Music News & Reviews

Tuesday nights belong to the county’s best

As you read this, tomorrow’s rock stars are rehearsing in garages, basements and living rooms across the county. They’re recording albums, comparing notes and jamming with friends.

This summer, Downtown Brewing Co. hopes to introduce these local bands to a brand-new audience: their neighbors.

“There’s so many great musicians who live here, work here, go to school here,” said Korie Newman, who owns the San Luis Obispo brewery and concert venue with her husband, Todd. “A lot of locals haven’t seen some of our talent on the Central Coast.”

San Luis Obispo’s The Shamblers take the stage Tuesday as part of the newlycreated Grass Roots concert series.

“It’s a great opportunity to showcase local talent,” said Mike Marotto, whoplays bass and lead guitar with the folk-rock trio. “(The concerts) have allbeen a really fun time.”

Tuesday night for locals

Created this spring, the Grass Roots series features area bands every otherTuesday for a night of locals-only music and down-home fun. Series sponsorsinclude Numbskull Productions, Boo Boo Records and the Pozo Saloon.

Downtown Brew makes the twice-monthly concerts into affordable outings witha $2 cover charge and $1 brews. All money collected at the door goes back tothe bands.

“The affordability factor helps out a lot in getting people out on a Tuesdaynight,” said Marotto.

Like Downtown Brew’s regular concert series, Grass Roots showcases a widerange of sounds, from reggae and rock to funk and folk.

Blind Melon singer Travis Warren kicked off the concert series in April withan acoustic solo show ‹ bringing a couch, coffee table and lamps onstage foran intimate living-room feel.

May saw shows by The Playbacks with local openers A.F.R.O. and Butch Boswelland a CD release party with rock powerhouse Axia. Local singer-songwriterand surfer Shane Stoneman opened for Hawaiian acoustic guitarist John Cruzon June 12.

According to Newman, the concert series’casual vibe encourages bands tocall their friends onstage or break into an impromptu jam session. “It trulyis about them and their night,” she said.

So far, organizers have had to bump the schedule once ‹ to accommodate a MadCaddies CD release party. “Sometimes we can only catch these huge acts onthe off-nights,” Newman explained.

Otherwise, she said, Tuesdays belong to the area’s best.

Recording sessions

Besides wider exposure to local audiences, bands have an extra incentive tojoin Grass Roots, thanks to Downtown Brew soundman Kip Stork.

Stork, who owns Avalon Digital Recording Studio in San Luis Obispo, recordseach concert and offers the bands a digitally re-mastered copy at a reducedrate.

“That’s one thing that all of the bands have been really excited about,”said Newman.

The Shamblers agree.

“We have a lot of new material that we’re really excited about,” saidMarotto, most of it written since the band released its self-titled album inNovember 2006. Chances are, they’ll also trade licks with their openingacts, The Wedding Industrial Complex and singer-songwriter Joe Koenig.

Tuesday’s concert marks the last performance by The Wedding IndustrialComplex for a while, Marotto added. Drummer Melanie Senn, the wife ofguitarist Derek, is pregnant with their second child.

The Grass Roots concert series continues July 3 with San Luis Obispo metalquintet Esoterik, and openers Sad Lisa and Pennyjar.

“The musicians all have the same goal,” Newman said. “They want to generatemusic and they want to have a good time.”

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