wimps – The Soda Bar, San Diego -June 29, 2016

[photos by Happy Place Media

After guitarist Rachel Ratner announced they were going to play “a bunch of songs in a short amount of time”, wimps, a 3-piece punk band from Seattle,  launched into “Vampire,” a short, relentless blast of rock ‘n’ roll which as far as I can tell is about being a vampire (or not!). Continue reading

Tacocat – The Soda Bar, San Diego – July 20, 2016

With song titles like, “Men Explain Things to Me”, “FDP” (first day period) and “Hey Girl” (about dudes that cat-call), it’s clear that Tacocat, a 4-piece punk/pop/surf band from Seattle, are not writing songs for me (a 56-year-old man who still likes early Blue Oyster Cult).  But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate their surf-inspired melodies, clever lyrics and infectious energy.  Continue reading

Joe Jackson – Spreckles Theater, San Diego – June 18, 2016

Like many others there are certain bands, and songs that draw me back to very specific memories.  I was 19 when Joe Jackson‘s first album, Look Sharp!, arrived in the spring of 1979.  I was just finishing my freshman year at UCSB and music was undergoing an upheaval.  I arrived at my dorm the previous fall listening to bands like Rush, Queen, UFO and Blue Oyster Cult.  I was aware of punk rock and new wave but just hadn’t really been exposed to it.  But as that first year in college went along there were a lot of different sounds blasting out of the dorm-room doorways.  Blondie, The Boomtown Rats, Elvis Costello, The Records, The Beat (Paul Collins‘ version), The B-52’s were competing with the classic and hard-rock records I grew up with.  And this record by Joe Jackson just seemed to cement it all together, sending me down a power-pop/new wave rabbit hole that I didn’t emerge from for a few years. Continue reading

The Joy Formidable – The Irenic, San Diego – July 20, 2016

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The Joy Formidable, a Welsh band that mixes elements of 90’s alt-rock (Garbage, Cranberries), shoegaze (Slowdive, Lush) and modern all-over-the-place indie rock, played the Irenic this week for a good sized and very enthusiastic crowd.  Sometimes I wonder how groups like this get discovered by so many people.  There is really no rock-radio or video channel supporting bands like this but tours with groups like Muse and Editors must have helped them build a solid following. Continue reading

The New Regime – The Irenic – July 20, 2016

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According to the bio on his FB page, Ilan Rubin from San Diego, has played with Nine Inch Nails, Angels & Airwaves and Paramore.  I didn’t know all this when I arrived half-way through his band The New Regime’s set opening for Welsh act, The Joy Formidable, at The Irenic in North Park. Continue reading