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Catch A Fire Tour: Return to Jamrock

Damien Marley is the youngest son of Jamaican reggae singer Bob Marley. Along with his brother, Stephen, he brings the Catch A Fire Tour to the Santa Barbara Bowl tonight. Courtesy photo

Damien Marley is the youngest son of Jamaican reggae singer Bob Marley. Along with his brother, Stephen, he brings the Catch A Fire Tour to the Santa Barbara Bowl tonight.
Courtesy photo

It’s been 10 years since Damien Marley, youngest of the Bob Marley sons and nicknamed “Jr. Gong,” exploded onto the scene with “Welcome to Jamrock,” fulfilling the promise of his first two albums and sending his album gold. And man, has that decade passed quickly.

“I was just thinking about that myself,” said Marley during a phone interview. “And I had the same sentiment that you do. It feels like yesterday. Time moves real quick.”

Then 27 years old, now 37, Damien is bringing the Catch a Fire tour to the Santa Barbara Bowl tonight. Along with his brother Stephen “Ragga” Marley, the evening features reggae legend Barrington Levy, Morgan Heritage, Tarrus Riley, Jo Mersa and Black Am I, along with DJ sets by Kingston 12, Shinehead and Papalote.

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String theory: Lindsey Stirling goes from YouTube sensation to touring musician

Violinist and dancer Lindsey Stirling quickly rose to fame after starting her own YouTube channel in 2007. She brings her Music Box Tour to the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday. Kate sZatmari photo

Violinist and dancer Lindsey Stirling quickly rose to fame after starting her own YouTube channel in 2007. She brings her Music Box Tour to the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday.
Kate sZatmari photo

Is there a split between becoming famous through YouTube and becoming famous the traditional way (gigs, festivals, talk shows)? The rise and success of violinist, dancer, and electronic music maven Lindsey Stirling may be confusing to some, but the proof is not in the pudding but in the Santa Barbara Bowl this week where she is headlining.

Here’s the potted version of Ms. Stirling’s rise to fame. A violinist with no outlet for her art turns to YouTube and starts her own channel in 2007. Raised Mormon, she attends Brigham Young University in Utah to pursue film, does the missionary thing in New York City, continues to play violin in small bands and refuses to just stand there playing. Instead she dances and plays at the same time.

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Bowl’d over: New York Philharmonic brings rare pops concert to the Bowl

 Conducter Alan Gilbert led the New York Philharmonic in an all-American program at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Monday. Michael Moriatis/News-Press


Conducter Alan Gilbert led the New York Philharmonic in an all-American program at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Monday.
Michael Moriatis/News-Press

The Santa Barbara Bowl has rarely seen a full orchestra on its stage, although Monday night’s visit by the New York Philharmonic proved it can not only fit everybody, but the sound – at least for those not up in the gods- was excellent. Why don’t we do this more often?

That just might be the plan with this event that was arranged through Music Academy of the West, which is the first in the NY Phil’s Global Academy initiative. Maestro Alan Gilbert, since taking over the baton at the New York Philharmonic in 2009, has set about reshaping the orchestra for the 21st century. During his tenure, which will be up in 2017 as per his contract, he’s dusted off what was regarded as a stuffy institution and introduced an element of play. He’s reintroduced audiences to composers like Charles Ives, who still may be too radical for the subscriber base.

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Food, hilarious food: Jim Gaffigan comes to the SB Bowl for an evening of standup

Stand-up comedian, actor and author Jim Gaffigan will perform at the Santa Barbara Bowl tonight. Courtesy photo

Stand-up comedian, actor and author Jim Gaffigan will perform at the Santa Barbara Bowl tonight.
Courtesy photo

America has a thing for schlubby male comedians ‘ it’s how we like them served up. They are our everymen, creaking under the weight of kids, wives, obligations, and using observational humor of the mundane details of life as an escape valve. There’s a thread that runs from Jackie Gleason to our current heroes: Louis C.K., Marc Maron, and now ‘ pulling into town tonight for a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl ‘ Jim Gaffigan. He arrives just after the premiere of “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” a single-camera sitcom that features Mr. Gaffigan playing himself. And it’s on the TV Land channel, the go-to nostalgia station where one can check in the domesticated males of old. This is the year of Jim.

Mr. Gaffigan’s career started as a friendly bet to take a stand-up seminar, one that ended with a small set in front of a crowd. His friend dropped out, but Mr. Gaffigan, who had moved to New York City from a small town in Indiana, suddenly found his calling. He kept his day job in advertising and worked open mic nights, honing his material.

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The year of our Lorde, 2014: How a wise 17-year-old from New Zealand ruled pop music in just over 12 months

In just over a year, Lorde has taken over the pop world, primarily on the coattails of her chart-topping single "Royals." Brian Cassella photo

In just over a year, Lorde has taken over the pop world, primarily on the coattails of her chart-topping single “Royals.”
Brian Cassella photo

Just over a year ago, Ella Yelich-O’Connor, the 17-year-old New Zealander known as Lorde, dropped her first single, “Royals,” into the swirling maelstrom of pop culture. Maybe it was the song’s minimal aesthetic matched with its gospel-like chorus, maybe it was the critique of pop music itself contained in the lyrics, or maybe it was because it was so damn catchy — using the most basic of chord progressions — but overnight Lorde was everywhere, and she hasn’t really misstepped yet. She appears at the Santa Barbara Bowl this Thursday, and if audience videos of her tour are an indication, the scene will be one of teen hysteria. In lieu of that, let’s quickly examine how Lorde dominated the charts and pop culture in the short span of a little over a year, while hovering above the excesses of the Mileys, Iggys and the Nickis out there.

Her manager Scott Maclachlan discovered her at age 12, covering Duffy’s “Warwick Avenue” at a school talent show, and started to work with her on material. Four years later, this thoughtful, well-read goth team had produced “The Love Club EP,” a collection that came out fully formed, with no fumbling around trying to find an identity or in thrall to obvious influences.

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Roots radicals: Thievery Corporation returns to the Santa Barbara Bowl with a bossa nova evening

Rob Garza, left, and Eric Hilton are the duo that make up Thievery Corporation, spinning bossa nova beats and vocals with a twist.

Rob Garza, left, and Eric Hilton are the duo that make up Thievery Corporation, spinning bossa nova beats and vocals with a twist.

Just a few weeks after the Eighteenth Street Lounge club opened in Washington D.C., Rob Garza walked through its doors to the sounds of “¡guas de MarÁo” by Antonio Carlos Jobim coming from the DJ booth, and he knew he had found his new home. He also found the lounge’s co-owner Eric Hilton, whom he would soon team up with to DJ and make music under the moniker Thievery Corporation. On their new album “Saudade” (released in April on ESL Music, the duo’s label), they return to the bossa nova rhythms of their early days and have produced what is for the band a very straight-ahead album filled with songs. They’ll be bringing this new work and their dub-heavy back catalog to the Santa Barbara Bowl on Sunday.

“We feel this album is a kind of palate-cleanser before our next sonic expedition,” Mr. Garza says. “It started with me and Eric in the studio trying to make a few songs in this genre and then at one point we thought, ‘Why don’t we just make a whole record that goes back to our bossa nova and Brazilian influences?’

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Bouncing back: After some setbacks, George Lopez returns to make Santa Barbara laugh

Comedian, actor and talk show host George Lopez performed his stand-up comedy June 27 at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Ga. Dan Harr photo

Comedian, actor and talk show host George Lopez performed his stand-up comedy June 27 at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Ga.
Dan Harr photo

This has been a rollercoaster year for comedian George Lopez. He’s already been humbled and made much late-night fun over his drunken fall at a Canadian Casino. And then his latest sitcom “Saint George” on FX got the axe after only 10 episodes (more on that later). All that has turned him back to the one thing that he can do with absolute confidence, with no interference, and that’s stand-up. This Saturday he returns to the Santa Barbara Bowl for an evening of hilarity and soul-baring. While his stand-up has often been about family and culture and the effects of an abusive upbringing — told with devastating humor and honesty of course — Mr. Lopez says that he’s going to get even more personal for this new tour.

“We’re going to deal with the private George, not the public George,” he says. “Which I think is more compelling . . . The thing with the next special is to get more personal and dig deeper.”

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Bouncing back: After some setbacks, George Lopez returns to make Santa Barbara laugh

Comedian, actor and talk show host George Lopez performed his stand-up comedy June 27 at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Ga.

Comedian, actor and talk show host George Lopez performed his stand-up comedy June 27 at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta,
Ga.

This has been a rollercoaster year for comedian George Lopez. He’s already been humbled and made much late-night fun over his drunken fall at a Canadian Casino. And then his latest sitcom “Saint George” on FX got the axe after only 10 episodes (more on that later). All that has turned him back to the one thing that he can do with absolute confidence, with no interference, and that’s stand-up. This Saturday he returns to the Santa Barbara Bowl for an evening of hilarity and soul-baring. While his stand-up has often been about family and culture and the effects of an abusive upbringing — told with devastating humor and honesty of course — Mr. Lopez says that he’s going to get even more personal for this new tour.

“We’re going to deal with the private George, not the public George,” he says. “Which I think is more compelling . . . The thing with the next special is to get more personal and dig deeper.”

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Best friends forever: Rebelution’s opening act Iration have known each other since college days

Iration has strong ties to the band Rebelution Photo courtesy Mitch Schneider Organization

Iration has strong ties to the band Rebelution

Photo courtesy Mitch Schneider Organization

The venues get bigger but the friendship between Iration and Rebelution remains just as strong as ever. The two bands go back to their days playing keggers on Isla Vista’s Del Playa, and now Iration is opening for Rebelution’s return to the Bowl. It’s the bands’ third tour together.

Like Rebelution, Iration plays sunshine reggae, positive vibe music. With three albums and three EPs under their belt, they haven’t risen to the same heights as their friends, but the two bands have a symbiotic relationship.

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IN CONCERT: Burning Down the House: Arcade Fire delivers a rousing non-stop party at the Bowl

Montreal's Arcade Fire lived up to their live concert performance renown at the SB Bowl last Monday

Montreal’s Arcade Fire lived up to their live concert performance renown at the SB Bowl last Monday

Last year, when Flaming Lips brought their outre show to the Santa Barbara Bowl, it was a strange combo that didn’t work: confetti cannons, amazing light show, gigantic balloons shooting out over the audience on one hand; morose and dark music underneath, the opposite of the fun the party favors promised.

However, that promise was fulfilled last Monday night, when another band of live concert renown, Montreal’s Arcade Fire, made their first Bowl appearance. They too brought confetti cannon and streamers, both a light show of mirrors, disco ball suits, and video projection. But most of all they brought their exciting catalog, from the stirring anthems of 2004’s “Funeral” to their 2013 delve-into-dance-music “Reflektor.” When lead signer Win Butler told us at the beginning to all stand up — “you can sit down at the end of the show” — he was not kidding. The audience followed suit, and the band made sure there was no reason to rest.

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