Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Gonzo Report: Sitting through Dad Rock to get to Enrique Sotelo

Could Audio Perdisco be harboring a future guitar god?

Enrique Sotelo: a scorcher on the strings.
Enrique Sotelo: a scorcher on the strings.

It’s a Wednesday at The Belly Up in Solana Beach, and I pass the time eavesdropping in line as a young woman named Abby discusses a helicopter that is flying at that very moment over her house, an event she has been informed of via a phone call about a fugitive. Abby and her companion Cliff — who is, coincidentally a helicopter pilot — are now characters in my adventure. They’re here because they love live music, but they seem completely unaware of the hype surrounding Audio Perdisco guitarist Enrique Sotelo, who is gaining a reputation as the hottest guitarist in San Diego — drawing comparisons to the Fallbrook Kid himself, Anthony Cullins.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Once inside, security guards are protecting the alcove where the restrooms are located. I suspect they’re guarding the restroom while Sotelo uses it. I’m a journalist, so it’s my job to investigate. But as I stride up to them, my confidence is shaken by the nearby sound of a glass shattering — I start to worry that I will be blamed. Then my sense of purpose deflates when security tells me they’re just blocking the entrance adjacent to the restaurant, and they’re not Sotelo’s personal bathroom bodyguards.

Guards aside, the Belly Up has a laid-back atmosphere, and a consistently pristine sound that makes it a great place to see a concert with fellow music lovers. (Even if some restaurant patrons like to sneak into the show room after dining.) The theme of the night is “Locals Only,” with four bands providing the soundtrack. The first two, Wave Parade and Born to Rise, are competent, but I’ve heard Soundgarden and Alice In Chains before, and the imitators don’t excite me. On my way out to my nicotine fix, I see Abby and Cliff, who give their succinct review of both bands as “dad rock” and wonder why Audio Perdisco has two drum sets.

The floor seems more packed after my smoke, but that may just be the energy and dancing that sweeps through the crowd. I look up Sotelo after a few songs to see which guitarist he is. He’s good, very good, but so is the rest of the band. Sotelo shines during the solos he takes, but it’s the group’s locked rhythm that makes my jaw drop. They operate as a solid unit, with everyone serving the song. Given that blues bands are by their very nature derivative, I marvel at the fresh sound they make. They remind me of early J. Geils, when they didn’t give a fuck about appealing to the masses. During a number called “Don’t Do That,” a patron climbs on the column by the stage and is told by security to get down. Then a woman does it, and I imagine the security singing “don’t do that” while telling her to get down as well. Each member takes a solo, including both drummers. Once unchained from the group, each one puts on an effective display of individual style.

As I head out to smoke again, I pass Abby and Cliff once more and hear, “That’s what they need two drummers for!” Outside, the band, including Sotelo, is hanging out, surrounded by both people they know and new fans congratulating them. I shake Sotelo’s hand and tell him I came to see him play for an article. He seems surprised and starts complimenting his bandmates, stating that he learns a lot from his riff partner, Garret Brubaker. Sotelo can’t keep the smile off his face when discussing the blues players that influenced him — deep cuts way beyond my knowledge. Then he tells me Brubaker loves metal.

When Brubaker joins us, we discuss our love of heavy music, and I encourage him to see Megadeth while he can. I soon lose the duo in the swarm of people approaching them, and watch as a drunk man engages drummer Nick Dejesso, asking for a hug, making fun of his ‘70s style shirt, and then yelling that nobody can tell him shit about drumming. It’s funny to me, but more impressive that Dejesso keeps his cool and deflects the liquid courage. Like his bandmates, he lights up when discussing his influences, such as Neil Peart. But he becomes even more enthusiastic when talking about his group, especially drummer Darien McLaughlin, who challenges him with rhythms outside his comfort zone. Dejesso excuses himself to see the last band, Veni Sun, play their brand of indie pop.

Only time will tell if I have seen a future star tonight, if Sotelo and the band survive the pitfalls of the industry and leave a lasting impact on music. But tonight, it warms my rock and roll heart to have seen an inspired and inspiring performance.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

The Church and The Afghan Whigs, Dog Days of Summer, Boarded: A New Pirate Adventure

Events July 11-July 13, 2024
Enrique Sotelo: a scorcher on the strings.
Enrique Sotelo: a scorcher on the strings.

It’s a Wednesday at The Belly Up in Solana Beach, and I pass the time eavesdropping in line as a young woman named Abby discusses a helicopter that is flying at that very moment over her house, an event she has been informed of via a phone call about a fugitive. Abby and her companion Cliff — who is, coincidentally a helicopter pilot — are now characters in my adventure. They’re here because they love live music, but they seem completely unaware of the hype surrounding Audio Perdisco guitarist Enrique Sotelo, who is gaining a reputation as the hottest guitarist in San Diego — drawing comparisons to the Fallbrook Kid himself, Anthony Cullins.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Once inside, security guards are protecting the alcove where the restrooms are located. I suspect they’re guarding the restroom while Sotelo uses it. I’m a journalist, so it’s my job to investigate. But as I stride up to them, my confidence is shaken by the nearby sound of a glass shattering — I start to worry that I will be blamed. Then my sense of purpose deflates when security tells me they’re just blocking the entrance adjacent to the restaurant, and they’re not Sotelo’s personal bathroom bodyguards.

Guards aside, the Belly Up has a laid-back atmosphere, and a consistently pristine sound that makes it a great place to see a concert with fellow music lovers. (Even if some restaurant patrons like to sneak into the show room after dining.) The theme of the night is “Locals Only,” with four bands providing the soundtrack. The first two, Wave Parade and Born to Rise, are competent, but I’ve heard Soundgarden and Alice In Chains before, and the imitators don’t excite me. On my way out to my nicotine fix, I see Abby and Cliff, who give their succinct review of both bands as “dad rock” and wonder why Audio Perdisco has two drum sets.

The floor seems more packed after my smoke, but that may just be the energy and dancing that sweeps through the crowd. I look up Sotelo after a few songs to see which guitarist he is. He’s good, very good, but so is the rest of the band. Sotelo shines during the solos he takes, but it’s the group’s locked rhythm that makes my jaw drop. They operate as a solid unit, with everyone serving the song. Given that blues bands are by their very nature derivative, I marvel at the fresh sound they make. They remind me of early J. Geils, when they didn’t give a fuck about appealing to the masses. During a number called “Don’t Do That,” a patron climbs on the column by the stage and is told by security to get down. Then a woman does it, and I imagine the security singing “don’t do that” while telling her to get down as well. Each member takes a solo, including both drummers. Once unchained from the group, each one puts on an effective display of individual style.

As I head out to smoke again, I pass Abby and Cliff once more and hear, “That’s what they need two drummers for!” Outside, the band, including Sotelo, is hanging out, surrounded by both people they know and new fans congratulating them. I shake Sotelo’s hand and tell him I came to see him play for an article. He seems surprised and starts complimenting his bandmates, stating that he learns a lot from his riff partner, Garret Brubaker. Sotelo can’t keep the smile off his face when discussing the blues players that influenced him — deep cuts way beyond my knowledge. Then he tells me Brubaker loves metal.

When Brubaker joins us, we discuss our love of heavy music, and I encourage him to see Megadeth while he can. I soon lose the duo in the swarm of people approaching them, and watch as a drunk man engages drummer Nick Dejesso, asking for a hug, making fun of his ‘70s style shirt, and then yelling that nobody can tell him shit about drumming. It’s funny to me, but more impressive that Dejesso keeps his cool and deflects the liquid courage. Like his bandmates, he lights up when discussing his influences, such as Neil Peart. But he becomes even more enthusiastic when talking about his group, especially drummer Darien McLaughlin, who challenges him with rhythms outside his comfort zone. Dejesso excuses himself to see the last band, Veni Sun, play their brand of indie pop.

Only time will tell if I have seen a future star tonight, if Sotelo and the band survive the pitfalls of the industry and leave a lasting impact on music. But tonight, it warms my rock and roll heart to have seen an inspired and inspiring performance.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into The Children's Pool

LION, Summer 2024
Next Article

Holo Holo Festival showcases music of the Pacific Islands

Featured local artists include Eli-Mac and Lea Love
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.