Cathryn Beeks, singer/songwriter and member of the Ghandi Method, hosts a series of local band showcases around town ("mostly free") called "Listen Local." "It started with my open-mike nights as a chance for newer, inexperienced bands and performers to get exposure. I adopted the Listen Local name a few months ago and dropped the 'open mike' connotation. Now I have big-name acts like Gregory Page coming to play alongside the lesser-known locals -- for fun, and also to expose their music." The Listen Local showcases take place at various venues, including Brick By Brick's monthly "Acoustic Alliance," where four unrelated performers share the stage at the same time, switching off songs. "The audience gets a taste of every performer's style instead of just catching one person's set and leaving."
Local performers are invited to sign up for a showcase. "If I haven't heard of the band or performer, I usually start them at Hennessey's, since they have the most available slots. A band doesn't have to send me a promo kit, they just need to sign up to play." Interested performers can visit www.listenlocalsd.com to view a calendar of bands, venues, events, and available openings for new acts.
The next Listen Local showcases take place January 5 at Hennessey's Tavern in Pacific Beach and January 6 at the Tiki Bar in P.B. "The Animators from New York will be playing [January 6]...they came referred by Dave Howard," says Beeks. "I figured if he likes them, they've gotta be good. Because they're a national act, this time there'll be a cover charge of $3. Most of the showcases will still be free. That was the original plan: to get music lovers out and introduce them to local bands playing just up the street." In addition to the Animators and the Cathryn Beeks Band, the Tiki Bar showcase will include a set by Sven-Erik Seaholm, member of the Wild Truth and record producer for Buddy Blue, Dave Howard, and others.
WHAT'S IN YOUR CD PLAYER NOW?
1. The Ghandi Method, Hi ("It's brand new so I'm not tired of it yet.")
2. Pete Thurston, Leap Before I Look ("He played at Listen Local recently.")
3. J Turtle, Project ("He's an amazing singer and songwriter.")
4. Simeon Slick, Indigo Child ("I'm listening to it for the first time after seeing him do an amazing live show.")
5. Girlyman, Remember Who I Am ("They're from New York; they passed through town about a year ago.")
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS?
1. "To get better at time management. I'm working from home and doing showcases a few nights a week, and it's hard to slot my own music and my life into everything else."
2. "To take Listen Local to the next level. As soon as I figure out what that level is."
3. "To have a peaceful, happy existence."
FAVORITE NEW YEAR'S EVE?
"For New Year's 2000, I got to ride in [country singer] Edwin McCain's tour bus. A friend of mine is good friends with him, and I got to ride from Nashville to South Carolina. I was the only chick on the bus, and it was great. You know who was the guy to talk to? The bus driver. He had all the best stories!" (She declines to share any.) As for McCain, "I'll tell you what -- he parties like a rock star! That's all I'm saying."
LOCALS DESTINED FOR FAME?
1. Transfer ("They have everything it takes, the 'It Factor.'")
2. Steph Johnson ("She's only been playing about a year and a half, but she's a brilliant jazz musician.")
FAVORITE BAND NAME?
"Operation VacuSuck. They're a hardcore punk band that almost got me kicked out of my Hennessey's job. They came in for open-mike night and were smashing the chairs and everything. I had to unplug them after two songs. They were great, though! That's why I started doing shows at Brick By Brick as well -- to have an outlet for bands like that."