You want funny?

Speaking of major comedic talents, did I ever tell you about the time I got into a shouting match with David Brenner—who used to guest-host The Tonight Show back when Johnny Carson was that show’s Jay Leno—in Las Vegas? It was at a Tower Records store where I worked, and Brenner swept in with an entourage one afternoon. He immediately browbeat a clerk into playing “My Way” by Frank Sinatra, which yours truly yanked mid-song, replacing it with “No Doubt About It” by professional wrestler Fred Blassie. Brenner was not amused. The gist of our conversation went as follows. Me: “You don’t think that’s funny?” Him: “No.” Me: “Then you’re no comedian, if you don’t think this is funny.” Him: “Put my record back on, now!” Me: “Did you pay for it?” Him: “No.” Me: “Then technically it’s not your record.” Him: “You’ll never work in this town again!”

And what does this have to do with Raigambre playing Harlow’s this Saturday, September 18? Well, nada. Yes, it’s possible that a comedian once played Harlow’s, and Latino comic George Lopez has played Arco Arena on occasion. But that’s stretching things a bit. Anyway, Raigambre, a local Latin-rock ensemble that has worked hard to re-establish that genre here in Sacramento, is playing the final date of its summertime “Chicano Groove” series at the club, located at 2708 J Street. The show ($10 cover, 21 and over) begins at 9 p.m. with San Jose-based band Lado Oriente opening and KSFM DJ Big Al hosting.

According to Raigambre vocalist and percussionist Sam Miranda, his band will be playing a date at California State University, Sacramento, on Thursday, December 2, opening for Ozomatli—arguably the leading exponent of a resurgent Latin-rock genre—when that L.A.-based band returns to play its guitarist Raul Pacheco’s alma mater. Also on that bill: San Diego band the B-Side Players and L.A. band Quetzal.

In the meantime, Raigambre will continue to record its full-length CD, doing the basic tracking on a hard-disk setup before it moves into a studio. And for next spring, Miranda said he’s angling with the Festival de la Familia promoters to add a night for Latin rock. He thinks he’s got a good shot. “People are more aware of [Latin rock] now,” he said.

With bands like Raigambre and Brother Nefarious, among others, proving that there are audiences hungry for a groove-driven amalgam of Latin, rock, hip-hop and percussion-heavy world music, and with genre originator Carlos Santana still selling lots of records, it doesn’t take a psychic to predict that this music isn’t going away anytime soon. No joke.

As for Mr. Brenner, he was last seen promoting a new book titled I Think There’s a Terrorist in My Soup.