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BEAT GENERATION: The political polyrhythms of Ozomatli

Music Calendar

October 13 - 20, 2010

Thursday | 10/14


When wielded by a seasoned hand, the acoustic guitar is an instrument of romance, wonder and even mystery. Italian-born guitarist Beppe Gambetta is just such a player, a guitar virtuoso from the old country who has not forgotten the elusive sensuality of the instrument. Gambetta integrates styles from both continents in his compositions, blending country music and Ligurian folk music and emigrant ballads. Music that could be merely a historical anachronism preserved in amber in other players' hands is imbued with life and vitality by Gambetta, who channels centuries of folk traditions through his sturdy performances and compelling compositions. Don Quixote's; $15; 7:30pm. (Paul M. Davis)


When the band takes the stage it's like fitting a square peg into a square hole, handily satisfying the audience's expectations of a bluegrass band: fiddle, banjo, suspenders, check, check, check. But the Punch Brothers travel undercover, and their genre of bluegrass is more of a suggestion. They prefer to mix modern classical with hoedown-worthy melodies into a band that formed on the back of creator Chris Thile's heartbreak and soul searches. The 12 albums he's recorded since the age of 5 give him the status of mandolin virtuoso, and coupled with soaring talents like Gabe Witcher and Noam Pikelny, the group's compositions are explications of their own musical genius. Kuumbwa; 7pm; $23.10. (Kate Jacobson)

Friday | 10/15


Just the fact that this San Francisco act's frontman, Chris Chu, shares a production credit with Chris Taylor of Brooklyn indie gods Grizzly Bear should make any music fan perk up and say "Wha?" The similarities don't end there, either, as the Morning Benders have now matured beyond the boilerplate indie rock that got them thrown into the knock-off category and drew accusations of being a poor man's Shins or Fleet Foxes. Indeed, on the group's latest disc, Big Echo, the quartet produces complex and lush soundscapes that recall the harmonic mastery of the aforementioned New York rock pioneers. Rio Theatre; $12 adv/$15 door; 8pm. (Curtis Cartier)


Some folks know Paul M. Davis as the gravelly voiced guitarist and vocalist from the local (now disbanded) alt-country act Mule Train. Others know him as the razor-witted scribe of music features in this very publication. We know him as a member of the Santa Cruz Weekly family. So it's admittedly with a tinge of bias that we plug Mr. Davis' solo show at the Crepe Place this Friday. But even if you've only used our rag to line your marmot's cage, you'd still do well to catch the lean and mean singer/songwriter bellow out his plainspoken folk yarns over a lukewarm glass of Midtown absinthe. Crepe Place; $10 adv/$12 door; 9pm. (CC)


Matthew Houck approaches folk from the same sideways direction that '60s-era psyche bands like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane did. His band, Phosphorescent, is, however, armed with the latest tricks of the trade in terms of modern music production, and the result is a thick and meaty stew of soothing down-home vocals and ambitious and heady instrumentation. Completing the double bill with Houck and Co. is the decidedly heavier S.F. psych rock headbangers Howlin' Rain. Led by guitarist and vocalist Ethan Miller, who appropriately provides the "Howlin,'" the band comes across as a monsoon storm of organ and distortion-rich rock on stage. Henry Miller Library, Big Sur; $18; 7pm. (CC)

Fri-Sat | 10/15-16


Since forming two decades ago, the Mother Hips has proven to be one of the Bay Area's most dependable jam-band exports. The band's amalgam of muscular rock and wandering instrumental excursions appeals to rockers and head-trippers alike, lending the Mother Hips a wide appeal that eludes many similar outfits. With the guitar-and-vocals duo Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono up front, Isaac Parsons on bass and Mike Wofchuck on the drums, the Mother Hips prove that a band can mature without becoming stale or repetitive. Moe's Alley; $15 adv/$20 door; 9pm. (PMD)

Saturday | 10/16


Ozomatli's premier performance was for picketers during a Los Angeles strike. The band's grass-roots beginnings soon evolved into success in the SoCal club circuit, but the lyrical calls for action still form the constant for a group running the gamut of Latin-rock genres and whose list of past members outnumbers that of their currents. The group has toured internationally at the behest of the U.S. State Department and has been popping up all over music festivals and publications, keeping close to anti-war commitments and promoting aims for social justice. Catalyst; 8pm; $24 adv/$28 door. (KJ)

Monday | 10/18


Though he was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ricardo Lemvo's musical inspiration came from a place far North: Cuba. Lemvo moved to the States in 1972, but it wasn't until he formed his band Makina Loca in 1990 that his amalgam of African traditional forms and Cuban Latin jazz cohered into the rich Afro-Cuban sound he's known for today. Blending Congolese rumba and soukous, Cuban son montuno, Dominican merengue, Colombian cumbia and other Latin forms, Lemvo and Makina Loca present dance-floor music with a truly global perspective, recontextualizing familiar sounds in new and ecstatic ways. Kuumbwa; $20 adv/$23 door; 7pm. (PMD)

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