San Diego Symphony's second night of the Masterworks season showcased the power of place and personality
Garrett Harris noon, Oct. 13
Sound description: Varied styles of rock and reggae, with old school punk and Latin overtones.
RIYL: Greyboy Allstars, Ozomatli, String Cheese Incident, Band of Horses, Fugazi
Inception: San Diego, 2001
Influences: 311, B-Side Players, Bob Marley, Bedouin Soundclash, Ben Folds, Cabaret Diosa, Cornershop, Fish and the Seaweeds, the Flaming Lips, G Love & Special Sauce, Greyboy Allstars, Groove Collective, Jack Johnson, Jane's Addiction, Kool Keith, Long Beach Dub Allstars, Manu Chao, the Mars Volta, Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Led Zeppelin, moe., N.E.R.D., Ozomatli, Pink Floyd, Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead, Santana, Steely Dan, the String Cheese Incident, Superunloader, Tool, Umphrey's McGee, Wilco, Ween, Weezer, Widespread Panic
We want our albums and live shows to have the diversity of a jukebox” says Tony Goncalves, who fronts the salsa-tinged jam band Agave. “You never know what we’re going to play next, but it’s either going to rock you or make you shake your ass.”
Agave formed in 2001, undergoing numerous lineup changes but maintaining a consistent salsa-flavored sound with a jam-band groove.
“We seem to fit in well with beach crowds and fans of the Grateful Dead,” says drummer Chris Flores. The band takes an intellectual approach to both songwriting and performing, sometimes coming off as far more progressive than the jam bands whose fan base they attract.
The band's primary songwriter Rusty Bishop says of Agave's sound, "We take trips to Mexico to surf, camp, fish, play music festivals, and to get away from the normal day-to-day grind. But that’s not to say that we are doing that in order to find a new flavor for our music. The influence is already there without needing to go to Mexico. In addition, our drummer is from Mexico City, and he naturally brings a Mexican flavor to anything we do."
In October 2008, when the band released its debut full-length album Radiates Your Head, their single "Huevos con Queso" was SanDiegoReader.com's most downloaded MP3 in that month. A sophomore album Elegance & Decadence was released in summer 2013, recorded at White Horse Recorders and produced by Shaun Cornell of Transfer.
Recorded, engineered, mixed, and mastered by Ben Hadsovic, the album features Agave’s lineup of Tony Goncalves (vocals), John Metzger (bass, vocals), Chris Flores (drums, percussion), and Rusty Bishop (guitar, vocals).
According to Goncalves, “Our best and worst gig actually happen to be the same show. We got paid to play an internet porn convention down in Mexico. There were four porn stars onstage getting completely naked [as] we continued to play. It then turned into the worst gig. We had put out a bottle of tequila for the fans to drink, and I didn’t want them to drink alone. So, after about ten shots, I was a fucking mess. I couldn’t remember lyrics, and my timing was completely off. Chris and I got into a fight and had to be separated.”