Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze – 7/23 – 8/5

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Summer Music is Really Heating Up!
by Pam Baumgardner

Jerry's BirthdayWe had two days of the best summer weather for Surf Rodeo.  There was so much to see and do with Pato Baton doing a superb performance at sunset on Sunday to wrap it all up.  Congratulations JD Drury on another successful Surf Rodeo!

Hi-Hat Entertainment’s Jerry McWorter’s 50th Birthday Bash was a blast at Yolies July 18.  It was so cool to see so many top-notch artists in the room and up on the stage performing.  When we swung by it was Jerry on drums, Brent Harding on bass, Jimmy Calire on keyboards and Albert Lee on guitar.  Legendary!

It was great seeing so many ArtWalk 2014 venues supplementing this city-wide art event with live music this year!  Bell Arts Factory, the WAV, Mission Park, Stoneworks Studios and many more featured such artists as Jonathan McEuen, Mitchell Blake, The Deer Leg Band, Rey Fresco, and SoulVang.

The fair kicks off July 30 with the ever popular fair parade on Main Street on Saturday, August 2.  Ventura Rocks will be hitching a ride on the Squashed Grapes float with some of our favorite jazz performers playing the parade route:  Fausto Cuevas, Jacob Scesney, Trey O’Toole, Andrew Hill, RJ Root and perhaps a surprise or two.  Speaking of music and the Ventura County Fair, their entertainment lineup is amongst the best of recent history with the Beach Boys, Little Big Town, The Spinners, Barenaked Ladies, Deep Purple, Seether, Jake Owen and Creedence Clearwater Revisited.  All shows are included in the price of admission.

The Music Under the Stars series continues with Spencer the Gardener taking over Olivas Adobe on Saturday, July 26.  Joining his beloved cast of characters, um, I mean musicians, will be former members Cougar Estrada and Nate Birkey who will kick it up just a notch or two.  The following week will be a Carlos Santana tribute band.  Call (805) 658-4726 for ticket information.

Bombay Bar and Grill has nailed down the date for their 30th annual Indoor/Outdoor Beach Party; and though Diego wasn’t quite ready to share their music line-up, you’ll want to mark down the dates which cover the last three days of the month, August 29 – August 31. This is sure to be off-the-hook!!

Chiodos, along with Bless the Fall, will take over the Ventura Theater on Friday, August 1.  They’ve been out on tour in support of their new CD, “Devil” which was produced by David Botrill (Tool, Muse, Stone Sour).

And finally, just added to the Listening Station at Very Ventura store on California Street are Ashford Gordon, the new one from Mother of Dissension, and “Struggle Makes You Stronger” from Shawn Jones.   You have no idea what it means to our local musicians when someone purchases their music.  It really does make a difference.

Do you have any music related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing?  Send all information short or long to

Ventura Music Scene is Alive!

Randy Tick, Adam Clark, Rachel Flowers, Hans Ottsen

Randy Tick, Adam Clark, Rachel Flowers, Hans Ottsen

This past week alone reminds me yet again of how much I love this music scene here in Ventura.

Thursday night I cruised over to Squashed Grapes for what I knew would be outstanding jazz. I love that I can just show up, order a great Italian sandwich and Josh and Adam will make sure I’m taken care of. They told me a little about their crop about to be harvested and how they’d be doing it with some help from friends after hours – all night – Friday night.  Crazy!

In any case, as you probably already know, the jazz scene in Ventura is notorious for changing of members and adding new faces so you never know what you’ll get.  But with certain musicians, you just know you’re in for some solid jazz; and so it is with Hans Ottsen and Adam Clark. The Facebook invite named the band Tico Trio with Randy Tico who plays a standup bass, Ottsen & Clark. It also stated that they’d be playing Tico, Hermto, Airto, Miles, and Pink Floyd.

The night was amazing as they had the extremely talented Rachel Flowers join on several songs playing the flute. Flowers, blind since she was a baby, fit in like a glove and the crowd was thoroughly enthralled. Her smile was contagious and her skills amazing.

The trio played as if they’d been playing together for years.  They were tight, in the zone and incredibly hot; but you know, you get that with this caliber of musicianship. And yes, the Floyd was worth the wait.

Spencer with Nate and Cougar

Spencer with Nate and Cougar

Friday night was all about Spencer the Gardener.  I was given a head’s up a few weeks ago that Nate Birkey would be sitting in with the band.  That just did not compute! The Nate Birkey Quintet out of New York City playing with our beloved Spencer and all his quirkiness? (Turns out he was an original member way back when…)  OH MY GOD!!!  What a night.  AND THEN, Cougar Estrada on drums???  The combination of Nate and Cougar had Amigos hopping well into the night and seeing such world-class musicians tearing up in our local Amigos on Main Street, well, like I always say, Ventura ROCKS!

Saturday night Shawn Jones has a gig at Yolies, and Zoey’s has Omar Velasco & Shane Alexander who will be sharing the stage with special guests Neal Casal & Jesse Siebenberg. But then there’s Big Tweed at The Tavern, Porterhouse Bob at Olivas Adobe, D.on Darox & the Melody Joy Bakers at Bombays…Geez!

Here’s a YouTube video of Tico Trio with Randy Tico (bass), Adam Clark (drums), Rachel Flowers (flute) and Hans Ottsen (guitar).