Notes of Note

By Steven Libowitz   |   May 28, 2024

Natalie Merchant, the New York-bred singer-songwriter who a lifetime ago was the lead singer and lyricist for the alt.rock faves 10,000 Maniacs (1981-93) before embarking on an even more successful solo career, returns to town to perform at the Santa Barbara Bowl on May 23. Merchant’s latest album, 2023’s Keep Your Courage, continues to prove both her personal and open-hearted mettle. It’s quite a different story the following night when alternative metal/hard rock Queens of Stone Age, the latest version of which has been together for more than a decade, hit the stage at the amphitheater on the east side of town. 

Downtown, the English Beat headline the second annual Waula Music Fest on May 25 at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park, where the opening acts include local heroes Spencer the Gardener, Queentide and Young Santa. The “intimate” fest, which features food trucks, a full bar, photo booth and more, is a benefit for Sarah House. Visit 

The Moon and Broken Glass, the latest art-rock project from bassist-composer-singer Jim Connolly, guitarist Dan Zimmerman, and drummer David Garske has a date at SOhO on May 26. That’s the same evening that Bay Area-based Greg Adams & East Bay Soul, led by the Grammy and Emmy nominated trumpeter and arranger, and SoCal’s Blue Breeze Band, which also specializes in Motown, R&B, soul and funk, share the stage at the recently renovated Solvang Festival Theater as part of its May Madness series. Area 51, Santa Barbara’s own funkified favorites, play SOhO on May 25. 


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