Bret Michaels at Belly Up on November 29
- Thursday, November 29, 2018, 8 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
$85 - $149
For a guy whose ticker keeps telling him to slow down via occasional cardiac speed bumps, 55-year-old Bret Michaels doesn’t seem anywhere near retirement. The once and future Poison king has even tried his hand at multiple TV reality shows: seeking romance in Rock of Love and helping people pimp their old RVs into dream mobiles for Rock My RV, a show he’d likely still be filming if there weren’t so many other paychecks always being dangled in front of him. He also did multiple turns on Celebrity Apprentice and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, as well as playing himself in movies like Sharknado 5: Global Swimming and American Pie Presents the Book of Love. You can’t even get through a round of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock without coming across Michaels either singing Poison’s “Talk Dirty To Me” or his solo track “Go That Far” (aka the Rock of Love TV theme song). And you may have seen his line of Pets Rock animal clothing accessories at PetSmart (no joke!). As a solo musician, he made his debut in 1998 by scoring a movie he wrote, directed, and starred in, A Letter From Death Row, an effort (co-produced with Charlie Sheen) that few have seen or heard. However, the soundtrack demonstrates a few glimpses of the country music direction he’d develop further a few years later with a country rock album, Freedom of Sound, and a season hosting the Nashville Star TV competition. The tour bringing Michaels to the Belly Up on November 29 isn’t tied to any specific release, and it’s been about five years since his last studio album. However, YouTube playlists indicate that his most recent solo sets tend to weigh in at approximately fifty percent Poison, for whatever that’s worth by way of persuasion or dissuasion.
Steven Van Zandt
First, Steven Van Zandt didn’t want you to play Sun City (apartheid, dontcha know). Now, he wants you to pay school teachers what they’re worth. To that end, Bruce Springsteen’s longtime guitarist is booking a tour through every state where teachers have been or are considering going on strike for wages and benefits more commensurate with their skill. Educators can even arrange free tickets for the Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul tour coming to House of Blues on December 11, yet another show of solidarity with the people who teach our children. Sure, Van Zandt has a new album to promote, Soulfire Live!, but there’s more to this road trip than just getting on and off busses. The activist-inclined rocker is also on a mission to plug TeachRock, a free multimedia K-12 interdisciplinary curriculum developed by his 501(c)(3) Rock and Roll Forever Foundation. According to the tour announcement, “Each show on the tour will also see Little Steven and his TeachRock staff hosting free professional development workshops designed to engage educators with techniques and content through which they can comfortably use music to inspire students, even if they’ve never touched an instrument. In many locations, the workshop will also count towards continuing education hours and license renewal…the one-hour workshops will see a personal visit from Little Steven, with attendees also receiving a teacher-only edition Teacher Appreciation Tour t-shirt, a certificate of attendance, and tickets for the educator and a guest to that evening’s Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul concert.”
- Thursday, December 13, 2018, 7 p.m.
5500 Canyon Crest Drive,
Speaking of teachers, I once had a music instructor, back in junior high, who used the first two albums by Barry Manilow to demonstrate the ideal way to compose, structure, and arrange what he considered to be “perfect pop music.” Even though Manilow didn’t actually write or arrange all the tunes on those early releases (he didn’t even write “I Write the Songs”), it’s hard to argue with his Rumpelstiltskin-like ability to take the most unpromising hay and spin it into Grammy gold; 85 million albums, a dozen number-one records, half a hundred top 40 singles, blah blah blah. We haven’t seen a lot of Manilow in San Diego over the past decade or so, and we’ve never seen the Jewish superstar stage a Christmas show within the city limits, as the 75-year-old hitmaker is scheduled to do on December 13 for his first visit to Viejas Arena. According to advance press, “A Very Barry Christmas will feature his hit songs and holiday favorites…his past concerts have surprised audiences with a children’s choir, Santa Claus, and even snow.” We’ll settle for actual ice in those water-filled cups that Arena vendors keep trying to pass off as sodas.
- Sunday, January 6, 2019, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
If you want to read jaw-dropping and frequently violent personal accounts of local concert attendees now pushing their fifties, just look up the times that T.S.O.L. played around town at punk-friendly places like the Adams Avenue Theater and the Skeleton Club in the late 70s and early 80s. If even half the stories are true, there’s an epic bio-pic to be filmed about the Long Beach band’s SoCal concert history, including headline-grabbing culture wars at Costa Mesa’s punk haven the Cuckoo’s Nest, where T.S.O.L. fans once tried to burn down a neighboring country-western nightclub whose patrons liked to pick fights with passing punks. We’re pretty sure the Casbah will be safe from immolation on January 6, where the founding trio of Jack Grisham, Ron Emory, and Mike Roche (who’ve all been in and out of the band at various times) will be hoping to sell you copies of their 2017 album The Trigger Complex.