Friday, February 23, 2007

Thursday Night Recap: New Music Showcase & House of Blues Sidestage

I had big ambitions last night to make 4 total stops but only made 2 of the 4. Still, it was a great night and I'm thankful I'd planned ahead and taken today as a vacation day from work.

The afternoon started off by picking up Andrea from Downtown and heading up to the new music showcase which we were told would start at 5:30 sharp. Obviously "sharp" loosely means a half hour late, because the first musician took the stage at 6:05. The "Sunset Sessions" are a music showcase that happen all over the hemisphere, usually in tropical places like the Bahamas. This year, San Diego plays host and for the first time, a station hosts as well. KPRi is unique in the fact that it is one of very few privately owned stations in the county. Bob Hughes is a co-owner and also a PM Drive dj and very involved in the programming of the station. So this showcase is aimed at people like him, responsible for formatting Triple A stations (that's Adult Album Alternative to you) as well as music supervisors of TV shows. Think of the music you hear or used to hear on shows like Dawson's Creek, One Tree Hill, Felicity, and Gray's Anatomy, and you catch the music these people are looking for.

Unfortunately for a zillion good bands I know, the showcase left a lot to be desired. Paige Aufhammer is this young sweet girl with a guitar who sounds pretty much exactly like a cross between Tristan Prettyman and Mindy Smith. She was really cute and was backed by a bassist, a violinist, and a drummer who also contributed back up vocals. Sweet songs about love and hearts and basically you could take any page from my 7th grade journals when I thought I was a poet, and turn it into one of Paige's songs. Perfect for One Tree Hill but nothing that gripped me.

Ten West was the second band. A group from Orange County, I'd listened to their MySpace profile and tried to give them a chance but when the first song started with "Baby" my stomach turned. Not about to spend 8.75 at the bar for a cocktail, Andrea and I split to the nearest liquor store to spike some Sobe drinks. A friend at the showcase joked, "This next song is called Everything's OK, Everything's Great from our new album This Is Totally Awesome!" And that's pretty much Ten West. And might I add that the bassist had a faux hawk and sunglasses on in a hotel ballroom, and the singer and rhythm guitarist were wearing flip flops. On stage. Yay. Can't wait to hear them on the next episode of The Hills. yawn.

Christine Martucci was the third performer. Indigo Girls minus the other girl, she had a guitarist onstage with her and then busted out one of her own, if I've ever heard anyone try harder to sound like Melissa Etheridge my mind is blanking on who it was. Snooze fest.

Last up was the Colour who I have actually gotten into over the course of a couple months. They were a Monarchy Band and opened for Cold War Kids at the Belly Up in January and also played at the Beauty Bar. At their shows they sell their CD for $5 so while they aren't one of my favorite bands, I like them and am ok with that asking price. I actually kinda felt sorry for them on this night, however. All these stiffs who are in positions as tastemakers sitting in a hotel banquet room (where I had my high school Girls League formals, by the way) and this rock band onstage just kinda trying to do their thing with no audience reaction whatsoever. When a meat carving station is getting more attention than the band onstage, to me, that says more about the crowd than the band, at least in this instance. I think when I go to the showcase tonight, crashing of course, I'll bring a resumé and tell these corporate stiffs that they can go order room service in their hotel rooms while I actually pay attention to the performances.

The showcase finally ended around 8:30 and we zipped down to the House of Blues to see my friend AM and Brian Vander Ark of the Verve Pipe perform on the sidestage. He told me doors were at 8 but I knew better. I don't think it was until 9:30 or so that they finally took the stage. There were rows of seats in front of the stage which I'd not seen there before.

AM is really just good music. He should've been in one of the showcases, in fact. But he's already had all his songs on TV shows and now just really needs radio support to get to the next level. I was supposed to be selling merch but this crowd just wasn't ready to spend $20 on a shirt or $15 on a CD. I did get a sheet's worth of people on the mailing list, however, so I at least did that much. While AM played, Brian's wife(?) held their daughter who was tossing her Elmo all over the place... a beautiful little family.

When Brian played, I was kinda sent right back to high school and my Verve Pipe listening days. His voice is so unmistakable and for the limited crowd in attendance, it was a great performance.

I had to miss out on Fifty On Their Heels doing a Pyles Session and also didn't make it to the Beauty Bar, but sometimes I feel a little punk rock and sometimes I just need my singer songwriters. And so it was last night. You will definitely see me tonight at the Ken Club for Fifty on Their Heels, Zerox and the New Motherfuckers, and all I can say is thank god I have my new EarLove Earplugs...

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