Our little glass ball
At several points during the planning stages for this year's San Diego Street Scene, things looked grim. For starters, the annual festival's changed venues twice over the past couple of years and though it's drawn progressively popular acts, it's also lost much of its homegrown appeal, feeling less like a treat for local-music fans, and more like a blacktop version of Coachella.
But Street Scene is returning to the East Village on Sept. 19 and 20. Expect an indie-centric lineup (i.e. no Kanye or Killers), and a much smaller crowd—downtown residents' groups have said they'll support the festival only if there's a cap on attendance.
Organizers have yet to release any lineup information—that'll happen Monday, June 16—so 'til then, here's some handicapping: Odds-on favorites are Spoon, whose presence at past Street Scenes signifies a strong SD trend; Brooklyn combo MGMT, who may as well hit every local festival this year; and Seattle folk-poppers Fleet Foxes, so to further expose their recently released debut on Sub Pop. Token local acts Grand Ole Party, The Muslims and The Sess are also possibilities, and Broken Social Scene and Man Man seem to dig these festival things.
Unfortunately, there are dozens of kick-ass bands playing All Tomorrow's Parties in New York the same weekend, so don't expect Autolux, My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr. or Mogwai to book last-minute tickets to the West Coast. On the other hand, late September is the tail-end of the outdoor festival season, so acts might be looking to get in one last big show before heading out to smaller venues. The Black Keys and Cold War Kids get lots of love from FM 94/9, so they're both solid bets. And there's gotta be a hip-hop contingent, so throw in Blackalicious, Murs and Del.
It's possible that My Morning Jacket may headline Saturday, as their tour schedule has an opening between dates in San Francisco and L.A. Sure, they play SDSU five days later, but something about that open date screams “unannounced show!” As for the Friday headliner, I'm going with Beck, but only because he's playing S.F.'s Outside Lands and Seattle's Bumbershoot fests as well.
Music nerds, it's time to place your bets. —Todd Kroviak
Back and better
We nearly offed ourselves when they hung the “Closed” sign up at our favorite little punk dive Scolari's Office back in January. But that was then and this is now, and come Saturday, June 14, we have The Office to look forward to.
“We took Scolari's Office and it was a mess,” said Ted Lithopoulos, long-time Bar Dynamite owner and proud new owner of The Office. “It smelled like piss and we found out why.”
According to Lithopoulos, some pipes leading from the bathrooms were broken, and sewage had been leaking behind one of the walls for quite some time.
“That pretty much set the tone for the whole place,” he said.
Setting the tone for the new place, Lithopoulos is revamping almost everything—taking out the pool tables, putting in leather booths and new bathrooms, a new granite bar, windows (if you remember Scolari's, you'll remember the perpetual darkness), a new entrance, brand-new beer taps and, of course, a flashy new sign.
“We're creating a really nice environment,” he said.
And, more importantly, Lithopoulos says he's still got the proper permits for live music and DJs, so he plans to keep up the spot's musical tradition.
“I don't know if we need the punk,” he said, “but we're still working on the lineup.”
One thing's for certain: The Office will host the much-anticipated return of Dub Dynamite with Rashi of Tribe of Kings and Beau Lamontagne of RE:UP Magazine and DJ Eddie Turbo fame spinning dub and reggae every Monday night starting June 16.—Kinsee Morlan
The latest 91X Loudspeaker showcase lands at the Belly Up on Wednesday, June 11, with The Burning of Rome, The Sess and Japanese Sunday. But the only thing more delicious than a Japanese Sundae is a little friendly competition (between Monday's Alibi, Hector's Revenge and Vanity Affair) at Brick by Brick the same night, all three bands competing for a spot on the local Warped Tour stop.
Also on Wednesday, Jupiter Sound Clash (formerly Redefine) shows off its new facelift with a show at Beauty Bar before the Whistle Stop hosts Rafter—the venerable Mr. Roberts performs music to accompany an exhibition by local photographer Lizeth Santos. Head back to the Whistle Stop on Thursday, June 12 (or just curl up under a table post-Rafter) when Vice magazine will screen the documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad, followed by DJ Mario Orduno spinning a metal set (if only the swanky Gaslamp clubs threw “Master of Puppets” on the decks every now and then).
Now that you've total worn out your welcome at the Whistle, you might as well return one more time: On Friday, June 13, the bar hosts a dual CD-release show featuring Hotel St. George (clearly excited about their new album, Yippee!!!) and Pancakes for Penguin (who must really like the smell of Coconut Oil). Same day, different location, jazz man Leonard Patton unveils Love, Life & Song at Dizzy's (aka the San Diego Wine & Culinary Center).
Still sticking with June 13, Scarlet Symphony and Apes of Wrath ravage Beauty Bar and The Sess and Atoms join Powerchords and Christmas Island at the Che Café. And, naturally, it wouldn't be Friday the 13th if The Creepy Creeps aren't putting in work (at Bar Pink Elephant).
Saturday, June 14, brings two benefit shows. The first is for Sun Strides (which, near as I can tell, helps kiddies in Tanzania) featuring DPI, Gizzards, The Screaming Yeehaws and Nuclear Tomorrow at Winston's. The other one is simply known as “The Benefit.”
The show—which goes from late afternoon until the wee hours at 'Canes—aims to help Psydecar vocalist Tim Pacheco (who recently discovered he was born with only one kidney) with the medical costs of getting a kidney transplant. Among those spreading the good rock/funk/world/reggae vibrations are Roots Covenant, The Damn Dirty Apes, Superunloader, Wise Monkeys, LaTanya Lockett, Stranger, The Devastators, Agua Dulce and, of course, Psydecar.
To any local bands who haven't applied to perform at the North by North Park music festival on Aug. 2, this is your final notice: go to sandiegomusicfoundation.org to download an application. Do it quick, because the deadline's June 12.—Nathan Dinsdale
The Enrique Experience
As far as dives go, Dock's Cocktail Lounge in Chula Vista is the real deal with its red mood lighting, mirrored walls, old-timey cash register and a condom dispenser in the men's room that reads, “A grab bag of sexy surprises, 12 different ones, you'll want them all.”
Any given night, Dock's jukebox runs the gamut from Donna Summer to The Moldy Peaches. The drinks are cheap, and the bar is decorated with endless law-enforcement patches both near (U.S. Border Patrol) and far (Ottawa Police).
“It's a favorite among off-duty cops,” bartender Rosie told me. Around 9 p.m. is when it really gets poppin'. That's the time KJ (karaoke jockey) Ken Campion enters the room. “Now that's what I call getting the clap!” the silver-haired Campion quipped. No need for a fancy-schmantzy stage; here you can belt out a tune from the comfort of your own barstool. Jimmy Buffet's “Margaritaville” and Selena's “Como la Flor” garnered the most applause on this particular night.
Silent witness to all this tomfoolery is Dumpster Dolly, a mannequin rescued from the trash by a Dock's staffer 17 years ago. She looks like Victoria Beckham, only happier and more life-like.
“We dress her up according to the occasion—Valentine's, Halloween, Christmas,” said Marge, who works the 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift. “This summer, we're going for a Hawaiian theme.”
Apparently the fiberglass vixen has quite the following.
“One time a guy asked me if he could take her out on date,” Marge recalled. “I said yes, asked for a $100 deposit, and off she went in a convertible. As long as they bring her back in one piece, I don't ask any questions.”
“She's single!” one of the regulars told me.
“Hey, don't mess with her—she's my girlfriend,” another one yelled. I got closer to take a picture and one of the patrons asked me how many I'd had. She starts looking better after the third drink, he explained.
True that.—Enrique LimonDock's Cocktail Lounge is open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. and is located at 317 Third Ave. in Chula Vista.
TNT ≠ dynamite
What a difference a month makes. Compared to the maximum-capacity turnout at the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art's TNT event last month, the hipster-revered fête for June was a relative dud. It's not that any of TNT's explosive ingredients (art, music, alcohol) were missing: dapper vaudeville rockers The Silent Comedy tore through an awesome set on the outdoor stage, mixed-media artist Joshua Mosley transfixed the crowd with his computer-animated presentation, dread, and enough Cruzan rum for a large band of savage pirates flowed bountifully from the bar. Unfortunately, most of the buzz surrounding Maya Lin's spectacular Systematic Landscapes exhibit, still on display in the museum's Jacobs building, had worn off from last month's opening, resulting in a crowd that was less than half the size of May's event.
The TNT After Party at Hotel Solamar's rooftop J6 bar also fizzled like a wet stick of dynamite. Again, the makings for a great party were there—David Russell Talbott's intricately painted pulp art was on display and Dubbadeez's Diana & Dylan were DJing a deliciously danceable set—but hotel management was mostly to blame for the crowd's lack of fun. On at least three occasions J6 employees asked the Dubbadeez duo to turn down their already unobtrusive tunes and eventually pulled the plug on the turntables a half-hour before the scheduled end of the party. The “no music” buzzkill effectively emptied the bar in a matter of minutes, leaving people feeling like kids on the Fourth of July without a fireworks show in sight.—Justin Roberts