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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND

Music of the Night

Live bands will play as the champagne flows at venues from the Hyatt Westlake to Maxie's in Oak View and Alexander's near Ventura Harbor.

December 26, 1996|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

So happy New Year. You just survived Christmas, which seemed to arrive minutes after Thanksgiving, and it's time to party again.

For most people, New Year's Eve is a time of intoxication, introspection and celebration of being another year older and deeper in debt. For the boys in blue, it's all about intoxication, interception and incarceration. Thus, don't drink and drive--someone might get hurt and the county can get by without financial help from you.

For whatever reason, the last night of the year seems to bring out the dancing fool in many of us. So here's a list of places from the east to the west county offering live music. Most of these venues have no cover or a nominal cover charge, but some are downright expensive. So, here we go:

If everybody hates disco so much, then why won't it go away? The Boogie Knights, the brain (dead?) child of now-tycoon Jamie Brown, started doing live disco shows a few years ago. Now there are at least 10 of these live bands, shaking bootie almost any night, almost anywhere.

One such outfit, Disco Inferno, will resurrect polyester and hopefully pack the dance floor at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza. This time warp tour ain't a cheap date, however. It's $55 per person or, for the $195 package rate, it's two tickets and a room in which to fall over later.

Also in Thousand Oaks, the Goebel Senior Center will hold a New Year's Eve ballroom dance for those 50 and over. The music will be provided by the Windsors. Meanwhile, in the basement of the Hungry Hunter, where the blues usually rules, it will be Sonny Mone, a singer-songwriter.

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In Simi Valley, one of the high-priced events of the evening will be transacted at the Radisson Hotel. The Jim Adle Group will do that big-band thing for big bucks--$159 per couple, which, thoughtfully, includes a six-course meal.

Not far away, at one of the few rock venues in town, Hung Jury will play at the MVP Sports Bar, the place with a zillion televisions. Down the road apiece at Schooner Time, look for the best band in Simi Valley, April's Motel Room, doing alternative rock as well as anyone. (But be sure to call ahead on this one, since it was not absolutely set at press time).

It's New Year's Eve, so even Camarillo rocks. The Wannabees will do classic rock tunes at The Clubhouse, while across the parking lot (more or less) Le Freak, another of those Disco Knights bands, will play The Stage, just as they do every Friday night.

Up the freeway, Hit City will play at the Oxnard Hilton. At Channel Islands Harbor at the Lobster Trap Restaurant, the Shepherd Band, which is pretty much the house band, will play classic rock. Soulfage will do R & B dance music at the local sports bar, Champs. Bobby & Lee, with a vast repertoire of covers, will play Mandalay Beach Resort.

Not far away, at The Shores, a cool little neighborhood bar with a giant dead fish on the wall, it's Teresa Russell. Just a girl, a guitar and a bunch of machines, Russell is a one-woman band. Russell has a repertoire in the hundreds, including country, rock and blues.

Over in Ventura, big-voiced Cynthia Manley will do her classic rock and blues numbers at the Keynote Lounge, while just a block from the County Jail, the Kenny Dixon Trio--doing blues and rock--will be at O'Leary's Side Bar.

Within staggering distance of the convict condo is Victoria Pub, site of a weird double bill. For music, the pub has rockin' reggae from Conscious Souls, but combines that with Scottish bagpipers and dancers. I wonder if the Scots know "Get Up Stand Up"?

Down near Ventura Harbor at Alexander's, Papa-Nata, fronted by keyboard whiz Guy Jeans, will do reggae-flavored dance music. Their theme song, "Beer in My Hand," should prove appropriate. About a mile down Harbor Boulevard at the Doubletree, P.Y.N. (that's Poor, Young and Nasty) do R & B-flavored dance music. Also on hand will be the Bob Moore Trio doing blues and jazz.

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One of the big events of the evening is B.B. King doing two shows (7 and 11 p.m.) at Ventura Theatre. King, along with John Lee Hooker, is about the most famous living blues man. The 71-year-old King has recorded more than 50 albums, won five Grammys and has been inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The first show is $29.50. In order to bond with King when the witching hour comes around, it'll set you back $65, enough to give most people the blues.

No surprise at the Bombay Bar & Grill--it's the Ska Daddyz, pretty much the house band at this popular dance club. The Silver Strand party boys will get it going with dance songs such as "She Likes to Party" and "Ranking Full Stop." In the front bar, it's Code 3.

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