They're big in Japan, seriously
Mattson 2, the 22-year-old twins who live in Cardiff, major in music at UCSD and look damn good in their tight-fitting mod suits while playing their precocious experimental jazz, have tons of fans in Japan.
“Totally,” says Jonathan Mattson, the drummer in the guitar-drum duo. He laughs and explains that the Japan tours came from a few connections—one to professional skateboarder and guitarist Ray Barbee, who jams with the brothers from time to time, and another to painter and filmmaker Thomas Campbell, part owner of Galaxia, the indie record label that carries Mattson 2 and has released works by Barbee, The Black Heart Procession, Yellow Wallpaper and other experimental and instrumental bands, which seem to have more appeal overseas.
And those lucky little connections, as Jonathan tells it, pretty much started at birth.
The Mattson twins have a father with a surf obsession and an older brother who came close to being a professional skater, so they grew up in the surf/skate scene. Naturally, they started playing punk rock at a young age, but the simple riffs changed to complicated improvisation when the boys hit 16, which is when their pops brought home John Coltrane's Giant Steps.
“That basically started our jazz-freak session,” Jonathan said, “and we've been playing jazz ever since.” The Mattson's avant-garde taste in music led them to the avant-garde surfer art scene, and artists like Campbell and Phil Frost invited them to play at openings. Then Campbell put the boys' music in his surf film, Sprout, and what followed was an underground, cult-like appreciation of their music—just like the underground, cult-like following of the film. A few appearances in Japanese surf and skate magazines later and it was official—Mattson 2 are big in Japan.
But the boys don't want it to stop there. They have a show at Dizzy's (at the Wine & Culinary Center at Second Avenue and J Street) at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 20, and they hope to have more local shows scheduled soon. Plus, they're finally releasing a six-song EP, Introducing Mattson 2, and a debut album, Ray Barbee Meets Mattson 2, this side of the Pacific Ocean, hoping that their MySpace profile (www.myspace.com/mattsontwomusic) will start boasting friends and fans on this side of the Pacific.—Kinsee Morlan
One of the more curious happenings this week involves something called the Johnny Rad Fest. If you've seen the semi-obscure 1987 skateboarding movie The Search for Animal Chin, you'll get the reference. If, like me, you have no idea what the hell that is, then you'll simply rely on an official press statement calling the first-time four-day Fest a “marathon of mayhem and debauchery.”
All things Rad kick off on Thursday, July 17, at the Tower Bar followed by shows at the Tower and the Ken Club on July 18 and 19 before the July 20 finale at El Cuatro Amigos in Tijuana. Among the acts scheduled to appear are locals The Atoms, The Sess, Wild Weekend and Los Sweepers. www.myspace.com/johnnyradfest.
On Friday, July 18, Dub Traffik Control will launch a six-week engagement at the Belly Up in which the turntablists will host at least one live band every Friday night. The first show features DTC along with Kush & The Bloodfiyah Angels. In an e-mail, DTC's Beau Lamontagne wrote that the weekly event “will be Dub Dynamite on steroids,” referring to another one of the collective's popular club nights, albeit one that apparently does not partake in performance-enhancing drugs. www.myspace.com/dubtraffikcontrol.
Last week, FM 94/9 announced that on-air personality (and musician) Anya Marina is stepping down from her midday slot in order to pursue her music career after signing with Chop Shop Records. Marina is busy working on her second album, which is said to include collaborations with Brian Karscig of Louis XIV and Britt Daniel of Spoon. Marina will still contribute to 94/9, but in a reduced capacity. In the meantime, Hilary Chambers took over her slot starting on July 14.
Changes are also afoot at Holiday Matinee, the local promotions company (motto: “promoting creativity”) and cultural clearinghouse that in past years was the touting grounds for bands like The Album Leaf, Bright Eyes and Death Cab For Cutie. HM recently re-launched its new and improved website at www.holidaymatinee.com.
In other news, Roses on Her Grave recently filmed a music video for “She Got a Gun” under the supervision of famed director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Planet Terror, Once Upon a Time in Mexico). OK, I'm lying. It was actually Rodriguez's film editor, Ethan Maniquis (which is still kinda cool), shooting scenes at The Viper Room in L.A. along with action sequences that, according to Roses, include a “Kill Bill-like” fight between guitarist Lindsay Matheson and some Hollywood blonde. No word yet on when the video will be released for public consumption. www.myspace.com/rosesonhergrave.—Nathan Dinsdale
SGM in need of all nighter: The hottest pride party is rumored to be Fete Accompli, just one of the many Bill Hardt productions (www.billhardtpresents.com) going on around town this weekend. If you're single and gay, gay and in an open relationship, a TS, TG, TV, CD or bi-curious about all of the above, hit up 4th & B from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday, July 20. House-music legends Rosabel (the DJ duo Abel and Ralphi Rosario) will make sure you stay awake. Tickets are $50 in advance, $75 at the door.
Lovely L-lady looking for lust: Unfortunately, San Diego isn't known for its huge and happening lesbian scene, but the ladies have pulled together for Pride, and the biggest of all women-centric parties is shaping up to be the The Jungle at Deco's (Downtown) from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, July 18. The long list of entertainers includes Corday & The G Strings, a standup comedy set by Michele Balan, the Caged and Unleashed Go-Go Girls and DJ Dirty Kurty. Tickets are $20. www.sikparty.com. And if that's not enough for you, check www.flawles.com for more Pride events for the ladies.
Young gun lookin' for fun—NSA: What kind of gay-friendly publication would we be if we didn't tell you about the Wet Foam Party at Bourbon Street in University Heights, on Thursday, July 17? Wear your swimsuit and the first drink's free.—Kinsee Morlan
The Enrique Experience
The Jewel Box is a very appropriate name for the little hole in the wall nestled in the corner of 16th and F streets.
The bar is decorated with bumper stickers with inspiring messages like, “It's hard to drive while masturbating” and “My child was citizen of the month at King Stahlman Bail Bonds.” Beer is served in the frostiest mugs this side of the Arctic Circle, and there's a red siren topping the bar that goes off every once in a while, at which time everyone is supposed to cheer. Smack in the middle of the room there's a disco ball that starts spinning every day at 7 a.m. sharp, and someone tagged the condom machine in the narrow, boat-cabin-like men's room with “For full refund, insert baby here” and an arrow pointing at the coin slot.
“Belly up, boys!” bartender Lisa tells patrons walking into the joint. The place has a tight-knit community feel to it and can be intimidating at first. A burly cholo with a ponytail stared me up and down as he finished making his song selections on the fancy touch-screen jukebox. As he walked away, Sade's “By Your Side” started playing. Yeah, what a bad ass.
There's a faux deer head mounted on a corner wall. After a Padres home-game win, ladies throw their bras at the plastic stag in a Coyote Ugly-like fashion. Another bar fixture is Rick, a loyal patron since 1975, back when the establishment was called The Jungle Room.
“The food here is excellent, and they have cute bartenders to boot!” Rick said after ordering an MGD, his lager of choice.
His stories were almost as colorful as the bar's history.
“Two years ago a methed-out guy lost control of his car on the 94 off-ramp and crashed right into the bar,” Lisa recalled, adding, “The only thing that saved us was the barrier created by the shuffleboard table.”
Designated drivers save lives, as do heavy game tables.—Enrique Limón
In the July 9 cover story “OB24,” CityBeat assessed a Peter Hall performance at the Ocean Beach Street Fair by suggesting Hall looked perpetually stoned and, worse yet, sounding like Rob Thomas. However, due to a schedule change, it was not Peter Hall performing but Compass Rose (and singer/guitarist David Scott Castner). CityBeat regrets the error and encourages you to check out Hall's show on the Claire de Lune “Coffee Stage” at the North by North Park music festival on Aug. 2. We do, however, stand by our appraisal of Mr. Castner.