~PICKS OF THE WEEK~

~PICKS OF THE WEEK~

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 December 28 with openers Trails of Fire affords Ventura reggae fans a chance to catch a living legend in action.

BLONDIE Before Madonna, Gwen Stefani and Hanson, Debbie Harry was pop’s original platinum blonde bombshell. It’s no wonder why the band she fronted, the aptly named Blondie, were the first of the New York punks to score a record contract and break through the mainstream glass ceiling: Harry’s smoldering sexuality and pinup looks stood out in a scene that celebrated ugliness and imperfection. Blondie was also a superb pop group, blending spunky new wave, early hip-hop and — gasp! — disco into a hypnotizing, glittery swirl, made icy-cool by Harry’s coy, breathy voice. Now nearing 60, Harry, who prefers the more mature “Deborah” these days, isn’t exactly the flawless beauty queen of the late 1970s, but she still cuts a powerful figure onstage, and the band — featuring original guitarist Chris Stein, keyboardist Jimmy Destri and drummer Clem Burke — remains sharp as ever. Blondie performs at the Canyon on December 29.

HOLIDAY HAPPENING Oh, it will be a happening. On December 29, the Oxnard Performing Arts Center presents a night of classic doo-wop from the Fifties and Sixties. Headlining the event is Detroit trio the Capitols, best known for their jerk-inducing Top 10 hit “Cool Jerk.” Phil Spector-produced girl group the Crystals, whose string of hits include “He’s a Rebel” and “Da Doo Ron Ron,” will also be in attendance. Rounding out the lineup is the Monotones, a group of guys who originally formed in a Newark, New Jersey housing complex and scored one massive hit in 1958 with “The Book of Love.” Hosted by local radio icon Lee Marshall, this is sure to be a night of immortal oldies for the ages — a happening not to be missed.

~PICKS OF THE WEEK~

~PICKS OF THE WEEK~

FERRABY LIONHEART Los Angeles-based folk singer Ferraby Lionheart draws easy comparisons to Elliott Smith, Jon Brion and the Beatles — not bad company. But the guy is reaching a critical tipping point in his career, where simple comparisons give way to critical praise all on his own level. Spin can’t believe the Nashville-bred dude’s not signed. Rolling Stone called him one of the “unknown gems” of the 2006 CMJ Music Marathon. And a bunch of bloggers — the true tastemakers of the music world at the moment — have gone the distance in bestowing impressive words to his light, melodic piano-and-guitar compositions. Next big thing? Maybe. A good thing? Definitely. Lionheart performs at Zoey’s Café with Ventura’s own folk heroes Franklin For Short on Dec. 22.

ZOMBIE METAK FEAST Metalheads, start licking your chops and chopping your licks: On Dec. 22 and 23, the Alpine presents Zombie Metal Feast, a buffet of heavy riffs, brain-battering drums and enough headbanging to spin the earth of its axis. And the band names! Just look at a few of these gems: Show Some Blood, Dead By 21, Thrown & Blown, the Linden Murder, A Martyr’s Cry, Channeling Darkness (unfortunately not Channeling the Darkness), Fox Force Five (a Pulp Fiction reference, nice) and, most fearsome of all: Pope Benedict! Ooooh! So before suffering through a holiday weekend with the relatives, spend some quality time with your other family: Ventura’s zombie metallurgists!

RISING SON “I can’t be held prisoner to my own past,” says local reggae singer Levi. And therein lies the main concept behind Rising Son, the group he has fronted since 2001 — the idea of transcending the pain, suffering and misfortune that defines humanity and moving along down the road toward self-actualization. Take Root the band’s first album, is a collection of forceful, strikingly authentic roots reggae, driven by the solid groove of the supporting musicians and fueled by the indelible passion of its singer. The disc is comprised mostly of songs written by Levi when he was 15 and 16 years old, but the themes are not marked with a timestamp. “I want to write music that could help somebody make a change,” he says. “If I’m just playing it around the house and no one was hearing it, I couldn’t make a difference. That became a burden on my mind. Not releasing these ideas I had for years, I felt I was going to explode. To see people singing the words of the songs, it feels worthwhile.” Sing those words when Rising Son performs at the Drink on Dec. 21.

~PICKS OF THE WEEK~

~PICKS OF THE WEEK~

TYRESE NOW I know what y’all are thinking: “Hey, am I crazy or did Tyrese already play Ventura less than a month ago?” Well, you’re not crazy, friend. Yes he did. But apparently, the smoove-voiced R&B beefcake liked the area enough to come back quickly. And he’s returning for a special reason: to perform at a Christmas-themed benefit for the Oxnard Police Activities League hosted by Nicholby’s Nightclub. An altruistic gesture, to be sure, but let’s not kid ourselves, the man makes money by singing on records, and two days prior to the show, his new album, the double-disc Alter Ego, is crashing store shelves. He needs to promote it, of course, and this local gig on Dec. 14 provides the perfect opportunity to do so. And this effort may require more promo than usual. It’s by far his most artistically difficult release yet. It is, in loose terms, a concept album: the first disc features the kind of soulful crooning he is known for, but the second disc is occupied by the hardcore hip-hop of his rappin’ alter ego (get it?) Black-Ty. Interesting. To see all sides of the actor-model-singer-rapper’s ego, bring an unwrapped toy to Nicholby’s, along with a pair of ear plugs to protect your hearing from the shrieks of feminine ecstasy.

DAVID ALLAN COE A lot of old-school country music stars lay claim to the “outlaw” tag, but few have walked the walk and talked the talk to the extent David Allan Coe has. The Ohio-born badass had his first encounter with Johnny Law at age 9 (!) and basically spent the next two decades of his life in a revolving door going in and out of prison. After getting out the clink for good in 1967, Coe traveled from his native Akron to Nashville, where he lived out of a hearse (!!) until convincing an independent label to release his debut album, the appropriately named Penitentiary Blues. He began to develop a cult following based on his outlandish live shows, where he’d rock a mask and rhinestone suit and ride a Harley onstage and curse out the audience, but, for some reason, he just couldn’t break into the mainstream. Eventually, Coe found a measure of success writing songs for more palatable artists, leading to a couple hits of his own. Of course, even after establishing himself as one of country’s enduring figures, his problems with the law — and the IRS — didn’t cease, but his influence grew out of the country arena and into punk and metal: earlier this year he released Rebel Meets Rebel, a collaboration with ex-members of Pantera, including the late Dimebag Darrell. Clearly, true outlaws think alike. The amazingly still-living legend rolls into the Canyon on Dec. 15.

PICKS OF THE WEEK

PICKS OF THE WEEK

LOS OLVIDADOS Alex Jones, singer-guitarist and main songwriter for Moorpark foursome Los Olvidados, derives inspiration from a number of sources: Wilco, Neil Young,director Gus Van Sant, and, naturally, Alex P. Keaton, the quintessential Young Republican from the classic ’80s sitcom Family Ties. The latter has played such an influential role in Jones’ life that when he decided to create his own label, he named it the Keaton Collective, a tribute to Michael J. Fox’s second-most enduring character (next to Teen Wolf, of course). Obviously, Jones cannot be accused of taking himself too seriously. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t serious about his songcraft. He spent his teenage years doing time in “crappy, high school sorta-punk bands” before graduating to the indie-leaning, college-age-appropriate Spencer in 2001. After that group ran its course, Jones still had a bunch of songs that were patently different (read: mellower) than what he was writing before. But he refused to go the coffee shop open mic route. So in late 2005, he re-enlisted ex-bandmates Rey Corpuz and Adam Taniguchi (later adding bassist Josh Williams), and suddenly Spencer was resurrected as Los Olvidados. With his latest venture, Jones manages to combine his love of alt-country, power-pop and, oddly, Wu Tang Clan, in a mixture that’s melodic and mature without being ponderous — or pretentious. The band plays Alpine on Dec. 8.

TREY ANASTASIO When jam band monolith Phish announced its breakup, the Granola Nation was nearly flooded with tears. Where would all the Phish Heads go? To their jobs? Surely not. Luckily, the band’s dissolution came with a silver lining: It left lead Phish, singer-guitar whiz Trey Anastasio, more time to pursue his solo work. And thus, the Treyheads were born. It ain’t much of a brain-teaser to figure out what the guy sounds like without his running buddies behind him: noodly, impressive guitar work; grooves to get the flip-flops a’floppin’ and the hacky-sacks flying; and jamming — a lot of jamming. Put off employment for at least one more week and check out Anastasio as he pulls the shattered dreams of Phish fans everywhere into the Ventura Theatre on Dec. 9.

ASHFORD FORDON Ashford Gordon grew up in Mississippi — that’s blues country to you and me. Raised on a diet of Little Walter, Muddy Watters and Sonny Boy Williamson (as well as rock’n’rollers like Chuck Berry and Fats Domino), Gordon’s path was set before he was even knee-high. His family moved to the Bay Area in the late 1960s, a decade in which he began paving his career as a gospel singer. By 1979, though, Gordon wanted to rock. So he formed his first full-on rock band. He bopped around California while working odd jobs and going through a divorce and quietly earning raves as a singer and guitarist. Eventually Gordon settled in Ventura and began shredding up bars and clubs along the central coast, for a time serving as Natalie Merchant’s touring guitarist and backing vocalist. He continues to rock the local circuit, though, and hits up Zoey’s Café on Dec. 7.

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UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

  1. Ventura Water Presents the 7th Annual Water: Take 1 Film Festival

    March 21 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  2. Irish Film: Wind That Shakes The Barley

    March 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
  3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time *Ventura County Premiere*

    March 21 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  4. WEEKLY SOUND BATH – THOUSAND OAKS

    March 22 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  5. BREAKING LEGS

    March 22 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
  6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time *Ventura County Premiere*

    March 22 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  7. OLIVAS ADOBE ANNUAL USED BOOK SALE

    March 23 @ 11:00 am - March 24 @ 4:00 pm
  8. Studio Channel Islands Collector’s Choice 2019

    March 23 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  9. AN EVENING WITH JOHN ROBLES AND CHUCUMITE At Santa Paula Theater Center

    March 23 @ 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm
  10. BREAKING LEGS

    March 23 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

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