Metalachi: a cover band that does it right
You'll read the same message in just about any publication that covers music: 2016 was abysmal, but the music was good. And that was definitely true on a local level—my seven favorite albums from last week's issue should make that clear. Yet good can always be better, and there are always areas in which I feel San Diego can grow and expand upon what has long been an interesting and intimate music scene. Here are my hopes for the new year.
A better music festival: There's been a festival vacuum ever since Street Scene went under, though there's certainly no shortage of similar events such as SD Music Thing, CRSSD and Kaaboo. Those all have their merits, but their drawbacks are in being too decentralized, too narrow in lineup and too adult-contemporary, respectively. It may be a while before we have something like FYF Fest, but something a little smaller with an eclectic (and bold!) lineup would bring a lot of cred our way.
Cover bands, stand down: Everybody likes covers. They're fun to hear, and they're fun to play. But take it from someone who looks at local club listings every week—cover bands playing in San Diego are nearing the critical mass for outnumbering bands with original material. That's not good for a creative music scene. And it certainly doesn't say great things about the audiences. Cover bands are fine—some of my best friends are in cover bands—but there doesn't necessarily need to be more of them.
Get weird: San Diego's most fertile musical periods have always been those when bands more or less ignored larger trends on a national scale. That's certainly happening on a smaller scale with individual bands, but I still think way too many right now are playing it a bit safe. Let's go crazy. Let's get nuts.
Music first: Image is important to an extent, but so many new bands—and this isn't exclusive to San Diego—invest too much in style and vintage gear before writing great songs. A great song played on shitty gear can only get better. A bad song played through a $10,000 rig will still suck (same goes for a bad song played by someone in a dope hat). Write the great song first, work on the rest later.
The kids are alright: San Diego's always had trouble keeping all-ages venues, but we don't have that many right now, and while I'm way too old for that to matter, a healthy music scene needs youth to keep it alive. Kudos to The Irenic and Che Cafe, but there's still room for more.