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August 07, 2006

Free 50 On Their Heels & Grand Ole Party Tickets!

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50 On Their Heels Singer/Guitarist Junior Metro at the Sports Club

Like a storm rolling away, the clouds of cover and tribute bands have parted leaving only the bright, bright sunshine of some of San Diego's best local bands. Fifty On Their Heels and Grand Ole Party play Wednesday night, fresh off a shared gig a week or so back at the Sports Club. Canes bartenders likely have little going for them in the way of personality, but their is NO FEASIBLE WAY on Earth that they could be more obnoxious or unpleasent than the bartender at the Sports Club. Imagine a morbidly obese Zippy The Pinhead, shrieking your drink order obnoxiously at top volume. Seriously, this guy could bartend in the depths of hell, hands down.

But the music is great. Fifty On Their Heels rocks the house with an energetic performance from singer Junior Metro the likes of which we haven't seen since Iggy Pop was rolling around on broken glass for some reason back in the day, and Grand Ole Party, once you get by the Britney/NSynch style customer service agent microphones deliver sleazily rockin' set. At the Sports Club I observed that the guitarist of Grand Ole Party is definitely the bands secret weapon. The singer may get all the press for doing what she does best while playing the drums, but the guitarist has a vast array of licks stored away for use at a proper time.

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Both bands draw crowds, I was personally shocked to see how many people came out to see Grand Ole Party last time, and after extensive press coverage written by myself in such widely read periodicals such as the Reader, that's sure to increase on Wednesday. Fortunately, I've got yer tickets right here, for absolutely zero dollars. So if you want to go check out the bands on Wednesday night at Canes, email me at conorATsandiegoserenade.com. I highly recommend both, and am happy that my recommendation doesn't have to have any costs incurred to you, the reader, because that takes me off the hook for even the minimal amount that I was on the hook. Booya.

New Bo Bo Jo Jamaican Albino Podcast hopefully coming tomorrow night.

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.

June 29, 2006

Get Yer Radiohead Downloads

Both nights of Radiohead's Sold Out San Diego shows are now available for download. Check out Monday and Tuesday. Click each song for an MP3.

Or download the zip of Monday's show here. Zip of Tuesday's show here.

Evidently the Tuesday crowd had their off in the distance visual trump our Monday firework show, when a crazy rocket test launch that Boeing did culminated in an awesome trail and explosion off on the horizon.

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Here's Fake Plastic Trees from Tuesday:

June 28, 2006

Guess The Attendance At The Casbah

Going to check out Jolie Holland at the Casbah tonight, and wondering what the attendance will be like for this show. Based on the Sound Team turnout from two weeks ago, where there were more tumbleweeds rolling through the place than actual people, you realize that just having some buzz on the internet isn't enough to make people flock to the show. The only show I'd ever seen less people at at the Casbah was Marah. Both shows had the effect of making you wonder if you had made some sort of mistake, if there was some terrible secret about both of these bands that everyone else knew about and somehow implicated you by being in the audience, like if it was well known that both bands brashly endorsed child molesting from the stage, and you just happened to miss that fact when deciding to purchase a ticket.

Though tonights concert could easily be considered the least accesible of the three, I predict a higher turnout than both Sound Team and Marah combined, (Note: that sounds impressive, but that is probably only thirty people.) I don't know why I think that, maybe because Jolie Holland has been around for a while, or because you don't get as many female solo artists headlining the Casbah, or just because her records are better than both of those other bands. On the other hand, there hasn't been much chatter regarding her latest, "Springtime Can Kill You," and I don't particularly like it as much as "Escondida" or "Catalpa," so we could be in for another uncrowded evening at the Casbah.

Lastly, no review ever gets printed without mentioning that Tom Waits is a big fan of Jolie Holland's music. But just as universally, none of those reviews ever mention where on earth they get that information from. They just leave it at that and move right on. Well I haven't found any specific interviews with the man, but could all of this press stem from the fact that Waits nominated Ms. Holland for the now-defunct Shortlist of Music Prize back in 2003? If so, that's a hell of a lot of mileage to get out of a man's nomination. You have to wonder if the Orchestra Baobab is still packing in the crowds based on their Waits nomination from that same year. Nevertheless, without that little blurb mentioning TW, I probably would have continued skimming right over the article the first time I saw it, so some press person somewhere should be complimented for their work on that one.

June 27, 2006

Free Radiohead

Radiohead's popularity continues to amaze me. After the show they put on last night, which was split about evenly between great guitar heavy performances, crazy songs where samples were recorded and looped live on the spot, and new songs which sounded a bit in the middle, I found myself thinking that Radiohead is the kind of band that 99 times out of 100 will be confined to a fate of shows like Arrested Development, movies like Cinderella Man or bands like Spoon, ie "The best show/movie/band that nobody is watching/listening to." The strangest thing about Radiohead is that they truly became who they are when they started taking steps towards becoming wierder and paring down their audience from the straight ahead rock sounds of Creep and The Bends. I don't think that this band circa The Bends would be selling out two shows in every city they play and inspiring the ticket gouging and headlining spots that come with that kind of popularity. Radiohead has succeeded in spite of our tastes, and for that I salute them.

The top secret of last night, that I imagine will be about 5 times less of a secret tonight, is that you can go watch the show for free, without endangering yourself, risking arrest or looking through a knothole. The Embarcadero is behind the convention center, and has a long path along a harbor before you have to present your ticket. There's a clear side view of the stage, and the sound is far more audible than the Rolling Stones concert we sat outside of last year. People had picnics and coolers, and enjoyed themselves on the rocks, or yachts, or dinghys. If people have been mocking you for how little you use your dinghy, trot it out tonight and see who's laughing then. I imagine there were quite a few people who left last nights show vowing to return again for free tonight, so I would say getting there early is a must. Also, to whoever put on the twenty minute long firework display off in the distance right after sunset that coincided with the set from Paranoid Android through Idioteque, I can only say "thank you."

Setlist available here.

June 16, 2006

M. Ward at the Women's Club

M. Ward has announced his tour dates to support his new album Post-War, and is coming to San Diego on September 27th to play the totally rockin' Women's Club. As a special bonus, super-early pre-sale tickets go onsale today at 1 PM right here: http://mward.ducatking.com I'm not sure who needs to buy the tickets more than 3 months in advance, Jesus, god knows what kind of horrific changes to the world might happen in those three months, rendering M. Ward and his unique vocal stylings obsolete. But I would say that more likely to happen than the apocalypse is the fact that Post-War comes out to the kind of acclaim that makes this show one of the bigger hipster tickets of the year. A couple songs from the album, namely "Requiem" and "Chinese Translation" are among the best work he's ever done, very catchy and very nicely complimented by the backing band and guest voices he employs. The record is one of the best I've heard so far this year, so maybe buying your tickets so ridiculously early isn't that bad an idea...

June 12, 2006

Persuasive Sound Team Argument

Sometimes one of your friends puts forth an argument so delightfully inept that it kind of makes you want to agree with them:

10:15 AM Jake: are you going to see mountain goats on thursday?

10:20 AM do you want to see sound team on wednesday instead since you've already seen MGs?

10:21 AM well what else are you doing on Wednesday night? nothing, that's what
it's only $12, are you some sort of cheap bastard?

10:23 AM What's the matter with you? Too indie for you? You knee-jerk anti-hype hipster-hating cooler-than-though Stella-and-Pabst-are-terrible I-don't-like-music asshole.

10:24 AM is it their name? it's a stupid name, I know, but maybe it's ironically stupid. Don't even try to pretend like "We Play Guitars" wouldn't be an awesome band name
I hear radiohead is opening for them

10:25 AM Adam is going. So is Adam.
Come on, you know you want to

If not for the fact that the instant messaging program keeps reminding us that it is 10 AM and not PM, you'd think the man was drunk. But no, it takes a special kind of talent to rebutt and counter the imagined responses of someone who would not read the collective convincing effort until 8 hours later. The kind of effort that makes you wonder if maybe this Sound Team is worth checking out...

Well let's take a look at the postiives and negatives:

Positive: Big Heads

Negative: The singer's name is Matt Oliver. Matt Oliver was also unfortunately a guy who drew a comic for the UVA college paper who told me "You have no soul. You are so cold and so empty" after I called his 9/11 tribute comic "trite."

Positive: Tickets are only $10

Negative: I am going to the Casbah on Thursday night as well.

Positive: Adam is going.

Negative: So is Adam.

Neutral: These guys have been getting quite the buzz lately. This could mean any number of things, either positive or negative.

I guess it is my job, nay, my duty, not to dismiss these guys outright becuase of the flavor or the month potential, or the disturbing manner in which they make my PhD student friends write at 10 AM, but rather to go see them and form my own opinion about them, so that when I scoff at the hype, I scoff with authority, and when I berate people for not buying into the hype, I berate with authority.

Sound Team, Casbah, Wednesday June 14th: Here I come.

Tickets here. Four MP3s to download at their myspace, plus tons more at the Hype Machine.

May 30, 2006

Free We Are Scientists Stuff + Beck Puppets

A few things before the good stuff:

1. Thom Yorke's solo album, The Eraser, which was only announced a few weeks ago, and quickly became the most exciting album to be released this summer, has leaked. For the fans who snap up Radiohead tickets in less than four minutes, a summer tour without a new album was a frustrating proposition, and a solo album seemed as good an alternative as possible. If you're interested in hearing what Thom-y sounds like on his own, check out the Hype Machine. Some Eraser can be heard there, as well as some interesting solo performances and covers.

2. As I mentioned before, the road from Seattle to San Diego happened to take me through Bend, Oregon this Saturday, where Beck happened to be playing. I think there is relatively zero chance that I would have gone to see Beck had he came thru San Diego, and I say that as a fan. Just seemed like it wouldn't have been a good concert to see at the inevitable larger venue he would have played here. Fortunately, we made the decision to go to the Bend concert, and from the opening notes of Devil's Haircut, we didn't regret it. Beck has a large amount of great songs that I've listened to so much over the years, that I've pretty much stopped listening to, and having them played for you live all at once was a great way to be reminded that you really like his stuff.


The addition of his PuppeTron entertainment system didn't hurt things either. Throughout the entire concert, a group of puppeteers mimicked the bands action onstage with lookalike puppets, which were then broadcast on the jumbotron instead of the band. This was, in a word, awesome. It was like taking the Flaming Lips Nun-Cam to a glorious new level. To cap it off, for the first encore, the puppets came onstage by themselves and performed a pre-recorded version of Loser.

3. Finally, I wrote a comic while at the University of Virginia. The UVA paper, the Cavalier Daily, had a substantial comics section, and I studied it as detailedly as I did the Washington Posts comics section while growing up. So it came as a huge shock to me when I started reading about a band named We Are Scientists. You see, to me "We Are Scientists" was nothing more than the most mediocre of mediocre comics that the Cav Daily had published during my tenure there as a student.

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The wit of "We Are Scientists" the comic strip

Drawn by Nathan Altice, who I never met, We Are Scientists boldly foraged into the abominable copy-and-pasted characters method used by comics such as Red Meat and Get Your War On. It only ran for a semester and a half, before being replaced towards the end of the year. It was not missed.

We Are Scientists the band, on the other hand, has done quite well for itself. Fresh off playing the Indy Jam with the Flaming Lips last week, the band is bringing their Franz Ferdinand style rockin' to Soma on Friday with the Arctic Monkeys, who I've unfortunately not been able to learn to hate. To commemorate the concert, we have some We Are Scientists stuff to give away. Since the show is Sold Out (with tickets widely available for face value on Craigslist) maybe taking some of this stuff away can ease the pain:

-1 copy of their CD "With Love and Squalor"
-1 copy of their CD/DVD Dualdisc "The Great Escape"
-1 copy of their import single "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt"
& -1 copy of their import single "The Great Escape"

Wearescientiststheband.jpg
We Are Scientists The Band - Funnier than the comic strip


So here's what you have to do. Since We Are Scientists, no matter how kickin' the band is (and they're none too shabby in actuality), in my mind will always be associated with a mediocre comic, I'd like to hear what your "favorite" mediocre comic is. No obvious things like The Family Circus. That's just a terrible comic. What is your favorite mediocre comic, the one that you just can't possibly imagine how the author is cashing a paycheck for his efforts every other week? Leave it as a comment, and if I pick yours, you win one of the prize packs with all four of the above items. I have two to give away. Go nuts.

MP3s of the above artists:

Thom Yorke - True Love Waits
Beck - Do You Realize??
We Are Scientists - This Scene Is Dead

May 23, 2006

Concert of the Week: Voxtrot & Elefant at the Epicentre

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The perils of not having enough band members to spell out the band name with fireworks


There could be a free Street Scene this weekend featuring every band we had hoped would be there and this would still be the concert of the week. This is partially due to the fact that I will be going out of town on Friday afternoon, returning home late on Monday and thus would miss any exceptional concerts that would happen to be taking place. But the rest of it is because I just started listening to Voxtrot a few days ago and have gotten excited for the concert that takes place Thursday night at the Epicentre.

From what I gather, Voxtrot has been around and loved by people for quite some time. Their page of streamable/downloadable music on The Hype Machine shows you all you need to know about how much people with music blogs like the band. What speaks even more about their popularity is this funny little coincidence: the band has released two EPs on Cult Hero records, but preliminary google searches for that record label turn up this exchange at http://www.cult-hero.com/:


Where is Voxtrot's CD?
While we hold lots of respect for Voxtrot and we like their music, they are on a DIFFERENT Cult Hero Records. We have tried various ways (email, cease and desist letters from lawyers, etc) to get them to stop using the name since we believe we were the first to use the name in Commerce, but have had little luck.

So they generated enough press for the wrong Cult Hero records label that they had to put up that disclaimer. I guess that's hilarious. I just imagine the guy finally putting up that disclaimer after a few weeks of being like "well, this influx of emails and phone calls about Voxtrot will die down any minute now" and then begrudgingly updating the website while glaring at anyone who walks by. What's even better is that I can't find a page for the Cult Hero records that they are signed to...But wacky label mishaps put aside, the band is really good, and deserves their hype. They've got a poppy sound that I wouldn't hesitate to compare to The Apples In Stereo or Belle and Sebastian. I don't like Belle and Sebastian, so I'm surprised that I would make the comparison, but Voxtrot has that extra something that makes it less something that girls like and more something that I like. I don't know what that would be, but someone should figure out a name for it.

So listen to this MP3 from their Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives EP, it is called Soft & Warm and decide whether you want to go see them on Thursday night at the Epicentre. They are opening for Elefant, who I'm told are good too.

Tickets are $15 and available here.

Voxtrot home page
Voxtrot myspace
Elefant home page
Elefant myspace

May 16, 2006

A Good Way To Get People To Talk About Your CD

Within a month of starting this website, I got an email from a random Northern band. They wanted to know if I would like a copy of their album, ostensibly to check out and hopefully hype on the website. Well of course I wanted it. The novelty of a band wanting to send me their CD was pretty neat, and even if they didn't come from San Diego, maybe I could learn about something new and bask in the shallow, thankless, reflective glory that is being the "first person" to tell you about a band.

Well, it turns out that I didn't particularly like the CD. It wasn't god awful, but it wasn't something I was going to stick my neck out and talk about just because they sent me a CD. It actually arrived while I was visiting New York, so it had been sitting in the mailbox when I got home, along with an email from the band asking if I'd got it yet. I replied that I had, but had been out of town and was going to listen the first chance I got. Not having a job, this was not a problem. I listened a few times. Nothing struck me. But I got a few more emails, asking what I thought. Then one of the guys IM'd me. He told me that he'd read my review of "A Confederacy of Dunces" at amazon.com. I read a Confederacy of Dunces in 1999, my senior year in high school, and did not remember writing a brief review of it at Amazon.com

Needless to say, I did not respond. In fact, I think I made sure my windows were locked. Anyways, this is a textbook way to not get someone to write about your CD.

nathan.jpg

A good way to GET someone to write about your CD is to send them a really good CD. And someone did that to me just yesterday: Nathan Asher & The Infantry - Sex Without Love. The hype aroudn the album stresses that one of the songs had won two potentially made up songwriting competitions that I had never heard of. Having Won numerous blog competitions myself, most notably the Conor Lastowka Blog Writing Award, and the My Cat's Butt Invitational, this did not impress me. But the quality of the song "Thursday Night/Friday Morning" (not the award winner) did. It's the album closer, and builds from a quiet song mainly featuring the singers Oberst-like wavery vocals (a good thing), into a great drum and key heavy fake-ending-climax-then-reprise, which, as we all know, is the only proper way to end an album.

It would be foolish to base an album recommendation just that one song, (see Spacehog - In The Meantime), so don't just take my word for it. Kwaya Na Kisser recommends the album as well, and has a few more MP3s for you to check out. I think that any band that has it together enough to pull off the album closer they do is worth giving a chance to the rest of their material. So if you want, check out the CD at CDBaby.

And seriously, check out A Confederacy Of Dunces. I stand by that recommendation from my 18 year old self.

May 15, 2006

Effi Briest, We Hardly Knew Ye OR A Few Good Concerts This Week

We had an interesting experience trying to go check out Grand Ole Party at Gelato Vero Saturday night. In yet another case where knowing when a band might actually take the stage being the most vital bit of information you could possibly know, we arrived as the first band was winding down. Terrific, since we were told the band we came to see would be playing second. So we sat around, talked about dentists, drank beer out of paper bags, and waited for the band to start.

Right about the time someone knocked a clarinet over while they were setting up, the horrible realization set in that the next band wasn't going to be GOP, but rather Effi Briest, who are named after German realist Theodor Fontane's masterpiece and who choose the following sentence to entice you to their shows: "It's got touches of psychedelia but also it's seven women and we have a very full explorative sound."

So if you were wondering who the four people who came to Gelato Vera for an hour, drank beers out of paper bags, and left right before the band started, that was us.

Moving on to what will hopefully be an eventful week of interesting musical events:

-On Wednesday, May 17th, there is an event called Diva Nova at the Winston's in OB, featuring "17 Women Who Rock Your World."

divathumb.jpg

Click for detail

The info page over at Beach Music Mafia claims that:
San Diego has been a beacon for some of the best musicians and singer-songwriters in the country. Specifically female musicians and singer-songwriters. There must be something in the air or maybe it’s the benevolent music scene that nurtures the artists’ soul and begets that fine blend of talent, style, beauty and grace.

Telling me this is like the equivilent of saying that below temperatures of 223 Kelvin, it is impossible for Hydrogren and Carbon atoms to form covalent bonds. It's very possible that you might be correct, so I will slowly nod my head. But there's been an exciting amount of good music in the area going on these days, so I figure I'll keep the good vibe going. Performers include Podunk Nowhere, Anna Troy and Lisa Sanders.

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Then we have Thursday night at the Casbah, where Fox Rox is putting on a show to celebrate their 200th episode. They've got Transfer, Gram Rabbit, and The Bloody Hollies lined up to play, and it promises to be a damn good time. I talked to Wesley Doyle from the Bloody Hollies back in the first couple weeks I started this website, and after getting shut out of the first show I tried to go see them at, I've been waiting for another chance. Check out the show, or at least just acknowledge and respect the guys at Fox Rox for making it to 200 episodes. Just think, every other city in America is watching King Of The Hill reruns on Fox on Thursdays at midnight.

MP3s:

Transfer - Henry Doesn't Stand
Gram Rabbit - Witness & Dirty Horse
The Bloody Hollies - Swing

May 13, 2006

They Throw Such Killer Grand Ole Partys

GOP.jpg

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 10, 2006

Free Tickets to The Rogers Sisters and I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness At The Casbah

"Don't miss this show - I'm not! Trust me!" So says the faceless, voiceless "Info" section of the Casbah's concert schedule regarding the May 18th lineup of I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness and The Rogers Sisters. It's an oddly compelling little endorsement/command, kind of like the order to "Enjoy" printed on cans of Coca-Cola. But this is one disembodied voice whose commands you might be interested in listening to, at least for now. If he starts encouraging mailman killings and stuff of that ilk, I suggest you go elsewhere for your "info."

ILYBICDlogo.jpg
Pitchfork was dead on about the marketability of this logo


Both of these bands have been getting some press lately. I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness isn't the kind of name you forget once you've heard it the first time, and though I hadn't heard about the Rogers Sisters until they bought an ad on the right side of this website, I think they've got a pretty cool sound. They've got a sort of Sonic Youth/Pixies male and female vocal contrast going on, and make music that is similar to both of those bands arty, raw kind of sound, but much closer to the Pixies rock end of the spectrum, as opposed to unpleasent experimentation. I think I support any band called The ____ Sisters that features prominent male contributions. As a bonus, evidently they put on a great live show.

rogerssisters.jpg
Prominent Male Contributions indeed

Both bands new records have gotten good reviews from Pitchfork too (ILYBICD and Rogers Sisters), although I must point out that in the Rogers Sisters review, the writer shows his hand a bit too transparently. Nothing indicates a case of writer's block lock nitpicking that too many of their songs are sung about "you." Embarassing.

But anyways, you should check out both bands. I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness has a myspace page with streams and the Rogers Sisters have a QT album stream. If you're the type who doesn't want to leave a web page without an MP3, check out You Undecided by the Sisters.

Finally, more unidentified faceless people have given me the power to bestow upon you a pair of tickets to giveaway to you guys for the show at the Casbah on Friday the 18th. So here's what I want you to do. Who have I been neglecting on this blog? Is there an artist, local or national that kicks so much ass that it's just unforgivable that I haven't written anything about them? Comment away and early next week I'll pick one at random and the free tickets will be yours.

May 08, 2006

Didn't Get Radiohead Tickets? There There...

ticketmaster no tickets


So both of the Radiohead shows sold out very quickly on Saturday. I managed to get four tickets to Monday's concert, and have noticed that tickets are already being offered up for outrageous (at least double the actual cost) prices on Craigslist and ebay. The internet definitely gives anybody the advantage of being able to quickly and easily buy tickets for any show in America and be selling them minutes later. For recent concerts I've bought tickets for, this and Bruce Springsteen, the internet seemed like the only way to possibly obtain tickets, and evidently it was a seconds-different crapsoot since everyone was pretty much doing it at the same time.

So did anybody else get lucky? Anybody know how many tickets were for sale each night?

Whether you made it or you didn't, everyone can enjoy the below recording of Radiohead playing in Copenhagen just a few days ago on May 6th. It can either get you pumped for the show, psyched enough to shell out the dough to a scalper, or maybe even push you towards sour grapes "all those new songs aren't any good anyways" mode.


A zip file of the MP3s is available at http://www.megaupload.com/?d=CN0GDYYB

May 06, 2006

More Street Scene Bands

UPDATE: I've posted the Street Scene lineup, with MP3 links, here.

If you're trying to keep an eye on Street Scene bands and rumors, you can check out the listings at Pollstar where bands have started to pop up as playing the Street Scene. The CityBeat has already reported that The Futureheads, The Editors, Bad Religion, G Love, Matchbox Romance and Michael Franti & Spearhead are all playing this years festival, and right now Pollstar shows two other bands, neither of which I am familiar with: Bedouin Soundclash and Rock Kills Kid. I will leave it up to you to decide if they are worth it, please report back to me if they blow you away. 100% based on the myspace page, however, it is obvious that Rock Kills Kid opts to blow, rather than blow away.

I've also emailed the good people at Street Scene, hoping for some inside scoops on bands they have lined up and maybe for some tickets to give away to you readers. We shall see if that works out.

May 03, 2006

San Diego Summer Festivals: The Good, The Bad and The Unannounced Lineups

streetscene06.jpg

UPDATE: I've posted the Street Scene lineup, with MP3 links, here.

The Independence Jam full lineup has been announced, as have the ticket prices. A ticket, with fees, will cost you 45 dollars. I was wavering, because contrary to my drunken source's reports, Spoon was not involved, so the Flaming Lips are the only band I would particularly want to see. $45 dollars also seems like it should be better applied towards more than half of your Street Scene ticket. But then I saw on the FM 94.9 homepage that the show "Benefits FM 94.9's 'About The Music' Fund." In that case, I will take 12 tickets. Nameless, purposeless funds are always a great way to rally the masses around your cause. It would be even cooler if they just lopped off the second 2/3rds of that quote to make it just "Benefits FM 94.9"

Moving on to Street Scene, the festival has a myspace page, where a large number of people are currently speculating or suggesting acts they would like to see. Kicking this about with some friends last weekend in the Mission Bay Hilton hot tub, we were at a loss for how to put together a solid, unique festival this year. Obviously, you want to have a band like The White Stripes was last year, a huge name with credibility. The candidate for this position we thought of was Radiohead, since they are touring this year, but they are coming to San Diego in June, so an August reprise would be unlikely. The Strokes also probably fit this position in a lot of people's minds, but are pretty boring live and aren't particularly a great outdoor festival band.

Then you have reunion acts, like the Pixies last year as well. Who is out there that I'd like to see play a comeback show, and who would choose the Street Scene as the place to do it? Credibility acts like Spoon or the Flaming Lips are for most festivalgoers to ignore while 311 or Social D plays. The Flaming Lips playing at the above Indy Jam means this is unlikely as well. You can always count on some interchangable rap and punk acts to fill things out, and it seems like you could probably count on Damian Marley being there this year.

I'm not really sure how I'd go about assembling my ideal line up. There seem to be so many festivals these days that it's important to try and do something unique from the others, but there's always bound to be some overlap. In the years that I've lived out in San Diego, the festival has moved from downtown, rapidly reduced in size and scope, and abandoned all pretense of being about diversity or home grown talent and instead opted to feature Wyclef, Jack Johnson and the Black Eyed Peas. Of course, as far as I'm concerned these all balanced out just fine if you can convince The White Stripes or The Flaming Lips or Radiohead to come play, the acts always overlap anyways. But what haven't I mentioned that could potentially be the highlight of this years show?

The multiple Radiohead mentions probably got you excited, so over at The Rawking Refuses To Stop are three new songs that they debuted at their last concert. Go nuts.

April 30, 2006

Independence Jam Bands Revealed

IndieJam2006-HomeBanner.gif

I've never got to reveal a secret on here before, and I guess most people will read this by the time that the bands are already announced, but someone who works at 94.9 told my friend the bands that will be playing 94.9s Independence Jam. And if you can't trust third hand information delivered to you anonymously over the internet, what can you trust? So the bands are gonna be The Flaming Lips, Spoon, We Are Scientists, and "some other band." I had hoped that I would get another shot at the Flaming Lips after some unfortunate setbacks at last years Street Scene put a damper on the enjoyment of their show. It's undoubtedly one of the greatest experiences you will ever have at a concert, and Spoon was pretty sweet too, based on the five minutes of them we saw at the Street Scene as well. Sounds like it will be a good show, as long as Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs doesn't show up and put the microphones in her mouth and run around screaming into them.

Based on the Flaming Lips tour dates page, I surmise that the concert is on May 24th and is at the SDSU open air theater. Maybe this wasn't the biggest secret after all. Nevertheless...

April 28, 2006

Arcade Fire Live At The Casbah 1/17/05

coachella dvd

I watched the Coachella DVD that my parents were kind enough to send me for a birthday present last night. It's an interesting DVD. There are plenty of good artists, the Flaming Lips and Bright Eyes deliver notable performances, but on the whole it feels like a wierd movie whose existence I have trouble justifying. It is culled from multiple years at the festival, so it sort of waters down the "We were there!" appeal of single event concert movies. The artists are also incredibly diverse, meaning some of them are very bad, and with artists such as Radiohead lurking later in the movie, Bjork and Fisher Spooner probably didn't get my full attention (they were skipped within ten seconds.) I am even more surprised because this movie also had a theatrical release, which seems hubristic and arrogant or the producers. Coachella has just never seemed like that notable of an event. Looking at a festivals lineup should make you lament the fact that there's no way in hell you could justify traveling to Europe or Tennesee for it, not make you think, "Man, if someone gave me free tickets to that, I wonder what the traffic would be like up to Indio..." (seriously, for what? Tool? Depeche Mode? Matisyahu? Madonna? Common? James Blunt? Bloc Party? The only good thing about festivals this big is that the overlap would mean you would have to miss some of these acts. Only slightly worse is thinking that Street Scene pretty much can't possibly be as good as Coachella.)

But nevertheless, the DVD did have a cool purpose, and that was to re-spring the Arcade Fire on an unsuspecting me. Their sunset performance of "Rebellion (Lies)" was definitely one of the highlights, and it confirmed that the band has been the rarest kind of hype transcender, the kind where when you hear one of their songs out of the blue months after you stopped listening to them daily, you remember how good they sounded at the peak of your fan-ship and want to listen to them all over again. That's pretty much everything I want from a band: for them to be good enough to listen and love them until you can't take it anymore, and then you hear them for the first time in five months and start it all over again.

Arcade Fire at Coachella
The Arcade Fire at Coachella

The Arcade Fire played at the Casbah last January, and it was the kind of show where the tickets were 10 dollars, our friends in New York had seen them, and the hype was inescapable. I bought the tickets and sort of forgot about the commitment, and a few days before the concert I still hadn't given the record the proper pre show listens. Then, at some point in time, "Wake Up" played at just the right time, and I realized that this was absolutely going to be the show opener, and that there was no way the show wasn't going to be awesome. This was an accurate assesment, and as the band left the stage I found myself thinking that this was the rare kind of show where if they announced that they were going to play it all over again, from start to finish, I would probably have stayed. Then they played the encore and I seriously thought about changing my answer. After the ridiculously intense closer of Neighborhood #3 -> Rebellion (Lies), they encored with two songs that the singer's wife sung, or warbled, complete with interpretive dance antics out of an SNL sketch. I seriously didn't know if I could have taken the double dose of "Haiti" and "In The Back Seat" even for all the "Wake Up"'s in the world. But oh well. Here's the show, enjoy it, and think about how much awesomer it would have been to see them at the Casbah the next time they come to play like the UCSD arena or some other awful spacious venue.

1. Intro
2. Wake Up
3. Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
4. No Cars Go
5. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
6. Crown Of Love
7. Cars and Telephones
8. Born On A Train (Magnetic Fields Cover)
9. Une Annee Sans Lemiere
10. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
11. Rebellion (Lies)
12. Encore Break
13. Haiti
14. In The Back Seat

And PS, if you know the girl in the front row of Coachella who sobbed like a baby in the video after Conor Oberst sang "Lua" please slap her for me.

April 26, 2006

Street Scene 06 Pre Sale Tickets

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The Street Scene is at Qualcomm Stadium's parking lot for the second year in a row. I didn't have too many objections to last year's concert being there, considering that the tradition of the Street Scene being, you know, on the streets, meant nothing to a non San Diego native. As long as the bands are of a certain quality, that's what makes the festival what it is.

Therein lies the interesting thing about the email I got today from the people at the Street Scene. They are offering discounted $60 tickets to the August 4th and 5th shindig ($67 with the service charge) today on their website for a limited time. The catch is that you don't know what bands are involved. Checking Pollstar hasn't revealed any secrets either. I remember missing this bonus presale last year, but didn't remember that the tickets I bought were more than 60 dollars. Strike while it's hot if you're down, or you can wait til you find out who is actually coming, to avoid the embarassment of possessing a 60 dollar ticket to a potential "Street Scene '06: Two Nights of Just Fergie."

If anyone who knows anything about line up rumors wants to tell me something to change my mind, that's always welcome as well.

April 19, 2006

Thursday, April 20th Is the Fifth Annual National High Five Day

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Two songs will do you well to listen to today: Thursday by The Features and The Rising. Go ahead, download blindly, you know you want to.

One concert will do you well to attend today: Blind Melon's in PB at 9:30.

Best National High Five Day t-shirt wins some cold hard cash. Check the myspace blog for details and post your picture there.

After Thursday, things will hopefully calm down around here, and I can get back to posting more regularly and thoroughly. Until then, keep the high fives coming.

www.nationalhighfiveday.com

April 18, 2006

Before There Was National High Five Day, You Only Had God

high five hands

The grandest National High Five Day tradition of them all: The Soundtrack mix CD. Finding the perfect set of songs to deliver your high fives to complete strangers to is a difficult task. Songs must sound good played in perfect weather, and turned up loud, but must also stand the test of time and not be the kind of thing you are embarassed about in a years time. Hence, you will find no Gnarls Barkley "Crazy" on this years mix. This years mix was also unique because we put out the call for original works from artists or bands, songs they truly felt exemplified the themes on NH5D. Responses ranged greatly in quality. In fact, the entire time that I've had this blog, I've refrained from really exhibiting a large part of my personality, the hyper critical, dismissive side that really truly hates a lot of the music that is out there. Keeping this part of me in check while listening to some of the songs that opportunistic musicians sent in, (always with the assurance that this song would be "perfect" for NH5D) was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

And yet, i pushed through it, and came up with a damn good mix. Only six artists here that you've probably never heard of, but I'd like to thank all of them for submitting their fine songs to our cause. I hope you enjoy the mix as well, and that it plays loudly as you exchange high fives on Thursday, April 20th.

Rhapsody has done us the service of setting up this years National High Five Day soundtrack as a playlist that you can listen to for free. We're talking entire songs, with no software to install, it was very nice of them. Of course they don't have the original songs that we got sent, so you can download all of those songs below, and click here to listen to the Rhapsody playlist of the rest of the bands.

Thanks again to the six bands that sent in original works: The Bo Dukes, Wynn Walent, Pablo, Jay Mankind, David Shultz and Yeah Someday

Sly & The Family Stone - Everyday People
The Bo Dukes - All My Fives Are High
Flaming Lips - Turn It On
Wynn Walent - Paramedic
The Replacements - Bastards Of Young
Lou Reed - Andy's Chest
Pablo - Loser Crew
Jamie Lidell - Multiply
Jay Mankind - East Village Strollin'
Bruce Springsteen - Badlands
Bob Dylan - Tell Me, Momma
David Shultz - Tones
John Lennon - Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
Paul Westerberg - Mr. Rabbit
Yeah Someday - Give Me Five
Flaming Lips - Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
Andrew Bird - Fake Palindromes
Bright Eyes - Road To Joy
Wolf Parade - I'll Believe In Anything
Elvis Presley - If I Can Dream
The Hold Steady - How a Resurrection Really Feels


In other exciting news:

-The Official National High Five Day concert (San Diego edition) is still taking place at 9:30 at Blind Melon's in PB! The bands we have lined up are The Bo Dukes (see above) and Shaka Buku. We'll be hanging out at my place right nearby beforehand, so if you're in the area, drop me a line beforehand and we can maybe chill beforehand and play this soundtrack really loud.

-Have you noticed the banners on the side of the page for Permanent Tanooki? It's my webcomic, resuming a comic that I wrote and my friend Cason Moore drew for three years in college. New comics every Monday and Thursday, check it out!

-We had a winner in the 4/20 giveaway, it was the guy who wrote about Little Feat. I hope to do more contests again soon.

-Read more about some of the artists on the mix that I've written about before: David Shultz, The Bo Dukes, The Hold Steady, Bob Dylan, The Flaming Lips

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April 11, 2006

Support The PB Street Fair/Block Party

Support the PB Street Fair


Some San Diego-centric news, regarding the PB Street Fair/Block Party. Still looks like it's not happening on the previously scheduled date of April 22nd, but the Pacific Beach Foundation is working on obtaining an appeal hearing to try and see if rescheduling the block party for a later date this summer is a possibility, or at least ressurecting the festival for next year. Here is an excerpt from the email they sent me, they are soliciting emails from PB residents that support the block party. Just tell them about who you are, and what your situation in PB is. That way the town council can hear the voice of the PB residents who might not own property or make it out to local government meetings, but who probably form a strong percentage of PB residents:

At this time, we do need to ask each of you to send us some very basic information, as the city has stated that although they have received over 2800 emails in support of this event, there is no way to determine how many are from people that live or work in PB, have business or employment in PB, or even who live in surrounding communities. If you could each spend a moment and email us at contact@pbfoundation.org with your name and the street name where you live or work, plus a simple statement connecting you to Pacific Beach, it would be a huge help to us at the appeal hearing. We are expecting to proceed with our appeal hearing very soon, and we do need to be as prepared as possible.

Just on principle, whether you drink yourself into a stupor at the Block Party or not, I think it is important to not let the un-representative PB Town Council decide what is going to happen in your neighborhood. It's a sad reality that the typical 20 something PB-goer or PB resident doesn't decide to spend their nice San Diego evenings cooped up in town council meetings. That shouldn't cause their viewpoints to completely disregarded. (That sounds ridiculous and ignorant, saying that the population that doesn't care enough about the issues to go to meetings and support them deserves to be heard, but seriously.) Maybe the above method of making your voice heard will prove easier for most people.

And, because it's so very obvious, here's an MP3 to make you feel more guilty if you don't send the email, kind of like how the Nielsen Ratings people send you a dollar bill with your ratings form to make you more likely to fill it out.

Bloc Party - Helicopter

April 10, 2006

Gilly Leads The Way

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Gilly Leads

I've never been to Lestat's in Normal Heights, and usually I like to spend my birthday at a favorite restaurant/booze dispensary. However, I think that come April 23rd this year, I will have to make an exception and travel to Lestat's to check out Gilly Leads. He's an artist from Los Angeles who you've probably never heard of, but who you shouldn't miss the opportunity to check out in a week's time. I find it difficult not to hear shades of David Bowie in the two songs by Leads that I've heard, not so much in his voice, but in the style of music. Fire Escape has lurching, piano driven march verses that give way to the more plaintive, melodic chorus. People Know is more energetic and features some cool harmonizing the likes of which TV On the Radio recently recruited Bowie for for their latest single "Providence." Of course, whether or not I would be making these comparisons if I didn't know that Mike Garson, who played on keys on all of Bowie's great albums was part of Gilly Lead's band, but that power of suggestion...it's a damn strong power.

Leads plays at Lestat's on Sunday, April 23rd with The Bo Dukes and The Shambles

Check out some MP3s:

-Fire Escape
-People Know

March 29, 2006

UPDATE: PB Block Party Cancelled

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Front page news in the U-T today, thanks to an anonymous commenter for the tip. Check out the article, looks like it's gone for good now. I think that supporters should have gathered outside town hall and chanted "Let Them Play! Let Them Play!" like the kids did at the middle school birthday party that Kevin Arnold's band "The Electric Shoes" were supposed to play at on The Wonder Years.

I could pretend like I'm upset about missing the bands, or the spirit of community that was going to bring us all closer together, but damn...I really can't imagine how great of a debacle a bona fide hot dog eating contest could have been...

March 28, 2006

What is the DEAL with the PB Block Party?

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Sorry if that came out a bit Jerry-esque, but a man leaves town for five days and things all go to hell. I've tried to pin down whether this oh-so-detailed article regarding the 2006 PB Block Party or Street Fair or whatever is still happening. It claims it was voted down, but I don't know whether that makes it definitely off or not. The seemingly Official Site says it was last updated on the 22nd, which is after that article, and it lists several bands scheduled to perform including Skelpin, The Coyote Problem and Billy Watson. I tried to email various involved parties, but haven't heard back yet. Anyone know what the deal is? Because if the hot dog eating contest that is also mentioned on the offical web page is cancelled, I think it is safe to say that nobody in San Diego wins.

Who Saw Clap Your Hands?

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Graffiti


As I drove to the airport on Wednesday night, I saw the huge crowd outside the Casbah, complete with tons of 94.9 banners and signs, ready for the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah show. I had thought it would have been a good story to go down there and talk to people hoping to sell the tickets for sky high prices, but it was not to be. Just as a side note, scalped tickets are insanely more expensive in New York than here. 15 dollar Clap Your Hands tickets going for 60 dollars seems like a bargain compared to the 200 dollars that Arctic Monkeys tickets were going for in New York this weekend.

I found one blog entry over at Woefully Underprepared for the Apocalypse with his own thoughts about the show. Anyone else take it in and agree? Think differently?

BTW, the song about "Satan" that the above review mentions can be downloaded, along with a few more high quality live cuts of new songs over at Muzzle of Bees. You can also listen to a live performance and interview at 94.9. The guys sound pretty tired of answering questios about their rise to success without the aid of major label support, etc. I imagine in the future, this will not be a unique set of circumstances that bands have to talk about, even though every article you read about CYHSY and the Arctic Monkey's mentions how big a role

A. The internet
B. Blogs
C. MP3s
D. Not the major labels

played in helping them achieve their success. In this respect, Clap Your Hands have been saddled with the role of the older brother, who has to break ground with his parents for later curfews, car privleges, road trips with friends, and also answer the same questions about where he's going to college, what he's doing after college, over and over again. But by the time their younger brother gets old enough to want to do the same things, the parents are used to their kids growing up in this fashion and none of these things are even a big deal anymore. The trade off is that the younger brother will have to make a name for himself based on, (heavens), his music alone.

March 20, 2006

One Month Until National High Five Day

That's right. There is one month left until National High Five Day. That's one month left for your band to send us an MP3 to feature on our soundtrack, and one month left to make travel plans to either NYC or San Diego to see either of the two official concerts.

The Bo Dukes

In case you're the type who needs a bit of convincing before making huge travel trips to see a band you've never heard about play a concert in celebration of a holiday made up by a guy you've never met, I offer up the following excellent MP3s from The Bo Dukes, who will play at Blind Melon's in Pacific Beach in honor of the holiday.

1. Save The Day
2. Hash
3. Hey Carolyn
4. Take It As Sign

Scotch Greens & The Wagon

Scotch Greens at the Liars Club
Scotch Greens at the Liars Club

The only way you could have not been excited by the performance by Scotch Greens at the Liars Club on Friday was if you didn't make it in the door. Due to a combination of the St. Patrick's day holiday and the bands performance, the line was out the door and was operating on a One In One Out policy. As a result, we ended up standing right by the band, who played for an hour in a half and mixed their rootsy punk stylings in with a few eclectic covers including The Pogues "If I Should Fall From Grace With God," Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" and Joe Strummer's "Silver and Gold." A highlight included when the singer stood on one of the Liar's Clubs ultra precarious barstools to play his guitar with a banjo, as demonstrated above. I don't think anyone could actually hear what that sounded like, but the effect was pretty cool nevertheless. The bands new CD "Professional" is out on April 4th.

thewagon.jpg
San Diego's Own "The Wagon"


I would heartily recommend checking the band out, but they're headed to Europe now, so that's not going to happen. Take a listen to an mp3 of their song Deaf Girlfriend instead. You also might try checking out the singer from Scotch Greens cousins' band, The Wagon as an alternative. I had the good fortune to stand next to him during the show, and hopefully he isn't offended by the way I identified him above, as I don't think I got his name. They're a San Diego band who's about to play a few more shows locally before heading out on a tour of their own throughout California. If you're more of a traditionalist who prefer your rock songs to have less banjo and more anthems about chicks and summertime, then take a listen. The Wagon plays its next show in SD on April 7th at the Whistle Stop and you can listen to a couple songs on their myspace site.

March 17, 2006

Robert Walter's Super Heavy Organ at Winston's

Robert Walter played at Winston's last night and showed off his patented brand of Heavy Organ funk to a packed house.

Robert Walter on the Keys

The show started off strong, but the audience wasn't exactly rapt at Winston's. If you weren't standing towards the front you were liable to hear just as much chatter as funk. That all changed when Robert brought out a special guest:

Karl Denson

Fellow Greyboy All-Star Karl Denson. That shut people up. The Super Heavy Organ was a trio tonight, so adding a saxophone to the mix really added a cool dimension. A bit towards the jazz end of the spectrum, away from the funk, but overall it was very nicely balanced. Robert Walter always puts on a good show, he always looks like he's just in a blissful state while playing the organ, which is fun to watch. Adding in a cool stand up bass player and an amazing drummer who looks kind of like Charlie Watts, plus Karl Denson, doesn't hurt either. More pictures below:

Continue reading "Robert Walter's Super Heavy Organ at Winston's" »

March 16, 2006

Clap Your Hands Say...Backlash?

The CityBeat publishes a piece decrying Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, who play at the Casbah on Wednesday the 22th. Combs takes the role of Elaine Benes, wondering how everybody can like "The English Patient." I don't really know who is going to shows at the Casbah to be "seen" (by who?) but I can also understand the feeling of being underwhelmed with the band. I like their CD, and saw them at the Troubador a few months ago and enjoyed it, but it is not the reinvention of the wheel, or the second coming of the messiah, or god forbid the messiah reinventing the wheel, that some would have you believe.

Some opportunistic Craigslisters have already sought to capitalize on the hopeful backlash that Combs' article will inspire: http://sandiego.craigslist.org/tix/142594413.html

For all you other fans out there who can't get a ticket or won't pony up sixty bucks or so, Muzzle of Bees has posted some great live MP3s of the band including new songs that aren't on the album.

The CityBeat article is on point regarding one more thing: Stella Artois is a Miller in a gussied up bottle. Yuck. Hipsters, what happened to the good old fashioned inexpensive PBR?

List of San Diego Bands playing SXSW and Good Alternatives for Missing the Shindig

The UT provides a list of San Diego bands who will be part of the SXSW festivities. I have never seen any of these bands in concert, and the only ones I have ever heard were Castanets, who i took the rare step of deleting off of my computer. I have a huge hard drive, so that step is very very rare. Among other artists who have met this rare fate include Joanna Newsome, The Decemberists and The Futureheads.

So I would most likely be checking out the non-local bands were I to be in Austin. Since I'm not, and you likely aren't either, there are fortunately good enough concerts this weekend to keep you entertained. Tonight, as mentioned yesterday is Robert Walter's Super Heavy Organ at Winston's. That's the best small venue show of the weekend.

The Scotch Greens

Except for Friday, which we'll call the best really small venue show of the weekend. You may not think of live music when you think of the Liars Club in Mission Beach, but it works surprisingly well, especially given the copious amounts of booze usually flowing within. Friday night, The Scotch Greens, who have been touring with Flogging Molly play. I had never heard of them before, but you can listen at their myspace page and from the first few seconds you can tell that the show is going to be fun as hell. They call them selves a Roots Punk band, and from what I can tell from listening, that means that the guitar driven country style punk gives way to an occasional banjo solo, sort of like the Meat Puppets with energy and if they could sing. Check out "Deaf Girlfriend" on myspace, and try not to get excited listening to it. Highly recommended! UPDATE: The band goes on early, possibly as early as 7:30 and will be done by 9:00. Start your night off right!

toots!

Saturday Toots and the Maytalls plays at the HOB. They played Street Scene two years ago and I thought they were tremendous. You'd imagine that they could end up sounding like a Vegas style approximation of what a reggae band could sound like, but that's not the case. They were brimming with energy, the band was incredibly tight and Toots was still the man.

Sunday is Flogging Molly also at the HOB. I'd recommend them to anyone, although it is understandably the kind of crowd that could scare people off. IIt's sold out, so it doesn't really matter.

March 15, 2006

Your Favorite Band plays Blind Melon's. That's the band name. Just read the article.

Your Favorite Band

While browsing through listings of San Diego bands on Myspace, I came across Your Favorite Band. Before I had even listened to their music, I thought they might be a great fit for the National High Five Day concert. I mean, compare that flyer to the one of the Bo Dukes:

The Bo Dukes

They look like they could share a bill don't they? Unfortunately it didn't end up working out, but after I got a chance to listen to their music, I realized that it was even more of a shame. Even though they can't play for NH5D at Blind Melon's on 4/20, Your Favorite Band is playing almost a month beforehand on the same stage, Blind Melon's, tonight, March 15th at 10PM. I recommend you get out there and see them. Despite the confusing Who's On First style band name, YFB has an energetic sound, replete with gratuitously awesome guitar solos, drum solos, and, on their song Never, even bass solos. They sound cool in their MP3s, and undoubtedly even better in concert.

The band plays frequent shows in San Diego, they played the Epicentre earlier this week. For more show dates and for three more MP3s, check out their myspace page.

Robert Walter's Super Heavy Organ - B3 There or B3 Square

Robert Walter

This Thursday, Robert Walter brings his new Super Heavy Organ project to Winstons. Robert is without a doubt one of the finest bringers of the funk there is today, and the man makes the coolest facial expressions you'll see as he coaxes the sounds out of his Hammond B3 organ. In addition to being one of the founding members of the Greyboy All Stars and his previous excellent work with the 20th Congress, Robert is also a San Diego native capping off the elusive trifecta of reasons you should go see him:

1. Brings the funk.
2. Cool facial expressions while performing.
3. From San Diego

In all honesty, it will be the coolest show you get a chance to see all week. Those of you who are only familiar with the Greyboy All Stars should prepare yourself for a less jazzy, more funky style show, as the previously mentioned Super Heavy Organ plays a much more prominent role. There are still large elements of jazz, the just as prominent saxophone and occasional wind instrument, but the band truly brings it home when they have all cylinders blazing on the funk. It's the kind of show where on the live recordings, you can hear the audience yelling in approval when some really awesome music is happening onstage. The 20th Congress was actually the first band that focused on instrumental improvisation that I ever saw back in college where i wasn't looking at my watch the entire time, so if you're wary of instrumental bands that feature extended soloing, be assured that these guys were able to convert one who was staunchly in that camp just a few years ago.

The best thing about seeing artists such as Robert Walter is that you can get a little taste of what you're in for beforehand. There is a 20th Congress show online that was actually recorded at Winstons several years ago, but I'm posting this Super Heavy Organ show, since that is the line up that is coming through tomorrow. Give these tunes a listen, and then go check out the band tomorrow.

1. Maple Plank
2. El Cuervo
3. Inside Straight
4. 34 Small
5. Parts & Holes
6. Corry's Snail and Slug Death
7. Hardware->
8. 2% Body Fat
9. Kickin' Up Dust
10. Little Miss Lover
11. Blues for J

March 09, 2006

Official National High Five Day Concert - The Bo Dukes @ Blind Melons

The Bo Dukes

I'm pleased to announce that the Official West Coast Celebration of National High Five Day will take place at Blind Melon's in Pacific Beach on April 20th, 2006. The entertainment will be provided by The Bo Dukes, a rock trio that currently is garnering buzz and rave reviews for their performances all around Los Angeles. They are gracing San Diego with their presence for the first time in honor of National High Five Day, and we want everyone to come out, exchange some high fives, and rock with the band. It's guaranteed to be a good time. Expect to hear more details, including the possibility of another very special guest being added to the lineup, as the date approaches.

In the meantime, check out the Bo Dukes on myspace, where there are four songs to listen to, but unfortunately, no more pictures of the gentlemen in Olympic skiing outfits. Here's what respected music blog Muzzle of Bees had to say about the band.

March 02, 2006

Concert Tomorrow by Singer Who Once Met Fred Savage!

young Jenny Lewis Album Cover.jpg

The Union-Tribune interviews Jenny Lewis, who performs with the Watson Twins at the San Diego Women's Club in Hillcrest on Friday night. Times like these are instances where you can truly see the advantage of an online reporting platform vs. print. If you had just picked up the paper and read the article, you would never know that you had the capability of downloading all but one of the albums songs from Lewis' record label's website and listening to them while you read the article! Unfortunately, the one song missing is probably the most famous track on the album, the cover of the Travelling Wilbury's "Handle With Care" so I stuck it on the radio.blog on the front page for now. My opinion is that it the album is ok, but the cover song is awesome, although Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie's voice is an obvious weak link. If they replaced him with My Morning Jacket's Jim James, (who has toured with the other two guests, Conor Oberst and M. Ward), then we'd really have something.

Just a few more points of interest. One, is that if you go to www.jennylewis.com and click over to links, you find a link for not one, not two, but three seperate myspace pages. Rilo Kiley myspace, Watson Twins myspace and Jenny Lewis With Watson Twins myspace. Secondly, Lewis was the co-star of The Wizard, Fred Savage's epic late 80s hour and a half Nintendo ad, most famous for unveilling Super Mario Bros. 3. X-entertainment has full coverage of the movie, as well as the following video clip where in order to stop a criminal from getting away, Ms. Lewis shrieks "He touched my breast!" to get the attention of the casino floor. So that's probably a lot worse than any embarassing home video of you that your parents ever showed to your friends, and Jenny Lewis turned out alright.

February 24, 2006

What A Dismal Weekend of Music

Sad panda

It appears to be a pretty low key weekend in terms of your options for musical entertainment. No real big name acts coming through, and nothing in particular of note on a local level. However, there are always recommendations to be made, so I will try to point you in the right direction.

First of all, I think that the best option for anyone will be going to catch Neil Young's concert movie, Neil Young: Heart of Gold in Hillcrest (see my post from yesterday.) Reviews have been positive across the board, check out the Rotten Tomatoes page for a sampling.

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Pink Froyd plays Saturday at Winston's

My second promising diversion would be Pink Froyd, Saturday at Winston's. This Pink Floyd tribute band will be playing "Dark Side of the Moon" in its entirety. I saw the band perform "The Wall" about a year ago, and it was a great time. "Dark Side of the Moon" is one of those records that people know inside and out, so its a treat to hear it in a live setting and remember why you listened to it every night for a two year stretch of your life. When they played "The Wall", they divided it into two sets and played a third set of audience requested Pink Floyd, so I imagine more of the same will be in order. The only question I have for the band is what the deal with the name is. It lacks the obvious pun quality that seems like a requirement for a tribute band. Maybe I am just missing it...

If revisiting classic rock icons is not to your liking, there are always checking out artists who have not yet attained "Legendary" or even "Known" status. The Union Tribune's "Liner Notes" blog recomends a couple of local acts that sound relatively harmless, and a big party at the Casbah on Saturday:

Goodbye Blue Monday, Via Satellite and Manuok at S.D.'s best rock club Saturday for Loud + Clear Records' 4th Anniversary Party at the Casbah. Also performing: new L+C signing neonthief and Adam Gnade...don't miss this rare chance to catch his live show, which has been known to feature "six-person drumlines, girls banging on wine bottles with butter knives and a basement full of drunk, happy kids on electric guitars, piano, tambourine, bass, organ, homemade percussion, hand claps, you name it," according to his Web site.

So there you go. I'll let you know how Neil Young is.

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

cream-logo2.jpg

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

February 20, 2006

One Last Thing About Sunday's Show

It's Generic Sitcom Plot Device #28, bookended by #27, (simultaneous dates with two different women) and #29, (losing something valuable of your parents and trying to cover it up only to learn that objects aren't important, but telling the truth is.) Of course, i refer to the situation where a woman "can't go in there" ('there' equals the ball, reunion, party, etc) because somebody is wearing her exact same dress. Being firmly grounded in the real world, this has never struck me as being a big deal. It's entirely possible that I might not even notice were this situation to actually occur in real life. Which made what I did notice at the Casbah at last night's show by The Hold Steay all the more shocking to me.

During a song introduction, singer Craig Finn told an anecdote about the martyrdom of Saint Barbara, which evidently occurred after she converted to Christianity in the third century. Finn, in an effort to illustrate in a modern context how shocking this was at the time, compared it to getting a facial tattoo. I thought this was a good example. A deliberate attempt to distort your most noticable and unmissable feature is certainly a shocking act. That's why so few people do it. It's unnecessary, shocking and rebellious, (in a conformist sort of way.)

So I wonder what was going through the heads of the nine or ten people in the crowd at the show last night that were all wearing the same style glasses. The thick, black framed Buddy Holly/Rivers Cuomo style glasses. It was unmissable to me, and I wasn't even the one wearing them. If you spun in a circle, it would have been difficult to find an O'Clock where someone wasn't sporting them. Even two members of the band were!

Hold Steady Glasses
The Hold Steady See Eye To Eye on Facial Fashion

So just piecing this together from how I see it...There can't be any reason to get extra thick, ostentatious glasses, other than the look. They can't be lighter, or be more comfortable. The look can be the only reason. And if you want that particular look, you have to have some sort of inkling about what image that look conveys to the rest of the world: indie rock, ironic-nerdy, non-conformist hipster. You care so little about fashion that you're willing to deliberately look uncool as possible! But that makes you cool! UNTIL, you walk into a room and a ten other people are doing the same thing!

Unbelievable. You might think I am exaggerating, but I couldn't be the only one who noticed this last night. The thick framed glasses are still rare enough that I notice when I see someone wearing them. There were so many people last night that it was similar to what it would be like if you went to a concert and there were 10 different people there, of different genders and widely different ages who didn't know each other, all wearing these wigs:
rainbow wig

or these fake muscle shirts:
Fake Muscle Shirt

Very bizarre.

And Yet, It Would Be Unlike Me Not To Find Some Fault With Last Night's Show

I think that there ought to be a Rotten Tomatoes type site that aggregates ratings for just every day things. People could provide short reviews of a given topic, and you could then come up with a collective "rating" for what the public opinion is of something. It would be interesting to see the issues, that despite the atmosphere of devisiveness in the country caused by politics, religion, the anonymity of the internet, people still agree on. The first thing that comes to mind to me would be babies crying on an airplane. This would likely get a very high rating. It would not be unanimously despised though, because there are still people out there who can empathize with the difficulty of travelling with a baby. The fact that this horrible, onerous social situation would likely only get a 80-90% disapproval rating makes the following item even more shocking to me. The one item that I am sure that every person would agree on, no matter who you are, is that advertisements in movie theatres before the movie starts are stupid and irritating.

A quick internet search turns up several essays by like minded people: One, Two, Three. That took thirty seconds. Reading these sites, the main themes seem to be that you paid for the main attraction, that the main attraction is what you are there to see and that it is unfair and discourteous to subject you to something unrelated that you likely have no interest in. This post specifically objected to theatres that were unwilling to specify at what time the actual main attraction would start, so that those who wished to avoid the unwelcome ads could do so. Pretty much, there isn't a single person out there who likes the idea of paying for something you want to see, only to be inevitably trapped in situation you don't want to be in while you are subjected to entertainment you don't like.

Swearing At Motorits opened for The Hold Steady
Swearing At Motorists know the difficult role of Opening Band


Which brings me to the subject of opening bands. If I could change one thing about the process of live concert attendence, it would be to have some sort of schedule posted ahead of time. It wouldn't have to be set in stone, but it could go a little like this:

-Doors open at 8:30
-Local Amatuerish Opening Band will go on from around 9:30 to 10:00
-Tour Partner who is likely here because of label politics from 10:30 to 11:15
-The only band you're interested in and the only one you would conceivably pay money for will start at around 11:45

Continue reading "And Yet, It Would Be Unlike Me Not To Find Some Fault With Last Night's Show" »

The Hold Steady Almost Killed San Diego...

The Hold Steady's Craig Finn Performs at The Casbah

And San Diego loved every minute of it. As predicted in this very space on Friday, The Hold Steady are the perfect example of a band whose hype and promise are impossible to understand until you've been to a concert. Before one gets a chance to jam into a sold out crowd at a tiny venue like the Casbah, the band just sends you one mixed signal after another. There's the singer, who looks like he may be like 40 years old in the press photos. There's the sometimes inelegant flows of the lyrics, which sound at times very similar to stuff on Bruce Springsteen's first two albums where he didn't so much sing as sort of let the words spill out of his mouth. There's multiple uses of the word "Hoodrat." And of course, there's the hype. The reviews for The Hold Steady's second album "Separation Sunday" have been so universally full of acclaim, that they run the inevitable risk of backlash from those who don't "Get It" right off the bat Well consider me one who was in the former group but who has been entirely coverted by the power of rock and roll that The Hold Steady exhibited last night.

The band came onstage at 11:45 last night in front of a sold out crowd at the Casbah. Singer Craig Finn started the concert the same way that Separation Sunday starts, delivering the opening lines of "Hornets! Hornets!" on his own as the more enthusiastic members of the audience spoke the words along with or before him. It was no doubt a surprise to any hipster who had walked in the door because of the hype, to learn that this band apparently had actual devoted fans who knew the words to the songs and weren't ashamed to show it. But over the course of the next hour and a half, The Hold Steady showed that they really weren't anything like what you'd expect from a typical buzz band.

Continue reading "The Hold Steady Almost Killed San Diego..." »

February 17, 2006

Don't "Rush", "Hold Steady" or You'll "Waste" Your Whole Weekend, (With A Little Bit of Mambo)

As I browse the concert listings I am filled with a variety of disappointments. First of all, if you're reading this, you're already too late to go and check out MC Vagina at the Zombie Lounge. That happened on Wednesday. Surprisingly, the good MC has a MySpace page.

My second disappointment happened when flipping past the ad for 4th and B. LIke Electric Waste Band keyboardist Paul Bell pointed out in our interview a few days ago, it seems as if 4th an B's days may be numbered due to the 600 pound gorilla that is the House Of Blues. As I scanned their listing, however, I thought for a moment that they had not gone down without a fight, without firing one last shot towards the HOB. But then I noticed that their show on February 18th did not actually say Lou Bega like I had first thought, but actually Louie Vega. They may as well pack it in now.

Despite the lack of a few big names, there are some entertaining options this weekend. Badfish, a Sublime tribute band plays at Cane's tonight. Every year or so, I will find myself surprised that songs like Santeria are still being played on the radio. There's nothing wrong with the songs, but they're in a strange valley of music that is above novelty hit, but really doesn't have classic staying power. Seeing how much faux enthusiasm these guys could deliver to their 4,000th rendition of What I Got Could be entertaining...

Tea Leaf Green
Tea Leaf Green


Or you could go see the Electric Waste Band open for Tea Leaf Green at the Belly-Up. Tea Leaf Green looks to be a jam band, their set lists on the website have a lot of ->'s in them, indicating that songs transfer into one another. I will probably go and check out the EWB and see what I think of the band. The show starts in Solana Beach at 9:00.

Continue reading "Don't "Rush", "Hold Steady" or You'll "Waste" Your Whole Weekend, (With A Little Bit of Mambo)" »

February 13, 2006

Holiday & The Adventure Pop Collective Live at the Liar's Club

whistlestop.gif

We live in a world of such differing opinions and combativeness that it is difficult to enthusiastically endorse any given thing to people. Putting it out there that you enjoy something, or are a fan of something, is tantamount to an invitation to people to find fault with it. Thus, in the past five years, I have endorsed only two things which I felt were bulletproof enough to really stake my reputation on them. The first was the 2001 release of the Stroke's "Is This It?" Three and a half years later, in April of 2005, I directed a large group of my friends towards the "Le Village Buffet" in the Paris Casino in Las Vegas by declaring it good enough to stake my reputation on. And now, eight months after that event, I offer up a third recomemndation that I feel confident enough to stand behind in the face of all criticism.

That recommendation is this: if you find yourself in a raucous bar, drinking delicious beers and eating good food on a warm Sunday afternoon in the middle of February when your friends and family back home on the East coast are buried under half a foot of snow, there will be no finer music to your ears than that of Holiday and The Adventure Pop Collective. Granted, this recommendation has a few conditions applied towards it, but like I said before, I don't just dole out stuff like this all the time.

For a review of the show and pictures click below...

Continue reading "Holiday & The Adventure Pop Collective Live at the Liar's Club" »

February 10, 2006

Tweedy 'n Spreckels

tweedyandmonkey.jpg

Forget for a moment that the headline of this article sounds like a mischevious duo of Dennis The Menace types from a 1960s TV show. This is arguably the biggest San Diego concert of the weekend. Sure, the Stars concert at the Casbah is just as Sold Out, but lets wait until Stars has a critically acclaimed documentary featuring shots of them nervously vomiting outside the recording studio and nervously interacting with their fans backstage before we make any real judgments comparing the two. (Note: tickets seem to be fairly easily on craigslist, mostly for face value.)

If given the chance to see one show this weekend, I would probably pick the Stars concert. I prefer to listen to Wilco's CDs, but it just seems like the odds of being blown away, or at least hearing some divergence from the way the CD sounds could be higher at the Stars concert. Also, when in doubt between two shows, choose the louder. This review of Tweedy's performance in San Francisco on Wednesday, 2/8, casts no doubt on which show that will be:


Just a few nights earlier he had told off a chatty Portland audience, "Can you shut up for once in your f -- life?" And it seemed like the news had spread to San Francisco. No one said a word as the singer strummed through nearly a half-dozen hushed tunes before finally looking up: "I have a question for the bartenders." Uh-oh. "When we're getting rid of the beer bottles can we cradle them into the trash?" he said. "Ease them in as if they were your children and you were putting them to bed?"

For more on Tweedy, click below...

Continue reading "Tweedy 'n Spreckels" »

Don't Set Yourself On Fire Before Sunday

stars.gif

Or you'll miss the performance by Stars at the Casbah. You may miss it anyways, because it is sold out. Maybe setting yourself on fire outside the Casbah would prove you enough of a fan to be let in that back door... I'm not the biggest fan of the record, although it seem like the kind of thing that the band could add in enough live flourishes that could make it borderline epic. The record did, however, garner rave reviews from sources as diverse as Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, which is a rarity that either speaks to their crossover appeal, or that they were picked as the bone Rolling Stone tossed to the more descriminating music fans for that quarter of 2005. A short profile in the UT and a longer one in the CityBeat preview the concert.

Stars play with The Elected, Sunday, February 12th at the Casbah.

Stars Official Site: www.arts-crafts.ca/stars/

February 08, 2006

Clap Your $$, Say Bling Bling

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As everyone knows, the Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah concert at the Casbah on March 22nd sold out almost instantly. I've been checking out the ticket prices on Craigs List, and find that there is pretty constant stream of ruthless profiteering going on. The current high is two tickets selling for $120 a piece, or four times the original face value. People seem to be willing to pay high prices though, with wanted ads up for $80 and $60 per pair. CityBeat reports on the unique situation this show has caused for the Casbah management, who actually cancelled a block of tickets bought by out of state scalpers.

Other Sold Out Casbah shows below:

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