Student guide to finding live music downtown
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On weekends, State Street settles down by 9:30 PM and any fun to be had by an under-21-year-old Westmont student is limited to McConnell’s, Hana Kitchen, and possibly a late-night movie. However, live music continues to drift from what venues remain open but unavailable for Westmont students’ enjoyment. So where are they to go for their own share of local, underground, or mainstream live music?
Santa Barbara is home to a diverse community of artists and an attractive stop for touring music artists. In addition to Westmont’s annual Spring Sing, the historic Santa Barbara Bowl has featured headliners including Bob Marley, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, and more recently, Khalid, The Flaming Lips, Norah Jones, and the Black Eyed Peas. Attending a show other than Spring Sing at the Bowl can cost a pretty penny on a college budget, but if a favorite band or artist does tour to the venue, it is definitely worth the investment. Additionally, never discount regularly checking the various theaters including the Lobero, Arlington, and the Granada for various music, movies, and performances of all genres.
SoHo Restaurant and Music Club frequently features live music performances; however, many shows are accompanied by age limits. In terms of environment, SoHo is one of the more well known venues as it is centrally located upstairs on mid State Street. Prices for available shows range from under ten dollars to twenty-five or more. The complete and regularly updated schedule for SoHo is listed on their website. Similarly, Velvet Jones regularly hosts concerts open to ages specified on their regularly updated website. Upcoming shows feature popular artists such as Marc E. Bassy to college art nights.
In terms of “dinner and entertainment,” a handful of restaurants regularly feature live music as well. Westmont students may be used to seeing brass quartets or other performers on the Hoffmann Brat Haus patio at least once a week, but are not sure what other restaurants offer live entertainment. Carlitos Café y Cantina is frequented by latin music accompaniment on the outdoor patio as well as the Brazil Arts Cafe. This location on State Street, near Carlitos Cafe, hosts latin dancers and musicians from time to time.
The “underground” music scene in Santa Barbara can be mostly tracked by following local radio stations’, such as KCSB-FM 91.9, Facebook pages and other social media platforms. Stations frequently post of local, lesser known shows as well as concerts on UCSB’s campus. The FUNZONE, on Milpas near East Beach, frequently holds shows for local artists from punk bands to acoustic bands for a small entrance fee. The FUNZONE’s events are not so consistently scheduled, but are much more affordable and tend to fly under the radar. Additionally, following the FUNZONE’s social media also provides a gateway for other sporadic music and open mic events throughout Santa Barbara.
Whether a student is in search of a headlining concert or a hip, small house show, all one needs is a touch of proactivity and connectivity of checking local venues, stations, and tracking favorite artists.