- Friday, May 10, 2019, 8 p.m.
3615 El Cajon Boulevard,
$12 - $14
It sometimes seems as if British alt-rockers Deaf Havana are embarrassed by the top-five chart success of their biggest release, 2017’s All These Countless Nights. Formed in 2005, their fifth album from last year, Rituals, was a sharp departure from their previous AC/DC-like devotion to recycled, recognizable riffs, offering up a surprisingly hook-laden pop collection that aspired to Aerosmithian rock balladry. It seems like an almost entirely different band from their more hard rock early efforts, Meet Me Halfway At Least (2009) and Fools and Worthless Liars (2011), though the quintet did seem to be embracing their inner anthems a bit with 2013’s Old Souls. The lineup arriving at Soda Bar on May 10 still features songwriter-frontman James Veck-Gilodi and his guitarist brother Matthew, backed by co-founding bassist Lee Wilson, and co-founding drummer Tom Ogden, though they seem to have lost keyboardist Max Britton since recording Rituals. Reportedly, the album was a departure from previous LPs written by Veck-Gilodi on guitar, and instead evolved from mere titles for which songs were then composed on a computer. It’ll be interesting to see how they arrange live renditions of the ambitious tracks from the new album that, on the record, feature the London Contemporary Voice Choir. Perhaps they’ll do a Roger Waters and invite a local choir onstage to accompany them?
- Tuesday, June 18, 2019, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
$20 - $60
Chicago’s Jamila Woods made her mark as a poet whose work appeared in anthologies such as Courage: Daring Poems For Gutsy Girls and The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. She later began incorporating music into her projects because, as she told the Chicago Reader in 2015, “There’s a transcendence that music has that poetry doesn’t necessarily always have.” As a singer, she cites musical influences from Imogen Heap and Erykah Badu to Kendrick Lamar and Kirk Franklin. Her early recordings are as a guest singer on projects by far more famous acts she impressed with her smooth, soulful vocal chops. She adds notable groove to Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment’s album Surf, as well as to a socially conscious record from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “White Privilege II.” Chance the Rapper featured her on two high profile hits, “Sunday Candy” and “Blessings,” and she also collaborated with Noname, Saba, and others. Her first real solo splash came with the single “Blk Girl Soldier” and her 2016 full-length Heavn. A new album called Legacy! Legacy! is due May 10, five weeks before her June 18 appearance at the Casbah.
Aly & AJ
The reunion of onetime ‘tween pop star sisters Aly & AJ, touring in support of their Ten Years (Deluxe) EP, would at first seem unlikely, given how many years it’s been since they were all the rage with the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon crowd. Alyson Michalka (Aly) was originally the best known of the two, thanks to a co-starring role on Disney’s early 2000s sci-fi comedy Phil of the Future, a sort of cross between 3rd Rock From the Sun and My Favorite Martian. After that show went off the air in 2006, her career seemed to go sideways, with thankless roles like a bitchy cheerleader in CW’s series Hellcats and a bitchy lesbian in the final last-gasp episodes of Two and a Half Men, after the show lost one and a half of its men. Meanwhile, Amanda “AJ” Michalka started turning up as the World’s Oldest High School Student in The Goldbergs, where the fact that she looked like she might have actually been a teen in the 1980s era when the show takes place sometimes made her romance with an emotionally and mentally stunted high school boy seem more alarming than funny. In 2017, the sisters reunited to record a new EP, with songs that were heard in Aly’s newest TV series iZombie (AJ remains on TV, with her own recently launched Goldbergs spinoff). Despite the lack of much new music since their reunion EP, Observatory North Park must have confidence that fans will turn out in big enough numbers on June 25 to support the $150 to $250 being asked for tickets to this stop on the Sanctuary Tour. A “Soundcheck/Listening Party Experience” includes a meet and greet with the duo, an onstage selfie, “specially designed lyric shoelaces,” and a “custom Take Me popsocket” for mobile phones.
Less than a year after their last San Diego appearance, Billy Corgan is still squeezing every last pumpkin seed from the Smashing Pumpkins reunion with an upcoming date at North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre on August 28. It’s pretty much a continuation of their first tour in over 20 years with Corgan, James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlin, whose tenth studio record, Shiny and Oh So Bright Volume 1, was released last November. Produced by hitmaker Rick Rubin and clocking in at just over a half hour, it earned mostly lukewarm reviews, with Rolling Stone surprisingly providing the most pithy and accurate appraisal: “Save the few fire-breathing dragon moments of Lollapalooza-era chum, it’s the Smashing Pumpkins in name only, and that ice cream truck has long left the gas station.” Co-headliners Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds haven’t played San Diego since a 2015 set at Humphrey’s, nor have they released a new album since late 2017’s Who Built the Moon. However, according to the press release, the former Oasis mainman is reportedly working on new music that will likely be heard on this tour, which also features support from punk rock heroes AFI.