The Enrique Experience
Boys in heavy makeup, bell-bottom-jean-clad sword swallowers and a mohawked clown wearing nothing but boxers, a red nose and a demented grin—these were some among the colorful cast of deviants of Zirk Ubu, the carnival-freak-show-meets-cirque-cabaret behind Circophilia, San Diego's newest and most avant-garde club night, where just about anything goes.
“We're really excited about the alchemical mix of the group,” said Zirk Ubu member Iaian Gunn, aka “Asbestos the Clown.”
The troupe chose Rich's in Hillcrest as the venue for its monthly performance, in part because it brought back good memories for ringleader Tom Wall.
“I used to come here, party and get high back in the day,” Wall said. “Now I'm here getting high again, but this time as an aerialist.”
During one part of the show, Wall and another member started doing a wrestling/acrobatic performance to Marilyn Manson's cover of “Tainted Love,” which led into some heavy petting—Circus Vargas ain't got nothin' on Zirk Ubu.
Clubgoers are encouraged to wear absurdist attire to the new night to add to the bohemian fête. One attendee pissed off everyone at the bar with the 4-foot-long, low-hanging peacock feathers that graced his ornate hat. Every time he turned, someone got feather slapped.
“I pulled it off last minute with stuff I had lying in the house,” he proudly told me. If he was going for the ritual-murder-chic look, he certainly achieved it.
P.T. Barnum, eat your heart out!—Enrique LimonRich's, 1051 University Ave., will host Circophilia again on June 17. www.zirkubu.com.
There appears to be a fire sale on new local products this week with a bounty of San Diego acts hosting CD/video-release soirees where everything—reggae, folk, metal, hardcore, indie rock—must go! And, hey, everyone likes a party.
The flood of new material begins with a soft trickle when singer/songwriter (and Michael Stipe look-alike) Matt Haeck heralds the arrival of Pair of Sirens at Lestat's on Thursday, May 29, with fellow troubadour Aaron Bowen. Then the deluge hits.
The Crashing Marbles will screen their first music video—for the song “Shy,” recently filmed at the Brooks Institute (of photography and filmmaking) in Ventura with director David Felds—with a performance at Epicentre on Saturday, May 31. That same night, One Drop burns one down at 'Canes with their latest roots-rock-reggae effort, Mission Blvd., and Crime Desire tears up the Che Café. Considering previous Crime Desire album titles (We Hate All Life and ID Music to Combat the Superego), fans might think the noise-punk band is losing its edge by releasing a plain old self-titled album. But, if it helps, their record label is still called Life's a Rape.
On Sunday, June 1, several locals (including Bedford Grove, The Kneehighs and The Funky Kicks) will perform during the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon while, later that night, OAKS unveils Bravo! at The Casbah. June 1 also marks a guest appearance from Calico Horse (the recipient of recent accolades in SPIN magazine) on the Local 94/9 radio program to pimp the release of Mirror and the band's accompanying mini-tour, which includes a June 6 album-release party at The Casbah.
Other notable local shows this week include MC Flow and Vokab Company at 710 Beach Club and Bedford Grove and The Upstarts at Beauty Bar, both on Friday, May 30, before The Sess and Atoms hit up the Ken Club on Saturday, May 31.
If you go stir crazy just standing around listening to people play music, have heart, because you'll have an opportunity to “Rock 'n' Bowl” with Euro electrodes Lady-tron and Datarock on Saturday, May 31. Lady and Data will perform DJ sets at Surf Bowl in Oceanside (from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m.) after their show at the Belly Up. And you thought the after-party was in the hotel lobby. RSVP at www.uptheantics.com/RSVP/LadytronSD.
The local hardcore/screamo kids of Invictus have had a tumultuous 2008. The group released an EP (Here's to Curiosity) in January, weathered the exodus of lead singer Jason Webber and bassist Josh Webber in March and now are poised to win the “U-Turn Garage Band Playoff” Internet competition. The band's “Lost in Sound” will take on Michigan group Coronete's “Something About You” in the final with $1,000 cash and a cover story in U-Turn magazine at stake. Online voting runs from May 30 until June 5, after which the new Invictus lineup will embark on a summer tour that kicks off in Barstow on June 6. www.garagebandplayoff.com.—Nathan Dinsdale
They just did it
To call Shark Attack a DJ duo is a bit of a misnomer. Yeah, Patrick Heaney and Mike Delgado have been mixing together abrasive hardcore, screamo and electro tracks for two years, prompting enthused fans to leave comments like “Best act at X-Fest, no lie” and “U guys were fucking sick last night” on their MySpace page, but, for the last four months anyway, the two have been producing their own electronic music. That officially moves them from the DJ-only realm to something closer to musicians.
“If you can make music, you may as well just do it, so we did it,” said Heaney in a phone interview from his friend's Downtown loft, where, only half jokingly, he looked for the “No Diggity” track by cheesy 1990s R&B group Blackstreet.
Both Heaney and Delgado have pretty impressive music backgrounds when you consider their age—Heaney's 22 and Delgado's 23. The two met in the fifth grade and dabbled in “stupid poppy punk bands” throughout their middle- and high-school years growing up on “the rough streets of Coronado.”
Delgado's been playing guitar for 10 years. Heaney's been playing multiple instruments for 17—drums, violin, cello, harmonium, piano, bass and guitar (which he proves in Cosetta Cozette, his pretty little French and classical-inspired instrumental solo project).
The duo's poppy punk bands were replaced by Shark Attack after they tagged along with Jimmy LaValle of The Album Leaf to LaValle's club night at the time, Fuck it Fridays at San Diego Sport's Club.
“We saw these guys playing good records, and we were, like, we can do that,” said Delgado. “And Jimmy was, like, ‘If you think you can do it, than fucking try to do it.'”And so they did, and they got a pretty decent following after just a few months. The two were in such high demand, in fact, that local DJ Gabe Vega asked them to drop the Sports Club and do a weekly residency at Beauty Bar, where Vega booked acts.
These days, though, Shark Attack can't be held down by any one club. Their MSTRKRFT/Bloody Beatroots/The Toxic Avenger high-energy remixes played alongside their own intense and danceable tracks are in high demand. From Tijuana to Texas, Juarez to San Diego, Shark Attack is constantly on the prowl.—Kinsee MorlanShark Attack will play CityBeat's SummerBeat party at the Lafayette Hotel in North Park on Friday, May 30, and at the D-Town Tijuana festival June 6 (www.dtowntijuana.com). www.myspace.com/sharkattacksd.
View from a stool
My goodness, the Dresden Dolls have come far. Was it really just four years ago that they were opening for Rasputina at the Living Room in Providence, R.I.?
For the uninitiated, singer-pianist Amanda Palmer and drummer Brian Viglione have made an art form of performing a sort of punk rock that relies heavily on Viglione's drumming virtuosity and Palmer's slightly discordant keyboarding. Typically they step on stage fully clothed and wearing heavy white face paint and rouge to accentuate their expressions, but the costumes are shed pretty quickly. Viglione likes to play shirtless, his odd little pony-tail bobbing with the snare hits.
But for all the females drooling over Viglione, the pair have somewhat of a relaxed, asexual vibe that makes a Dresden Dolls show kind of like musical playtime with your friends Brian and Amanda.
Mid-show, mid-song, in a bizarre fit of manic glee at their House of Blues show last Thursday, Viglione gently lobbed a drumstick at his partner, who actually had to dodge it to avoid a gruesome onstage eye injury. At another point, he simultaneously played an acoustic guitar, a bass drum and a high hat and sang. The show was full of those kinds of seemingly off-the-cuff moments.
But the highlight had to be when they pulled the 11-year-old bassist from Smoosh (one of two opening bands, along with MayStar) on stage, rotated Viglione to electric guitar, made Palmer play drums and rattled the house with a rendition of The Beastie Boys' “Fight for Your Right (to Party!).” I mean, when doesn't a Brechtian punk-cabaret duo bust out with late-'80s snotty white-boy rap? —Eric Wolff