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Monday, May 02, 2016

Compiled Show Reviews: 2006-2007


  2006 and 2007 was the beginning of my interest in local music, and the music business.  Prior to 2004/2005 I was a fan of "indie music" and DIY culture, but had never considered starting a record label or managing an artist.   These show reviews reflect my experience in the local music scene, at the cusp of the internet era

May 2006: Fifty on Their Heels, Avenue D Show Review, Scolari's Office, MOCA San Diego, The Prayers, How to Cross the Country on Tour, Manual Scan, The Power Chords

May 1st, 2006

      It occurred to me that it might be worthwhile to document a local music scene, and I happen to be located in San Diego, after a childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area, college in Washington DC and London, and law school in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I am new to San Diego, and it seems like the local music scene is an interesting place to hang out and meet new people.

San Diego Local Band Profile:

        Fifty on Their Heels is a three piece from San Diego that has a sound influenced by the punk, post-punk and new wave movement(s) in the UK and America. They formed in 2005, played their first show at the San Diego Sports Club, played the pre-opening of the Beauty Bar, have played the Casbah, The Kensington Club, Vaudeville, The Launch Pad. They have a self titled ep, released in March 2006 by Cat Dirt Records. Cat Dirt Records is owned by the band.

May 13th, 2006
Show Review: The Sess, Enter Telescope, Vision of a Dying World
@ Scolari's Office on May 12th, 2006

       Scolari's Office? It's hard to believe this was my first time there after what, almost five years in San Diego? Solaris's is a San Diego institution, in the heart of rapidly gentrifying north park.  The first bit of bad news I received was that the Sess were headlining, so I figured I had a less then fifty percent chance of ACTUALLY being there when the Sess took the stage at (my estimate) 1:15 AM.

      The funny bit about the location of Scolari's right now is that they're building these ENORMOUS condos directly across the street. North Park is a pretty low rise neighborhood(for the time being), but these condo's are like, five stories tall. And they're called... wait for it.. "la boheme". As a friend quipped to me as we entered Scolari's, "do you get a free copy of "Rent" on DVD when you sign your mortgage?"

   Scolari's is an.. um.. intimate venue. The ceiling is about seven feet tall, place holds about fifty people, no stage. Decent sound though- I actually felt the sound was better at Scolari's than at the Ken Club.

      The crowd appeared to be almost entirely composed of high school classmates of the three bands. That came into play at the end of the Enter Telescope set, when the singer got into it with some "drunk assholes" at the bar who accused him (I think) of being of "jock" based on his status as a former high school football player. Hey, Matthew Barney played football in high school, ok? And he's married to Bjork? So lay off the football players.

      Even though I arrived after 11 PM, we managed to see most of the VISIONS OF A DYING WORLD set. They are a four piece, alt-country band. I don't really have any comparisons for you because I don't listen to Wilco or any of that alt country stuff. They were decent enough in their musicianship, and the songs had recognizable lyrics, but that stuff ain't my cup of tea. They would be good opening for ROOKIE CARD, me thinks.

      ENTER TELESCOPE played second. Memo to Enter Telescope: Hurry that shit up. When you are second up at Scolari's, you should require five minutes max to tune your instruments. They were a four piece that boasted a keyboardist. That's right: A keyboardist. Again, I was running up against the fact that I don't listen to a whole lot of this sort of sound, but my friend did, and she was intermittently impressed with their "Elephant 6" style sound. See I don't even know what that means. I may have her guest blog about these guys if she wants to. I would actually recommend this group to local indie rock kids. I mean, if you dig SQUIDDO, KITE FLYING SOCIETY, et al., you'll probably dig ENTER TELESCOPE. I think they're playing Zombie Lounge in June, so check them out if you dig the indie and the rock. Personally, they reminded me of Steely Dan, but that's a weak comparison, I think, emanating out of the fact that I don't really listen to indie rock.

May 14th, 2006
Show Review:  Avenue D + DJS
@ The Beauty Bar, San Diego May 13th, 2006.

      As I was walking out of the Civic Center Plaza in San Diego to my bank down the street, I passed the venue known as "Fourth and B". For the first two or three years that I was in San Diego, I would regularly confuse Fourth and B with On Broadway. Now I know the difference: On Broadway is the place that gainfully employs man-about-town Morgan "High Octane" Young, Fourth and B is the place that's being driven out of business by the House of Blues.

    I saw there on the marquee that DJ Tiesto was playing Fourth and B. Not only, that... it's sold out. What... the... fuck. In my "weekend preview" post, I talked about how San Diego was one of the centers of the "indie dance" movement. A fair question might arise, what is "indie dance".

      When you are trying to define a concept, it often helps to explain what the concept is not, which helps orient the listener to the ideas that you are trying to communicate. So let me try that approach: Sold out tiesto show at the fourth and b is NOT indie dance. Sold out Tiesto is what indie dance, in large part, arose in opposition to.

      That sold out Tiesto show was on Friday night. Last night, Avenue D took the stage at Beauty Bar San Diego and showed us all what indie dance is all about. Two New York girls, shouting out their gleefully obscene lyrics over a pre recorded cd. Maybe they aren't as angry as Peaches, or as art school as Le Tigre, or as talented as M.I.A. But they're white chicks armed with an 808 and they ain't afraid to use it.
          And that is what indie dance is all about. It's about pushing the DJ off his pedestal, smashing up his white label collection, and putting it back together with a bunch of outsiders.
Avenue D drew a hundred plus people last night. It was a good turn out. The Beauty Bar is undeniably the heart of its corner of the San Diego music scene. Most of that has do with the popularity of Gabe Vega. Pop Rocks is an undeniably solid night: Manual Scan and the Power Chords on a MONDAY night? You got the Pussy Galore on Wednesday night, Dirty Fridays, Creepy Saturdays. OK I made up Creepy Saturdays.

       Honestly, I didn't care for Avenue D. Their reach exceeds their grasp. I still had a good time. Good energy- oh- and I heard Blue Monday there for the one millionth time. Can somebody please put a stop to the playing of Blue Monday at every single indie/punk/new wave dance night?

         Hard not to compare Scolari's to Beauty Bar, but I won't for fear of death threats.

Show Review:  
Fifty on Their Heels, Transfer and the UV Tigers
 @ TNT/MOCA San Diego 5/4/6

          It's quite an event, the "Thursday Night Thing" AKA TNT at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Located between the trolley tracks and the train tracks, the Museum of Contemporary Art certainly occupies a location unique among San Diego's civic institutions. The location seems to have been a throw in by the developers of One America Plaza, and while it may make for an awkward museum going experience, the plaza serves as a decent concert venue.

            TNT is a free, all ages event- though the margaritas being sold did a brisk trade throughout the night. The *free* *all ages* aspect of the night guaranteed a hefty turn out, and indeed, there were, to my estimate, close to three hundred people watching during the appearance by Transfer, slightly less for both Fifty on Their Heels(people coming) and UV Tigers(people going).

             91X was there with a merch tent: memo to other bands making their first appearance at a 91x sponsored event- don't tell Dave that you want to sell your bands cds at his merch tent- that is his turf and he does a good job. My favorite part about the merch tent was the Sauza Tequila rep brought over a butt load of *free* Hawthorne Heights CD's. People always go for the free stuff, man. Even though it was free Hawthorne Heights cd's.

         Inside, there were three separate installations- one downstairs and two upstairs. The inside highlight was the tiny orchestra. Apparently, they had a theremin(?)(that weird sounding thing you hear at the beginning of the Beach Boys song "good vibrations) rocking, so you know that was cool.

         Outside, Fifty on Their Heels took the stage at 8:15 PM. They opened with the "hit single": Occupation(done been played four times in a row on 91X's "Loudspeaker" Show). The crowd was rapt with attention. Junior but on a restrained performance. Those who have attended one or the other of the Casbah appearances know how OUTRAGEOUS Junior can be on stage, but tonight it was limited to a bit of speaker climbing and a touch of crowd interaction.

        I've noticed that the band is introducing more of their new compositions into their set. All the more reason to purchase the CD- some of those songs have long disappeared from the set list, and you're going to want to remember all of the tracks well into your dotage. I don't know the names of the new songs yet- they were received well. I'd wager that few, if any, in the ground knew which were the old songs and which were the new.

       Fifty on Their Heels wrapped up to mild applause and it was onto Transfer. Or should I saw, "local rock band Transfer". Appearing as a semi-secret "special guest" there were on the heels of their SOLD! OUT! record release party at the Casbah. Of course we all know that the capacity of the Casbah is 300+, so as a would-be record executive, that is impressive. Also- we know that Transfer is headlining that $20 ticket show at the San Diego Office of the House of Blues- with Emery Bird and Cash'd Out(A Johnny Cash "tribute" Band?). So- I mean, Transfer is a big deal here. This was the first non-myspace listen, and Transfer definetly rocks. And by rock I mean guitar solos, the whole nine yards.

      I see on their myspace that they are heading all the way out to New York this year, so they clearly have their act together. Much of the crowd appeared to be Transfer fans- t-shirts were purchased, applause was generated. Transfer's fan base appeared to be composed almost entirely of sold, respectable san diego folk: ball caps, jeans tucked into shirts, multi generational. There is no doubt in my mind that Transfer has an avid local following- probably one of the biggest for a band of their (two year old) age.

     The final act was *new* *buzz* *band* the UV Tigers. My guess is that they will be signed to a major label and opening for the Tiger Army or Social Distortion on tour within the calendar year. Might I suggest HellCat Records(owned by ex-Rancid Tim Armstrong) or Time Bomb or Epitaph?

       They reminded me of other local *buzz* *band* Sirhan Sirhan. The crowd seemed pretty tuckered out from the Transfer set, and cognizant of the thursday(school night)ness of the event, but maybe that was just me

      All in all the night was a splendid success. Props: Jamie, for setting it up, Rosie, Nelise and crew, those guys who were at the CHOB show, local luminaries Troy "City Beat" Johnson, Vega and Saul and the Security Guards for keeping things tight.

Repost from 5/12/6: 
Report from Nettwerk/94.9 "Local Artist/Management Summit"

       Before I say anything that could POSSIBLY be construed as dismissive or insulting to anyone: I had great fun last night. I could spend days or weeks just talking to music professionals about what it is, exactly, they do. Last night was only two hours long but I gladly would have cancelled all my appointments for today and spent the night chatting.

     Who is Nettwerk? They are Canadian record label/artist management firm from Vancouver(eh). The evening went from seven to nine. The first hour was spent listening to Terry, the president(?), spiritual leader(?) of Nettwerk give his vision pitch. Did I mention you can download this same speech via a podcast on your website? You can.

    Terry spent his allotted time outlining his vision of a musical future where music would be unchained from cd's and spread out into the world. In a certain sense, Nettwerk puts it's money where its mouth is: last year they broke with the RIAA over the music consumer lawsuits.

Parts of his speech resonated with me, but it's much easier to have a grand vision when you manage/release records by artists like Avril, Coldplay and yes, the Barenaked Ladies. Some of us are just trying to book a goddamn show in Portland, OK fancy pants mcgee?

It was all good though, I ducked out to the fabulous bar(we were at the La Jolla Hilton- nothing says independent rock like the La Jolla Hilton, am I right?) after ten minutes, had a stiff drink, and when I came back, Terry sounded like he was making a lot of sense.

After Terry had finished, we broke into little groups with their own titles and speakers. Topics included: running a record label, touring, tv/radio(ha-HA!), the REAL Nashville(according to Hallornan, "Nashville has the best scene in America right now."), "DIY"(not really sure what that meant in the context of this particular firm), Publishing(where the REAL money is in music, according to Terry) and some other stuff I don't remember.

So, obviously I did "running a record label" first and "touring" second. One of the key concepts that both mini groups emphasized is that you have to generate a critical mass of fans for your music by giving the music away. If enough people in a different markets like you, eventually people will begin to contact you. That sounds a little mysterious to me, I'm more interested in forcing the issue, but it sounds like you can't. Unless, say, you have a half million dollars to use to promote, say, Avril.

Nettwerk made a big deal about emphasizing the difference between them and a major label and my response to them is: What, really, is the difference between you and a major label besides the fact that you diss the RIAA. Isn't a "major label" someone with the national and international contacts to "break" an unknown or little known artist. Isn't that what you do? Isn't that what a major label does?

Honestly, I'm not really concerned about getting Fifty on Their Heels placed on the next season of Scrubs. I'd rather focus on getting them more all-ages shows in the San Diego area. But maybe that's because I lack the right "vision".

Regardless-- if anyone hears of a similar opportunity like this one in or around the Southern California area, let me know. it was a very special evening and I thank the crew at 949: Hallornan, Owen Salerno, Tim Pyles, the morning show guy(Garrett?). You guys are great and I thought the whole experience was fantastic.

An Art Fag/Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower/The Prayers Kind of Weekend in San Diego

     These guys have San Diego on lock down. This is the second weekend in a row they've pulled this crazy shit- right? I'll check the archive for that. Hey- Plot's last album came out on Revelation records, and now they're back on locally owned Art Fag- run by Mario Orduno(see thursday). And we all know that the Prayers is Plot's attempt to have a more "rock" sound. Am I right about that? Then there's the Vultures project- also on Art Fag. And then peep the "Some Girls"-- another plot side project? These are like, enough plans for world domination. Fifty on Their Heels played Casbah earlier this year with The Prayers and Sirhan Sirhan- fuck, that was a line up, right there. And it was free. So, I'm mulling this list. Not sure about that friday night four band bill at the Ken. I haven't been to Transport in forever- always a good time. I dunno.

The Listings:
Thursday 5/18/6
Skull Control
@ Livewire
Mario Orduno(Owner, Art Fag Records)
Sir Charles(Plot, Some Girls)

Friday 5/19/6
The Kensington Club

The Teeth
The Prayers
Delta Spirit
Digital Leather

Saturday 5/20/6

The Prayers @
w/ DJ Gabe Vega & Saul Q.
10 PM

May 17th, 2006
Go Go Go Airheart Breaks Up

This is a re-post from Go Go Go Airheat's myspace account:

hey friends,this is my reply to a reporter friend who asked if the rumours about GGGAH breaking up are true, and also what are we going to do with the unreleased stuff: hey bart,We have boldly gone where no band would logically go, and yes it's time to put it down for a while. Maybe not forever but indefinitely. Money has a lot to do with it of course, after almost ten years of doing GGGAH we just can't keep living on the cheap. We live in different cities and it costs money to drive to LA or Long Beach for practice! As Ashish likes to say, "we are go go going broke!"We're all over the map musically, crossing genre's at any given moment, it's hard to market us, and we never really focused on the business end with any real intent, We were more intent on having a party and putting on a memorable event, and isn't that how it should be really? Well maybe not entirely... a little more attention to business could've gone a long way. Anyway, yeah, the show this Monday (tonight) at the Casbah will be our last. Playing our last show there is fitting, since that venue has been pivotal in all our lives, Tim Mays gave us a residency (weekly regular gig) back before we deserved a gig on a local band night. We practiced at the Casbah all the time and even recorded that Queen cover "Death on Two Legs" on that stage for the 31G compilation "Dynamite with a Laser Beam." And I have worked there almost as long as I've been in the band! As far as the unreleased material, we might release it but most likely we will post downloads for free on our website. There is some amazing material that never came out, especially the stuff John Reis did for us sounds tough as nails so I would hate to have it wallow in obscurity, I mean more so than our officially released records haha! . Personally I'd like to release it on some label that pays us for it so we can pay back John because i think we still owe him for those recordings! But that's typical of us, not paying attention to the business end. I'm a little sad but also relieved that the band is done, end of an era and all that, but at least I can say without any reservations whatsoever that we never put out a shitty record, and we never sold out to The Man. Thanks to all our friends.peace out,andy the drummer

Flyer #1: Charles Rowland and the Vultures(thursday)

Charles Rowland and The Vultures Flyer number 1

May 30th, 2006
Show Review:  Manual Scan & The Power Chords
 @ Pop Rocks 5/29/6

The Power Chords have got to be the hardest working band in San Diego right now.  They play every weekend.  Sometimes two shows a night.  They are among Cat Dirt's favorite bands going right now(please note, I did not say "San Diego" or "local" because I believe they are among those bands who need no such qualifier).  Their demo CD has already vaulted onto Cat Dirt's Top 25 list on the Cat Dirt house I Pod(Unattached Strings #5, The Fuse #20).  Their first professional recordings is slated to be the first release on Nashville's newest, hottest record label: Mean Buzz.  As Hallornan said at that seminar I went to a couple of weeks back, "Nashville has the hottest scene in America right now." (I actually wrote that quote down when I heard it)

And of course they're playing a couple shows with Cat Dirt's own Fifty on Their Heels.  The show last night was Tim Pyles "Pop Rocks".  The Power Chords brought the thunder, and played a couple of new songs: one was called "dots", I think the other was "dream girl".  They are solid.

Photograph of said power chords:
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so dreamy.

         After the 'Chords vintage rockers Manual Scan took the stage.  Manual Scan is fronted by San Diego Union Tribune entertainment writer Bart Mendoza.  Although I'm  unfamiliar with their music, I not similarities between their sound and the Power Chords sound:  lead guitar punk influence rock and roll.  Did I mention Morgan Young was on drums?  He looked physically exhausted by the end of the set.  Hey Morgan, what are you going to do when Mercy Mercy opens for the Stones on their next American tour?

The cat daddies in Manual Scan:
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The San Diego band Manual Scan *2005-2007, performing live.

             So there you have it, another Monday night at BBSD.  I don't know whether Pop Rocks is happening in June- I may check out Lady Dottie &he Diamonds at the Tower Bar next Monday.  After the tour de force rocking that Society gave the Casbah on Sunday night, I feel like Lady Dottie and the Diamonds deserves an honest appraisal.

June July 2006: First Local Show

June and July of 2006

June 1st, 2006

  I saw lots of great shows last month, my first documenting the local music scene in San Diego, but no sooner do I begin but I am off to Europe to see the World Cup in Germany, with a first stop in Paris.  I'm looking forward to seeing the Ed Banger crew at Poupee de Son in Paris, and going to Berghain in Berlin!

June 2nd, 2006
     I wanted to mention that I was involved with the San Diego local music scene before this blog started last month- below is a photo from a show I went to in July of 2005- which was also their first show at the San Diego Sports Club!

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They are playing on the floor of the small room.

       The timing of the Sports Club re-opening serendipitously coincides with an avalanche of local talent- I won't even start listing bands.

       So, of course, yesterday night I had to go see the first show at the new San Diego Sports Club. Lady Dottie and the Diamonds were headlining. Cat Dirt admits to having to overcome some initial scepticism about Lady Dottie and the Diamonds, but the rave reviews of their Monday night (weekly) show at the Tower Barm, coupled with the fact that keyboardist Joey Guevara moved in across the street, were enough to overcome reservations.

      And you know what? It was really fun. They perform mostly covers of rock(not as much "Blues" per se)bands like steppenwolf and rolling stoves. The crowd was super enthusiastic.
Here's the new stage- it's at the back of the old pool room:
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There's Joey and Lady Dottie- who wore glasses(?)

June 6th, 2006

Show Review:  Cat Dirt Records Presents Chicken! w/ Fifty on Their Heels, The Power Chords & Atoms
@ The Moose Lodge in South Park, San Diego

   Fairly soon after starting this blog I figured it might make sense to present my own local shows, I mean really, anyone can do it.  I figured the Moose Lodge would be a good venue because it was obtainable and in a cool neighborhood.  I think, though that I may be ahead of my time.

     The hall rental for the Moose Lodge was $300, with $150 that you get back as a "deposit".  The catch is that you need to be a member of the Moose Lodge to book a show.  You become a member of the lodge by getting sponsored by another member.  I just got enrolled on Wednesday.  It costs $40, there is a ceremony, but they're really interested in expanding the membership- the average age is close to 60.

First Photo: Fifty on Their Heels at the bus stop in front of Moose Lodge 508.

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Fifty on Their Heels In front of the Moose Lodge 508 for their first show there in June of 2006

      The thing about this photo is that this is also the outside area where people are allowed to congregate during the show- so everyone has to pretend they're waiting for the bus.  This picture kind of reminds me of that old picture of Minor Threat- when they're sitting on the porch of their house in NW dc and staring into the camera.

The sound system was provided by the Power Chords- total cost, $0.  I also thought it would be good to get the Power Chords system because it's very basic, and therefore, not terribly loud.

We starting setting the show at 5 PM- though I had to go to Costco before hand.  Moved the chairs and tables, etc.  Then basically we sat around and waited for the other bands to show up.  We had Danny bring his lighting equipment- he is awesome, by the way, and I recommend him to anyone in the market for a skilled lighting guy.

         The key to making the show work is getting it done by 10 PM- that's the witching hour for the San Diego Police Department.  I could have obtained a noise permit, but the fact is, the noise permit only goes till 11 PM, so I was like, "fuck it."  Before we started the show I was talking to Stephan, the lodge administrator and he was basically telling us that we were going to get shut down.  He totally freaked me out- and as an added bonus, he was TOTALLY WRONG.  We literally did not even see the Police the whole night.

So Atoms took the stage promptly at 8 PM:

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Atoms are great- they are heading up to Portland and Seattle this summer.  They're still trying to book Portland- I commiserated with them, since I can't get a Portland show for Fifty on Their Heels.  Which is just silly- these bands are super good.

       The total attendance for the night was about 60 ish.  The paid attendance was 46 or so.  So, since we didn't pay for the sound system, the show was profitable to the tune of $100- which was besides the point.  I gave all the money to The Power Chords, Atoms and Danny.  The bands both got $120.

        As an attorney who has no experience in bars or music industry, I confess to be baffled at the compensation practices of local venues in San Diego(although I'm sure this is an experience shared by bands in other large markets).  Here's the thing: the local bands are not just entertainment; they are potentially your best customers.  Thus, it is in your direct business interest to pay the local bands more then their "value"(Zero, based on my understanding of the scale payment system at the more desirable venues around town) because then they will come to your establishment, prefer it if you will, and therefore drive more drinkers to your bar/club.

         Henry Ford revolutionized the car industry by making a car his workers could afford- the Model T, but the workers could afford it because he paid them way more then other factory owners.  That's just an observation though, I'm not talking about any specific venues in town.

After Atoms came The Power Chords:
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The Power Chords perform at the Moose Lodge 508 in South Park San Diego in June of 2006.

        The Power Chords will be touring the whole country (to New York City and back)- with stops in hot spots like Nashville and hopefully, Washington DC.  The tour is in august.  Watch Out, America!

        Then Fifty on Their Heels played, and, get this, I don't have any pictures of them.   Does anyone have a picture I could use here?  The whole thing was a "proof of concept."

I mean, I guess that the bands both made more then $100 is a positive for a first show.

Four reasons the Moose Lodge is super cool:
1) they own that lodge free and clear
2) they have an awesome bar in back that sells 16 oz bud bottles for $2.50.
3) they are desperate for new members.
4) the women's lodge was the FIRST women's chapter in the country(more then 500 lodges)

Could be the coolest Moose Lodge in the country.

And then he had an after party at our house in Golden Hill with Fifty on Their Heels, 'Seo and Jon of the Power Chords and various of the attendees.  Here is a cool picture that Nelise took of Sarah and Rush Press of Fifty on Their Heels...

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Photo Credit: Nelise

Sparklers = party time!

June 15th, 2006
Show Review: The Duke Spirit, Delta Spirit at the Beauty Bar

The first thing we noticed was the incredibly professional merch table of the Duke Spirit:
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You see that set-up?  Wow.  Just... wow!  We bought both CDs AND a T Shirt, we were so impressed.

Opening band was San Diego's own The Delta Spirit(playing a Cat Dirt Presents bill with The Sess an Qu'est ce qu-est @ SDSC on 7/11).  This was Cat Dirt's first listen and they are... bluesy and rocky.  Would be good on a bill with the Sess(done) and would also go well with soon-to-be-huge Grand Ole Party.  Maybe we can get the three bands together in August or September.

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They are "jamming" right now.

The Duke Spirit headlined.  You may have seen them at a little concert called Coachella- although Cat Dirt missed them- they were on too early in the day for Cat Dirt.  Here is their wiki page.

The merch guy said they were going to be on the Conan O'Brien show this week- but Cat Dirt couldn't find that listing.  Cat Dirt also learned via the merch guy that they were supposed to be touring with Snow Patrol, but that got cancelled.  Check out the New Music Express(UK) article here.  I suppose Cat Dirt should have known that already, but I try to fade out news about rock bands from London and Brookyln.

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           In case you don't know it, the thing about the Duke Spirit is their peppy Eng;lish female lead singer.  She's neat-o.  Cat Dirt will review the CD here some time down the road- maybe not until july, since he's leaving town soon.

Here is a post from kewl blog "My Old Kentucky Blog" or "MOKB" for indie rock loser/nerds.  The Duke Spirit on MOKB

Tim Pyles showed up about three songs into the Duke Spirit set.  Cat Dirt took this picture of Tim palling around with local celebrity asshole Junior Metro, who also took over the 1's and 2's along with Mario Ordono(owner, art fag records and Brandon(plot to blow up the eiffel tower).  Turn out was good.

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Caption: "Thanks for getting us that headlining show at the Casbah with Manual Scan, The Power Chords, Atoms & The Sess (and Vinyl Radio in the Atari Lounge).  It's going to be an awesome show on 7/30!  And the second Chicken! is on 7/29!  What a great time!  You're the best, Tim Pyles!"

Event Preview:  Poupee de Son @ La Fleche D'Or

  I'm really looking forward to going to Poupee de Son and seeing some Ed Banger DJ's!
"dance or die"
FRIDAY 6/30 in Paris, France:

The Social(UK)

Gaspirator(Justice/Ed Banger Records)
Vicarious Bliss(Ed Banger Records/Skint)
Soiree Zero #2
starting at Midnight
Poupee de Son(Club night/Myspace/Paris)
Fleche D'Or(club/web/Paris)

Basement Jaxx @ Cafe Moskau(Puma) in Berlin on 7/9/6

           The weather that day was hot and sticky.  The image I had in my mind about the weather in Berlin came from spy films: leather coats, berets, breath visible in the wind.  Instead, it felt like a summer day in St. Louis, with a nary a breeze to cut the oppression.  Keeping a dry shirt was out of the question.

         First we went to see the world cup final at the fan mile in berlin, with about a million people, give or take a hundred thousand or so. it was a let down compared to the third place game, featuring GERMANY crushing Portugal in dramatic fashion, which was a blast.

          Then we went to see Basement Jaxx at Cafe Moskau. It was sponsored by multi national (Italian based) corporation Puma, which provided a full slate of free shows. I surmise from the photos in the nearby U Bahn that Cafe Moskau was a glitzy spot for the communist elite, so if you can just get that swanky, cool vibe: russian gangster, eastern european communism, and, of course, basement jaxx, who Ilast saw at Coachella 2005- where they were GREAT!

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Club Moskau in the former East Berlin, after Italy won the World Cup in July 2006.

     Things you need to know about the scene: a lot of Germans on e. italy won the world cup, and puma is an Italian firm, so all of the corporate vips are also on e. And Basement Jaxx was AWESOME! They played to a packed house for over two hours.

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Club Moskau in Berlin, the night Italy won the World Cup in 2006.

         The club itself was super cool, as this below photo shows. Also, check out the ceiling in the above pictures. I mean, the place was designed the east berlin political elite circa the 50's? 60's? 70's? It's underground- a secret labyrinth of decadence whose existence was kept from the people of east germany. This is all surmise- they had some killer photos of the way it "used to be" at the place- including photos of cafe moskau back in the (communist) day.

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Club Moskau

   I just think the design of the bar is super cool. We were hanging out in the back corner with a couple of canadians, who shall remain nameless, but were pretty cool. they seemed happy just to see people who spoke english. anyway, the guy works in the world of music, which was interesting- he had worked with ministry of sound in london and nettwerk records, in canada. has other business interests, etc. Only in Berlin! On the night of the world cup! at Basement Jaxx!

So that's one part of the trip.

Other trip highlights:
Poupee de Son Show Review(Paris, France) July 2006
Panorama Bar(Berlin, Germany) July 2006

July 2006: The World Cup, Berghain Show Review, Pompidou Center LA Art Show Review

So I was. We got there in time for the third place game and the final. Of the two the third place game was better, because the (german) crowd was super fired up. We went to see both games at the fan mile, which starts at the brandenburg gate and then extends through the tiergarten, which is berlin's "central park", except that instead of having been developed by a progressive political party, it had been transferred from its status as the private hunting reserve of the hozenhollen famiy!

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Here is the entrance to the fan mile, notice the apparent size discepancy(illusory) between the giant inflatable fifa soccer ball and the brandenburg gate, itself a powerful symbol of 19th and 20th century german nationalism.

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We were at the back of the fan mile- this utter mayhem extended about 3/4 of a mile beyond us, with a screen every couple hundred of feet. we were there for... ten hours on the night of the third place game.

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World Cup is a time to make friends, said the english language signs on the side of the autobahn leading to berlin, and we made friends with... this guy? who brought a suitcase of pinned butterfly's to the world cup final, but only busted it out after his eighth beer.

So the whole thing was really incredible- the final was a let down compared to the third place game, but the Cafe Moskau party with Bassment Jaxx was much better then the night at Panorama bar the night before(more on that later).

      Los Angeles: 1955-1985 n'aissance de un capitale artistique 6/29/06 @ The Centre Pompidou PARIS, FRANCE

Art Review
Los Angeles 1955-1985
The Birth of An Artistic Capital
The Pomidou Center, Paris France

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This is a picture of a Black Flag and Minute Man record put out by Los Angeles label SST in the early 80s. Punk records = museum art.

Of course I'd go to Paris to see an exhibition about Los Angeles, and, as they so winningly refer to it in the essay "socal". I even bought the english language catalogue, which is awesome. My favorite museum visit since the Guggenheim Matthew Barney takeover. Although, the Jewish Museum in Berlin a few days later, was pretty good, too.

Anyway, one of the essays discussed how the los angeles art scene in the 50s flourished because it was ignored by contemporary patrons and critics, something to do with the art coming out of new york at the time.

Only on till July 17th, and then it's gone, so hurry!!!

Click on the introduction link to see the clip.

JULY 2006
The Panorama Bar @ Berghain in East Berlin

             No cameras allowed- ours got confiscated.  But here is a blurry outside photo(taken without flash, after we left the club.  It's a large building, but the club is contained on a single floor- where you can see the lights.

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The Panorama Bar in Berlin, visited in 2006.

   This is the  website for the club/venue.

  The Panorama Bar is a temple for minimal house.  Not as cool as the Weekend Party, which is contained on the 35th floor of east berlin tower office, but cool- many of the fixtures from the former occupant(power plant) remain. which gives it that industrial/minimal vibe.  Luke Slater was playing there the next night, but we skipped it, on account from being exhausted from watching the world cup third place game with one million others.

   We only stayed till 2 AM, the place was barely getting going.  We were also down the street from the sage club, which had Andrew W.K.(!) playing on that same saturday night..  The entrance is actually located INSIDE an old U-Bahn(subway) station- like on the landing of the stairway descending into the station.  When we were coming back from Basement Jaxx on sunday night, there was some kind of conversation going on between the shaved head russian bouncer and a bunch of guys in work boots.  Cool!

Show Review
Atoms, The Prayers &  The Fascination 
@ The Che Cafe 
on 7/14/06

     I love the Che Cafe.  What an outstanding venue! Nestled in the forgiving bosom of the UCSD campus, with it's darling sliding glass doors, numerous eucalyptus trees and lovely courtyard.  Is there a better all ages venue in all of san diego county?  Cat Dirt thinks not!  Cat Dirt is adding the Che to it's priority venue list along with the SDSC.  Cat Dirt waits for the day when Fifty on Their Heels can play a show there, until then, I will have to admire from afar.  Or up close, I suppose.

    Last night it was Atoms, The Prayers & The Fascination.  Although the Prayers were the putative headliners, I thought it was clear that it was Atoms-fever.  Is there a better all ages band in San Diego?  I don't believe so.  I think Atoms ought be headlining SOMA, let alone headlining Epicentre, but that's just myopinion.

Here is the sole photo I took of the Fascination:

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San Diego band The Fascination, playing in 2006

I should say that there was a fourth band on the bill- if someone writes me I will add the name.  Anywho, the Fascination are a power three piece.  Their first song really caught my ear- kind of a Wolfmotherish vibe to it.  The other songs- not so much.  Kind of a power-pop/pop-punk vibe that was not Cat Dirt's cup of tea.  Also, the lead singer has some kind of english/australian/new zealand/south african accent, that Cat Dirt was unable to place.  I will seek clarification on that.

      Next up it was the headliner-in-practice, Atoms.  I am developing a real fondness for Atoms- I just like their whole dynamic.  It's kooky and fun- and revolutionary, something that I caught in the lyrics for the first time last night.

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San Diego band, Atoms, playing in 2006.
             One thing I wanted to point out about the Atoms is how darling and kick ass their drummer is.  They hide her behind the boys, but I think she is really cool!  Here is a pic I managed to snap by sliding around to the side of the stage during the set.  Her name is Christy.

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           Joey- the lead singer/occasional guitarist/keyboardist, was on fire last night. I loved his incitement of the crowd.  Go Joey!

             The Prayers closed the show.  I will say this- doesn't that singer/guitarist on the right kind of remind you of Pete Doherty(Babyshambles)?

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San Diego band, The Prayers, playing the Che Cafe in 2006

Show Review:
Poupee De Son,
Paris, France


         We missed all the bands because we thought the show started at midnight, when in reality it started at 8. oops!

         Here is the golden fleece they had hanging up:
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The pictures don't particularly capture it, so some description is in order.

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        One, it's past three A.M.  Two, the temperature is 80+ inside, with 50 or more humidity, so everyone is just pouring buckets of sweat.  And smoking, everyone is smoking.  In attendance is coming-real-soon-to-us ed-banger-breakout artist Justice.  I'm pretty sure that Gaspirator, one member of justice, was the crazy bearded cat playing with the eq while other dj's were spinning(!).  We gave him a Fifty on Their Heels CD.

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       I'm pretty sure this is a picture of Vicarious Bliss(Ed Banger/Skint).  He was off the hook- crazy crowd reaction. Reminded me of the Kid 606/Funkstorung bill I caught over the holidays '05 in San Francsico.  But the crowd was mad into it.  Mind blowing!

Show Review:  
Grand Ole Party, Fifty on Their Heels & MC Flow
 @ Damien Presents A Cat Dirt Records Showcase/ 
@ San Diego Sports Club

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Kristin Gundred, playing in San Diego band Grand Ole Party in 2006.

            Well, it was pretty crowded for a Tuesday night, $5 cover or not.  It became clear to everyone that it would be better for Grand Ole Party to headline.  That was certainly true!  It was super crowded for Grand Ole Party- with guest list attendees there must have been more then 150 people in the audience.

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            Fifty on Their Heels @ Sports Club

            Fifty on Their heels put on an amazing set.  Apparently, Junior's nose was bleeding the entire time.  Luckily, we had edgartronic snapping photos from the front row- hundreds, allegedly, so there  should be some good pictures coming out of the performance.  I just snapped this pic from the back to give a sense of the size of the room to other bands and interested parties- I'm standing near the back of the room, here.

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MC Flow @ Sports Club

         Flow's mom was there- I'm going to drop those babies later on- she even had (as Flow pointed out on stage), "some of Flow's jewlery on." That cracked me up.  Flow's mom was totally into the whole thing.  Flow and I had a good talk about conservative v. reform  v. orthodox judaism.  That barely ever happens in San Diego!  Anyway, Flow brought the thunder-- again.(link to Cat Dirt Sez 5/23/06 Review of MC Flow in Concert @ BBSD.)

         And I really have nothing more to say except- the show was done before 1 AM- an important component of success for any mid week show in San Diego.  Grand Ole Party can draw 100 fans like, automatically.  MC Flow has a cool mom, and no, there was no advance planning of the bleeding by junior- that's just the punk rock in him.  We will hopefully be back @ the Sports Club on September 30th with a three band bill, but we'll have to see.

         Also: I will handle the Kite Flying Society article in this week's city beat when I get around to it- these things take time.  Out!

September 2006: San Diego Music Awards, Plot to Blow Up The Eiffel Tower Breaks Up

someone who was at sessions fest put up these great fifty on their heels pictures on flickr. there are also some non-music shots of the event. go. check. it. out.

Fifty on Their Heels Pictures from Sessions Fest

Event Preview
Fifty on Their Heels & The Sess @ Zamakibo in Los Angeles on Friday

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Flyer for Fifty on their Heels, The Sess & The Vacancy Trip on September 15th, 2006 at Zamakibo in Los Angeles, CA.

Show Review: 
 The Plot to Blow up the Eiffel Tower
 @ The Brass Rail(!) 9/06 

            How much do i love the brass rail? plenty. i'd never seen plot to blow up the eiffel tower before.  i was talking to Brian, the drummer in both plot to blow up the eiffel tower and the prayers, at Taang before the show and he said that this was their "third" 21 and over show ever.  And that they'd only played five times in san diego... this year? he didn't specify the time frame.

            Before the show i hung out at Taang! records- which just re-opened their famous record store in, of all the fucking places in the world, hillcrest.  i talked to curtis- who confirmed that taang! SOLD their building in mission beach (i.e. they didn't get "evicted"- which i had read some where- um- maybe the reader, say, this week- or last? and it said somehow that they were forced out, which is totally different then selling the building you presumably bought for pennies in the early 90s- say, right at the top of the market. i dunno.

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interior, taang! records in hillcrest

you really ought to go check them out.  as i was sitting there sipping on a budweiser tall boy and flipping through 7"s, i was thinking that taang! would be a great place to buy a birthday present for that extra special music snob in your life.  or if you just want to you know, lay the hammer down on someone.  you can see in the picture there that they've got all kinds of cool stuff- metallica, for instance.

anyways, i was chatting with... store manager? miggs.  miggs is cool- he really like the power chords & the sess and the atoms, and he works for taang!  brian hill and.. damn.. forgot his name.  i think he's a blogger, though. don't quote me on that- i'll check into it. stopped by and so did singer/songwriter vanja james, who said she was recording an album in san francisco.  she was with mookie from 91x.  i didn't see them at the show later? what happened? maybe i'll have to check out vanja's new blog to see what happened!  hope there's nothing mean about me in there! ha-ha.

So- before you read the review, make sure you understand the full interrelationship between all these bands here.  plot is reigning "best punk band", some girls is competing with fifty on their heels for their epitaph album for "best punk album".  plot is up for best punk band... again.  they're opening for the slits in new york @ CMJ.  I mean- fuck.

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the plot to blow up the eiffel tower @ brass rail, hillcrest

   I  thought the plot to blow up the eiffel tower were AWESOME.  They're clearly within the lineage of hard core, jazz-core, arty hard core, what have you.  They obviously have an appreciation for bands from dischord records and the LATER dischord sound- kind of the hard core combined with math rock or jazz or what have you.  Honestly, I have a huge place in my heart for that music, since my college roommate basically brainwashed me with dischord records my Sophmore year in college.

    Their "all ages" show policy is something that Fugazi always observed, so that's an obvious direct influence.  the singer is really good- very passionate- reminding me of... i dunno- nation of ulysses?  i guess that's a safe comparison instead of some band like rites of spring, which suffers from guilt by association these days.  but man- they fucking rock.  

       Basically, they were great.  i mean, the refused managed to sell a good deal of records with a similar sound. right? the refused? that record sold a lot, didn't it?    they should play more 21+ shows!

Show Review
Mega Post:  Los Angeles, Fifty on Their Heels, Anavan, Teenage Talking Cars, Bubonic Plague, New Collapse, Master B.E.T.A., The Smell,  Zamakibo, Echo

  I  hate the mega post. such a waste of good material. but whatever. ok i'm going to use flickr for the photos for this "mega post"- it's just more efficient. i've got a link to the photo set that goes with this at the bottom- so go look at that first, then come back for explanation.

open in a separate window and switch between the two windows!
Cat Dirt Photo Set: Los Angeles, Fifty on Their Heels, Anavan, Teenage Talking Cars, New Collapse, Bubonic Plague, banksy

   Friday night we went to los angeles to see fifty on their heels & the sess at zamakibo, and then we went to see anavan and teenage talking cars at the Echo. And I have pictures of all of it- except the sess, who we didn't see. sorry sess! i wanted to go to the echo for the very first time!

     Zamakibo. Not so much. it is certainly "punk rock" located in scenic "south park"- hey la, park of what? toxic waste? No seriously, i love a bombed out warehouse district in the midst of urban renewal as much as the next guy- soma? the mission in sf? u st in dc? south bank in london? east berlin? west oakland? tijuana? the 17th arrondissement in paris? southeast dc? whatever. love it.

      Not a lot of promotion going on, or many people out, but fifty on their heels brought the thunder. 15-20 people? punk rock, man. junior put on a masterful performance- he played his guitar with a drumstick, kicked his guitar. it was great. zamabiko seemed more like a cool concept then a reality- it contrasted sharply with the smell, which impressed me with its organization.

      I wanted to see the sess, but i wanted to see anavan and teenage talking cars more. they were playing at the echo as part of some art walk(?) thing that miss ammo organized(i saw her trolling for volunteers on myspace last week!).

       Anyway- the echo is fucking awesome. everyone was drunk, the place was packed- when we walked in the singer in anavan was screaming lyrics via a lacrosse mask that had a mic stuck inside of it. or was the mic installed inside the mask? not sure.

      Loved them- bought their cd- on gsl- for ten bucks. drunkenly invited them to san diego! they were polite about it- ha-ha. their cd has a heavy electronic sound- keys, drum machines, what not. the lyrics are pretty political- something i didn't get till i, um, read the liner notes. but the stage show is anything but polished- more like chaos and mayhem(also cool).

     Teenage talking cars- that is no wave baby! miss ammo- rad.

    I read a great book about los angeles by literature professor William  Alexander Mcclung- great book called  Landscapes of Desire: Anglo Mythologies of Los Angeles about the idea of Los Angeles; Los Angeles as a metaphor. cool stuff. downtown is the place for that- although on a long drive down sunset blvd- from downtown to hollywood, i was positively forced to contemplate the crazy energy of los angeles. los angeles is not some kind of waste land. it is a vibrant interesting the place- the rival of berlin or paris, london NEW YORK. that's right. except the weather is better. the decay and smog and gangs are part of the fun.

   I went to the banksy exhibit- banksy- please tell me you either went or at least know who i'm talking about. our friend tim mentioned it to us- and then it was on the front page of the calendar section of the la times because, um, he had a live elephant, painted to match the wallpaper. no shit. it was fucking packed- the warehouse was located at santa fe and... turner? hunter? underneath the 110 freeway by the canal. hipster circus. banksy is cool- fuck all the haters. shep fairey should be pooping himself in shame right now. bravo.

  Saturday night we went to the smell- another great fucking venue-- right in downtown Los Angeles- between second and third, main- and- an alley... right by where they're putting the new central cop station- by the la times building. fifty on their heels played ANOTHER amazing set. and we sold the most cds we've ever sold at a show that isn't sessions fest. fifty is blending old and new material and it's really coming together.

   Then bubonic plague played- awesome- opening for adult in october down here? want to bring them to beauty bar maybe- hey melissa malicious you reading this! i'm going to talk her ear off at the presets show on tuesday. no wave keyboard girl punk sound- maybe a couple extra members in that band? i counted five.

     Fucking new collapse- amazing.

  I met with josh our sesac representative on saturday- such a nice guy! now we get quarterly royalties for all our enormous airplay. do we get a dollar a song? i thought i heard that. that's like, ten bucks! and we get money for when we perform our songs. tons of money. we will be rich very soon ha-ha. we are going to do some songs with producer he knows who is currently reworking tracks for a geffen band. you know we'll be signed to a major label in no time- like tomorrow.

   Missed the San Diego music awards pre party where we MISSED winning the best cover art certificate! thanks guys! we're going to frame it, and i'll take a picture of it and put on line. there is nothing more important then winning awards! next year? i'm thinking a nomination for best punk band. the san diego music awards are tomorrow and i'm super excited- one reason i'm not doing a week on this weekend's events. i got enough material but c'est la vie.

   The photo set will make this all come together for you...
Cat Dirt Photo Set: Los Angeles, Fifty on Their Heels, Anavan, Teenage Talking Cars, New Collapse, Bubonic Plague, banksy

Show Review
2006 San Diego Music Awards

Best Punk Album

2006 Fifty on Their Heels - self titled(cat dirt records)
2005 Hot Snakes - Adult in Progress(swami)
2004 blink-182 - self titled(mca)
2003 Agent 51 - Red and the Black(surfdog)
2002 Dogwood - Matt Arogan(tooth and nail)
2001 blink-182 - Take Off Your Pants and Jacket(mca)
2000 blink-182 - Enigma of the State(mca)
1999 No Knife - Fire In The City of Automatons(time bomb)
1998 Unwritten Law - Unwritten Law(atlantic?)

  Did I mention that the plot to blow up the eiffel tower broke up? they announced from the stage when they won "best punk band". i confirmed it with... Brandon? at the RAW POWER night at LANDLORD JIM'S. they are still playing new york with the slits! it's like a little 'thank you' from their label and publicity. but now they have THE PRAYERS, SOME GIRLS &  CHARLES ROWLAND AND THE VULTURES and Raw Power, and Skull Kontrol.

   It's true we won "best punk album". apparently it's not posted on line yet for some unfathomable reason. if someone finds the link could they post it in comments? cat dirt wife? anyone? kite flying society won best new artist, which they announced FIRST (thanks!) - kite flying society wasn't all there yet. lady dottie won for best cover band (thanks!) dirty sweet won best rock - goodbye blue monday won best alternative(love that category!). cattle decapitation won best HARD ROCK AGAIN. Plot to Blow up the Eiffel Tower won best punk band. the Power Chords didn't show up. Punk Rock!

      The presenters ranged from beloved (Tim Pyles), to predictable (al guerra, garrett, steve poltz), to fantastically bizarre - meteorologist shawn styles? perky morning show host - i don't fucking know her name cause i don't watch local morning television. they were all fox personalities? the guy who voices john redcorn for king of the hill(!)(and he looks like john redcorn). it was fox production.

     Troy Johnson mced. troy was a fairly significant part of us winning this award- like Tim Pyles, Morgan Young and Gabe Vega. if i had to say TWO people- MORGAN YOUNG and GABE VEGA. Did I mention the "best dj" category is a joke? a joke! we saw dirty sweet for the first time- they're cool: dirty sweet, the delta spirit, vinyl radio, irradio - they can call it the San Diego blues inspired rock jam-a-thon and have it at the house of blues on a Monday night - you don't have to pay me royalties on that idea!

     The funniest part of the night- other then the fact that i took a picture of junior just as he realized they won - you have to look at THAT picture in the photo set, was the fact that senile ol' steve foltz forgot to introduce the clip of the nominees for "best punk album" he just ripped open the envelope and yelled "fifty on their heels!" yeah! way to go you elderly eccentric guy! poltz? foltz? is a san diego icon.

     There were a LOT of acts i heard for the first time. I missed arabella harrison because i was playing cashmoneychaos(killer psp game with a "rocking punk soundtrack"). saw greg laswell - um - aj croce was fine - he won best pop album- i'll have to check that out! free copy, anyone? tania- i know you can hook that up. you reading or do i have to myspace you about it?

   I saw cash'd out at the dreamcatcher lounge. they are cool - the guy kind of looks like johnny cash- and the guitarist has a good look too - i'd like to see him fronting his own libertine's style british rock band. went to bed before lady dottie and the diamonds play i mean, sorry - but fuck. stopped by raw power where mario orduno told me that he had a "hangman game" to get to, so he couldn't talk. love it! i can't believe the plot to blow up the eiffel tower announced their break up like that. i suppose if i had been in the know i would  have known... last week? obvious for months now? certainly the whole side project thing has been a critique all along - i guess that solves that.

so look at the photos - i have descriptions for some. that's like, part of the blog entry.

Cat Dirt Photo Set: San Diego Music Awards

June 2006
Show Review
Fifty on Their Heels Does Fox Rox

 I uploaded the pictures but can't put them in a set- they're right there, though. it helps the post to have the option to look at the photos while you're reading the post.
Cat Dirt Flickr Home

      The threshold in my household for post- sdma celebration/gloating was reached at about 8:30 PM last night ), so I'm just going to move on... go take a look at the photos- my comments are a bit more pointed than the quiet brand of diplomacy and inclusion that i practice over here at the blog itself.

   Fifty on their heels taped a performance at fox rox yesterday. The show will air for the first time(it's shown three times a week) on Thursday, October 19th at midnight. I'm going to try to get an event together, but i don't know how formal it will be. The name of the show(all this can be verified on the fox tv website) is called "San Diego "Bands on the Rise" and features: Fifty on Their Heels, Kite Flying Society, Grand Ole Party, Clockwork Army(?), Transit War(met for the first time yesterday).

   What can i say about the experience? hey- it's television. do you know how many god damn people watch television? about one million times as many as read blogs. even at midnight on a thursday. if no one is watching a television show, that's 10 to 15 thousand people. It's like the psp game- if no one buys it, that still like, 25-40 thousand people. as supposed to when no one buys our cd- that really means, like, zero.

    It didn't disappoint- the control room was a special highlight. hanging out w/ Kristin Gundred (grand ole party) was a plus. they are set to record in october with louis xiv. that should be good product, i'm thinking. i conveyed to Kristin the importance of not signing anything, especially anything that would keep gop from releasing a cd in the next six months. she said she agreed.

    Scott Richison, the producer of fox rox(and the 10 PM news broadcast for fox) was a cool guy, despite the fact that he had been up till 4 AM the night previous(working the music awards no doubt- for that "live" broadcast on NOVEMBER THIRD). Hey- why not push it out till 2009, guys? lame! there were four other people in the control room with scott- three guys running the show and one woman who was... eating? researching pirate jokes? i dunno. there were like, five people in the studio- four camera guys and one woman who was talking in a head set. ugh- i don't know any of the terminology, but i took careful pictures of the set up for reference.

    I  was interested in the mechanics of it all. i suggested to scott, directly, that it might be better if they took the black velvet curtains down, or made them red velvet curtains, and it wasn't really a collaborative process. also, DO NOT make shot recommendations to the guys in the control room, that kind of advice is NOT appreciated.

    Scott, i know, was at least aware of fifty on their heels because i sent him the cd- he sent me back a kind email. the rest of the people- quite obvious they'd never heard of ANY of the bands (quite obvious b/c of statements like "i've never heard of any of these bands")- note the placement of the first "of" in that sentence- intentional and accurate.

     I would think, you know, you'd at least take an interest if it was related to your job- like, i dunno- google the band names the night before, or something similar. whatever- i know local television is a important stuff- I've seen Ron Burgundy Anchorman about a MILLION times, so, i know what a big deal it is.

  The important thing is that we did it and they said they'd provide us with a digitized version we can upload onto youtube. The eta for that is "one week after the show airs". that's all good- i am patient- like a cobra! i've got your business card scott- you'll be hearing from me one week after the show.

     Yesterday reminded me clearly of the difference between inspiration and technical proficiency in the professional world. part of why you have your generic professional job is because you CAN do it- i.e. you have the skills. but without inspiration, you probably won't be succesful or happy- you'll just be exercising your skill set in exchange for a pay check and benefits.

   Seriously though- thank you to Scott Richison and to Troy Johnson- who set this whole thing up! as i mentioned last night- and before last night- Troy Johnson has earned my respect. he, in my opinion, does have passion/inspiration for what he does, whether or not you think what he does is cool or whatever. furthermore, troy is not a negative person- almost everything he does professionally is positive- building bands up- rather then negative- spreading scurrilous gossip or just not giving a fuck.

   When i started getting involved with fifty on their heels/cat dirt records in january, my two goals were "win a san diego music award" and "get band on fox rox". i gave myself three years- just to accomplish those goals! so in that, sense i'm professionally satisfied with the results. but i yearn for more punk credibility. i think i''ll go buy a tattered black hoodie from a hobo and stitch an "antioch arrow" patch on the sleeve!

I uploaded the pictures but can't put them in a set- they're right there, though.
Cat Dirt Flickr Home

June 2006
Cat Dirt Photo Set: Fifty on Their Heels @ 2006 Adams Avenue Street Fair

      The bottom line is that i'm not going today(sunday) because i'm at work... filing... and doing billing. yuck! fortunately, i think they've got enough people turning it out; so i don't have to feel too bad about missing kite flying society, grand ole party & the power chords- not to mention bart mendoza acoustic and the john doe experience(americana?). is this the same john doe from famous la punk band "x"? I think it is the same.

Today also marks the symbolic end of the cat dirt/fifty on their heels "summer campaign". it certainly has been a glorious struggle, and victories were many. i look forward to seeing every reader at the golden hill block party on October 28th. People from los angeles should consider coming down- there's going to be a riot. Also- I'll be appearing on 96.9 free radio san diego THIS wednesday @ 9- 11 PM- you can listen on the internet, so geography is no barrier!

cat dirt photo set: fifty on their heels @ the adams avenue street fair

PItchfork Announces Plot Break Up...

plot to blow up the eiffel tower breaks up(w/ Grand Ole Party &  Atoms in the show listing below!

October 2006:  The Golden Hill Block Party

Show Review:
Grand Ole Party, Kill Me Tomorrow, The Prayers &Sirhan Sirhan
@ the Casbah

First of all- sold out, ok?
look at the pictures:
Cat Dirt Photo: from Grand Ole Party, Kill Me Tomorrow, The Prayers & Sirhan Sirhan @ the Casbah

      Wow- what a triumph for the local music scene. that had to a be a big money maker for Tim Mays- hopefully this will lead to more all local bills at the Casbah on Friday and/or Saturday night. i would guess that Tim Mays would make more money on a sold out local night then a sold out touring band night because the local bands make a LOT less money then the touring bands. that just seems like common sense to me.

    Last night was an effective demonstration of the market power of the downtown local music scene. so much better then the Tuesday night all local bill, or the Wednesday all local bill.

     How was the music? great!
Sirhan Sirhan- they sound like the Jesus Lizard! three piece- hellacious.
the prayers- growing on me. would also note that they are representing a growing number of google key word searches. expect more prayers coverage
kill me tomorrow- reminds me of Los Angeles bands like new collapse, Anavan and Bubonic Plague. no wave, drum centered.

         Congratulations to Tim Mays and Tim Pyles and to all the bands- i had some good bonding time with TimPyles, we even had a philosophical discussion re: whether "it" would ever "happen" in San Diego. Grand Ole Party has GREAT t shirts for six bucks. Saturday night is better then Sunday night.

Show Review
Prayers/Atoms Show
 @ Che Cafe

             I did a full show review for the 7/14/06 Prayers, Atoms show at the Che Cafe. It was, Coincidentally, my first time seeing a show at the Che. The Che reminds me very much of 924 Gilman Street, a venue i patronized often during MY college years when i was back home for summer or on holiday. Of course, the Che is much... cleaner then Gilman Street ever was. But I think it's a clear comparison.

               I was kind of luke warm on the prayers after this show- after two more viewings, I have revised my opinion way towards positive, but i haven't really discussed my opinion yet, i suppose there is plenty of time for that.

here are the photos.

Photoset: The Prayers & Atoms @ Che Cafe

Show Review:
 The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, Grand Ole Party, Atoms 
@ the Che Cafe

             Will someone please get the Atoms a headlining show? They deserve it!

             I straight up missed them last night- super bummer. I swear to god there were more people who watched the Atoms then who watched Grand Ole Party.

         Reasons I'm rapidly growing to love the Che Cafe? it's out of downtown, but not too far out of downtown. lovely natural setting. cooperative spirit of socialism refreshes my commitment to the d.i.y. ethic. never is too crowded.

        Bought myself a plot to blow up the eiffel tower 2005 australia/new zealand tour t-shirt. Brandon (plot, prayers) said, " they fit a little wide, so you may want to have it tailored." Maybe I will Brandon, maybe I won't.

        Grand Ole Party played- Kristin is sick, literally- i think she has a cold or flu or something. Take some time off, girl! You don't need to play the Echo w/ CSS- Fifty on Their Heels is ready to take some of your incredibly sweet gigs off your hands at a moments notice! The sound was terrible for grand ole party- that didn't bother me, since I've seen them so many times I can sing not only the lyrics, but also the guitar parts.

          This was my second time seeing plot- you can see my show review from the brass rail if you click the "plot to blow up the eiffel tower" label below.

           As I've mentioned once or twice before- in college I was a pretty big hardcore fan- had something to do with the fact that i went to college in harDCore central- washington dc. my favorite band was born against, etc. plot is clearly and directly influence by that scene and the sound of hardcore- the all ages shows, the confrontational politics and the live show, which, honestly, is amazing! i wish plot had been around when I was in college(although, again, for the record- I was listening to san diego jazzy hard core bands like clikatat ikatowi and heroin in my dorm room in 1995, aight?

                 This will be clearer when I post the photos- but the crowd kind of swells up on stage during the plot performance- merging audience and performer. it was kind of the honestly cathartic performance that a younger, more into hard core cat dirt used to crave. which is to say- the plot are great, they will be missed.

Golden Hill block party flyer, corrected/revised

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Flyer for the 2006 Golden Hill Block Party with Society, Fifty on Their Heels, The New Motherfuckers, Qu'est-ce Que C'est, Gasoline Chicken

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Flyer for the 2006 Golden Hill Block Party with society, fifty on their heels, the new motherfuckers, qu'est-ce que c'est, gasoline chicken, dj edgartronic

golden hill block party flyer, fourth

Show Review
 The Golden Hill Block Party
October 22nd, 2010

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
photo from the 2006 Golden Hill Block Party.

talk about a conflict of interest! reviewing your own show!  oh yeah- it was great, the most amazing show since the invention of rock and roll!!!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
photo from the 2006 Golden Hill Block Party

Instead, I will offer a self evaluation in different areas that I consider important to making a good show.

line up: A

is there any doubt left in your mind that San Diego music has it goin' on right now?  in fact, i think there is really something going on in the greater southern California area- i suppose it's always pretty vibrant- but- there is a lot of local talent.  we didn't even exhaust the talent in the golden hill area- not even close really. that was the new motherfuckers first concert out of Los Angeles area- so that was a good get.

sound/lights:  B

Adam and Danny are an integral part of the cat dirt crew and they are really the unsung heroes of last night.  the fact that this concert existed is basically due to them stepping up and offering to do everything for free- including getting generators.  that saved me over $1500 and it is seriously doubtful that the show would have ever been planned with out them.  how about getting society ready to play in 15 minutes? how about that?  none the less there were obvious difficulties- speakers cutting out, and we clearly needed a bigger generator.  but let me make one thing clear- cat dirt lives and dies with Adam and Danny.  they are as much a part of cat dirt records as me and fifty on their heels- not in an ownership sense, but spiritually.  the lighting was hampered by the generator situation.

crowd: A

Almost entirely perfect.  kudos to everyone who showed up!  any bigger turnout and i would have felt uncomfortable.  my own estimate that at the largest point- i.e. the performances of fifty on their heels & iSociety! the crowd was between 250-300 people.  like sessions fest, people came and left, which probably doubled the total number of people who stopped by.  i was pleased to see bart mendoza, lyn chick rawker & annamaria(starting her own blog soon!) show up.


The key for this block party was lowering the price point- in the absence of any revenue for the foreseeable future, keeping costs low low low is the ticket to making this thing work going forward.  the other option is to actually try to make money on the deal- but i don't see that happening.  it's impossible to analyze an event like this without talking about the relationship with the city of san diego- the permitting process was, again, quite reasonable- it just takes a month to take care of all it.  the police (officer martin?) were kind of heroes for letting iSociety! play to 10:30 PM.  I really thought we were going to get shut down right at 10 PM.  The 10 PM limit on events within the city of san diego is fucking insane- i couldn't help but notice that monster bash, in the Gaslamp(presumably within the city of san diego) goes till midnight.  why can they, a commercial event, go late, but not us?  This is something I want to change, because the fact is- people don't come out in any significant numbers until 8PM.  the upshot? no more five band bills at the block party ever again- more like three.

a 10 PM time limit for these events is per se unreasonable-  there is no rational reason for having one guideline for week day and weekend events.  this rule contributes to the perception that san diego is a backwards place filled with country rubes.  what world class city fucking rolls up the carpet at 10 PM?  Iowa City, Oklahoma City, Omaha?  not Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York...

San Diego is blessed with a climate that allows for year round, out doors events- it's ridiculous that we have this silly regulations(is it even an ordinance? or just a policy?) that limits the ability of community organizations to celebrate in neighborhoods past 10 PM.  it's just arbitrary- it needs to change.  as long as that rule is in place, there will be a limit to what can be achived in san diego- without that restriction- who knows what kind of cool could get going here.  we won't know till the 10 PM rule goes away.

November December  2006

Show Review:
Bill Wesley
@ Scolari's Office

so- the fuck happened at scolari's? all of a sudden it's got totally cool. how about the 400 blow, sirhan sirhan show next week? that's a cat dirt weekdner pick for sheezy.

Scolari's Office (myspace)

     There's this whole scene down here that is the san diego wing of the wierder stuff they play at the smell and the echo and what not- like avant garde shit- nawhatimean? they did a show at the honey bee hive a couple weeks ago- nora keyes, maystar, the vaginals.

       I caught a flyer for the show last night at scolari's- looked interesting- i've wanted to see romak and the space pirates(orange county) for some time, and they were on the bill, and it was free so i was like- fuck- at least it won't be all guitar rock bands. my thoughts about the more experimental music? bring it on! i don't like alot of it, but i'll go out and see a band that's doing something unconventional 9/10, just to, you know- see it.

      The first performance we saw was a man named Bill Wesley. he has designed his own instrument called an "array mbira". You can click the second link to check out more information about this African tin piano type thing. It sounds like an instrument that is favored by Danny Elfman for the scores he writes for Tim Burton movies? do you know what i'm talking about? anyway- you should click through and check it out. Wesley is based out of San diego. I'm going to try to get him on a fifty on their heels bill. he was like- totally different- and he designed the instrument himself, so i just thought he was really cool.

Photograph of Bill Wesley(flickr)
Bill Wesley(myspace)

Array Mbira(instrurment website)

Cat Dirt Sez Welcomes San Diego: Dialed In

           I added a new link there over on the side of the page to a Brand! New! San Diego! Music! Blog! It's called San Diego: Dialed In and it is authored by an Individual who is very plugged in to the San Diego music scene, so I expect good things. She just dropped her weekly events posts today- a full one day before my own "cat dirt weekender". Dialed In's taste lays somewhere in between mine own and chickrawker. you should all check her out.

Show Review: 
Fifty on Their Heels &The Glossines
 @ Pussy Galore(SDSC) 

Cat Dirt Photo Set: Fifty on Their Heels & The Glossines @ Pussy Galore(SDSC) 11/8/6

               First off: Robin Roth is a class act. There will never be negativity about Robin or her endeavors within the confines of this blog, ever. period.

              Second off: last night, all the constituent elements for a great show were there- good bands, sports club has it's sound issues worked out, mas or menos. it was just a smooth ride all around. what was missing? audience. anyone who is familiar with my own, pathetic attempts to stage "all ages" shows at the moose lodge knows how i deal with a lack of audience- ignore it. you can see that in the photos- no crowd shots.
             I got a lot of troy last night because we hit up the san diego city beat 'best of' party at the newly existent... sentry club at the house of blues? i think was what someone called it- it's the ante room next to the main room in the basement -- closer to the fifth street then the sixth street side? i was pretty enthusiastic when i thought it was going to be open during normal shows, but it ain't- it's going to be some kind of private club that costs thousands of dollars a year. fuck that. lady sovereign is playing the hob this month. i'm not going unless i go for free. her recent us shows have been getting decent blog coverage, but you know what? i saw M.I.A. at Coachella two years ago so- whatever. i mean ultimately. i'm still rocking the love me or hate me missy remix on my ipod but that's like- a pop song. like justin timberlake, is all i'm saying.

         Bart Mendoza was at the city beat party-- not the sdsc- he said Manual Scan is thinking about releasing a DVD- let me see if i get this straight- Japanese funding? international distribution? or self funded? Japanese distribution? he was telling me about they'd draw 1600 at Montezuma Hall @ SDSU back in... 1987. Awesome- those were the days. he said he reads cat dirt sez! yes! more manual scan coverage! it's big with the international audience!

     Let me just make this observation about show promotion on Myspace- you need to put the flyer on every single friend you think might actually come, and you need to do it about a week out, so they have time to make plans. posting bulletins is useless. if you look at the promotion for that avenue d/mc flow show- the flyer was on people's pages. that's the way to do it on Myspace.

      The attendance last night was 50, tops. that was disappointing to me. i was looking for over 100. i blame diminutive reggae/hip hop pioneer lee 'scatch' perry, who no doubt drew well, and the city beat party, which got half of the potential audience totally wasted before 8 PM. i mean- increasing attendance has to be a priority. i think a lot of that is just putting forth a consistent product- mid week, anywhere in San Diego- live music is hit or miss. even the Casbah.

     The bands are great- the Glossines are like some lookout records band that has been transported forward in time from the hey day of northern California pop punk- before blink 182 even. in that sense i think they have something in common with fifty on their heels- which also has a "classic" punk sensibility. it's an emerging genre, people. it's a variant of "alternative gold" radio format.

           Fifty on their heels played a sloppy set heavy on older songs- but with one brand! new! song! What's the song called, junior? My favorite part was after the show when Junior crawled up on the piano by the side of the stage. no pictures! dang.

   I think mid week- the attendance benchmark is 100. that's the goal- establishing the goal is half the battle. then all you have to do is achieve it. next week Friday at the beauty bar- is malicious promoting that event? ha-ha- she should be. malicious packed them in for avenue d- that show was 150+.

suprise visit to los angeles this weekend! maybe. fifty on their heels recording in los angeles this weekend- stay tuned!

San Diego Ghost Town - Skull Kontrol, Kill Me Tomorrow, Edgartronic

where was everyone last night? did people really stay home because of the rain? i'm not buying it. catdirt was away with fifty on their heels in la and I wanted to shame the family name. we started at the beauty bar, getting there early because my favorite time at the beauty bar is before anyone is there, like at 10pm - also bars shut down at 2am in san diego so you have to start early in order to give each bar you hit up the appropriate attention and love it deserves. it was bizarrely empty for a Saturday night - skull kontrol dj's, Mario and Andrew, were beyond reproach as usual and had us dancing, on the oddly spacious dance floor, within an hour of gettting there. catdirt has already reviewed Kill Me Tomorrow so I won't embarass him by attempting to review them again, just click the label below. I will say that the drummer/front man for kill me tomorrow has an envy-inducing moustache - he must have a special comb for it - its big - I think its the best moustache in san diego. I'm trying to think of a better moustache but i can't, maybe the booker for the che? Even though I really like Kill Me Tomorrow, we left half way through the second song because some nights you just want to dance with your girlfriend in a room with a disco ball. so we went to Fashion Whore at the san diego sports club for DJ Edgartronic - it had begun raining and Fashion Whore was also eerily empty - really, the rain? the rain? maybe everyone was at stingaree, paying $250 for a place to sit? after more dancing, we went to live wire for the last huzzah, also empty! we got a booth at like 1am!? wha!? where was everyone? i guess the interesting choice last night would have been to go to scolari's for the vaginals but after several tequila/orange juices, we were not thinking so clearly....anyone go see the vaginals?

the burbank sessions

thanks to josh feingold- who put us in touch with shawn jimmerson- the producer- both are well evidenced in the photos. josh is our sesac rep- he just got back from cmj/london/country music awards(?)- ask him about co-panelist "ultragrrl" if you see him around.

the studio was in burbank. we recorded onto tape- no pro tools for us. shawn told us funny stories about mark mothersbaugh's house (messy) and recording with steve albini. he was in a band called "wig"? and is also an ambient techno legend- more on him this week.

the band is still up there- i only stayed for one of two days. they recorded seven songs. we're thinking about releasing two seven inches on cat dirt records and then doing... other... stuff.. besides just releasing it, with all seven songs. like, i don't know, signing up for the orchard or ioda (hint, hint).

everything ran smooth, mas or menos- the guys are incredibly "tight"- seems to be the key to a successful recording session- take notes- all you bands out there. fifty did a couple of their songs in one take.

who would be interested in these pictures? people who are interested in looking at recording studio equipment and fans of fifty on their heels.

cheers to aaron- who let me crash at his pad in santa monica while he was up at lake arrowhead with his new fiance!
and to cat dirt wife- who held it down on the night life front.

The Burbank Sessions, photoset

Show Review: Fifty on Their Heels & Teenage Talking Cars w/ DJs Morgan Young & Saul @ Beauty Bar San Diego

check out the photos for extra details about what happened and photo identifications.
Photoset: Fifty on Their Heels & Teenage Talking Cars w/ DJs Morgan Young & Saul @ The Beauty Bar San Diego 11/17/06

now last night? that is what i'm fucking talking about. last night was rad. everything was clicking- good bands, big, enthusiastic crowd, good djs, friday night the whole thing just rocked. it felt like coming home. and how much do i love the beauty bar? if only live music could go past midnight. sigh.

of course, i was a little worried about the size of the audience- especially after our debacle at pussy galore, and with us not even meriting plan "e" in the city beat "if i were u" column. but those worries were for naught. here's the bottom line for drawing at the beauty bar: look at your watch at 9:45 PM. If there are more then 25 people (excluding staff and band members) there, you are probably looking at a good night. the bulk of the crowd arrives between 10 PM and 11 PM. now obviously, that presents an ongoing, intractable problem for live music, since bands needs to be totally done, at the absolute latest by midnight.

thus, the best solution is to have two bands, and to make sure that the bands can do a set in 20-30 minutes. there just isn't a lot of room for error.

regardless- turnout was great last night! gabe vega! malicious! edgartrionic! big ern! jamie! dialed in rosie! chickrawker lyn! fifi boy! sorry ari! tons of the beauty bar girls with mullets! people we didn't know!

i thought the success of the night lay in the combination of a 100+ group of people who came out for a rock concert with the combination of a 100+ group of people who came out because it was friday night at the beauty bar. and the real key was the cross over between the two- that's magic! see, if you combine the dance crowd with the rock crowd you've got a real formula for success. hello, casbah? see also, skull control, transport- are you paying attention stingaree? belo? red c lounge? croces? think about it- bands + djs + friday/saturday night = buzz. you need BOTH. i think probably the concept could be expanded- see tonight's rapture, pre-sets show- sort of. obviously you need a venue that works BOTH as a dance club AND as a venue for live music- Beauty Bar, even with it's time constraints, beats the Casabah in that situation. i think you need to have a seperation in space between the two areas. like for the casbah- take out the pool table and put in a separate sound system in the atari lounge. that idea is a freebee!

fifty on their heels was electric last night- their best live performance outside of the two golden hill block parties and the sessions fest. nicky shingles is developing a more vibrant stage presence, and junior really reacts well to an enthusiastic crowd. i don't think you can have a good performance without a good audience- last night? that was a fucking GOOD AUDIENCE. People were enthusiastic, and they stayed to dance. of course, we're all excited about the prospect of the video game with us on the soundtrack being downloaded by millions world wide...(pause)... but last night it was all about SAN DIEGO!

Much props to Gabe Vega & Malicious, who have had this vision from the very beginning. And props to Morgan Young- I thought his post-show set really set off the crowd. The energy was really positive right night, and that is not something to take for granted. I think the Beauty Bar itself deserves much of the credit for creating that atmosphere.

Teenage Talking Cars are one of our favorite bands in los angeles. See also the new collapse, the new motherfuckers, ima fucking gymnaist, bubonic plague, mika miko & anavan. We just had to have them come down again (they played Junior Metro's b-day bash a few months back) and show San Diego what they were all about. Last time Fifty on Their Heels played Los Angeles(Zamakibo & the smell) we saw them with Anavan @ the Echo(art walk opening party)- anyways they were great at that show, and they were good last night. Obviously, the crowd wasn't as into them as the los angeles crowd, but that is likely a familarity issue- the crowd was attentive.

show review:  THE NEW BLACK:The Sess, Atoms, art show w/ Ariane Bartosh and GirlChaos & AFTER PARTY for AIWKYBTTOTD

Cat Dirt Photo Set, Last Night at the Beauty Bar: Art! Atoms! Sess!

Last night was a big "win" for new night "the New Black"(DJ Nathan Black) and the Beauty Bar San Diego.

it was a succesful attempt to combine an art show with a rock show and a dj night. what bliss! the two elements that stood out as PARTICULARLY succesful were the art show and the rock show. i think the art show leads because, fuck- i mean, i've flown to boise to see matthew barney speak, and i go to sfmoma when i'm up there but i'm not really down with the "local art scene", aside from TNT. so last night was refreshing.

two artists were displaying; ariane bartosh paints night club scenes that looked like they should be hanging in the um... beauty bar. so, was it site specific installation art, or does ariane *sorry ari* bartosh just hang out a lot at the beauty bar. it's a connundrum but i felt that the presence of the art work elevated the atmosphere. as did the free wine and cosmos between 8 and 9 PM. Hey- great way to get people to come out early! good idea! can raise door price to cover anticpated cost?

anyway- i want to buy the frame that has gabe vega in it- i didn't see any prices? if i buy it i'll lend it to the beauty bar for display, with a little plaque(idea: Cat Dirt Wife).

the other artist was girlchaos- who i think i met. not entirely sure. her art had more of a design aspect to it... on asemblage at the back of the beauty bar featured a skate board with her distinctive graphic sensibility(pink, angular, human forms, no faces). she had little family portrait sized drawings/designs framed and sitting on tables. again, no prices? you guys should be selling art, yo!

the whole thing inspired me to try to do a show with a los angeles artist whose work would fit well in the rock/club milleu. you have to do it early in the week- if it gets too crowded, that would be trouble. something to keep in mind.

atoms and the sess were great. good turnout, although i saw all the people standing by the bar. to be fair, it was fucking freezing outside. hey, beauty bar san diego- heat lamps? whaddaya say? atoms really seem to be rounding into form. joey has some good stage material- including the my chemical romance sound check("to see a marching band") which i thought was hilarious, and his comment that michael richards needs to be celebrated even more after his racist tirade. either way, i'm totally with him! you know, and the rest of the band is just adorable. totally legal.

the sess rocked the house. they really do energize the crowd... the part of the crowd that isn't totally baffled. whatever- there were a ton of people there for a wednesday night.

after show highlight: someone repeatedly asking member of and i will know you for spin of shiny toy guns "le disko"

show review: the plot to blow up the eiffel tower(last show ever!), kill me tomorrow, mr. tube & the flying objects, atoms

@ the Che Cafe

first off- sold out before the second band took the stage. so... i didn't even know the che cafe COULD sell out. it did, and fast. i actually have a picture waiting in line AFTER the sell-out.

a consequence of the sell out is that i only have a couple pictures, mostly of the crowd, and frankly, i hardly actually WATCHED any of the show, because if there's one thing that 18 year olds and I agree on- they don't want to be standing next to me in a sweaty che cafe, and i don't want to be standing close to them.

this really only impacts my evaluation of Mr. Tube and the Flying Objects. This was purportedly their first! show! ever! but they already had a record and a cd, which is pretty extraordinary. Could have something to do with the fact that the band contains one Pall Jenkins(right?) of Black Heart Procession. Don't know if this is a new project, or a side project. Mr. Tube is a fairly member intensive affair- horn section, two(?) drummers, bass, guitar, singer. They kind of remind me of a cross between iSociety! and, um, Black Heart Procession. They also have the guitarist from grand ole party- john paul- playing saxamaphone(simpsons reference, ok). So local music fans who've seen iSociety! or Black Hear probably have a good feeling about this group and their sound- reggae, dubby, afro beaty, multi-instrurment, ten minute songs, etc. again, if it had been a less crowded environment with better lines of sight i would have watched more.

atoms- who i saw on wednesday- great. had a good chat with joey atoms, we talked about STUFF- I hate it when I talk to people and they're like "don't tell anyone". dang! makes it harder for this to me a gossip driven blog.

talked to tim pyles- again, i won't relate what he had to say about 91x and their recent personnel move.
talked to kristen gundred(grand ole party)- about the louis xiv situation. again- won't relate the substance, but suffice it to say that Grand Ole Party is moving on and there are no hard feelings.

kill me tommorow is growing on me!! i want to do a show with them, but I know that can never be, because they are art fag and i am cat dirt. can't we all be friends?

plot to blow up the eiffel tower- wow. what a ride. those guys accomplished a lot in five years, and i look forward to watching them in bands like the prayers(tonight- beauty bar san diego). they should let charles rowland back into some girls. kudos to the plot to blow up the eiffel tower, i think the che was like their home, and it was fitting that they end their run at the che. good work.

December 2006

Show Review(s)/Mega POST:
Cat Dirt Photo Set: Jega, Silverbird, The Prayers & Winter Nights @ Kadan, Beauty Bar San Diego & Balboa Park

Cat Dirt Photo Set: Jega, Silverbird, The Prayers & Winter Nights @ Kadan, Beauty Bar San Diego & Balboa Park
on to the festivities.

   First, a friend & I went to "winter nights" at balboa park. as a promoter who puts on free, all ages, out door concerts, i have a, semi-professional interest in this event, and it's within walking distance of cat dirt hq. my only observation is that winter nights is an unwieldy hodge podge, and appears to have out grown its humble roots. that said- it was a less of a fucking mad house then it was last year. sorry- actually i do have one more observation- more booths? please? maybe an edition of the "arts & commerce" hall from the del mar county fair? i'd really like to buy a vegetable sliver/dicer while i'm at holiday nights.

      Then we went to beauty bar san diego, where we met junior n' justin from fifty on their heels. who else was there... umm. mike from jezebel, kristen gundred from grand ole party, charles rowland(djig), marshall (well of course), that guy i think is in ex-friends but don't actually know, etc. everyone was there to see silverbird and the prayers. skull kontrol djs were in charge. i love it when mario spins mika miko and the supremes(or whatever) two songs later. great stuff! also got a little oasis set(!) from Andrew Miller(the prayers). and of course, if you read this blog, you probably saw my friday afternoon musings on the subject of oasis(with videos). So whether that was just simple serendipity or something far more sinister will have to remain a subject of speculation.

      Silverbird opened and- wow- ok- let me just make two nominations for "best new band" award @ the 2007 San Diego Music Awards-- Silverbird. Slam dunk. They are either alt-country or country rock. i suppose the term will be "alt-country"? they are either on the list of approved jam/rock bands or- and this is big- they may get their own category. i'm not sure yet- need to see them again (which may happened when they and fifty on their heels play the ken club in 2007? let's make it happen!)

           You all should know that i am a huge CALEXICO fan- went to their concert at the house of blues with iron and wine, went to the show before that at the casbah, have driven from san diego to tucson listening, all the while, to them, have an actual appreciation for tucson in part based on their being from there, etc.

     Silverbird reminds me of Calexico. Except not derivative. More of like "this thing is like that thing" (that's an actual category on!). They have singer/guitarist, piano player, drums, bass, and slide guitar. They have a more traditionally alternative "look""- like the singer who has those big earrings that stretch your ears out... i mean, how many country singers sport that look? the pianist/keyboardist is a small, asian woman who noodles the super mario brothers "dungeon theme" in between songs (video games represent!), morgan young on drums, bassist and slide guitarist(!).
             The last band i devoted ths much space to in my initial review was Grand Ole Party, so you're probably going to want to check them out and... this is key... FORM YOUR OWN OPINION. Troy Johnson, Tim Pyles, Al Guerra, Tim Mays, take note.

                Then the Prayers. The Beauty Bar mix of the Prayers last night fucking EMBARRASSED the sound system at the house of blues side stage. after i saw them at the side stage i was like "meah"- yeah- turns out that was the house of blues fault, not mine or the prayers. last night, they sounded great. let's be clear- the appeal of the prayers lies substantially in the vocals of brandon n' andrew, who form an appealing co-fronting duo. They both have distinctive singing voices, both excellent, and you really get a fuller sense of who they are as a band when you can, you know... HEAR THE SINGERS. I mean, i just feel sad for the house of blues side stage- it reflects poorly on them as a a venue if the same reviewer can see the same band at two different venues and say they were MUCH MUCH better at the second venue because of the sound guy. which is EXACTLY what i'm saying right now.

           But yeah, now i'm totally down with the prayers. turn those guitars down, boys, let's hear those pretty voices.

     Then it was on to kadan where i wanted to see reclusive idm legend jega. it was cool. good to see it, his sound is the same as it was six years ago, which is a little disappointing, but still- dude is on a level with aphex twin and boards of canada and dropped two records on matador records. there were like, ten people there, for a free show. broken beat sure knows how to promote their night. maybe it was like that on purpose? not that into kadan- seems to pick up air conditioned refuse, and air conditioned is super duper lame. why don't you just go to belo, huh?

Show Review
cat dirt expeditionary force: TARGET LAS VEGAS!

we had a little proto-expeditionary force a couple of months back, when we all went to los angeles, fifty played zamakibo and the smell, we went to the echo to see anavan and teenage talking cars, etc. that was cat dirt expeditionary force 0.5.

this weekend's trip to las vegas for the ratatat/fifty on their heels/blackmarket show is really the first attempt to implement the expeditionary force concept, so it's a still a work in progress... obviously.

you know, i've been of two different minds on the subject of touring/playing out of town. on the one hand, there is the conventional wisdom that in order for a band to be succesful, they need to "get out" of the town they're in and "hit the road". some kind of mystical quality supposedly attaches itself to the body of the band during this process.

on the other hand, you could argue that there are really only two cities a band NEEDS to play, one being los angeles, the other new york city. all the rest is for doing after you've acheived some sort of financial viability, and that viability will run, one way or another, through shows in los angeles and/or new york.

there is a little truth to both perspectives- i've heard arguments on many sides. typically the "go on tour as soon as possible" is held by stalwarts in the local scene, particularly those who don't like the san diego music scene.

the other view- well, i don't know that many people who really subscribe to it, but I fall more on that side. I mean, look at San Diego- this is a market of 2 million people. As a band that is drawing, say, between, 100-200 people to a show, the goal, first, should be to draw more people in the 2 million + market you live in, rather then trying to draw 50 people in Omaha. Even if you go back to Omaha three times, you'll still be playing in front of 200 people, tops. Is that a career? I think not.

Rather, the goal should be to establish your commerical viability in your home market, whilst playing selected shows in places like los angeles or las vegas or austin or new york city or san francisco. your viability in your home market helps you convince people in those important secondary markets.

so the goal of the expeditionary force is to lay the groundwork for future, stronger visits in the future.

December 2006
Show Review:
power chords record release party
@ the chob w/ sess, epsilons

Photos of Power Chords Record Release Party @ the CHOB

i went to this show for a couple reasons. first, i wanted to FINALLY buy the new power chords 7".  second, i wanted to see the epsilons from orange county (laguna beach, for shizzy)

We arrived at 8:30, which is when shows need to start at the CHOB but never do. Imagine my surprise when, upon our arrival, the epsilons had already begun their set! shock! applause! the place was packed- kudos to action jackson, promoter.

epsilons actually are more like the power chords with a key board. they are all pretty young lads-- as one would expect from their home town. i thought the drumming really stood out, and the singer had a definite presence. for one of the last songs he physically moved the mic stand into the crowd and sang facing the band- which was neat. I'm not so sure i love the keyboard/organ, gave the sound a garage rock/surf rock feel that isn't quite my cup of tea (as supposed to giving it a devo feel). they would go well with monsters from mars, i would think.

after epsilons stopped, i had a chance to talk with Action Jackson. He's done a couple good shows- esp. the Che w/ iSociety!, Grand Ole Party & Power Chords. He is also in Vision of a Dying World. He struck me as a stand-up all right kind of guy. We had a fairly brief conversation about bringing down the adored and new motherfuckers to pair with fifty on their heels and the power chords at the che cafe. that will be sooooooo much drama, i want it to happen, just for the follow-up show review on this blog.

as i was talking to jackson, it became clear that the CHOB was totally packed. if they'd been selling tickets, it would have been a total sell-out. there were even gutter punks there- i snapped a picture of a couple of them. they were adorable! one was even loudly "shit talking" in the middle of the crowd about something or other. i'd like to see those kids try to administer a beat down- seriously, they were the most adorable gutter punks i've ever seen in my whole life.

as i stood in the back, barely catching a glimpse of the sess, i realized that my presence there was totally unnecessary- i mean... the place was packed. and of course, fifty is playing with the sess @ the tower bar. and i've seen the power chords at the chob three times already.

but- kudos to action jackson for getting the show started early, and to all the bands. The CHOB was a venue with real viability last night, and I hope to see more in the future. Maybe I'll do my own CHOB show... or maybe not, being drama free is kind of nice right now. thanks to action jackson for being so friendly! the guy has the right idea and i would encourage local (and non local bands) to seek him out via myspace and talk to him about doing shows down in san diego.

January 2007

Show Review: little radio new years eve
w/ autolux & dead meadow
little radio new years eve los angeles ca.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

photos from little radio new years eve w/ autoluxe & dead meadow 12/31/06

thanks to jfcd(sesac) and little radio for making this happen! it was... an amazing event... great energy! little radio is super awesome! the little radio warehouse in los angeles is a great venue! last night, i heard the next show is the breeders in los angeles- i don't know if that's been announced or what- but it's a great place to see a show!

you def need to check out the pics-- i'm constantly amazed at how many people look at the photos of berghain/panorama bar- but the little radio warehouse is at LEAST as cool as the panorama bar in berlin- maybe cooler. it's kind of apples and oranges.

lucky for us we had "vip" passes- little radio has a traditional club/warehouse/venue with a loft and bar- that's half of the building. then on the other side there are "offices"- look at the pics of the vip area to see the detail. apparently you can rent them out or something. not sure what's up with that. the whole thing was open bar- it was pretty nuts in the vip area- la hipsters are like wolverines when it comes to free booze. My companion and i were like "who's paying for this"?

best not to ask questions!

we were enraptured by dead meadow. we had a vantage point from the little radio vip loft/certain death trap (see photos). Dead Meadow was AMAZING. and i heard last night that they moved to los angeles a few weeks ago! sweet! Can you see Dead Meadow headlining sessions fest 2007? Ah, if i close my eyes i can see it now.

then new years happened and there was lots of drunk hipster mayhem. see picture of guy smoking cigarette on floor. then autolux played and they were not that great. they have a singing female drummer? it's a neo-shoegazer vibe. i dunno- what do i know.

cdw, jfcd, jgfjdcd(jen girlfriend of josh friend of cat dirt) and her friends from interscope almost got crushed to death trying to get into the loft for autolux. we watched a couple of autolux songs. we talked to Tim Burgess(Charlatans UK). I guess he lives in los angeles now? i hear he has a dj set! hey beauty bar san diego! that would be a fun night!

at the end of the night dave from little radio promised that he wanted to "talk" about legal issues and that they need a "new lawyer". i eagerly anticipate that call! intoxicated promises are legal contracts in the state of california, dave!!

anyway- the whole experience was inspirational! i can't wait for 2007.

New Year's Pics From Little Radio Party
The official new year's pics from the Little Radio Dead Meadow/Autolux party are up! There is a cute pic of friends of jfcd and of a couple we met outside named max and jax (he's dressed in a three piece suit and she looked like madonna from desparately seeking susan but with better hair) who invited us to their loft nearby to get "girl scout cookies" - thinking that it was a la euphemism for something more sinister we turned them down - thirty minutes later max and jax showed up carrying a stack of girl scout cookie boxes and offered us to choose one - nothing like 2am cookies! thanks max and jax!

Little Radio New Year's Pics

justin timberlake and the frankfurt school

one of my favorite works of post WWII marxist philosophy is The Dialectic of Enlightenment by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno. Horkheimer and Adorno were both affiliated with the "Frankfurt School" of Marxism when they wrote this book. Oddly enough for a pair of contiential scholars, they wrote it while sitting out WWII in sunny Malibu, California(true!). So, this influential work of cultural theory has as much to do with southern california as western germany. Dialectic of Enlightenemnt is a series of disconnected essays, but the one to really check out is the fourth essay, "The Culture Industry: Enlightenement as Mass Deception." If you actually work in a culture industry, you owe it to yourself to read this short chapter because in it, Horkheimer and Adorno effectively analyze the (negative, it goes without saying for marxist theory) role of the culture industry in western capitalist society. Believe it!

here are some fab quotes:

"What connoisseurs discuss as good or bad points serve only to perpetuate the semblance of competition and range of choice."

"Not only are the hit songs, stars and soap operas cyclic ally recurrent and invariably rigid types, but the specific content of the entertainment itself is dervied from them and only appears to change."

"The development of the cultrue industry has led to the predominance of the effect, the obvious touch, and the techical detail over the work itself."

"Culture as a common denominator already contains in embryo that schematization and process of cataloguing and classification which bring culture within the sphere of administration."

"The culture industry can pride itself on having energetically executed the previously clumsy transposition of art into the sphere of consumption, on making this a principle, on divesting amusement of its obtrusive naivetes and improving the type of commodities."

"Pleasure hardens into boredom because, if it is to remain pleasure, it must not demand any effort and therefor moves rigorously in the worn grooves of association."

"The fusion of culture and entertainment that is taking place today leads not only to a depravation of culture, but inevitable to an intellectualization of amusement"(!)(guilty!)

The idea being that the justin timberlake concert is a fine, fine example of this same "culture industry" at work in 2007! The same thing they're writing about in 1945- in malibu! how crazy is that? i'm not saying i agree with all those quotes- quite the opposite! i live to intellectualize amusement! no lie! but everyone with an interest in the business of culture should read this book...

Show Review: Vision of a Dying World @ Stockton House

Photos: Vision of a Dying World @ Stockton House

ah- i had fun last night. it was... refreshing. honestly, i was dreading the prospect of the grand ole party/prayers/uv tigers show @ the casbah. not on the list- $10 cover; couple of bands on that list that don't return my calls- haha- jk- who uses a telephone for anything other than texting these days?

so when i caught the listing for the stockton house show on sddialedin i was like "fuck yeah! perfect!" just looking at the listing reminded me of a simpler time, say, last year at this time, when nobody gave a fuck about local music. also, i've always wanted to check out a show at stockton house. it has a quasi-legendary status here in golden hill. i'm certain that goblin cock played has played there & i'm pretty sure that sirhan sirhan played there, also. another reason i went is that i've been meaning to give vision of a dying world a second chance based on the good works of "Action" Jackson Millgaten(sp?), promoter and guitarist/singer of Vision of Dying World- he has been supportive of my endeavors, and i wanted to see if i couldn't find some way to dig their folky/acoustical sound (or at least that's what I THOUGHT they sounded like).

the night took a quasi random turn even before it began when troy johnson emailed me and wanted to know if i was going to the stockton house show. we kicked it with dialed in rosie and andrea (and troy) @ the happiest place on earth.

went to stockton house in time to see some dude with an acoustic guitar and a beard singing- i guess he is from arizona- along with the andrew jackson jihad(great name!)- all the bands on the bill were from arizona besides vision of a dying world. we were standing in the kitchen of stockton house(capacity- 25?)- it was full up.

there were three drunk dudes in the kitchen (all night). usually i'm not much for drunk house party guys- but these dudes were bringing it! it was A+ comedic material. I learned in between sets that one of them works with abattoir magazine and one is a promoter or something. I took a picture of the guy who had the lollipop- you have to check out the photos for him. funny! he kept saying "let's get some cocaine and hookers"- but he did "hookers" with a "Cheech" kind of mexican accent- it was funny. you had to be there. he also kind of got into it with one of his buddies who responded to his agression with peals of laughter and the repeated comment, "dude-- what are you going to do? you have a lollipop?" Classic! and true!

after the acoustic guy finished up we hung out in the (fucking freezing cold) yard. MC Flow and Gigi showed up. So did Jeremy Sess and the twins from iSociety!, Scarlett Symphony.

Vision of a Dying World played- i had an image of them being acoustical and folky, but they are now a conventional rock four piece and i have to say- i really liked it! they kind of land somewhere (locally) between the prayers and silverbird. hard to really tell how technically proficient they are (non existent sound system), but the rythym section was solid and they had good energy and the crowd was into it! my take on the influences are kind of country rock/libertines brit rock with a little bit of pysch rock. i'm not going to go that into it, because i want to see them at a venue with better sound.

after the set i talked to jackson and he said that the guy who played the mandolin, lute, etc. had moved to the bay area (natch) and they got a new drummer and they just had a more conventional rock sound now. he sounded kind of bummed out about it so i felt sort of bad about being so enthusiastic about the "new" sound. none the less- vision of a dying world- check them out. oh the other funny part is where i asked them how long they had the new sound and he was like "a year". ah- yeah- i'm all about checking out new music. ha ha.

jackson also said that they have a full length almost in the can- 13 songs worth! and i want to hear that! it must be subjected to critical evaluation ASAP!

after that we were ready to go so we took troy and abby and gigi back to the happiest place on earth, where Kelly Kite Flying Society was doing her friday night thang' -one of the other guys from kite flying society was kicking it and so was the mysterious knitting ninja(we know who you are!)

ok final bit is i had a great idea for something to do- call it "golden hill festival" or "golden hill social" and basically it would be to schedule four shows on two consecutive nights at all four quasi-legal venues in golden hill. so friday night it would be CHOB and then Stockton House. Saturday night it would be Black Box Studios & Habitat. Hey- wouldn't that be super fun? We can do it in april. I will be notifying the appropriate parties. the greatest thing about this partiuclar idea- don't need any help from anyone to pull it off! ha!

CHOB 4/13/07
Free/All Ages

house party free/all ages

free/all ages

free/all ages

are you feeling it, san diego? sounds like a good time to me.

Show Review:
 The Vultures & The Muslims(first performance ever!) @ Beauty Bar San Diego

Photos: The Vultures and The Muslims(first! ever! performance!) @ Beauty Bar San Diego

if you're involved in the local scene you need to be interested in increasing the total "market size" for local music. accepting the status quo in regards to the current market size for local music consumption in san diego is fucking ridiculous and if you're taking the current situation as something that will be "forever more" you might as well quit right now.

i don't even think ACTUALLY increasing the size of the market is necessary, even. just working on the perception of potential local music consumers is significant progress.

i think one of the main barriers preventing potential local music consumers from engaging is a lack of information about their options. that's why show review are so important- they help potential consumers find out about bands they might want to check out. so that's why the more show reviews, the better.

last night i went to beauty bar san diego to check out the muslims(first! show! ever!) and the vultures(formerly charles rowland and the vultures). so i got there after 10 and the place was pretty filled up. before the muslims i chatted with "action" jackson- who's g-friend is in The Muslims. He seemed pretty nervous, but man- what a great first show- saturday night at the beauty bar, opening for the vultures? you're practically guarenteed success.

and succesful it was- The Muslims are an exciting new San Diego band. They are a four piece- singer/guitarist, "lead" guitarist, bassist, drummer. The points of reference are: Velvet Underground, The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Excellent vocals from a front man with an engaging presence(his name is Mike, he lived in the same house with Mario Orduno, Brandon et. al.). The Myspace songs don't really do the material justice, you'll probably want to add them, but don't get hung up on the myspace tunes. I'm going to add them to the nominee list for "beat new artist 2007 san diego music awards."

they're playing next week with the prayers at the ken club- saturday night. that's a must see.

Talked to Mario Orduno from Art Fag Records- Prayers 4 song vinyl/cd ep is on the way. He's also releasing The Vultures- he said that Rowland recorded it all(!) in his bedroom(!)- which is pretty funny because as i am about to tell you, the vultures are nothing like the kind of music you'd expect to hear from a home recording project.

The Vultures are a four piece, apparently put together from gig-to-gig since the only permanent member is Charles Rowland. They had Andrew Miller(the prayers) on guitar, Willy(plot to blow up the eiffel tower) on bass, and Brandon(plot to blow up the eiffel tower, the prayers) on drums(!). Would be a pretty easy thing for The Vultures and The Prayers to tour- I'm sure that will happen. Rowland mostly just sings but he plays a little guitar from time to time.

He posseses the same pouty/surly attitude that San Diegans have come to expect(and love!) from the artists formerly of the plot to blow up the eiffel tower. without editorial comment i will present this one line from his stage patter, which i wrote down at the time of the concert:

"the muslims were good but we're going to be better, that's just the way it goes."

So, that gives you a sense of the confrontational attitude. as i've said in my reviews of the prayers (and the plot), i'm not that into the whole confrontational schtick, but- i will say this- it works more for The Vultures then any other band. Perhaps that because Rowland has a more convincing sneer then Brandon, or maybe it's just because the music of the Vultures is more suitable for that kind of attitude.

the music sounded like iggy pop/the stooges/mc5 to me. well executed- good song writing- they covered the clash and the who. not so sure about that.

and, you know, there's recorded material on tap for distribution- likely a (national?) tour with the prayers(i'm guessing), so i think the vultures need to be acknolwedged as a potential player. not sure if that's a set line up or what- but the thing to keep an eye on is the record release date. can a brother get an advance copy? i promise no bootleg mp3 distribution- but maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing? this record could sell!

the muslims are playing at the ken club next weekend and that's where i'll be - you should come out and cehck them out!

one criticism- if you're going to be a confrontational sneering punk front man and not even play guitar in most of the songs, you would be well advised to take the microphone out of the mic stand and get out into the crowd. see the photos for examples of what i'm talking about. the only "move" i saw last night was when he knocked over the mic stand with his guitar(yawn). this small, small criticism should not detract from what is a very positive review for a band that has national potential out of the box! i can't wait to hear the record and/or cd.

it was good to see skull kontrol rocking the beauty bar on a saturday night. they have the dj/band combinations to really pull off the whole band/dj concept, and they have a dif. crowd than gabe vega inc. they are a real asset to the beauty bar and should do more shows there!

thoughts on covering a local music scene as a journalist

first of all, that's what you should be doing if you want to write about popular music. unless you live in los angeles or new york and work for a national magazine or work for a major daily. music critics/journalists are typically accalaimed for the early recognition of bands that later go on to great commerical acclaim/ achieve great critical acclaim.

that's a BIG problem with alot of indie blogger nation music blogs. but if you're spending your time advocating for music that ALREADY has achieved commerical/critical acclaim- well- what's the point? congratulations on hailing stephen malkamus as in introspective genius! no one has ever done that before! if you're writing is telling people what they already know, what purpose to do you serve?

basically you're an amplification device for the public relations department of large corporations. congratulations!

1/2 of a show review:
anti monday league
 fifty on their heels, peter and the wolf, vinyl radio & the strikers

i missed the strikers and fifty on their heels because i was reviewing the justin timberlake concert for blog, san diego. i liked blog san diego even before they hooked me up with the incredibly awesome futuresex/lovesounds tix. so as i head towards 300 visits in a single day (first time ever!), i thought i would add in this mini-review of last nights festivites. rosie at sddialedin & chickrawker both dropped their takes- so you ought to check them out- and oh- and troy johnson is blogging off his myspace profile. i heard that city beat was thinking about starting a blog or something. i have also noticed that the san diego union tribune is adding a blog every week- last week it was a breaking news blog(which is actually super cool- you should peep on it) and a restaurant blog(which is utterly hilarious- keep up the hilarity and i promise i'll throw some love that way in august or thereabouts...) clearly blogs are over- but here's the thing- if you're not rocking a blog on blogger(which is owned by google) you might as well not be blogging at all.

ok- i'm getting off track. so- the anti monday league is an important step for the local rock music scene. clearly, tim mays is making a (small) bet on local music by committing to tim pyles on mondays (and tuesday?) nights. this is a real opportunity for everyone in local music because tim mays can book shows at venues like soma and epicentre. tim mays is an independent, non-corporate force on the local music scene who has the track record to work with corporate entities that have access to national networks of influence. hey i've got no problem with benevolent corporate overlords- but a benevolent corporate overlord is still a CORPORATE OVERLORD and you know corporations don't give a flying fuck about you- your band or your scene. DON'T GIVE A FUCK!

so let's take a look at the forthcoming anti monday league schedule:

dreamtiger(san diego)(neo-shoegazer like asobi seksu)
talk demonic(portland)

it's a night of local shoegazer music at the casbah! shoegazer! yo, indie blogger nation! check it out!

The Long and Short of It

Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies
Hostile Combover (atari lounge)

Monsters are Waiting

looks like... um sebadoh is playing at the end of feb. shit. and a banter records showcase. fun stuff!

ok- wow this show review got off track. i'm just very supportive and passionate about the success of the anti monday league- i take it personally. that is A LOT of bands i need to get up to speed on all of them since i've heard of ... um...none of them. not one.

so i got to casbah in time for most of the vinyl radio set. they were good. i say, if delta spirit, why not vinyl radio? i think they are both good. delta spirit just has better connections via monarchy records. speaking of monarchy- how about tixs to cwk and delta spirit? i think i'm ready to grapple with cold war kids. i have been personally assured by vinyl radio matt that they have a dynamic live performance. vinyl radio has their misbegotten cd for free @ their gigs- i took five- i need to listen to that. they have a new album they're working on that will have the right songs on it. you live and learn when it comes to releasing cds- mistakes are going to happen.

peter and the wolf played last. i booked the show for peter and the wolf so i felt responsible. i was a little bummed that more people didn't stick around, but that was counter-balanced by the large volume of people who were there- i was remembering back to the show fifty on their heels played @ the casbah in january of 2006- kite flying society, old man hands & fifty on their heels.

i have read other bloggers mentioning the incongrous line up order. the line up i had discussed with tim was strikers, peter and the wolf, vinyl radio and fifty on their heels- but shit happened and tim had to switch it up. this is local music- you have to role with the punches when it comes to scheduling.

anyway- peter and the wolf is a band that would be more suitable for a kite flying society/old man hands kind of bill- it was a guy playing guitar and singing and then like eight dudes playing beer bottles and pots and pans and shit. i thought it was pretty good and the singer- red? has a self assured stage presence that speaks of a certain level of professionalism. also, he's from austin, a pitchfork favorite and has all the indie blogger nation credentials a brother could shake a stick at- so- check out sddialed in rosie's description of the sound. i have pictures but i'm feeling lazy.

i heard that fifty on their heels put on a good set and the place was pretty crowded for their performance. i would estimate the attendance during vinyl radio to be more then 100- not bad for a monday night. it was funny how they turned on the lights after peter and the wolf finished up- it was like "get out"! funny! you'd think they would be stoked that people would still be buying drinks @ 12:30 on a monday night (and they were) but it was like "get out". i thought that was odd- something to work on in the coming weeks.

february is going to be a pretty strong month for the anti monday league based on the shows i see on the casbah website ( i repeat- sebadoh is an anti-monday league show) so i think it's important to turn it out for the next two weeks to m

Show Review:
The Prayers, Jeremy Jay & The Muslims
 @ Ken Club

i KNOW y'all aren't sleeping on the Muslims.  Attention Journalists, Radio Station Employees and Venue Bookers- The Muslims are the new san diego band hotness, and you need to check them out ASAP.  Next opportunity- Beauty Bar San Diego next Saturday- more details on that on tuesday...

last night it was the prayers, jeremy jay (los angeles) and the musliims, but the focus of the crowd was clearly the muslims.  as one patron commented- "i've never seen the bar so empty and the concert area so full!"  pretty much all in attendance agreed on two propositions: 1) the muslims are good. 2) the muslims sound like the velvet underground- the late era, poppy velvet underground-- not "black angel death song" era velvet underground.  unforch i didn't bring my camera, but i DID upgrade my photo bucket account, so i welcome the return of photomagraphs to cat dirt sez with these three photos of the members of the muslims(minus the drummer- sorry!)

matt, lead singer, songwriter of the muslims.  buddies with the whole art fag/plot posse.  sounds like lou reed.  positive attitude! a winner!

i totally forgot the name of the guitarist- even though i was introduced to him last night.  guitar interplay with matt's guitar reminds one of the interplay between lou reed and john cale.  lou reed played guitar in the velvet underground, right?

emily- bassist, the muslims.  also in the clockwork army.  skilled playing, indeed.  also give them that "female band member" edge.

after the muslims set i chatted a little with kristin gundred of grand ole party. hey crazy kristin stalkers- she looooooovesssss the prayers so if you want to see her "out" a prayers show is a good bet.  also- she's taken- so- just so you know.  also chatted with andrew millers(the prayers)- he is quite a gentleman.  mario and i had a brief conversation about next saturday @ the beauty bar- the muslims- some cool band from los angeles in the vein of mika miko & skulll kontrol djs. it should be the hotness.  we actually went to the show with dialed in rosie- matt vinyl radio was there- mike jezebel... um... the energy was GREAT last night.  in the past i've kind of felt like the whole art fag/plot crew was kind of, sort of stand offish, but last night it was just all positive energy.  it's nice to see those cats relax and enjoy the fact that they totally have it going on and people are digging it.

jeremy jay played second- they are a three piece from los angeles and all i know about them is that they played the smell the night before, and have cds and 7"s for sale.  they had a sound that was difficult for me to categorize.  my friend said joy division- matt vinyl radio said the singer kind of reminded him of morrisey- i just couldn't place it.  they fit in well with the other two bands on the bill.  i wouldn't mind checking them out again and maybe picking up that 7".

the prayers played last for a crowd that had thinned out noticeably- ahh... the ken club- i expect nothing less from your super-jaded patrons.  oh- yeah- i've seen the prayers before- i don't need to watch them again. ha-ha. that's people who hang out at the ken club.  the prayers sounded great- as andrew told me- they've learned that they need to turn down those amps a touch and they live show has benefited from it.  brandon and andrew both have genuine front man charisma, and the fact that switch off on lead vox mitigates the fact that there isn't a whole lot of activity up there.  which is funny if you've seen the plot to blow up the eiffel tower- brandon is all over the place in that band.

i didn't hear it directly but someone told me that the prayers 4 song ep wasn't coming out for another couple months- which would be march.  does a four song ep qualify for a nomination for best album? our six song ep did last year, so i don't see why not, but i can see that leading to some hating.  what about fifty's two song 7"- holiday/i am the riot?  i think THAT should be nominated too, if four songs count, why not two songs? it's not like there's some regulation.

i will be interested to read dialed in rosie's take on the muslims... maybe on monday?

the artist and his role in the production of mass culture

But any trace of spontaneity from the public in official broadcasting is
controlled and absorbed by talent scouts, studio competitions and official
programs of every kind selected by professionals. Talented performers belong to
the industry long before it displays them; otherwise they would not be so eager
to fit in. The attitude of the public, which ostensibly and actually favours the
system of the culture industry, is a part of the system and not an excuse for
-The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass DeceptionTheodor Adorno and Max

ah- i found my favorite, favorite essay on line- so now i can quote from it whenever. it's like a holy text to me. i consider this one the foundational documents of the d.i.y. movement in music... in a sort of roundabout way. unforch, the essay is pretty heavy lifting, so i thought i would take a page from the religious right and analyze it biblical style- with a little portion and then an interpretation of the text.

ok- so is from page 2- early on in the essay- and they are discussing RADIO- which is a form of media that i talk about alot on CAT DIRT SEZ. "official broadcasting" refers to radio stations- am and fm- they would probably include pubilc broadcasting in that mix. i don't think internet radio would count- that would be outside the ambit of what they're talking about. so by "trace of spontaneity from the public" they probably are talking about non-corporate forms of art/music- the experimental, the non professional.

the second sentence- starting with the phrase "talented performers" is interesting- because it demonstrates how people who are currently OUTSIDE of the described system seek to join the system through a process of "selection"- and therefore reinforce the system even as they are excluded- kind of like the tradtional marxist concept of "false consciousness" whereby industrial workers support their owners(their oppressors). the selection process is of course controlled by the professionals in the first sentence- the same one responsible for programming the radio.

notice, in the third and final sentence, horkheimer and adorno acknowledge that the public supports the status quo that they find so rephrensible. here you can see some relationship to the elistism of the cultural avant garde in movements like punk rock and hard core, etc. you are familiar with it in the attitude of the indie blogger nation guy who sneers at pop music, "the public gets what it deserves, only WE know what is really good."

so if you a performer- ask yourself- is my goal to gain access to the "official programs... selected by professioinals"? If that's the case, there is no use in adopting a purposeful ignorance in your relationship with those official programs and those professions. if it's not- you need to ask yourself- what's the alternative?

 The Muslims & No Age @ Skull Kontrol
(Beauty Bar San Diego)

you see that- "Skull Kontrol(Beauty Bar San Diego)" i think that is the proper way to refer to a club night/venue- it's like band(record label); the venue sponsors the night anyway.

this kid is our next door neighbor on 21st st.  this is a photograph of the costume he wore to the golden hill block party - a multi-head (hydra) dragon costume- i wanted to get a good shot of it, because i kind of missed out at the block party itself (he insisted that "no pictures" be taken that night).  anyway- he speaks icelandic and a little swedish and is just about the coolest kid ever!

beauty bar san diego got itself a heater! good idea.

the muslims @ skull kontrol(beauty bar san diego)
hey the muslims are fucking awesome!  that's going to be a pretty cool fifty on their heels/the muslims bill @ the che cafe in march- NOT a cat dirt production, but an action jackson production.  i don't think it's been officially announced yet, but it's going to be an exciting night.  Once again: The Muslims remind the listener of the Velvet Underground.  I've never compared a band to the Velvet Underground before, so it's not a comparison I make lightly.

crowd during no age @ skull kontrol(beauty bar san diego)
it's nice when you descibe a dj/band concept at the beauty bar san diego and then like, a month later, skull kontrol is executed the game plan to perfection.  it's great to see 200+(confirmed!) paying to watch No Age- a band that even I hadn't heard of until Mario told me he booked them LAST SATURDAY.  i am, frankly, impressed that the folks pictured above were attentively listening to a guitar/drums two piece that kind of sounds like death from above 1979. but where did all these people come from? And don't tell me it's the "regular beauty bar crowd on a saturday night"- i don't think so- that crowd was @ Transport(5th year anniversary!)  i'm slightly freaked out by the number of people who showed up last night.  i prefer more poorly attended events- that's the surest way to know how cool you are!

no age @ skull kontrol(beauty bar san diego) 1/20/07

as i said above, the clear no age reference point is death from above 1979. i was someone who owned the first(?) death from above album and wasn't into it at all.  like late last year i kind of tried to listen to it.  but- it's a hot two piece sound. they're from los angeles.  people were totally into it.  what else do  you want me to say? they were playing for an audience of 200+? I CAN'T IMAGINE the same response @ the casbah- people would have been standing around with their arms folded or would leave or something.

the crowd was not the usual suspects- i hardly recognized anyone.  girls with little hats, gaslamp refugees(?), guys with crew cuts excitedly pumping their fists in the air during no age's set?! it certainly bodes well for the bottom line @ beauty bar san diego and the future of skull kontrol saturday knights(SKSK)(you can use that if you want!) @ the beauty bar san diego.  skull kontrol is doing a tuesday night @ the beauty bar los angeles in february.  that puts them into direct competition w/ Steve Aoki & friends @ Cinespace.  Mario is excited about the challenge! I hear the Beauty Bar Los Angeles is the place for musicians who are in town recording.

so the bottom line is that last night was a triumph both financially and artisticaly- you can't beat that.

cat dirt exclusive mp3:  The Muslims "On My Time"

right now, san diego is pooping bands. the muslims are my fav new band of 2007- they sound like the velvet underground, except unlike lou reed, matt can actually sing. the other matt plays guitar. emily, the bassist is in clockwork army. based on the great turn out they're getting at their shows, it's hard to say san diego is sleeping on the muslims, but of course the rest of the world is, so consider this your intro.

2007 Coachella Review: Coachella Style, 
The Trucker Hat is Dead, Long Live the Army Cap!

cobrasnake and cory kennedy, originally uploaded by catdirtrecords.

Sigh. I literally never get tired of looking at that photo.
OK- this my 2007 Coachella Review "Style Round-up" and I just wanted to do a quick run down of the fashion trends I observed at Coachella.

1. I didn't take that picture of Cory Kennedy until Sunday afternoon, BUT on Friday and Saturday everyone in our party made dozens of "Cory Kennedy" sighting that were false alarms. A "Cory Kennedy" sighting typically entails a rail thin girl with shoulder length brown hair (straight), oversize sunglasses and a thin head band of some kind. Of course, the oversize sunglasses is not Cory Kennedy specific, but that was the look we saw a bunch of.

2. The memo on trucker hats has been disseminated. Not even the rage against the machine guys were wearing them (!) They have been replaced by the "army cap" which is a fitted cloth hat, usually in a dark color, with no logo or type of photo or anything. v. v. basic. Literally, every other person at Coachella (guys n' gals) had one.

3. Skulls! Skulls on t-shirts! Skulls on hats! Skulls on dresses! There are even t-shirts that have dozens of different skulls on them. Skulls. Skulls. Skulls.

4. Mini Dresses with boots. Dozens of sightings, espech in the VIP tent.

5. Guys with waxed torsos. Not technically a "style" but I saw so many dudes with their shirts off and perfectly hairless torsos, I had to take note. Impossible to ignore. Guys- put those shirts back on!

6. Wearing your 2007 Coachella Rage Against the Machine Shirt BEFORE they've played. Again, I saw this at least one hundred times on friday and saturday. What's up with that? You haven't even seen Rage yet.

May 2007:
Show Review:
 Fifty on Their Heels & New Motherfuckers
 @ the Beauty Bar San Diego

As I was watching the Rapture bore me to death at Coachella 2007 I couldn't help but think "fuck, fifty on their heels could play coachella." in fact, it was pretty funny to see how many really boring live bands were playing coachella. i'm kind of the opinion that rock bands should be interesting to watch live. well, what do i know anyways...

Last night, pretty good rumor had it that the night clocked 215 at the beauty bar door. Not a fantastic number, but not a bad number either. The New Motherfuckers were amazing. They get tighter and tighter each time I see them. They are losing a bit of the extreme quirkiness that marked their earlier performances/recordings and moving more into a "conventional" rock idiom, but they are still odd ducks, and that makes me like them.

Between sets I had a chance to talk to Cullen from the North Atlantic who is a really cool/interesting guy. Had a chance to check out their most recent cd on the drive home and I liked what I heard- it had a fugazi/math rock vibe. I think it is fair to say that you could see a north atlantic/fifty on their heels bill at some point in the next few months. maybe at the casbah?

The concert area really filled up for the Fifty on Their Heels set. The crowd was quite attentive and enthusiastic- which pleased me. Junior was in fine form, Fifty played a new song which was really good. My favorite part of the set was when the last song, Junior said "this next song is the A side from our upcoming single" and people in the crowd were yelling "I am the riot"- like- they already knew about the single! Wow! Actual awareness of Fifty on Their Heels. Great.

The DJ part of the night didn't really go off like I was expecting. Not sure what's up with that.

Tonight, all you UCSD students who are peeping the Sun God line up- come out and see Fifty on Their Heels at the Che Cafe:

Fifty on Their Heels
The Muslims
The New Motherfuckers
The Corvinas
Che Cafe

It should be super happy fun time.

Show Review:  
Fifty on Their Heels. The Muslims,  New Motherfuckers & The Corvinas 
@ the Che Cafe

I am SO tired of the down town scene. What's the head count? What's your draw? How's the bar total? Money, MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. I don't care whether the downtown venues make money or not- because you know what? they don't pay the bands shit. Why should I be busting my hump promoting shows so the venues can make their bar money selling their alcoholic poison to twenty somethings? I'm glad downtown venues are embracing local music. I'm glad that the tourism bureau is promoting music. I'm glad that local radio pays lip service to local music. I'm glad that newspapers are paying attention. Good for all that.

The Che Cafe is so perfect in every respect as an all-ages venue that it literally defies analysis. It is a paradise, a utopia of D.I.Y. culture. Of course- paradise sounds like a really boring place, and utopia literally means "no place." The problems come with the territory. But I'll take the problems that come with putting on a show at the Che Cafe with the problems that come with the downtown scene EVERY SINGLE DAY.

The Che Cafe is a home for DIY culture, it is a lighthouse, a beacon in the darkness of the war between independent thought and corporate mass media culture. I'd rather draw 25 paid to the Che Cafe then 250 paid at the Beauty Bar San Diego. Simply put, there is more intrinsic cultural value derived from a single Che Cafe then a million, billion shows at SOMA.

These shows are utterly indpendent, without corporate support or sponsorship and, ipso facto, that makes the artistic expression more authentic and original then the products of the culture industry. Also, this institution (the Che Cafe) sustains the light of independent expression inside the fierce enveloping darkness of the mass media and the domination of independent expression by the culture industry.

You parents with young children- you bring them to the Che Cafe to teach them about the culture of independent music. Choose your shows carefully, but do choose, do paricipate. Don't let your children grow up in the thrall of corporate media.

A common tactic of insurgents is to retreat to the hinterlands in times of weakness. Mao did it, Castro did it- Che- the man himself- did it. There is your connection between the man in the venue.  Will the uprising ever follow? No. It never will. The forces of corporate power are too strong, the money too powerful. It is futile struggle, but it is, above all- a worthwhile, meaningful struggle. The flickering light of independant culture needs to be carefully tended in this time of cultural darkness. The Che Cafe is like a monastery hugging the coast of Ireland during the dark ages. The monks within carefully inscribing illuminated manuscripts for generations in the future that they will never know.

And about the show last night? It was fucking amazing. The Corvinas are an important new act on the San Diego scene- they have a garage sound that merits attention- a sound that would mesh well with many, many bands- grand ole party, vinyl radio, etc. Book them!

The New Motherfuckers kicked out the jams in a mind bending 45 minute set that practically caused my head to burst into flames.

Fifty on Their Heels- incredibly- will be playing the main stage (6 PM) of the 2007 UCSD Sun God Festival- two weeks from now- but last night they played some new songs and generally brought the thunder that all have come to expect.

And the Muslims- have their drummer sitch lined out (and he is a great fucking drummer, they bought a brand new van and they were AMAZING, showing new material and ending with an epic 10 minute jam session. God it was a great night. I think I'm in love with the Che Cafe. I just want to do shows away from the pressure and expectations of downtown. I don't care about the crowds, or the buzz, forget all that. The power comes from just doing the thing itself, from putting on the shows, from recording the music, from setting up and executing the tours. The rest of it- it comes, or it doesn't come, but the thing is to have a great time, or its not really worth it.

And last night- that- well that- was a great fucking time. And I want to do it again- I want to capture the feeling of last night, put it in a jar and keep it under my pillow. And I never want to go downtown again. And I never want to waste another night at the beauty bar again. The Che Cafe is one of the great DIY venues in all these united states- and you out of town bands- you take heed. The peacefulness, the serenity, the vibe- all of it. This is what I want to do. I don't care about the rest of it. You keep your radio, your newspapers, your magazines, your downtown shows. I don't want to compete with you. This is not a competition. We are fighting for scraps off the masters table and it is a pointless struggle that we will never win.

I had a great time last night- thank you to everyone- it was a spiritually revitalizing experience. I want to do it again and soon. All the bands were great. It was fun. Isn't that the point?

Show Review:
fifty on their heels, slab city, the corvinas
 @ la casa tia tina in mexicali, mexico

let me tell you about a band called slab city.  slab city is from el centro, california and they have five band members- drummer (pictured above), singer (felipe who is, i am happy to report- not a crackhead, but is pretty cool), guitarist and bassist annnnddd a keyboardist/back up vocalist.  they are about to unleash their mayhem on an unsuspecting west coast, and i would be deeply, deeply worried about said unleashed mayhem.  they took the stage in costumes: freddy krueger, mexican wrestler, um... shirtless drummer wearing a green cape(superhero?), and keyboardist wearing hat made out of beer carton (um... help me out on that one.)

they kind of reminded me of a "bizarro" atoms- kind of the obverse of that band, with certain similarities in song writing (simple, punk inspired) and audience reaction (all ages, enthusiastic).  that being said, atoms are more devo, and slab city is more... misfits? in inspiration. however you want to phrase it, i was impressed by slab city and it was sweet to see them in their home environment.  i felt privelged, in all honesty.

ok. this guy.  the um... "venue" is called la casa tia tina and it is a kind of all ages venue/artists collective located in the beating heart of mexicali, mexico.  it is basically a bombed out series of structures located about a mile from the calexico/mexicali border crossing.  and they have art on the walls.  shows take place on a "whenever they want to do it" basis.  they seem to have some kind of organizational structure- marcos booked the show, and then they had volunteers who were taking tickets and what not.  the sitch with alcohol was "b.y.o.b."although for some reason you couldn't bring in OPEN cans.

the atmosphere seemed akin to d.i.y./punk/art spaces i've seen in many cities- gilman street in the sf bay area, the che cafe in san diego, the beehive in washington d.c., the smell in los angeles,  abc no rio in new york city.  You get the idea.  I really have no basis for evaluating the vitality of this partic scene.  my observation was that it seemed pretty healthy.  it was not bonkers or "off the hook."

i think la casa tia tina is an important d.i.y venue in mexicali, mexico.  very easy, logistically- bands should not be concerned about bringing their equipment into mexico- the risk of theft seemed low, low, low.  also the directions are easy- take 8 east from san diego 100 miles, take a right onto 111 follow it into mexicali and hang a left on ave nicolas bravo (one mile in).  easy, peezy.

the only negative was that the first band didn't start until 11:30 PM!  Ho ho- I was NOT expecting that.  Espech since I had to fucking drive home at 2 AM in the fuchking morning- bummer, huge bummer.  People were still ARRIVING at 1:30 AM.  The bottom line is that I wasn't mentally prepared for a show that didn't start till close to midnight.  I'm old.

this is a photograph of the border area in mexicali, mexico.  mexicali is a city of roughly a million people.  in terms of size, it dwarfs the american side cities of calexico and el centro- combined, doubled, and doubled again.  mexicali is a main location of maquiladora's- toxic factories that provide industrial development and make the place the asthetic equivalent of london during the industrial revolution.  that is not a slur against the place- merely an observation.  mexicali is a smelly, itchy place.  my eyes burned almost immediately upon entry.

i have to think however, if you asked a booking agent or record label executive- "name the city with a million people that is equidistant between san diego and tucson?" they would say "phoenix" or maybe "las vegas", but the fact is from a touring perspective, mexicali is a much more interesting locale for your band.  consider it.

this gives you an idea of what casa tia tina was like- note the mr. t graffiti/art.  it's a pretty sophisticated sense of style- tad derviative of the shep fairey look, but still. fuck.  would you ever imagine?  totes cool.  deserves respect. and more ink and more attention.

props to the imperial valley- mexicali, el centro.  good looking out. But it was a privilege to meet Marcos, the promoter, Felipe the singer from Slab City- who seemed to be an occasional cat dirt sez reader- Felipe- you are the man.  Sorry I was grumpy- next time i come out, i won't leave san diego till 10 PM.

I was so GLAD to get out of san diego.  this city bores me to death sometimes, to be sure.  there is a big, scary, interesting world south of the border.  mexico is an exciting place, if you can handle it.  and if you can't- don't blame mexico- you probably just lack a sense of adventure.

Show Review:
 2007 UCSD Sun God Festival
 w/ T.I., Third Eye Blind, Ben Kweller, Fifty on Their Heels, and MC Flow

                Hey you know what the 2007 UCSD Sun God Festival was a rip roaring good time!  And a total sell out! And the "biggest sun god festival ever" and, as much as I HATE to admit it- it was likely due to the unconventional choice of third eye blind as co- headliner- a decision made my budding promotions impressario kevin highland.  highland, a ucsd undergrad displayed impeccable decision making powers in booking the line up- which also featured t.i., ozomatli, ben kweller, fifty on their heels & mc flow.  take note of this lad- kevin highland.  he would make an excellent intern at the casbah, house of blues, 94/9, 91x, etc.  I've got his email if anyone is looking.

               The extended Cat Dirt posse rolled up at precisely 5 PM- we in the Cat Dirt family of artists pride ourselves on punctuality.  That comes from a couple of years of putting on OUR OWN outdoor concerts- like, say, Sessions Fest- coming again this september.  You need to have the opening bands on point and on time or that can create problems on the back end.  More then anything, I wanted both Fifty and Flow to be ON TIME.

The mostly student staff was most kind, very appreciatve and not at all assholes.  Really- they were very professional and put I don't know, say, the House of Blues?  to shame. TO SHAME.

They had a sweeett "green room" it's where they give the artists and crew food and drink.  No booze, but good food. and coffee and that was pretty cool.  T.I. didn't even show till 930 and Third Eye Blind was um... not being social.

The first act was the battle of the bands winner from UCSD- they had their own banner and good merch, they had a straight up white boy reggae/ska sound which is like "meah" for me.

MC flow was the first act on the main stage- the main stage was fucking enormous.  I think Kevin said it was the same stage they used at Street Scene.  I don't even want to know what that costs.  But Flow was pretty stoked and despite some mild, turntable related drama, everything went smoothly (note: it is NOT ok to "borrow" ti's turntable rig- that shit simply does not fly).

MC Flow put on a sparkling set.  She seemed energized by the atmosphere, even though the crowd was, at best indifferent.  The crowd was still "arriving" up until halfway into the third eye blind set/extended jam a thon- which was about 10 PM.  It looked like getting in was a total nightmare because of all the security they had.  Seriously- I've never seen so much law enforcement and security but the show was a total sell out.

Fifty on Their Heels went on right after MC Flow.  They used two stages- main and side, and the next band went on as soon as the band on the other stage finished their set.  So, MC Flow was on the main stage, finished, and then fifty on their heels show.  Again- a great set.  I really didn't feel like there was a whole lot of difference between the "local" and "touring" acts, except, of course, for audience appreciation  Ben Kweller, who was next on the side stage, enjoyed the Fifty on Their Heels set, and said so on stage during his set ("keep you eye out for the band that played before me.  they're great.").

After Fifty ended their set on time, I breathed a sigh of relief.  We had delivered our opening sets on schedule, and that was really all I cared about.

The band after Fifty on Their Heels was touring with Third Eye Blind.  Strike one!  They had a fucking jar begging for money so they could raise $15,000 to record their first record(!)(!).  Are you fucking kidding me?  A fucking tip jar? Asking for 15K to record a cd? Fuck off.  If you want to spend 15k on your first record, spend it, but don't beg from fans when you're on the road with third eye blind.  have some dignity.

Ben Kweller played- he was good, great crowd reaction- mentioned fifty on their heels (sort of) on stage, people loved him.  He was pretty good.  Not really a fan, but I came away from the perf. with new found respect for Ben Kweller.  Got some good pictures of him.

Next was Third Eye Blind and man- was it fucking bonkers for these cats.  Who would have thought?  The crowd was hanging on every word of Stephen Jenkins.  He was fatter? Then I remember from the semi charmed life video.  He was clad in jeans, tucked in t-shirt(!), velvet jacket(!) & belt.

Because I care so much, here is the set list, procured by Tania of Sound, Sound, Sound (our guest).

Third Eye Blind 3eb Set List from UCSD Sun God Festival 2007

1)  Losing a Whole Year
2) Crystal Baller
3) wounded
4) narcolepsy
5) never let you go
6) 1000 julys
7) graduate
8) deep inside you
9) motorcycle drive by
10) summer town
11) jumper
12) jumper
13) semi charmed life
How's it Going to Be
(Slow Motion and God of Mine CUT for time concerns)

Now what is there to say about Third Eye Blind.  Woof. Where do I even start?  First, do you see how song 11 and 12 are both "jumper"?  That's because the song was stretched out to 10+ minutes to include BOTH an insufferable guitar solo AND a lengthy, and totally unnecessary drum solo.  No lie. Man oh man.  He wore a top hat?  With his velvet jacket?  For a couple of songs during the set?  Yeah.  Top hat.

Jenkins expressed appropriate concern for the kids who were being crushed to death due to the incredible fan enthusiasm.  I was quite taken aback at the level of fan enthusiasm for Third Eye Blind, but in retrospect, it looks like genius booking.  These kids were singing along- for whole verses.  Crazy.

That does not change the fact that Third Eye Blind seems like a pretty douchy bunch of cats.  My personal highlight came when I was in the area between the stage and the fans- the photography pit, basically-- and I personally wtinessed a disreputable looking roadie (procurer?) walk from being on the stage, into the pit, and hand out third eye blind passes to three YOUNG looking girls.  Um yeah. AND then I took pictures of the girls- see if you can find them in my flickr photo set- worth it to see how YOUNG those girls looked.  Aight?

Near the end of the set I moved in between the stage where 3eb was finishing up and the stage where Ozomatli was about to play and waited with Kevin for 3eb to bring it down.  Did I mention their huge "THIRD EYE BLIND" glowing sign that was hung behind the stage? No?  Well they had one. Ultimately though- Third Eye Blind sold out that show, and that is all you really need to know.

Ozomatli was next.  I was impressed that they had their own fans there, but personally- I'm not a big fan.  There is just too much going on.  I like to be able to focus- and I really don't like multiple rapping vocalists unless strictly necessary.  Too "busy" I guess.

Watched the cops drag out dude after dude in hand cuffs- under cover buy/bust operation?  Hey dudes- don't sell grass to old guys- those old guys are cops!!!  Lesson for X fest/Indpendence Jam- I like how the cops are making busts at the ucsd sun god festival- that's so fucking classy.  fucking cops.  But if you deal drugs at a concert you deserve whatever you get.

So that brings us to my personal highlight- seeing T.I. in person.  T.I. is just on my list of acts I want to see- like Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy-- I mean i LIKE what I've heard of T.I. on record.  He seems possessed of a certain charisma and style that sets him apart.  I wanted to get a good back stage photo of him taking the stage, but man- black hooded sweat shirt, large posse, and he's about 5'4".  so small!  like t.i.n.y.  but seriously- he was really great.  beats sounded great- delivery was on point.  So yeah.  Thumbs up on T.I.

Didn't stay for the whole set, but I do believe I might to pay to see him again if it was part of a larger bill, perhaps with Lil Wayne?  I dunno- I liked T.I.  He's just got a big things going on.

Show Review: 
Grand Ole Party &  The Muslims
@ San Diego House Party Central

Armed with ye olde catdirt cooler of beer (the meager catdirt contribution to a rocking night, hey, catdirt is a giver), it was with eager anticipation that I attended the Grand Ole Party/Muslims "Vs." rivalry house party last night. Amanda and Heather are the two ladies behind this whole concept, and they deserve immediate commendation and elevation into the upper echelons of San Diego night life based on what I observed last night.

These observations included:
1. A packed house- with people paying a $5 cover--- at least 100(?) people in a small two story house.
2. An amazing line up- Grand Ole Party and the Muslims- are you kidding me? I can't get Grand Ole Party to play one of my shows, and they got them to play a "basement'(really more like "storage space"). okay, well maybe i haven't asked grand ole party since the embarassment of the canes / non-prophet show of last summer, bummerfest.
3. A generally good looking crowd having fun that included all of fifty on their heels, members of vinyl radio, swedish models(ex-cape may) and a bevy of scenesters and faux-hipsters- including one young lady who dressed up like Kristen Gundred of Grand Ole Party and actually looked like her!

My recommendation:
1. Make sure these ladies get their own monthly (at least) at a good club in town... Ken Club? That would be fun.
2. Continued attendance at their awesome events- mr tube and viewmasters coming up on june 2nd. yeah!

I had a chance to speak with Mike, the bassist from Grand Ole Party. He could neither confirm nor deny the supposition that Grand Ole Party will be going on tour this august and september with Rilo Kiley (national! tour!) but based on the following established facts it makes sense: GOP and Rilo Kiley share management/record label (3d management/unnamed record label), Rilo Kiley has Jenny "hottest woman in indie rock" Lewis, Grand Ole Party has Kristin "soon to be marketed as next hottest woman in indie rock" Gundred- so the cross promotional/introductory elements are there. Annnddd... Grand Ole Party has been dropping myspace related hints about a forthcoming "big announcement" for august and september.

So don't be too surprised if and when it's announced.

I really see these house parties as more of a "chance to mingle with local musicians and like-minded folk" and have a good time than a "chance to see local musicians perform", since there are um... issues... with the performance space, it's no art bar (former strip club) in vegas with clear lines of sight from everywhere, but its a totally successfully realized house party, full of good people having a good time listening to amazing san diego bands. Total fucking triumph, let's do it again, ladies?

some thoughts on "what it takes" to be a succesful big venue headlining rock act

I saw some prototype "front men" this weekend at the UCSD Sun God Festival & 91x X Fest this weekend. Specifically, Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind, T.I. (not really "prototype" or rock, but still), Bert McCracken of the Used & Deryck Whibley of Sum 41. Hear are some observations I made, feel free to incoroprate into your band as needed:

1. When I see a band in a club environment and they have a lead singer who does nothing but sing I'm like "lame!" However, when I go to a big rock concert and I see a lead singer who plays guitar and sings at the same time, I'm like "lame!" I think when your band starts playing bigger venues, you really need a lead singer who is unencumbered by a guitar so he/she can devote all their energy towards the crowd.

2. "Broad gestures and posing is super important." Man, if you want to wow a crowd of five thousand plus, you had better jump around, strike poses and generally have a routine or otherwise people won't pay attention. It's like, sing lyric, pose, move around, lyric, wave arms at crowd, lyric, another pose, move to back of the stage- etc. That shit needs to be ON POINT or otherwise you will be a boring arena rock band.

3. I think it is kind of analgous to professional sports players who skip college, in that you are used to playing in a high school gym, then you start playing in the minor leagues, and then eventually you get to the major leagues and everything is... bigger... brighter... faster... etc. But the thing is- if you get to that point, you want to be prepared. You need to be ready to play the big stage.

Skull Kontrol Launches Blog; 91x Loudspeaker Moved to Radio Graveyard

Congratulations to 91x's Loudspeaker, who I hear is moving to the coveted (coveted!) 1 to 3 AM sunday night spot (from its present 6 PM to 8 PM slot). There is no doubt that this is a sure promotion, from the boring 6 to 8 PM position into that high ratings 1 to 3 AM in the morning bonanza slot. Congrats to 91x and Loudspeaker for making that bold decision to highlight local music. Well done!

And... Pleased to announce that Skull Kontrol has a new blog. If you don't know Skull Kontrol, you should. They are the best dj/promotion collective in San Diego, with impeccable taste and equally impeccable indie/punk/post hard core/noise credibility.

Skull Kontrol (blog)

June 2007

Show Review: 94/9 Independence Jam

Let's start with the obvious:
1. Where has Devore Stadium at Southwestern College been hiding for the past 15 years? What a great venue! The ressurection of that particular venue by the 94/9 crew is my vote for "Coolest Local Music Thing to Happen in 2007."
2. The Casbah/Local Pyle Second stage was a great addition! The crowd I observed for Grand Ole Party had to be in excess of one thousand people- the largest crowd I've seen for a local music act... ever.
3. Next year, more bathrooms

I estimated an attendance of 5000+. Based on Garrett's on-stage observation that "Without the help of sponsors... tickets would have been $70"- that would put the budget at in excess of $250,000. Quite a risk for 94/9 to take on an unproven venue and a bunch of local bands that have never drawn more then 300 people. The stage they used was the same stage that UCSD used. I believe there is only one of those big stages. Can anyone tell me how much it costs to rent that bad boy? 50K? 75K? 100k? It HAS to be a substantial part of the budget.

Based on my experiences at both the 94/9 Independence Jam and 91x X fest (91x fest?) it is clear, demographically, that 91x and 94/9 are seeking different markets. 91x is going for 12-16 year olds, and 94/9 is going for everyone else. That was reflected in the audience I saw at both events. At the Independence Jam I felt, mas or menos, totally at home. At the 91x Fest I felt out of place- like a tourist hanging out at Hot Topic in the Chula Vista mall (CV Shout out!).

Of course, the biggest difference between the two events is the absence of Live Nation/Clear Channel at the 94/9 Independence Jam. I don't know if I can ever stress this enough: Live Nation is fucking evil and supporting Live Nation is like supporting the Devil. Everytime you spend a dollar on a Live Nation promoted event, that is a dollar that is NOT supporting the local scene. That is a dollar that is LEAVING the local economy and going straight into the pockets of the faceless shareholders who own Live Nation.

You think about that as you contemplate your attendance at Street Scene 2007. I, for one, wish nothing but failure on Street Scene 2007. It is owned, lock, stock and barrel by Live Nation- Rob Hagey has little or nothing to do with it at this point, and if you think Live Nation is going to improve Street Scene 2007... well... you are a poor sucker.

Show Review:  
Sri Chinmoy
 @ Copley Symphony Hall

Jyoti Bihanga (San Diego Vegetarian Restaurant)

Sri Chimnoy is a 75 year old indian born/american bred religious leader/vegetarian restaurant entrepreneur who runs his rackets out of Baltimore, Maryland.

On occasion, he will give "Concerts for Peace" in various cities. These concerts are always free, and after the fact I'm always like "Dang, I missed it." I, personally, have been solicited about attending such concerts in cities like Washington DC (in the 90s) and San Francisco, CA(00's). As far as I can remember- the marketing is always exactly the same- Sri Chimnoy, beatific smile on his face, strumming a sitar or similar Indian (as in "from India") stringed instrument.

But the fact is- the man runs a damn fine chain of vegetarian restaurants- they are always located in fairly run down parts of town, but they always- ALWAYS bring the vegetarian eating thunder.  Their "Neatloaf" as they call it- is far better then any Meatloaf I've ever tasted, and, as an added bonus it isn't filled with beef anus and whatnot (typical content of hamburger- yum!)

So I think the idea was "let's give Sri a chance to Wow us with his music!"

Probably the first warning I had that Sri might not as be as skilled a musician as restaurant entrepreneur would be the programs referral to his maginificent "synthesizer improvisation" and the repeated reference to his music as "Avant Garde".  I read this section literally as the lights went down and the performance was about the begin.  Inside, a small high pitched voice (in tremolo falsetto, no less), said "Uh oh!"

What the program significantly fails to mention about Sri Chinmoy is that it is far (FAR!) from clear that he actually knows how to play his instruments.  Indeed, his lack of... um... skill in this department made his pre-concert video claim that he had "Played... 170 instruments at a concert in Switzerland" damn near terrifying.

The form of the concert was basically that he was sitting down on the stage, and there were twenty different instruments arrayed on tables in front of him, and he would pick one up play a "song" for five or six minutes, but that one down, pick up a new one and play that for a similar length of time.  There was also some acapella singing.

Before the performance started he played a fifteen minute video that showed him meeting and greeting world leaders like Nelson Mandela, Gorbachev, all of the Secretary General's of the United Nations (cue eye rolling) AND! AND! demonstrating is unique feats of strength.

I don't understand why bragging about your incredible man strength is so de rigeur among hindi holy men?  Obv, humbleness is not one of the traits- or maybe he's being incredibly humble by travelling the world and lifting Carl Lewis (yes- that Carl Lewis) half of an inch off a platform with one arm?

As far as the ubiquitous cult accusations surrounding Sri- hey- haters are going to hate, right?  One man's cult is another man's Mormonism or Christian Scientist church or whatever.  Those accusations don't even cause me to raise an eyebrow.  People can be totally happy in a cult- to each his or her own, that's what I say.

"Sri Chinmoy is a Scary Cult Link Round Up"
Sri Chinmoy wiki- With the Wiki "This entry reads like an ad" Warning!!!"
Sri Chinmoy (Official Site)

Show Review:  
Dan Deacon(Baltimore), Videohippos(Baltimore), MC Flow, Kixly(Tijuana) 
@ the Che Cafe

Dan Deacon's booking agent is at the Windish Agency. If Electronic music ever "makes it" in the United States, it will because of the efforts of Windish Agency.

I was pretty stoked about last night's show at the Che. Dan Deacon's video for "Crystal Cats" has inspired me to contort my body in paroxyms of glee (and fist pumping). My feeling is that if a quality indie act (Deacon is on DC based "indie-tronica" label Car Park) can get to a decent venue in San Diego, at the very least I'm interested in how they made it to the West Coast. A good national tour by an indie act is like- my holy grail. But if Windish is your booking agency? Game Over, man. Enough said.

Deacon didn't dissapoint- his brand of escatic mix of rave/indie/idm sounds redeems the promise that Kid 606 never fulfilled. I think, at this point, it's probably to refer to "indietronica" as a genre which shows "idm" as an influence. For those who don't know, "idm" (an acronym for "intelligent dance music") is/was a sub genre of electronic music that peaked in the late 90s artistically, and the early 00s commerically (it was never a big deal commerically). Over time it's signature sounds have been absorbed by minimal house in europe and "indietronica" in america.

Now- they problem with most indietronica in america- and i'm talking about postal service as a touch stone; Is that it is boorrrrrrinnggggggg. ZZZZZZ- indietronica- ZZZZZZ, like. Deacon neatly solves that dillemma through a combination of antic stage presence and blistering song writing. Dan Deacon well and truly "rocks out", as any of the eager fans (including a group of 40 year olds who "Had never heard of the Che" before coming that night.

Overall greatness aside, I ducked out during the second half of the set and chatted with one of the cats from Videohippos- both bands were from Baltimore. Holla, Body More! As my label "baltimore" will attest, this is NOT the first time I've mentioned Baltimore in this space. He mentioned three Baltimore area bands to check: Pony Tail, Escatic Sunshine and Death Set, OC DJ, Height. YOU'RE WELCOME!

He was the one who told me that Deacon was on Windish- Deacon himself had kind of mumbled when I asked him "Who booked your tour?" Videohippos were pretty all right in their own regard- a three piece that performed to synchronized videos, with- I think- an underlay of synthesisers- I didn't see anyone playing a mac but who knows.

The subject of the videos are about what you might expect: pyschedlic effects coupled with teletubbies, rubber ducks, dancing aliens (from the movie "alien"), etc. You can probably close your eyes and picture it. They had a heavy, unstructured sound that kind of reminded me of... No Age. Certainly they had an experimental "the Smell scene" feel to their music. Which was funny, because he hadn't heard of No Age or the Smell. He did know my friend Nick Pimentel- owner of Planaria/Gypsy Records, because Nick used to book a venue they played in DC.

Videohippos are also "considering" booking agencies right now- he mentioned discussions with a couple different agencies- one west coast, one east coast. I don't know if it is bad form to talk about that kind of topic on this blog?

Bottom line- I bought both CDs. I mean, Windish Agency, fuck. You might as well pencil Deacon in for "early afternoon set, saturday, Coachella 2008." All right?

MC Flow rocked the house. I should mention that the joint was packed for a Sunday night with attendance in excess of 100. The Che should try actually promoting some of it's shows sometime. I talked to David Barclay- he is one of the guys who books shows there- he also plays in awesome local band "Endless Bummer". He told me that after the Habitat show on Saturday night he went to the infamous "Golden Hill Sewer Venue." The best part is he gave me directions! I have heard about this legendary space from contemporaries of Tim Pyles, but no one has been able to tell me where it is. Well now I know- and I'm going to find it AND put on a show there. Holla!

Flow was dj-less- it didn't matter. Hey- who needs a DJ- all eyes on Flow! Dan Deacon was super enthusastic, even promising "If you ever need shows on the east coast, let me know!" Oh ho Dan- I wrote that quote down and we're going to hold you to it. Ha- ha. Just kidding. Video Hippos were also into Flow. It was nice that both headlining acts actually watched the opening bands. Hey touring bands- don't be dicks to the local bands- it's called "Making Fans".

The opener was a straight up IDM guy from Tijuana- he had a little self sampling thing going on- xylophone, recorder. The music ranged from bleep bloop idm to more glacial compositions reminiscent of Arovane, Boards of Canada, etc. Certainly a local to keep one's eye on- I got his "CD"(CD-R) as well.

So anyway- just to finish up the original thought about the Windish agency- in my view- the key to alternative music gaining a foothold in the american marketplace was the established of an indie club tour trail. Our local version being, of course, the Casbah. That is, a small venue that will book indie acts and even play guarentees in many cases.

When electronic music came around in the 90s, it was hamstrung by a lack of native acts that would actually do that circuit- the acts of the 90s never came across until they were at large size venues or even the stadium level. That is NOT how you build credibility in the market! See, the Windish agency is doing that for electronic music acts, and in the long run that will make a huge difference in terms of label attention and actual record sales.

The Origins of Live Nation

This is from page 3 of their 2007 annual report:

Our History

We were formed through acquisitions of various entertainment businesses and assets by our predecessors. On August 1, 2000, Clear Channel Communications, Inc. ("Clear Channel"), acquired our live entertainment business, which was initially formed in 1997. On August 2, 2005 we were incorporated as a Delaware corporation to own substantially all the enterainment business of Clear Channel. In December 2005, the separation of the business previously conducted by Clear Channel's live entertainment segment... was completed in a tax free "spin off."

Recent Acquisitions

In November 2006, we acquired HOB entertainment Inc., which owns and operates ten branded clubs and eight ampitheatres (Coors Ampitheatre)... In addition, this acquisition also extends our ampitheatre presence in key markets in the Western United States.

Show Review:
 Fifty on Their Heels, The Corvinas 
@ The Rhythm Lounge

Haaaaanggginng out with The CORVINAS in Mexicali, Mexico.

I'm all about "density of information" in these posts. Hyperlinks are so awesome.

So I have it on good authority (i.e. the owner) that we are the hottest shit to ever hit the Rhythm Lounge.  It's just a place where you can watch a show and not be surrounded by assholes.  I mean, whatever- it's in Point Loma.

I was pretty stoked because when I got there the owner told me (curtly) that the cd player was broken.  No T Pain cd for the audience! boo!  So I had to play the um... interesting... juke box- little Master of Puppets, little Poison, little Motley Crue.  Some hipsters came in then left.  The singer for  Stranger's Six came in with his lady.

I met him at the 91x x fest? I think I mentioned that.  That was a suprise- as was the presence of Ken Leighton.

Here's my awkward, awkward conversation with Ken Leighton:

ME:  Loved the cover story on "Before it was the gaslamp!"
HIM: "Oh- stop it, that was saracastic."

Ouch! I'm not always working my trademark brand of understated sarcasm. Anyway, Ken Leighton- of the San Diego Reader?  He was really into a little band I like to call

They opened the show and they were a-mazing. Ken was certainly interested in them asking me "where they had been written about" ("um...nowhere.")  

I was pleased to see him there, but again it was like- we had 25 people there so- from our perspective it was a success, but not impressive in any objective way.  The energy, again, was really good. Could it be the utter absence of patrons in the bar BESIDES the people there for the concert?  The Rythym Lounge is going to be shut down for being too crowded! Ha ha!

Fifty on Their Heels put on a a punk rock clinic for the small but enthusastic crowd (lyric singing! dancing! fist pumping!) including two cats from New Zealand(that link fyi- link to a helicopter ride over the mountains of new zealand set to the stirring pop anthem "Still haven't found what i'm looking for" by U2. It's pretty good.)

They had been in town for a couple of months building a yacht(!) in the harbor and were leaving town- they wanted to see Fifty on Their Heels before they left.  One of the guys was pretty punk rock, the other had a more surfer vibe.  We had a brief, awkward discussion about australian hard core and what not. THEM: Have you heard of band x? Me: No. ME: Have you heard of band y? M: No.

And a good time was had by all,the end.


THE DIRTY NOVELS (Albuequerque, New Mexico)

??? ???

skull kontrol/cat dirt presents 7/7/7 DANCE PARTY

skull cat control, originally uploaded by catdirtrecords.

Show Review: 
Battles &  Pony Tail
 @ Beauty Bar San Diego

Wow- I love the Punk Board- they are my new favorite people!

Like the guy who urged punk boarders to "call my office" and "ask for cat dirt." Ha-nice try asshole. Not even close on the office, and go ahead- call my office- the fuck to i care? it's my office.

Like being called "a gay andy dick". Good one! Gay Napoleon Dynamite would be better.

Like being called a nigger? Umm... ok... Is that an insult? Is being called gay an insult?

Anyway- I welcome the criticism. I'm not one to back down from attempts to "get me in trouble" with my "boss" (good luck with that!). The Punk Board is home to a bunch of bullies. My life is filled with long term conflict- it doesn't bother me.

Let's not get a little "flame" war- that's what non-"Noobs" call it when people argue about stuff on the internet(!) obscure very real facts:

1. "Right now there are 350 local bands trying to book shows- if you had asked me how many local bands were really viable ten years ago, I would have stuggled to name five." -Len Paul, San Diego Music Foundation Round table, last saturday.

2. "I remember even a couple years ago, just by going out you would regularly bump into everyone in the scene- now there is so many venues and events, I can go weeks without seeing someone I used to see every weekend." - Tim Pyles, 94/9/Casbah

The true goal of all of this shit is to expand the local market for music- djs, national acts and local bands. Let's not lose sight of that- anything that draws attention and potentially expands the market is productive.

I went to the Battles/Pony Tail show at the Beauty Bar San Diego. Gabe and Saul were in good spirits- thought the whole "flame war" was pretty hysterical. It could have had something to do with the fact that there were 75 people in line outside the Beauty Bar and 9:15 PM- waiting to get in for the show. Battles was a total sellout- when I left at 11:30 there were 100 people waiting outside for people to leave so they could get in.

Pony Tail was the highlight for me- they have a cute girl lead singer/screamer and a generally energetic arty punky sound that sounds like a band you would hear opening for Mika Miko at the Smell or whatnot.

I couldn't actually see them play, which limits my observational abilities. Between sets I spoke with Tim Pyles- who told me that John Reis has opened a new bar/venue(?) in the space formerly known as Dino's in North Park. Memo to John Reis- you should hang out at your bar, that way more people will come. It's called Pink Hippo? Pink Elephant? Either/or. Tim and I are both excited for the Southern Lord Tour with Sun 0))) and Earth at the Anti-Monday League- you should def. check that out for a once in a long while sonic treat.

Amanda from San Diego House Parties was there ("We deserve to have better DJ's in San Diego!), Andrea ("If one more of my friends walks up to me and asks me if I've seen the comments on Cat Dirt, I'm going to punch them in the stomach."), Morgs ("I almost called you because I'm afraid the comments are detracting from all the positive things you do.")

At times like this, I wish I had managed to perfect my pocket Abraham Lincoln project. Pocket Abraham Lincoln is basically a very small, speaking robot made in the form of the great emanicpator (you have to put the stove pipe hat on separately). Basically, the concept is that during periods of great controversy, you pull out your pocket Lincoln, and he starts reciting from one of five great Lincoln addresses. People listen to the pocket lincoln, and calm is restored.

Battles was pretty boring. People were into it though. All in all it was a fun time. It's good to see the Beauty Bar San Diego doing well on a Saturday night, although I'm worried it will make next saturday night look small by comparison. Hard to compete with the atmosphere last night.

August September 2007: Sessions Fest, Las Vegas, Ohio, Kentucky

"Fifty on Their Wheels"???, originally uploaded by catdirtrecords.

vegas pictures
Cat Dirt Expeditionary Force Summary Report Las Vegas II

Went to Las Vegas for a SESAC/Cat Dirt Showcase as part of the Amplify! Music Conference & Festival. While I was there, I participated in a panel discussion on "The Legal Perspective for Indie Musicians." Along with a woman who works at the firm who represents Metallica, AFI and whatnot and the manager of The Bravery (!) and Andrew WK ( About Andrew WK: "He is such a nice guy. The japanese have a name for him that translates into "big brother who gives helpful advice"".)

The Showcase featured Fifty on Their Heels, The New Motherfuckers AKA Pizza!, The Atoms and two fifths of the Swedish models. It has held at the Beauty Bar Las Vegas on Thursday. My panel discussion was held the next day, at a little Dave and Buster's type joint called "Jillians", which is itself located inside the "Neonopolis" on Fremont Street. Edgartronic and a friend came along to dj.

In my mind, Las Vegas represents the post- global warming future. To whit: It is hot as balls, no one ever goes outside if they can help it and residents expend even more energy on air conditioning and suv's then we expended to turn our planet into a desert in the first place. It's hard to drive the I15 from Barstow to Vegas and not have some thoughts about the potential for that climate region to um... expand. Think about it- two thousand years ago, North Africa was a farming region- then the Sahara swallowed that all up due to over farming.

Suffice it to say- I walked to work today.

Driving out to Vegas with a show to play that night is, at best, a difficult proposition. Lucky for us, we didn't hit any traffic and rolled into town at about 5 PM, with plenty of time to check in at the Golden Nugget (our vegas home away from home), and to check the Atoms in at the Fremont. I don't know why anyone would stay on the Strip- the prices are outlandish. If you want to pay that much for a nice hotel room, go to New York or London or someplace like that. I am much more comfortable with the scale of the Fremont St.- the way Vegas SHOULD be. Not to mention, the douche factor- which is always, always, off the chart in Vegas, is at its lowest reading in the Fremont East Entertainment district.

We arrived at the Beauty Bar Las Vegas at about 9 PM. The staff there were dicks. I can see why, since it was about 90+ on the outside patio where the stage was (see photoset for Beauty Bar Las Vegas lay out details). We had to haggle to get the sound guy to stay till the end of the night, and pizza! and Swedish Models were both a little late.

Attendance was stronger during the earlier part of the night. Maybe 150 passed through during the course of the evening, but that was for the whole night. Saw but did not speak to the DJ for Beauty Bar Las Vegas friday night. He goes by the name "Morpheus" and looks like a member of AFI. As did many of the emo style kids that I saw at the Beauty Bar Las Vegas. They looked nothing like the hipsters I saw at the Art Bar last year for Ratatat/Fifty on Their Heels, so that would posit the existence of at least two sub scenes.

Beauty Bar Las Vegas is akin to the Beauty Bar San Diego, except people smoke inside and it's a wee bit bigger. Unlike the Beauty Bar San Diego, Beauty Bar Las Vegas is surrounded by a million casinos, so people would swing by for a drink or two and then leave. It's not hard to see why indie music might have a hard time getting a toe hold in vegas, and judging from the monthly schedule I saw, it looks like Beauty Bar Las Vegas lacks the regular local music line up that Beauty Bar San Diego features.

After the show, all of the bands went next door to the Griifin, which is a new bar that opened up it's second branch in Vegas (first is in LA). It is right next to BBLV, and was quite a find. Long story short, we all hung out till 5 AM, which was fun. Thank you to all the bands for making the trek, and to Josh Feingold and Jamie Dominguez, for setting up the showcase and sprining for drinks. SESAC 4 eva.

CMJ was very much on my mind, and it looks like (fingers crossed) that Fifty may very well be making their East Coast debut this October in New York City- so watch for more announcements.

On Friday I participated on a panel about "the legal perspective" for indie musicians. To summarize "YOU...ARE...FUCKED." Here is how fucked you are:
1. go to wal mart
2. look a their cd selection
3. do you sound like any of the bands you see? if yes: great! if no: major labels don't want to sign you.

That is the panel in a nut shell.

Saturday we drove back to San Diego, stopping at Calico Ghost Town- ten miles outside Barstow on the I15- that was a blast. Check out the pictures for more Calico related hi jinks.

So that is the Las Vegas Cat Dirt Expedition II. Thanks again to Josh Feingold & Jamie Dominguez of SESAC- to Dustin and Andrew from Swedish Models, to Pizza!, to Atoms and to Fifty...

Official 2007 Sessions Fest Line Up

Sessions Fest is September 15th, starting early, NOON til 10pm! Karl Strauss is the official beer sponsor of Sessions Fest. A cup will be $3. Food will be available from influx, pizzeria luigi, popcorn, cotton candy.

The Prayers
Fifty On Their Heels
MC Flow
Pizza! (aka The New Motherfuckers)
Red Pony Clock
Kite Flying Society
Habitat Sound System
Wild Weekend
The Corvinas

dj sets by
Skull Kontrol DJ's

Show Review:
 No Age @ 
Vice ASR Party
 @ Onyx/Thin

First off- congratulations to No Age. They just signed to sub pop and I wish them the best of success! I admire No Age because they've managed to ascend without management, while keeping it "street", running their own record label, dating jen clavin from mika miko (dean only) and hanging out at the smell.

It was with a little chagrin that I ventured into the gaslamp last night.

The Approach:

My key to Gaslamp parking success is to use my office parking lot space- located just outside the dark hear of the gaslamp at 1st and Cst. I walk down C st, avoiding broadway, until I get to third avenue. Then I cut down through horton plaza and pop out at 4th and E. From there it's just a short jaunt through the labyrinth until Onyx/Thin presents itself at 852 5th Ave.

The Entrance:

Normally, I don't like to wait in line for my entertainment. However, in the Gaslamp, a little judicious line waiting only serves to heighten the unique pleasures and flavors of a gaslamp nightclubbing experience. There were two methods of entrance into Onyx/Thin. The first was waiting in line ("guest list only"), the other was getting the represenstative of vice or whoever to tell the doorman to let you in. Each method received its attention from the doorman in turn. The Door man? He was majestic. Wow! Someone interview that guy for street scene makers or whatever.

Getting in didn't seem to be impossible provided you were either a) "on the list"/willing to stand in line for 10 minutes b) able to be waved through by the rep at the door. Waving your ASR wrist band around- not so much. As a result, there was a small cluster of people who couldn't get in kind of clustered around outside.

Pre No Age:

First no one was there and I eavesdropped on a convo between two american apparel reps and two vice (?) reps. They reminded me of music industry professionals- super reserved, professional attitude mixed with youthfulness. Then Anna Banana, Girl Chaos (she had an art show @ BBSD) and AnnaMaria Stephens and Malicious with her posse. I talked to all them and to Corey Biggs, and even though part of me knew that this had to be Corey Biggs, I didn't really ask about it until after I'd stopped talking to him. He seemed nice, wasn''t a douche bag. Didn't know who I was or anything, just chatting with a guy.

We all watched Mario, Branden and Andrew Prayers get in with out waiting in line. I ended up talking to Dean from No Age- he recognized the Oooga Booga t shirt I had borrowed from a friend. Jen Clavin from Mika Miko was there. I have now learned not to blog about my conversations with people in the music industry about discussions which may be interesting but are not "public", so fine. I talked a bit with Russ Friend of Skull Kontrol (RFSK). I think he went to high school with Andrew Prayers? I don't know. He's hilarious. I'm a big RFSK fan. I didn't want to harangue the No Age guys so I went upstairs and listened to the DJ spin some What's Your Rupture?! Love that track!

No Age Performance:

No Age is great. I think it's significant that they have only two people in the band- more manageable that way. No Age just very obviously has their shit together and they serve as a kind of inspiration/point of interest for me. It's certainly no stretch to imagine them meeting/exceeding the level of interest you've seen for a) Ratatat b) Battles. That is just objective fact. And Sub Pop? For Real! The music swirls and builds- it spirals? I noticed Randy seemed to use a little sampler with his guitar. I guess that's an electronic aspect that I didn't quite get before. It was quite clear to me that No Age writes compelling songs, with build and structure. The idea that the music is this undifferentiated mass is just false- there are songs there.

So it was awesome, even though most of the people stayed upstairs dancing to some horrible sounding electronic music. I don't know who the dj was and I don't mean any offense- not sure what was up with that? Peter Bjorn and John? Really? It's September, 2007.

Post No Age Performance

The original idea was to try to do both Onyx/Thin and Aubergine in one night, but I wasn't unhappy when Aubergine proved to be a "total fucking nightmare." I didn't want to get involved, but through the smoky glassed doors it looked like a real nightmare.


Was anyone from Vice actually there? My thought it "no". By "from vice" I mean-- "paycheck comes from Vice Inc." So while I don't begrudge Vice it's success, I think it is fair to observe that there is very little that separates Vice as a culture industry purveyor that is any different from your hypothetical "Corporate Overlord" model. Vice isn't really "indie", in a certain sense. In another, commerical sense, they are the very epitome of a succesful sales producer of indie cultural product.  So it's kind of a contradiction. But I don't mind the loss of authenticity. That kind of progression in a business is the inevitable by product of sustained excellence.

But seriously- next time warehouse- vice let's talk.

Thank you!

Thank you to all the bands who played yesterday at Sessions Fest. The bands played for free, showed up on time and ran that stage themselves! They were awesome! It was exciting to see Wild Weekend again after their triumphant first and second shows at the CHOB and the Casbah. We also liked hearing new material from The Atoms, The Prayers, Fifty on their Heels, MC Flow and Pizza! Sddialedin and Catdirt will have more extensive reviews with pictures but I wanted to thank everyone for coming out and supporting the bands and sessions fest! Thanks to Karl Strauss for donating the beer (even if we couldn't figure out the co2/beer ratio and it poured foam all night). SESAC, our artist right's organization of choice, not only enthusiastically stepped to the plate to donate to the festival but they provided free peanuts, which was pretty cool. I can't remember ever going to an event and getting free peanuts to eat with my beer, most festivals try to charge you for every little thing so I hope people enjoyed the free peanuts thanks to SESAC. Also, a million thanks to our volunteers, Sddialed Rosey (who needs no link to her blog, because we all read it) poured beers for hours and dealt gracefully with the major beer foam issues. Rosey, you are our hero and I think we owe you at least new shoes and a new t-shirt. Thanks also to Tim Pyles for having me on air on Sunday to promote Sessions Fest, promoting the event all week and showing up last night before running off to support another local music benefit event. No-one in San Diego radio does more to promote local music. My cotton candy and popcorn ladies, Katie, Lisa and Jen bravely faced the cotton candy machine of death that I rented, thanks girls! I'm exhausted. Will there be another sessions fest? no. but I hope everyone had a good time and were inspired to plan their own festivals at golden hill park!!

Sessions Fest Photo Gallery

IMG_7704, originally uploaded by catdirtrecords.

Please- if you have Sessions Fest photos of your own, please drop me an email- it's on the column to the right there- AFTER you've uploaded them to flickr or photobucket or whatever.

Hope everyone had a good time, because this event is never happening again, nor is the Golden Hill Block Party.  Thanks for coming out!!!

Cat Dirt Expeditionary Force: Southern Ohio, Kentucky

So a friend and I are leaving on a flight for Columbus tomorrow. We'll be spending a couple days there, a couple days in Cincinnati maybe a day trip to Louisville. Not sure if we'll have time to get to Louisville. We want to hit a creepy, run down Amusement parks annndddd Xenia Ohio (featured prominently in a little movie you might have heard of called "GUMMO"! OH! YEAH! and if you don't get the reference, you probably shouldn' be reading this blog in the long term.

Lot of people are like "Why Columbus?" 1: Our non stop flight leaves at 11 AM. Yeah. That is a big factor- and you'd know this if you've travelled anywhere. 2. I want to see new places, not go to old places. So I'll tell you what- you stay here and do the same old thing, and I will got to Ohio and um... eat fried chicken? shop at malls? visit the state capitol?

I hear this song about 15 times a week about fifteen times a week on 94/9, and every time I close my eyes and rock bank and forth, and think of Ohio. So thanks, 94/9- you are bringing me closer to an "Ohio State of Mind" then anyone else in San Diego! Just a great track.

Cat Dirt Expeditionary Force Ohio/Kentucky: "On the Bourbon Trail"

Bottle Room, originally uploaded by Paul Pellerito.

Looks like our saturday is shaping up to be a tour "on the bourbon trail."  It's kind of like going wine tasting except it's bourbon, not wine.

sessions fests posts/reviews

great coverage of sessions fest:

SD Dialed In

Blog San Diego

Its Too Sunny Out Here


the end.

Riding the "Bourbon Trail"

Bourbon Barrels Aging, originally uploaded by catdirtrecords.

The unquestioned highlight of the Cat Dirt Expeditionary Force to Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky was the afternoon we spent along Kentucky's "Bourbon Trail."  The Bourbon Trail is an attempt to do for Kentucky Bourbon country (a strand that stretches roughly from south of Louisvillle east back to the Lexington/Frankfort areas) what the wineries in Northern California did for Napa Valley.  We hit the Western Half of the Bourbon Trail- Jim Beam,  Heaven Hill, Makers Mark.

I've been to my share of spirit producing regions:  Napa Valley, the Rhine River Valley and my share of alcohol producing plants:  Guinness, Heineken, Coors and I have to say that, objectively speaking, the Bourbon Trail was pretty rad.  Mostly because a) Northern Kentucky is a lot "cooler" then Northern California and b) it's bourbon not wine.  Bourbon is def the cooler beverage, and coolness and snobbery are two things I care very deeply about.

The highlight within the highlight was getting into a Bourbon Warehouse.  That smell! Yum!  You can see the interior above.  You can see the photo set on flickr.  And Yelp.  Will someone pay me to yelp for a living?


Bardstown, originally uploaded by catdirtrecords.

Bardstown Kentucky is the center piece of the western half of the "Bourbon Trail."  The building in the center is the county Court House and there is a "round about" that encircles it.  The Key out of here is to find the parkway to the east or follow the road back towards Jim Beam or Louisville (west). The Parkway leading east is quite nice and somewhat incongruous- you can take it direct to Lexington or Frankfort, mass or menos.

Cincinnati Octoberfest: Crowd

Crowd Scene, originally uploaded by catdirtrecords.

The Cincinnati October Fest was a fucking blast. Like one hundred thousand people in the streets and all the beer you could drink and buy (for $3 a cup! woo!). CDW & I were buying four at a time and just kind of drank our way down the street. The funniest part about the experience is we had no idea that we had booked a hotel here the weekend of "America's Largest Octoberfest"(fact!).

Total attendance for the two day event tops 500K. Everyone was in a good mood, and they booked tons of "omp ah" bands to keep people going. Nothing like hearing a roaming om-pah band lead the street crowd in a "brown eye girl" sing-a-long. People were into it. All told the fest stretched five blocks, with plenty of tents and food and merch and drunk Cincinnatians, almost all of them of the white variety. Cincy is a very white/black equation- didn't see a single asian and maybe one latino the whole time we were there (two days).

Mind you, this was the same saturday that we "Rode the Bourbon Trail", so it was quite a one-two punch. A really good time all around.

Show Review: Psychic TV & DJ CDW @ The Casbah  8/30/07

Psychic TV, originally uploaded by Infamous CoatCheck Girl.
Thanks to Tim Pyles for giving CDW the chance to open for Psychic TV @ the Casbah last night! It was a great opportunity and CDW had a fun time. A freakish time, to be sure, but a fun time as well.

Psychic TV has kind of been "in the news"(if the news you read involves daily updates on the Psychic TV US tour) in that their last show- in Scottsdale was cancelled ( because of bigotry on the part of the club owner who "didn't know" that lead singer Genesis P-Orridge is trans-gendered. Ha! Stupid hicks in Arizona. What a jerk.

Fortunately, our own Tim Mays is not a mindless bigot, but rather a sophisticated patron of the arts, so last night's show was a mellow, well attended affair. I didn't sense that transgendered persons were over represented at the show- it looked more like a goth/industrial crowd, heavy on the dudes.

CDW started her set at 9 PM. Her set of french post punk and new wave was, dare I say, warmly received. She started her set with The Dogs, then played the Calamites, Civils, Lili Drop, Les Souris Delingues, Les Ritas Mitsoukos, very early Jane Birkin, Edith Nylons, Taxi Girl, The Owls, The Standards, The Coronados, Kas, Jaio, Starshooter, Alain Kan, Suicide Romeo, Les Amants, the new Vultures 7" (the san diego band), Indochine, marie et les garcons, telephone, bijou, snipers, city kids, and the standards. She had a pretty amusing conversation with a patron who asked if DJing was "what she did." Ha! She played until 10:45, the crowd was getting visibly restless although politely did not heckle CDW for playing french song after french song.

I thought the show was very well attended, though I heard second hand that a local musician attending the show, more familiar with the history of Psychic TV, expressed surprise that the show wasn't a total sell out.

Genesis P-Orridge, who is def in the middle of whatever sex change he's having (man to woman I'm pretty sure) appears like a cross between Iggy Pop and Courtney Love. The tone of the performance was very much "transgressive." There was a theatrical vibe- Psychic TV uses video in synch with their songs- I kept looking for Visual Underground but I didn't see them paying homage to one of the orginators of what they do (playing videos with music).

Personally, I feel like Psychic TV is cognizable as much as performance art as music. I wasn't able to hang for the whole show- but what I saw was interesting.

October to December 2007: CMJ, the San Diego Fires

Cat Dirt Sez Cited by Le Monde: Twice!?!

Check out this cool article in a little periodical I like to call Le Monde. Here is the link. I'm quoted twice- whoop.

Quotation One:

Le 24 octobre, Paul Kedrosky indique que cinq cent treize mille habitants de San Diego ont reçu l'ordre d'évacuer. "Une des plus importantes évacuations dans l'histoire récente des Etats-Unis", estime-t-il. Sur Cat Dirt Sez, l'auteur ironise sur les propos du présentateur de la chaîne NBC qui a annoncé à l'antenne qu'il s'agissait du plus grand déplacement de population depuis la guerre civile. "Tant pis pour toi, Katrina ! Nous sommes les premiers !" s'exclame-t-il.

Translation: October 24, Paul Kedrosky indicates that five hundred and thirteen thousand inhabitants of San Diego received the order to evacuate. "One of the most important evacuations in the recent history of the United States", estimates it. About Cat Dirt Sez, the author is ironical about the remarks of the presenter of the NBC chain which announced with the antenna that it acted of the greatest displacement of population since the civil war. "So much worse for you, Katrina! We are the first!" exclaim it.

Quotation two:

Cat Dirt parodie, lui, les propos tenus lors d'une conférence de presse par des responsables officiels. "Nous devons nous féliciter de faire un travail aussi fantastique. Et qu'en est-il du gouvernement fédéral ? Nous les remercions pour... avoir dit... qu'ils sont là pour nous."

Translation two:

Cat Dirt parodies, him, the remarks made at the time of a press conference by official persons in charge. "We must be pleased to do such a fantastic work. And what happenhappen does federal government? We thank them for... for having said... that they are there for us."

CMJ 2007

Times Square, originally uploaded by catdirtrecords.

Well the fire sure pre-empted my planned "CMJ week."  I guess it is time to return to normalcy.  This last week certainly changed my perspective on my trip to new york, in a truly obvious way.

New York was a blast, though I was more concerned with having a good vacation then making it a networking success.  People were like "why go to cmj" and i'm like "because its very easy to network in the music industry" but I managed to not really even contact the two people with whom I could have met up with. Ha-ha I'm sooooo bad.  But I guess I wanted it to be more of a vacation, and man was it!

I was pooped even before the fire hit home on sunday evening.  So I'm going to move forward with the CMJ material.  I'll monitor the fire zombie/witch & "free stuff for fire victims".  I don't want to TOUCH the whole Ramona situation.  Journalists- you may contact me for quotations on the matter.

Show Review:
  Yo La Tengo'
 @ MOCA La Jolla

A few words on La Jolla... first of all, class segregation by the rich is ipso facto proof of the lack of sophistication among a ruling class. That's why the best estates are in the third world! Similarly, in the most sophisticated cities in the world, the wealthy live in relative proximity to the non wealthy. See: London, Paris, Berlin, New York City, San Francisco. If you want to see what makes a world class city, go to San Francisco and stand in the "Tender Nob" i.e. the intersection of the Tenderloin and Nob Hill. La Jolla embodies self-segregation by the rich. Economic integration of different classes is a key for success in western civilisation. The further away you get, the more out of touch you are.

The La Jolla MOCA is a very nice space, airy and fairly announcing its "post modernism" to anyone who'd care to look. I'm glad La Jolla has its own Modern Art Museum - you can hardly expect the wealthy to come downtown, the MOCA downtown is by a train station for chrissakes! how common!

I'll confess that I "married into" my Yo La Tengo fandom. A SF show at the Great American Music Hall some years ago was the locale of a first date with CDW. we then saw them again at "this ain't no picnic" in irvine in a 100 degree cowfield or something - I think they followed the blue man group (yikes!).

anyway, Yo La Tengo is one of the iconic independent rock bands of the past twenty years (they started out putting records in the late 80s?) Along the way they've scored film soundtracks, brought Hoboken back from artistic irrelevance and maintained a recording/touring schedule that has guarenteed both their lively hood and a certain level of artistic freedom. In short, Yo La Tengo is any indie role model, so I was avid about the prospect of the format last night: songs interspersed with q & a.

Did I mention there were seats? Yes. Key point.

Basically what happened was Yo La Tengo played a song or two and then took questions from the audience. It's like how I imagine an episode of VHI's storytellers or perhaps that "the craft" series that 94/9 does at the Belly Up. However, it was executed a lot more comfortably than I would have imagined. Several moments felt like an actual dialogue / anecdote sharing that you would experience with the band if you were just hanging out at some bar.

The audience had an average age well in advance of 30, with a sprinkling of college age kids and some young childen(!) In fact it was a girl of 5 who requested their current single "Mr Tough" eliciting a knowing chuckle from the lead singer, Ira Kaplan, "Most of our fans are too cool to ask for the new stuff."

The question and answer segments was cool, revealing the humor and history of the band. James revealed himself a big fan of the movie Pootie Tang, who isn't? And the band talked bout the making of their music, music comes first, lyrics later, lyrics draw heavily from "angst" (its a go-to spot for lyrics says Georgia) and their awkward, misguided youth (Ira).

The q and a did have a few awkward moments:
Q: What Do you think about Sonic Youth?
Ira: They are a band that shadows over everything we all do, that's how big they are.

Yikes! Is there a Sonic Youth/Yo La Tengo grudge somewhere back there in the mists of time? It makes a certain amount of sense- in the hierarchy of american independent rock from the 80s to the 00s, Sonic Youth has maintained an outsize presence on the landscape (despite low album sales), while Yo La Tengo has avoided the Manhatten spotlight, the clothing label forays with the Beastie Boys, the glitzy "Free Tibet" Cause o Thon.

The music itself was fantastic. Loved sitting down! Overall I was impressed both by the professionalism of the venue and the band itself. It was a great way to spend a sunday night. Too bad that museum is in La Jolla- it should be downtown (and yes, I know there's a branch of the MOCA downtown, my criticism remains the same).

Show Review:
"The" Fest 
@ The Casbah 10/5/7

It is accurate to speak of having ones faith restored by a certain experience. So, it is both fair and accurate to say that the performance by the Sess last night restored my faith in local music. If you look at the picture above- that was taken sometime in april or may 2006 at a house party in university heights. So a year and a half later I have to say that the Sess sound amazing-- but different then they sounded a year ago. There was a power and originality in the music that I heard last night that was a tantalizing glimpse of a big stage ready rock act. And their 7"? IS. AMAZING. The Sess have taken a huge step forward. And I was told that the full length was "almost done". If that is indeed the case- produced the same way the 7" was produced, with a similar style. Watch out. People should want to get their hands on the disc, is all I'm saying. They should WANT to hear it BEFORE its released, if you know what I mean.

I think last night was a significant statement of the power or should I say, "dynamacism" of the independent music environment in San Diego county.

Let's review the bands on the bill last night: The Prayers, The Muslims, The Atoms, The Vultures, The Sess &  The Sundelles.

So dispensing credit: the bands! Mr. Rowland of the Vultures, Mario Orduno, Tim Mays. I'd say last night was a credit to all involved.

I think the Casbah needs to be acknowledged as stepping up its game and generally demonstrating a level of ambition and support for local music that, frankly, shames other local venues. Having shows like that on friday as opposed to tuesday is a big, big difference. The sound was great, too. Tim Mays was actually there for part of the night! I never see him at the Casbah.

The crowd was very good. Not Grand Ole Party/Scarlet Symphony good, but def. crowded and energetic. Crowd energy is an important factor in creating that desired emotional reaction/connection with the music. The spirit. I think keeping that energy level high is the great difficulty in generating greater attachment. The ambition of the fest was the key to its success. That, and the choice of acts. Every act I saw last night should be working on recording a full length record, and then making sure people hear it, and then releasing it themselves and touring in support of that record the following 12 months. EVERY SINGLE BAND. Let's get some full lengths recorded, people!!!

Show Review: 
Wild Weekend 
@ Swami Sunday Mass (Bar Pink Elephant)

Wild Weekend!, originally uploaded by catdirtrecords.

I think I probably should have taken the chance to introduce myself to John Reis, but I just don't want to bum him out with my uncoolness.  I FINALLY made it to the Bar Pink Elephant, San Diego's new alt-hot spot.  Pink Elephant is located on the 30th street north park corridor, which is turning the corner in my mind.  Let's see, Linkery, Zensei, Blue Foot, Commonwealth Cafe, Lefty's, Chasers(!), Union Bank, Bar Pink Elephant, Scolari's, Rancho's veggie mex joint and coming very, very soon, Mike from Jezebel's new boutique Pop! (on Lincoln).  And I'm not even counting Off the Record.

Pink Elephant has markedly improved from the sorry "Dino's" which preceded it.  I read one or two reviews questioning the viability of the location, but those writers are way off.  Personally, I think it's a great location.  Sunday they're doing Swami's Sunday Mass, which is a matinee show featuring one local band.  So far, John Reis's taste has been impeccable: The Sess, The Atoms & Wild Weekend.  Un chapeau, Mr. Reis.  I quite enjoyed myself this afternoon.

I think it's fair to say that Pink Elephant represents the only possible threat to the Casbah's monoply on "venues that don't suck nuts" in San Diego.  I think it's also fair to say that the booking policy is, shall we say, a tad predictable.  Given ten minutes, I bet I could draw up a list of every local band that will book a show there between now and the end of the year.  Certainly, I admire the restraint, and I think the taste overlap is probably in the neighborhood of 50% or higher, but I'd like to see a little bit more.  More shows, more frequently, etc.

But who am I to complain?  The Pink Elephant is a clear "winner". And it's nice to be able to listen to John Reis dj in person at 2 in the afternoon on a sunday.  I think, in all honesty, that John Reis is as close to a viable role model that a San Diego musician can possess, and for that he deserves respect.

Show Review: 
The Prayers/The Roots/K23 Orchestra

I have recently gotten comments, from presumably new readers, about my show reviews that are a variation on the theme "hey, idiot, what kind of a show review doesn't talk extensively about the bands that played."  invariably, it's about a band i've seen and written about a million times, so your comment, stupid commenter, merely indicates that you never read this blog & don't know what you're talking about.  

I went to check out the Prayers opening for the Roots last night @ UCSD.  Love the college environment, and the fact that Kevin Highland does more to pair local acts with touring headliners then any other booker in San Diego.  Shame on you, professional bookers.  I think it is important to emphasize the significance of local bands playing "big stages".  How else are they supposed to practice working that "big stage magic"?

The Prayers sounded great last night, playing before a crowd that... um... crowd surfed, not to CSS or Rage Against the Machine, but to the Prayers.  God bless the college kids.  The Prayers are heading to the UK next week with SESAC Josh and I'm sure it will be a "laddish" affair.  A charming group of gentlemen, really. They played some new songs, the new songs were very good. Interesting.  And of course there's the cover of Madonna's "Cherish" that you've listened to on myspace yeah?  So consider this my unqualified endorsement.

I'm driving out to the Imperial Valley today to go see some clients, and then to join fifty on their heels at Plaza Sol in mexicali (hint! Mapquest has a non searchable, but viewable and scaleable map of Mexicali for your driving pleasure).  I'll be staying at the John Jay Best Western in El Centro.  El Centro's newest hotel!  That's key when your talking about the lower end of the chain hotel spectrum.

I might go check out a flick at the Ultrastar Imperial Valley Cinemas or take creepy pictures at the new mall that opened in El Centro.  I swear, the Imperial Valley is fucking terra incognita for google.

Ha there are only eight  yelp reviews for the whole city of El Centro.

And then Mexicali.  I represented Mexicali pretty hard back in May.  Round 2.

Book Review: Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon
It took me over a year to read this book, and as I skimmed through some of the more “professional” reviews of Against the Day, many of which appeared roughly a year ago or even earlier, I can’t help but think, “Maybe they read it too fast?”

For there is much that is infuriating about Against the Day. Primarily, it’s the fact that at 1089 pages long, there is no way to minimize the effort required to read it. Second, the plot is maddeningly elliptical, and it takes close to 400 pages before you really grasp what, exactly, is going on. Third, Pynchon fills Against the day with digression- not exactly a new phenomenon when it comes to fiction, but after your fifteenth twenty five page exegesis on Balkan geography or Albanian culture or whathaveyou, it’s easy to see how a reviewer might be frustrated.

Balanced against this infuriating nature are counter-points which lead me to the opinion that Against the Day is not a sloppy mess but actually a superb, enjoyable novel. First of all, the plot isn’t that difficult to grasp:

Basically, anarchist coal miner Webb Traverse is killed at the behest of evil industrialist Scarsdale Vibe. He leaves behind three sons and one daughter. Most of the book involves the attempts by Webb’s sons to avenge their father’s death. In the process, they have many adventures in places like Mexico, Germany, the Balkans & Central Asia. They meet, marry and have kids during the course of their adventures. Along the way there is a lot of math, a lot of physics and a lot of mumbo jumbo.

Together with this basic revenge plot is the interwoven story of the Chums of Chance, a bunch of boy adventurers who circle the globe in their zeppelin. The Chums of Chance don’t really directly encounter the Traverse’s, but they figure in the background of many of the locations.

And that’s basically it, in terms of plot. Of course, with Pynchon, narrative focus is the least of his worries, and if you aren’t down for digression, then sir or madam, you have no business reading Thomas Pynchon. In order to enjoy the digressions, you need to have some idea of the mise-in-scene, so to speak- the backdrop- the current events that form the setting for Against the Day. The time and place is roughly the 1870s to the end of World War II- 1918 or thereabouts.

So if you want to get the most out of Against the Day, have a working familiarity with historical events like the Chicago World’s Fair, Labor History of the American West, Mexican politics in the 19th century, European Diplomacy in the Balkans before World War I, Theoretical Mathematics and Physics of the 19th century, The Cult of Pythagoreous in Greece, The “Great Game” i.e. Central Asian diplomacy in the 19th century/20th century & Pulp Adventure Novels from the early 20th century. Personally, I’m about 4/8 on that list, and that was just about enough.

It’s clear that one of the contributing factors to the enormous length of Against the Day is Pynchon’s fondness for the theme of doubling. Each character seemingly has a double, and many events seem to have their own double within the text. The doubling also appears as a species of Icelandic Rock that creates human doubles (instead of just reflecting them). In a certain sense, it’s fair to say that the obsessions with doubling turns a 500 page revenge yarn into a 1000 page novel that, if diagrammed, would look something like a modern conception of an atom, with all the particles whirling around the nucleus.

I was fortunate that I spent the year between purchasing and reading the book reading up on some of the background subjects, more or less by coincidence, but this is not a book to rush, and not a book you want to read “cold” or more likely as not, you won’t finish.

Show Review: 
 @ 'Canes (San Diego, CA.)

I must have read about fifteen thousand reviews of this tour before last night. I'd heard complaints about the lack of an opening act at the New York City Terminal 5 show. I'd watched You Tube videos of MIA climbing the stage lights at Lollapalooza in Chicago & At the Treasure Island Event in San Francisco. I'd watched video of her performance of Paper Plane on Letterman. I've searched her lyrics on the Internet, posted MP3s, and taken pot shots at her critics. Fair to say, I was fully prepared for the MIA experience.

And honestly, if it wasn't for the INEXPLICABLY CRAPPY SOUND at 'CANES, she would have delivered "it." By "it" I mean: shouted choruses, gun shots, four line verses and various related stage antics. It's a heady cocktail. MIA has her detractors, for sure (really, 2 and half stars for kala in the San Diego Union Tribune? That is simply an embarrassment.) but I'm not one of them. I love MIA. And after last night, I still love her, though the patented 'Canes experience tested the limits of my ardor (and then some!)

I suppose after seeing her first US performance at Coachella (and by "seeing" I mean actually watching the entire performance from a position near the stage) 'Canes couldn't help but disappoint, but what really stood out was the AWFUL SOUND. Honestly, the sound quality last night pretty much assures that MIA will NEVER COME BACK to San Diego. I mean, she was aware of it, she mentioned it repeatedly from the stage. Not enough to interrupt her performance, she soldiered on like a professional, but it was hard not to wince at the frequent feedback during EACH AND EVERY SONG. Are you fucking kidding me? 'Canes? (snap of fingers)

Is there some complexity to the DJ/three volcalist set up that I missed. What is that? One insturment and a vocalist? That sound guy should be fired, and 'Canes should issue an apology to all of us who paid $25 to see a well produced, professional show. Because last night- that was amateur hour- and now I doubt MIA will ever come back, and it's ALL 'CANES FAULT.

The bottom line is that it was hard for me to really focus on the show because the sound was so fucking piss poor.

The turn out was great- Timmy Pyles (holla!), Andrew Prayers, Mario Art Fag and a friend, MC Flow, Nicky Shingles from Fifty on Their Heels, Heather San Diego House Parties, The sax player for Mr Tube, Preston Habitat Sound System, and assorted girls in sparkly hats (really now? are you sure about that?) The douche factor was "medium" I felt comfortable, although I want to upload the video I took of a couple taking photos of themselves at the bar. That's funny.

And althought I'm a big San Diego booster, the sound at 'Canes last night was a fucking embarrasment for the city of san diego. 'Canes, you fucking suck. We had better sound at Sessions Fest and we didn't charge $25 a head, oh, wait - Sessions Fest was free and we managed to have better sound than you. shame on you.

Also, the "Cool Kids"? There is only one cool act right now that ends with "kids" and that is "the black kids". And it's ironic, because cool kids is an afam throwback hip hop crew, but there you have it.

Cat Dirt Events in December: BBSD, Che, Mexicali...

For those of you inclined to calendar events, here are some:

Thursday, December 6th, 2007
Cat Dirt Presents
The So So Glos of New York City
& Special Guest
w/ DJs Edgartronic, CDW & Jah Metro
$5/21+ (ample guest list available!)
@ Beauty Bar San Diego
21+/ Doors @ 9 PM
If you are inclined to take an interest in news events regarding san diego based bands, this would be a show to attend, since there will be a newsworthy event occurring.

Friday, December 7th, 2007
Branden Atoms & Cat Dirt Present
The Sess
The So So Glos of New York City
Chango Rey Y El Moreno
@ The Che Cafe in La Jolla/UCSD
ALL AGES/ Doors @ 8 PM

Saturday, December 8th, 2007
Lipstick Terror
The So So Glos
Manilow Lazer
@ The Veloria in Mexicali, BC
40 pesos/9 PM
Calzada Aviacion 100, Centro Commercial Sol Mexicali

So there you have it. Please contact me for beauty bar guest list status. Thank you.

Che Cafe Flyer, originally uploaded by catdirtrecords.

With the power.  Beauty Bar, Che Cafe, Mexicali.  Did I mention Le Castle Vania is an "add" for Mexicali?  Mermaid? All girl/all ages, first Che Cafe show.  So So Glos- for real man, for real.  New York City's finest and they've been tearing it up nationwide.

UCSD- this is your chance.  Don't sleep.  And... uh... I think there may be something different about Fifty on Their Heels.  Something new.  Something fresh.  It may surprise you.

It all starts on 12/6, then 12/7 & then 12/8.

Also tomorrow night at the Che?  Scarlet Symphony, The Muslims, The Prayers- I'll be there TALKING BUSINESS.  Won't say what that is all about.  Curious?  No?

Mexicali Flyer (new venue)

Mexicali Flyer, originally uploaded by catdirtrecords.
Also, I hear "le Castle Vania" will be in the house, if that means anything to you.

Sunday @ Casbah: Vampire Weekend!!! & Grand Ole Party
Seriously, you won't want to miss indie blogger nation fav/indie blogger nation punchline Vampire Weekend, here for their first(?) San Diego area show with local indie blogger nation fav Grand Ole Party. Honestly, I haven't heard songs of or listened to Vampire Weekend, but I will be checking them out b/c I like to keep the San Diego area posted on the latest flava of the month. On a related note, when the FUCK are the black kids going to make it out this way???? HELLLOOOOOO???? Don't make me wait for Coachella! And if you make me wait for Coachella, don't put them in a shitty time slot. I'm warning you!!!

If you want to check them out- go peep on Seeqpod; just punch in "vampire weekend" and listen. Huh. Not sure about that Vampire Weekend, but I'm going to see them anyway.

Show Review:  Scarlet Symphony, The Prayers, The Muslims & The Fascination

I went out to the Che on Saturday night- needed to hang some posters, needed to, you know, TALK SOME BUSINESS. Unspecified business. But you can prolly guess. It's not that underground. Showed up during the Fascination's set. I feel bad that I'm not into them, but my opinion stands. I've now seen them four times. They are getting better at what they do. I think they have a good draw at the Che Cafe.

Had a chat with the Muslims- you'll all be pleased to know that we've reconsiled.

Russ, you are HIRED for the next Fifty on Their Heels video since the last one, um NEVER GOT FINISHED! It's been a whole year that I've been waiting for that video. Sigh.

Watched the Muslims. Matt now plays a keyboard for some songs. Both the Prayers & the Muslims have their own van. What does that tell you about a bands professionalism? As suppose to bands that don't have their own van. If you're going to be serious, you need a fan, qed.

Between Muslims & Prayers chatted with Mario, Drew from the Sess, Andrew Prayers, ate some vegan mac and cheese (ick!), felt really, really, really old. Props to Branden Atoms for putting together the line up. The Che is really getting its act together- more of you North/Central County people should check it out. I know you won't but you should.

Watched like, three songs of the Prayers, left. Felt marginally guilty walking out on the Prayers & skipping Scarlet Symphony in their entirety, but I've written a TON about the Prayers and Scarlet don't need my help. One question for the Symphony- when are you guys going to put out a record? Rosey? Can you get the 411 on that? A tour perhaps? What are the plans for 2008? What's the deal on all that?

Show Review:
 The Sess, The So So Glos, Fifty on Their Heels & Mermaid
 @The Che Cafe

Mermaids, originally uploaded by catdirtrecords.

Whenever my musical spirit is waning, I can count on a good bill at the Che Cafe to restore my faith.  Such was the case last night, when I felt uplifted by performances by new gals on the block, the Mermaids (Lemon Grove), New York City's own So So Glos, the Sess and Fifty on Their Heels.

Thanks to Branden Atoms for being our show "sponsor".  He's got a line up next week with Vision of A Dying World (Filter's undiscovered band of the month!), Get Back Loretta (they draw huge!) & the Atoms that should be dope!

The Mermaids, an all girl foursome from Lemon Grove kicked things off with an energetic bang.  They brought their own posse- homies from the LG & one cat from Lakeside who did a super awesome crab walk.  East County is quite the hot bed for underager ragers.  Jakked Rabbits?  Hello?

Mermaid is my new favorite band they have a style recognizable to fans of Bikini Kill and Mika Miko- alternative lifestyle friendly hardcorish punk.  I think they need some more shows in the San Diego area!  What a perfect opening band!  They also stuck around all night and danced around, which was great.  I wish more bands had their enthusiaism.  I texted SESAC Josh mid show and told him to sign them up immeditately.  Now I need to get them a show at the Smell! Ha! I can't even get Fifty a show at the Smell.  But that's the vibe.  At any rate, I'm sold.

The So So Glos were terrific.  The consensus, post performance, was that reminded everyone of a little band you may have heard of- the Clash.  Obv, that's a strange comparison, since none of us ever saw the Clash live, and frankly, the classic rock treatment that they get on 94/9 is enough to make you forget they were ever cool (cool, maybe, to your dad).  But there was just something in the songwriting, the swagger, the energy, that just made me think "Clash."  It also made me think "Rancid"- but obviously that would be Rancid from before Tim Armstrong was a sad joke.  Maybe it's the fact that the singer plays bass.

I don't know.  So So Glos are awesome, and it seems odd that I haven't read more about them from the New York City bloggers.  But maybe that's because New York City music bloggers have terrible taste in music?  I'll just through that out there.  New York City music bloggers like to blog about Alicia Keys.  Earfarm- you are the exception to that gross genralization.  Maybe I'm not reading the right New York City music blogs.

The Sess... feel the majesty, you know?  They are getting ready to tour up the coast with The Prayers & The Muslims & Los Angeles, San Francsico, Portland & Seattle- I'm putting you all on notice.  You have an opportunity to check out three of San Diego's finest.  They were great, AGAIN, last night.  They have really rounded into form and seem very focused and together.  It's the right time for them to hit the road, and I am excited for them, the Prayers & the Muslims.  Spread the gospel.

Fifty played a good set- it was great to see the So So Glos singing along and the Mermaids dancing up a storm.  Sigh. I wish more shows could be like last night's.  It had a real family vibe.  I really do enjoy attending shows at the Che.  Too bad more UCSD students don't bother to come.  UCSD students are soooo lammmmeeeeeee...

photo by Doug Wagner.

Here is the long awaited photograph of Golden Hill's own Peahen.  Mighty Peahen.  We celebrate your majesty oh great peahen.

Show Review:
 Bjork @ 
The Pearl (@ the Palms) in Las Vegas

I can't believe I'm typing this, but I was actually excited about staying at the Palms.  In retrospect, I'm not sure what I was thinking, but the Palms is nothing special.  In fact, if I could do it over I would have booked at the Gold Coast across the street.

We were in town to see the Bjork.  Fair to say I married a Bjork die hard.  Fact: We eloped to Denver and saw Bjork at Red Rocks.  Of course, we saw Bjork at Coachella.  We've flown to Boise to see Matthew Barney, Bjork's husband, explain the Cremaster cycle.  We've flown to New York City to see all of the Cremaster movies in seequence (it takes 10 hours).

So on the Bjork obsess-o-meter a 24 hour trip to Las Vegas to see the last United States date on her Volta tour barely even registers.  Honestly, it seemed like a totally obvious thing to do.

The show was at the Pearl, which is the relatively new 2000+ seating venue at the Palms.  The Pearl is a very nice, if totally antiseptic venue.  It has to be the best mid sized venue in las vegas- we saw Sigur Ros at the Hard Rock a few years back and the Hard Rock couldn't hold a candle to the sound and design at the Pearl.  It's hard to believe that the pearl seats more then 2000 people- it felt like we were seeing a show at venue that sat 500.  Part of that had to do with our amazing seats, but the acoustics were very def. state of the art.

Ratatat opened- just last year Fifty on Their Heels opened for Ratatat at the Art Bar, then we saw them open for Daft Punk in Los Angeles and now this.  I like Ratatat more and more every time I see them.  I was geuinely excited by the prospect of seeing them at a venue with such good sound.  Wasn't dissapointed.  I don't think Ratatat gets the credit they deserve.  They've earned their own headlining tour.  I would have to pencil them in for a pretty decent slot at Coachella 2008.  In fact, I'm kind of shocked they haven't played Coachella before.

Did I mention that the show started promptly at 8 PM?  That Bjork took the stage promptly at 915 PM?  On the one hand, I appreciated the punctuality, but it wasn't very "rock and roll".

Bjork came out accompanied by an all girl twelve piece horn section.  She had a drummer, two dj's and a pianist/keyboardist.  This is still the "volta" tour so there was ALOT of Volta material and some of her greatest hits sprinkled in- Joga, Pagan Poetry, Hyperballad & a totes kick ass version of Army of Me.  Personally, I'm not so much about Volta and I'm looking forward to her moving on, but this was probably the best Bjork show I'll ever see, mostly because of the venue & the fact that we couldn't have been more then 20 feet away from her the whole time.

The encore, her new single "Declare Independence" was punctuated by an explosion of confetti- pictured above.  It was a pretty great moment. I would def, def go back to Vegas to see a show at the Pearl.  Maybe for Avril next April?  Ha, ha-j/k.  The pics are on flickr, the other review type things are on yelp.

How was Louis XIV at holiday hootenany? Can't wait to hear about that.  Did they do their hit single?  Hope so.

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