November 26, 2012

Tis the Season – Have a Plan!

As the holidaze arrive, it is easy to lose oneself in all the hustle and bustle of holiday spending, consumption, and stress. This time of year can have a huge impact on your wallet, waistline, and sanity.

This year, to help me remain financially, physically, and emotionally fit during the 2012 Holiday Season, I have employed some “safeguards” into my normal routine. 

First off, I have enlisted the help of a personal trainer at my regular gym to help hold me accountable for any possible holiday excess.

The plan: simple math. I have scheduled weekly training sessions with a personal trainer at my gym during the month of December. The money I would usually put toward the admission price or bar tab at a holiday event in years past, I will now be putting towards working out, thus forcing me to limit the wonderful Santa Barbara holiday events to a very select few. Also, since I now need to keep a calorie journal for said trainer, it will also make me think twice about that second cocktail or third hors d'oeuvres. And as a by product, working out harder, going to less events, and consuming less alcohol will help with my emotional state as well. Merry Christmas to me!

Secondly, I have scheduled healthy, low cost community activities during the week to help me remain focused on this holiday survival mission.

The plan: diversion. I found some low cost community yoga and meditation classes in Santa Barbara to help me stay grounded throughout the weeks of December. This plan is to stave off FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome, the nasty ailment that has a tendency of making one deviate from one’s original plan. While my friends may be out at a fancy event spending lots of money, drinking, and staying out late, I will be meditating and aligning my chakras with a community of like-minded people. All good for the budget, body, and mind (the triad, right?).

These are my holiday safeguards, and I believe I have managed to create the perfect holiday survival plan. Well… as long as my family or friends don’t interfere by asking for pricey presents beyond my budget, or bring their grandmother’s double chocolate fudge to work for a holiday potluck, or by guilt tripping me into saying yes to an unscheduled party.  Cuz those things never happen during this time of year. Oy vey.

Here’s a list of events and activities to make your own list from:

Santa Barbara Events:
November 30, Friday – Downtown Holiday Parade
December 2, Sunday – Santa Claus 5K Fun Run
December 2, Sunday – Mahakankala Buddhist Center Meditation Day Retreat
December 6, Thursday – Downtown 1st Thursday – with carolers!!
December 9, Sunday – Santa Barbara Harbor Parade of Lights
December 10, Monday – KjEE Winter Round-Up with Metric, Arlington Theater
December 13, Thursday – Santa Barbara Young Professionals Holiday Gala, Granada
December 21, Friday – Power of Your Om, EOTWAWKI Hurricane Sandy Benefit
December 22, Saturday – A Tommy & the High Pilots Christmas, Lobero
December 30, Sunday – An Evening of Channeling, Yoga Soup

Community Meditation Classes:
6:30 pm Wednesdays @ Mahakankala Buddhist Center, $10

Community Yoga Classes:
6:30 pm Tuesdays & Thursdays @ Yoga Soup, $10

November 11, 2012

New Noise Music Festival ~ Saturday, November 10, 2012

Making It Rad

Last day of the New Noise Music Festival, and it went off with a bang.

There was the block party. Closing off part of the funk zone to build a stage, beer garden, and food court, New Noise managed to pack an outside house.  The crowd was large and mellow, the bands were rocking. But for me the real treat was at Muddy Waters.

Punk rock icon Gregg Attonito, front man for the Bouncing Souls, played punk rock jams for kids to a packed cafe. But it was packed with kids and kids stuff. It was very cool to see tatted dads and their kids dancing along to toddler jams. Muddy even had craft stations to keep the unruly crowd occupied. Stellar.

Then in to the night I went. I choose to stay at just one venue for the night. But it was, in my opinion, the most rockiness venue. Sure SOhO had Latin hip-hop sensation, Ozomatli, but the showcase at Velvet touted Old Man Markley and Nerf Herder. Come on.

Old Man Markley have matured into quite the performance band. The seven piece tore up the stage with their punk bluegrass, complete with washboards, harpsichord and stand up bass. The large band effectively maneuvered on stage, whipping the crowd up into a frenzy.

Nerf Herder then quickly took to the stage. The nerd rockers played all their hits with the intensity of men coming home. With fast guitar riffs and a whinny voice, Perry got the crowd moving. I really don’t know who knew the lyrics better – him or the crowd. My favorite moment was when they played the Buffy The Vampire theme – twice.  Rocking.

This year’s New Noise Festival was on of the finest.  Can’t wait till next year!

November 10, 2012

New Noise Music Festival ~ Friday, November 9, 2012

A Day In The Life

The New Noise Music Conference and Festival is simply inspiring.

There is something to be said about being in a room filled with liked-minded people listening to a panel of industry leaders intelligently explain their craft. It lends itself to inspiration. The New Noise Music Conference managed to up the ante by bringing in Chuck D of Public Enemy as their key speaker this year. And Chuck dropped some knowledge on Santa Barbara. I got so much from his interview, but the most important point he emphasized was accountability. Be accountable to your fans, your craft, and yourself. That’s a strong message.

Then the Music Festival began. The night was again filled with so many options.

I started the night at SOhO where the showcase was packed with organic rock performers.  Matt Armor debuted his new solo project, a country roots rock band that relied on honky-tonk rifts and poignant lyrics, and got the crowd swaying. Followed quickly by local folk rock band Indian Trading Furs, armed with fast-paced banjo driven melodies, the crowd shifted to full swing. I was sucked in, and was so grateful I stayed for Wil Ridge. Wil’s deeply honest lyrics and soulful voice always pulls me into his story. I had forgotten how much I loved him until that moment.

Onward I went to seek out more new music. Velvet Jones housed some of the night’s most exciting new music. I got there in time to see Larry and His Flask. They were out of control good. The six-piece band just attack the crowd with rapid bluegrass goodness. Banjos, stand up bass, guitars, drums, and harmonies were just thrown out, and the crowd sucked it up.

But the star of the night was legendary Mike Watt. (Pause out of respect). Amazing. Watt is the ultimate punk rock icon. His music just seems to appear, no real melody or chorus to follow, it just “is.” He slaps his bass, screams a bit, then whispers, then screams, then it stops. Then another song appears. You just never know what is coming at you next. He had the crowd mesmerized.

It amazing how a day full of this kind of talent can make you so grateful for music.

November 9, 2012

New Noise Music Festival ~ Thursday, November 8, 2012

Focus. Focus. Focus.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by choices or sucked into a showcase – but my mantra: “focus, focus, focus.” And that ain’t easy with so many good showcases during the New Noise Music Festival.

So I made a plan.

I started at SOhO, where I planned on seeing Leftover Cuties, a rag-time indie band from LA, and managed to take in “Awkward” Little Indian, SB’s little songstress, as well.  The venue had seats tonight, which was a perfect arrangement for taking in soulful artists. With a piano player that also played the accordion & trumpet, sometimes all in the song, and a vocalist that sounded transported from the blues era, Leftover Cuties wove their way into the audience’s hearts.   

I managed to make my way to Muddy Waters where I planned on catching Kevin Seconds (of 7 Seconds), and managed to catch Wilson Gil (of DTEASE) as well. I was so glad that I did! This is where miracles of festivals happen, when you fall in love with an artist you did not intend to see. Wilson was the ultimate sleazy heroine sheik modern day punk rocker. Complete in a slick suit and greasy hair, he lamented about doing too much crack on a dirty mattress to rapid punk rock rifts then smashed his guitar, and it was instant love.

The last stop was at Whiskey Richard’s where I planned on taking in The Reverend Payton’s Big Dam Band, a heavy alternative bluegrass punk rock trio. I wasn’t sure if the last part of my plan was going to pan out, but I am so grateful it did. The Reverend played “bass” with his thumb while plucking the guitar with his fingers & glaring at the crowd like an angry beaver, as the mean but lovely washboardist (yep) clucked around the stage like a hen giving him the stink eye. I was in awe, and quite frankly afraid. This stop ended up being an hour and a half long as I danced around like a headless rooster in the crowd. And I wasn’t the only one in the barn yard. 

It really does pay to have a plan.

November 8, 2012

Lindsey Stirling @ SOhO ~ November 7, 2012

En Masse

Amazing energy filled SOhO tonight for the New Noise Kick Off Party, and not all of it was coming off of violinist Lindsey Stirling. With a screen behind her, armed with a violin and an electro savvy band, Lindsey played her way through Africa, to Mordor, around crystal castles, and down some dub-steps. The violin wailed songs new and old, while Lindsey interpreted through choreographed dance. Although she was responsible for the vibe, the crowd gratefully reciprocated through a dance of their own. It was a unique experience, and a great way to kick off a festival bringing new music to the masses of Santa Barbara.

November 7, 2012


A Little Help For My Friends.

Navigating through a three (actually 4) day music festival can be a bit daunting for the uninitiated. That’s why I am here to help… Follow me!

WEDNESDAY, November 7, 2012

Wednesday is the official “New Noise Festival Kick-off Show” and it’s the easiest day to navigate – there’s only one venue!

Lindsey Stirling (Provo, Utah)
Dub-step Violinist
Deets: Wednesday, 10:00 pm @ SOhO
Don’t let the “dub-step” fool you. Lindsey is a classically trained violinist, integrating choreographed dance and electronic beats into her violin compositions. On the tail end of her first release, it’s the perfect time to see her while she’s hot.

THURSDAY, November 8, 2012

So this is when it gets tricky – when the festival actually begins to spread across four venues and you want to be at all four at once. It ain’t possible. So here’s one of my festival rules: only see one band you know, the rest should be new music.

Leftover Cuties (Los Angeles)
Ragtime Indie Rock
Deets: Thursday, 9:15 pm @ SOhO
Putting a modern day spin on the classic 20’s blues sound by combining brass, accordion, jazz drums, ukulele, and a big bluesy soulful voice, Leftover Cuties could easily play any good speak easy on the west coast.

Kevin Seconds (of 7 Seconds; Sacramento)
Acoustic Rock
Deets: Thursday, 10:15 pm @ Muddy Waters
This is my “one you know.” The punk icon mellows out and plays great home grown rock. And it’s freaking Kevin Seconds!

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band (Bean Blossom, IN)
American Country Blues
Deets: Thursday, 11:30 pm @ Whiskey Richards
Blues – I had to repeat it. Deep voice, washboards, electric guitar; this three piece band delivers deep rooted dirty southern blues. Bound to be a knee slapping good time.

FRIDAY, November 9, 2012

You’d think it would get easier as you move along – it doesn’t. And it only gets better. Friday is packed with the New Noise Digital Music Conference, a New Noise Festival happy hour, and an early all ages show BEFORE the night time music festivities. Pace yourself… Today’s festival rule: play with flavors.   

*Saul Williams (NYC)
Breakbeat Spoken Word Poetry
Deets: Friday, Early Show, 8:00 pm @ Velvet Jones
Poetry set to fast beats. Not to be confused with rap.  This is performance art trying to get you out of your proverbial box.

Matt Armor (Santa Barbara)
Alternative Country Roots Rock
(No website – I goggled him)
Deets: Friday, 8:45 pm @ SOhO
Ok, so I picked Armor because he is a Santa Barbara local and a very talented musician. This is his first show to promote his debut solo project. Any new music from this guy is bound to be good. SB represent!
This showcase includes Indian Trading Furs, Wil Ridge, and The White Buffalo –home grown alternative country rock flavor.

Sparrows Gate (SLO)
Alternative Folk
Deets: Friday, 10:15 pm @ Muddy Waters
The easy melodic harmonies and reflective lyrics are intertwined with poignant guitar rifts. Sparrows Gate is reminiscent of driving with your parents along the coast listening to classic rock. They’re grooving and introspective. 
This showcase includes Islay Street, The Kinds, and Howlin’ Woods –folk rock flavor.

Larry & His Flask (Central, OR)
Bluegrass Punk
Deets: Friday, 11:30 pm @ Velvet Jones
Along the lines of an unhurried version of Dropkick Murphy’s, Larry & His Flask offer up a horn-infused, old-timesy string-band, punk-ish bluegrass experience.  You’ll dance in the pit.
This showcase includes Mike Watt & The Missingmen –ultimate punk rock flavor.

SATURDAY, November 10, 2012

Today may be a bit more hectic – due to the New Noise Block Party. Yes, a whole block of party. Again pacing is important… But hell, you can sleep on Sunday, right?  Today’s festival rule: cluster.

*Play Date: Gregg Attonito (Bouncing Souls) & Shanti Wintergate
Deets: 3:30 pm @ Muddy Waters
Ok, I love Bouncing Souls, and I might be slightly obsessed with Greg Attonito. But throw in the fact that this is a kid friendly punk rock show – and I have hearts in my eyes. While you’re down there, cluster this with the New Noise block party.

Buster Blue
Western Swing
Deets: Saturday, 10:15 pm @ Muddy Waters
A bit of a country twist on classic swing, this band has a unique “alternative western swing” sound. Cluster this with SB local’s Naked Walrus playing Muddy Waters at 9:15 pm, and you have a good 2 hours of folksy fun.

Nerf Herder (Goleta)
Pop Punk
Deets: Saturday, 12 am @ Velvet Jones
Locals gone big (they did the theme song to Buffy the Vampire Slayer) coming out to show SB how we do. Sure to bring a hilarious good rocking time. Cluster this with Old Man Markley playing Velvet Jones at 11:15 pm, and you’ll be dancing the night away. 

Jane's Addiction @ The SB Bowl ~ October 21, 2012

Photo by Paul Dunkley

Saint Vincent & David Byrn @ The Arlington ~ October 11, 2012

Photo by Paul Dunkley