Talkin' "bout a resolution
With the holiday season a flurry of eating, drinking, shopping, drinking, partying and general merrymaking, it's easy to forget to make good, solid New Year's Eve arrangements. Plan ahead so you don't find yourself sitting alone in your underwear, banging on a pan and chugging a bottle of Black Velvet as you watch the ball drop (that's how this writer spent NYE Y2K).
Music-lovin' San Diegans have a few big gala options to ring in the new. The most extravagant (read: pricey) is Big Night San Diego, which offers five "party zones," four dance floors, DJs and performances by Cracker and Gin Blossoms, plus locals Agent 51 and Wonka Bar. That's what you get-plus all-you-can-eat-and-drink-for the base ticket price, which is now $109 but rising weekly. For VIP tickets ($169, also going up), you get the added bonus of Jeremy Kay and Sprung Monkey's Steve Summers. A bit pricey, yes, but most seasoned revelers can suck down the ticket price, and then some, in whiskey sours and free finger foods. Big Night San Diego is inside the club level complex at Qualcomm, and tickets are available at www.tickets.com.
The First Annual 94/9 New Year's Hoot at 4th and B is decidedly more economic ($19.49) and offers live performances by Guided by Voices, Year of the Rabbit and locals Tomorrow's Son. Chances of a New Year's kiss from 94/9 DJ-coffeehouse-songstress Anya Marina are not likely.
Indie standby The Casbah is even cheaper still and offers a good night without all the fancy bells and whistles of the bigger productions-$15 gets you an all-local show with The Dragons, Furious IV, Sin Sin 77 and more.
The aforementioned events are 21-and-up, but the kiddies needn't miss out on some holiday cheer. The old Soma New Year's shows are the stuff of legend, and the new Soma San Diego is no different-the venue's message board started buzzing last summer with wannabe booking agents proposing their New Year's dream shows. The final lineup is too big to be held at Soma itself, so they're having it next door at the Sports Arena. The local-heavy lineup features 18 bands on three stages for $24. Out-of-towners include Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Rise Against and Avenged Sevenfold, while locals include Bad Credit, Buckfast Superbee and Reeve Oliver.
Or, if you don't like the idea of paying money to spend the holiday with people you don't know, e-mail your favorite local band, get a few kegs and do it up Kid "n' Play style-house party, baby. Send us an invitation.
Leathery fire-breathers halt Xmas gala
They say all good things must come to an end, and for Los Maricones de Rock (The Dragons), next Wednesday will see the end of a San Diego Christmas Eve tradition-the Casbah's Exile on Kettner Blvd.
"Every year we organize and rehearse and do it as a free show for everyone who loves rock 'n' roll and The Casbah and The Rolling Stones," said Dragons' vocalist Mario Escovedo. Although this show is one of the band's signature events, they weren't the instigators. Following the tradition of Christmas Eve at The Casbah's predecessor-The Pink Panther-live music was added.
"We kind of fell into it," Escovedo said. "Andrew [McKeag] from Uncle Joe's Big Ol' Driver came up with the idea 10 years ago, then couldn't make it and handed it off to us." For years, the band has exchanged gifts with Casbah regulars prior to playing the show.
"When I think of Christmas, I think of the Exile show," said Escovedo. "It's just a tough time of year with all the other shows we do, and our families. The 10th anniversary just seems like a good time to end it."
Casbah owner Tim Mays assured that Christmas Eve at The Casbah will continue: "We're gonna try and find some other local music types to carry on the tradition. We'll come up with something."
As if things weren't tough enough for local record stores, Off the Record was one of the Hillcrest area businesses that had its front windows smashed by vandals last week.
Anyone looking for a little extra holiday cheer may want to pick up a copy of Holy Night from Mark Langford. Langford is perhaps best remembered as guitarist with top '80s metal band Bible Black, but now he specializes in acoustic classical and Spanish guitar. "It's hard to get good Christmas music these days," he said. "This album is pure guitar, with minimal overdubs, all with the holiday spirit." Langford, who has performed at parties for everyone from Hugh Hefner to JFK Jr., is currently working on his third album with Lito Romero of the famed Romero Family behind the board. www.marklangford.com.
Jason "Pubicity Ho" Mraz continues his quest for media domination this week with an in-concert segment on the Dec. 20 episode of Austin City Limits, airing on KPBS. Meantime his song "You and I Both" has been used on WB TV's "One Tree Hill."
Blink-182's Tom DeLonge is endorsing presidential candidate John Kerry on the band's website.
Even though, according to the band, 85 percent of Christian bookstores won't carry their new album due to some controversial artwork (a Jesus-like figure with fairy wings), P.O.D.'s Payable on Death, released just two months ago, has already gone gold. It was certified last Monday.
Riding in Vans with Boys, the rockumentary starring local punk upstarts Kut U Up, as well as blink-182, Jimmy Eat world and Green Day, finally hit stores last week. While Kut's performances on the DVD aren't overly inspiring, they prove themselves gifted comedians and readymade rock stars, impressive in the debauchery department.
Tribute band king Gary Shuffler will be celebrating his 40th birthday in style on Dec. 18 at The Casbah. Amongst the activities on tap will be an all-star sing-a-long backed by The Viewmasters, with members of fluf, Uncle Joe's Big Ol' Driver, Convoy, The Tori Cobras, Sin Sin 77 and more set to take part. Highpoint of the evening will likely be a toss-up between a rare appearance from legendary DJ Dennis "The Menace" Borlek, who will spin in the back bar, and club owner Tim Mays' rumored rendition of the Velvet Underground's "Who Loves the Sun." Either way this sounds like the kind of night not to be missed.
Candye Kane will host the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers: A Green River Memorial and Call to Action in Balboa Park on Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. For the full story, see Page 23.