New kid on The Blvd.
"We're building from the ground up," said Scott McDonald, talent buyer for The Blvd, a new 21-and-up North County nightclub set to open Jan. 31. "Right now, there's painting to do and things to straighten out, but we're working hard towards opening night."
While San Marcos is not known for its original-music clubs, McDonald thinks the location has a built-in audience since it is perched between California State University, San Marcos and Palomar College.
"We have our work cut out getting the word out," he said, "but I think once people see what we have here, it's going to be great."
Located at 925 West San Marcos Blvd., next to North County's Restaurant Row, the venue will be open for lunch and dinner, with a full gourmet kitchen and multiple projection screens around the premises. The club's main room features a 14-by-24-foot stage, a 24-foot bar, VIP area and more. Another room, called The Dragon Lounge, is equipped with a 27-foot bar, 2,000-square-foot outdoor patio with an 8-by-20-foot acoustic stage, an outdoor bar and lava-rock fire pits.
"The outdoor stage has a really nice set up, not just an afterthought to put on a few extra musicians," said McDonald. "There's a nice setting, complete with a glass waterfall. It would be perfect for acoustic acts or any number of others."
For now, the venue will be 21-and-up, although McDonald said that the city is willing to entertain the idea of an 18-and-up club with wristbands for those old enough to buy booze.
"We'll see," McDonald said. "For the moment, we just have to be on our best behavior."
McDonald, who last year worked as the media consultant for the Belly Up Tavern (and booked all the local bands for the club), promises to bring in regional and national acts, as well as provide locals a new stage. There will also be a regular Tuesday night swing and rockabilly show.
"I want to go as wide as possible with talent," he said. "I want to keep it varied so we don't get pegged as a blues club, or a folk club or whatever. We want to take risks with the music that other area clubs won't take."
Opening night will feature hip-hop artist Little Jay. In the weeks to follow, McDonald has booked reggae rockers Common Sense, old-school toaster Eek-A-Mouse and local pop-punk group Kut U Up. For details, call 760-510-0004.
Raising good band nerds
Local promotion company So-Cal Show-Cal Productions is doing their bit to make sure America's youth don't become Sega-playing math nerds whose idea of art is a cool screen saver. On Feb. 7, they're hosting the first of a series of benefit concerts to raise money for school music programs. The all-day festival features Carbine, Roosevelt, Lighter, Jenn Grinels, The Trophy Life, Decompression, The Valentine Fist, Jake, Levity and A Simple Life and will run from 2 p.m. until midnight. Each show will benefit one specific school, and proceeds from the first event go to the music department of Madison High School in Clairemont.
"As you know, arts programs are being devastated by state cuts," says Madison principal Virginia Eves. "Any assistance we can get from the community is most appreciated."
Visit www.socal showcal.com.
In our efforts to provide the most annoyingly detailed account of one gaunt songboy's rise to international fame... Mraz alert! Moving beyond the usual Letterman-Leno-Kilbourne guest spot that most musicians are regulated to, Jason Mraz-a one-time musical theater enthusiast-will play the role of legendary singer Dion in an upcoming episode of NBC-TV's American Dreams. Taping will take place Feb. 4-during which Mraz will sing a version of Dion's "Ruby Baby"-but the airdate hadn't been set at press time. Meanwhile, the soundtrack to Adam Sandler's latest flick, 50 First Dates, will be released Feb. 3, and features Mraz's otherwise unavailable cover of Modern English's "Melt With You."
Duane Pitre, guitarist for Ilya, has left the band. The split was reportedly amicable, but CityBeat suspects that someone's sleeping with someone's girlfriend's mother's cousin's sister's parakeet. Either that, or Pitre just wants to concentrate on his own project, Pilotram. At this point, Ilya has no plans to replace the ex-pro skater turned guitar wiz.
Pitre will also be on stage with his other former band, The Dropscience, at their final show at The Casbah on Feb. 13 (Scarlet Symphony, Tomorrow's Son and This Holiday Life will join the cry fest). As we told ye here last week, The D-Science is no mo'. Tony Brandon will continue with his other projects, Tukada and Gross Eagle. Frontman Demetrius Antuna also has his other keyboard-heavy band, Aleph Research. Even bigger news, he's joined on as the new guitarist for a San Diego band that he once offered to manage-Goodbye, Blue Monday. His first show as GBM's new ax slinger will be Feb. 7 at The Casbah.
No Knife vocalist-guitarist Mitch Wilson, in addition to playing the odd Bauhaus tribute show, has filled the hole left when Jimmy LaValle left much-missed instrumental outfit, Tristeza. The new, Wilson-ized incarnation of the band is currently recording beautiful noise at Stereo Disguise, the converted bedroom studio of Black Heart Procession's Pall Jenkins.
John Guerin, a highly respected drummer with his roots in San Diego, passed away Jan. 5. While originally a jazz player recording with the likes of Thelonious Monk and Donald Byrd, Guerin became a top session hand, playing on dozens of hits including songs by The Monkees, Frank Zappa, George Harrison and Stephen Bishop. Adios, Johnny.
The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library (1008 Wall St., La Jolla) will hold a benefit concert for the San Diego New Music organization on Feb. 1. Proceeds from the performance featuring free-jazz trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, will go to commission new works for the revered venue. We realize it sounds stuffy, but if you like jazz, classical or other adventurous music, definitely check this place out. The intimate spot is one of San Diego's best-kept secrets. Call 858-454-5872.
Up-and-comers Prizefight (who are described by some as the second coming of Drive Like Jehu, and by others as the link between the punk and indie factions) has changed their name to the rather pedophiliac-sounding The Smell of Kindergarten. In our humble opinion, the new name stinks.
In our story on Kill Me Tomorrow in last week's issue, we erroneously reported that Zack Wentz' father is an English professor. Actually, papa no teach Dickens or no such hyphen-happy drivel. He actually works as an editor, which really makes us look like asses.