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Stories by Dave Good

Toadies unzip the bodybag

Play Belly Up Saturday with Local H

“The band never went all the way away.” Vaden Todd Lewis would know. As one of the Fort Worth band’s founding members, he is also one of its survivors. The band broke out in 1994 ...

Southern Avenue, streetwise beyond their years

"Truth, honesty, pain, love, growth, and peace through our music.”

Southern Avenue is the name of a street in Memphis. On it, at 1932, is Soulsville, the original home of the legendary Stax Records. It is also the name of a band, a brand new ...

A swim with the Sharks and Dennis Quaid — CANCELED

A celeb band that won't necessarily trip your odious meter

After publishing this preview, the Dennis Quaid and the Sharks show was canceled so a benefit could be held for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Art imitates life, which is busy imitating art: not exactly ...

No one calls Thundercat Stephen Bruner

Call him a mighty fine R&B and funk singer instead

Thundercat claims Miles Davis as an inspiration, along with jazz bassist Ron Carter and a pianist named Mary Lou Williams who was mostly active during the golden era of jazz, but you’d have to dig ...

U.S. Bombs target Soda Bar

The less you have to say about this band, the better

If there is any truth to the rumor, the last thing Joey Ramone heard in this life was U2’s In a Little While. He died in a New York hospital in 2001. But, there are ...

Lafayette Falkquay's purple Strat shoots straight

Two decades of club-hopping gets blues man to a rare place

Pure and greasy, raw, nasty, sexy, down-home Texas-style blues: there are possibly three or four authentic blues performers in San Diego, and Lafayette Falkquay is at the top of the stack. He’s a product of ...

Bad weather coming? No, it's Steve Earle.

Underdog champ to walk Belly Up floor

He seems to own a measure of calm, but one watches Steve Earle in the same manner you’d track storm clouds. Long of beard, aging into his own vision of himself, Earle, 62, is like ...

Wheeler Walker Jr: consistently revolting and funny

Waylon, Hank Williams Jr, and Kinky Friedman all rolled up into one

Parental advisory: Wheeler Walker Jr is possibly the filthiest country singer on record. “But tonight it’ll do,” sings Walker Jr, about a man facing thin odds and even poorer options on the tail end of ...

Buttertones slather on the West Coast 1960s

Voodoo-ish sound owes much to Dick Dale

Surf rock, as written and performed by players who were raised on grunge. Otherwise, the Buttertones are all over the place, with sonic influences from bands like the Gun Club all the way back to ...

Blackberry Smoke likely to fill Belly Up

Southern rockers road-dogging their way up the food chain

Blackberry Smoke looks like they just stepped out of a 1960s promo photo shoot — wardrobe, hair, and all — that one where the band Blue Cheer posed on a pier with their mountain of ...

Cowsills still happy together

Reputed Partridge Family template lives and rocks

“It’s the quintessential classic-rock tour.” Paul Cowsill checks in by phone from his home in Oregon. He and the band are on a little break from the Happy Together tour, a road show that travels ...

The Roots' inventory of sounds

They'll take Observatory stage in service of the groove

Hip-hop, yes, but with a tuba player. Not many acts working the genre use live instruments like the Roots do, but then again, I love bands that focus more on groove than form. The main ...

Little, loud, and brilliant Rosie Flores

Tex-Mex soul-stress to take Soda Bar stage

Los Angeles used to be the center of the music industry, back when there was one. Now, that distinction in the post-digital era belongs to three towns: Austin, Nashville, and Brooklyn. And you’ve got to ...

Has large hair, check. Takes on weight of world, check.

But check Ron Gallo's music before you judge

“Let’s get a house/ you and me/ and your 12 cats,” sings Ron Gallo. “You’ll gird my mattress with nails/ one for/ every time something psycho came out of your mouth.” Remember Neil Young and ...

Trail angels: From Campo to Canada on foot

Bread Stick = Trail Food

“Each day on the trail was the only possible preparation for the one that followed.” — Cheryl Strayed, from her introduction to Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Grimy Black Lips to smack the Belly Up

The high school remains in these boys

How these things sometimes get started: in the case of the Black Lips, from Dunwoody, Georgia, the lo-fi garage-rock band may have never come to exist if two of the founding members had not been ...

North Mississippi Allstars at Belly Up — a prayer for peace

More dead in the Tallahatchie?

In 1996, when Luther and Cody Dickinson started the North Mississippi Allstars, blues-festival promoters and record-label hacks alike saw the band as the potential salvation of a very stale blues scene (i.e., better ticket and ...

Chris Potter will toy with you

He'd transcribed and memorized Parker's work by age 13

Imagine the world Chris Potter saw when he stepped into the role of Next New Jazz Tenor Saxophonist. He was 18 when he broke out in New York and by then there was virtually no ...

Holla Pointe lets 'er rip clean out of the socket

Roots electric harmonica-guitar duo goes extreme

Pass This Way, the new Holla Pointe song collection, reminds me a little of the John Spencer Blues Explosion: guitars frying on overdrive that melt away into the larger grip of some concussive, sexy, groove-blues-rock ...

The future is Robin Trower

Brit better at power-rocking than when he was younger and hairier

Three years out of a stint with Procol Harum, Robin Trower in 1974 released an album that would accomplish many things all at once. Bridge of Sighs introduced pop culture to the actual prison bridge ...

Tattooed Lady to stomp through Gator by the Bay

Marcia Ball's been playing it her way for a while

The pedigree is deep and jam-packed with true musical genius for this genre in which Marcia Ball specializes, meaning roadhouse New Orleans swamp boogie. It’s a music that comes out of another time and place ...

Diva Muffin and Moon Unit's brother minds his own business

Dweezil will play his dad's music

Who the hell names their brand new little baby boy Dweezil? That’s a rhetorical question. I know the answer, and so do most of you. Frank Zappa and his wife Gail is who. The two ...

There was Elvis and then...the Wedding Present

Chart-topping Leeds band rolls well-oiled machine into the Casbah

The Wedding Present is all about David Gedge: he’s been the one constant member of that band. It’s been 35 years since he and a friend plugged in their amplifiers and began making records that ...

The Richie Kotzen songs people love and expect

Dual-octave, scorched-earth-voiced Pennsylvanian says to expect a show

“Where’s that place in San Diego where they have all those little galleries and restaurants — is it the Gaslamp?” Richie Kotzen asks. “Is that what they call it?” He checks in by phone from ...

Pond from Perth

Nihilistic Beatles-ish punk psych band to lather Casbah

They’ll be here a couple of weeks ahead of the release of their latest full-length album The Weather when they next play San Diego. Pond is a band out of Perth, Australia, a gene pool ...

They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds

Jarabe Mexicano to premiere “Get Up Stand Up” version in May

“I am both. I’m Mexican, and I’m American.” Gustavo Alcoser says Jarabe Mexicano’s pending release of an old Bob Marley protest song came together as the result of a number of factors. First inspiration, he ...

A swing-meets-bebop joint for Athenaeum series

Joe Lovano Classic Quartet — a band that honors the basic structures set forth during the Golden Age of jazz music

You’ve got to wonder about that mind of Joe Lovano’s. He wanders onto a stage with the rumpled demeanor of a grandfather or a favorite uncle and for a spell, if the mood strikes him, ...

Don't call him Billy Bob

"W.R." Thornton his rockabilly band the Boxmasters play Belly Up

A band with a couple of directions: one is old-timey country-western and one is swayed by the look and feel of the rock-and-roll music that Great Britain exported to the U.S. 50 years ago. The ...

This weekend's Mustache Bash makes ten and marks a national launch

Funk and polyester

“We had humble beginnings for sure,” says Michael Misselwitz of an event he cofounded and that he now describes as “one of those things that really can’t be explained.” The original Mustache Bash, he says, ...

Vaud and the Villains invade

The 20-piece ragtime act reads like demented dinner theater

“Your soul will be saved if you dance.” This is the motto of a large stage-band that averages around 20 members at any given time. Billed as a 1930s New Orleans musical show, Vaud and ...

Dirty Puppets get their act together

...play their San Diego debut at Brick by Brick Sunday night

A true tale of homemade music: through social media, Drew, a bassist, met Lucky, a band-less rock singer. Drew had a vision, and he shared it with Lucky: he wanted to start a combo, and ...

The only place I like to rehearse

Steve Poltz could have gone anywhere to make Folksinger — he chose San Diego

“I love the Belly Up. That’s kind of a home for me. We got our start there, opening for Buddy Blue.” When Steve Poltz says “we,” he is speaking to his breakout band the Rugburns. ...

The loud family

Charles McPherson — the nation’s preeminent bebop alto saxophonist

Charles McPherson says Dizzy’s when asked about a favorite local venue. “Through the years, I have self-promoted my own gigs there.” Approaching 78, McPherson is considered the nation’s preeminent bebop alto saxophonist. He lives in ...

Full-on guitar-driven

Joey Harris is inspired by his 14-year-old son.

“The Kraken is a wonderful, sweaty, worn-out, smelly, old-school surf bar just north of Solana Beach.” Guitarist Joey Harris grew up in Coronado. One of his first bands was called Fingers. They started that band ...

Diana Death likes the hourly-rate room

Also obsessed with YouTube videos about the supernatural.

“Hmmmmm...that’s a hard one,” Diana Death says when asked who her favorite local band is. Finally, she narrows it down to a name: “I’ve gotta give mad props to Deadbolt. It’s pure, old-fashioned three-chord rock ...

The secret lives of scientists

Nobody kicks sand on Biotech Beach

“I have to kill all of my cells.” In the weeks leading up to Christmas break, Dr. Christie Eissler talks about shutting down her experiments at the Zhou Lab in the Ludwig Institute for Cancer ...

Big Thief's first Masterpiece

Brooklyn-based indie rockers set up at Soda Bar Friday night

Messy, free-ranging, raw-boned music that sometimes comes with an explicit-language warning. Big Thief makes music that hangs together on a thread of workman-like monotony, using chords in progressions that were hoary and predictable way back ...

Hippies with electricity, Railroad Earth

The roots-rocking big band rolls into town for two this weekend

That old Coen brothers feature film titled O Brother Where Art Thou was in part responsible for the second coming of bluegrass music in America. The soundtrack, built almost entirely from Depression-era folk music, won ...

Gavin Turek and the nu disco

L.A. artist breathes soulful life into dance music

Straight out of the 1970s, with all the commingled smells of sweat and polyester and a big fat four-on-the-floor beat like God’s metronome, and soaring above it all is a lovely, lithe voice: that’s the ...

Bebop revivalist Miguel Zenón

Throwback jazz with a Latin twist hits ArtPower at UCSD

Miguel Zenón is not your grandmother’s jazzman — so many of them are, for better or worse. Ever since a handful of the perkiest among them invented bebop in the 1940s, followed by the next ...

Music before poetry for Robert Pinsky

Former poet laureate tours through town behind his Poemjazz

It turns out that Robert Pinsky is also a sax player. We spend minutes talking about the beloved Buescher 400 series tenor sax he once owned but that got stolen. “Tenor sax,” he tells me ...

When life hands you Lemon Twigs...

...join the pop-rock fun at Casbah this Thursday

The Lemon Twigs sound like a rough cut of the Beatles from way back before the Fab Four had gotten tight from playing all those marathon gigs in Germany. Throw in some Bay City Rollers, ...

Revivalists or revitalists?

Indie rockers who have discovered soul and R&B and, in their own DIY way, have revitalized that music

The Revivalists (no, they don’t live up to their name, but we’ll get to that later) are among the crop of indie rockers who have discovered soul and R&B and in their own DIY way, ...

Lemuria — violence with a smile

...feel-good indie-rock punk-pop with a garage band’s sense of the disorganized

The word “lemuria” can mean many things. Lemuria is a Belgian band, for example, or was a religious holiday celebrated in ancient Rome, or is a song title recorded by a Swedish symphonic metal band ...

Goodbye Terrible Youth, hello American Wrestlers

St. Louis-via-Scotland indie-rock act sets up at Soda Bar Thursday night

“A few steps behind the times” is how one reviewer describes the band American Wrestlers; the comment is spot-on. Who uses a drum machine anymore, right? Or, a timeworn tape recorder? There are a few ...

Thank You Scientist's lab rock

Stranger Heads Prevail at Casbah on Wednesday night

You could possibly generate earthquakes with this band’s music cranked at high volume. It’s like nothing you’ve ever heard, unless you listen to the Beatles and Kansas and Genesis and the Mars Volta and Frank ...

The many sides of Ariel Levine

From Bon Scott's Big Balls to Bowie's boas

“We’re gonna do the album from start to finish,” Ariel Levine tells me by phone from his Middletown apartment. Levine is a singer/composer/guitarist transplant from New York. “I’ve lived here for five years now.” The ...

Slow Hollows' new-gen new wave

L.A. act brings back hook-heavy synth-pop

Rock radio in the years leading up to Van Halen was overwhelmed with the sounds of a format called new wave, otherwise known as synth pop. A lot of that music was exported from Britain. ...

Punk-rock revivalists Barb Wire Dolls

Soda Bar stages the Greek five-piece on Thursday night, December 22

They’re a good three decades late to the dance, but don’t paint them into the retro corner. This is a living, breathing band, fresh, and coming off the launch pad as if they could restart ...

Dandy Warhols' dandy ear candy

The Portland band will slather Distortland all over the Belly Up stage on Thursday

“I never thought you’d be a junkie/ because heroin is so passé.” Who would think to give the smack nation its own pink and yellow television-style game show, complete with burning luxe cars, dancing syringes, ...

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