Everyone's a Critic

Heart "Kick It Out" at the Open Air

Heart started off lackluster, as the set’s early songs sounded like 45s being played at 33. Opener “Barracuda” dragged. As they worked their way through “Heartless,” “What About Love,” and “Magic Man,” things didn’t get ...

Teen anthems revisited: Weezer at the track

It was a warm seaside evening as thousands crowded the Del Mar racetrack’s concert stage awaiting L.A. alt-rockers Weezer. It was difficult to distinguish the rumble of the passing Amtrak from the roar of the ...

Night, by Simone Dinnerstein and Tift Merritt

Tift Merritt’s sounding more like Patty Griffin than ever, and the choice of a Griffin tune to this singular mind-meld of classical piano (Simone Dinnerstein) and whatever it is Merritt does, seems to wink conspiratorially. ...

...Like Clockwork, by Queens of the Stone Age

“Healing, like fire from a gun/ Kneeling, my God in the sun,” wails Josh Homme on “My God Is the Sun,” the first single from Queens of the Stone Age’s new album. The song sounds ...

Tickled Again by Rocket from the Crypt

Rocket From The Crypt played a small, secretive show at Bar Pink earlier this year, but their concert at the Del Mar track was the first RFTC reunion show in San Diego truly open to ...

Paradise Valley, by John Mayer

After a notorious kiss and tell Playboy interview, John Mayer moved to remote Montana to escape the flack and recover from throat surgery. Lucky for us, while there he produced some of the best lyrics ...

Bumping at the Summer Pops with Ozomatli

L.A.-based urban-Latino band Ozomatli once again ignited the stage of San Diego Summer Pops Thursday night. From the moment they took stage, the audience was bumping to the rhythm! During the first set, they played ...

Willie Nelson sprinkles Stardust on Hollywood Bowl

With his recognizable voice and picture-painting lyrics, it's hard to imagine a more iconic singer-songwriter than Willie Nelson. Accompanied by his guitar "Trigger" and backed by the Hollywood Bowl orchestra, Nelson treated the near-capacity crowd ...

Joan Armatrading's Starlight

I cannot believe she programmed those drums (not to mention everything else) all by herself. They sound live, crisp, and swinging, ever more complex with each listen. I better believe, though, that after 33 years ...

Barefoot hillbilly summer fun at Soda Bar with Whiskey Shivers

Every once in a while you just got to get your fiddle on. Austin, Texas–based Americana roots-rock band Whiskey Shivers got the job done on a warm Saturday night at the Soda Bar. The Whiskey ...

I Hate Music, by Superchunk

In 2010, Superchunk came back from an "extended hiatus" with the aptly titled Majesty Shredding. Now, after a three-year hiatus, the Chapel Hill fearsome foursome returns with I Hate Music. Apparently the hatred of music ...

Out of one jam and into another — Dmitri Matheny dizzies Dizzy's

San Francisco-based flugelhorn specialist Dmitri Matheny hit a three-hour L.A. traffic jam on the way to his Dizzy's gig, arriving in P.B. just in time to meet the local rhythm section of bassist Justin Grinnell ...

Soft Will, by the Smith Westerns

The Smith Westerns’ self-titled debut album came out when the Chicago-based band members were teenagers. Four years later, their naive garage-rock vibe is not so naive. The trio still has youth to its advantage but ...

Pythons, by Surfer Blood

In the world of Surfer Blood, major-label maturity seems to mean stripping away the reverb that drenched your first album and, lyrically, graduating from middle school to high school. Anybody who bought this album on ...

Speedy Ortiz blazes through Soda — in shorts

Not a lot of rock bands would take the stage wearing shorts. For a recent gig at the Soda Bar, Massachusetts four-piece Speedy Ortiz did exactly that. Maybe they're hip to the fact that San ...

Prog-rockers relive heydays at Humphreys

If the line to the men's room was any indicator, there were a lot of old guys at Humphreys reliving their prog-rock heydays. And that goes as well for the old guys onstage, a 60 ...