Ventura Music Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
The day after I submitted my last music scene column, all live music in venues and/or restaurants was banned. And then in a sign of solidarity, downtown Ventura’s Main Street Moves decided to postpone having artists performing at California and Main. Someone argued it wasn’t fair to the venues; I say that “someone” is shooting everyone in their collective foot. The live music at California and Main isn’t feeding anyone any food, they are not competing with restaurants for your dollars, in fact, it’s costing them money. Live music draws people, albeit at a safe social distance, and then these good people after getting their fill of good vibes will stop in at one of the many restaurants for a meal helping to support the economy. But you know, that’s just my opinion.
Meanwhile, I really want to enjoy a packed house with incredible music dancing the night away. So please do your part and help nip this pandemic in the bud. Wear your mask, social distance, and if you think for even one second you might be sick, stay home! I’ve read too many accounts of a person who thought they were just tired from working too much or perhaps they hoped they just had allergies, and then they spread the virus to others. Hang tight, stay strong and vigilant and we’ll get through this quicker than if we go around “bending” the rules.
I’m happy to report more drive-in concerts are popping up around the county joining the ranks of Concerts in Your Car whose home base is the Ventura Fairgrounds parking lot. The Canyon Club has been working with the Oxnard Performing Arts & Convention Center to bring shows to their venue. To date they’ve shown the movie Frozen 2 with opening bands Dr. T and the Blues Criminals, Kelly’s Lot and Fantastic Diamond and then on July 12 it was all about the reggae with Urban Dread, After the Smoke and Bombafiya. Both events were free to the public. I’m hoping they’ll continue to provide shows to the community as our hot summer nights are just getting started.
And apparently another venue being used is the Poinsettia Pavilion’s parking lot. I just saw Ignition (rock cover band) will be putting on a drive-in concert on Saturday, July 18, from 6 to 8:30 pm; starting price is $59 per car.
But of course, spearheading the drive-in concerts in Ventura County is CBF Productions who continue to add shows to their roster. On Thursday, July 16, it’s J2B2 | John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band; I had a Q&A with Jorgenson in my last column when he detailed what people could expect from his show. He said, “J2B2 is an excellent ensemble both instrumentally and vocally, so people can expect world class singing and playing first of all. Our material ranges from very traditional bluegrass to newer songs from some of the best songwriters of our time. Our goal has been to bring meaningful lyrics into the mix of virtuosic picking and tight vocal harmonies. Hopefully the audience will laugh, wipe a tear or two, think a bit differently, and drive home with smiles on their faces.”
Then on Saturday, July 18, local favorite Rey Fresco, will open for Ozomatli and headliner, Fishbone. The following week on Saturday, July 25, it’s Third Eye Blind at 8 pm and then an encore screening of Blake Shelton w/ Gwen Stefani and Trace Adkins at 11 pm. Do note a couple of shows have been added so far for August. First, it’s two shows on Friday, August 7 (5:30 then 9:30 pm) with Sublime w/ Rome, and then on Saturday, August 29, it’s Fitz and the Tantrums.
And if tribute bands are your cup of tea, then don’t miss DSB, marketed as “the world’s greatest Journey tribute band” on Thursday, July 23 and then it’s Noise Pollution, the AC/DC experience on Thursday, July 30.
And finally, if you’re a fan of theater productions, then you won’t want to miss the Rubicon Theater Company’s line up of four concerts performed live on an elevated outdoor stage with video feed on 4 large LED screens. Running July 20 – 22 is “2 am at the Sands” Samonsky sings Sinatra. August 3 – 5 is Forever Plaid, the 30th reunion concert featuring members of the original cast. August 17 – 19 it’s Jimmy Messina & Friends with special surprise guests each night. And September 7 – 9 it’s Music of the Knights, the songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John and Paul McCartney, special guest cast member is Ted Neeley star of the film Jesus Christ Superstar.
All tickets for the stage productions are available via the Rubicon website at RubiconTheatre.org. All tickets for concerts, tribute shows and movies are available at ConcertsInYourCar.com. You’ll want to read the full FAQs so you know what to expect and the do’s and don’ts for these special engagements.
BACK TO LIVE STREAMING
With the live music ban once again in effect, a lot of artists are ramping up their game once again via online performances.
The Winery Ventura has livestream music every Thursday. Log in on their Facebook page July 16 for 6 Beats Apart featuring Bruce Lett, Ed Wayne, Andy Waddel, Charlie Ferguson, Russ McKinnon & MB Gordy; downbeat 6:30 pm.
The Ojai Underground Exchange has consistently been offering shows on the weekend for a small donation. Past shows include Shawn Jones, Kelly’s Lot, Jamie Drake, Rose Valley Thorns and Will Breman to name but a few acts. They’re a good page to follow on Facebook. You should also sign up for their email list.
Camerata Pacifica offers weekly a different video performance every Sunday at 5:30 pm.
Tierney Sutton accompanied by pianist Tamir Hendelman will perform a special online set Wednesday, July 15 at 6 pm. Just go to Tierney’s social media pages for links to log on.
Grammy winning studio, Carbonite Sound, has been offering up live and on demand streaming concerts. Their next one will be the Danny McGaw Band on Saturday, July 25.
The Dickies played a free livestream concert on Sunday, July 12 with special guests jazz giant Doug Webb sat in for a tune or two and Greg Hetson of the Circle Jerks joined the boys to play “Gigantor.” I am glad I caught them last November when they played Oak and Main live as I had never had the chance to see them play before. I’ve been a huge fan since the days of “Stuck in a Pagoda with Tricia Toyota,” “Manny, Moe & Jack” and their cover of “Nights in White Satin.” The live stream took an odd turn when the band took a break to sit around a table to eat Chinese food, but they quickly got back to the business at hand. On a side note, lead singer, Leonard Graves Phillips, has been working on a book about the Dickies, and hit a rough patch when someone stole his car. Luckily fans (including this one) stepped up to the plate to help out via an online fundraiser.
Michelle Hoover and GWC Productions in conjunction with VenturaRocks.com continue to produce a show monthly highlighting musician in and around the 805, as well as the musicians who come here to play. We just changed up the format of the interview show making it a little more COVID-19 friendly with yours truly doing the interviews now via online software. My first interview was with Mark Masson of Shaky Feelin’ and the next couple will be with Brigette Purdy, Tommy Marsh of Crooked Eye Tommy and I believe Carry on Band.
Past episodes of VenturaRockSpot have featured How to Live with Robots, Kyle Smith, Prima Donna Rising, the Guitar and Whiskey Club, Amber & Smoke, Raised on Vinyl, Fallen Saints, Dylan Garicia, the Rockin Henrys and more! Just go to the homepage of VenturaRocks.com and you’ll see the most recent video ready to roll. Just below it, a link to all previous episodes on the VenturaRocks.com YouTube channel.
If you are interested in being featured on an upcoming episode, just reach out to Michelle Hoover on the official website, VenturaRockSpots.com.
Thanks for reading and as always, if you have any music-related news or upcoming shows (online or otherwise) that you want help publicizing, please send all information short or long to Pam@VenturaRocks.com, and for updated music listings daily, go to www.VenturaRocks.com.