San Diego CityBeat Blogs - Check 1, Check 2 | Music nightlife <![CDATA[Photos: Drive Like Jehu at Spreckels Organ Pavilion ]]> After playing coy with fans for the last year or so, post-hardcore San Diego band Drive Like Jehu performed live last night for the first time in 20 years. But it wasn't your normal rock show. The one-hour set was accompanied by San Diego Civic Organist Carol Williams at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park—and it was free! And all ages! And it started at 7 p.m.! Meaning an audience of post-hipsters, kids—and kid-sized noise-supression headsets. Consensus: Awesome event. More, please. The only thing that would have made it better is if drummer Mark Trombino set up a Donut Friend booth. And now, scroll on down for some photos from the show.]]> <![CDATA[Nine Inch Nails live at Sleep Train Amphitheatre]]>

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."

Nine Inch Nails at Sleep Train Amphitheatre photo by Candice Eley


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. 

Nine Inch Nails at Sleep Train Amphitheatre photo by Candice Eley


<![CDATA[Drive Like Jehu reunites]]>

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.

<![CDATA[San Diego Music Awards announce nominees]]>

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:

<![CDATA[Interview: Boris]]>

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.]]>
<![CDATA[Che Cafe granted a stay in court]]>

After months of setbacks, The Che Café got a victory during a court hearing today, which allows it to remain in its current space until September. A judge ruled that the Che can remain in possession of its space while engaged in a legal dispute with UCSD over the university's action to evict the collective that runs the all-ages venue. The ruling allows the Che to continue operating for another 60 days, which strikes down the university's order to vacate the venue by July 14.

According to a press release issued by The Che Café, a preliminary-injunction hearing will be held on Aug. 1, and if the Che prevails, it will be able to continue operating in its current space until a final resolution has been reached. A post from the Che on Twitter this morning reads, "In essence we've been granted 60 more days to operate in this space to fight to keep it."

Prior to this ruling, the Che had no choice but to cancel all of its upcoming shows. This allows many of the shows to continue, though it's not yet been announced which shows are back on, or if any of them have been moved to other venues. 

The Che Café has also launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to pay for the repairs that are at the heart of its dispute with UCSD. It has raised $900 so far.

<![CDATA[Che Cafe repairs funding voted down]]>

The UC San Diego University Centers Advisory Board (UCAB), a student-run board that oversees how student fees are spent, voted today to cut The Che Cafe’s maintenance costs from its 2014-2015 budget, putting the future of the long-running, all-ages DIY music venue in doubt.

<![CDATA[Ghost live at House of Blues]]>

Some of the best musical theater of the last 40 years has come straight out of hard rock and heavy-metal concerts: King Diamond’s ghoulish presence and operatic vocals; W.A.S.P.’s meat-pelting and models-on-torture-racks spectacle; and, of course, Alice Cooper’s death at the end of every show. Sure, there are plenty of earnest, plain-clothes metal bands that rely on musical performance over high drama, but to some degree, metal has always been about escapism. And no band in recent memory has embodied metal’s escapist tendencies better than Sweden’s Ghost.

<![CDATA[A guide to Record Store Day 2014 in San Diego]]>

Tomorrow—Saturday, April 19—is that chaotic, frantic, lines-around-the-block, limited-edition geek-out celebration of mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar retail that we call Record Store Day. Some people love it, some people hate it, but whether you’re an eBay pirate looking to make some cash on reselling limited-edition Dave Matthews Band box sets or just looking to take advantage of some sidewalk vinyl sales and maybe grab a David Bowie picture disc, it’s at least worth checking out.

<![CDATA[Coachella proxima]]>
If you haven't been to Coachella, sure, mourn the missed opportunity of rushing to pre-purchase (and then get on the payment plan—yes, there was a payment plan) your ticket, only to discover later the lineup's less than perfect.]]>
<![CDATA[A Best of the First Quarter 2014 Playlist]]> The first quarter of 2014 has almost come to a close, and in just three short months, a lot of great music has come across my desk and inbox. And I wouldn't be here if I weren't interested in passing along these great sounds to you, the reader. So I assembled a playlist—around 74 minutes long—of favorites of the first quarter of 2014, including The War on Drugs, Dum Dum Girls, St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, Big Ups, Indian, Katy B, Real Estate and a whole bunch of others.

I plan to do this again at the end of June, September and December, but so far, the year's shaping up nicely. Now turn up the jams.]]>
<![CDATA[The Lawrence Arms live at The Casbah]]>

It's been eight years since I've seen punk band The Lawrence Arms. The last time I saw them was at an all-ages venue in Salt Lake City, supporting their 2006 album Oh! Calcutta! They'd been a favorite band of mine throughout high school, and I was excited to take this new girl to their show.  

Eight years later, and me and that new girl are now married. We have car payments. We have streaming video. We have a new president. And all this has happened in the time in the time it took The Lawrence Arms to release a new album: Metropole. 

As far as comeback records go, Metropole is excellent, just because it doesn't fall into the overcompensation that occurs when rock bands age. With lyrics like "I dream when I'm sleeping / I'll sleep when I die / I die every evening" and "My heart got kicked out of all of its homes / And dying young just didn't work so now I guess I'm dying old," it's a record about submission, and accepting your impending fall from relevancy, and admitting that Father Time is kind of a dick. 

Even if anxiety about getting older is fueling their strongest lyrical material, it was hardly apparent on Saturday night when they destroyed the sold-out crowd at The Casbah. With a set-list that pulled heavily from Metropole and Oh! Calcutta! (their best album, IMO), the band delivered a performance that had fists pumping with every lyric and drunk bros hugging each other. It felt downright triumphant. Even singer/bassist Brendan Kelly—usually one of the most caustic, sarcastic and funniest frontmen in punk rock—seemed to be humbled.  

However, one of the side-effects of aging is the enhanced ability to drain the glass half-empty, which is what happened when I realized that all the other times I'd seen the band were at all-age venues. It was a small trigger that made me pine for old days, when the pit was more about community instead of old drunks pushing against each other. And those venues never had security like The Casbah, who used excessive force to punish stage-divers and crowd-surfers. Honestly, I've never been a fan of crowd-surfers, but I saw a short brick of a man toss two concert-goers out by their necks. It was a sour end to an otherwise excellent night: angry at concert security and annoyed at the drunk punks, thinking about how it's unfair that things can't be like they used to be, and how we all might be too old for this.


Write to or follow him on Twitter at @theryanbradford
<![CDATA[More details emerge about The Hideout]]>

More details have emerged about The Hideout, the new venue opening up at 3519 El Cajon Blvd.

The owners—who have chosen not to identify themselves—have invested in some upgrades to the bar and tentatively plan to have it open in February. In a conversation with CityBeat at the venue, while renovations were taking place, manager Allen Colaneri said The Hideout, whose tagline is "Grains, hops and music," will operate more like a neighborhood bar, expanding its hours to much earlier in the afternoon, and expanding the menu of beverages, from beers to craft cocktails. And, eventually, he says, they plan to serve food.

“It’s an everybody bar,” Colaneri says. “It’ll be comfortable, and you can feel right at home.”

One rumor about The Hideout that Colaneri wants to dispel, however, is that it won’t host regular live shows. Right now, it has three shows lined up: Warm Soda on March 6, The Casket Girls on March 7 and Solids on March 9. But Colaneri says there will be plenty more live music to follow.

“The new owners love music,” he says, “and we’ve all been going to The Casbah since we turned 21.”

Given that the space has closed so many times in the past—whether as The Void, Radio Room, Eleven or Zombie Lounge—there's a perceived risk about investing into a place that has been unsuccessful in the past. But Colaneri is hopeful that by putting some extra work and money into the club, it might be a positive example for other potential businesses along El Cajon Boulevard.

“That is the big question—whether we’re going to be a catalyst,” Colaneri says. “It’d be great if that happens.”

<![CDATA[The Void to become The Hideout]]> The City Heights rock venue located 3519 El Cajon Blvd. is changing hands again.

The Void held its last show—an alt-lit reading called Now That’s What I Call Poetry—on Dec. 16 and then quietly closed up shop, just shy of one year after changing from Eleven last January. However, a few calendar items appeared in the last week on the websites of both The Casbah and Soda Bar for shows taking place at a bar called The Hideout, which has the same address as The Void. And a private Facebook page is now up at

Shows booked at The Hideout so far are Warm Soda on March 6, The Casket Girls on March 7 and Solids on March 9.

Details about The Hideout are still pretty thin. The Void’s owner, Alex Kacha, confirmed via Facebook message that the club has been sold to “investors” who are planning to remodel the space. However, under terms of the sale, Kacha wouldn’t disclose who purchased the club or any details about its future.

CityBeat reached out to Hideout manager Allen Colaneri but wasn’t able to get in touch with him by press time. Casbah owner Tim Mays says that after the first few shows, The Hideout won’t regularly feature live music. The club has turned over numerous times. Before it was Eleven, it was Radio Room. Before that, it was The Zombie Lounge.]]>
<![CDATA[The Silent Comedy ignites controversy]]> The Silent Comedy are suddenly the subject of a heated controversy.

On Dec. 16, they released their video for the song “Always Two,” directed by Krista Liney. It focuses on a young girl who wakes up in an apartment, gets dressed, goes out to a bar, gets drunk and makes a scene. By the end of the video, she ends up back in the same apartment where she began, with a man who hits her and forces her onto the bed as she gives in and directs her gaze toward the camera, with the implicit suggestion that she’s being raped.

Fans of the band expressed divided opinions on social media, some saying it was “amazing” or “intense” and others demanding its removal for being distasteful or misogynistic or, worse, that it suggests the female protagonist in the video is being punished for her actions.

Chris Maroulakos condemned the video on the blog Owl and Bear, arguing that “positioning the rape as the climax of the video makes it feel like the natural consequence for the girl’s behavior. Are you an attractive female who wants to sleep around, drink, or do drugs? … Fine, but prepare to be sexually violated.”

In an email to CityBeat, Silent Comedy bassist / vocalist Josh Zimmerman defends the clip, noting that “all artistic works are open to interpretation” and that “when you release a creative work into the world, it will undoubtedly be misinterpreted.

“The intention of the piece was to observe a moment in the life of someone caught in a physically abusive relationship, and the difficult choices they face,” he explains. “When we address these types of issues, our intention is always to inspire a constructive conversation.”

Justine Marzoni, who describes herself as an “active supporter of the local music scene,” posted an open letter to the band on The Radical Notion blog, expressing her disappointment in what she describes as the “misogynistic nature” of the video and asking for the video to be removed.

“Perhaps the shocking content of the video was intended to be socially conscious, to raise awareness, to not sweep things under the rug,” Marzoni writes. “But to be a socially conscious artist, one must be willing to take responsibility for the ramifications of one’s art.”

Yet while Zimmerman says he welcomes an open discussion about the video and sexual abuse, he says that the band “would urge people to channel their passion about this issue into positive action.

“Making a donation to organizations like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence,” he says, “is a great way to start doing that.”]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego X-mas songs roundup]]>

Christmas is creeping up on us ridiculously quickly, though you'd hardly know if by the looks of San Diego's weather—not a snowflake in sight. Nonetheless, local musicians are getting into the spirit with their own renditions of holiday classics or original holiday tunes. Here are some of 2013's San Diego holiday jams.

Sledding with Tigers have shared a characteristically emotional, sorta bummed-out Xmas jam titled "Jamie Frankie Numbie One," which you can stream via Sledding with Tigers' Tumblr page.

Flaggs have a fun new tune called "Please Santa," which you can stream below or download for free via the band's website.

Psychic Dancehall, featuring Charles Rowell of Crocodiles, trip out on some synth-heavy jams with St. Nick on a new-wave-psych tune called "Santa is a Freak."

Santa Is A Freak by Psychic Dancehall

Jara Jara Jara recorded a cover of Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)":

And though this one's a few years old, it's worth reposting: Nervous Wreckords' "All I Want for Christmas is $$":

Add these to your Xmas playlist, spike the eggnog and let the holiday debauchery begin!
<![CDATA[Thirsty Moon Records is closing]]>

Thirsty Moon Records will shut its doors in about two weeks. The Hillcrest store, which opened in 2005, announced via a Facebook post that its final day of business will be Sunday, Dec. 1.

“It is with heavy hearts that we are letting you know that we will be closing down Thirsty Moon Records,” the post reads. “We would like to express our sincere gratitude to our friends, families and customers who have supported and helped us over the past 8+ years.”

Co-owner Mike Eginton tells CityBeat that the motivation to close was primarily a financial one.

<![CDATA[North Park Theatre changes hands]]>

The Birch North Park Theatre has a new owner.

Operations and ownership of the theater, which have been in a state of limbo since its former owner, Lyric Opera, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, have been transferred to David Cohen, who owns West Coast Tavern, a theater tenant.

In 2012, Cohen bought Lyric Opera’s mortgage while it was undergoing reorganization, though it remained open while the two parties were negotiating a settlement agreement, which they have now reached.

“We came up with a settlement agreement to buy personal property from [Lyric Opera] that they valued,” Cohen tells CityBeat. “So we owned the mortgage, and now we own the theater.”

With operations of the theater (2891 University Ave.) transferred to Cohen and business partners Bobby Jones and The Verant Group, there are plans in place to renovate the seating and lobby areas in order to accommodate up to 1,200 seats, up from 731 right now.

One of Cohen’s goals with the theater is to make it more active as a music venue than it is now, and Cohen and his partners are working with six different bookers, both local and national, to keep top talent coming to the venue.

“We have a good relationship with [Casbah owner] Tim Mays, and we’ve done shows with him in the past,” Cohen says. “We’ll also be working with some of the bigger guys in L.A., New York and Chicago.”

Another new focus of the Birch North Park Theatre will be on film, using what Cohen refers to as the “Cinepolis model": The theater will hold film screenings, at which patrons will have access to food and alcohol for sale.

Cohen says that events are already being booked for as early as June, and a schedule will be released within 30 days.

Email or follow him at @1000TimesJeff

<![CDATA[The Casbah turns 25 in 2014]]>

In January 2014, legendary rock club The Casbah will celebrate its 25th anniversary. The venue opened in 1989 and has since become the epicenter of the local music scene, having been the place to see any number of great local or touring bands, many of whom have become legends themselves (Nirvana, Arcade Fire, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.).

As part of its celebration, The Casbah will host a month of shows featuring special performers, the first of which will be announced on Nov. 4. Additionally, artist Shepard Fairey will design a special, limited-edition Casbah T-shirt, and the city of San Diego will proclaim Jan. 7 as Casbah Day.

Five years ago, when The Casbah celebrated its 20th anniversary, it hosted a number of great shows, many of which featured reunited San Diego bands, such as Creedle, No Knife, Physics and The Dragons, as well as a series of other legendary out-of-towners like The Adolescents, Mike Watt and The Meat Puppets. So, to get anticipation levels unnecessarily high, I’ve assembled a wishlist of five bands that I’d love to see play there in January.

The Locust: The Locust have already reunited and are playing a show at Porter’s Pub in November, so why not keep the masked noisecore troupe together just a couple of months longer?

Heavy Vegetable: There’s a good chance that one or more Rob Crow-helmed bands will be a playing a Casbah 25th-anniversary show, so why not throw this out there? Though Heavy Vegetable stopped performing together in the '90s, three members reunited in 2007 as Other Men, so this isn’t entirely out of the question.

Crash Worship: One of the weirdest bands to ever come out of San Diego, this avant-garde, percussion-heavy collective were more about intense performance art than playing rock shows, which is exactly why it’d be awesome to see them come back in 2014, 15 years after they broke up.

Failure: Admittedly, Failure is not a San Diego band and is not tied to the San Diego scene in the same way all the other bands mentioned here are. But Failure frontman Ken Andrews has played the venue many times, both solo and with bands like Year of the Rabbit, and, for that matter, a handful of out-of-town acts like Meat Puppets and Mike Watt played The Casbah’s 20th-anniversary celebration. To put a cap on it, Failure already announced their return in 2014, so this one is entirely within the realm of possibility.

Drive Like Jehu: A prankster earlier this year teased a Drive Like Jehu reunion at The Fest in Florida, which unfortunately turned out to be false. Sigh. That said, if Rocket can reunite, and Hot Snakes can reunite, it’s not out of the question. Hearing “Luau” played live would make my year. Decade even.

<![CDATA[San Diego Music Awards: The full winners list]]> Last night, on a warm San Diego evening, a massive delegation of musicians and other figures in the local music scene congregated at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay for the 2013 San Diego Music Awards. Honors were given out, drinks were imbibed and, all in all, it felt a lot more like a huge cocktail party than an awards show—which is probably for the best. Turning an outdoor theater full of rock musicians into a formal affair just doesn't really seem right. Or possible.]]>