Last September’s installment of the Downtown Street Jam featured the mad conguero skills of Latin jazz man Poncho Sanchez. This year, organizers have set the dial over to “alt-rock/nü-metal” with headliner Smile Empty Soul, a band that spent the early ’00s on Atlantic imprint Lava, enjoying the riff-driven, post-grunge success of singles like “Bottom of the Bottle,” “Silhouettes” and “Nowhere Kids,” and scoring a gold record with the group’s 2003 self-titled full-length. Time to walk down KROQ’s memory lane. And, as you ponder the potential merits of Smile Empty Soul’s new record Anxiety (slated for release sometime this year), expect more reasons to toast some green beer with the likes of supporting acts the Leperkhanz and California Celts, an outfit whose members—rumors say—wear more kilts than early ’90s Axl Rose and have filed a trademark for the subgenre of “Celtic ska.” Flogging Molly fans are welcome. If you counted yourself among the Orange Blossom Festival loyalists, then this relatively new downtown live music event (it launched last year with sets by hometown heroes Voodoo Glow Skulls and The Skeletones) will likely get you all nostalgic for all those weekends spent blasting your eardrums along Ninth Street and filling your belly with far too much kettle corn.
Downtown Street Jam featuring Smile Empty Soul and others in downtown Riverside (stage at Orange and Ninth streets), (951) 341-6550; www.myspace.com/downtownstreetjam. Sat, March 13. Free.