This month’s not-to-miss live music events
After the last race on Saturday, Nov. 12: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, and Mimi Zulu at the Del Mar Racetrack. Free with admission before start of final race; $20 after.
Fans of Harper have been waiting for a new album from the singer-songwriter and The Innocent Criminals for eight years; that wait ended earlier this year with the release “Call It What It Is.” On the record, Harper’s voice shines with its signature soulfulness on politically charged tracks such as “Oppression.” A lighter side of Harper’s style can be found on the buoyant “Shine.” This post-race show will open with San Diego’s own Mimi Zulu — a lyricist, poet and singer with an intoxicating retro vibe. DMTC.com.
8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15: The fifth annual Rob Machado benefit featuring Pepper, Tristan Prettyman, Iron Sage Wood and more at the Belly Up, Solana Beach. $35-$100.
Every year, Machado – the legendary surfer, environmental activist and musician — partners with The Belly Up to host this fundraiser for his foundation (learn more at robmachadofoundation.org). This year’s show will feature an acoustic set by rock-reggae band Pepper, local singer-songwriter Prettyman, upbeat rockers Iron Sage Wood, and more. This show not only features this eclectic lineup, but also raises money for a worthy cause. Tickets start at $35 for general admission; $65 tickets include reserved seating; and $100 VIP tickets include early entry and a meet-and-greet with the musicians. BellyUp.com.
9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23: Trouble in the Wind at Pour House, Oceanside. Free.
This free pre-Thanksgiving shindig should give you the boost you need before the onslaught of frustrating family time and turkey hangovers. Trouble in the Wind has put out one of the best local records of the year – according to SoundDiego, myself and undoubtedly many others. “Lefty” features an ambitious 13-song track list that never disappoints. From the soulful crooning on “No Good” to the gritty rock ‘n’ roll of “The Good Stuff,” this album has a mixture of folk, surf and indie rock. And what would Thanksgiving be without dessert? The album opens with a not-to-be-missed heartbreaking ditty called “Pumpkin Pie.” More bands will be added to this lineup as the date approaches. PourHouseOceanside.com.
7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2: Petra Haden and Jesse Harris at the Museum of Making Music, Carlsbad. $20-$25.
These two talented musicians have each had individual successes in the world of music. Haden has used her voice and violin to collaborate with rock icons including Beck, Foo Fighters and more. Harris has also worked with big-name talents, including Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris. He has written songs for Norah Jones and won a Grammy Award for composition on her hit song “Don’t Know Why.” As a duo, these artists craft delicate tunes full of vocal harmonies and wide-ranging influences. Their single “Sometimes You Have to Choose Sides” showcases Haden’s ethereal vocals and has a visually mesmerizing music video to match. MuseumOfMakingMusic.org.
Out of the Woods Pick of the Month
Various times on Friday, Nov. 11, and Saturday, Nov. 12: San Diego Music Thing featuring Little Hurricane, Geographer, White Fang, Johnette Napolitano and many more at locations throughout North Park and Hillcrest. Badges for $50-plus.
Several venues around North Park and Hillcrest, including Bar Pink, The Office, The Merrow, The Irenic and more, will host local and national bands for this year’s San Diego Music Thing. Highlights include Napolitano of Concrete Blonde bringing her sultry singing to The Office on Friday night at 6 p.m. The same venue also will throw a great Saturday party with Little Hurricane, Geographer, King Dude, and Dani Bell and The Tarantist starting at 3 p.m. The Merrow in Hillcrest gets one of the hardest-rocking shows on Saturday, featuring Spitfire Torpedo, No Parents, White Fang, The Touchies and Sculpins, starting at 3 p.m. SanDiegoMusicThing.com.