Finnegan Blue's 'bones section (Willie and Anna Lee Fleming, left) spent time in SDSU's marching band.
Anna Lee Fleming was born and raised in North Park. “I have definitely seen a transition,” says the founder/songwriter/lead singer of Finnegan Blue. “When I was first going to school my parents wouldn’t let me walk to school. North Park was thought to be too seedy, too dangerous.”
Finnegan Blue, at the Rabbit Hole for Adams Avenue Unplugged
North Park and its land values have upscaled over the years. Fleming, 28, who teaches elementary school, still lives there. But she says her hometown music scene has not exactly swooned over her three-year-old band.
“It’s been difficult for us to perform in North Park. I tried to get us into the Office and Bar Pink and for whatever reason they were unresponsive. We finally clawed our way into the North Park Festival of the Arts this year.”
Part of the reason may be because her band doesn’t line up with North Park’s dominant musical DNA: “Indie music never really reached me,” she says.
- Saturday, November 11, 2017, 9 p.m.
554 Fourth Avenue,
Finnegan Blue started as an Irish band three years ago. “We formed to play at a bar on St. Patrick’s Day. We branched out to include a broad spectrum of American folk, bluegrass, Americana, New Orleans funk jazz...and traditional Irish.”
The highly rhythmic New Orleans sound came via brother Willie Fleming, who plays mandolin, trombone, and guitar in Finnegan Blue. “When he was in the high school marching band he stumbled across the Youngblood Brass Band.”
Brother Willie segued into the SDSU marching band (all six Finnegan Blue members are SDSU grads). “I also wanted to be in the SDSU marching band,” says Anna Lee. “I was 22 years old when I told them I wanted to join. I said I knew how to play even though I didn’t. They still let me join. I threw myself to the wolves. I memorized how the slide was supposed to look during each song.”
Fleming played trombone with the SDSU marching band from 2009–’13. By the time she left, she knew how to play.
“Right now the jazz/funk and afrobeat scene seems to be heating up in San Diego,” says Fleming, pointing out that the Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, Elektric Voodoo, and the B-Side Players are everywhere.
Meanwhile, North Park seems to be opening up. “Yesterday this bouncer from Seven Grand came up and told me, ‘Oh my god, you guys had a conga line. You guys have to come back.’”
Besides their Dublin Square date on November 11, they appear at the Sam Ash music store in La Mesa from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.