Imagine Camper Van Beethoven's dilemma. They need a show opener, Spot 1019's busy, and the Young Fresh Fellows aren't in town. What to do? The only solution is to hire sitar master and fellow Santa Cruzian Ashwin Batish, whose fusion of rock and Indian music has recently been collected on Sitar Power, a seven-song LP of instrumental (excepting a few well-lined whoops and grunts), Batish, who also plays a Yamaha DX9, drumulator and tabla, gets instrumental help from David Harnish (electric guitar and bass) and runs through the best raga rock you've heard since Ravi Shankar played Madison Square Garden in '71. The titles- Bombay Boogie,Sitharmony, New Delhi Vice and Casbah Shuffle - tell most of the story. To learn the rest, catch Batish when he makes a rare San Francisco appearance at everyone's favorite Summer Of Love den.
Ashwin Batish opens for Camper Van Beethoven at the I-Beam, July 6.