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

wimps open for Katie Von Schleicher at the Soda Bar

I was 21 years old when MTV started back in 1981 and it was pretty awesome back then. Before that all we got was Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and Burt Sugarman’s Midnight Special. Those were great shows but only filled 2.5 hours per week on Friday and Saturday nights. We all know that MTV doesn’t really do music videos anymore and the format went relatively dormant for a long time. Then YouTube, Vimeo, Vevo and others came along and music videos have once again become an important part of presenting and marketing a song.
That’s a lot of words to say that this song and video by wimps, a 3-piece punk rock band out of Seattle, is pretty fucking rad! Check out the video and then go see wimps play the Soda Bar Wednesday night when they open for Katie Von Schleicher...


Katie Von Schleicher, wimps + Gravyyard play the Soda Bar

I know everyone is wondering, “what show should I go to Wednesday night this week – there’s no one playing that I’ve heard of…”

The answer is easy – get to the Soda Bar to see Katie Von Schleicher,wimps and Gravyyard. This will be one of those shows that you can’t believe you saw at a venue like the Soda Bar (and don’t get me wrong – I LOVE the Soda Bar, but it is astonishing that bands like this, especially together, are playing such a small venue).

There – problem solved. See you there!!

In the meantime check out this video from Katie’s new album Bleakspoitation on Ba Da Bing! Records


The Big Pink + Sundrop Electric – Soda Bar, San Diego 4/20/16

[click on pics for larger versions – photos above by @happyplacemedia]

I’ve got to admit, I had this Big Pink show on my calendar for some time, but as it approached I wasn’t sure if I would make it. I really only knew the band from their first album,  A Brief History of Love, from 2009, and remembered two of the stronger tracks from it: “Velvet” and “Dominos”.  After that, though, I lost track of the band and they didn’t come back on my radar until I saw this show coming up at the Soda Bar.  As the day of the show arrived I decided not to go after all – I had a really busy week and it wasn’t the best night to head out.  Then about an hour before the show I figured I’d better listen to that CD just to be sure.  By the mid-point of the first track, “Velvet”, with its pulsing synth line and massive, droning  guitar chords, I knew I was going and within the hour I was walking up the sidewalk toward the venue.

Continue reading

The Bad Vibes – Soda Bar, San Diego – 3/17/16

I didn’t know much about The Bad Vibes before this show but I plan to rectify that soon. This San Diego quintet just killed it on the small Soda Bar stage!  They played a hard rocking bluesy set that covered a lot of ground; fans of psych, doom, heavy metal and even jam bands will find a lot to like here.  There was a gothic darkness just below the surface of their songs, reminding me a lot of the atmosphere created by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

Check out this video of  “Vulture Blues” from this show.

The Bad Vibes on facebook and bandcamp

Sheila & the Rainbow Colored Trash Bags

Last night was the last show, at least for now, for Matt’s inventively named band of psychedelic garage rockers. He says he’s moving back to England but he hoped to return some day to play more music here in San Diego.  Last night he was joined by the Josh’s, Rudiger and Kmak, who helped Matt go out in a blaze of garage rock glory as he bashed out riffs so hard on the last song that he broke half the strings on his guitar. Bon voyage Matt!

Check out Sheila & the Rainbow Colored Trash Bags here on their bandcamp page

Sharkmuffin: The Soda Bar 2/17/16

I still enjoy seeing the big rock shows where bands play long sets with astonishing lights and staging in front of 20,000 fans.  I’ve recently seen groups like Rush, Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters clock in at 3+ hours, all with mesmerizing stage shows.

Yet I have to say that I enjoy a night like this, with 4 bands in just 3 hours, just as much. After local acts Lucky Keith, Big Bloom and Soft Lions warmed us up (with an assist from a bar just steps away!)  we got to see New York indie/punk/garage rockers Sharkmuffin.  The three-piece features founding members Tarra Thiessen on guitar/vocals and Natalie Kirch on bass, along with new drummer Kim Deuss.  Together the band, which released their first EP’s back in 2013,  played a propulsive, dynamic set of songs off of their debut long player, Chartreuse.

If you’re a fan of Sleater Kinney, Veruca Salt, HoleYeah Yeah Yeahs et al  – then you better check out Sharkmuffin.

Here’s my clip of “Tampons Are for Sluts” from this show.

Find Sharkmuffin here:  www.sharkmuffin.com / facebook / bandcamp

Sharkmuffin 06 close up




Soft Lions: The Soda Bar 2/17/16

Next up were local favorites, Soft Lions, playing their engaging blend of indie, surf, garage, and girl-group sounds.  I’ve seen Soft Lions a half-dozen times now, including their debut performance on the same stage back in 2014, and they always put on a great show.  This night was a surprise as I only discovered the day before that they would be opening for Sharkmuffin, who are on a national tour.

If I had a complaint about this band it’s that their sets are too short!!  Hopefully that will be solved soon as I spoke with the keyboardist, Ana Ramundo, who told me that the band will be heading up to the Bay Area soon to record more songs.

Soft Lions plays all over town, as headliners and in support of other local and touring bands.  Check them out soon!!


Here’s “Earth Energy” from this show.

More Soft Lions from MaxSounds: