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And the Council Will Rock

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a band from Ventura, will receive keys to the city.


Monday may be a good night for Venturans to get involved with their city government.

Instead of consultants pontificating on who-knows-what, the City Council meeting will have a far more alluring soundtrack when a video is shown from those "Kings of Swing," hometown heroes Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

Informed sources reveal that the music may just inspire the Flying Lindy Hoppers to dance in the aisles of the council chamber. Originally, the group was going to play a brief set, but a couple of band members will be out of town that night.

This, however, won't prevent Mayor Jim Friedman from presenting the other members of the band with the key to the city. "I offered to sit in, and I could probably get the clothes, but unfortunately, I don't play," said the mayor.

"Besides, I don't want to steal their thunder."

This will be yet another award for the swing band that has provided the soundtrack for a nation of swingers who dress better and dance better than we do.

Big Bad got its start back in 1991 at Nicholby's in Ventura, a place they routinely packed.

The band then took its show on the road and sold 30,000 copies of its self-produced CD from the back of a van.

Relentless touring led to more and cooler gigs, such as The Derby in Hollywood. That led to being featured in the cult flick "Swingers."

Big Bad's big-label debut went platinum and all of a sudden, the band was playing on all sorts of television shows, including "Ally McBeal" as well as halftime gigs at the Orange Bowl and the Super Bowl.

The mayor himself--not usually a regular at Big Bad gigs--did catch the band's performance at the Big Game.

"I was watching the Super Bowl and I saw this great Ventura band, and I wondered how they could be honored by the city," Friedman said.

"Later, I figured 'Hey, we can make this happen.' This is very exciting for me to have an opportunity to honor our hometown band that has made a worldwide impact on music."

For those whose zoot suit is still at the cleaners, Ventura City Council meetings are televised on Channel 6. The presentation will be the first thing on the agenda.



Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli St., 7 p.m. Monday. Free. 677-3906.


The latest installment of that venerable institution, the Battle of the Bands, will take place Saturday night at Chicago West in Ventura.

Sixteen bands will battle through four rounds, with the winner being announced June 12. Here's the deal: The first round will be in Ventura and the May 15 round will move to A&M's Roadhouse in Oxnard.

The sites will alternate with one winner emerging from each of the four rounds.

The ultimate winner gets 750 bucks, and the second-place finisher gets free studio time. The opening-round bands include Luck of the Draw, Guilty Party, Woodface and Blue Line. The May 15 lineup at A&M's will include Kneed, Normal Human Speed, SinJar and Sacred Cows. Chicago West--formerly known as the Chaparral Club, the Midnight Hour and the Bar--is at the very west end of Main Street. The show is an affordable fiver.



Luck of the Draw, Guilty Party, Woodface and Blue Line at Chicago West, 281 W. Main St., Ventura, 9 p.m. Saturday, $5. 643-9378.


Ska music has always been popular in Southern California, finding particular favor with the finnheads and skateheads. Friday night at the venerable Ventura Theatre, it's Skali Fest, featuring a quartet of Latin ska bands.

Los Olvidados, out of Los Angeles, has been around for eight years, a veritable eternity for a band. Self-described as 'Worldbeateros" or "World Beat," this band combines ska, cumbia, nortena, soukous, reggae, bossa nova and punk.

Las 15 Letras out of Silver Lake does the ska/punk thing and will be trying to sell a few copies of its latest CD, "Golosinas."

Riesgo de Contagio (Contagious At Risk) out of Mexico City plays punk-flavored ska; and Toka-Discos, out of Ensenada, is already a big hit in its hometown after just a year together.



Skali Fest featuring Los Olvidados, Las 15 Letras, Riesgo de Contagio and Toka-Discos at the Ventura Theatre, 7 p.m. today, $12. 653-0721.


To the pointy shoe crowd, those for whom "wahoo" is both a speech and a world view, this could be a memorable week of music.

Festivities begin Saturday with Country & Western Music Under the Oaks in Thousand Oaks at noon. Headlining will be J.D. Felkins & the Texas Western Swing Band.

Also on the bill will be the California State Old Time Fiddlers Assn. of Ventura County. Bring your chairs, but leave your dogs at home for this event at the Chumash Interpretive Center in Thousand Oaks. To find out more, call 492-8076.

Later there will be a benefit concert featuring the bluegrass wizardry of the Witcher Brothers, plus Country Gospel Jubilee and Dennis Agajanian at Rancho del Rey Conference Center in Oak View. Tickets are $8.50 at the gate. To find out more, call 649-2062.

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