Sounding the 805

Sounding the 805

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.

Sounding the 805

Sounding the 805

Ventura’s pre-eminent stoner-metal/thrash-punk band, T.F.W., has signed a record deal with New York indie label Tee Pee Records; and thus, with the weight of some ultraheavy riffs and head-pounding volume, another Ventura County band is thrust deeper into underground music repute. T.F.W. couldn’t be a more perfect fit as the newest addition to the label’s roster, which has also included like-minded bands such as Sleep, High on Fire and Witch. Tee Pee will release the 12-inch EP Terra Fire in October, with a full-length LP due in the spring of 2011. T.F.W. departs in late October for a West Coast tour beginning in San Francisco, where the band is likely to draw new listeners, if only to confirm what one SF Weekly writer observed when he posted a photo of the band online solely to note the resemblance of guitarist Brent Woodward to porn legend Ron Jeremy — a resemblance which many of us have long found striking.

Meanwhile, The Situation, Camarillo’s jam rock band featuring arguably one of Ventura County’s most talented improv guitarists, Mark Masson, will be hitting the road to follow Phish on the second leg of its national tour this month. Mark McGrath of VC Sound, who will be trucking along with the band, says the band is likely to gain hundreds of new fans, which is not at all doubtful considering that few opportunities besides setting up your band at the post-concert “Phishhead” campgrounds offer the kind of exposure to captive audiences that is attainable by literally following fans to where they sleep.

At Bombay Bar and Grill’s  26th Annual Beach Party (beach not included), where you could throw a stick in any direction and hit a fully stocked tiki bar, a lineup of 15 local bands powered-on all weekend like the enormous rotating searchlight outside the front door. With partiers in high spirits each of three nights until closing, fans could catch what was, with few exceptions, essentially a beach-friendly reggae and ska show with local favorites Lion I’s, Rey Fresco, Firekat Soundsystem and the return of the popular mid-’90s group Ska Daddyz.

In a break from that theme, Friday night’s show on the outdoor stage featured a stripped-down Lovebird, playing for the first time without the smiling face of keyboardist/bass player Ashley Heatherly, mysteriously no longer with the band to offer her backing vocal harmonies, with bass duties taken up last minute by guitarist Mike Gleeson. While we are not sure exactly what the band’s future plans are, we do know that singer/guitarist Nicole Eva-Emery is actively pursuing her nursing career, which has been dictating the consistency of Lovebird’s gigging schedule.

Just when it started to grow on us, it seems that the popular punk and metal venue, Take 2 Bar and Grill in Ventura, will be moving sometime in the next month from its East Main Street location near five points to a new location in Ventura as the nearby Community Memorial Hospital plans to utilize the property. At present, the new location is unconfirmed, but according to staff, the move will not happen before the Blackearth Fest taking place on Aug. 21, featuring more than 10 local punk and hardcore bands, including T.F.W., Stop Breathing! , Wages of Fear and Dissent.

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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