Mike Mok
Mike Mok's blend of styles hits the Ritz on Friday night.

Mok meets surf meets rockabilly

By Julian Wise - August 17, 2006

Journeyman rock and roller Mike Mok returns to The Ritz with his band The Em Tones for a pair of August shows that promise to turn up the dance floor with Mok's wily blend of surf and rockabilly music. With his sideburns, close-cropped hair, and Vegas-meets-Village suits, Mok looks like an extra from a Quentin Tarantino film as he and his band stir up the crowd with their guitar-driven rock.

Mr. Mok and his band plays a blend of cover and original tunes that mine the rich vein of California surf rock, blues, and jaunty rockabilly tunes. The band has recently toured Europe, entertaining audiences in Holland, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium. On several tour stops they shared the bill with the legendary California surf outfit The Surfaris. On their Vineyard visits, the band will premier songs from their upcoming CD "Rock and Roll Tonite."

Mike Mok performs at 10 pm on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 18 and 19, at the Ritz, Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs; and Friday, Aug. 18, 6 pm, at Aboveground Records, Triangle, Edgartown.

Santa Mamba
Hear Santa Mamba at Lola's on Saturday.

World class world beat

Santa Mamba is the new name for the retooled World Beat group Planet Groove, a band that's made a name for itself in the last decade for bringing lively dance shows to the New England Region. The band's music has shifted from R+B to a simmering funk-Latin sound. In keeping with the band's new tone, the group has released the 8-song CD "Saints and Sinners," a blend of live and studio tracks that showcases its potent blend of salsa, Latin rhythms, and guitar-driven rock.

Santa Mamba is comprised of drummer Ajay Coletta, Venezuelan singer Gio Murillo, keyboardist Aaron Wade, bassist Nick Wade, guitarist John Medeiros, and percussionist Candido Mendoza. Each musician brings sharp technical skills that snap together into a fluid, cohesive whole. On "Saints and Sinners," the CD ranges from the guitar-driven "Mi Reyna" to the pulsing Latin rhythms of "Yo no se na." The live version of Led Zeppelin's "Dyer Maker" displays the band's ability to take a classic rock staple and infuse it with fresh energy by melding the song's rock and roll core with a spicy Latin tempo. Singer Gio Murillo sings in Spanish and English, yet those who failed high school Spanish will still be able to tap into the hot core of musical energy that makes these songs cook.

Santa Mamba performs Friday and Saturday, Aug. 18 and 19, at Lola's, Beach Road, Oak Bluffs.

Julian Wise is a frequent contributor to The Times, specializing in music, film, and the performing arts.