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Southern Cross releases its first CD. They celebrate Saturday at Nicholby’s.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The last time Southern Cross played Nicholby’s in January, at least 20 women were dancing to the band’s first song, which should answer the eternal single-guy question: Will there be girls at this gig? Southern Cross returns to the scene for a Saturday night party to celebrate the release of its first CD.

Musically, Southern Cross, along with the Rincon Ramblers, is probably the best local band. The quintet plays acoustic music, but they’re not a bunch of neurotic folkies dressed in black and sniveling. It’s acoustic music on steroids, propelled by the guitars of Jon Raffetto and Stuart Orlinsky. Troy Dixon sings, John Bunt plays bass, and Cooley--just Cooley--is the percussionist.

“We’re just Southern Cross,” said Dixon. “We’re the alternative to the alternative. It’s rock ‘n’ roll, I guess, but all original in the ways we put our influences together. We used to do a couple of covers, but they were so lame, we gave it up. If it’s going to be lame, we decided to do our own stuff.”

The CD, produced by the band, was recorded in Ventura at Gold Mine Studios. Six bucks will get you into the show, which will feature openers Roy and Daphne Jones, formerly of House of Games; but 10 bucks will get you in and buy you a CD to carry around the rest of the evening. Nicholby’s is at the corner of Oak and Main streets in Ventura. Call them at 653-2320 to find out more.

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If you can’t wait for this one, Orlinsky and Raffetto will offer some acoustic guitar wizardry at Cafe Voltaire the night before the CD release party. This midnight show is the ever-affordable free at 34 N. Palm Street in Ventura. Call them at 641-1743.

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Guns N’ Roses, a band famous for arguing and for being ever so much more than fashionably late for their own gigs, are in rock ‘n’ roll limbo these days. But guitarist Slash, with perhaps too much time and money on his hands, has played over 550 gigs since the last GNR tour and has a new band, Slash’s Blues Ball, which will headline a Saturday evening gig at the Ventura Theatre.

Slash’s current band, which features a bunch of hot session guys, does old Stones songs, Muddy Waters songs, Led Zeppelin songs, Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and zero Guns N’ Roses tunes. I wonder if they’ll use Axl Rose’s watch and be three hours late? Nah.

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In any case, Slash had better be good because it’ll be no picnic following the Guy Martin Group, which features a dude who rages on guitar. Martin does some bluesy originals plus covers by famous dead rock stars such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, which he pulls off with considerable gusto. The Hendrix classic “Voodoo Child,” Martin’s usual set ender, is worth a timely arrival. Martin is currently recording tracks whenever his trio plays and is hoping for a live CD sometime in the spring. Also on the bill are those Neil Young-flavored locals from east Ventura, Bloody Mary Morning, also working on a CD.

Call the venue at 648-1888 to find out more about this 8 p.m., 15-buck performance.

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Smooth crooner Oscar Snow is back from an extensive Midwest tour touting his latest album, “Snow’s Groove.” Snow will appear at the Wherehouse in Ventura from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Lots of smooth songs about Miss Understood falling fast on that old emotional roller coaster should put Snow in solid with the likes of Teddy Pendergrass, Bobby Brown, Keith Sweat and those others who like to cry. The Wherehouse is in the San Buenaventura Mall at 185 S. Mills Road. There will be live radio coverage of the event plus prizes and, naturally, lots of Snow CDs. For more information, call 658-6424.

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Meanwhile, up the coast in Santa Barbara, things will be raging and testosterone levels will throw the mosh pit into Warp Drive, especially tonight at a gnarly punk rock show at Emerald City. Guttermouth is headlining, but also on the bill are those legendary local ragers Ill Repute. In the early ‘80s, along with Dr. Know and Agression, Ill Repute was responsible for the original hard-core scene in Oxnard, which became known as Nardcore.

Originally four guys from Hueneme High School, Ill Repute has been around off and on since 1982. Also on the bill are Kingpin and Assorted Jelly Beans. Emerald City is at 110 Santa Barbara St. on the beach side of the freeway. Call 965-5050 to find out more about this 8 p.m., eight-buck show.

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Then, on Saturday night, back from their first tour after signing with Arista Records, goofball rockers Nerf Herder will play Toes Tavern on Saturday night. It’s worth it just to hear Parry Gripp and his pals do one of the funniest songs of all time, “Sorry.” Toes is at 416 State St. Call them at 965-4655 to find out more about this 9 p.m. show. Nerf Herder should start around 11-ish.

And finally down the street at SOhO, same night, it’s the annual “Rockabilly Roundup,” featuring the Paladins, Rosie Flores and the Cadillac Angels, formerly the Roadhouse Rockers, beginning around 8 p.m. SOhO, the place forever seeking a capital “H,” is at 1221 State St. Call them at 962-7776.


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