Just a little more than a year after West Coast Tavern owner David Cohen took ownership of The North Park Theatre, the venue is changing hands once again. Cohen and The Verant Group have sold The North Park Theatre to The Observatory, which also owns The Constellation Room, a venue in Santa Ana. On Dec. 11, SD Observatory LLC filed a fictitious business name for The North Park Theatre with the county Assessor / Recorder's office.
Tim Mays, owner of The Casbah, has been booking shows at the theater for the past year and confirmed that The Observatory will take over the venue on Jan. 15. The Observatory has also purchased West Coast Tavern. As of right now, no major changes to the theater have been announced outside of the purchase.
The first show at The North Park Theatre after the transition is New Orleans rapper Curren$y, who performs on Jan. 16. There are also several artists who are playing both The Observatory and The North Park Theatre in the coming months, including Migos, Juicy J and Neutral Milk Hotel.
A few issues ago, CityBeat music editor Jeff Terich recommended Blonde Redhead's live show show with this: "It’s pretty much all good, and all stylish, so expect a great set." The art-pop band, around for just over two decades and featuring Kazu Makino and twin brothers Simone (drums) and Amdedeo Pace (lead guitar), released a new album, Barragan, in September. Photographer Kristin Genna caught their set last month at House of Blues:
The Che Cafe has suffered another setback after a long series of conflicts with UCSD over the music venue's ability to keep its space. A judge ruled today in favor of the university in a two-day trial determining whether the UCSD had the grounds to evict the Che Cafe Collective.
UCSD originally served The Che with an eviction notice back in June, following a vote from the student-run University Centers Advisory Board to rescind funding for the venue’s much-needed repairs. The eviction was temporarily put on hold when The Che was granted a stay in court one month later. After UCSD’s victory in court, however, it would appear that The Che is running out of options.
After two years of predictions and partying at the San Diego Music Awards, I've reached a solid conclusion: I'm absolutely terrible at predicting which artists will take home awards. Hell, I'm not even sure you can come up with a logical system of figuring it out. But while I went zero for five this year in my own reading of the music scene's entrails, I was pleasantly surprised to find that three of the artists I wanted to win—Nathan Hubbard, Odessa Kane and Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact—actually did! I'll call that a moral victory, if not an actual one.
Meanwhile, perennial why-is-he-even-nominated favorite Jason Mraz won both Artist of the Year and Best Music Video, accepting his award via phone. The Burning of Rome, meanwhile, had the most wins at three: Best Live Band, Best Alternative Album and Song of the Year. Have a look at the full list of winners below.
I've never been much of a fan of seeing shows in arenas or stadiums. And yet, I've still seen my share—David Bowie at Irvine Meadows, Garbage at RIMAC, an FM 94/9 Christmas show about four years ago, etc. But sometime between having to squint to see Beck and straining to hear Vampire Weekend, I had more or less quit cold turkey. With the exception of Bowie, almost none of these shows were worth the baffling ordeal, questionable acoustics and parking nightmares one would have to endure just to hear the hits.
When Nine Inch Nails announced they'd be coming to San Diego, however, I thought I was ready to give it another shot. I've been listening to the band since the depths of my most awkward junior-high years, and though I have little interest in going on a nostalgia trip for the sake of itself, there are enough good songs in the band's catalog that a giant spectacle of a show—one whose scope would make sense only in the context of a giant arena—might actually seem worth it.
The show, held at Coors Amph... I mean Cricket Wirel... make that Sleep Train Amphitheatre, was in fact a double-shot of 1994 mania, since it also featured grunge icons Soundgarden, who played an almost-headliner-length set in an opening slot. They stacked the hits high and wide: "Outshined," "Blow Up the Outside World," "Spoonman," "Fell on Black Days," "Black Hole Sun" and "Rusty Cage," to name a few. And they pretty much nailed it each time, holding on to some of their youth while looking slightly grayer than we remember them (guitarist Kim Thayil has an awesome Fidel Castro-meets-Hulk Hogan look at the moment).
I didn't stay in my seat during the whole of Soundgarden's set, instead taking the opportunity to shell out $9 for tacos and $13 for one beer from the one cart in the venue that wasn't plastered with the Budweiser logo. And it's a good thing, too—someone sitting directly behind me unleashed a torrent of puke shortly after I left, instead hitting the ankles of the bros squatting nearby.
I was ready to forget all of the tacky business around me once Nine Inch Nails started, and for a time, I did. With no warning or fanfare, Trent Reznor simply walked onstage and started the 2013 single "Copy of A," joined by his bandmates gradually during the course of the song. Their set was stark but vibrant, a high-tech series of light displays and simple backdrops inspired more by Kraftwerk than, say, Nine Inch Nails circa 1994. Though that doesn't mean that things didn't kick into higher gear soon enough, with a blistering performance of "March of the Pigs" transitioning into "Piggy," and a booming version of 1989's "Terrible Lie" transitioning into a cool take on "Closer," mixed with elements of Pretty Hate Machine deep cut "The Only Time."
But, as strong a live band as Nine Inch Nails is, it was hard to escape the frustrations that had built up in just a few short hours: The price gouging, the vomit pool, the creepy 50-year-old bro on pills who didn't and couldn't realize I didn't want his company, the nagging reminder that I'd have to leave early to avoid being stuck in the parking lot, the people in the VIP seats literally looking down on me and the promoter's senseless bureaucratic rules—when you photograph a show, you usually have to leave the pit after the third song; here, they make you leave the fucking venue.
All I could think of was Sun Kil Moon's song "Ben's My Friend," in which Mark Kozelek describes seeing The Postal Service at a giant amphitheater: "Ben's my friend but getting there's the worst / Trying to park and getting up the hill / And finding a spot among the drunk kids staring at themselves." I'm not nearly as old and grumpy as Kozelek, but while I enjoyed watching the show—or most of it anyway—being there mostly reinforced what I already knew going into it.
And I left with a shrug.
It's finally happening. After 20 years, Drive Like Jehu has announced that they're getting back together. Pretty much since the local post-hardcore outfit broke up in 1994, fans have been clamoring for a reunion—and that includes me—though the best we ever got were some pretty frustrating hoaxes.
It's San Diego Music Awards season, and this year's nominees have just been announced. There are a lot of worthy entries on the long list of nominations, including local MVPs The Burning of Rome, Little Hurricane and The Midnight Pine, as well as newcomers like Soft Lions and hard-working underdogs like Eukaryst, who are profiled in this week's CityBeat.
And then there's Jason Mraz and Switchfoot. It wouldn't be the San Diego Music Awards without a few ringers, no matter how cliche it is for Switchfoot's name to show up—again. But Jason Mraz seems a little more of a stretch. Is Mraz even really a "San Diego artist" at this point? I'm inclined to say no, considering he's only scheduled three shows here this year, all in stadium-sized venues and all sold out. That, to me, doesn't say "local artist," but your mileage may vary.
In any case, here's the full list of nominees:
This week’s CityBeat features an overview of the experimental, shape-shifting Tokyo trio Boris, whose new album Noise was released last month via Sargent House. The group’s sound is a bit difficult to pinpoint, since all of their albums sound pretty radically different from one another. But the one (almost) constant in their sound is heavy rock ‘n’ roll—in various shapes and forms.I conducted an email interview with the band’s guitarist Takeshi and drummer Atsuo through a translator, in which the group discussed their changing sound, different versions of their albums, and the departure of fourth member Michio Kurihara.