The San Diego Music Foundation announced nominees for the 2010 San Diego Music Awards this week. (Disclosure: CityBeat's publisher, Kevin Hellman, is president of the foundation.) More than 200 local bands and artists—including heavyweights like Dum Dum Girls, Crocodiles, The Soft Pack, Wavves, Switchfoot, Angels & Airwaves, Jason Mraz and Sara Watkins— were nominated in categories ranging from Best Tribute Band to Artist of the Year. An “academy” of local movers-and-shakers chose the nominees and will vote on the best albums of the year. The public can vote on non-album categories from Aug. 1 through 20. The awards ceremony takes place on Sunday, Sept. 12, at Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay. Psych-rock heavyweights Iron Butterfly will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, and The Night Marchers, The Nervous Wreckords, Maren Parusel, New Mexico, Miss Erika Davies and Transfer will perform. sandiego musicawards.com The Stoney B Blues Band will begin a residency every first and third Thursdays at South Park Abbey, the new incarnation of South Park Bar & Grill. Their first performance will be Aug. 5.
Singer-songwriter Normandie Wilson will celebrate the release of her new CD, The Flower Box, at Soda Bar on Wednesday, July 28. Trip-hoppers XIV will mark the release of their new album, Theta, at Kava Lounge on Thursday, July 29. Rocker Danielle LoPresti and the Masses will commemorate the release of her new album, Run With It, at Queen Bee's on Friday, July 30. And folkies May Stands Still will mark the release of their new, self-titled record at Café Libertalia on Sunday, July 31.
The Enrique Experience
The pungent smell of ChapStick and virginity was in the air last weekend at the corporate-branding bonanza known as Comic-Con. Armed with a full event schedule, I hit the pavement as eagerly as Robin enters Bruce Wayne's Batcave.
No. 1 on the most-memorable list was being distinguished as a “celebrity” judge for the fourth annual Zombie of the Year contest (seriously, Corey Feldman wasn't available?) at Quality Social (789 Sixth Ave., Downtown). Hundreds of post-mortem revelers had gathered beforehand at the Horton Plaza fountain for an en masse walk, toting signs with phrases that would make even the most oblivious teabagger crack a smile: “Zombies were people too” and the Westboro Church-ish “God hates the undead.”
“I really went all out,” I heard one participant say as he broke character to boast to a fellow walker that he'd managed to purchase pig's blood at his local butcher shop. “Short of excrement, I'll rub anything on myself,” he declared.
Inside the venue, the cries for braaains from the participants took on a new meaning; the evening also served as a fundraiser for Donate Life California—the state's organdonor registry.
Just to fuck with everyone, I gave top “dance-off ” honors to a burly, bearded drag queen who pretty much just stood there for the whole six minutes of Thriller. Other upsets included a brokendown Cookie Monster, who won for best famous zombie, and a rockabilly dude who took the night's top honors without even entering the competition. “It's like getting fingered, but in a good way,” my cocelebrity-judge, G4 TV's Chris Gore, told the crowd.
Keeping with the theme, the next stop was Adams Avenue's Visual Art Supply for the Undead Art Show featuring a who's-who of the local art scene, like Dark Vomit, Perry Vasquez and Andrea Rushing.
“We played around with other ideas, but there's something inherently sexy about zombies,” artist Bret Barrett said as he served me a mysterious brew from a plastic pot.
The next morning, I woke up with second-hand fake blood in places one should never have it. It was like getting fingered, but in a bad way.
Intimate and underground
Last Saturday, San Diego twosome Berkley Hart played a small, somewhat underground venue known as Oasis House Concerts. The band got extra points from the audience for working the sound of a passing freight train into their set.
“As the train was going by,” Oasis booker Charlie Imes said, “they started singing that ‘Lonesome Train' song.”
Oasis House Concerts is located in a retail space in the heart of a business park in Sorrento Valley and, aside from the occasional train, it's a pretty intimate and quiet place to put on a show. Imes, a musician, and Martha Sullivan, a music lover who happened to have a little extra office space, run the operation. They kicked things off in 2009 with a show for other houseconcert organizers they know around town.
“Everyone had such a great time,” Imes said. “So, they asked us, ‘When are you going to start doing house concerts?'” The next month, they put on another show, and the duo has been holding about a show a month since, featuring traveling and local musicians including Gregory Page, Candye Kane and Eve Selis.
“It's like most other house concerts except maybe a little more professionally put together,” said Imes, who estimates that there are about a dozen other people around San Diego who put on regular shows in their homes. “I think my first house concert was put on by Lizzy Wann at The Meeting Grace house in Normal Heights. The house-concert thing has really caught on.”
The pair say they don't make any money on the gigs. They collect donations to give to the band, but they say the real reason behind the shows is simple.
“For me,” Sullivan explains, “music is a drug. I admit to having no power over live music.”
“And for me,” Imes says, “it's great because you can hear every note. You can hear every breath. You're not fighting to hear the music over an espresso machine or people clinking bottles over the bar.”
The next Oasis show will feature Steve Poltz on Sept. 3. oasishouseconcerts.com.
The new guy
Before Sessions Public opened a few weeks ago, the most memorable thing about the Point Loma intersection of Voltaire Street and Catalina Boulevard was Little Italy, a pizzeria painted like a giant Italian Flag.
“It was all red, white and green,” says Abel Kaase, pointing out the red paint that can still be seen in the cracks of the deck outside. “Even the glass was painted—everything. So, we fixed, replaced and repaired all of that. Now we get neighbors who pop in just to tell us thanks for getting rid of the eyesore.”
Construction equipment can still be seen out the back door of the new restaurant and bar, which has been transformed into what Kaase calls a “beach industrial” décor, “minus some of the beach.” The modern-meets-organic look was something Kaase and his silent partner initially came up with, but before opening, they decided to hire friend-of-a-friend Michael Soriano to smooth things over. They had no idea Soriano was the big-time designer behind places like Vin de Syrah and The Pearl Hotel.
“We got lucky,” Kaase says.
“When we told Michael our concept—that we wanted to use reused, repurposed materials and build a community meeting space—he agreed to help.”
As for food and drink, the fourthgeneration San Diegan who lives just a mile away from his new joint says that he stacked the menu with “stuff I like.”
“I like good food and good beer,” says Kaase, whose menu features a good selection of craft beer and wine and both big and small plates of everything from blistered tomatoes to duck confit.
Kaase is a family man. Inside Sessions Public, his kid and a few other children were having fun drawing things on a giant chalkboard. “I don't like going to pretentious places where you have to beg to get served,” Kaase says. “So everything here is kind of based on that.”