Everyone's a Critic

A childlike concert at San Diego Symphony

How do you make Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 fresh and new?

When it comes to concerts of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, the one turned out by the San Diego Symphony on March 4 was special. Never in my life could I have imagined anyone conducting like ...

Dave Wakeling beats back the storm

The English Beat hits with the hits

Despite a torrential downpour, fans packed the Belly Up in Solana Beach for a fun-filled evening with the English Beat. Just shy of his 61st birthday, Dave Wakeling acted like an old-time vaudevillian as he ...

Alison Krauss's woeful Windy City

...your grandma will probably love it

There exists a battle in the arts: the duality of the pure and the commodity; the passion and the product. This, certainly, is no different with records. There are ingenious albums, those that have the ...

Slim Cessna's hillbilly hootenanny

Gothic Americana act takes Soda Bar a little higher

How does one begin to describe Slim Cessna’s Auto Club? The band, forming 25 years ago in Denver, defies categorization, though many have tried. Some have labeled their sound — a wickedly enchanting mix of ...

Ryan Adams writes freely on Prisoner

The singer/songwriter's latest takes on heartache with '80s guitar cheese

We’ve seen a variety of outfits from singer/songwriter Ryan Adams throughout his expansive career. Never shy of being experimental, if you are able to get past the dismay of his Taylor Swift cover album, we ...

Don't sleep on Iron Reagan

Crossover Ministry's a political pizza party

Dropping two weeks after the inauguration of Donald Trump, crossover thrashers Iron Reagan’s new record, Crossover Ministry, couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Eschewing the typical pizza-party fare of many crossover bands (with ...

Blind Boys of Alabama still hungry after 80 years

"The Blind Boys of Alabama like to eat."

Maybe someone warned him about the Belly Up Tavern’s location in laid-back Solana Beach. Maybe it was the venue’s seated-show setup. Maybe it was because his group was playing on a Sunday night. Whatever it ...

Hot Snake surprise

The dormant quartet gets together for a night

It was announced on Monday afternoon that the Hot Snakes would be playing an impromptu show later that night at John Reis’s Bar Pink in North Park. The four of them, packed onto the little ...

Itzhak Perlman sold out Symphony Hall

The venerable master of the violin plays for a packed house

Symphony CEO Martha Gilmore made some lovely statements before Saturday night’s symphony concert. She also made a sly remark about the house being sold out for the music of Erich Korngold. Of course, the house ...

Midge Ure remembers Bowie during Casbah concert

"...a man who changed the face of music forever"

Midge Ure, at 63 years of age, can still rock the house. The former member of Ultravox, Visage, and Thin Lizzy brought his three-piece band to the Casbah, where they played songs spanning his career. ...

Tour Italy with Keith Jarrett

Multi-disc Multitude of Angels offers the piano mans final solo tour

“Over the Rainbow” would be the last piece he’d play in public for a few years. As he remarks in his liner notes, he was already sick when he did these concerts. He didn’t know ...

Bowie's birthday bash

Three acts offer highlights of his musical life

Have you ever had a magic night involving music? This was one of those nights. Led by my psychedelic bolo tie, I walked into the Casbah with no expectations. Ziggy Shuffledust started us off. Having ...

Childish Gambino gets funked up

Actor Donald Glover's rapping alter-ego finds his groove

These days, Donald Glover is known more for his acting (in the critically-acclaimed FX series Atlanta, and before that, Community) than his musical endeavors as alter-ego Childish Gambino. But he’s about to even the score ...

Dandy Warhols dandy but distant

Distortland's San Diego tour stop not the Dandy's best outing

On a rainy December night, the Dandy Warhols rolled into the Belly Up on their Distortland tour. As much as I dig the Dandys, I have to say this latest show in San Diego was ...

Strange Storm out of Brooklyn

The Darrin James Band's latest is blues-rock tempered to our times

Strange Storm, the third album from the Brooklyn-based Darrin James Band, is truth-telling of the bitterest sort, ten tracks naming the slights we do each other, intended and otherwise. Following suit, Darrin James, principle songwriter ...

Miranda Lambert needs two discs to bear The Weight of These Wings

Country singer's latest trades studio sheen for first-take rawness

“Break-up record” is too reductive to describe Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings, but it’s a start. Though the country artist’s heart aches plenty in her first music after last year’s split from Blake ...

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