Reunion Time at SOhO 

By Steven Libowitz   |   August 29, 2023

Two of the most tenured Santa Barbara dance-party (mostly) cover bands are not only each appearing at SOhO this week, they’re also playing on the same night. Both Area 51, which has been fronted by the charismatic singer and Montecito resident Michael Andrews since its inception, now partnered on stage with Laura Schlieske, will be joined by the more R&B-flavored Raw Silk, featuring the sinuous vocal stylings of lead singer Leslie Lembo, who will likely mix in a number of originals with the cover tunes. Fans can catch, and bop along to, both bands at their longtime stomping grounds of SOhO on Friday, August 25, starting at 8:30 pm. Adding to the week’s wonders, Mari Martin, who shared lead singer duties with Andrews in Area 51 for decades before departing for points east a dozen years ago, is also back for a gig at SOhO with her own band performing eclectic covers three days later on August 28. Laudable and danceable locals also showing up at SOhO this weekend in a pre-Labor Day blowout: Piano Bar denizen Jason Libs and his latest band, the Liberation, on August 26, and Gypsy jazz band The Idiomatiques on August 27. 

The Mosaic Locale in downtown Santa Barbara hosts an Eighties-themed end-of-summer dance party bash on Saturday, August 26, featuring live music by Joystix, energetically curated music of the era from DJ Darla Bea, and food and drink by Draughtsmen and Goodland Waffles & Melts. Raffles, prizes for the best costumes, a photo booth, and some surprises round out the fun. Details and tickets at

There’s another film festival arriving in town, one that focuses exclusively on truly independent movies and shorts as well as cinematic projects from youth. The inaugural Santa Barbara Indie Film Fest, which will screen a total of nearly 50 films over 10 programming blocks at August 26-27at the Alhecama Theatre downtown, is a homegrown event, and represents something of a full-circle journey for its creator. 


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