Thumpasaurus at Casbah on December 13
  • Thumpasaurus at Casbah on December 13
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  • Thursday, December 13, 2018, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / $10 - $12


L.A. punk-n-funk rockers Thumpasaurus are the musical answer to the question “What if Pee Wee’s Playhouse had a house band featuring Parliament Funkadelic, led by Captain Beefheart?” Expect a particularly Spielbergian stage show when the sci-fi themed Space Barn Tour hits the Casbah on December 13, in support of several recent projects. Foremost is their debut album, as well as a live dance music opera designed for nightclub performances. They also remixed several of their songs for a collaborative EP with house producer Justin Jay, released on Jay’s own Fantastic Voyage label and currently tearing up gargantuan dancefloors like Miami’s famed Ultra Festival. For a band with only a couple of years under their collective sparkly belts since making their hometown headline debut, they have a lot of Jiffy Pops in the fire. Founded at USC’s Thornton School of Music, where they honed their chops at the University’s famed underground club Yoni, early singles such as “I’m Too Funky,” recorded with producer Don Was’ son Henry, established their funky format. You can get a taste of their visual flair by sampling pretty much any YouTube clip, but the one for “You Are So Pretty” is probably the best distillation of their social media style. It manically blends internet-sourced images of actress Jennifer Lawrence into a psychedelic collage-turned-barrage, with an increasingly aggressive gang of pop-ups all violently competing for your attention. “Mental Karate” is another made-for-web-addicts clip featuring the band swatting away various memes and texts as they show off their best Elvis-does-karate moves. If only MTV still showed videos, that one could have kicked off a pop dance craze even bigger than walking like an Egyptian.

Parquet Courts and Snail Mail

  • Monday, January 21, 2019, 7 p.m.
  • Music Box, 1337 India Street, San Diego
  • $27

Parquet Courts

The more people and pundits proclaim that Rock is Dead, the more rock bands seems to pour out of New York City by way of counterpoint. It’s been a gradual but steady rise up the rock charts for Parquet Courts, who made an inauspicious recorded debut in 2011 with American Specialties, a competent but fairly paint-by-number effort that few seemed to notice or comment on. Number two picked up some critical praise, and their third album made it to number 55 on the Billboard chart. Their fourth full-length, Content Nausea, was a bit of a stumble, featuring only half of the band (due to “other commitments”) and released under an alternate name, Parkay Quarts, a moniker that also graced a bizarre one-off single called “Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth.” The core quartet regrouped again for an experimental mostly-instrumental EP that was so off the wall that many discographies don’t even mention it. However, something about signing to the Rough Trade label seems to have finally inspired them to find and build on a distinct, if still generic, radio friendly setlist that can be counted on to bring the T-shirt buying, lighter-hoisting rock and roll crowd to the Music Box on January 21. They’ve released two albums with the label, the newest this past May, both of them packed with the same kind of odes, earworms, and anthems that are sure to grace countless golden oldie playlists of the mid-21st century. The bill includes Baltimore-based Snail Mail, the solo rock project of teen guitar whiz Lindsey Jordan.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

  • Sunday, March 24, 2019, 8 p.m.
  • House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Andrew McMahon

Former Jack’s Mannequin frontman Andrew McMahon is about to release his third album as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Upside Down Flowers, so far preceded by singles for “Ohio” and “Teenage Rockstars.” Both seem a natural continuation of the confessional and conversational style of his 2017 Zombies on Broadway album. “Ohio” concerns how he was in eighth grade when his midwestern family packed up their lives to strike out for what they hoped would be a better life of the sunny left coast of California, only to find dubious rewards that seemed to take generations to pay off. “Teenage Rockstars” is a piano ballad recounting what seems to be the story of his band as told from a future perspective, reminiscing about how “We partied hard and had our fun, we blew off deadlines and forgot to call our friends” until, years later, “sometimes at the shopping mall, the people say they knew me back when.” The “Rockstars” video spoofs power ballads with comically overplayed performance clips that are equal parts Freddie Mercury at Live Aid and Spinal Tap does “Stonehenge,” replete with piano climbing, crowd surfing, and bloody guitar strings. The album’s support tour wraps at downtown’s House of Blues on March 24.

New Kids On The Block

  • Thursday, May 23, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
  • Viejas Arena, 5500 Canyon Crest Drive, San Diego

New Kids on the Block

While not quite Old Men on their Walkers yet, there’s no denying that the members of ‘90s boy band New Kids on the Block are getting a little long in the tooth. Publicity pics for the upcoming Mixtape Tour that hits Viejas Arena on May 23 portray the band looking for all the world like five of your drunkest uncles posing at an outdoor wedding reception, after mugging the kids at the jump house for their jackets and shoes. Accentuating the older-than-your-dad aspect of this road trip are tour mates such as hip-hop trio Salt-N-Pepa (who got quite a comeback boost with “Shoop” featured so prominently in the Deadpool soundtrack), pop singer Tiffany (plugging a new album called Pieces of Me), Out of the Blue ingenue Debbie Gibson (who seems to have finally given up on trying to get people to call her Deborah), and celebrating 27 years of natural naughtiness, New Jersey pop rappers Naughty By Nature.

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