Todd Rundgren offers An Unpredictable Evening at Music Box on September 1
Locals were disappointed to hear the August 28 Yestival at the Balboa Theatre — despite most dates featuring Todd Rundgren alongside Yes and Carl Palmer — would not include Rundgren. We don’t know why the wizard and true star is sitting out the San Diego Yestival (he’ll be at the L.A. date the next night), but it looks like he wanted to make it up to us by booking a solo show for a few days later, September 1, at Little Italy’s Music Box. Rundgren has been blowing San Diegans’ minds for over three decades now, with no two setlists ever remotely resembling each other. His Music Box appearance (one of only two upcoming U.S. solo dates currently on his website calendar) is being billed as “An Unpredictable Evening,” perhaps the most literal truth-in-advertising since the aging Sex Pistols mounted their Filthy Lucre reunion tour. The comparison to the UK punk icons isn’t as random as you might think, given that Rundgren was already wearing pink-and-purple hair back when the Beatles were still together, producing early works by fab-four protégés Badfinger before launching his own career as a solo artist and with his band Utopia. It seems likely he’ll lean heavily on tracks from his 27th studio album, White Night, released in May and featuring collaborations with Joe Walsh, Donald Fagen, Trent Reznor, Joe Satriani, and others. Then again, he may do a solo acoustic set of audience requests, which would certainly fit the “Unpredictable” bill. After all, this is the guy who once toured as temporary hood ornament for the Rick Ocasek-less Cars, confounding both his own fans and those of the robotic ‘80s hit machine.
Rapper Post Malone may be moving into more of a Red Hot Chili Peppers kind of thing
Observatory North Park continues to double down on hip-hop, bringing in Dallas, Texas, rapper Post Malone on October 4 for his second headlining set at the occasionally contentious venue. First seen by many opening dates for Justin Bieber’s Purpose World Tour (or perhaps his national TV debut on Jimmy Kimmel’s show), it will have been almost exactly a year since Malone played the Observatory just as his inaugural full-length Stoney dropped, quickly becoming one of the top ten streaming albums on multiple websites, a rank it maintained for over six months. Despite a somewhat generic sound (strangely not a deal-breaker in today’s marketplace), the guy has managed to rack up several multi-platinum singles, including “Congratulations,” featuring Georgia rapper Quavo, which peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. His best-selling track pretty much sets the template for the majority of his music: “If you fuck with winning, put your lighters to the sky, how could I make sense when I got millions on my mind?” His collaborators have included rap royalty 50 Cent and Kanye West, both of whom seem to see something promising in Malone, but it’s been reported that he’s moving into more of a Kid Rock/Red Hot Chili Peppers direction for his upcoming sophomore full-length Beerbongs and Bentleys. This may or may not please the North Park venue’s neighbors, many of which would probably prefer far quieter music with far older (and presumably calmer) fans.
Trever Sensor brings Texas Girls and Jesus Christ to the Space
Another relatively new performer, 22-year-old acoustic singer-songwriter Trevor Sensor, will make his first local headlining appearance at the Space on October 12, touring in support of his debut EP, Texas Girls and Jesus Christ. The Illinois-born troubadour frames his sound in folksy blues, with a ragged world-weary voice that introduces a boozy, jazz piano patina to the more engaging tracks. While one might expect a fairly paint-by-numbers result from such a timeworn formula, what makes Sensor stand out are his highly literate, even philosophical, lyrics. By trading traditional folk storytelling in favor of delving into larger, more metaphysical truths, the music is elevated into something closer to the more inspired works of much older talents like Richard Thompson and, dare I say, Bob Dylan. Which isn’t meant to be the albatross such a comparison usually entails, especially since the Dylan album most akin to Sensor’s EP is probably 1985’s Empire Burlesque rather than, say, 1969’s Nashville Skyline. The music feels and sounds like it’s letting you in on an important secret that you kind of already know, a touchstone shared by most great art.
Facial takes their Animals-style Facade to the Blonde Bar
The penultimate date of Facial’s tour in support of their sophomore album Facade takes place at Blonde Bar on October 22. The L.A. trio’s first effort was frequently compared to bands such as Fidlar and Girl Pool, but the new album’s second single, “Animals,” seems more influenced by heavier groups like their onetime tour mates Warpaint, perpetual humanity-hater Roger Waters, and even San Diego’s militant vegans Cattle Decapitation. Facial songwriter Cam was apparently inspired by the cattle slaughterhouse he grew up near in rural Oregon, comparing people in the song to animals happily marching to their doom, with a track that starts drenched in a muttering drone before going all grunge-wild about a minute in. There’s a video for the Facade song “Fashion” that continues the “animal” theme with an array of live critters said to have been sourced from Craigslist, as well as featuring the band being hosed down while wearing cloth diapers, for some reason. Sampling the other tracks, there doesn’t seem to be much consistency on Facade, other that the fact that their songs tend to finish much louder than they begin. But that’s a formula that has worked well for the original Animals-herders and facade builders whose louder mid-period music is Facial’s closest ancestor, Pink Floyd.
Mac Sabbath — usually funny, always stupid
Mac Sabbath features costumed characters straight out of the original Sid and Marty Krofft-inspired McDonald’s commercials serving up steaming heaps of Sabbath covers, rewritten to be about fast food. Think Pizza Underground meets Steel Panther — usually funny, often memorable, and always stupid. Singer Ronald Osbourne, guitarist Slayer MacCheeze, bassist Grimalice, and drummer Catburgler (their L.A.-based real identities remain a mildly protected secret) have some solid chops, creating imaginative rearrangements of tunes such as “Iron Man” (recreated as “Frying Pan”), “Sweet Leaf” (“Sweet Beef”), and their “Electric Funeral” spoof, “Organic Funeral.” The reimagined results usually mock people’s obsession with fast food, with songs like “Chicken for the Slaves” (yep, “Children of the Grave”) containing lyrics such as “Retribution on their minds, the chickens start to march, slaves drive-thru in SUVs and eat their deep-fried starch.” If a live-action cartoon concert featuring reconstituted Sabbath, giant condiment squirters, flying Batburgers, and a working full-size barbeque grill onstage sounds like your meat, their December 30 slot opening for long-lived punk stalwarts the Dwarves at Brick by Brick should satisfy your appetite for reconstruction.