Everyone's a Critic

Scum, Rise!

Post-punks Protomartyr pack Soda Bar

Detroit quartet Protomartyr delivered a blistering set of post-punk goodness to Soda Bar. The band performed selections from all three of their albums, which the packed house lapped up like enthusiastic Rottweilers. Vocalist Joe Casey’s ...

Def Leppard does Def Leppard

...clichés tossed like salad, mixed like milkshakes

“He lost his arm in an arm accident,” as the noted futurist Mike Hamrick noted about Def Leppard’s drummer Rick Allen — but that’s left Allen stronger. Given pedals to cover his missing left appendage, ...

Mr. Cheese

Disgusted with Richard Cheese’s audience

David decided to dress in the lounge spirit, in an ensemble I referred to as “the afterparty” look: a tuxedo with the bowtie untied and hanging from his neck.

Rihanna's Anti is anti hit singles

Pop singer seems to have outgrown radio play

Listening to Rihanna’s new album, Anti, it’s obvious there’s no mega-smash hit — there’s no eletcro-pop gem like “Diamonds," no “Umbrella”-like anthem. Anti is not a particularly happy or uplifting album either. Rihanna’s emotions shift ...

Big Business will never let you down

Rock duo lose their voice and kick drum, but not their ability to jam

Jared Warren (bass) and Coady Willis (drums) are best known as the occasional rhythm section of the Melvins, but they’ve been making their own noise as Big Business for over a decade, mixing straight hard-rock ...

Loving or hating #KanyeWest is a political act

West's Life of Pablo drops, finally

Just like the soul food on your dinner plate, loving or hating #KanyeWest is a political act. This is the man whose website features solely the-artist-formerly-known-as #MosDef rambling about the “World Passport” on his website ...

You're not in for a happy-fest with Glen Phillips

Former Toad the Wet Sprocket frontman visits Belly Up

The glaring red eyes of the fiberglass shark suspended from the ceiling of Belly Up Tavern menace the musicians onstage. After his first tune, Glen Phillips said this opening song should leave him inspired and ...

Ex-baseballer hits it out of House of Blues

Country up-and-comer Chris Lane comes back to town

It was the second time at bat in San Diego for the UNC-Charlotte baseball player who traded his glove for a guitar. Country artist Chris Lane opened for Dustin Lynch at San Diego House of ...

If you adore Savages, you might adore this

...otherwise, Adore Life pales in comparison to 2013's Silence Yourself

The sophomore album from London quartet Savages is a dark, powerful, estrogen-infused punk-rock experience. Opener “The Answer” sets the tone — “If you don’t love me, don’t love anybody.” As Jehnny Beth’s ghostly vocals trample ...

4518 pipes call to the "Starman"

Organist Carol Williams pays tribute to David Bowie in Balboa Park

After other organ tributes went viral online, another “breathtaking” performance took place to honor the late David Bowie at Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. City Organist Carol Williams, with the sun setting to the ...


Our funky hero Prince stumbles on his latest

As a Prince devotee, I hold the diminutive artist up to colossal standards. While never losing respect for his creativity or willingness to take risks and push boundaries with each new album, I also recognize ...

Emotional Mugger makes for an unsettling, riveting experience

Ty Segall's latest takes you for a ride on the Big Dipper at Belmont Park

Emotional Mugger paints a picture of menacing clowns thrashing about in semi-trucks, a possible musical score to the demolition-derby video game Twisted Metal. Ty Segall inhabits a new persona on each record, and his latest ...

There's a 16-year-old girl living in all of us

Vanessa Carlton brings Casbah crowd more than "A Thousand Miles"

This concert was full of Vanessa Carlton fans, many of who didn’t realize that she has consistently produced music since her 14-year-old hit song “A Thousand Miles.” Carlton's opener was the one-man band Skye Steele, ...

A man called Car Seat Headrest

Bedroom rocker and internet hit Will Toledo on tour

Car Seat Headrest is drawing comparisons to underground band Guided By Voices for the stage-via-bedroom (in GBV’s case it’s a basement, actually) nature of their music. Guitarist, singer, and band mastermind Will Toledo has been ...

Are you a Belieber?

Pop star Justin Bieber makes his apology record with Purpose

He’s the bad boy you love to hate. Well, when Chris Brown isn’t around, anyway. And most of the time Justin Bieber easily earns that reputation. With Purpose, his fourth album, he wants to change ...

Bowie's Blackstar closes the curtain

An entrancing final act for the constant chameleon

Ever so strange and always unique is David Bowie. After 26 genre-jumping albums spanning over nearly 50 years, the constant chameleon released his 27th and final album, Blackstar, which landed on his birthday, January 10, ...

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