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Home / Articles / Music / Nightgeist /  Stuff that happens at night
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Tuesday, Oct 07, 2008

Stuff that happens at night

Bad news for good local music: The Sess is no more.  There's some good news about shows and other stuff in here, too.

By Aaryn Belfer

Locals Only

Sad but true, members of The Sess have confirmed that the band has split up. While full details weren’t known as of press time, it seems two of the members, including frontman Sam Rivera, have quit to pursue other projects. The Sess released their debut, Agendumb, this year and were nominated for Best Rock Album at this year’s San Diego Music Awards. When CityBeat published a feature on them a month ago, we didn’t realize quite how prophetic we were when we ran the headline “San Diego’s most dangerous band is probably too good to last.”

Local blues musicians are banding together to help raise money for Mark “Fergie” Ferguson who suffered a stroke in June. Local musician Bob Bowley (aka Bobby Whiteshoes) has known Ferguson for 40 years and says that while he’s making an incredible recovery, the singer and harmonica player needs help to pay his medical bills. “Although the stroke has limited his abilities, he is still a strong-willed fighter,” Bowley said. The all-ages, nearly all-day concert will be at South Park Bar & Grill from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, and will feature Street Deluxe Blues Band, Delta Heat and West of Memphis, among others.

Although they’ve had live-music-permit problems lately, The Avalon owner Marc Shannon has been given the OK to move forward on the North Park venue’s three-day Weekend That Never Ended event, which will feature art classes, live mural paintings, fashion shows and concerts. Singer-songwriter Alan Silva will host the musical portion, called Pandemonium, which will feature local bands playing from 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, until 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 12. The entire “Weekend” event begins Friday evening and ends Sunday evening.—Seth Combs

Same as it ever was

David Byrne didn’t sell out Humphrey’s by the Bay last week, but that had to be due to the ticket price and not Byrne’s ability to put on a kick-ass performance, since that’s what he did. While not as innovative as previous tours, this more simplified, more organic tour is classic Byrne and fans weren’t disappointed. It was so fantastic that the crowd was on its feet—some on the chairs—for a better part of the concert. Seriously. The security staff looked flummoxed.

The 56-year-old artist has long since ditched his iconic oversized suit for a plain white ensemble that perfectly matched his now-white hair. He opened the show with a mavericky comment gloriously aimed at the Republican Party ticket and then launched into the reflective, ironic and utterly dance-alongable “Strange Overtones,” the already popular single from his new album, Everything that Happens Will Happen Today. Backed by an also-clad-in-white five-member band, three backup singers and three dancers (that count might be off since I’d had a cocktail or seven), Byrne played two more songs from the independently distributed album on which he collaborated with the equally prolific Brian Eno, before taking the audience back to some Talking Heads favorites.

Byrne’s look may be pared down, but his performance was electric. His haunting voice is still steady and distinctive; his lyrics continue to illuminate the mundane and the profound as he gets to the core of what it means to be human. And who else but David Byrne could possibly make modern dance palatable? This tour is a great reminder of Byrne’s genius and his continuing relevance as a performance artist. Maybe next time he’ll play 4 & B. —Aaryn Belfer

The Enrique Experience

Board shorts made way for $300 jeans and Manolo Blahnik heels kicked flip-flops to the curb for the first-ever San Diego Fashion Week. More like a long weekend, the on-again, off-again event seemed like TJ fashion week at times, with an array of south-of-the-border designers such as Olga Sánchez and Ivette Alaniz but nonetheless managed to pack in a crowd Friday night at Downtown’s KIN Lounge.

White folding chairs were set up, mimicking the style of New York, Paris, Milan, et al., but with a SoCal twist: The runway was installed just above water level in the swimming pool.

“I now understand what pregnant women mean when they say they’re ready—I feel like I just gave birth, and it’s wonderful!” Allison Andrews, the woman responsible for popping San Diego’s fashion-week cherry, told CityBeat after the show.

Designer Sergio Alcalá—whose style can be best described as Pee-wee’s Playhouse on acid—wowed the audience with his deconstructed DayGlo aesthetic. “Every piece is one-of-a-kind, numbered and part of a project I call 10,000 Around the World,” said Alcalá.

The designer is currently on the 600th piece of his 10K quota, and, after the show, he was seen hawking his own outfit as part of his fashion endeavor. His customized neon green jeans were going for $50, the slightly worn miniature mariachi sombrero-adorned trucker hat for $40.

Austrian couturier Petra O. made a splash, quite literally—jumping in the pool after her last model strutted her stuff. “I’ve always had a thing for mermaids,” she said, adding “besides, I’m trying to bring the wet look back.”

On the ride back from the Fashion Week soirée, I noticed the bright-pink neon Chee-Chee sign was lit. Turns out the Downtown dive, my home-away-from-home, is now open till Northern Mockingbird (that’s 2 a.m. to you and me—Chee-Chee’s wall clock uses birds in lieu of numbers). What I saw was revolting: tattooed hipsters playing pool as rockabilly chicks ordered 24-ounce PBRs at the bar. But just when I thought the bar had been devoured by the hipster-driven gentrification machine, the dentally challenged gentleman sitting next to me said, “You know, my lover used to drink red wine out of my foreskin.”—Enrique Limón

View from a Stool

The Swell Season’s for lovers. About 90 percent of the audience at SDSU’s Open Air Theatre last Friday was couples with their arms wrapped around each other listening to the perfectly harmonizing voices of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, The Swell Season couple who publicly fell in love while filming the 2007 indie Irish musical, Once.

While the Oscar statuettes won in 2008 for one of the songs on the film, “Falling Slowly,” are sitting in Hansard and Irglova’s parents’ houses in Ireland and the Czech Republic, respectively, and Hansard takes a break from his super-famous-in-Ireland band, The Frames, the two lovebirds are touring the world and taking their not-so-sweet and rarely innocent love songs with them.

“This is a new song called ‘I Loved You Wrong’ and it’s kind of about being in love and fucking it up,” said 20-year-old Irglova during a break.

See, what makes The Swell Season’s love songs so freakin’ touching is that they’re truthful and mostly about how screwed-up love makes us. And what makes the duo’s live shows so awesome is that Hansard and Irglova put themselves out there for us, both in their songs and in the stories they tell in between. In fact, Hansard’s stories, in particular, have become part of The Swell Season’s shtick.

“This one’s about being in a relationship,” the 38-year-old said, “and it might not be in a great place, but it’s gotten very comfortable. You guys are watching telly a lot and you’re not talking too much [insert 10 minutes more of Hansard’s speech here]. So, this song, I guess, is all about the idea that your partner buys a book, an inspirational book in the mind/body/spirits section of the bookstore, they read the book and realize that this comfortable place isn’t where they want to be….”

Hansard went on for a good 10 minutes more before some asshole in the audience yelled, “Play the song!” which was met by a resounding “Booo” from the audience. Hansard called the guy a Republican and went on to tell his infamous story about a dog, which was captured on one of The Frame’s live albums.

The story was a good one, and the song that eventually followed was great.—Kinsee Morlan