This past weekend was one of my favorite kind. The kind I look forward to, linger within, and miss when gone. I spent time with good friends, listened to good tunes and discovered good venues. Here’s my recap of the shows and sounds starting with Friday night:
Fuck that superstition stuff, my Friday the 13th was of a fantastic nature. I’ve only been to Winston’s in Ocean Beach once before (to see a friend’s band perform). It wasn’t bad, but gave me a limited perspective. I didn’t have the highest expectations for what the sound quality might be at the smallish dive bar, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Heavy Guilt continues to impress me with every show I see. Their sound has been more polished each of the five times I’ve seen them in the past five months and, to me, that speaks volumes.
The bar itself wasn’t anything spectacular, the women’s restroom was down to one stall for half the night [until the perturbed cocktail waitress busted in to plunge it] and plenty of show-goers were definitely over-seasoned on their drug of choice. I’m not fond of waitresses that are annoyed to be serving drinks (how dare we want a cocktail in the middle of a rock show or *gasp* have an empty glass to be collected!) And I could do without some hipster in suspenders and eyeliner bouncing off his girlfriend and running into me repeatedly . But it’s OB… And at least there was plenty of room to dance about and get a good view of the stage.
Ignoring any of those annoying peripherals I was still able to be completely enthralled by the musicians on stage, particularly proclaimed “wild card” and lyricist, Al Howard. To see someone completely lose themselves in their art, makes me feel an assortment of emotions. I feel privileged to witness the purity of it, envious that nearly nothing brings me that much joy, and excited to be in the positive energy surrounding it. Al’s homemade, found object instruments range from saw blades to “stomp boxes” to items created using bottle caps, bells and more, crafting a unique sound full of power. The vocals projected by Erik Canzona are slightly rugged and soulful. His range was showcased in the variety of songs performed from the soft, gentle and lyrically driven “Fallen” (reminds me a bit of Blind Pilot… in good way) to the funky and fresh “Alibi.” The overall sound created was made full and rich with a total of six musicians performing- a stand up bass was used on some songs, along with a mixture of sounds on the keyboard and much more, making every song a varied experience full of subtle nuances and pronounced effects. Their sets included both old and new tunes and sounded incredibly well thought out and was engaging to the packed in audience. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one feeling the high-spirited energy based on the chants for “one more song” even after two diverse, lengthy sets of Guilt magic. My favorite song performed was a new one: “Summer Came” (I think) which I’ve seen them do 3 times now. It is a testament to the power of the band, their energy and exactly what live music is meant to be.
And that was just one performance in a weekend full of sounds in San Diego…
Sounds to Sample by The Heavy Guilt: