TGIF: Christmas Weekend, Lots of Shows to Attend!


On Sunday, Pato Banton will be making an appearance down at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, with Entropy and Phat Reggae Dub Status supporting. The UK-born and raised performer helped establish British reggae as a force to be reckoned with via his solo work and his many collaborations. Perhaps the best known was with his countryman Mad Professor, one of the best producers the world has ever seen. Banton's one for sweeter fire than most–more recent albums have been reflections on faith and age–but he still has that compelling force that inspires him, and his voice has held up beautifully.

On Wednesday, Babes With Guitars appears at the Pike Bar and Grill in Long Beach, and frankly, that's about all you need to say to us (we can be a bit simple). The Pike has been having a blast putting on shows and hosting DJs from all sorts of local scenes while getting written up across the country as a place to check out. Their success proves the enduring power of Social Distortion to rule the local roost, as drummer Chris Reece is the one in charge of the place. 

Also on Wednesday–and also in Long Beach–Samiam continue spreading the gospel of East Bay punk rock via a show with Tiltwheel at Alex's Bar. There's no new album, but there is the recently released Orphan Songs, collecting rarities and one-offs in one handy place (if you're a fan who hasn't chased them down already, of course). They just came off a tour in Europe with A Death in the Family, so Jason Beebout and company are doubtless and all fired up and ready to go.

Thursday has a lot going for it, not least of which is War who appear at the Grove in Anaheim. One of the featured artists in this week's music section, the Southern California funk legends would be famous alone for “Low Rider,” which has been covered by more party bands worldwide that can be counted. These days, they're unfortunately also known for an unsettled existence–struggles with management have meant only singer/multi-instrumentalist Lonnie Jordan is in this version of the group–but you can bet people will be there getting down.

Thursday also means prog rock–admittedly of a more recent vintage than some, when Champagne Blvd. plays a CD release show at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa. The Huntington Beach quintet are one of about eight million groups on Myspace that inevitably have both Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree in their list of influences, and the way you react to those names will probably tell you whether you want to show up or not. We admit to being fairly huge Steven Wilson freaks ourselves, so if they want to bust out a cover of “Even Less” for the hell of it, we'll never mind.

Finally, Thursday finds the Yard Dogs Road Show crew making an appearance down at the Coach House–and we hope the venue's ready for things like fire-eating, sword swallowing and more besides. The latest in the kind of anything-goes circus/vaudeville/burlesque troupes that America produces every generation, the lucky Dogs are the features of one of our stories in the music section this week. If you dig outsider entertainment in whatever incarnation, the Road Show will demonstrate to you that 2010, 1890 and 1935 are really not all that different. Plus, you can't go wrong with Guitar Boy.

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