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Out & About / Ventura County | pop scene : Many Venturans
will remember the duo, which played about a year of
Tuesdays at the old Cafe Voltaire.

Lady Singin' the Blues

Janiva Magness and her band will give free show in Thousand Oaks tonight.

March 10, 2000|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Although the show is free tonight at Borders Books & Music in Thousand Oaks, few will come away with wallets unopened after a 7:30 appearance by the Janiva Magness Band.

Buying a couple of CDs becomes something of a necessity after hearing Magness sing some of hubby Jeff Turmes' ever-clever blues songs. In fact, their debut disc, "It Takes One to Know One," was one of the best albums of the '90s. "My Bad Luck Soul," with their full band, followed in 1999. Borders, not surprisingly, has both of them.

"We heard about Borders from a friend and we already played at the one in Pasadena," said Magness. "It was a lot of fun, and we're looking forward to playing in Thousand Oaks because we hear that it's a really happening store."

Either as a duo or with the four-piece band, these are working musicians. Many Venturans will remember the duo, which played about a year of Tuesdays at the old Cafe Voltaire. The pair still have no day jobs and they're so busy at night, cable would seem an unnecessary expense. Both will appear on the upcoming Kid Ramos album with Duke Robillard and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown.

Magness is working with solo blues guy Doug MacLeod on his new one, and Turmes arranged the horns on the upcoming Fabulous T-Birds' album.

"I put the kibosh on gigging for a while because I was in a play at the Geffen in Westwood for 10 weeks, 'Ain't Nothin' But the Blues.' " Magness said. "That play has been on Broadway for years. It was cool--a steady paycheck for 10 weeks. Plus, can you believe it? I'm a calendar girl for the Tucson Blues Society. I'm Miss August."

Since that particular phase of show biz is history for now, the band will tour more. Gigging from the Bay Area to L.A., the band is also booked for the Sonora Blues Festival this summer, plus it plans to return to Belgium for another festival. Meanwhile, Turmes keeps cranking out slick blues songs. From "King Bee," a sample line:

" . . . He comes up with plan after insane plan and he fails at every try. He winds up one day in his own backyard, shooting a pistol at the sky . . . "

Or from "Once in Awhile":

"Once in awhile I get lonesome and wish you were still here. Once in a while I get lonesome, but most of the time I don't care . . . "

Magness, somewhat prejudiced, explains. "Jeff has a great reputation as a sideman and as a guitar player, but I wanted him to get the recognition as a songwriter. He's brilliant."

As a duo, they play more country blues and ballads, but with the band, it's more blues and Memphis soul. They sell albums at their gigs and on the Internet, and Turmes already has enough songs for a couple of more albums. All they need is a few more machines, according to the writer.

"I'm hoping to upgrade my home recording capabilities and do some recording at home," he said. "For the next one, I'd like to do a lot more originals like the first one--it will be somewhere in between the two."

DETAILS

The Janiva Magness Band at Borders Books & Music, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, 7:30 p.m. today; free; 497-8159.

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There will be enough black leather at the Ventura Theatre on Saturday night to impress the bikers, but don't expect "Born To Be Wild" in any form from Euro-techno industrial ravers Lords of Acid.

This cult band has been around since 1988 and has released a string of hit singles and a couple of albums. Their latest, "Expand Your Head," is a collection of singles plus four new tracks.

Created by Belgian dance and electronic music anarchists Maurice Engelen and Nikki Van Lierrop, the Lords had a hit with their 1988 debut single, "I Sit On Acid," a song that yet prospers in dance clubs. The Lords concoct a wall of sonic assault, featuring alternative rock, hip-hop beats, sex-kitten vocals and crazed industrial-strength guitars, all resulting in a genuine frenzy of energy.

The band's current bio is so full of typos and bad prose, it's more mystifying than enlightening. But the Lords have toured the United States six times and sold over a million and a half records, and their sexual themes and pure party atmosphere have thrilled more than 280,000 paying customers. Put on something black, a frown and those dancing shoes--the Lords are coming.

DETAILS

Lords of Acid, Genaside II and Praga Khan at the Ventura Theatre, 26 Chestnut St., 8 p.m. Saturday; $22; 653-0721.

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If critics were the record-buying public, Richard Thompson would be Ricky Martin. But they're not. Although Thompson isn't half the hunk Martin is, he's one of the best guitar players and one of rock's more memorable songwriters. Thompson and a full band will showcase selections from his vast repertoire at the newest installment of the Sings Like Hell series Wednesday evening at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara.

Critics have been inventing adjectives to describe Thompson since his days as leader of Fairport Convention, a folk rock group from the '60s. His middle phase featured a collaboration with his wife, Linda Thompson, which lasted until their divorce in 1982. Since then, Thompson has been a solo player or touring with a band.

Expect plenty of tunes from his latest, "Mock Tudor," hailed in several reviews as his best effort ever. It's a concept album about growing up in London.

When "Mock Tudor" was released in the fall, it debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard "Top Internet Sales Chart," outselling Kid Rock, Britney Spears and even Ricky Martin. Thompson remains one of the few '60s artists who has managed to avoid the unwelcome transition to dinosaur and continues to expand his horizons as an artist.

DETAILS

Richard Thompson at the Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido, Santa Barbara, 8 p.m. Wednesday; $32.50 or $28.50 advance; 963-0761

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