Bands have been reuniting like crazy, but reunion mania isn't just for legends like At the Drive-In and Rocket from the Crypt. The bug's also hit i*wish*i, an obscure band from the South Bay that called it quits in 2000 after a modestly successful six-year run.
The rocking emo quartet will celebrate the release of a new album, Convolutions—their first in 16 years—at Soda Bar on Saturday, April 13. They started playing again last year after a friend convinced them to keep going, and they still have a devoted (if small) following.
"We're probably good for, like, 50 or 60 true fans that'll come to see us," bassist June Cate says. "We try not to get out there too much, because we want people to come and see us every time we play."
For bigger bands, getting back together offers a chance to rekindle lost glory, getting a heap of buzz and some extra dough in the process. For i*wish*i, it mostly just lets them spend time together and share some fond memories.
"All of us feel like this is just a rad opportunity to get together and play music," Cate says.
Though the band never scored any hits, they have a powerful fan in Steve Aoki, the globe-trotting DJ who runs Dim Mak Records. Aoki put out the band's second LP on Dim Mak in 1997—back when he was still doing punk shows out of his living room—and he's hooked them up with a deal to put out Convolutions.
Some local bands remember i*wish*i fondly. Aaron Magnan, singer of The Beautiful View (who're also playing the Soda Bar show), first saw them when he was 13 or 14 and says they were one of the first bands in the area to play sophisticated music and get signed to a label.
"Their shows were like a mentorship program for Chula Vista post-suburb youth, who were both broke and broken," Magnan says in a Facebook message to CityBeat.
Some musicians seem embarrassed about the bands they used to play in—on more than one occasion, a local musician speaking with CityBeat has downplayed or even denied their contribution to a dated screamo or grunge act.
But Cate isn't hiding anything. Their brand of Fugazi-style emo / post-hardcore may seem a little dated, but he seems proud of the albums they've recorded.
If anything, he says, "It's hard to let go of the old ones to make room for the new one."