2011 San Diego Music Thing
@ The Casbah in San Diego
Have I mentioned how much I hate reading show reviews from two months ago? Here's an idea- if you can't get your shit together to put up the review within a week- don't post the g** d**** review.
Last night I went to the Casbah to check out the Art Fag/DREAM Recordings Showcase. Local luminaries were on hand: Jo Jo from Heavy Hawaii, big Tim Mays himself, Blaque Chris, Robbie Butler- it was, as they say, a star-studded affair.
Rolled in to the end of the ridiculously early PLATEAUS set. Gentleman Jon Greene could not have been happy. I heard they recently put pen to paper on the Art Fag Recordings deal for the full-length LP, so everyone has that to look forward to.
COLD SHOWERS: This band is amazing- strong song writing, accessible sound and professional level musicianship make for an intoxicating gothy pop blend. I can't find the lead singer's name at the moment- but he also is/was the founder/owner of I Hate Rock and Roll Records, and it's my understanding that he's folding that label and will be partnering up with Craig Oliver at Volar Records to create some sort of indie super label. I guess we're all just waiting to see who will put out the debut lp. Looks like they have booking lined up, so it should be a go- can't wait to hear the full length- oh and if someone at Mexican Summer is reading this post can you send me the 5 Cold Showers 7"s I bought and paid for two months ago? Thx.
COLLEEN GREEN: Colleen Green struggled through technical difficulties (equipment based) but delivered a brief set of winning tunes that gave clear evidence as to why blogs (such as this one) have dubbed her "AMERICAS SWEETHEART" and a "CANT MISS WIN." Personally, when I see her perform I'm reminded of the brazen confidence of a Dirty Beaches with the catchy song writing and vox of Dum Dum Girls. The one person pop act is perfectly suited for this age of mp3s and financial collapse, and with dates on the road opening for Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles and an EP slated for release on Art Fag Recordings the same month, I would have to say that the stars have alined and Colleen Green is ready for take off. Oh, and all you dbags who were hanging on the patio during her set? You fucking suck- except for Robbie Butler- because I know he goes to all the Colleen Green shows.
In all honesty, I get the same feeling watching Colleen Green that I had when I watched "before" versions of Best Coast, Dirty Beaches and Dum Dum Girls: This is an artist with demonstrated national viability.
CATHEDRAL X: Cathedral X is a local act that played in the DREAM LOUNGE last night- I think they are one of two acts slated for releases on the new DREAM RECORDINGS imprint run by Art Fag Recordings honcho Martin Orduno. Wife and I were talking about Prince Rama right before they started playing, and it's funny- because they actually reminded both of us of Prince Rama. Cathedral X is a three piece- male drummer, female singer (who performed a) under a sheet and b) in a see through skirt with a g string underneath.) and then a third performer who was spasming and twitching like a monster out of a Japanese horror film.
The singing was wordless or close to it, with the vox looped through a series of pedals to give the singing a unique sound. The drumming was non-typical- it was probably the drumming that reminded me most of Prince Rama and then there was a backing Ipod track. Unlike Prince Rama, which is firmly grounded in Hindu chanting, the points of reference for Cathedral X were harder to pin point. Clearly there is some kind of performance art influence and I think probably if/when I see them next I will either ask directly. I'll tell you this much, I'd watch this band a million billion times before I'd sit through five minutes of a set from a conventional blues-rock four piece. Bottom line, I'm in for Cathedral X.
BLEACHED: For me, Bleached was the headliner of the night. I've managed to miss the live show about six times already in San Diego (and once in Palm Springs) so I was ready to see, in person, what the fuss is all about. Jen Clavin's sister plays guitar in both Bleached and Cold Showers, and Bleached is rounded out with a drummer and bassist who looks like he escaped from the Soft Pack. Bleached had their manager, Scott Hopkins from Rainstorm in attendance, and throughout the set I tried to figure out how a guy who used to work for Velvet Revolver landed Jen Clavin's new band andd... I don't know. He does seem to know his way around the music biz.
As for Bleached themselves, I was, unfortunately, underwhelmed- particularly considering the performances of Cold Showers, Colleen Green and Cathedral X. It sounded to me like Bleached is covering ground last covered by the Donnas- sneering 70s style guitar rock, and I'm not sure that's what I want/need from the ex-lead singer of Mika Miko. Certainly, Bleached is going to have no trouble getting in front of audiences, but I'm not sure whether it will sell. I've been kind of disappointed by the 7" sales figures I've seen- although the Art Fag Recordings physically 7"s sold out in a week and a half, the digital sales are flat, and I'm not sure why. People should be going bananas for that shit. It's a puzzler, and bears more investigation.
Don't get me wrong- Clavin's star power and Bleached accessible sound should get them a knock on the front door of the castle, if not inside the castle itself.
The turn-out was respectable if not incredible. If I could make one suggestion it's that Bleached/Plateaus on tour together would be a formidable combination.
I will be appearing at the San Diego Music Conference today at 345 PM.