...Ariel Levine performs at Bowie Undercover at the Office, San Diego, 2016
“We’re gonna do the album from start to finish,” Ariel Levine tells me by phone from his Middletown apartment. Levine is a singer/composer/guitarist transplant from New York. “I’ve lived here for five years now.” The music he plans to perform is David Bowie’s final release, Blackstar. “The album arrived on my doorstep on January 8, which was his birthday. And it was so good. I listened to it twice through,” says Levine. Bowie died two days later. “Suddenly, that album gained a lot of weight.”
Levine’s first San Diego gig was with the Maren Parusel band. When it faded, he joined an AC/DC tribute act called Back to Black. He wore a wig and he played the part of Malcolm Young, the band’s rhythm guitarist, although in New York he’d previously handled the role of Malcolm’s brother and far more frenetic front man, lead guitarist Angus Young. “I’m Angus again,” he says. “I’m in a new band called Big Balls, which is a Bon Scott–era AC/DC tribute.” Levine also fronts a band that performs his originals. “The Ariel Levine Band. I haven’t really thought of a name yet.” Members include drummer Eric Brozgold, Jesse Johnson, bassist Tim McNalley, and Josh Weinstein on keys with special guests Heather Nation, Jonny Tarr, and Daniel Crawford.
- Sunday, January 8, 2017, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
The January 8 show will pay trifecta tribute to the release of Blackstar, Bowie’s birth date, and his passing. “I’ve never done this album before,” Levine says, although he did sing all of David Bowie’s parts in a tribute with civic organist Carol Williams staged last year at the Balboa Park Organ Pavilion. At the Casbah, Levine says his band will not be doing a tribute act. “We’re not dressing up or acting like him. The music is basically simple, but there are some tricky parts. Bowie had more of a significant impact on our lives than we had thought previously.”
Bowiephonics also performs.