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San Diego Shows To See – April 2013

This preview comes with an announcement of sorts that we find really excited. Yes, I said we. Some lovely writers are joining the Sounds in San Diego team and a couple are dipping their toes in with preview blurbs below. Matt Baldwin dove in headfirst last week with a review of The Heavy Guilt’s new album and did such a stellar job we’re excited he wants to do more with us. You can also check out Matt’s impressive writings on The Nervous Breakdown and follow him on Twitter: @ThisBrokenWheel. Sandy Myskowski is a local music lover with an eclectic palate and killer dance moves to boot. Follow her on Twitter: @DancnRedShoes. And last but certainly not least, Ed Kornhauser brings his years of musical talent to the writing world. This incredible pianist will add some much needed class to this rag tag team and cover lots of Jazz goodness. He probably has some other tricks up his well-tailored sleeve so stay tuned. Follow him on Twitter; @Pianosedive (and go see him play if you ever get a chance!) And of course Jen VT is still kicking rocks around here somewhere so we have to put up with her. If you must- follow here on Twitter: @Jen_VT. Plus follow the whole gang on our official-y Twitter page: @SoundsInSD.

The writer of each preview will be noted at the end – MB, SM, EK, & JV. And we’ll be adding to this list throughout the month so stop back by!

Questions, comments, suggestions? Let us know! And yes, there may be a pop quiz on this later.

Our kind of April shower...

Our kind of April shower…

Every Wednesday except the 3rd Wednesday of each month Trio Gadjo’s Residency at The Ritual Tavern: When one thinks of ‘gypsy jazz’ or ‘gypsy swing,’ one name almost always comes up first: Django Reinhardt. The Belgian-born French gypsy guitar virtuoso is often credited as creating this particular jazz idiom. Even to this day players and ensembles have sought to imitate as well as build upon his body of work.

Enter Trio Gadjo. Whilst carrying on what’s in essence a living musical tradition established by Django, they’re not a museum piece. They adapt contemporary songs to their gypsy style, and they re-arrange classic songs, throwing in occasional twists of musical modernity. Ensemble-wise, Trio Gadjo typifies gypsy jazz, consisting of an upright bass player (Jeremy Eikam) flanked by two guitarists (Aaron Mahn and Jason Durbin). Like Django’s groups, one guitarist plays lead and takes solos (in this case, Mahn), meanwhile the other (Durbin) lays down the solidifying ‘chunk-a-chunk’ rhythm that provides both harmonic and percussive support to the group. Mahn occasionally sings as well. Both guitarists are armed with Selmer-Maccaferris, stylish and unique-sounding acoustic guitars which were, not surprisingly, the favorite instrument of Django himself.
One part high energy and one part smoky ambiance, Trio Gadjo can find a home anywhere. The Ritual Tavern is one of those homes and plays host to the trio every on Wednesday evenings from 7-9 pm (sans the third Wednesday of each month, which belongs to SD Drink About). It’s a match made in Europe (via San Diego, of course). Atmospherically, the restaurant and bar strives to match what you’d expect to find somewhere on The Continent, and sonically-speaking, Trio Gadjo is a perfect fit. They array themselves in a corner and play what’s mostly a mix of classic jazz standards, including some of those penned by Django. More often than not they’re joined by special guests, notably including local tapper Claudia Gomez (Besos De Coco and Cherries Jubilee). Dark, smoky, terribly intimate and wonderfully rich, Trio Gadjo’s Wednesday-night residency at The Ritual Tavern could be one of San Diego’s “best kept secrets.” Trio Gadjo plays at the Ritual Tavern on April 3rd, 10th, and 24th, as well as May 1st, 8th, and 22nd., always 7-9 pm. FREE. EK

4/5 Blackout Party, Low Volts, The Hollerin, Crash and the Burns at Casbah San Diego: If you’ve got a soul for a slew of styles based in the blues from bands rooted in SD, The Casbah is the place to rock Friday night. To start this show, The Hollerin, an eclectic, blues rockin’ four piece, will not only make you move your feet, their gritty melodies from the soulful, singer/song writer, Christian Taylor are enticing enough to make you also sing along. Low Volts, the one man band from the many personalities of Tim Lowman, brings a lotta sound sliding down the frets of his geetar, to his tambourine rattling kick drum. Lowman’s Elvis inspired licks are so full of rock n’ roll blues, he’ll get you to Twist, Shake, Grind, Break to all of his tunes, before the night is through. Between sets, the Atari Lounge will house Crash and the Burns, a local favorite of mine to dance to. Their nostalgic, mid-century style R&B blues mixes in a modern dose of psychedelia, adding just the right flavor to melt your heart. And to rock the night out, Blackout Party will top off this line-up. As their name may imply, these five guys will bring the party, carrying Brian Holwerda’s Americana vocals across their four guitar and bass harmony into a Sabbath inspired heavy beat. This is not a show to miss. $10. SM

4/6 The Heavy Guilt Record Release Show with Little Hurricane, Dead Feather Moon, The Steelwells, and Trouble In The Wind at the Irenic: Pretty sure the entire SiSD team is with me on this one. The Heavy Guilt‘s new album is a diverse collection of music that represents the rich soundscape of their live show. If you haven’t seen them- please make this your initiation. Little Hurricane have proven that big blues sound is a force to be reckoned with even as a duo. Dead Feather Moon have a southern-rock tinged style with faint bits of country that blend together nicely. The Steelwells are making the trek from Orange County for this one. Their pop-rock sound is heavy on keys and synth with toe-tapping tunes you will *have* to dance to. And Trouble in The Wind will entertain between sets rounding out the night with a bit of folk rock. Plus the venue, The Irenic, (which is normally a church) looks ridiculously beautiful and the night will also showcase some artwork and record dealers. AND if I know Al Howard at all he’ll have other tricks to pull out of his ‘fro. $12 in advance, $14 at the door. Get on it. JV

4/11 Rebecca Jade and the Cold fact debut with The Midnight Pine, Chess Wars, and Champ at The Void: The Void – formerly known as Eleven – will be hosting a night of eclectic new live music debuts. While three of the four acts may be new, their members are well-established talents on the local scene, several of whom will be rotating on and off stage through the night. First on deck is Champ, a moody synth-pop trio containing members of Hills Like Elephants. They’re followed by the gritty rock duo Chess Wars, made up of Dustin Lothspeich of Old Tiger and Boy King on guitar, with drummer-about-town Jake Najor on drums. The two took their lo-fi ethos so far as to record on Lothspeich’s four-track, a one-minute preview of which posted on YouTube has me chomping at the bit for more. While folksy trio The Midnight Pine have been established on the local scene for several months now, they’ve been actively writing new material, and the cozy, “campfire” vibe is a can’t miss for me. Lastly, the night is topped off by the enigmatic Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact. While no recorded material is currently available for preview, this is truly a San Diego supergroup in the making, comprised of members of The Heavy Guilt, The Styletones, The Midnight Pine, and several other well-known acts. Percussionist Al Howard describes their sound as “driving dynamic soul for your earballs.” With a lineup of talented musicians such as this, the alchemy is in place for a night of wonderful surprises. So go on, treat your earballs. Price TBD. MB

4/12 Of Shows and Burritos Presents: Mister Loveless, The Dead Ships, The Steelwells, and The Stupid Daikini at The Griffin: My girl Marissa at OS&B put together a kick ass lineup for this one and it’s at one of my favorite venues. The Griffin may not be the most well-known spots… yet, but they have a great sound system and gorgeous digs for live music. The highlight of this one for me is another visit from The Steelwells – twice in a week? A music-lover could get spoiled on this. The other bands are also making long-distance treks for this one. Mister Loveless is bringing indie-rock tinged with a punk influence from Oakland and The Dead Ships are coming from LA loaded with gritty guitar riffs and seriously sexy garage rock vox. Hailing from Riverside The Stupid Daikini is a delicate trio highlighted by a sweet songstress and ukelele-playing. Looking forward to this eclectic lineup. $8. JV

4/15 Foals and The Neighbourhood at Porter’s Pub: I got super obsessed with Foals after I caught the UK band on Later with Jools Holland. The singer had wicked rad energy and he was wearing what I can only assume is a tranquility blouse. Aces. Their songs vary from melodic and morose to upbeat kick ass jams. Their video for the seductive single “Late Night” is eye-catching and very NSFW. Further hooked. When I realized they were making a stop in San Diego amidst Coachella appearances I did a happy dance. It just so happens I have also been dancing to The Neighbourhood‘s tune “Sweater Weather” non stop so it’s pretty damn cool they’re playing this one too. I’m looking forward to checking out Porter’s, which I’ve heard great things about. Their enticing beer selection (Alesmith Horny Devil? Yes, please!) and this rare bill of national bands has me sold. $20. JV

4/18 John Meeks Band, The Easy Leaves, and Saba at Tin Can Alehouse: I am enamored with John Meeks‘ voice. I simply cannot wait for his new record (coming soon!) and any chance I get to see him live is a treat. His new songs are sounding solid with roots in folk and americana and this is a great venue for him to showcase what’s about to come. The Easy Leaves fit this bill with pure country twang. Saba will round out the night with her feminine wiles and a voice as gorgeous as the singer herself. $5. JV

April 27 & 28 Mission Federal ArtWalk: Two days of music, art, and a family-friendly annual event. 6 stages offer a wide range of entertainment but of course I’ve got my eye on a few. Jesse LaMonaca is a rare americana, folk-y treat and is playing at 1:30pm on Saturday on the stage at Date and India. The Heavy Guilt will be doing double-duty performing both days in the same stage at 3:15pm. The blues driven ensemble of The Black Sands follow that up at 5:00pm on Saturday. And there’s lots and lots more… check the full schedule here. FREE. JV

For more interviews, song obsessions, and musical musings with Sounds in San Diego follow along on Facebook or get tweety with us on Twitter


About Jen Van Tieghem

There aren’t many things I love more than music. While life spins away at a rapid beat I’ve realized it’s important to spend it doing what I love – enjoying music in San Diego. I have a handful of favorite venues, a heart full of favorite bands, and decided to write about it.

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