of an indoor fountain, with the distant wails of karaoke echoing in the next room? It is a unique experience. Ventura locals The Pitts and The Beachside Stranglers opened the show, which carried on until 2 a.m. — unexpected, but hopefully not singular. Robison couldn’t be reached for comment, but Golden China’s owner says he will welcome these kinds of shows in the future.

Zoey’s Café in Ventura packed its halls all weekend with the White Buffalo. No, they haven’t started an animal conservatory. That’s the L.A.-based singer/songwriter who practically took over the place for the weekend, selling out advance tickets for both nights. The long-haired, bearded, beer-drinking, swearing yet soft-spoken singer (with an appearance eerily resembling local singer/songwriter Pat Salisbury) has a voice quality somewhere between Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder, and songs that straddle the borders of dark country-western and folk, lighthearted but simultaneously heartfelt and sober, even with a bucket full of beer at his side.

Their raw, overdriven alternative/metal sound and theater-friendly presence may have landed them spots opening for some big shows, but nothing compares to seeing louder-than-thou  local hard-rock band The Generator play the local dive bar. Backing up its debut CD, Full Throttle Volume released earlier this year, the band brought extreme volumes, as always, to The Dirty. (Formerly The Dirty Vinyl, recently changed due to a trademark claim by — get this: a British floor-cleaning company. You can’t make up stuff this good.) The Generator is charging up in preparation for its show Saturday, Aug. 21, in Temecula with Death by Stereo, and the Misfits in November at the Ventura Theater. 

Sounding the 805 is Ventura County’s only biweekly local music column. If you have a tip, a suggestion, a complaint, some dish or just a kind word, shoot Chris Mastrovito an e-mail.


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