It’s out with the old and in with the new in the Santa Barbara area. On Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, a sold-out crowd bore witness to this notion first hand as San Francisco singer-songwriter Hanni El Khatib carried out an electrifying performance during his stop at The Goodland Hotel in Goleta.
There were many aspects of this event that illustrated the exciting nature of the transforming hierarchy and organization of concerts in Santa Barbara. First, The Goodland Hotel itself, a newly remodeled version of the old Holiday Inn on Camino Real, demonstrated its potential as a concert venue. The main hall held the crowd well, and although it seemed full enough to reflect the fact that tickets to the show had completely sold out, there was enough space for the audience to freely move around, dance, or simply speak to one another. Additionally, the bar was fully stocked with premium beverages and the bartenders were able to handle the large crowd well.
However, the most noteworthy characteristic of The Goodland Hotel was its aesthetic value as a venue. The main lobby and outer restaurant gave an impression of being a sophisticated space, yet the patrons filling either area suggested a more laid-back disposition, which made all guests feel welcome and able to fully express their excitement throughout the night.
With regard to the music, each performer offered their unique spin on the vastly encompassing category of rock.
Dante Elephante, a local alternative surf band whose upcoming album will be produced by Jonathan Rado of Foxygen, opened the night with a lively performance that kept the audience energized as more and more people began to enter the venue.
Following Dante Elephante was an exciting new group from Los Angeles named Ivory Deville. Ivory Deville recently released an album on Kill/Hurt Records and accepted the offer to play this show in a last minute decision. Although many in the crowd were at first unaware of the band, their talent became immediately apparent to those in attendance, suggesting that their return to Santa Barbara will be inevitable.
In addition to each of these groups, KCSB DJs Yibing Guo, a fourth-year film and media studies major, and Joaquin Peres, a second-year English major, played several all-vinyl DJ sets to keep the crowd moving in between acts. KCSB co-sponsored the event alongside KCRW, the main organization that put the show together. The teamwork shown between these two radio stations bodes very well for the musical climate of Santa Barbara, as both stations strive to provide high quality content to locals in the area whose search for live performances from artists such as Hanni El Khatib had been notably unserved until this point.
The combination of the new presence of KCRW in Santa Barbara and their willingness to build partnerships with various local organizations such as KCSB, in addition to the debut of The Goodland Hotel as a venue for concerts, alongside the introduction of bands such as Ivory Deville in Santa Barbara, together illustrate a promising future for locals who fervently seek a more diverse array of live musical offerings to choose from.
However, as was to be expected, the most noteworthy aspect of the event was Hanni El Khatib’s performance. The set featured tracks from each of his three albums, including his debut Will The Guns Come Out, his second album Head In The Dirt, which was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, and his latest release, Moonlight.
El Khatib displayed great composure and a sense of crowd control, including banter that ranged from being humble and sincere to that typical of a true rock star. He has toured extensively, including a recently expansive amount of headlining shows, many of which saw El Khatib accompanied by fellow Innovative Leisure Records alumni Bass Drum of Death. Alongside festival appearances in Australia, The Netherlands, and France, El Khatib has been converted into a seasoned performer, and the hype surrounding him in recent months has proven to be wholly warranted.