Carlos Rivera
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Young Jesus

Young Jesus

Past Event

Young Jesus

  • Wednesday, May 1, 2019, 7 p.m.
  • Ché Café, 1000 Scholars Drive, San Diego
  • $10 - $12

L.A.-based art rock quartet Young Jesus (not to be confused with the Logic song by that name) sounds kind of like if Lana Del Rey had been born a guy (which some online commentators who remain incensed about her alleged plastic surgery would still have you believe is true). There’s a Xanax-drenched drone to singles like “Deterritory” that oozes into a liquid mantra once the lyrics start repeating over and over, “It’s not enough to hate the world we live within.” Singer-guitarist John Rossiter, originally from Chicago and a bookstore clerk who also writes for the Los Angeles Review of Books, has clearly worn out the grooves on his old World Party, Tears for Fears, and especially PM Dawn records. Keyboardist Eric Shevrin favors dense prog-rock backdrops, bassist-songwriter Marcel Borbon seems to be a Jaco devotee, and Kern Haug is right out of the Ed Cassidy school of jazz-rock drumming, alternately powerful and delicate, sometimes all at once on different skins. Their 2015 debut Grow/Decompose and a sophomore followup from 2017, S/T, were both basically singles albums. However, their followup, last year’s The Whole Thing Is Just There, is a full-scale album-oriented mini-rock opera of sorts, closing with a constantly shifting and morphing track called “Gulf” that runs over 20 minutes and could have easily been slipped onto one of Rick Wakeman’s latter-day albums without anybody noticing. Judging from setlists posted online, their May 1 appearance at UCSD’s all-ages Che Café may include deep cuts from their earliest emo-leaning EPs, Young Innocent & Harry and Maybe Baby, as well as 2016’s Void as Lob.

Connan Mockasin

Connan Mockasin

Past Event

Connan Mockasin

  • Monday, June 3, 2019, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / $18 - $20

Connan Tant Hosford, aka Connan Mockasin, is a psychedelic pop musician from Te Awanga, New Zealand staging his first San Diego show at the Casbah on June 3. I had to do some reading up and listening to tell you any more; he hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in the U.S. and I was frankly unfamiliar with his music until today. He apparently splits his residences between England, L.A., and Japan, and I daresay that world-hopping lifestyle is reflected in the music. I skipped through all of his albums I could find and discovered two fairly distinct phases: His earliest material as Connan Mockasin could be called a simmering stoner period, with lots of buzzy bliss and lyrical meandering about cosmic (if elementary) “truths.” Later efforts take on a sharper, though still jam-centered, sheen, with plenty of plucky rhythms and surprisingly soaring guitar work that brings to mind vintage blues-inspired players such as Mike Bloomfield, Alvin Lee, and at times even Clapton himself. It’s engaging music, albeit so inconsistent that I had to check a few times to make sure I hadn’t accidentally loaded from a different artist’s playlist. The bill includes comedic ukulele internet star Molly Lewis, a sort of one-woman Garfunkel and Oates.

CJ Ramone

CJ Ramone

Past Event

CJ Ramone and Mean Jeans

  • Sunday, June 9, 2019, 8 p.m.
  • Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / $15

Like most of the world, I first heard of CJ Ramone when he replaced Dee Dee in the Ramones, a gig he held from 1989 until 1996, when the band said adios, amigos. As it happens, I just recently digitized a recorded interview I did with Joey Ramone shortly after CJ joined, so I’ll let Joey tell you about CJ in advance of his June 9 performance at the Soda Bar. “He’s from Long Island. He was in the Marines trying to get, like, an honorable discharge. His mom was sick, but they were dicking him around, so he just kind of went AWOL. I guess he heard from a friend of his that we were auditioning bass players. He was actually one of the first people we tried out. His name is Chris Ward, the ‘J’ is Joseph, his middle name…everything’s cool now with CJ and the government. He auditioned, we liked him, and even though we saw, like, 75 other guys, we decided to stay with him. Then he had to get a passport and all that, so the government picked up where he was. They came for him, took him away in shackles to North Carolina or somewhere, so we just waited until they released him about three weeks later. He finally got himself a regular discharge, I think.” Post-Ramones, CJ went on to form a band with Dee Dee and Marky Ramone, as well as fronting his own group Bad Chopper, but he’s now touring and recording as a solo act. His first album since 2017, The Holy Spell, drops May 10, preceded by a single, “Blue Skies.” The bill includes Pacific Northwest punk rockers Mean Jeans, CJ’s labelmates at Fat Wreck Chords.

Carlos Rivera

Carlos Rivera

Past Event

Carlos Rivera

  • Saturday, October 12, 2019, 7 p.m.
  • House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Avenue, San Diego
  • $45 - $85

Mexican singer Carlos Rivera makes his first headline appearance at downtown’s House of Blues on October 12. The 32-year-old earned nearly instant fame as a winner on the Hispanic talent show La Academia. That led to signing with Sony music and becoming the youngest actor ever to play the male lead in stage productions of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The theater has continued to be a launchpad to mainstream success, with major roles in The Lion King and Mamma Mia!, and he played Andres Salinas in around 80 episodes of the TV show El Hotel de los Secretos. He’s released five albums, the most recent being Guerra from last year, which spawned a hit single called “La Solución” featuring Laura Pausini. A dramatic mini-movie is streaming online that serves as a video for the track “Sería Más Fácil,” possibly/probably intended as a demo reel introducing himself to Hollywood producers as a potential leading man. The HOB show is all ages, with a somewhat unusual ticket limit let set at no more than 50 tickets per individual purchaser. Most ticket allowances peak at 5, maybe 10 at most, so announcing 50 just seems to be openly ringing the scalpers’ dinner bell.

— Jay Allen Sanford

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