STILL ALIVE IN THE 805: Ah, the unexpected — what else can we expect? Life deals the unforeseen in stupefyingly heavy doses, often offering us only the great unknown as a blueprint for facing the days ahead. When SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) hosts its second 805 Songwriters in the Round on Friday, November 10, the songwriters at hand — Johnny Irion, John Goodwin, and Tim Bluhm — will pass the microphone-baton as they play off one another’s off-the-cuff and impromptu choices. “You have to sort of come with a little bit of flexibility; you want to play something that complements the song just before, and you have no control of what that would be,” said Bluhm, an honorary 805er who hails from Bay Area digits but has spent years living, visiting, and/or surfing in this code of ours.
Bluhm himself recently responded to something very unexpected, when he was almost killed in a paragliding accident in 2015. “It stirred up my songwriting — it stirred up my life,” he said. As silver linings go, it’s been a rich time for his “inner life” and his music: He’s written lots of new work. With his band The Mother Hips triumphantly returning for their beloved holiday shows, the dark veil of injury may finally be lifting, and a rebirth is in bloom.
Goodwin also recounted of a string of tragic hills and hurdles how he himself would “work and walk through them, one step at a time,” all part of the journey for a prolific area songsmith and visual artist who has worked with the likes of Jeff Bridges and Michael McDonald. “All my life, I’ve been kind of like a nomad, moving from song to song,” said Goodwin, and “I may be getting close now to what I was trying to do as a songwriter. It literally took a lifetime to get to that point. All good. There were a lot of laughs on the way,” he said. Journey along with them next week.
LOCAL COLOR: Speaking of SOhO and area codes, the venerable venue hosts some of our region’s very best acts in the more immediate coming days. First off, on this month’s 1st Thursday, we have excellent indie rockers Jacob Cole & the Echoes, Jamey Geston, and Emily Wryn, all of whom give our Santa Barbara music scene a certain spark of coastal brilliance, luminous as sun speckles in the surf. They join South Carolina songwriter Sarah Summer on Thursday, November 2, maintaining their reign as some of the best contemporary acts to represent our county in the last few years.
On a comparable wavelength of quality and cool, the lads from S.B.’s Young Million and Made Up People will shake things up with Ventura’s Wild Coast in another night of 805 rock awesomeness the next night at SOhO, Friday, November 3. Rock is alive and well in the 805.
RADIO, RADIO: L.A.’s Julia Holter and San Dimas’s Birote the Musical will play a free concert at UCSB’s KCSB Courtyard on Saturday, November 4. If you’ve never heard Holter’s heady and heavenly chamber pop, get on it, stat — it’s beautiful stuff, truly amazing at times. The two visit as the climactic event for the UC Radio Network Conference, hosted by UCSB for the first time in years.
FAREWELL, FUNZONE: Alas, all things must end, and it is with sadness that I report Funzone has closed its DIY doors. Founder Spencer VH said an unexpected twist in his life’s course prompted the closing of the much-loved, much-needed all-ages venue in the East Beach Batting Cages, which quietly hosted some of the best S.B. concerts of the last three years. As Spencer heads east to new opportunity, I thank and salute one so generous to host the under-sung, underappreciated, and underage; here’s to new chapters, new beginnings, and new fun.