Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and He's My Brother, She's My Sister, Belly Up: 4/15/2010

I got all pumped up when I heard that Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were coming to San Diego. One more band that I wasn't worried about missing at Coachella. Check! Pre-sale tickets are the way to go. If you want to get tickets to potentially sold out shows, you need to sign up for a few mailing lists. The following are my recommendations:
Belly Up Tavern VIP: frequent ticket giveaways and pre-sales
FM 94.9 Insiders: lots of contests and pre-sales
KPRI Freeqs: free shows all the time (but only for those signed up)
Any of your favorite bands: some have pre-sales, but really, who wants to miss out on their favorite band coming to town.
On with the show... I made sure to get there early to catch He's My Brother, She's My Sister. By the way this show wins for the longest band name pairing that I have been to. The gypsy, co-op vibe perfectly paired with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It wouldn't surprise me if they weren't really related - ala The White Stripes, Jack and Meg. The uniqueness of this band was actually the performance of tap dancer, Lauren Brown, who served as additional percussionist tapping along to the beat. Here is their cover of The Velvet Underground's "Baby Be Good, Do What You Should":

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros took the stage, opening with a children's song they wrote called "Janglin." The sound quality became worse as the headliner's volume increased. I apologize for the distortion.

Overall, I was disappointed with the performance, and the hippie, glow stick twirling crowd was just a part of the issue. To boos of the crowd, Alexander stated that they were "saving themselves for Coachella." It was also very evident that he did not want to play the hit single, "Home" from their debut album, Up From Below. Even as Jade chanted, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home," Alexander gave her a look as if to say, "Noooo, why?" Sadly, they, well at least he (Alexander), has reached that point of disdain for the band's most popular song. Like Radiohead's "Creep" or Nada Surf's "Popular," I am disappointed when bands take the low road in hating the song that brought them to the next level instead of embracing it and hoping that the the masses latch onto something more. Not playing the song makes for dissatisfied listeners. Jade and Alexander managed to push through "Home" including the spoken word part, where Jade said "I don't even know what to say here." That's alright Jade.

At the end, Alexander after inviting the audience to sit on stage, convinced the rest of the crowd to sit on the floor. Yes, the same floor where drinks were spilled and most likely a few glasses were broken. I must admit the stunning effect this had. It was on the same level as when Tegan and Sara convinced the entire audience at Spreckels Theatre to stay completely silent for a un-amplified version of "Ghost." I sort of felt giddy inside to be a part of something so cool. For that I do have to say, "Thanks."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Upcoming Show - Samuel Stewart, Lestat's: 4/23/2010

I realized after I got the press release for this week's upcoming Samuel Stewart show at Lestat's on Friday, April 23, that I never actually finished my show review from his last visit at the Casbah on February 22, 2010. I was expecting alot after hearing the gourgous EP, The Beginner ahead of time. Although Samuel is all grown up, he has an air of childishness about him. The professional musician shines through as he launches into Devil Music. His incredible vocals took me on a rollercoaster ride... swelling highs and lows caused my insides to flit about like the youngish crowd who were there actually dancing without inhibitions.

I do plan to go to Friday's show with the little one, hoping to see more dancing in the aisles. I hope you are able to join.

This Friday's show claims that doors open at 8:30pm. Lestat's is not known in my circle of friends for adhearing to these times. So be prepared to wait a little outside or be rushing in to finding a seat (since they often mix up the door time with the show time).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rafter: Animal Feelings

Ok, I'm addicted. I was introduced to Rafter a while back through Emily who works behind the bar at The Casbah. She sings and plays drums in a quirky, fun little band called Bunky, while he supplements by playing guitar. Well he isn't simply playing guitar. It is hard for me to find my words today. There are pedals and maneuvers that produce lots of cool sounds that go along with the beat. How's that for knowing what I am talking about?

Anyhow, I then fell more deeply in love with them when I found out that both Bunky and Rafter's solo material were release through Asthmatic Kitty Records (Sufjan Stevens' label). Rafter's solo albums prior to this newest venture include Sweaty Magic, Sex Death Cassette, Music for Total Chickens and aptly named 10 Songs.

I always viewed Rafter as an experimentalist. His childish, fun loving attitude emanates from every note and beat coming from his direction. Animal Feelings bottles that all up to give you a dose of goodness every time you listen to it. Since the album's pre-release at MBV, I have not been able to tear my ears away.

Listen to Animal Feelings for yourself at MBV and then go buy it tomorrow, National Record Store Day, at M-Theory Records or head over to Tin Can Alehouse for his CD release party and purchase it straight from the source.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Word Progression

It has been a while since I have posted anything about Thomas. So here goes. The boy is, well just that, a boy. He really has grown, a lot! Currently, he is a little over 14 months old, but thinks he's a 2 year old. At daycare, he sits with the big kids at the table and *tries* to bring his dishes to the sink when he is done, while the other kids his age are still in their high chairs.

His walking is now running and if you don't give him what he wants, you will receive a meltdown. The tantrums are daily and a bit hilarious, but sometimes frustrating. At least we haven't had him breakdown in public, as he loves being out of the house and around other people. Here he is at Queen Bee, dancing and rocking out with his drum sticks to School of Rock's house band.

The other night I sat down to color with him, and thought I would write down all of the words he knows, aside from ma-ma, da-da and Tee (aka Thomas), and was impressed to find that he has a 25-word vocabulary, at least. These are words he is able to vocalize, he understands the meaning and I can distinguish what he is saying. There are other things he is saying that I don't understand and other things he understands (like nose, eye, head) that he hasn't said but points to them as they are said.

Last night Roger was playing with Thomas and he started to imitate the barn animal sounds from one of his toys. This was a first. I might have to add quack-quack to the above list.

After recording, we played back the video and he was following along, imitating the sounds. Learning a bit more about how an owl sounds. Whoo-hoooo!

Free Music San Diego, not forgotten

In the middle of the night I realized I omitted a pretty major opportunity for free music in the last post: In Store Preformances. Several record stores in town host a variety of musicians both local and those that pass through San Diego to promote their records. Here are the places that I know that have performances on a semi-regular basis. Be sure to check their websites/schedules for upcoming acts.

M-Theory Music
Lou's Records
Borders Books and Music

Saturday April 17, 2010 is National Record Store Day (always on the thrid Saturday in April)! So make sure you take the time to visit and support your local record stores.
Oh and as a bonus, these places are all-ages. I realized that my last post highlighted bars but no all ages venues (except the fairs, festivals, and summer concert series). I tried to find coffeehouses with regular free music, but found most charge some sort of cover or don't offer much in terms of live music aside from an open mic night.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Free Music San Diego

Money is tight, but music remains a huge part of our lives. Paying for shows has gotten expensive even the cheaper ones at $8-10 per ticket. If you go to shows all the time you may know there are plenty of options to see music for free. But if you don't leave the house very often, you might be thinking, "Free? Where? I wanna go." So I have compiled a fairly comprehensive list of regular events, shows and venues that will leave your wallet un-touched, as long as you avoid purchasing drinks, food or other fun stuff.

Street Fairs, Festivals and Events
Seaport Village Busker's Festival: April 10-11, 2010
Adam's Avenue Roots Festival: April 24-25, 2010
ArtWalk: April 24-25, 2010
North Park Festival of the Arts: May 16, 2010
Rock 'n' Roll Marathon: June 6, 2010
OB Street Fair: June 26, 2010
Fiesta del Sol: July 30-August 1, 2010
Adam's Avenue Street Fair: Sept 25-26, 2010

Free Summer Concert Series
The Union-Tribune usually will release a full schedule of all of these concert series once all of the line ups have been confirmed. Perfect for putting up on your fridge.
Alpine Summer Concert Series: TBA
Balboa Park - Twilight in the Park: June 15-August 26, 2010
Carlsbad TGIF Jazz in the Parks: TBA
Chula Vista Music in the Park: June 8-August 17, 2010
Coronado Summer Concerts-in-the-Park: TBA
Del Mar Twilight Concert Series: TBA
El Cajon Concerts on the Green: June 25-September 3, 2010
Encinitas Sunday Summer Concerts by the Sea: TBA
Escondido - Summer Pops in the Park: TBA
La Jolla Concerts By The Sea: TBA
La Mesa Sundays at Six: June 13-July 25, 2010
Lemon Grove Concerts in the Park: TBA
Mission Hills Concerts in the Park: TBA
North Park Bird Park Summer Concerts: TBA
Pacific Beach Concerts on the Green: TBA
Point Loma Summer Concert Series: July 16-August 13, 2010
Poway Target Summer Concerts in the Park Series: June 20-August 15, 2010
Santee Summer Concert Series: June 10-August 19, 2010
Standley Park Concerts in the Park: TBA
Trolley Barn Park Summer in the Park: TBA

Regular Performances and Showcases
Every last Sunday of the month, The Local 94.9 broadcasts live at from the Atari Lounge at The Casbah. The regular event usually showcases local bands that you may or may not have heard of. It is a great opportunity to see what this town has to offer in terms of local music. Includes free food from Luche Libre. Free food AND music?! How can you go wrong? Doors usually at 7pm, show at 8pm.

Every second Saturday of the month 6-9pm, North Park galleries and businesses open their doors and share their space with the public at Ray at Night. There is usually some decent bands showcased, but sometimes it is more about the visual arts.

Every Wednesday night at 10pm, Lady Dottie and the Diamonds play at Gallagher's Irish Pub in Ocean Beach. On occasion this venue has decent bands on the weekends for free, check their schedule for details. Lady Dottie and the Diamonds also play every Sunday 1-5pm poolside at the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley during the summer months (2010 date TBA).

Every Sunday, 9am-2pm the 7th Day Buskers play the Hillcrest Farmer's Market, while the OB Farmer's Market on Wednesdays 4-7pm hosts a variety of live acts.

Daily the Seaport Village East Gazebo hosts a variety of entertainment including live music usually in the afternoon.

Bars Offering Free Music
Make sure you check their schedules or call before you go.
The Tiki House
Stage Bar & Grill
Club Kadan
Ruby Room
Bar Pink
The Radio Room
O'Connells Bar

Don't be a cheap skate: If you can afford it, please consider donating to the organizations who put on these events or patronizing the businesses by purchasing food or drinks so that these events can continue to be free for all.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

1024 bits of you and me

I love to share awesome when I find it. About a week ago I stumbled across double-, nay, triple-awesome. It all started with a tweet about the members of Polyphonic Spree along with Yeasayer and one other band raising funds to produce a documentary in Uganda. The bands will learn about the many affects the 24-year-long war has had on the area and its inhabitants, and what’s being done to stop it. During their stay, each of the bands will play a show interacting with the locals and using the surroundings and the scenery to enhance the experience for all. Oh yeah, and by donating $50 I get a copy of the documentary. Awesome, right?

Well, in typical internet browsing curiosity and my personal interest in fundraising, I was curious about the platform that they were raising money on... thus finding Kickstarter. Kickstarter is just that... a kick in the pants that you need to help do that awesome project that you have always wanted to start. They are focused on creative projects with a very broad definition of creativity. Many bands and filmmakers are using the site to raise money to make the CD or film that they have had on their mind for years.
Unique features of the platform:
  • Funding is always all-or-nothing. A project must reach or exceed its funding goal or no money changes hands.
  • Rewards to backers with various levels of giving. If I had only given $25 to the above I would have only received a digital copy of the video so I stepped up and gave $50 to get the DVD. Oh and you as the creator set the levels. 
  • Project creators keep 100% ownership.
  • Kickstarter collects 5% from the project creator if a project is successfully funded.
  • Engage with backers through email/blog style updates.
Pretty cool stuff. I know I've got a few things that I could use a kick into action. And you?

While exploring the Kickstarter site looking for examples of how various people developed their project levels, I stumbled across this artist, Pesi Pop from Grand Rapids, MI and his project, 1024 bits of you and me. Backers have the chance to participate in this project by submitting words or phrases that he then turns into art. From the art, he will develop a book with each of the pieces as a part. Coolest part? You, as a backer get to keep the art. Love!

To further tout Pesi... his love for doing awesome is up there with the folks of Holiday Matinee, Sezio, GoodLegit Radio and EcoPop. His passion shines through in his frequent updates and personalized thank you emails to each backer. In his latest update, he shares his successes of this project through his experience using Kickstarter. He has faith that he will succeed and charges forward showing his commitment to both the project and the people who back it. My thanks to him comes in the form of a donation and spreading the word and I hope you are able to do the same. Share the awesome. Someday your moment of awesome will come too, but only if you bring it.