What a tough call I had to make last night. Two good shows and I had to weigh my pros and cons:
Casbah vs. Scolari's
Sound- Casbah is the clear winner here. Scolari's REALLY, REALLY needs a better PA if they're gonna have 4 shows per week here.
Promoter- Tim Pyles vs. Action Jackson. Tie.
This was tough. I love Tim and have been to all but one of the Anti-Monday League shows and was pretty regular on his nights at the Beauty Bar, too. I really believe in what he's doing for local music and the whole music scene in this town. He takes risks on bands with little or no experience because he knows local music isn't just one genre...he tries to bring together all the little niche scenes to make one cohesive San Diego music scene. Action Jackson is relatively new to San Diego but wasted no time in jumping into it all and really busting his ass to make things happen here. This night was billed to be alt-country and I thought it might be a good night to dust off my boots.
Proximity- Scolari's is 1/3 of the distance from my house than the Casbah. On most nights this wouldn't really matter, but my pre-bar nap went a little overtime and both shows were to start early.
The main reason I would've gone to the Casbah was to see The Burning of Rome. The band is really good and I like that they made the entire CD available for free download. I have yet to see them live. Unfortunately, they supposedly started at 9, right when my nap was ending. I had also heard great things about The Nurses. I have seen Buddy Akai plenty of times, so that wasn't critical to my decision about the night.
Dusty Rhodes and the River Band were playing Scolari's and I have friends who were at SXSW and swore they were one of the top bands they'd seen. I had not seen Doomsday Device before so I was into seeing a new band. And finally eSen was my decision maker. I'm a huge fan of BlogSanDiego and when you get an e-mail invite, even if it's sent to a hundred people on a list, you're more inclined to feel attached. I wanted to go meet Eric "IRL" (in real life) to put a face to the blog.
So with all this process, even though it made me feel unfaithful in a weird way, I chose to go to Scolari's. I am so glad I did.
I arrived around 9:20 and while there was some delay before the bands started, a lot of people were gathering in the bar. I was surprised how many people were out, and I really haven't been there with that many people turning out for a show.
eSen started the show. A two piece with guitars and a Korg keyboard they were really heavy. Eric has a couple other projects. Maquiladora is an alt-country project and he has a Japan-noise project, and this project, eSen, brings them together. Mostly slow and building up to a peak, this is music I wish I could sing along to in a space where I know nobody else would hear me. It also kinda made me wish I was sipping on some whiskey instead of the drink I had. Hopefully they'll get some sort of MySpace profile up soon. eSen will hopefully get some shows with The Vision of A Dying World.
Pre-apologies, I cannot make my photographs work in Scolari's. Here are some shots anyway.
Doomsday Device was up second and unfortunately we spent most of the set sitting at the bar completely blocked by a chick who apparently didn't realize she's 5'9 and who stood right in front of us. Not like kinda in front of us, which really has to be forgiveable there where there is limited space, but like 7" from the tip of my nose to her back. I liked their sound a lot at first, thinking they kinda have a Cold War Kids funkiness to them, but they're very unpolished and I don't know if that is their style or part of playing at Scolari's. Even more people showed up during their set and while I did get a few pics, not one came out decent, but here's the singer.
Dusty Rhodes and the River Band were last up for the night and even more people showed up. All of Vinyl Radio caught the Nurses at The Casbah then went to Scolari's. There were probably 40 people there, but the band was using a lot of floor space so it felt especially crowded. From the very first note from the very first song, I was blown away. The violin/fiddle gave it a "Devil Went Down To Georgia" feel and at times his vocals might make you think of Jack Black with not as much comedy but similar exaggeration. They have a lot of crowd participation...singing along and hand claps mostly, and there were a ton of girls there dancing along and rocking out. This music was compelling enough for all that ass shakin and Dusty, the frontman, was so full of energy. They only had two mics, and one of them went out during the set, but they just rolled with it, sometimes three of them singing into the same mic. As you can see, they had 6 people and a lot of instruments, and if I hadn't already been won over, the accordion would've been that extra thing that made me love them. The fortunate thing is that these guys are from Anaheim so hopefully we can beg them to come back down and play our lovely town. I tried video but it was so dark it was pointless. Don't miss this band if they come around again. You will be hearing lots from them, I'm sure.