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August 23, 2006

Feedback from the Reader

The next issue of the Reader has come out, and it published no less than six letters to the editor regarding my Cover Story. It was obviously a divisive article, and thanks to their comments, several San Diego residents have earned themselves a spot on my Richard Nixon style enemies list. Brian "Absolutely horrible...what a moron" Nelson, Shannon "how much of an idiot your writer is" Riccio and Mariah "monotonous and dragging" Burzynski, welcome to the club!

I think it's really great that the San Diego Reader is willing to print the opinions of its readers, and my three new enemies should be proud that their thoughts were published. To tell you the truth, there's only one real difference between the Reader printing Brian Nelson's, Shannon Riccio's, and Mariah Burzynski's opinion and them publishing mine:

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One of us got One Thousand Dollars for their opinion.

One thing that I did find interesting was that no matter whether people thought the article was poorly written by a moron or hitting things dead center, nobody stood up for the radio stations. Nothing from an employee, or even an impassioned fan. Where are all those people?

August 16, 2006

Check Out The Reader

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Monday I got an email from the folks at the Reader asking if I was aware that my 91X and 949 diaries were going to be used as the cover story for this weeks issue. I was unaware, but very excited nonetheless. When you put stuff out there on the internet, you can say whatever you want, but realize that your readership is limited to people who come to or google your site. When you put stuff in print, you have a much greater readership, but often have to limit what you say based on the publications standards. Fortunately, the reader was able to print my 91X diary and 949 diary with all profanity, slurs, heresay, conjecture, and libel intact. So a hearty "hear hear" to them, and hopefully an even heartier "hear hear" when the check arrives.

If it's your first time here because of the Reader, check out the podcasts, learn a bit more about me and then go steam M. Ward's new album "Post War" right here.

As a closing note, no matter what your opinion of "Dani California" or Filter or Audioslave or Angels and Airwaves or Billy Corgan's Zero Shirt or "Steady as she goes", we can all agree on one thing - Seeing my article on the cover of the Reader is 100 times better than seeing this:

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August 01, 2006

The Street Scene Blows

Two and a half months ago, I was trying to figure out any advance information about the then-unrevealed Street Scene lineup. While speculating that a performance by a reunited Replacements, fresh off their two newly recorded tracks, might be an event worth getting excited about, I got called "retarded" and "a joke" by this guy:


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Would you rather be a joke or a douchebag?

Street Scene organizer Joe Callahan. I'll be honest, the insults bother me a whole lot less after seeing that picture.

It was, however, the first sign that the Street Scene people might not be down with making friends with the little guy. Over the past few months, I asked if I could give away tickets to some of my readers through an fun little San Diego-wide scavenger hunt. I offered to interview the guys putting it on, since the interviews in the UT came across as pretty much re-printing their press releases (the god damn ferris wheel!) Then last week, I applied for and was turned down for a press pass to go and take pictures of the show. This was the unkindest cut of all, since it means that I won't be going to the festival for the first time in the four years I've lived here. But once it became a reality, I got to take a step back, and wonder if really this was such a bad thing.

So let's break down the Street Scene next to the other major festival going on this weekend, Chicago's Lollapalooza. It seems like a legitimate thing to do. Both festivals take place on the same weekend in major American cities, both have evolved a great deal from previous iterations, and both are of large enough scale to be talked about in articles like Rolling Stone's summer festival preview. But do the two really measure up upon closer inspection? Let's find out:

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HISTORY:
Street Scene has been taking place in San Diego for over two decades, but has undergone great changes since 2003, the first one I went to. Notable changes include lineup focus and location. Lollapalooza was a historical travelling festival, (THE travelling festival for a flannel wearing 7th grader), but is only in its second year as a multi-day festival. So while Lollapalooza has by far the more recognizable name, Street Scene is more of a fixture. However, the aforementioned Lord Douche-In-Shades did say to the UT that they had considered moving the festival last year, so it's true roots in San Diego may be in doubt.
EDGE: Street Scene - You can't argue with history, but people, especially people in both festivals target age groups, have very short memories.

LOCATION

Lollapalooza takes place in Chicago's Grant Park, complete with fountains and grass. Street Scene takes place in Qualcomm Stadiums parking lot. I have not been among the ones disparaging the parking lot in past years, to me it's about the music. But you have to agree that at an all day concert, when you want to sit down and take a break, it would be nice if there were some trees or water around.
EDGE: Lollapalooza - No contest, as long as it's easy to get around once you're inside.


COST

Street Scene costs $125, including service charges, for a 2 day pass. Lollapalooza costs $167, including service charges, for a three day pass. So for Street Scene that's $62.50 per day and Lollapalooza, $56. Both festivals offer more expensive single day passes, and both offered passes for much cheaper earlier on in the summer. Why the ticket prices must increase is unknown to me . Why do tickets cost more at the door? What has changed? Why did Street Scene tickets go on sale for $80 before the lineup was announced? This method of ticket sales only serves to alienate people who might have been making last minute plans based on ticket prices. If there is a real reason, I'm curious to know it.
EDGE: Lollapalooza - Both festivals are pretty expensive, but if you were considering both festivals, the price is close enough that it would not be a deciding factor. Lollapalooza advertises its ticket price as "almost $1 per band", which as anyone who has been to a large festival can tell you, is ridiculous. It's impossible to see every band, an compromises are always necessary. Lollapalooza also complicates this matter by starting ridiculously early in the morning, pre-noon. So it is much bigger, but I know that I would personally have to miss a good deal of what was going on due to exhaustion, laziness and hangovers. However, their per day ticket price is cheaper, and it really boils down to bang for your buck, which we will address below.


OTHER STUFF TO DO

Street Scene has the god damn ferris wheel, inflatable land and burlesque shows. Lollapalooza has karaoke contests, improv comedy and VH1 confessional booths.
EDGE: Draw - Who cares? The only non-musical thing I can think that might actually strike me as worthwhile at a festival might be an enormous swimming pool. When the focus is not on the music, everyone loses.

So that brings us to....

MUSIC
This is what it all comes down to. If both festivals were going on in town at the same time, with no difference in price, (since it's not really that great a difference), which one would you go to? I think that the only way to look at this is to break the line up down, day by day, hour by hour, declaring a winner and keeping score. Points only are awarded during times when the lineup overlaps, unless the band is too awesome not to award a point for.

Let's begin on FRIDAY.

11:45
Lollapalooza: Deadboy & The Elephantmen, Sound Team
Street Scene: Greasing the ferris wheel axels
Points: Probably wouldn't be there yet, but the Deadboy's song "Stop, I'm Already Dead" kicks ass.

12:30
Lollapalooza: The Subways
Street Scene: Inflating inflatable land
Points: The Subways play from 6 to 7 on Saturday at the Street Scene, and garbage time at Lollapalooza. I choose to award no points.

1:30
Lollapalooza: Aqualung, Cursive
Street Scene: Joe Callahan practices leering over his shades
Points: This 12:30 to 2:30 gap would only further confirm my late arrival to Lollapalooza. No points.

2:30
Lollapalooza: Eels
Street Scene: Fish tacos
Points: The Eels are a nice early day surprise here before the festival kicks into full gear, but not great enough to award uncontested points.

3:30
Lollapalooza: Stars, Editors
Street Scene: The Colour
Points: +1 Street Scene. Brent, who works at the Colour's label sounds is a pretty nice guy, and the band is no slouch either. STARS are ok and the Editors are our second double dip band, playing at Street Scene on Saturday at 6. I give the edge to The Colour, even though I probably wouldn't have show up to the Street Scene by now.

I'm going to start listing just the bands I would go to see, since I'll typically just pick one at big festivals like this.

4:30
Lollapalooza: Ryan Adams
Street Scene: Reeve Oliver
Points: +1 Lollapalooza. At times I can't stand Ryan Adams, but some of his songs I absolutely love. Reeve Oliver was the guy who got banned from one San Diego radio station that's about the music after he played another radio station that is about the music's concert. That makes me want to like him. But it's not a contest, as Street Scene is still in its garbage time and Lollapalooza is gearing up for the big names

5:30
Lollapalooza: Secret Macines/Iron and Wine
Street Scene: I would not have arrived at Street Scene for the likes of Lupe Fiasco
Points: +1 Lollapalooza. Lollapalooza has the first tough call for who to go see, the guy who sings like a pussy but I know more of his songs, or the spacey band with the potential for rocking out. Either one reading from the cars operating manual would be better than the Street Scenes offering during this time.

6:30
Lollapalooza: My Morning Jacket
Street Scene: Steel Pulse
Points: +1 Lollapalooza. Sorry Steel Pulse, the token "legitimate reggae" status can't stack up against My Morning Jacket, who I think may be the best live band there is out there, and who are unfortunately stacked up against the Raconteurs. MMJ is easily worth half a days ticket price in itself, and them not playing at Street Scene made it a hell of a lot easier for me to pass on the festival.

7:30
Lollapalooza: Violent Femmes
Street Scene: Wolfmother
Points: +1 Street Scene. The Violent Femmes have played for free at the racetrack every year I've been here. People always react the same way when I tell them that: "The Violent Femmes are still around?" Wolfmother, I think rocks, and could be really fun to see. They also play Lollapalooza later on in the weekend.

8:30
Lollapalooza: Ween
Street Scene: Wu-Tang Clan
Points: +1 Lollapalooza. I love the Wu. I have two Wu-Wear shirts, visited the Wu-Wear store on Staten Island, saw them live in Southeast DC in 2001 and engaged in vicious debates all throughout high school about which of my friends was equivilent to which member of the Wu. But nothing will change the fact that the chances that a hip hop live event does not suck are inversely proportional to the number of guys on stage with water bottles and towels over their shoulder. It would pain me to do it, and the number of drinks I'd have had could play a major role in a decision reversal, but picking outright between Ween's insane rocking and rumored to be awesome live show and any live hip hop act is a no brainer for me.

10:00
Lollapalooza: Done for the night
Street Scene: Kanye or Social D, Bra
Points: +1 Street Scene. Despite the above "famous hip hop artists suck live" reasoning I'll give them Kanye. Social Distortion has played at every Street Scene that I've been to, like G Love, and I guess people love that tradition. But find a better band to headline the rock stage on Friday night, one with a new album, a hit song from the past decade, a reunited Replacements, anything!

Score after Friday: Lollapalooza 5, Street Scene 2

On to SATURDAY

11:45
Lollapalooza: Be Your Own Pet
Street Scene: Still asleep
Points: None. I'm sure this band is terrible.

12:30
Lollapalooza: Nada Surf
Street Scene: First bloody mary of the day. Three girls leave Joe Callahan's apartment, wondering how they thought that look-over-the-sunglasses was cool the night before
Points: None. I don't buy into Nada Surf actually being good, especially because Weezer was the band I most frequently saw tossed around in comparisons to them.

1:30
Lollapalooza: The Go! Team
Street Scene: Fourth Bloody Mary
Points: +1 Lollapalooza. The Go Team provides a strong reason to start Saturday early. Their energy will hopefully provide an early highlight.

2:30
Lollapalooza: Built To Spill
Street Scene: Waiting for the trolley
Points: +1 Lollapalooza. I'm not as familiar with Built To Spill as I'd like to be, but feel like I might really enjoy checking them out in a nice outdoor setting.

3:30
Lollapalooza: Wolfmother
Street Scene: Margot & The Nuclear So and So's
Points: +1 Lollapalooza. Wolfmother is just a damn good idea: try to sound exactly like an energetic Black Sabbath at their peak. Well done.

4:30
Lollapalooza: Gnarls Barkley
Street Scene: The Futureheads, Tapes 'n Tapes
Points: +1 Lollapalooza. Gnarls Barkley not bringing their crazy ass costumes out to San Diego this summer is a pretty big regret of mine. They will undoubtedly bring the heat. For those of you keeping track, "Crazy" has somehow become my top played song on my last.fm charts. The Futureheads on the other hand, are one of like 5 bands whose CDs I have actually deleted off of my iTunes, and I don't delete anything. But I may make another exception for Tapes 'n Tapes one of these days.

5:30
Lollapalooza: Blackalicious
Street Scene: Subways or Editors
Points: +1 Lollapalooza. I could care less about either Street Scene band, and nobody will remember them in a years time. Blackalicious on the other hand, I saw at Street Scene two years ago, and they feature a hype man named Lateef the Truth Speaka. Credit goes to Street Scene here for organizing the best live hip-hop show I've ever seen, A Tribe Called Quest back in 2004. They proved all the bold claims I have made earlier in the article very wrong, although I can attribute most of their ass-kicking to the fact that they didn't rely on hype-men, instead deciding to shockingly let the guys rap who people came to see rap.

6:30
Lollapalooza: The Flaming Lips
Street Scene: Editors and Subways finish, G Love starts
Points: +1 Lollapalooza. One thing I didn't notice is that Lollapalooza has a lot more flow between stages. These dismal acts are still performing at Street Scene as the greatest experience you will ever have at a concert takes place up in Chicago. More than one point should be awarded.

7:30
Lollapalooza: Thievery Corporation
Street Scene: The Shins
Points: +1 Lollapalooza. A tough call. I'll go with the Thievery Corporation despite an aversion to electronic music because A) I've never seen them before, B) It will be the perfect come down after the insanity the Lips and C) unlike The Shins, it won't sound exactly like their record.

8:30
Lollapalooza: Kanye West
Street Scene: Bloc Party
Points: +1 Lollapalooza. This was up for Street Scene to run away with, but Bloc Party just doesn't do it for me.

10:00
Lollapalooza: Done til tomorrow
Street Scene: Snoop Dogg
Points: +1 Street Scene. I've seen Snoop twice, and he is no exception to the live performance sucking rule. But he's by far the most fun thing going on now. I've had several different people tell me that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Indy Jam performance was the worst thing they've ever seen in their lives, and Tool blows. As long as Snoop touches on more than one song from Doggystyle, then Drops it Like It's Hot and in the end all the Homies Have Some, it will be a good way to close out a day.

Final Score:Lollapalooza 12, Street Scene 4

It looks like Lollapalooza wins in a landslide, and that's not even factoring in Sunday, which features The Hold Steady, who are one of the few bands that have enough power to single handedly influence my festival attendence decisions. The day as a whole is weaker than the first two though. Kudos to the Street Scene organizers for reisisting the inexplicable urge that people are having to book Matisyahu these days. Day three of Lollapalooza is less inspired, with less must see live acts, and you'll certainly be tired by then. Like all good double albums, it's a three day festival that could have been condensed down to two in this mans opinion.

So after going through and scoring the lineup, which resulted in an astonishing Lollapalooza landslide, I have a few questions for the Street Scene organizers.

-Do you consider the Street Scene to be on similar status to major festivals like Lollapalooza or Coachella? If not, is it your goal to reach that status? What is preventing the Street Scene from being that kind of national festival that out of towners will fly to San Diego for?

-On a similar note, do you feel it is unfair for me to compare the two festivals? Why or why not?

-Did you try to book any of the bands that are playing at Lollapalooza, but were unable to because they were already committed? Did any bands waver before signing on to the Street Scene hoping that Lollapalooza would call?

-How would you score the lineups that I came up with?

-The "ticket prices increasing" gradually thing...What's the reasoning behind that? Also, what do you see as being a cap to a 2 day festival pass in the foreseeable future? Do ticket prices increase because bands have more bargaining power with so many festivals taking place? Does focusing on a much younger audience make you have to focus more on keeping ticket prices lower?

Thus concludes another exhausting piece, undoubtedly rife with errors and exaggerations. I appreciate all feedback, criticisms and offers to buy me plane tickets to Chicago.

July 31, 2006

Tom Sauer - One Lame Dude

I got a comment on my Springsteen, Seals and Shit article from a few months ago from the folks at sealwatch.org, which caused me to investigate what had been up recently with the seal situation down in La Jolla. Sealwatch linked to the below video of some dick harassing the seals, provided by the La Jolla Friends of the Seals:

It's pretty much a 50 year old petulant child named Tom Sauer scaring the seals into the water and then talking about how he had the right to do it. Sauer is a San Diego attorney who maintains childrenspool.org, which talks about how great Mrs. Scripps (who is long dead) was for donating the childrens pool and lists the legal briefs he has filed on behalf of his clients, whose fines for harassing the seals he is contesting. Before we mock and belittle his personal flaws, let's just point out one thing from his most recent legal filing. In this case, someone named Lilo Creighton (who he talks about in the video) was fined for scaring away the seals. Part of her defense is as follows:

"the reason she landed on the beach in the middle of the hauled out animals was that she needed to concentrate on staying in a small channel to avoid being pushed on rocks; and that she needed to swim fast in order to reach the beach without being hurt"

So not only is the beach filthy, it's also evidently very dangerous for any of the "children" who might choose to swim in it. Unbelievable.

Towards the end of the video, where Sauer lounges around with his legs flared open talking about why he just drove the seals into the water, he makes some trenchant points that many six year olds would do well to incorporate into their argument for why they should be allowed to go down the slide next if "You're not the boss of the world" isn't working out for them.

First off he cites the 9th ammendment, which from what I can tell, says "Just because we only have 8 ammendments doesn't mean that those are the only rights we're giving you", kind of like a "we reserve the right to add in obvious things we forgot should they arise", like say, giving half the population the right to vote. He then transitions, this is true, into claiming that the 9th ammendment to the constitution gives him the right to

"establish myself as the alpha animal on that beach."

They all laughed at Madison when he wanted to pass the Alpha Animal ammendment, but who's laughing now? Not Tom Sauer! He keeps going:


"If there's a young child on that beach, I want that child to be the alpha animal on that beach."

If there's a young child on that beach, I would hope that this guy is nowhere near that young child.

The whole discussion reminds me of a scene from Bowling For Columbine, were Michael Moore discusses the shootings with South Park creator Matt Stone, specifically the decision of the NRA to come to Colorado within days of the shootings to have their annual rally. They defended the decision by trumpeting their "rights" to "go wherever they want within our great land." Stone replies, "Of course you have 'the right', but just, don't do that, you know?"

I think that expresses the situation about as good as it can be expressed: right vs. duty. You have the right to do a whole shitload of things in America, but you also have the duty not to be too big of a dick while you're doing them. Of course you have the right to go walk down and scare all those seals away. But why be a dick and take away the one thing people enjoy about that small, polluted, dangerous beach? Here are some other things you have the right to do:

-Picket outside hospitals with signs that say "God Hates AIDS victims"
-Tell kids waiting in line to meet Santa that there is no Santa, that that's just a man in a suit
-Walk out of a movie theater and tell everyone waiting to come in what the ending is.

I guess those kind of went in reverse order of seriousness...But still. Having the right doesn't make you above the rules of decency and friendliness that are also just as important to allow a society to function. And disobeying a law that you consider unjust doesn't make you into some kind of hero, who can lounge about spread eagle lecturing people about vauge constitutional ammendments. A lot of people throughout history have disliked, even hated pioneers like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Susan B. Anthony and the ideals and changes that they fought for. But the difference between them and Tom Sauer is that nobody heard about what King was doing and just thought "Wow, that guy, he's kind of a dick...I wonder if that makes him happy?"

UPDATE: My friend Derek, who just graduated from law school and will start working in a month at a firm where I can only imagine he'll be getting paid way more than a lawyer who primarily deals with seal related cases does, helped me out with some questions I had about the 9th ammendment, and Tom Sauer's use of that as his reasoning to harass the seals:


"robert bork called it 'an inkblot.' it means something, but it cannot be interpreted to do anything, because there are no internal or external limits to what it could mean. i think people who don't really know what they're talking about use it to justify the supreme court's invention of rights that aren't specifically described in the constitution."

Which would make sense, since this is what Sauer uses to grant himself the right to be "alpha animal".

"it's like if you and your parents got into a fight about something and they decided to let you do it...the reason you get to do it is because they let you, not because you had the right to do it. the ninth amendment can never be used to prevent the government from doing something. the types of things the people who wrote the ninth amendment and thought it was protecting may actually be protected,but they're protected through some other constitutional or political means. the ninth amendment cannot serve as an independent bar to any governmental activity, and it's been cited in like 2 supreme court opinions in 230 years. seriously, if you ever have a conversation with somebody who brings up the ninth amendment with some reverance, you know they don't know shit."

June 22, 2006

San Diego Serenade Presents: An Hour with 91X

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Stating that I was going to sit down for hour long diary sessions with both the San Diego radio stations was a bold claim indeed. When I realized that I was actually going to have to do the 91X diary, after spending an hour last week with 949, it was sort of like the feeling you get when the phone rings at like 9AM after a night of heaving boozing, and you realize that whoever you were making the bold claims to about going whitewater rafting, or deep sea fishing, or the Padres game, or moving three feet from your bed is actually taking you up on your drunken claims. But I'm not one to back out of the lofty goals I set for myself, and I was going to listen to an hour of 91X, the pain of it all be damned.

I was especially goaded on by some of the comments that were left on the 949 diary, asserting that San Diego actually did have better radio than the rest of the country. Of course, this is preposterous. FM radio blows universally. Radio has, to quote Calvin, "Lowered our expectations to the point where they are already met." As in the medium is so godawful, that things like playing a non-Crazy Gnarls Barkley track, or devoting 2 Sunday evening hours to local music is seen as revolutionary and messianical. So let's hold off on the "San Diego radio is better than New York, LA, Austin, etc" claims until we've researched both of our fair cities options, OK?

This is set up the same as last weeks diary. It is unedited and unrevised. I wrote it today from 6 to 7 PM, one week exactly after the 949 diary. It is opinionated, rambling, at times incoherent, but it is what went through my mind while tuning in for the first time in a long time, to a solid hour of 91x. I don't know anything about 91X, I don't know how it is reportedly "different" than 949. I heard that it bought itself out from Clear Channel, but have remained unimpressed by token displays of coolness such as that. We will see if sitting down with them for an hour can change that opinion. Please enjoy:

6:00 We join 91X already in progress. Alice In Chains "Would" is about halfway through. For any of the graying baby boomers that shook their heads and said "this stuff will never last" about the 90s MTV bands, San Diego radio in the year 2006 would be the perfect rebuttal. This could be another reason why the Canes tribute bands are such a booming business.

6:02 A new Red Hot Chili Peppers song begins. Regarding "Dani California," do people really have that big an attachment to California? The state is enormous. You could get 100 people in a room and all of them would value completely different things about the state of California. A love song about the state seems to be about as deep as a love song about food. Seriously, what the hell.

6:04 Still going on. This song doesn't do much for me, it has a catchy grunting chorus, that I bet will be fairly popular. It sounds a bit like "Whoomp, There it Is" but I guess that song was pretty popular as well.

6:05 A Frusciante guitar solo that sounds "Awesomely bad." That was how Rolling Stone described the guitar solo in Weezer’s "Beverly Hills." I think a better way to describe it would be "Bad." Ironic bad is a fine line to walk, one that is rarely done well. The DJ comes on now to talk about how someone probably has hearing loss. Probably from hearing the kick ass Rage Against the Machine "Guerilla Radio" playing in the background. Amazing, another song from the late 90s/turn of the century. It could be a lot worse, but it is kind of bizarre...At the beginning of this song, there is like 20 seconds of instrumentation before the lyrics start. The DJ did the patented, "talk up until the lyrics begin" thing that radio stations are known to do. This is one of 94.9s ten commandments, that they will never talk over the beginning or ends of songs. To me, this isn't a big deal. It doesn't ruin too much for me. Two minutes into the song, I've already forgotten that it happened. I can't think of too many situations where I would be furious to hear the DJ talking over intros. Maybe if they interrupted each song of the Abbey Road closing suite to prattle on about the x-fest or whatever, but yammering over a Rage song doesn't really seem to diminish the artistic merit of it

6:09 New...91X...Music...(echoes) A new song that I don't recognize plays. The way I would describe this song is "Perfect for MTV." I haven't seen music on MTV in god knows how long, but this sounds about as archetypical an MTV song as possible. IE, it blows, and it definitely won't be getting radio play ten years from now the way the bands above it have. This is the song where on the chorus the guy makes his voice go really high, I can't even make out what he’s saying. I would put odds at about 50/50 that this band is playing at Street Scene, let's google some lyrics...I thought they said "these are the lives you have to lead" but that turns up nothing

6:12 91X World tour, listen every hour to pick up Pearl Jam tickets. Make your reservation with us today. Go straight into a commercial for the world cup.

6:13 The top three reasons this woman is getting a new washing machine from the home depot. They are all good reasons, but I feel lucky just to have a washing machine and am not considering getting a new one. You'd figure that many listeners are in a similar position to me. Next is a Scion commercial. I test drove a Scion the other day. I like the box ones. I used to hate them, but like them now. Boy these thoughts are vacuous and annoying. I am writing my thoughts about commercials now. How bizarre.

6:14 Carpet barn commercial. You know what is weird? The next time you hear a really shitty jingle for a shitty local company, just remember that there are real people that recorded the vocals and music for that jingle. You always just imagine these things coming pre-formed, like the prerecorded tracks on a Casio keyboard, but no, they take a lot of time and effort by real people.

6:15 I heard the same Verizon VCast, Yellowcard, Subways, Depeche Mode commercial on 949. It's good to see that the stations don't have the same petty policy where they ban a commercial that the other station plays as they do with artists such as the Flaming Lips.

6:17 Captain Morgan original spiced rum commercial. I didn't know you could advertise hard booze on the radio. The ad prominently states that it is copyrighted. What the hell is that all about? Who is infringing on this Captain Morgan commercial's copyright?

6:18 Bob Baker Ford ad. They are gonna pay for peoples fuel for the rest of the year. Screw thoses guys. I think that Ford and GM's struggles are hilarious. When we drove the Scion, the dealer said that the Ford guys don't like the Toyota guys. He said that Toyotas are more reliable, cost less, get better mileage, and all the Ford guys have going for them is that they are "Made in America." Screw Ford.

6:19 I think we're coming back. I heard the first "Independent Radio the way it should be claim." i never paid attention to 91X going "independent' from Clear Channel, but think it is pretty hilarious. It's like if all of a sudden Scott Stapp was like, "Hey, I don't suck anymore! You know, for the past decade, I've totally blown, and I admit that. I mean how lame was I! But now things are completely different!"

6:20 I don't recognize this song either. "It takes my pain away." Google informs me that this is Jimmy Eat World, and the song is "Pain." It is terrible.

6:22 The DJ is talking over the beginning of Steady As She Goes. He's talking about the Pearl Jam Contest. I don't really know how to enter it, but would like to try. This is the first repeated song from the 949 diary. It doesn't sound any better on 91X. You'd figure that with all the Independence floating around there, there might be a radical thinker trying to play another song off the Raconteurs album. But maybe, just maybe, they are SO independent, that they are trying to be "Awesomely Bad" and playing the old, old single off this album is just part of that image. That truly would be the ultimate irony: a radical independent station that was so independent and gave so little of a fuck that they played as many commercials and played out songs as your typical Clear Channel station would. I think I'd respect that station from afar, while avoiding listening to it like the bubonic plague.

6:25 Vintage 91X music. Ho-Lee Shit....They are playing "Zombie" by The Cranberries. My jaw seriously just dropped. Holy shit. What the hell are the Cranberries up to these days? Is this being played ironically? It has to be, it just has to be. This could have slayed me had a friend put it on at the right point in time, but right now, I'm just amazed. Think about this. Someone out there, in charge of playing records that thousands of people are going to hear, just put on "Zombie" by The Cranberries, and as far as you and I know, there will be no repercussions as far as him being fired is concerned.

6:28 The fact that they play this song leads you to believe that their playlists aren't entirely corporately derived. I mean, nobody could still have a financial interest in getting this song played. They aren't promoting an upcoming concert. So for the LOVE of GOD, if you're get one song per hour that you get to pick, why not play something fantastic? Reach into the bag for one of your personal favorites, something that people may not have heard but will be eager to learn about. "The King of Carrot Flowers", "How A Resurrection Really Feels", or "A Minha Menina"? Why Zombie? Why!? Why!?

6:30 Zombie straight into Radiohead "Creep." This lineup so far this hour definitely could have played like the '95 Lollapalooza. I get to go see Radiohead on Monday, and hope that they don't play this song. I think it blows. That's another thing: These DJs undoubtedly love Radiohead. Everyone loves Radiohead, they are one of the least accesible bands out there that are inexplicably universally beloved. So playing one of Radiohead's deeper cuts, hell, even something like "Might Be Wrong" isn't going to have anyone changing the station. In fact, it would discourage way more people from switching the station than "Creep" for the 8,000th time would. I can't ever understand why artists who are as popular as Radiohead, who have reached the heights of fame and success despite a limited catalogue of radio played songs, aren't given more of a chance by the radio. The fans are there. The critical acclaim is there. The DJs are obviously fans. But we get Creep, Karma Police, High and Dry...Maybe Fake Plastic Trees...But that's about it...

6:34 Question of the day...when can I get pearl jam tickets. Having sex in the lavatory is not allowed, in fact its damn near impossible. A clever promo. Caller number nine wins Pearl Jam tickets, so i give it a shot, because I'm not made of stone (and it would be awesome to win the tickets while writing this diary.) Unfortunately, it's constantly busy. I've had alright luck with radio contests in my life. I won tix to a GNR show (that ended up getting cancelled) and got tickets to an advance screening of Revenge of the Sith last summer. So those contests do work. But it looks like today just isn't my day.

6:38 A terrible song is playing, distortion and shrieking. Standing on the rooftop ready to fall. Evidently it was Rise Against. They may be at the Street Scene...The guy who wins the Pearl Jam tickts is named David. He says he's on the way to school, but he sounds like he's on his way to the set of the Dukes of Hazzard. He loves 91X, thank you. The DJ has the unenviable task of picking a winner, so he's gonna let David decide how the drawing is done. David is all about equality. "Cut them papers up, throw em in a hat. It's all about equality baby, you know?" He sounds enthusiastic. Good for him.

6:41 The DJ will announce the winner of the San Fran trip before 8 tonight. Until then, we'll do some commercials. This weekend, save up to 75% off at Guitar Center. Deals from the Warped Dimension. That doesn't even make sense. They've invented the fourth dimension, then punned on that title to create something that doubly doesn't exist. The prospect of 6 more minutes of commercials makes me wish I could disappear to the warped dimension though...

6:42 VW ad with German stereotype talking. I don't like German accents, I'll be honest.

6:43 Two buddies discuss the master plan of summer fun. They're not gonna waste a minute of summer. They are excited about the master plan, and headed to Sports chalet to stock up on everything. Imagining the guys recording this dialogue is sobering as well. I wonder if the director gives instructions like "Sound like a bigger tool."

6:44 Hyundai Sonata ad. Screw this. I don't know anything about Hyundais, but I bet their company is doing better than Ford. Screw Ford.

6:45 Wow...the world famous Deja Vu is looking for girls..."Dance your way to financial freedom" is an actual quote from this ad. All dances are only 10 dollars this friday. This is impressive. You never see strip club ads on TV.

6:46 Hilarys 91 second music news. News about how the guy from Faith No More was on the 91X music show. They are playing a Next Big Thing concert #6 in July at Canes for 91 cents. I think that it can safely be said that no Next Big Thing has ever played at Canes. They guarantee nothing but passionate fans of his new band "Peeping Tom" will come out for the show. Wow....Mike thanks the guys for being involved with his band, says it "takes some cojones." The DJ responds "It comes with the independence man." !!!!! A bold claim. I guess Zombie comes with the independence as well.

6:48 Wolfmother and The Shins have been added to Street Scene. That is certainly news. Good for those guys. Wolfmother I think i like. If you wait 30 years to rip off a bands sound verbatim, especially a band like Black Sabbath who most people only know a few songs by, then you're going to make some fans. I wish I had thought to do it first.

6:49 Cake "Let Me Go." Cake seems like one of those bands where soon we'll hear that like the guitarist from Cake used his modest earnings from a lifetime in the band and invested them in the IPO of Google or something and can now buy and sell us all. Hopefully he writes a song about how that feels.

6:52 "Fans of news will be a little perplexed by this new music from Knights of Psydonia" The DJ encourages us to go see this band live, but he times his speech wrong and the song sort of cuts him off. Kind of funny, but it still doesn't irritate me. In fact, I think its kind of funny each time, because 949 acts like it is an issue that music fans are just frothing at the mouth about, as if not being able to hear the first 10 seconds of a song by the Knights of Psydonia uninterrupted are a catastrophic crime of taste.

6:54 I think this song is an instrumental. Nope. There's some vocals. I was going to list instrumentals that I like. I'll do it anyways. "Bron-Yr-Aur", "Kid A", "All Around The World (Reprise)", "Trombone Dixie".

6:56 Song is still going on. It blows.

6:58 A mechanical pre-recorded voice just told me that that I just heard a song by Muse, off their new album. Don't know what that was all about. I think I'll go on record as hating both bands, just to be safe.

6:59 It looks like we'll end with Spacehog "In The meantime." Probably not too many people clamoring to hear this song lately, but whatever. If you're gonna play the hitz from the 90s, its better to play this song than "Zombie".

Thus ends another diary. Not much to say in terms of wrapping it up. There seemed to be a bit more commercials on 91X, but in reality, both stations took 2 commercial breaks during the hour, both lasted around five minutes. I don't really know what the selling points each station has to differentiate themselves from the other one. Both stations played Rage Against The Machine. We heard tons of bands from the 90s that are defunct and/or jokes by now. 91X played a few newer bands that blew, 949 played a few older songs that blew.

91X's "Independent" claims still strike me as awesome. I don't really know how they impact what is played on the station. It's too bad we can't hear a side by side comparison of 91X during its Clear Channel days. The bottom line is that for a station that trumps its independence, the product sounds very similar to what you get a few notches up the dial. I don't even know what more to say. If you're independent, we can infer that you play by your own rules, and don't have a bunch of "Suits" calling the shots. The DJs can play what they want to play....

And yet today I heard Zombie when I could have been listening to the King of Carrot Flowers. Until someone explains how this paradox of the universe happened to me, I'm goign to be walking around in a silent, Chief Broom type daze.

June 20, 2006

CDebate: Bill - Birthday Suit

Today marks the debut of a soon to be regular feature here on San Diego Serenade: The CDebate. One of the nice things about having a music blog is that occasionally things are made easy for you when an artist contacts you, rather than you having to discover them yourself. It gets difficult to give CDs the attention they potentially deserve, however, and part of the reason for this is, for me at least, that you'd like to present the music and artist in a unique and entertaining style. Hence, I have concocted the CDebate. Though it may be awkward to read and pronounce, I have faith that it will prove an interesting and entertaining way to review CDs.

The format will be that of a basic high school debate team. Or what I imagine one is like, if I had participated in one, if they still exist. There will be a "Pro" side and a "Con" side, and each side will be allowed a main argument, and then a rebuttal/closing statement. This will ensure that the coverage not be one sided, as any fawning will be tempered by a thorough pointing out of a records flaws, and any shitting-on of a CD will also accentuate the positive that may have been overlooked.

Of course, I have encouraged the participants to not refrain from personal attacks, slippery slope arguments, straw men, and hyperbole in making their arguments. MP3s can be used as evidence. We want this to be fun. To make it even more fun, each CDebate will feature one notable music blogger and one of my friends. This mix of people who write about music in their spare time and friends of mine whose musical backgrounds vary greatly will ensure a spirited CDebate. In all cases, I will deem a winner, based on their arguments and my opinion of the CD, and award the CD the coveted status of "MustCD" or the shameful scarlet letter of "CDeezNutz" status.

Without further ado, I'd like to introduce the participants in this weeks CDebate. Taking the "Pro" side is Greg, who writes the music blog Captain's Dead. Greg and I share a fondness for Tom Waits, and he was one of the first people to link to my blog when I started it, so his blog has long been one of my checkpoints for posted tunes and unique viewpoints. Taking the "Con" side will be my friend Andrew Kilpatrick, who I've known since third grade. Among other projects we've worked on together throughout the years, Andrew is the singer in my band Re-Ree and has written well over 60 songs, and those are just the ones that I know about.


Bill


The CD in question will be the latest album "Birthday Suit" by San Diego's own "Bill." I was sent their album about a month ago, and figured that a local band would be a good way to start off this feature.

We begin with the Pro section, by Greg from Captain's Dead

This brief review of San Diego rock n sway ensemble Bill's Birthday Suit will be written not through my voice, but through the voice of a 19 year old female named Mandy.

Ok, people listen up! Bill's new record Birthday Suit is everything I have been dreaming a record would be since I first heard Jason Mraz's "Remedy" at the Sam Goody. I never bought that record, just the cd single, but I know that Birthday Suit is much, much better.

The opening track "It Wont Hurt" has some great harmonies and finger snapping that totally reminds me of these songs that they play on the local oldies station, only bill does it in a much cooler way. I remember my dad saying that "It Wont Hurt" reminded him of do-top or do-bop, something like that. My brother, Hunter, used to totally be into Dave Matthews Band and they remind me a lot bill. It leads me to believe that Bill must have been a big influence on Dave Matthews, because bill's song "Sitting Duck" sounds an awful like something off of Under the Table and Dreaming. I guess imitation is indeed the highest form of flattery. I am on to you now, Mr Matthews! I love, love, love the song "Sound Scientist!" They way the lead singer can sing fast and flow just like a rapper is awesome. That's as far I have made it listening to Birthday Suit but I know the rest is going to be just as awesome.

So, in closing, if you are looking for an awesome record to cruise around town in your VW or just chill at the beach, then Birthday Suit is so for you. My friend Hannah, who doesn't like anything, said she is going to buy this record tomorrow! Its that great!


A strong opening salvo for the "Pro" faction. Let's see how Andrew can shape up in the "Con"

Don't Pay This "BILL"
A standard three-paragraph essay using a pun in the title

Bill Stevenson, Bill Haley, Bill...

The list of great musicians named bill isn't long, and isn't going to get any longer with this collection of mediocre songs from a band that calls itself "Bill." I don't know anything about them, but I am going to make some assumptions here:

Their lead singer, bill, wears a knit beanie indoors. He used to be a Christian in high school, but lapsed in college, possibly under the corrupting influence of the acapella group (all-male). He is far and away the visionary behind the band. He has had the same girlfriend for a long time. He has a "good" voice. This voice is usually boring, except when it's annoying. Like this one song I got stuck in my head, where he sing-raps like Jason Mraz, which I guess that's the kind of sound he's going for. In that case, I hope he's as devastatingly handsome as Gavin Degraw, because he is less talented.

I imagine that this band would "prefer not to label themselves," but if pressed (like for a really big interview where they were on their best behavior) they would describe it as "jammy-funk-rock-reggae-soul-jazz with a slice o' pop" or something that they actually spent a lot of time coming up with. But let me tell you, this shit is nothing but pop. You can tell because the songs are annoying and get stuck in your head, like that Gavin Degraw song I used to see on MTV at 5 am that goes "I don't need to be anything other than what I been lately." Except none of the songs on here are quite that exhilaratingly awful. I wish some of them were, because I kind of enjoyed that gavin degraw song, like you'd enjoy controlling the pain of a toothache with your own tongue. Nothing on this "bill" record rises to those heights.

And here's one thing I couldn't make up:

"Thoughts fall like waterfalls on an empty page...

LIKE RAIN"

Oh yeah? Waterfalls fall like rain? So essentially, what you're saying here is that "waterfalls fall...like rain?" Take a poetry class dude. Your lyrics suck.


Andrew has delivered some hard hitting arguments for the "Con" side. Let's see how Greg responds with his closing statement:


Listen up, Peter! You forgot Billy Ocean, duh! My dad has the cassette single of Get Outta My Dreams and Into My Car, and i love it, love it, love it! Back to bill, the band. You can use whatever cuss words you want to describe bill, but bill is here to stay! They are so freakin cute, and as a chrisitan i understand what he has gone through. My boyfriend, Brad, totally wants to do it, but you know what i say, "my body is a temple, that you shall not enter!" bill rocks, and you dont, peter!


Seems like Andrew has stepped on the toes, if assumed fictional personas can have toes, of that reviewer. Andrew no doubt has some strong closing words prepared, let's see how he finishes:

Leadbelly said something about songwriting, something like "here's how you write a song. First you get your words, then you get your music, then you put 'em together. Now you got yourself a song." That's what Bill did. Kudos to them for writing songs. While the nay-sayers just sit there saying "nay", the members of Bill actually wrote songs instead of just criticizing them. Or at least that's what I think they would say if they read this review.


Seeing as how both sides have wrapped up their arguments, it is time for me to weigh them and deliver a verdict:

Greg delivers his "Pro" argument in the guise of a teenage girl, and in doing so, speaks volumes to the intended audience of this music. The production is good, the instrumentation and song styles are varied, and the lyrical subject matter and delivery are just the kinds of things that young ladies conceivably swoon for. Andrew, on the other hand, points out the faults of the record from the point of view of a discerning music listener, one with tastes conditioned towards the exact opposite of what this record has to offer.

Which brings us to the question: Did these fellas really look at my website before sending me the CD? You know, do any research, see if it was up my alley and might be worth my time. Did they note the lack of articles devoted to Jason Mraz or Dave Matthews on here? The lack of feel good, summer BBQ material? Nothing on this blog would even lead you to believe than I am a kind-hearted person, let alone someone who listens to the kind of music that would probably have been too pussy to even like back in my ninth grade DMB-fan era! Did they just see that I was a guy that talked about music in San Diego and figure that it couldn't hurt to just send off a copy of the CD with hopes that something good might come of it? To me, the latter plan of action sounds a good deal like spam. Currently in my spam email folder, there is an unsolicited email with the subject line "Would you like your penis to be better looking than your face?" I would have to say that, in all honesty, that extremely odd spam proposition is far more intriguing to me than another email from Bill regarding their latest CD would be.

And it is for that reason, the sheer audacity of sending someone a CD that even the most BASIC research would indicate they have absolutely no interest in listening to, that I am proud to award "Birthday Suit" by Bill the first ever San Diego Serenade CDebate "CDeezNutz" Award:

cdeeznutz.jpg

That was pretty fun. We'll hopefully be back with a new CDebate next week, pitting a blogger against another die hard music fan who probably likes music just as much, but is just too lazy to do anything about it. Until then, check out this weeks band, Bill at: http://www.myspace.com/bill

If you have a CD that you'd like featured on a future San Diego Serenade CDebate, or are a blogger that would like to participate, please contact me using the contact information at the top of the page.

June 15, 2006

San Diego Serenade Presents: An Hour with 94.9

hourwith949.jpg


While reading the blog maintained by San Diego record label Cat Dirt Records, he pointed out a juicy item from this weeks Blurt in the Reader. Evidently, despite the claims of it being "About the Music", San Diego's two radio stations have some pettiness and animosity towards each other that occasionally bubbles over in the forms of radio silent treatment:

[91X Music Director]Collins said, "Another radio station in town, who shall remain nameless, called [Reeve Oliver] up -- that radio station's music director, who is also on at the exact same time I am [a reference to 94/9 music director Mike Halloran] -- called them up and said, 'I hope you are making a lot of money playing the 91X X-Fest, because if you do it, we are not going to play your record when it comes out next year.' "

949 denies the claims, and fires back this damning lob:

[949 program director]Michaels says 91X "dropped Flaming Lips [music] as soon as possible" when that band agreed to play 94/9's Independence Jam at the Open Air Theatre on May 24.

This blew my mind! For these two radio stations, the only things that would indicate to you which one you are listening to is when the DJ reminds you in between songs. They play the same artists, and the same songs, from the same genres and periods of time of music. To me, the principal that I use to select refried beans at the grocery store (whichever one is cheapest) applies to these two radio stations: which ever one is playing the song that sucks less, or the one that is not on commercial, is the one I will tune to. The brand name could not matter less to me, and I imagine that this is also how most bands feel when they sign up for one stations festival instead of another. it's not an affront to the other radio station! It's a band playing a concert for its fans and getting paid!!! What do they do to bands who play Street Scene? What other behind the scenes politics are affecting the quality of your radio? Fans don't differentiate between these two stations, because they are indistinguishable, as radio stations all are these days, so why should bands, the people making the music that keeps the radio stations in business, be forced to make this non-existant decision with their careers potentially on the line?

Never mind that this practices would probably be illegal as well, since it sounds remarkably like the reverse of the recent payola sandals that have shaken things up at radio stations. But it has to be the stupidest thing I've ever heard stations that claim to be "about the music" participate in. Any music director who would drop the rare critically acclaimed and wildly popular band like the Flaming Lips due to station politics, and still pretend to be presenting its listeners with the best product possible is a dick. I will disclose that I am woefully underinformed to make claims about these two radio stations. I have an ipod and an XM, and listen to FM in the car solely as a last resort. But I can sense the desperation in terrestrial radio, based on evidence such as the ads that appeared in Rolling Stone and other magazines a few months ago, which primarily touted FMs "Freeness" as the reason it was good. When you stoop to that level, "Our product may irritate you, be repetitive, talk to much and have too many commercials. But it is FREE!", something is obviously worrying you about your products stature. Try to imagine Trojan condoms employing this marketing strategy. "Hey, these don't particularly work that well, and they cause a rash in like 60% of users, but hey! It's Free! Eh? Eh??"

radioisfree-whocares.jpg
Who cares if our product sucks? It's FREE!


So for a while i've wanted to do a little experiement, and I figured todays Blurt was the perfect prompt to get it started. I decided to keep a Sports Guy-esque running diary of an hour spent with one of San Diego's two radio stations. I picked 949 because me and Halloran spoke on the phone about the White Stripes about two years ago. Soon I will do 91X, and after those two, I'll spend an hour with an XM channel and see how it differs from the two San Diego stations.


WARNING! This diary is long as balls, and contains random thoughts, free associations and commercials. If you want to skip over it, you are more than welcome to. But I think it is at least sort of interesting, as a snap shot of this desperate, petty medium of radio that we have here in San Diego.

If you're still with me, click below to keep reading:

Continue reading "San Diego Serenade Presents: An Hour with 94.9" »

June 12, 2006

Springsteen, Seals 'n Shit

We saw Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band one week ago at the Greek Theatre in LA. It was unquestionably a hell of a show. My girlfriend sent this synopsis to a friend of ours:


"wow bruce springsteen is amazing. AMAZING! i was completely blown away :) there were 17 people on the stage: a trumpet player, two trombones, a tuba, a drummer, three backup singers brandishing various percussion toys (tamborines, triangles, cool shaky rhythm things, etc), a piano man, an upright bass player who frequently lifted the bass in the air as he was playing, two violinists (or violas, i can never tell), 4 guitars/singers including bruce and his wife, oh, and an accordian! also twice one of the guitarists switched out, once to play a huge upright drummer-boy style drum and the second time to play a washboard with spoons! they rocked out to all these awesome old folk/protest songs, a few hits, and a few written-just-for-the-show-to-spite-our-favorite-president passionate ballads. and to top it all it was in this awesome ampetheater in a park in LA with a backdrop of mountains and evergreens. totally worth the drive up through traffic and almost passing out at the wheel coming back at 1am!"


I'd also like to point out that Bruce's re-working of a song by Blind Alfred Reed called How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live into a Post-Katrina lament brought the above reviewer to tears. But despite the glowing reviews and large amounts of press that the album and performances have recieved (Pete at ickmusic.com has a great collection of material here), some people are still being taken by surprise after they've paid $100 for a ticket and Bruce Springsteen does not play "Dancin' In The Dark." From the Washington Post review of the show back home:


Baffled by the sight and sound of an upright bass and a tuba onstage, as well as a certain 56-year-old rock-and-roll star who wasn't obviously acting the part they envisioned, many of those ticket holders spent a good chunk of the night crying out for "Thunder Road" and "Born in the U.S.A." while bemoaning the fact that the Jersey guy Springsteen suddenly sounded as though he were from (gasp!) Kentucky by way of New Orleans.

They continued to sing even after Springsteen gave the two lingering musicians the hook. The crowd stopped only when a sweaty, beaming Springsteen returned for an encore, prompting him to commend the crowd. "Well done," he said. To which a guy in section 101, row N shouted: "Now play the good stuff, Bruce!"

The idiocy of this is palpable and frustrating. Fortunately, Bruce Springsteen has not renounced his old material, or retired it a la Jerry Seinfeld. He is, however, trying something new, something that many people are grateful for and enjoy tremendously. Forcing Bruce to play the same hits of the 80s over and over again into his increasingly middle aged years would not only be embarassing, but it would also be unfair. These people undoubtedly hear "Dancin' in the Dark" on classic rock radio on a daily basis, so you can't blame them for realizing that things have changed, that The Boss is relevant and kicking ass again. But you can still mock them, and you can still use it to transition into the most pressing local matter we have here in San Diego...


This problem of people grasping at a past that no longer exists applies to us, much more hilariously, here in San Diego. I speak of course of the colony of seals that now inhabit the area of La Jolla known as the "Children's Pool." There are at least five dozen seals that have taken up residence about two miles from my house for many months out of the year, and lie on the beach all day long, occasionally flopping around or giving birth to baby seals. We checked them out again last weekend because my parents were staying in a nearby hotel. They made me realize that my rating of hilarity on the Muzzle of Bees "Get To Know Your Blogger" segment was WAY out of wack. It should have read

#4: people dressed as animals.
#3 Animals dressed as people.
#2 Animals dressed as other animals.
and
#1. Seals.

seal with party hat


Seriously. Just look at them. Put a little party hat on one of them and let the laughs ensue. Late at night, fat people must sob loudly into their tubs of ice cream at the unfairness that is peoples perceptions of fat people as disgusting and loathsome, yet fat animals as cute, cuddly, hilarious and huggable. Hundreds of people turn out to see the seals every day for just these reasons.

Adding even MORE to the hilarity of this situation is that in a DC Springsteen Fan-like manner, Old Coots such as San Diego's Roy P. Poston still believe that the Children's Pool should be used as a place where they should bring their children to for beach time! He writes to the UT:

"I thank God that I had an opportunity to introduce both my children and my grandchildren to the wonders of the sea, diving and the conservation and preservation of all forms of marine life. I am disheartened and saddened at the possibility of not being able to introduce my great-grandchildren to this enjoyment of the ocean by starting them in a controlled, sanitary and healthy swim area like the Children's Pool....I implore anyone with political influence and the public in general to step forward and voice their desires to restore this area to the children and have the natural, clean, healthy interaction with the marine life that we have enjoyed for many years."

I can just imagine Mr. Poston's Great-Grandchildren's dismayed reactions at the reading of his will where he posthumously reveals to them through his executor that all those pictures of them building sand castles and doing handstands in the surf were on a beach that had recently undergone a rudimentary cleaning to remove the massive amounts of seal feces that had accumulated for the good part of a decade.

Roland M. Gray also adds this trenchant point:

"Apparently it is beyond the comprehension of the various animal rights groups that the Children's Pool in La Jolla was expressly deeded to the city as a playground for children, thus the name. It was never intended to be a seal rookery."

Oh my god! He's right! Now that I think about it, 8 years ago, I never intended to pay $3.50 for a gallon of gasoline! It's as if outside forces have some how impacted the impenetrable realm of my will and allowed changes to occur in the real world!

Back in high school, my friends and I used to joke about a made up place called "Shit Beach." It was pretty much a nice resort, but instead of sand on the beaches, there was just tons of shit for some reason. We would pretend like there was a family that always took their summer vacation at Shit Beach. The kids would protest, but the dad would act like the dad in Calvin and Hobbes, and would force Shit Beach upon them saying that it builds character. Details were added in over the years, like the fact that to get to Shit Beach you had to drive past several much nicer, non-shit beaches, and that Shit Beach was inexplicably a more expensive place to take a vacation than these other nice beaches. None of it mattered: This family had always taken their vacations at Shit Beach and the father would be damned if they were going to stop now.

I think it struck me when I say this sign:

seal-sign.jpg


This is Shit Beach! These wealthy La Jolla moms and old La Jolla coots want their kids and grandchildren to be able to play on Shit Beach! For the love of god people, why?! Let's look at the reasoning here:

A) Pro seals:
-People like the seals.
-They are hilarious
-You can't see the seals anywhere else
-You can get seriously ill if you play on this part of the beach
-But there fortunately are elevated platforms that you can observe the seals closely from without setting foot on the beach
-There are miles of nice beaches to the immediate south of the seals. Literally about 100 feet away.

On the other hand:

B) Con Seals
-80 years ago a dead lady said this place should be called the Children's Pool


Now listen. You can play Dancin' In The Dark all you want. You can have a few too many drinks and do the dance from the video. You can leap out of your seat when Bruce plays it at his next concert. But sometimes Bruce just isn't going to play the songs from his album that came out 22 years ago. If you're a fan, maybe you should check out the new album, people seem to really enjoy it. Don't like that style of music? OK, I'm sure he'll tour again with the E Street Band, and then he might play Dancin' In The Dark. Until then, while you don't get exactly what you want, the rest of us will enjoy the nice little surprise Bruce prepared for us this year.

curly-seal.jpg


The same goes for the seals. That area may have been the Children's pool. But nobody in their right mind would let their children go down there to play now. Should you yell out loudly for the hits of 20 years ago, or maybe see if, like everyone else, your kids enjoy the unique experience of the seals just as much as they would have enjoyed digging in the sand?

Ponder it while you listen to some of these greatest (s)hits:

Re-Ree - Mr. Brown
The Bloody Hollies - Tired of this Shit
The Circle Jerks - When The Shit Hits The Fan
Wu-Tang Clan - Dog Shit
Tom Waits - Looks Like I'm Up Shit Creek Again
Bruce Springsteen - Dancin' In The Dark

June 01, 2006

Tom Waits used to (Sort of) Play at the Liars Club

It would be foolhardy to argue that there is a better bar in San Diego than the Liars Club. The food is delicious, the beer selection phenomenal, and the price is always right. In addition, the jukebox is packed with hits, and although there isn't enough rotation on it to suit me, there are always enough songs to fill your 7 songs for 2 dollars. If you ever hear a stretch where The Replacements "Alex Chilton", The Pixies "Holiday Song", the seven minute live Ramones medley from "Road To Ruin", and Scotch Greens "Deaf Girlfriend" are played, along with a selection from Exile on Main Street and Rain Dogs, you're probably in the bar at the same time as me.

The presence of Rain Dogs on the jukebox takes on added significance today, as the Liars Club points out in their weekly email that the bar used to be a coffeehouse called The Heritage, one of the first clubs where Tom got regular gigs bck in the early 70s. It's a tremendously fortunate coincidence that I'm sure I won't be able to shut up about the next time I hit up the Liars Club: my favorite musician used to hang out and perform in my favorite bar (before it was gutted and redesigned) and I just found out about it today.

There's a page with a ton of information and first hand accounts of what performing life was like at the Heritage, and what Mission Beach was like in general back in the early 70s, complete with photos. Some interesting excerpts:

"By 1970 Mission Beach was a "counter-culture" neighborhood, much like fabled Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. Almost all the cottages were rented, most for very little money. Mission Boulevard became a haven for hippies, bikers, drug-addicts and other socially-disenfranchised young people. "
" I remember his interpretation of the Elvis Presley hit 'Are You Lonesome Tonight,' in which a vocal chorus hummed the melody while Presley delivered a spoken monologue. Showing stage gifts beyond his age, Tom cajoled the audience to provide the melody so that he could recite the monologue — not an easy task in the United States, where people are disinclined to sing in public, particularly when leaderless....He had too much charisma to ignore. People just about begged me to hire him, and when I did they readily paid admission to hear him and watch him perform."


The question now becomes where the next Waits is in San Diego, and what obscure beachfront coffeehouse he is playing in...

Check out http://www.keeslau.com/TomWaitsSupplement/Topography/heritage.htm for the full story

May 13, 2006

They Throw Such Killer Grand Ole Partys

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Malcolm Gladwell introduced us all to his concept of snap decision making in his book "Blink." He talked about experts being able to size up a situation, be it a failing relationship or the likelihood of a new product to succeed, in just a few seconds, based on unconscious analysis that even the experts themselves couldn't understand. I think that I experience Blink moments myself with music every now and then. I can think of any number of artists, songs or records that took time to sink in, and whose brilliance was revealed gradually. Many of these musical works I disliked initially, because it's easy to equate "Not Getting It" with dislike.

But there are other times when "Blink" type decisions occur, and within 5 seconds of a song starting up, I can tell that it's something special. The last time it happened was with the Seeger Sessions album, and it happened again last night when I read some of the comments on here recommending some local bands. One of the suggested groups was San Diego's Grand Ole Party. Most myspace pages play a song for you automatically when they load. This can usually be an annoyance, but in the case of this band it works as a hook. It tells you that you made the right decision coming to their myspace page, and that you're going to want to stick around and check things out.

Both of the songs on the page, Insane and Look Out Young Son result in the rarest of myspace page phenomenoms: seeking out the "Volume Up" button rather than "frantically looking for the Mute Button with the driven purpose of someone looking for the abort button as a bomb ticks down its final seconds". Both songs feature guitar and drums that are gloriously sleazy and dirty. They slink and lurch along, rockin all the way. The music sounds sort of like the rawness of early White Stripes like "Jimmy The Exploder," played with the slow back alley coolness of Tom Waits at his most mysterious. But the hook is the singer, who is also the drummer, who is also a lady who can wail like Cassandra from Crucial Taunt. (Watched Wayne's World last weekend, that chick can sing.)

In short, this band sounds like it is A) destined to get signed and release some great material, hopefully some time soon, and B) most definitely rocks live. Fortunately, there's a chance to see them in town tonight, at what is hands the most rockin venue in San Diego that I didn't know existed until today: Gelato Vero in Little Italy, which features Italian Ice Cream, Pastries, Coffee, Performances, Music, Art. If you can't make it there, they're playing both the Whistlestop and the Casbah before the month is over, on the 25th and 28th respectively.

Highly recommended, for now and to keep an eye on.

Video of the band performing at the Casbah
MP3s:
Grand Ole Party - Insane
Grand Ole Party - Look Out Young Son

Review of a show last week at the San Diego Sports Club at Cat Dirt Sez

May 04, 2006

Radiohead Tickets On Sale Saturday at 10 AM, Not Friday...

radiohead

So I wrote this whole thing, but then saw on Radiohead's site and at ticketmaster, that tickets go on sale Saturday, 10AM, not Friday, 10 AM like the full page ad in the CityBeat would have us believe.

That's right. Unless the band somehow swings back through town for Street Scene and featured guests include Jeff Mangum on Fake Plastic Trees and My Bloody Valentine wailing on The National Anthem, with a reincarnated Jam Master Jay on the Wheels of Steel, this is probably the best outdoor concert San Diego will get all summer. It's funny, the band came through here in 2004, our first summer out here, and it barely raised my eyebrows. Maybe it's withdraw of awesomeness that makes this seem very exciting.

So yeah, tickets, Saturday, 10AM for shows on June 26th and 27th. It's at Viejas Concerts at Bayside, which is evidently behind the convention center. Deerhoof is the opening band, and I don't think I like them too much. Other shows on the tour got The Black Keys, we traded Kick-Ass for artsy-unlistenable. The outdoor, downtown nature of the concert also leaves itself open to the Rolling Stones effect for those that can't snag tickets, ie the sound will be audible from areas beyond the ticket going limits, and there will undoubtedly be a sizable crowd gathered to mooch the muddle music.

Over at The Rawking Refuses To Stop are the three new songs that I already mentioned that Thom and Johnny debuted at a recent concert. Interesting stuff, but not the best recordings. Listen there, and read about them here.

March 09, 2006

PB Block Party - The Second Biggest Event during the Third Week in April

I've been trying to figure out what has been going on with the PB Block party for a while, and yesterday the U-T's music blog "Liner Notes" posted an tidy little summation. The Block Party has been reborn as the Street Fair, and is scheduled to take place on Saturday April 22nd. They are scaling down the number of entertainment acts in an effort to reduce the debauchery the event is known for, but groups still oppose the event. There is a petition available on line to email councilmen and other people, and I guess if you support the block party/street fair, whatever, you should sign it.

I personally hate a lot of the stuff that gives PB its negative rep, but don't mind the Block Party at all, especially since this year I have a parking space. I am hoping that changes such as a name change that the organizing body is putting forth are purely cosmetic, and that the event will still be as fun as previous years. It seems like a large part of the events success is due to the collective spirit of individuals having parties all around the neighborhood, not because of the actual entertainment or vendors. I usually spend about an hour on Garnet, navigating the crowds and expensive food trying to find the act I want to see before heading off to a variety of hospitable parties where the booze is free. Here's hoping that the trend of there being at least one act I'd like to see continuing, 2004 had Robert Bradley's Backwater Surprise, 2005 had Robert Walter's 20th Congress. If the naming convention continues, maybe Robert Randolph and the Family Band this year?

March 01, 2006

San Diego Serenade Interviews The Bloody Hollies

The Bloody Hollies

There's a little theory called the "pocket watch theory" that some crazy religious folks use to "prove" the existence of god. It pretty much goes like this: you wouldn't look at a pocket watch, with all its complicated gears and mechanics, and assume that that watch just came into being through pure chance. You would, of course, assume that some unknown master watch maker diligently crafted this perfectly functioning system. So therefore, God created life as we know it.

That jump in logic is intended for dramatic, and probably mocking, effect. But what I intend in all seriousness, is that San Diego may have its own retort for this crazy watch maker analogy. I will call it the Bloody Hollies Theorem, and it breaks down like this: take your ideal of what a rock song should be. Tight rhythm sections, killer guitar solos, a voice teetering on fraying any possible second, and enough spontaneous energy to power the amps they're playing with. You would, of course, assume that some band had diligently crafted this sound over the years, played together since the days of their parents garage and spent every possible free minute ensuring that their music was getting into as many people's stereos as possible. I mean, something that sounds this good couldn't have just come into being through pure chance, could it?

The Bloody Hollies may never be bigger than Jesus, but through the effortless rocking of their music, they very well may disprove the existence of god. Their records and live performances have an impassioned energy to them that leads one to believe the band is infused with an intense ethos and maniacal work ethic behind their records. When I talked with Bloody Hollies singer/guitarist Wesley Doyle, however, I found almost the exact opposite to be true. Through our conversation, as Doyle repeatedly brushed off through the milestones the band has achieved with a nonchalant "they just sort of happened," I found myself amazed and impressed. Here I was speaking to someone who has put out several records of terrific garage style rock and roll, toured Europe, and gotten enough press attention that the band eventually caught my eye, and the main impression I was getting from him was that, eh, a few things went right, a few things went wrong, and here we are. The strange thing is, despite his nonchalant attitude regarding breaking up and reforming his band, promoting it on the internet, or finding his footing in a new local music scene, when Doyle told me that he has no doubt the band is going to become a big band in San Diego, I believed him. It would be hard to think differently once you've heard the music.

What is also inarguable is that when Doyle packed up and moved from Buffalo, NY to San Diego a year ago, San Diego's music scene gained the kind of band that it's been sorely missing. As the Bloody Hollies gear up to start playing regular shows in the San Diego area towards the end of March, I talked with Doyle about the bands history, why they set up shop in San Diego, what it takes to move your band across the country, and how it feels to be so close to making the big time.

Continue reading "San Diego Serenade Interviews The Bloody Hollies" »

February 28, 2006

"Mardi Gras" in the Gaslamp - We Can Do Better

Say No To Gaslamp Mardi Gras

Somehow, word get out that San Diego's Mardi Gras celebration in the Gaslamp Quarter is the "Biggest Mardi Gras Celebration on the West Coast." That promise lured me down there the first year I was out here, and I've heard it exclaimed to me by excited newcomers a few times since, so someone must be promoting this blatantly false ideal. I left early the one and only year that I went down to the Gaslamp for Mardi Gras, and I feel bad for anyone who will only be able to experience the day through this imitation. Here is why it does not measure up to any real celebration of Mardi Gras:

1. $20 dollar entrance fee. Ostensibly this goes towards the bands, which this year include KC & The Sunshine Band. Obviously, nobody floods down there for the bands. Otherwise, Chateau Orleans in PB would have a packed house everytime Tomcat Courtney plays. So the $20 is sort of an entry fee for a Street Scene that you're not going to watch the bands at.

2. That includes the Street Scene festival pricing for booze. 5 dollar Heinekens, 7 dolar hurricanes. Down on the streets of New Orleans, you can buy a product known as a Huge Ass Beer, or a 151 Hurricane. They're not overpriced, and they pack a punch.

3. The food is small portions of expensive garbage with long lines.

4. Big warning on the home page: "Please DO NOT BRING: CAMERAS OR VIDEO CAMERAS. They will not be allowed." Awesome. It's such a wild and crazy time that we are adament that you can't bring a camera for some unspecified reason!

5. The parades in New Orleans are the kind of thing where you suddenly understand that all the other parades you've ever seen have done their best to give parades a bad name. There are floats the length of a footbal field, King Kong floats that throw bananas at you, ridiculous beads so heavy that they could kill a man if they hit him in the head, and the riders on the float frequently have a strict nudity for beads exchange program. Alternatively, I saw someone getting cited for flashing the year I went to the Gaslamp.

6. I repeat: I saw someone getting cited for flashing the year I went to the Gaslamp.

Pretty much the whole event is akin to the Eddie Murphy routine from either Delirious or Raw, where his mother says that instead of buying Eddie McDonald's, she will make him a hamburger that is "Better than McDonald's." Young Eddie is intrigued, but when he is presented with the hamburger that is round like a meatball, oozing with grease and has onions sticking out of it, he realizes that some products are best left to the people who deliver to your expectations. If you're down with a twenty dollar cover on top of whatever cover the bars are charging to experience a more crowded Gaslamp quarter, be my guest.

I suppose I should link to information about the blues and displaced New Orleans musicians that are performing, in case people still want to check them out:

7:00 PM - The Frappe' Brass Band
8:15 PM - The Wild Apache Mardi Gras Indians
9:30 PM - The 504 Brass Band
11:00 PM - Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove

Click Here for the full musical lineup

February 27, 2006

San Diego Songs

The San Diego Blog wonders where all the songs about San Diego are. Well this website is named after "San Diego Serenade" by Tom Waits. "San Diego Serenade" isn't some song pandering to the residents of a city though, calling out local landmarks and such. It's really just a love song and if you listened to the lyrics, you'd really have no way of guessing the song's title. However, based on the short list of songs that people are coming up with, I guess we will have to take what we can get. In addition to "San Diego Serenade," Tom Waits' "I Can't Wait to Get Off Work (And See My Baby on Montgomery Avenue)" off of the album Small Change and "The Ghosts Of Saturday Night (After Hours at Napoleone's Pizza House)" off of "The Heart of Saturday Night," both share the record for the longest song title that happens to be about a small slice of life in San Diego. They detail the time Waits spent working at the infamous National City Pizza House.

For further information about how strapped San Diego is for a song, this commenter seems to think that the best song ever written about San Diego was by the Velvet Fog himself, Mr. Mel Torme. He puts out a call for a local band to cover it as their ticket to stardom. You had better hurry though, because the rendition of it that he claims Mel Torme's son and one of the members of Toto are working on is going to be tough to beat.

Lord....

The Audience They Are A-Divided

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Letters to the editor flow into the Union Tribune yesterday regarding a somewhat more negative review of the new musical "The Times They Are A-Changin'." Critic George Varga takes the musical to task for reducing Dylan's

"rich body of work to a simplistic, plot-challenged exercise in warm, fuzzy nostalgia."

Varga also feels that:
"The target audience for this Broadway-bound show, apparently, is graying baby boomers for whom authenticity matters less than entertainment value. And this audience may like the idea of Dylan a lot better than it does Dylan himself..."

His assertations result in several letters to the editor, some defending the play for trying something new, others applauding Varga for defending the complexity of Dylan's songwriting. I still know that I would hate this play, but the overall tone of Varga's criticism seems to be that Dylan's work is untouchable, that it is upon some higher plane of art that shouldn't be subjected to this. As someone who is familiar with the twists and turns that Dylan himself put his music through, (listen to Live At Budokan, where his songs are given the Vegas "Big Band" treatment, for example,) there is no reason to afford the man this off-limits stature, since he has never believed in it himself. As reader Dolores Christensen points out:
If Dylan wanted to never change his work, he wouldn't have added electric guitar and the Band to his performances.

Dylan has demonstrated over the years that he has an incredibly perverse and inscrutable sense of humor. There is no way that this show negatively affects his reputation, if anything it results in criticism like Varga's, which glorifies his work even more. That's what makes all the bad Dylan material from the past four decades still remain intriguing to people: you're never quite sure if you're in a a big joke or not.

February 24, 2006

The Strokes First Impressions of La Jolla

strokes rock and roll.

Tickets to see The Strokes go on sale tomorrow, Saturday the 25th at 10:00 AM. They are playing on Tuesday, March 28th at UCSDs Rimac Arena. Tickets are 25 dollars. If you haven't seen The Strokes before, and this is coming from a person who at one point in time came back from a family trip to Spain EARLY to see them and The White Stripes perform in New York, just imagine the album played note for note, really loud. It's a fun experience if you like the music, but you're always feeling a bit unfulfilled.

Ticket Master Link.

February 23, 2006

The Cream of San Diego's Crop

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I didn't learn about this competition until I picked up a flyer about it from Winston's, but it's not too late to still check it out. It's being put on by San Diego Music Scene, a self described "collective designed to showcase, educate, and promote the vast array of local artists and bands." Pretty much, they are putting on a huge battle of the bands style competition, but with an innovative category break down by day of the week. Mondays feature singer-songwriters, Tuesdays are open to under 21 crowds, Wednesdays are for bands and Thursdays are Hip Hop focused. There's still time to catch the last week of the opening round, with performances at Blind Melons in PB, SDSU's Hot Monkey Love Cafe and Dream Street in OB. The finals take place March 8th at Blind Melons. Personally, I am shocked that there are that many MCs in San Diego, but there's nothing like an old fashioned Battle of the Bands to finding an act you previously knew nothing about.

More more info check out www.sandiegomusicscene.org

Neil Young Opens His Heart of Gold To San Diego

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Neil Young: Heart of Gold is Neil Young's new concert film, and after a limited release it expands to San Diego this weekend. My friend Andrew, who went to college with Young's daughter and met the man himself once, says it is one of the best concert films he's seen in a long time. It is playing at the Landmark Hillcrest exclusively. Here's the link to the trailer and showtimes for Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

To help publicize the movie, Neil Young appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone, the issue before Kanye appeared wearing a crown of thorns and two issues before Mariah Carey. The magazine published an interesting "Lost Songs" playlist, detailing the "stellar songs on not-so-stellar albums", of which Young has his fair share. The tracklisting is also available online, and you can listen to is for free if you register for a free Rhapsody account and install a small browser plugin, no stand alone player required.

Inexplicably, there are two songs missing from the playlist if you try to listen to them using the Rolling Stone link.

-"Will to Love" from American Stars 'n Bars
-"Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleaze" from Re-ac-tor

There's also a wide variety of Neil Young videos covering pretty much every facet of his career available at youtube.com. There's solo Neil in '72, with Crazy Horse, the short lived rock-a-billy album and playing with the Grateful Dead in '91. The rock-a-billy video in particular is a "gotta see it to believe it" video. No wonder people thought that MTV thing wouldn't last.

Bob Marley Was Here

In honor of the last ever "Bob Marley Day" reggae fest, (the promoters were forced to drop the artist's name from the festival for legal reasons), here are MP3s of a San Diego concert by the real deal. It is hard for people my age to imagine the time when Bob Marley was a living and breathing performer touring America. His image has for so long graced dorm room walls that he's sort of forever rendered a still image. But he did tour, and played San Diego a couple times. These MP3s are from a show at the Civic Theatre on May 25th, 1976. Bob Marley would have turned 61 this month, and it is interesting to imagine his role as an elder statesman of music. We can only hope two things: One, that he would not be recording albums "featuring" guest stars on every track, and Two, that the big Snoop Dogg does make it to that age. Because Snoop will be an awesome old guy.

Download the MP3s below. Be sure to check out the funky, sleazy organ that creeps into the "Everything is gonna be alright" part of No Woman No Cry. It's a nice little change to a song you've no doubt heard countless times.

1. Trench Town Rock
2. Burnin' And Lootin'
3. Them Belly Full
4. Rebel Music
5. I Shot The Sheriff
6. Want More
7. No Woman No Cry
8. Lively Up Yourself
9. Roots, Rock, Reggae
10. Rat Race
11. Positive Vibration
12. Get Up Stand Up
13. No More Trouble
14. War -> No More Trouble

February 22, 2006

We Conned Buffalo Out Of Their Best Band

The Bloody Hollies - If Footmen Tire You.jpg

Buffalo, NY has had its fair share of negative things happen to it as a city. The Bills best football player happened to be one OJ Simpson, there was that stretch of four consecutive Super Bowl losses, and that movie that Vincent Gallo made. If there is any justice, Buffalo will also one day be known as the city that let The Bloody Hollies move to San Diego. It could be there own personal curse of the Bambino.

The Bloody Hollies have wound up in San Diego after relocating from Buffalo. They have a new album out now called 'If Footmen Tire You..." and from listening to the MP3s on their website, there can be no way that their concerts would not be one of the best experiences you'll ever have in a San Diego music venue. Their songs that I've heard contain every element necessary for a kick ass rock song: a singer whose vocal chords occasionally veer dangerously close to shredding themselves, a varied and energetic set of riffs that give way to a wailing guitar solo at exactly the right time, and that setting on your guitar that sounds juuuuuust below the level of distortion that mainstream radio stations want to play.

I hear traces of The Hives in the songs energy and style, but more spontaneous and with none of the studio polish that took the danger out of The Hives music. Fortunately, there are a 18 MP3s on their website under the "Listen" section. My favorites include "Swing", which features the best unexpected harmonica solo since Outkast's "Rosa Parks", "Downtown Revolver", and a live version of "Cut It Loose."

The official website is www.bloodyhollies.com. The band are currently planning more shows in San Diego after returning from a European tour.

February 15, 2006

Bob Dylan Musical Choreographed by Billy Joel Fan Surprisingly as Bad as You'd Think It Would Be

times_trio.jpg

So check out the above photo. Looks sort of like a brightly colored Grease-Meets Cirque de Solei, no? Well it's actually the promotional picture for the Old Globe Theatre's production of "The Times They Are A-Changin'", a musical based on the songs of Bob Dylan and choreographed by Twyla Tharp.

I possessed a morbid sort of curiosity about the show ever since I saw the ads start to pop up about a month ago. I wavered between just being totally against it, and thinking that maybe the $19 tickets might be worth just checking it out. I think that finally, my thoughts ended up in the "don't spend money on things that you are sure you will hate" category. Even though the Union-Tribune offers up a mostly positive review, I feel that my tastes would likely be more in line with the CityBeat reviewer. Many of the things that the UT offers up as compliments for the show sound like jokes:


“Blowin' in the Wind” is no longer the lilting acoustic folk tune that calls to mind Pete Seeger, but becomes a big, passionate, coming-of-age rock anthem by smooth-voiced star-in-the-making Michael Arden

Playing Captain Arab, Thom Sesma nails the seedy, sexy charisma of any aging rocker too long on the road. Like a blend of Neil Young and Dylan, but with good teeth
These two competitors for the affections of animal trainer Cleo (Jenn Colella) deliver “Just Like a Woman” as an arena-rock duet, howled from the apron of the stage with Donald Holder's bold beams of light dancing in the dark.

Anyone who wishes to discount Dylan points for his teeth, or uses sexy to describe the singer is likely not sharing my viewpoint on what makes Bob Dylan great. The same goes for anyone who casually reports on Just Like A Woman or Blowin' in The Wind being reinterpretted as Arena Rock Ballads like there is nothing wrong with that.

The CityBeat's review is a bit less forgiving:

Wow, this blows

My prediction is that the majority of the shows tickets will be bought by women who actively dislike Bob Dylan as gifts for their husbands who actively dislike the theatre. If Twyla Tharp ends up being responsible for your marriage ending, don't say I didn't warn you.


The Times They Are A-Changin' is playing at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. Check the theatre's homepage for ticket availability: http://www.oldglobe.org/productions/TheTwylaTharpBobDyla416.html

Student tickets are available for $19, but you must bring your student ID to the box office to purchase them.

Tom Waits High School Yearbook Sells for $288.24

Idyll High School Yearbook 1966

Got any of this Idyll High School Class of 1966 yearbooks lying around the house? Well now's the time to dust them off and turn them in to straight cash homie! One of of the above pictured yearbooks from the Chula Vista high school, sold on eBay for $288.24 on 2/14/06. The reason? The smiling lad pictured below:

Idyll High School Sophomore Tom Waits

One Tom Waits. Possibly San Diego's biggest claim to fame as far as I'm concerned, Waits is reportedly a sophomore in this photo. Waits has always been one of those people who, like your grandparents or Clint Eastwood, who appear to have always looked old. This picture proves that while Waits may indeed have been young, he has always been Tom.

Tom Waits & Denzil Walden Tom Waits' Yearbook

While Tom has moved out of the San Diego area and left Napoleone's Pizza House behind, those who share a yearbook row with him in 1966 have not strayed so far from home. Quick internet searches reveal that Robert Vermilya is a player in the local real estate market, that Denzil Walden, Jr. is a resident of La Mesa and that Pete Vredenburgh is a San Diego County Fire Batallion Chief with over 32 years of service to his credit. Mr. Vermilya did not respond to calls inquiring about any memories he might have about his yearbook row-mate, and honestly, I probably wouldn't have either.

February 08, 2006

Live Music Archive

One of the greatest tools available at anyones disposal on the internet, regardless of user level, is the Internet Archive's Live Music Archive. This contains tens of thousands of live concerts by bands both famous and almost famous. Just searching for "San Diego" reveals a diverse list including a two day Grateful Dead performance at the Sports Arena in 93, Jack Johnson performing at Street Scene 2004, and Tenacious D show from last year's ComiCon.

Quality can vary tremendously, but comments are usually present to indicate the good and the bad about each post. The concerts come in all different formats as well, and can be downloaded song by song or as a ZIP file of the whole show. I am still hoping that a recording of the My Morning Jacket concert at the House of Blues on 11/8/05 surfaces on the archive.org site or elsewhere.

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