Jan. 20 2009 05:43 PM

Local music news, show reviews and more

Shot on scene by James Norton

Elizabeth Nichols (left) and Mike Fuentes, who plays drums with Pierce the Veil, were two of the hot little scenesters at last week's Re:Amp Thursdays at The Office in North Park. The industry night for bands, DJs, promoters, friends and fans usually features live music and a DJ set. Your $5 cover gets you in and gets you one free drink.    —Kinsee Morlan

Locals Only

Buxom blues diva Candye Kane will debut her new musical play, The Toughest Girl Alive, Jan. 29 at Diversionary Theatre in Hillcrest. Subtitled “The Turbulent Life, Tempestuous Times, and Toe Tapping Music of Candye Kane,” the musical is based on the true story of Kane's struggles as an ex-gang member, single mother, ex-adult-film star and, finally, musician. Kane will star alongside local actors Amy Bidel and Daren Scott with direction and arrangement by Javier Velasco (who has worked on productions for the La Jolla Playhouse, the Old Globe and San Diego Ballet).

Indie duo Crocodiles have signed a two-album deal with Mississippi-based Fat Possum Records. The label, which is also home to The Black Keys, Andrew Bird and Heartless Bastards, expects the band's debut to be released in May.

As reported last week, also signed to Fat Possum is Wavves, the project headed by Nathan Williams. Wavves was recently featured on a new segment on ABC World News called “New Music Monday.” Wavves was included along with five other artists that guest Ryan Schreiber (founder of Pitchforkmedia.com) deemed the five albums to “watch out for” in 2009.

Tijuana-based electro-synth popsters Unsexy Nerd Ponies just released their new EP, Family Reunited. Fans can download the entire six-song album at www.ponirepublic.blogspot.com.

And on the subject of Tijuana, Mofolive.com is webcasting live shows every Saturday for those of you too scaredy-cat to cross and go in person to Mofo Bar, located in Pueblo Amigo, just five minutes from the border. The next session features Chula Vista's Lyon Crowns at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24. Check mofolive.com/wordpress for the schedule.—Seth Combs and Kinsee Morlan

The Enrique Experience

A hearty mix of testosterone, nacho cheese and brake fluid was in the air last Saturday as Qualcomm Stadium hosted the signature of all things civilized, Monster Jam. The evening started off with a caravan of legendary Hollywood rides such as Herbie The Love Bug, a 1980 Trans Am used in Smokey and the Bandit II and the purple MG driven by Eddie Murphy—playing the character Rasputia—in the timeless classic, Norbit. A demolition derby then followed and gave way to “I'm Proud to be an American” blaring throughout as a slow-mo monster-truck video montage played on the Jumbotron. A live rendition of the national anthem then followed, and an eardrum-bursting “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” completed the patriotism trifecta as T-shirts were launched via bazooka to the sold-out crowd.

“Holy Christmas! I love San Diego. I was having lunch at that Fashion Valley and I'll tell you what, the women here are even hotter than the weather,” Lee O' Donnell, driver of the canine-inspired Monster Mutt, told CityBeat moments before strapping in. The Mutt joined the likes of the red-bandana-wearing Ninja Turtle, slithery Arachnophobia and Latin-themed El Toro Loco in the pit for the night's battle royale.

Described by the announcer as the “greatest show in motorsports,” the main event consisted of 12 four-wheel-drive juggernauts competing on a dirt obstacle course that included several hills and junkyard piles. The Turtle lost its fiberglass shell mid-jump, and Grave Digger took a nosedive into a car stack, making the crowd go wild.The freestyle competition—during which the only rule was “to stay on the track”—succeeded in a scene reminiscent of the Roman Coliseum as the frantic emcee egged on the crowd: “The louder you are, the faster they'll go!” he said.

After loosing a wheel, seven-time world champion Maximum Destruction still managed to pull off a three-car jump. Then, in a display of American perseverance, Maximum Destruction fully unleashed its 1,500 horsepower during its 90-second allotted time slot by doing three-wheeled donuts. Chew on that, terrorists!—Enrique Limón

View froma stool

French punk rockers Les Hate Pinks must have felt like the stars were aligned when they found out they'd be kicking off their first-ever U.S. tour with TKO label-mates and Orange County legends The Stitches at Bar Pink last Thursday night.

Singer Olivier Escobar, a 37-year-old public librarian from Marseilles, France, was anything but mild-mannered and wasted no time insulting the crowd. “We are really happy to play in some pit hole tonight!” he said to sarcastic applause. “We've always wanted to play Mexico!”

Les Hate Pinks ripped through their trademark '77-style pop punk full of sneering taunts and bratty lyrics with songs like “Kissing Cops with My Ass” and “I Piss in Your Swimming Pools.”

After the show, Escobar, who closed out the set in bondage head gear, sipped on a vodka and apple and juice and affably kept the insults going: “It's a great shitty bar, a great shitty town.” When the subject of French literature was broached (music critics really are insufferable snobs), Escobar's sneer turned into a scowl. “I don't care about books! I just deal with computers!”

No one has ever accused The Stitches of being pretty, but they were spectacular Thursday night. The chaos that erupted when they kicked off their set made Les Hate Pinks' performance, which was spirited and energetic, seem downright workmanlike.

Bass player Johnny Witmer announced that the show was dedicated to longtime fan and San Diego resident J.J. Orsborn, who died on Jan. 5. The Stitches were one of his favorite bands.

“It's hard to be here and not feel his presence,” Witmer said after the show. “J.J. was San Diego.”

The Stitches will be back Saturday, Jan. 31, to play a benefit show for Orsborn's family at the Ken Club.—Jim Ruland

Counter-culture roll call

Let's start with the sheer number of stimuli at Kamza and Bar Kamza, an ArtPower! Film event at The Loft @ UCSD last Thursday: Two narrators tell the story of Jerusalem's destruction, one armed with percussion instruments for sound effects, the other occasionally breaking into song; giant screens hang at the front and the back of the room, and projected on each are slide shows, movie clips or the talking heads of Talmudic scholars; free nosh sits on a table for anyone who's puckish; every audience member has a pamphlet that also tells the story; and half the audience have open laptops, each of which run a specially created home page that contains its own Flickr slideshow, text of the story, polls and a chat window. It was, one might say, a tad overwhelming—but fascinating.

The premise of the show, directed by UCSD music professor Shlomo Dubnov, was to invite audience members to construct their own versions of the tale via their interactions during its telling. Audience members were encouraged to whisper amongst themselves, discuss the story during the three intermissions and take advantage of the online chat.

Few were willing to interrupt the performers—which included UCSD percussionist Steven Schick and music professor Roger Reynolds—with whispering, but the online chat was quite a success once some technological issues were overcome. Even as the story was being told, we had a free-flowing discussion of how the story illuminated issues of classism and racism and how we thought characters in the story were wise or foolish.

But then, there's a downside to chatting. With our divided attention, some of the chatters had trouble following the story's arc, which wasn't straightforward to begin with. And although the discussion touched on important subjects, there was also a rambling discussion about San Diego's burrito options (which I might have caused).

It was all very new and experimental, but it kind of worked, too. I recommend checking out Dubnov's future incarnations, one of which will be the telling of a Japanese folk tale, the other a story from sci-fi writer Geoff Ryman.—Eric Wolff


See all events on Wednesday, Oct 26