September 12, 2015

Lewis Black ~ September 12, 2015 @ The Arlington Theater

Lewis Black Turns Up The Heat

For a city that normally does not have weather, it was a hot one in Santa Barbara on September 12th. A fact that did not escape comedian Lewis Black, stopping by the Arlington Theater on his “The Rant is Due, Part Duex” comedy tour.

Third day into the tour, one could already tell it’s been a rough one. Opening act John Bowman was all piss and vinegar with the Santa Barbara audience, who had been waiting patiently in an historical theater with no air conditioning for the duo to begin. As Bowman started into his material, the heat struck him and he started to strip off his jacket and roll up his sleeves. “It’s lovely you have this show in this quaint historical building… why don’t you get rid of the organ player and GET AN AC UNIT?” It was obvious the opener was as grumpy as the headliner. “I wish Lewis Black was really going to be here – he’s not, IT'S TOO HOT!”

The audience was obviously familiar with Lewis Black, and knew what to expect from one of his live shows – extreme grumpiness emphasized with a bit of screaming and profanity. Bowman’s detour from his pre-planned material to something more topical that was actually affecting the audience at the moment was welcome comic relief from the balmy heat.

As Lewis Black took the stage, it was apparent he too was feeling the heat. Usually a man to dress in a collared shirt and sports jacket, he slowly walked out on stage in a rumpled black t-shirt and jeans. “I had a terrific ensemble to wear… cuz I know how fucking fashion conscious your village is… But I saw John on stage and I said 'FUCK IT!'” 

Coming back from three weeks of vacation, Black pre-warned the audience that he might just “start staring off into space” at any given moment. However, this action never transpired.  Black spoke of his adventures abroad, stating that everyone in the U.S. needed to get the fuck out of here and go to another country, otherwise we all will continue to believe we know what we are doing. “They have solutions, better than ours… and they DON’T EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH,” Black exclaimed, wiggling his pointer finger at the crowd in his signature manner.

As is his practice, Black made the already heated atmosphere more heated by jumping into politics. “I am a Socialist… Don’t applaud – I WON’T have you applaud. I am DISGUSTED that I am.” But the crowd applauded anyway. “When I think of Socialism, the first place I think of is Santa Barbara,” Black teased the audience.  And Santa Barbara took it – it was hard not to, they were paralyzed by the heat.

But Lewis Black did come with a message. “If I have one message for you to take home tonight, it would be… go to Tahiti.” To that the crowd gave pause. “Oh, but why would you want to leave Xanadu?” Apparently, the Polynesians don’t give a fuck, and after 14 days, the amount of days required to stay in Tahiti to save your brain according to Black, you won’t either.  Of course, after this lovely message, Black jumped right back in to politics.

Black was intelligent and thought-provoking, as he continued to emphasize his messages by yelling, cursing, and wiggling his fingers as the crowd. No subject was off limits with Mr. Black, ending his night with gratitude and sarcasm, “Thank you for sharing this BRICK OVEN atmosphere.” 

September 2, 2015

Incubus ~ September 2, 2015 @ The Santa Barbara Bowl

Are You In?

With extra speakers and a professional laser light show, Incubus came to rock the Santa Barbara Bowl in expert style.

Numbers appeared on the stage backdrop amidst a constellation of lights as darkness finally fell on the Santa Barbara Bowl. A 5-minute countdown to the main event began. The final 10 seconds flashed. The anticipation mounted as the crowd shouted the last of the numbers…. three, two, one! Percussion instruments started, creating a tribal communion among the audience. Then with a blaze of lights and a powerful roar, Incubus broke into Wish You Were Here, causing the crowd to erupt with excitement.

One of Santa Barbara’s favorite bands, Incubus, proved to be as great a force today as they were in the ‘90’s when they played shows in Isla Vista. Lead singer Brandon Boyd owned the stage as his pitch-perfect voice rang over the crowd. Backed by the intense talent of the original members, guitarist Mike Einziger, bassist Ben Kenney, drummer Jose Pasillas, and DJ Chris Kilmore, Incubus proved that their music only gets better with age.

“What a beautiful night – thanks for arranging this!” A grateful
Brandon Boyd shouted before launching into their greatest hits. Twenty-five years as a successful rock band showed, as the band craftily blended their hits that spanned across seven albums, including their newest “If Not Now, When?”.  Incubus’ catalog of material included Anna Molly, Nice To Know You, Pardon Me, Drive, and Love Hurts.  A highlight of the show was Megalomaniac with a nice twist of Nirvana’s Come As You Are thrown in for those who were listening, which was just about 4,500 attendees.  

With no opener for the show, it was all Incubus, all night, and that was all right. Santa Barbara was in!