All posts by Eric Nielsen

Ariel Quartet at ArtPower

 
Friday night ArtPower did it again.  They released an evening of music that peaked around a second performance of Mahammed Fairouz: New Commission by Ariel Quartet.  If you are unaware of the series of shows that ArtPower consistently puts on, you can see their archive of shows here.  
 
Over the years, ArtPower has consistently brought acts from all over the world to San Diego.  Here at Blog San Diego, we’ve been fortunate to see many of them and the show last night validated their series, again.
 
Ariel Quartet is a group of relatively young performers, though they have been together for 16 years, having formed in school in Isreal.  They currently reside and teach as the quartet-in-residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.  
 
The quartet seems to be known for (among other things) their animated, whole body involvement in the songs.  During the first Beethoven piece, it took me a while to get over the visuals and settle into the sounds.  They are amazing players and it sounded phenomenal, but honestly the first thing you notice are the people. 
 
Once I was settled and closed my eyes for a bit, I began to hear the virtuousness of the instruments and abilities.  The Quartet in A Major, Op. 18, No. 5 is a beautiful piece, set inside the beautiful Prebys Hall and played by beautiful people.  What more could you ask for?  Oh, and let me mention that I was there with my mom, which made the Beethoven even more perfect.
 
The true highlight of the night was the New Commission by Mahammed Fairouz. Thankfully a member of Ariel Quartet stood up to preface the piece with an introduction.  It made the listen much more rich and complex. The piece is an imagined melding of Islam and Judaism as represented through eight prophets (the eight movements) that both religions have in common.
 
The music totally shifted to drones, odd harmonies and reimagined motifs of a different era.  My mind was able to roam free in these never heard before songs in a way that Beethoven and Schumann can not do.  I’m hopeful there will be a release of this movement soon.  This was only the second performance of these songs. Thanks to ArtPower, we were there and heard it fresh, new and vibrant. It’s these types of moments that make ArtPower so special.  They can attract this kind of talent, host impeccably sounding shows which make a night special and memorable. 

Low Volts Crowd Funding New Record

 

Together we can make the coolest record on earth. 

There are only 21 days left to reach the goal to fund this record and I need your help!  I’m poised and ready to record the third studio album in Nashville, Tennessee and need your help in making it the best it can be. All the new songs are written and I can’t wait to make you an album chock full of road trip worthy music. This is your chance to make a difference in helping resist the urge to relinquish creative control and remain an independent artist in these tough times. There’s really cool limited run keepsakes for everyone involved so take a peek at the perks section! Join the Low Volts Resistor Gang by preordering your hand made Resistor Ring today and be a part of Low Volts history. Check out the limited edition vinyl, t-shirt, CD and jewelry and more right HERE
Thanks for all of your support and I look forward to sharing all the new music with you!
Tim Lowman
Low Volts
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Yes on Prop. 62 Concert w/ Jackson Browne and Steve Earle

 

What a night, what a beautiful night.  People came together at the Balboa Theater to celebrate the sounds of freedom and the seventies in a way that warmed the hearts of all present.  Billed as a “Yes on 62” rally, there was no way I was going to miss this show.

Quintessential Californian, Jackson Browne, gathered us all together to rally the base of the intellectuals, the religious and the celebrators of the sanctity of life, to address this ancient practice that all civilized nations in the Western world have denounced as inhumane.  What a beautiful way for like-minded people to get together to celebrate humanism.

The music was soulful, intimate and meaningful.  The words were powerful, connected and thoughtful.  The mood was buoyant, hopeful and ecstatic.  The crowd was attentive, united and together.

The issue brought all the people in the room to a finite point.  We’re not gonna take it, this murdering of souls and spirits.  It was the way rock and roll was meant to be presented.  It called for change, it called for action, it roused the essence and people left feeling like they had the power and that we are on a cusp of making a huge difference.  Not just for the individuals tortured on death row, but as a message to the world.

I’ve always wanted my music icons to use their platform to bring about meaningful change in our systems.  Jackson Browne knows how to do this.  Steve Earle embraces this responsibility.  The concert was a great success.  We all got the message.

Of course the music by Jackson and Steve was amazing and relative to the theme of the night.  Of course almost everyone there agreed with “Yes on 62” (there was only one person I could ascertain that had problems with the night’s agenda, and she would have blown a 0.16).  Of course as a nation made up primarily of Christians, one of whose main tenants is not to kill, America has been slowly coming to it’s senses in regards to the death penalty.

The infatuation with an eye for an eye, gun rights and the way violence is such a part of our daily lives (on tv, in the news, in our country’s frustrated anger and the way we often speak about others) is growing old and tiresome.  The way other counties look at America and it’s killing of each other and prisoners must come to an end.  It’s difficult to live in a country that willfully participates in killing its citizens, while at the same time knowing that uncertainty is a possibility in many of the cases of capital punishment.  The gross injustices the state perpetuates makes us no better than someone who does actually kill.

Repealing the death penalty has been critical to our country for years and we finally seem to have reached a tipping point.  Ending this barbaric and medieval practice has been a goal/challenge of mine since growing up in Texas as a youth.  Texas seems to be the United States version of Saudi Arabia in the way that they kill inmates and it has always struck me as a sickening and terrible aspect of our nation state.  As a child, I could’t believe that the state would punish a person for murder by murdering someone!  As an adult, this belief grew into outrage.  Following the Innocence Project and watching as DNA exonerates supposed killers, the public has been pushed to accept the reality that the state has killed incorrectly in the name of justice.

 

Serrandon

 

Serrandon is an harmonizing siren from Dallas, Texas. Fusing 80’s lyrical substance with modern day production, Serrandon’s sound is as one of a kind as his name.

Now residing in San Diego, California, Serrandon’s influences come from a broad span of artists including; Phil Collins, Lana Del Rey, George Michael, and Dawn Richard. Serrandon leaves it all on the table as he sings about mental struggles and isolation.

His latest EP, ‘NOISE’ explores the interferences that one faces as they journey off into self improvement. Mixing sounds from Hip Hop, EDM, and RnB, Serrandon’s smooth vocals and silky vocals create a compelling contrast that is will give you the vibe you need.

Link to EP:

https://soundcloud.com/serrandon/sets/noise-ep

Link to supporting visual for EP:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V40VaHn0H8A

Border X Brewing Celebrates New Film on Chicano Musician Chunky Sanchez

 

Border X Brewing is hosting a free event to celebrate the forthcoming documentary about Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez on Friday, September 9th. Chunky is a Chicano musician and San Diego activist whose music has been a force for social justice over the last 35 years. Running from 6:00-11:00 pm at Border X (2181 Logan Ave just a block from Chicano Park), the event is open to the public and will feature live music from local artists, clips from the film and behind-the-scenes stories from filmmaker Paul Espinosa and others.

The documentary, Singing My Way to Freedom, chronicles Chunky’s life from his humble beginnings as a farmworker in Blythe, California to his student days at San Diego State University as the Chicano Civil Rights Movement was transforming the community; from his involvement with the takeover of Chicano Park to his performing on Joan Baez’s first Spanish language album; from the formation of his band, Los Alacranes, a local favorite at San Diego demonstrations and rallies for over a quarter of a century, to receiving the National Heritage Fellowship at the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

“Our film examines how Chunky’s personal development as a musician is interwoven with the broader history of the U.S.-Mexican border, from the 1960s right through to immigrant rights’ protests happening today,” says Producer Paul Espinosa. “His story proves that, when you stand up for your rights, you can truly make a difference.”

Chunky’s music was included in a classic Smithsonian Folkways CD that highlights songs of the Chicano movement. A reviewer described the collection as “an original and necessary document of essential American musical history.

Acid Mothers Temple Return to SD April 17 at the Soda Bar!!

 

Acid Mothers returns to San Diego at the Soda Bar on April 17th with their new lineup!  Acid Mothers Temple The Next Generation.
Thundering bassist Tsuyama Atsushi has retired from the band after 17 years and is being replaced by S/T, who is also responsible for Space and Time.  This tour is called Wake to a New Dawn of Another Astro Era Tour 2016.  See the complete dates below.  Don’t miss it!

MARCH

13th (sun) @ “Festival Nrmal 2016″ – Mexico City MEX
http://2016.festivalnrmal.net

15th (tue) @ Echo – Los Angeles CA
http://www.theecho.com/

16th (wed) @ Bottom Of The Hill – San Francisco CA
http://www.bottomofthehill.com/

17th (thu) @ Studio On 4th – Reno NV
http://studioon4th.com

18th (fri) @ Mississippi Studios – Portland OR
http://www.mississippistudios.com/

19th (sat) @ The Cobalt – Vancouver BC
http://www.thecobalt.ca

20th (sun) @ Logan’s Pub & Liquor Store – Victoria BC
http://www.loganspub.com

21st (mon) @ The Shakedown – Bellingham WA
http://www.shakedownbellingham.com

22nd (tue) @ The Sunset – Seattle WA
http://sunsettavern.com

23rd (wed) @ Treefort Music Fest – Boise ID
http://treefortmusicfest.com

24th (thu) @ Metro Bar – Salt Lake City UT
https://www.facebook.com/MetroBarSLC/

25th (fri) @ Hi Dive – Denver CO
http://www.hi-dive.com/

26th (sat) @ Reverb Lounge – Omaha NE
http://reverblounge.com

27th (sun) @ 7th St Entry – Minneapolis MN
http://first-avenue.com/

28th (mon) @ The Frequency – Madison WI
http://www.madisonfrequency.com

29th (tue) @ Empty Bottle – Chicago IL
http://emptybottle.com/

30th (wed) @ Marble Bar – Detroit MI
https://www.facebook.com/marblebardetroit/

31st (thu) @ Club Cafe – Pittsburgh PA
http://clubcafelive.com

 

APRIL

1st (fri) @ The Garrison – Toronto ON
http://www.garrisontoronto.com/

2nd (sat) @ Mohawk Place – Buffalo NY
http://www.buffalosmohawkplace.com

3rd (sun) @ Cafe Nine – New Haven CT
http://www.cafenine.com/

4th (mon) @ Great Scott – Allston MA
http://www.greatscottboston.com/

5th (tue) @ Mercury Lounge – New York NY
http://www.mercuryloungenyc.com/

6th (wed) @ Knitting Factory – Brooklyn NY
http://bk.knittingfactory.com/

7th (thu) @ Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia PA
http://www.johnnybrendas.com

8th (fri) @ Comet Ping Pong – Washington DC
http://www.cometpingpong.com/

9th (sat) @ Cat’s Cradle Backroom – Carrboro NC
http://www.catscradle.com/cats-cradle-back-room/

10th (sun) t.b.c.

11th (mon) @ Gasa Gasa – New Orleans LA
http://www.gasagasa.com

12th (tue) @ Rudyards British Pub – Houston TX
http://rudyardspub.com

13th (wed) @ Three Links – Dallas TX
http://www.threelinksdeepellum.com/

14th (thu) @ The Sidewinder – Austin TX
http://www.thesidewinderaustin.com

15th (fri) @ Lowbrow Palace – El Paso TX
http://www.lowbrowpalace.com

16th (sat) @ Valley Bar – Phoenix AZ
http://www.valleybarphx.com

17th (sun) @ Soda Bar – San Diego CA
http://www.sodabarmusic.com/

Cool Ghouls w/ Bad Vibes at the Whistle Stop

 

by Keith Boyd

Sometimes it pays to know a bit about a band you’re going to see. I could have avoided any number bruised body parts and ringing ear sessions by following that advice. That being said, what’s better or more thrilling than a happy accident? Such was the situation I found myself in last night at local dive bar outpost and SD treasure, The Whistle Stop. I hadn’t heard either band before but I had a vague notion that Cool Ghouls were a part of the amazing, 60’s inflected music scene in San Francisco. Well, they are and an utterly delightful accident seeing them it was indeed!

First up were San Diego band Bad Vibes. I dug their meaty, full throttle approach to things. There was a definite whiff of Doors wafting through their sound. Also what I would characterize as Biker bar Pink Floyd. I’m not saying that their sound was just derivative and lacked any originality though. Far from it! Their tunes were dynamic with sudden pivots in rhythm and tonality to keep the ear engaged. Great guitar playing from both of the players and special mention must be made of the relentlessly blissful stage presence and power of the bass player. He was a hair dervish! For nearly an hour while dancing, leaping and gyrating, his playing was completely solid. I like the band’s name and while I get where they’re coming from (a darkish, rocked up Nick Cave zone) I think they pump out just as many good vibes as “Bad” ones!

What can I say about headliners, Cool Ghouls? I was instantly won over by their sound. It was all chiming, jet plane guitars, limber yet grounded bass and their secret weapon? Beautiful 3 part harmonies. I for one, simply don’t hear vocals done like this in a “Rock” idiom very often. Pop music is replete with backup singers on stage and in studios. This wasn’t that. It was three equally adept singers taking the turns at the lead while the others blended seamlessly. At times recalling the soaring sound of The Byrds at their most heart-warming, Cool Ghouls made a beautiful noise.

I may be wrong about this but according to my observations and calculations the (contemporary) Grandaddies of the SF Psych soaked sound are Wooden Shijps. I’m sure there are others who were (according to whomever) first, different, more original or better but when I heard Wooden Shijps several years ago I thought to myself, “Finally the kids are getting weird again!”. And while many of these bands are excellent they tend to skew towards the noisier Punk infused side of the garage. Cool Ghouls plays it much smarter. They can rock for sure! However, they seem to have an instinctual grasp of dynamics and hence they paint with a very broad sonic brush. They have tunes from all over the spectrum and ply them all with equal skill.  After the gig I bought their (excellent) newest album, A SWIRLING FIRE BURNING THROUGH THE RYE and having basically had it on locked repeat all day have recognized several of the selections they played. One song that, while not on the album, was an instant favorite was the Green Tambourine-esque, The Creature that I Am.

If you are looking for some of the echoes that flow through their sound think The (aforementioned) Byrds, early Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and a dash of Electric Prunes, Blues Magoos and Moby Grape. Please don’t mistake these signifiers as some sort of jumbled, grab bag of tropes and put ons. Cool Ghouls might be rooted in another era but they are flowering in this one.

A special thanks must be given to my fellow LAME OLD COP ON A NIGHT OUT-PMK. In heaven, instead of angel wings he will receive a Gold-Chain and Cheetah tunic!

“Starting from Scratch” New Art by Matt Beard – March 18-25

 

NEW Misfit HQ!
565 Pearl St.
La Jolla, 92037

25 paintings from start to finish in the gallery in one week? We look forward to seeing how this goes.When Matt Beard told us what he wanted to do we thought two things: he’s bonkers, and he’s even more  bonkers than we thought… but were game to let me take a swing at it in our brand new gallery/headquarters in La Jolla, CA.

During one frantic week in the new gallery he will be painting ten 30″ x 30″, five 20″ x 20″, and ten 10″ x 10″ original paintings. There will be tacos, donuts, beers, drums, friends, enemies, skateboards, and possibly even parakeets.**  Stop in during the course of the week to check out the work in progress, or just wait to see them all finished at the opening reception on March 25 …times and more details coming real soon.

Super Complicated Pricing:

Blind Faith Commitment (available until March 18): 30×30 canvas – $950   | 20×20 canvas – $550 | 10×10 canvas – $348
Work in Progress Special (available March 19-24): 30×30 canvas – $1250 | 20×20 canvas – $650 | 10×10 canvas – $349
Finished Work (available March 25): 30×30 canvas – $1500 | 20×20 canvas – $750 | 10×10 canvas – $350

First come, first serve, quantities limited. Contact Pierce or Petra Kavanagh for purchase inquiries.Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 8.37.37 PM

**bring your own tacos, donuts and beers… and friends… and skateboards… and parakeets… but leave your enemies elsewheres