San Diego jazz crooner David Williams (aka Dave Patrone) will attempt to hike the entire Appalachian Trail this summer in order to raise money for charity. The 36-year-old Williams—whose David Patrone Band has been a regular fixture at Stingaree and will put in one more performance at the Downtown restaurant/club Thursday, May 1—will be joined by his younger brothers Michael, 21, and Douglas, 32, on the monumental trek.
The Appalachian Trail spans some 2,176 miles from Maine to Georgia, and the brothers plan to tackle it between May 11 and Aug. 28 at a pace of roughly 20 miles a day. It's not a hike for sissies, but then, Williams is no sissy jazz singer. He's a former U.S. Marine who's climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and is a certified alpine ski instructor who also happens to be a recovering alcohol and cocaine addict.
The undertaking is the first major endeavor by the Williams' nonprofit organization, the Williams Brothers Adventure Foundation (www.wbafinc.org), whose mission statement calls for the three brothers to drop their 9-to-5 jobs and “go on an expedition every year to support a charity.”
The arduous Appalachian hike will be driven by pledges to the WBAF and will raise funds for a “Boys to Men” mentoring program for at-risk young men without father figures. But it's hardly an adventure for the faint of heart, with only a fraction of hikers (between 15 and 30 percent, depending on the route) completing the journey. “I think our chances are pretty good,” Williams says. “All three of us are in good shape; we're dedicated and experienced at hiking. There is a high attrition rate, however.”
As if the trek weren't difficult enough, Williams is going to film it, which means lugging camera equipment in addition to the rest of his hiking gear. And while carrying at least 50 pounds of gear across mountainous terrain can be considered “roughing it,” it'll be a high-tech type of roughing it.
“Douglas is an electrical engineer [working with] solar power,” Williams says. “He's bringing a roll-up solar panel that will power a cell phone, a GPS beacon and a special [miniature] laptop which can access the Internet via a broadband connection using the cell phone.”
All this technology will enable the Williams brothers to post blogs on their MySpace page (MS/brotherproof) as well as offer daily, three-minute YouTube episodes of their adventure. It will also, via the GPS beacon, enable the group's sponsors and cheerleaders to track their exact location on the trail.—Edwin Decker
Prince for a day
Remember in junior high when you decided you were no longer enamored with your parents' classic-rock cache and meandered instead down the popular-music path that drove you toward the likes of Bon Jovi and Vanilla Ice?
Remember how you feigned enough false enthusiasm to truly convince yourself that this was the music worth listening to and that those antiquated Zeppelin and Dylan records had seen their day?
Well, welcome to Coachella 2008.
While some of the hype-heavy newbies did generate a fair amount of excitement, it was clear that this year belonged to a diminutive purple-loving elder statesman. When Prince took the stage on Saturday night at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, the difference between the up-and-comers—like Hot Chip, M.I.A., Cold War Kids, etc.—and the already arrived was readily apparent.
The artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince is more than just a pop wizard with a knack for melody and hooks—he's a freakin' entertainer. Between his virtuoso guitar playing and uncanny ability to connect with 70,000 onlookers, he's all but cemented his status as one of the best live acts in pop-music history.
Prince's set began on a slightly strange note when he brought out Morris Day to perform old-school club hits “The Bird” and “Jungle Love.” From there, Prince pushed longtime percussionist Sheila E to center stage to break off her '80s fave, “The Glamorous Life,” as he played along as any other sideman would.
He returned to the spotlight for an instrumental number that showcased his dazzling guitar ability but left me wondering if he was intentionally trying to test the Coachella crowd to see if they could hang with him.
Then came “1999.”
From the opening guitar riff, he managed to unite the crowd like no other act that day as everyone watching finally got what they were looking for. He followed up with other classics like “Little Red Corvette,” “U Got the Look” and “Cream.”
But what really set the night abuzz was a cover of Radiohead's “Creep.” Prince seemed to transcend the song's somber aura when he augmented the bridge and bellowed, “I wish you were special / I believe you are special,” seemingly too inspired by the festival's buoyant spirit to conjure any of the track's dour sentiments.
Another cover, The Beatles' “Come Together,” followed before the show ended with the one-two punch of “Purple Rain” and “Let's Go Crazy.” In between songs, he let everyone know that Coachella is now “Prince's House,” which, by the looks of things, was very much the case. —Paul Saitowitz
Local hip-hop acts like The Breax will be getting their big break, of sorts, on Thursday, May 1 when they open for the man who gave us “The Breaks.” That's when hip-hop legend Kurtis Blow is scheduled to perform at the Static Lounge alongside Percee P, the man who took “underground rapper” to an extreme level when the Bronx native released his debut full-length album in 2007 after 28 years on the mix-tape circuit.
Other top local shows for this week include the latest “Commune Wednesdays” event April 30 at Bar Pink Elephant featuring music from The Atoms and fashion from Dekline. The Atoms follow up with another show on Friday, May 2 with Vision of a Dying World at Whistle Stop Bar, the same night that Long Live Logos, Irradio and The Kneehighs hit up Beauty Bar.
Also on May 2, Epicentre offers free Chipotle (I'm assuming they mean chain-restaurant burritos, not free smoke-dried chiles) with ska/punk from The Guze and No Lifeguard on Duty. Transfer and The Shys play Beauty Bar on Saturday, May 3—the same night Roses on Her Grave and The Bloody Hollies rock The Casbah—before jazz man Bradley Leighton celebrates the release of his latest album at Anthology on Sunday, May 4.
Fledgling musicians and curious fans looking for insight into the music industry will have a panel of local experts at their disposal at the April 30 “Emerging Trends in the Music Business” discussion at University of San Diego's Camino Hall. From 7 to 9 p.m., a range of panelists—including everyone from Casbah owner Tim Mays and FM-94.9 music director Mike Halloran to Wild Weekend vocalist/Sweet Tooth Records owner Kelly Alvarez and Riviera music editor (and CityBeat contributor) Seth Combs—will discuss topics like “social networking as music marketing” and “consolidation of the digital music industry.” Also known as talking about MySpace and iTunes.
This year's 91X-FM “X-Fest” (slated for May 16 and headlined by The Offspring, Jimmy Eat World and Pennywise) will include a side stage featuring local artists. Among the San Diego acts slated to appear during the show at the Concerts on the Green at Qualcomm venue (previously known as the parking lot) include The Material, The Sess, The Burning of Rome, Weatherbox and Shark Attack. —Nathan Dinsdale
Eight days a week
Get out your May Google calendar—a few fourth Sunday, last Thursday and every-second-and-fourth Friday events are worth remembering this month.
The Shake Shack, a '60s-themed dance night every last Thursday of the month at Bar Pink Elephant, is writhing quietly in its infancy. It's a totally fab night, but The Twist- and Mashed Potato-loving masses haven't fully caught on just yet. Aside from the groovy little lady founder Amanda Suter wearing her polyester bests and getting things going on the dance floor, the niftiest part of the night last week were the '60s-obsessed DJs and the '60s-priced drinks—the bar serves $2 Tecate, which is, like, far out.
Speaking of cheap, the new Thursday nights at Club Neon at Oxygen Bar (intersection of Francisco Goitia and Cuahutemoc Norte, just off Ninos Heroes in Zona Rio, Tijuana) promise free martinis—first come, first served—and $1.50 beers. On top of the affordable booze, promoter Tony Tee will be lining up electro acts like Hollywood's DJ Paparazzi, who'll be spinning May 1.
And for something completely different, mark the last Sunday of every month for The Fishhook at Club Legends (6323 Imperial Ave. in Encanto), a club night featuring live gospel performances. Brought to you by the church-minded folks at M.A.N.D.A.T.E. Records, it's marketed as a Christian night, but where else in San Diego can you listen to good live gospel music while chewing on chicken wings?
Other nights worthy of a mention: 35MM, film screenings sponsored by the San Diego Film Festival every second Tuesday starting May 13 at W Hotel's Beach Bar; Intervention, an all-day, every-Sunday party at Hard Rock Hotel's rooftop Moonstone Lounge; Monday Night Comedy at The Stage Saloon (formally Heat Supper Club); SunDaze, an all-day, every-Sunday party at The Wave House starting May 6; and Slinky Thursdays kicking off May 1 at Red Circle.—Kinsee Morlan