Goldfish at Belly Up on October 25
  • Goldfish at Belly Up on October 25
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Bells Atlas

Bells Atlas and Tori Roze

  • Sunday, October 7, 2018, 8 p.m.
  • Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / $10 - $12

Turning soul music into psychedelic jams isn’t the exclusive province of Deadhead disciples, and putting it into the hands of jazz-trained musicians hasn’t been a new idea since Randy California and Spirit first debuted in the late ‘60s. However, the way Oakland quartet Bells Atlas drenches the whole production in synthesized Afrobeat percussion and reggae grooves makes for one of the most danceable acts this side of Hiatus Kaiyote. Singer-keyboardist Sandra Lawson-Ndu is a powerful vocalist with a background in R&B, while guitarist Derek Barber was classically trained as a jazz player, making for vibrant collaborations on releases like their self-titled 2013 debut album and a four-track EP in 2015. Their stagecraft has been honed on the road with everyone from Bermuda Triangle to Badbadnotgood, Bilal, and Meshell Ndegeocello, as well as a stint touring as the house band for NPR’s Snap Judgment Live. A new single and video for “Be Brave” is part of a year-long campaign in support of an upcoming album and a bonus EP. Their October 7 appearance at Soda Bar will be opened by locals Tori Roze & the Hot Mess, who recently landed a tune in the film 66 is Nowhere, as well as releasing a new album, Baggage Claim.



Even though self-proclaimed “cholo goth” band Prayers earned a fair amount of national press over the past couple of years, the hallmarks of impending success still seem to elude them. They haven’t exactly set afire any chart that can’t be infiltrated by anyone with a modem and a microphone, although they do seem beloved by whoever comes up with the San Diego Music Awards nominations. One of the main signs that your band is a hit remains MIA, in that nobody is copying them. Seriously, there’s no RIYL list one can attach to a band like Prayers, and their visual iconography can only be described as Mad Max villains emerging from a violent sandstorm in order to invoke the devil. The jury is still out on whether one member’s very public romance with now-pregnant TV tattoo star Kat Von D is helping or hurting the band’s chances of being taken seriously, let alone scarily, now that more people have heard about them via the National Enquirer than Pitchfork and Stereogum combined (tattooing Kat’s name on his face only makes it harder to stifle the laughter). It should be noted that they do indeed still make new music from time to time, including a collaborative single with Christian Death late last year. The ongoing tour supporting their Baptism of Thieves full-length hits Observatory North Park on October 13.



  • Thursday, October 25, 2018, 9 p.m.
  • Belly Up Tavern, 143 S. Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach
  • 21+ / $18 - $32

In performance, South African house music duo Goldfish embraces the growing DJ trend of incorporating live instruments into their shows such as flute, sax, keys, and even double bass, along with heavily synthesized vocal effects. Judging from clips on YouTube and elsewhere, the end result doesn’t so much resemble a band performance as it does a high school variety show, with players indulging in oddly isolated passages that only qualify as “solos” by virtue of being propelled to the front of the mix for several measures, even if the player is just playing the same thing over and over throughout the song. This line-em-up and knock-em-down recital approach to live sets makes them the darlings of the giddy EDM crowds flocking to Lollapalooza and Coachella, as well as local venues like Bang Bang, Music Box, and Kaaboo Del Mar, where nobody’s shy about rolling and spinning to the bombastic BPM. It’s been around ten years, however, since they took the Belly Up stage, where they return October 25 to plug their latest album, Late Night People. It would seem on the surface to be a somewhat unusual, if not unprecedented, booking for the Solana Beach venue, but there’s been an undeniable “Kaaboo effect” over the past few years that has seen the entirety of Del Mar and the surrounding area evolve into an unlikely EDM hotbed.


Kuinka and Jesse LaMonaca & the Dime Novels

  • Thursday, November 8, 2018, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / $10 - $12

Many rustic Americana bands dabble in dream pop, but few do it as electronically as Seattle quartet Kuinka. They supposedly changed their name from Rabbit Wilde over a trademark dispute, and also because that moniker made people mistake them for bluegrass (which they kind of are, or at least progressive bluegrass). Brothers Zach and Nathan Hamer, along with cellist-percussionist Jillian Walker and singer and multi-instrumentalist Miranda Wilde, are aiming for a far younger crowd than one might expect from a band so favored on retiree radio stations like NPR, where their Tiny Desk Concert included a tiny ukulele, mini-synth, and solo drum pad. One can clearly hear cited influences such as Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, and Regina Spektor in their densely layered music, especially if one imagines how those acts would have evolved if born around the same time as Rihanna. Their Casbah debut takes place November 8, where local folk heroes Jesse LaMonaca & the Dime Novels will open.

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