Grand Tarantula: it’s a name that comes up in conversations about bands in town that are good to go and check out. The band has a lot of friends and admirers, and for good reason. They are a national touring act pretending to be a club band, for one, and they have a drive and frenetic approach to playing their music that makes it sound bigger than life. And that, friends, is the trick of rock-and-roll music. If you don’t believe me, think about the numbers of people over the years who have been transfixed by a single power chord played at maximum volume. But Grand Tarantula’s songwriting holds up when compared to the very best of rock-and-roll past. Their latest single, “Drugs,” could easily become the “That Smell” for the post-Skynyrd generation and is every bit as gut-wrenching as “The Needle and the Damage Done” off of Neil Young’s Harvest.
Formed only a few years ago, Grand Tarantula seems to have escaped the local club gravity a few times early on in its career, but first as Hot Like a Robot, which is a band that was started in Serra High School and that more or less begat Grand Tarantula. Robot saw Warped Tour action right out of high school but imploded for various reasons. In 2010, Grand Tarantula formed in its place and went on to land a San Diego Music Award nomination for Best New Artist. GT also launched their own boutique label called Pretty Awesome Records, a not-for-profit that funnels all proceeds to charity. On the South by Southwest radar for this year, Grand Tarantula really shouldn’t be around San Diego much longer, if the music industry gods are kind and the planets all align. That good. They were right, the friends that have steered me in Grand Tarantula’s direction.
The Royalty and Hello Penelope also perform.
Grand Tarantula: Soda Bar, Thursday, July 18, 8:30 p.m. 619-255-7224. $8.