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ROCK TALK : Dancing Under the Stars : The Gipsy Kings, the group from France that sings in Spanish, offer their guitar magic at the Santa Barbara County Bowl.

July 07, 1994|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Get your dancing shoes ready, because as strange as it may seem, those mellow Gipsy Kings figure to put on a dance show under the stars at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. According to their bio, the band won't be happy unless you're dancing. There probably won't be a mosh pit going, just proper yuppies dancing properly.

Want to know more? Don't feel alone. After two days, the management at last set a time for an interview and, of course, never called back. For all the money this band is making--tickets to this gig are $35--one would think someone on the tour could afford a watch.

Apparently something was lost in the translation, which is understandable because the band lives in the South of France, speaks French but sings in Spanish. Translators are necessary for interviews, if and when they ever take place. At least the local fans won't have to endure that interminable "Howzit goin' Santa Barbara?" routine.

The Gipsy Kings may be short of spellers, but they are long on relatives who can play guitar. All sons or cousins of the late flamenco great Jose Reyes, the band members will doubtlessly be playing selections off the band's sixth and latest album, "Love & Liberte."

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And in the It-Must-Be-Summer-Department: There's going to be a booze cruise going out of Santa Barbara at the end of the month. That's where bands play loud music and fans try to hold down all that beer while they drink and dance at the same time, even as the boat itself rocks and rolls. Appropriately called "Boozacarooza," this one will feature a bunch of S.B. bands including Creature Feature, Popsicko, Silverjet, Bigelf and Scarecrow. The Condor will become the Titanic for the night. The capacity is only 100, so call 682-2403 if you're into a sea cruise.

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And in the Even-Art-Department: Art's Bar is an unpretentious little watering hole on De La Vina Street, voted "Most Popular Neighborhood Bar" year after year in the Santa Barbara press. There may not be a Farmer John, an Aunt Jemima or a Sara Lee, but there's an Art. Boy, is there. Not so much like Rick of "Casablanca" or Sam from "Cheers," Art Lopez is more like Jack Nicholson in "Wolf." Art is shorter, but his roar is similar. At Art's, there's no Plan B--it's his way or the highway.

Art's Bar, which never has a cover, does have live music, usually three days a week, and usually blues since Art bought the joint and renamed the Wimbledon Tavern after himself in 1984. But lately, Art has been getting the blues from the blues.

"Hey, nobody comes to see these blues bands anymore," growled Art. "No fans means no money and money is the name of the game. So I've started booking rock bands. I don't like a lot of it--too loud--but they have fans."

Rockin' Art's new repertoire includes the Hell Hounds, Jellin, Bob Angst , Strange Brew plus a couple of Ventura County rock bands, Finnhead out of Oxnard and Sinister Fisch from Ventura. Even one of Art's old favorites, those rockin' blues dudes in the Crawdads, are on probation.

"I told those guys I'd give 'em one more chance or else. They better quit playing that blues junk and change to rock."

The ad for the upcoming July 24 Yes show at the Santa Barbara County Bowl notes "This Event Features Special Audio Enhancement." Does this mean they're going to hook you up to electrodes then plug you into the soundboard so your liver quivers along with the bass? Not exactly.

According to Bowl spokesman Jamie Boller, "You will be allowed into a special section behind the soundboard to get the really good sound. You should bring a Walkman, then tune it to a certain frequency to get the ultimate sound. The only other time I've heard of this before is on last year's Metallica tour. It's a first for us. There are still seats available for this section at $29.50 while the high dollar seats are $31.50."

Now isn't this sort of like all the football fans who go to the big game and end up watching the game on the stadium big screen? It would be more convenient if Yes just came over, cooked dinner, did a set on the deck and then did the dishes.

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A benign Orange County invasion will be coming to the Beach Shack in Santa Barbara on July 15. It won't be a line of bulldozers and cement trucks coming to build shopping malls, but a tour featuring a quartet of OC bands, collectively called "Out From Behind the Orange Curtain."

On the bill will be Standing Hawthorne, Strange, Soul Scream and that R&B, funk band with already quite the S.B. following, Goldfish.

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