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Home / Articles / Music / Nightgeist /  Reports from the scene
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Tuesday, Sep 15, 2009

Reports from the scene

Seth Combs on the SDMA's shit sandwich; Enrique Limón gets a 12-Step poetry slam Experience

By Seth Combs
Shot on scene Comic-Con came and went, and it’s not even close to Halloween, but in the past few weeks, there’s been zombie and robot parties at The Ruby Room, not to mention at El Dorado last Thursday, when The Analog Show and Squid Vicious turned an “I Love Vampires” party into something similar to those back-in-the-day goth nights they used to have at Shooterz. Black and red attire was requisite, but how could the guy above resist accessorizing with a leopard silk scarf. And yes, Pabst is his life juice, giving him the power to walk out into the sunlight every now an then.—Seth Combs

SDMAs need an enema

If you saw me toward the end of the San Diego Music Awards on Thursday night, six Jacks on the rocks in, wandering around the crowd and ranting as if I was channeling the ghost of Peter Finch, here’s what I was upset about (in no particular order):

The night’s big winner: The idiot masses. How else does a band like Slightly Stoopid—who didn’t even release an album this year and whose major musical accomplishment seems to be that they smoked weed with Snoop Dogg and got invited to tour with him—win Artist of the Year? The dreamboats in The New Archaic reached enough 14-year-old girls with their vapid, poor man’s Jeff Buckley tunes to garner them enough public votes to win Best New Artist.

And I’m now convinced that the San Diego Music Academy voters are smoking the same shit as Slightly Stoopid. How else can you explain Josh Damigo’s win for Best Local Recording for Raw? That album should have been called “Overcooked and Served with a Side of Cheese.”

Yeah, there were some nice highlights, but the fact remains that the SDMAs are still hugely flawed. I can accept the fact that even though Crocodiles and Wavves brought more attention to the San Diego scene this year than any other bands, the Academy still thought it best to reward album sales by giving awards to Anya Marina and Jason Mraz. Still, it’s time for a major overhaul of the way the nominating and voting process works. My idea? Expand the Academy voting guidelines to include musicians in that genre, at least in the nominating process. It will ensure that ignorant motherfuckers like me don’t have a vote in the Best World Album category and that some crusty old jazz aficionado isn’t picking the winner of Best Hip Hop Album at random.

Why do I care? Because musicians are beginning to think the whole thing’s a joke. And that makes me mad as hell.

—Seth Combs

Locals Only

The winners of the 19th annual San Diego Music Awards were announced last Thursday evening (for a more opinionated take, see the review in this section), and the big winners were Slightly Stoopid (Artist of the Year), Anya Marina (Song of the Year) and Jason Mraz (Album of the Year). Crocodiles and Scarlet Symphony were nominated for the most awards, but only Symphony took home a prize, for Best Alternative Album. For a complete list of the winners, see

One band that didn’t win any SDMAs but got extra attention from the venue (Viejas Concerts in the Park) was The Burning of Rome. When the podium that was used for presenters and winners, came up missing, frontman Adam Traub says he can only guess that the band was singled out as suspects because they performed with similar-looking podiums.

“I was fucking pissed, because our keyboard player was, like, ‘They’re claiming that Joe [guitarist Joe Aguilar] took the podium,’” recalls Traub, referring to the security guards who approached the band after the show. “They kept going in and out of our van searching and lifting up stuff, and I was, like, ‘Podiums are pretty large; I’m pretty sure you would see it.’”

Traub says the security guards said they had video of “somebody with no shoes on taking the podium,” but he says the podium they saw was the one the band brought with them. Even so, he says the guards were nice and apologized afterward.

“I was so inebriated that I was just more or less laughing at the whole situation.”


The Hot Moon, the new band from former Grand Ole Party guitarist John Paul Labno, will make their live debut on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Walk the Walk Presents “Sight and Sound” art event at Architecture in North Park.

—Seth Combs


The Enrique Experience

It was the summer of ’08 when budding playwright Jake Arky met fellow NYU grad Justin Hudnall during a Fourth of July barbecue. The resulting bromance quickly turned into an artistic collaboration, and by February 2009, So Say We All was born—a sort of poetry-slam-meets-12-step-program-by-way-of-cool in which local writers tell personal tales to the beat of different monthly themes.

Their approach paid off. That first event drew six artists; for their most recent one on Monday at Whistle Stop Bar, they had to turn people away. Eleven participants nervously paced around, and thanks to the “Make-out Party” theme—revolving around the song they were listening to the first time they locked lips—the watering hole’s green-apple walls soon blushed to a bright red-delicious hue.

There was Chad Cavanaugh, who tonsil wrestled to Janet Jackson’s “Escapade” with a girl who had biker shorts and several Swatch watches on. Hudnall himself, who to the sound of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You,” got it on with a Wiccan who made her own beeswax candles. And the soulful Gil Sotu, whose Brian McKnight-infused mack session made him feel “like the first taste of sweets after being on the South Beach Diet, like finding out Bill Gates is your babydaddy.” And there was Rob Williams’ account of convincing a neighbor boy that he was a warlock (helped in part by the fact that his house was the first on the block to have The Clapper) and the magical sleepovers that followed, set to the Bewitched theme.

So Say We All’s next dip in the pool will be next month, under the theme “Scared Shitless.” Perhaps I should work on my story of making out with a girl who smelled of peroxide and CK One to the soothing sounds of “The Macarena” at a school dance. Talk about horrifying.

—Enrique Limón

Sweet Beats

Our semi-regular look at the local DJ scene.Artist: DJ Who (aka José, a name kept under wraps until now!)Sound: “Prepare to take some shots with your dancing shoes on,” says the 27-year-old San Diego native when describing his party-friendly sound.

He says he goes through “as many genres of music I can get away with,” but what separates him from the pack is his love for cinema. From his quote-laden Mobb Mix series to his last house / electro mixtape, titled The Twilight Zone, sci-fi and slasher flick interludes are everywhere. Nothing else, however, has had quite as big an impact on DJ Who’s style as the sound of ’80s pop.

“My mom was big into Depeche Mode, The Police, Duran Duran, Abba, Eurythmics, The Who, Wham! and Madonna, just to name a few,” he recalls. “To this day, I can sing along to the words of those songs.”

Stats: Starting out back in 2000, he played his turntables at any house party he could. These days, he juggles weekly gigs at Thrusters, Sand Bar, True North and the Ivy Hotel. Monthly, he puts out a podcast at, where he spins some mega-eclectic mixes (Metallica and MGMT have never flowed so well together). He’ll be playing the Monster Energy Sima Event in Cabo San Lucas from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3, then return to San Diego to spin at The FleetWood the same night. Not busy enough? A new mixtape, Hallow Earth Love, is in the works, and after that, it’s “a lot of studio production and remixing music for the clubs.”

“I want people screaming out the words to the songs with their hands in the air during my sets,” says DJ Who. “I want everybody at the end of the night to have a great time.”

—Sasha Orman
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