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Dengue Fever returns to SOhO with a new album, their first since 2011, in tow

Dengue Fever has always made Santa Barbara part of their touring itinerary and this time is no different. The band includes, from left, Zac Holtzman (guitar and vocals), Paul Smith (drums), Ethan Holtzman (keys), Chhom Nimol (vocals, front), Senon Williams (bass) and David Ralicke (horns).

Dengue Fever has always made Santa Barbara part of their touring itinerary and this time is no different. The band includes, from left, Zac Holtzman (guitar and vocals), Paul Smith (drums), Ethan Holtzman (keys), Chhom Nimol (vocals, front), Senon Williams (bass) and David Ralicke (horns).

During the course of their long career — 15 years, almost — Dengue Fever has always included Santa Barbara in its touring itinerary. Not all bands deign to stop by on their way up to San Francisco from LA, but as bassist Senon Williams says, “I feel honored that we can . . . It’s nice that we get embraced by the town.”

They come to town — tonight, at SOhO — soon after dropping their seventh album, their first since 2011’s “Cannibal Courtship” — a 10-song, 47-minute journey back down the Mekong, with the exotic vocals of Chhom Nimol leading the way. There are elements of lounge, exotica, jazz, surf guitar and funk. And there’s no attempt to make a more alt-rock sound, a diversion that marred “Cannibal Courtship.” Dengue Fever has gone back to what made “Venus on Earth” (2008) such a breakthrough record, but added plenty new influences on top.

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Dos Pueblos High School’s jazz competition adds a festival evening

Saxophonist and USC professor Bob Mintzer performs with Dos Pueblos High School's jazz band in Saturday's Jazz Festival. KENNETH SONG/NEWS-PRESS

Saxophonist and USC professor Bob Mintzer performs with Dos Pueblos High School’s jazz band in Saturday’s Jazz Festival.
KENNETH SONG/NEWS-PRESS

With an evening temperature warm enough to fool everybody into thinking it was summer, Dos Pueblos High’s evening of big bands, “Jazz in Paradise,” lived up to its name.

Although this annual competition of high school bands has been going on for 46 years, 2015 marked a first, with its full evening concert and with college division bands playing in a festival-style atmosphere.

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Teen Star’s finale at the Granada awards a new winner

After a year of anticipation, a popular audition process that brought in contestants from across Santa Barbara County, and weeks of mentorship and rehearsal, the sixth annual Teen Star Santa Barbara came to the Granada Theatre on Saturday.

Performing in front of a sold-out crowd, the evening featured 10 teen hopefuls vying for the title, but in the end there could be only one winner: 14-year-old Sydney Shalhoob of San Marcos High School.

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Friendly advice: Brooklyn Rider is a quartet not afraid of the new

The boys ofBrooklyn Rider recently released "The Brooklyn Rider Almanac" and will performworksfrom the album at Hahn Hall Sarah Small

The boys ofBrooklyn Rider recently released “The Brooklyn Rider Almanac” and will performworksfrom the album at Hahn Hall
Sarah Small

There some classical quartets dabble in contemporary composers while making sure to keep some Bach or Beethoven handy, Brooklyn Rider has shown its commitment to the shock of the new by commissioning a whole album of new works and then touring it.

“The Brooklyn Rider Almanac,” released on Mercury Classics this last September, contains an hour’s worth of commissioned works from artists like Bill Frisell, Christina Courtin, Gonzalo Grau and others. Not everybody involved is a classical composer. In fact, at Thursday night’s performance at Hahn Hall, Brooklyn Rider will premiere “Ping Pong Thumble Thaw” by Glenn Kotche, drummer of the rock band Wilco. The work was commissioned by UCSB Arts & Lectures.

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Passing with flying colors: Seventh Annual Kids Helping Kids benefit brings Ingrid Michaelson and Jon McLaughlin to the Granada

There’s that old adage: learn by doing. And there’s a new semester of young economics students that learned, and they took that adage to heart. The result is the 7th annual Kids Helping Kids showcase at the Granada Theatre, this Saturday. The event raises funds for needy kids both here and abroad, and the nonprofit that puts it on is based out of a San Marcos High economics class. Teacher James DeVries puts seniors in charge of a nonprofit, where they must use their skills to book, market and launch an evening of music. This year, two singer-songwriters will take the stage due to the hard work of these economics students. Ingrid Michaelson is a New York-based songwriter best known for the singles “Be OK,” “Girls Chase Boys” and “The Way I Am.” Also appearing is Jon McLaughlin, singer of the single “Beating My Heart” and who recently opened for Billy Joel.

James DeVries, who received honors last year from Goleta’s Chamber of Commerce for his work setting up this program, started the class in 2002 as a penny drive.

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All hail the king: Legendary producer of Elvis Presley’s ’68 comeback special will be at local screening at Plaza playhouse theater

Elvis Presley in 1964 Associated Press Photo

Elvis Presley in 1964
Associated Press Photo

Very few people could stand up to Elvis Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, least of them Elvis himself. But legendary producer Steve Binder did. It’s a story he loves to tell, and it resulted in one of The King’s shining moments, the famous 1968 comeback special. After years of Hollywood movie musical pablum, the Elvis people saw in ’68 was revitalized, dressed in black leather and — in the section of the special that would become its most beloved — sat down with Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana, his original Sun Records band, and jammed. That section influenced every similar acoustic set from MTV Unplugged onward.

Viewers will get a chance to see that special (with 30 minutes cut from original broadcast) in a screening Saturday night at Carpinteria’s Plaza Playhouse Theater, followed by a Q&A with Mr. Binder himself. This follows Mr. Binder’s previous appearance at the theater, where he screened the other famous show he produced, “The T.A.M.I. Show,” which showcased James Brown, The Rolling Stones and The Supremes. That screening, which was also a fundraiser for the theater, was sold out. No wonder they demanded Mr. Binder return.

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Happy Nerf Year! – Nerf Herder reunites for a New Year’s Eve party and Parry Gripp talks about a 2014 album

Dana Sherlock photo

Dana Sherlock photo

‘I don’t know the last time we played in Santa Barbara,” says Nerf Herder lead singer Parry Gripp, when asked to lay down some timeline for this very nebulous band. Yes, he says, there was a gig at the Mercury Lounge two years ago, but that was in honor of his wife’s birthday and it was free, so … is that official? Regardless, the Goleta band’s gig at the Mercury Lounge Tuesday is not just official, but is going to see out 2013 and usher in 2014.

The evening will feature two sets by the pop-punk rockers, one early in the evening “because one of the problems of getting old is that none of your friends want to come see you after 10:30” and then another that will blast through midnight with a rocking “Auld Lang Syne” and more. In between, one-time Nerf Herder and sometime manager, music journalist and now DJ Marko DeSantis (aka Marko 72) will spin tunes.

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The California Honeydrops bring the party vibe to SOhO for two nights

The California Honeydrops bring the party, and the swingin' tunes, to SOhO this week. Stuart Levine

The California Honeydrops bring the party, and the swingin’ tunes, to SOhO this week.
Stuart Levine

The California Honeydrops return to SOhO for a two-night stay this weekend. Two nights, because as founding member Ben Malament says, “We can spread about and give people a lot of different music. So people who like us for all different reasons can get their Honeydrops fix.”

Pretty good for a band that started with two guys busking at BART stations around Oakland. Mr. Malament played washtub bass — what they called the “soul tub” — and Polish-born singer Lech Wierzynkski played trumpet. They played everything from the Memphis Jug Band to Wilson Pickett, from Arthur Crudup to Big Bill Broonzy. And that continues to this day, with genre-spanning music that reflects the encyclopedic tastes of its founders and its newest members, with nothing off limits.

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