Photo by Jeff "Turbo" Corrigan
Shot on Scene
OK, so I'll be the first to admit that this column has been a bit El Camino-heavy lately, but how could I resist this photo? While Enrique Limón settled for donkey piñatas at El-D on Cinco de Mayo (see below), I was over at El-C, which had a real, live “zonkey” greeting customers on the way in. Now, I love animals, and this goddamn poor creature (which I believe was actually a small horse) got molested more times than an altar boy on a wine bender. Although I kept waiting for PETA to show up, I feel comforted knowing that this chick probably got some weird strain of horse lice in her mouth. Why's my tongue itchy?
There will be a slew of new releases from San Diego bands this week. Most prominently, metal band As I Lay Dying released their new album, The Powerless Rise, on Tuesday. The band will celebrate with a hometown gig on Friday, May 21, at SOMA. Indie-rockers Hotel St. George will play a show with Apes of Wrath at the Whistle Stop on Friday, May 14, to mark the release of their sophomore album, Fun Shine Line. Finally, singer-songwriter Lauren DeRose will celebrate the release of her new EP, Tongue in Cheek, at the Sight & Sound art-and-music event at Queen Bee's on Saturday, May 15. MC Flow and the Caburlesque Kittens will also perform.
Some charity shows of note: The Keep a Breast Foundation will be the beneficiary of a show on Friday, May 14, at Sound Wave featuring local Pink Floyd cover band Have a Cigar and Weezer cover band Geezer. Also, musician and producer Keith Milgaten is planning a series of benefit shows for his friend Jona Tellez-Giron, who recently had back surgery and needs funds to offset medical and rehabilitation bills. The first will be on Wednesday, May 19, at Soda Bar with Illuminauts, Primitive Noyes and Milgaten's band, Jamuel Saxon, performing.
View from a Stool
I'm not sure what got the oft-sloshed band The Hold Steady to remain impressively sober for their concert at the Belly Up last Tuesday night. Was it that the night also marked the release of the band's fifth studio album, Heaven is Whenever? Or was it because guitarist Tad Kubler's mom was there?
Who's to say, but even without the liquid courage, the band can still bring the rock. One notable change for this tour is the loss of longtime keyboardist Franz Nicolay and the addition of two new auxiliary players (one on keys, the other on guitar). Both did a fine job. The new guitarist was especially impressive, trading off and sharing licks with Kubler that led to some downright Allman Brothers-esque moments. The crowd ate it up, and fontman Craig Finn conveyed his love via his standard method of approval: hopping up and down and clapping like a 6-year-old girl.
The new keyboardist was much less of a presence than Nicolay had been. He was set back on the stage, unlike his predecessor, who would stand near the front of the stage and show off his impressive collection of wife-beaters and not-so-impressive collection of muscles. But even if he's out of the spotlight, one notable aspect of the new album, and this show, is how much better the backing vocals are without Nicolay. The group is clicking with some real harmonies now, which work surprisingly well opposite Finn's gravely delivery.
The group opened with the Springsteen-esque “Our Whole Lives,” off their new disc, and then played about 20 more anthems after that. Come to think of it, is there any Hold Steady song in existence that isn't an anthem? Some of my faves from the night were “Banging Camp,” “Stuck Between Stations,” “The Swish” and show-closer “Southtown Girls.” I would have loved if they had closed with “Killer Parties,” but perhaps that would have been redundant. Their shows are always killer.
Our semi-regular guide to the Scene Wolf-approved after-dark events we're either crazy about or just really looking forward to.
DJ EdRoc, Julz @ El Dorado: The twice-monthly “All Thing Rad” night always lives up to its name, but this one will be especially cool because it'll be the El-D premier of two of the main players in the Mindz Alike DJ crew. If you missed these guys at recent gigs at 923 and U-31, where they spin hip-hop and electronica from actual, you know, records, then you should make it a priority to see them here. Thursday, May 13.
“Sleeping Giant Music 6 Year Anniversary” @ The Office: Speaking of DJ crews, it doesn't get bigger locally than the dozen-plus mix-masters of Sleeping Giant. Four of them will be on hand tonight, including the ubiquitous DJ Artistic, as well as Mike Czech, Demon and W Stelle. Friday, May 14
Le Castle Vania, Deth Hertz, Florence & Normandie @ Voyeur: This skinny little Atlanta electro hipster is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. He looks and acts like an absolute tool, but if you were at his Voyeur gig last February, then you know he gets people krunk. Come to think of it, if you remember anything from that night, then you probably weren't there. Saturday, May 15.
“Gaga-Licious” @ The Loft at UCSD: It's San Diego's best drag queens doing Lady GaGa songs all night. And to think, you were gonna go to evening mass instead? Sunday, May 16.
The Enrique Experience
Raise da roof! This entry marks the two-year anniversary of this, the Justin Bieber haircut of nightlife columns. In a celebratory mood, I headed to El Dorado (1030 Broadway, Downtown) for a Cinco de Mayo extravaganza. A festive day that, as we all know, commemorates Pancho Villa's riddance of snakes on the Emerald Isle, the holiday has taken a life of its own and is now celebrated with fake mustaches, bacon-wrapped and jalapeño-topped everything and distilled agave spirits aplenty.
“I'm pretty sure this is the ghetto,” I overheard an El Dorado virgin tell his buddy as they waited in line. Inside, his eyes must of popped when he saw Otis, the white buffalo, rockin' a sombrero (cocked to the side, like real caballeros do) and noticed the array of character piñatas hanging throughout: the requisite donkey, Jessie from Toy Story 2 and El Chavo del 8—a boy so poor he lived inside a barrel and dreamed of one day eating a ham sandwich. Trust me, it's hilarious in Spanish.
Sweatier than the communal room in a Oaxacan bathhouse, it was the perfect venue for the debut of cumbia band Azúcar! A side project of DJs The Office Twins, Kid Wonder and Da Perv, their set featured a nonstop mix of culo-shaking jams, including a cover of Blondie's Heart of Glass.
Glenn Beck's worst nightmare reached its zenith when patrons appropriated a piñata in the likeness of SpongeBob SquarePants' pal Patrick Star with Lord of the Flies-style lawlessness and got freaky with it on the dance floor. “How do you like my starfish?” a partygoer exclaimed as she rubbed her naughty bits on the echinoderm's pink face. Later, I noticed DJ Miss Toats—still on a high from last week's “Sweet Beats” coverage, getting muy cachonda with the doe-eyed Patrick, who by then had lost his trademark floral-print shorts.
Stumbling, she exited, the locale crepe paper companion in hand. Images invaded my head of a depraved pineapple-under-the-sea orgy in which surplus Krabby Patty grease was used instead of lube. A mid-afternoon text from her the next day confirmed my darkest suspicions: “Mad paper cuts where decent gals should never have 'em.”