Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Overdue Recap: My Last Couple Weeks In Music

I have decided that I'm going to cover a lot of the past week and a half in one post. No disrespect to any of the bands who should all get their own posts, but honestly, I don't know how I'm ever going to catch up if I don't just write it all out. I've gotten a little bored with my own writing because it feels redundant and uninspired. Maybe I've had too much time to be alone and am sick of my own voice. Not to mention my pics have just been crappier than usual, perhaps I can blame that on my diversifying of venues (i.e. Radio Room, Ruby Room, and Beauty Bar, none of which are friendly to my camera.)

Maybe I save all my bursts of emotion for my Twitter feed and by the time I get to recaps, they're just snoozer posts. Maybe it's that so much of my attention is now devoted to (1)finding a job and (b)paying attention to the election. Or maybe that's all a lie and it's really because with HBO on Demand,, and I've been able to catch up on entire seasons of shows: Grey's Anatomy, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The Hills (and the Aftershow), True Blood, Entourage and on and on. Either way, I have still been hitting the town per usual. Click 'keep on reading' to find out where I've been in an exhaustingly long post.

Thursday, October 16:
Cream: Sezio vs. Adapta
Dream Tiger, Pacific UV, Evervess @ Beauty Bar

This night started at Cream mostly because I was bored of being at home. The art show was 5 paintings vs. 6, so after looking at all the pieces, it was mostly just social time at Cream. Anyone who frequents there knows two things: they sell beer and wine super cheap and it gets really, really hot in the room. I think it's a trick to make you dole out another $2.75 for more Tsingtao. Either way, it was good to see friends there, many of whom made their way to the Beauty Bar afterward. I also recruited Lucas to be a contributor to this site, so keep an eye out for his posts.

Evervess is a great shoegaze band, but they don't play all that much. Eric keeps busy with Swim Party and I think they were saying that one of them had gnarly back surgery so he was out of commission for a while. Hopefully he's all healed up and they can get back to at least some semi-regular shows around town.

I wanted to see PacificUV based on Dagart's recommendation and I'll admit, partially because I'd mixed them up with a band I'd recently got a promo for (called Pacific Ocean Drive.) Oops. Either way, Dagart introduced me to a couple of the guys before the show and they were as nice as he'd said they were, and when they performed, they gave a great performance like he said they would.

By the time Dreamtiger played, besides these couple pics, I spent most of the remainder of the show at the bar with Sarah and Evan and talking to the guys of PacificUV. Sometimes that happens.

Friday, October 17:
Grand Ole Party, Rafter @ The Ruby Room

Jake and I headed to the Ruby Room for their official opening. I think we went a little late because I made him watch Real Time, but by the time we got there around 9:30, the bar was full and there was a line and they weren't letting more people in. I was on the list, but it felt a little silly. My feeling was that a lot of the people there might not have been there for the bands, but more for the 'grand opening' in the hopes it was another trendy upscale bar in the vein of Universal. So for me, to walk by all the silk shirts and dresses and heels and clouds of cologne when I was in my jeans and hoodie just seemed funny. And mind you, at that point there were only about 20 people waiting in line, but later the line grew.

We went in to catch The Widows and then I had a total panic. My camera was not in my purse, which meant it was at home, in my car, or at the Beauty Bar from the night before. I couldn't not take pics of opening night, right?, so Jake and I went back to my house where I found my camera and headed back, missing The Widows entirely, but in plenty of time to see Rafter and Grand Ole Party.

The bar was packed, but we got up close to make faces at Andy Robillard who is now playing with Rafter. The thing I love about Rafter, whether he's playing alone, with just a drummer, or with a band of 10 people onstage is that you're always guaranteed to hear new material. On this night, it was a bit funkier, a bit more of a dance party, and it was awesome.

Between bands, DJ Edgartronic spun records that had plenty of people shaking their asses.

I made the mistake of waiting to long to get up close for Grand Ole Party, but better that people who maybe haven't had the chance to see them before got their chance to see them for a mere $5. I'm already a fan, so I let the hyper-enthusiastic crowd take over and dropped back after a few pictures.

It was really good to see so many people at the Ruby Room. It hasn't changed drastically from SDSC though a lot of the sports stuff and horse-racing memorabilia was gone, replaced by local art on the walls, but it's clear the new management has a clear vision to make the spot a viable and competitive venue for San Diego.

Saturday, October 18:
The Howls, Longstay, River City @ Radio Room

I was a bit lazy on Saturday night, but I felt bad about all the times I've shown up to a show where The Howls were appearing but missed them. I went to the show alone but ran into Bubba who is now playing with River City. I met John from The Howls and he was a little bummed that basically the rest of his band wasn't gonna make the show but it made for a really cool rare show.
First River City played and I was definitely on board with their performance. Last time I saw them was at Stage Saloon, so maybe I was a little tarnished from that venue, but the band sounded cohesive and the perfect amount of alt-country to give me my fix. Incidentally I saw them again last night and was again impressed. They played with John Meeks last night, and perhaps because everyone involved in San Diego music was saddened by the news of Terrin Durfey's passing, the music seemed even more poignant. Plus, give me any band with lap steel or pedal steel and I'm already a big mess of weepiness.

John ended up playing second as um, The Howl? He played half his set solo and then was joined by Longstay. This especially impressed me about the night. Longstay was not familiar with The Howls music, but they came onstage and performed and were able to join onstage, taking cues from John. For someone like me who sees bands play live but not really the process of creating and jamming, I was impressed and it was fun to see their take on his music. After a couple songs, John finished with a couple more solo songs.

Longstay went back to the stage and played their set and I think the Radio Room was messing with me by dimming the lights super low. Ug. Still it was a good time and I had fun. Oh, and thanks to Jeff K. for the shots. That was lovely. Something about alt-country turns me into a Makers and Budweiser drinker.

Sunday, October 19, 2008:

I think my unemployment has my parents a bit freaked out. Namely in an, "oh, God, we hope things don't get so bad she has to move back with us" kind of way. Considering I haven't lived with them since about 1996 when I was in junior college, I understand their concern. On Sunday, they picked me up and we headed to Pacific Beach where my brother-in-law had made us dinner and the jokes of all of us moving in to their townhouse kept us laughing through the night. I also caught them up on all the internet videos they haven't seen. So it was a good night with my family. But honestly, it's always all about my niece Johanna who basically runs circles around all of us 100 times over. Comparing her to the Energizer bunny is a huge understatement.

After dinner and hanging out for a while, I was dropped off at the Casbah for
Polysics, io echo, and Black Gold.

Black Gold started the night and although I'm already biased because I know Thaan (the drummer) through Petro and I'd already received their demo in the mail and loved it, I'm not exagerrating when I say the performance was incredibly impressive. A two piece on the album, they recruited a couple great musicians to join them on stage, and Eric's dramatic playing on his old electric piano was so compelling at one point I realized I forgot to take pictures. At that point I decided to take video.

io Echo was up and the crowd loved them. I hung near the bar with Halloran who said he liked how the singer reminded him of PJ Harvey in one song, Bjork in another, and something altogether in the next. I thought she was a trip the way her body convulsed around the stage as she let her music take her over.

Closing out the night was the crazy phrenetic Japanese rock n roll of Polysics. Once again the crowd went crazy for this band, with fists in the air for the majority of the set.

Need I say it was an awesome night?

After Sunday, I opted to skip a couple nights, though I did spend some time writing using the free Ken Club wi-fi and hung out with friends and shit. But no shows. At least not until Wednesday, October 22, when I went to U-31 to see The Moviegoers and Desert Diamonds.

I got there too early and was feeling bad about missing the benefit for Terrin at the Casbah, but the room filled out a bit and I'm a big fan of The Moviegoers, so they at least brought up my mood. A few friends were there, so it ended up being a good night, even if I spent the night with that feeling that I was at the wrong place.

I sat at the bar for the second band and didn't feel inclined to take pictures. Not to knock anyone, but if you're a band playing a room like U-31, be grateful people are even in the room, whether they acknowledge you playing or not. Bands aren't born with a following.

The Desert Diamonds closed out the night and it had been a while since I'd seen them, but they definitely have their own crowd and have an engaging frontman. Enough dirty in their rock n roll to please but not overkill that you wanna kick them up to LA. There were plenty of people dancing that made for a fun end to the night.

While I had been going out at night relatively consistently, I spend most days at home on the internet so it was nice to have had lunch with Matt at Cream on Wednesday, and then on Thursday, I decided to make a full adventure of the day. I was meeting a friend at House of Blues for happy hour, so instead of driving, I opted to take the bus downtown, with my computer in tow. Of course, as usual, I didn't really ever get around to writing, but I did use it at the House of Blues briefly so it wasn't a total waste for me to have it with me. Regardless, I hung out with Jack and got an education about music and jazz and music promotion and all kinds of things that I find fascinating and appreciate finding someone retired who has a million stories to share. As happy hour came to a close, I made a run to Kinko's to make flyers for my anniversary show, but then hung around the House of Blues a bit longer so I could listen to Modern Day Moonshine. They play there every week and they're really good; I find it kinda sad that the House of Blues does little to promote their bar, happy hour, and bands to anyone more than tourists, considering their location doesn't lend itself to tourist foot traffic.

After leaving the Casbah, I took the trolley to midtown and walked to the Casbah for The Tighten-Ups, Team Abraham, & Runhoney despite my plan of going back to Kensington for Hotel St. George. The show was fun (maybe a little too fun?), but I decided not to take more pictures with the lights all jacked, and I was just lucky to have friends there who agreed to drive me home since by the time we left, the bus would've not been running. I might've had to fight that one guy for the electrical box near the Casbah.

Friday I decided to take it easy, working on the job search for a while, then had lunch with Jonathan at Burger Lounge. It was a nice day out so we chilled on the patio for a while, and then he came over to teach me stuff on the computer, while also updating some programs for me, cleaning up my hard drive a bit, all the while listening to music. By the time we realized, it was time for dinner, so we decided to try out Ponce's. Of course, at 7 on a Friday, it was packed and they said it would be a 45 minute wait. Yes, it's true I know the manager and most of the staff, but the restaurant is so neighborhood friendly, EVERYONE can say the same thing, so instead of privileges, we ordered food to go and instead ate it at the Ken Club. That was instant food coma so we walked back to my place and he left. I intended to go back to the bar, but it didn't happen. Watching HBO on demand in my pajamas won.

On Saturday, October 25, I enjoyed a lazy Saturday watching Hallmark movies until around 7 when Jake picked me up for Late Night Live at Anthology feat. A Silent Comedy, Crash Encore, and The Blackout Party. Because Jake was playing, we got there early and went in through the back to load in his gear. And to drink beer. And Beam. I guess I thought I was a rock star for the night. The Blackout Party started the night and owned the stage. The venue, having only had its doors open for half an hour, wasn't quite crowded yet, but there were still plenty of people that didn't make the venue feel empty.

I ended up staying in the backstage area for all of Crash Encore, or most of it, except for when Abraham and I made an escape for a few minutes to make a beer run for after the show, because it felt like it was gonna be one of those nights.

We got back and returned to the backstage area until The Silent Comedy went onstage. The crowd was packed in up to the front of the stage and because I knew they were videotaping I wasn't too aggressive with my the handful I took came out looking like everyone was in a horror film with their faces streaked. But I did take some video and their performance killed and the crowd ate the whole show up.



After the show (and a lot of whiskey and beer) a bunch of us went to the Turf Club to end the night. San Diego certainly delivered a glorious Saturday night.

Surprisingly, when Sunday came around I opted to go watch The Chargers game at the Ken Club, with the promise of free pizza and a couple bloody marys. After the game, I hung out there talking politics with my friend's dad which was pretty interesting, specifically because he is a full on McCain supporter. While I disagreed with most everything he said, at least he had beliefs about his candidate that made sense and weren't some crazy talking points.

Later, Jake picked me up and we went to see Bunky at the Casbah who were great, but then we left because Jake was playing with The Tighten-Ups at Bar Pink.

The opening band was called Gunplay Maxwell and they gave a great performance.

And then Laura Jane, that crazy lady, closed up the night with the Tighten-Ups.

My very long weekend meant a Monday at home trying to get back on the jobhunt horse. And total blog avoidance. Sorry I didn't do listings, but sometimes the thought of editing html makes me just wanna chuck my computer across the room. Fortunately I was over that mood by Tuesday and did my listings as well as my phone interview from EDD, which SUCKED by the way. It put me in such a bad mood, but the kind of mood where I wanted to be around people I adore, so Jake and I went to The Beauty Bar for
John Meeks and River City. I decided against pictures once again, since I knew I had pics of both from just the last few weeks. The performances were beautiful and it took everything in me not to get choked up a couple times as the bands played. Not in a bad way but in a cathartic way, like everyone there had this sadness about the news of Terrin passing, and on a personal level sort of taking that self critical look that no matter how shitty the day seemed personally, there are so many more important things going on and I was lucky to be where I was surrounded by so many great people.

That said, that is exactly why I'm going to finally wrap up this post that has taken me all day to write, and I'm going to go see my friend Greg Laswell. And maybe he'll make me weepy, too. If I'm lucky.

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