Washed Out @ North Park Theater (10-16) Show Review

The North Park Theater should take the time to brag just a little bit more. The one-of-a-kind building is a historic 1920s gem that has survived both fleeting and enduring conceptualizations over it’s long existance as the surrounding neighborhood has evolved.The most recent news is big news. This past summer the theater, under new ownership, was tugged and tweaked giving it a much needed face lift and expanded it’s capacity by over 25% now able to host 1,100 guests at capacity.

What this means for us, the San Diego music fans: new epic music. With the increased capacity, new ownership and a partnership with Tim Mays, the owner and booking agent for The Casbah, there has been a huge improvement in the amount and type of musical talent that is being directed to San Diego.

As far as venues go, San Diego has some great finds, but all come with limitations. The Casbah, although a great space, is small with a 220 person capacity. Next in line is the major House of Blues venue in downtown which holds over 1,000 people at capacity, but is owned by Live Nation and has a limited selection of performers. Sleep Train Ampitheatre in Chula Vista is an 18,000 person venue and requires big names to fill the numerous seats. San Diego for this reason seems to be overlooked by many amazing acts that can’t find the appropriate space to host their adoring fans.

This charming new space in central North Park off University Avenue seems to be a perfect solution and fans couldn’t agree more. Since the renovations, the venue has begun to book major acts like Lykke Li and Liars who sold out shows in advance. This month The New Pornographers, Warpaint and Cut Copy are all on the schedule and are promising full audiences.

On that note, Washed Out was booked for Thursday night at the North Park Theatre. As expected, the show sold out in advance, fans show up in stoked droves of nineties-inspired hipsters and the organization was seamless.


The  set began with a bang and as the lights dimmed, the roar of the audience rose. Fans cheered and whipped out their camera phones with excitment to capture the first waves of buzzing synthesizers. The build up of drama as Washed Out fell into their first song was marked with intensity as the smoke machines and glowing stage lights highlighted the silhouttes of the band. Matched with impeccable timing, the lights flew into a frenzy in sync to the erupting music.

The show progressed without a glitch and lead singer Ernest Greene was charming and endearing in his stage presence. Greene used his energy to get the audience riled up into fits of whistles and cheers. He even mentioned that it had been a few years since their last visit to San Diego and we had “stepped up” our game. The enthusiasm was mutual.

By the end of the night the audience was enveloped in a sway of dance as it seemed everyone was on the same level, rolling like a wave. Favorite tracks were played including “New Theory” and “Feel it All Around.” When the set ended, all five members disappeared behind the stage and waited for the cheering audience to seduce them back out for a customary encore which happily involved two additional songs.

The night was easily defined as a success. Were there things that could have gone smoother, of course. However, a pleasant space with consuming music should never be underrated. Washed Out brought their ‘A’ game and created an ambiance of feel good energy.


Washed Out @ North Park Theater (10-16)–Weekly Music Recommendation

The creation of atmosphere through music is essential at least for those of us who love getting lost in a moment. Washed Out capitalizes on this theory with samples of nature noise including everything from the chirps of little creatures to the implication of blooming flowers. We’re brought to a scene of exploration in a dense nature; we’re in a jungle of wonder.

It would be the non-kitschy soundtrack for a less abstract, modern day Alice in Wonderland . This means the more acid you chomp  and the more doobies you inhale before the show the more you’ll understand –philisophically speaking that is.

What makes their sound particularly seductive is a feeling of duality between a world of nature and the inescapable impact of mankind. It’s like staring out the window on a train ride and continuously being wowed by the ecompassing view: between buildings you see trees, behind the skyline you see the moutains, out the left window you see the ocean and out the right you see industrial warehouses glinting with murals of graffitti. There is no better or worse, there is no inherent preference, there is only the acceptance that both exist together simulataneously with beauty threading through every path.

Washed Out formed in 2009 and blew up thanks to mass exposure when Fred Armisen selected “Feel It All Around” as the opening song for his show Portlandia. Ernest Greene is the man behind Washed Out creating an inspiring blend of synthpop, trip hop and chillwave. With two albums under his belt and the support of several record labels including Sub Pop, Greene has proven his eccentric style to be worthy of a listen.

Washed Out performs live tonight at The North Park Theater!


San Diego Music Scene Mixtape #3

This week’s music scene is more than promising; it’s a week for cloning and blowing bucks because you’ll want to be in multiple venues at the same time–all week long. Since that is a current impossibility, press play below to experience the best of the week’s acts all in an hour of your time; whenever and wherever you are.

From 10/15-10/21 San Diego will be pulsating with lovely grooves with an eclectic range that will give everyone something to be happy about. Don’t forget to share with your friends!

Soul Clap at Bang Bang–Show Review

This past Friday night downtown was a chaos of stilettos, button-down dress shirts, slicked back hair and supercilious glances. I don’t often spend my nights off in downtown largely due to the overpriced experience of twelve dollar drinks, discouraging covers and hourly parking rates. However, every once in a while good music motivates my pocket book into being a little more flexible than otherwise willing. One of the few places I actually enjoy going, more than others anyway, is Bang Bang because they manage to book some phenomenal DJs and are willing to ignore cover if you arrive before 10:30.

Ascending the stairs into Bang Bang on Market Street was, as always, was a tunnel of mystery with darkness and flashing lights awaiting on the other side. The reason for this ingress was none other than Soul Clap promising throwbacks to 70s soul with fun, funky and fresh house beats.

I dressed in conspicuous gold, jewelry and all, to match the theme because let’s face it–that’s half the fun. Adorned in glitz I was ready to get groovy and awaited the duo’s arrival as headliners usually don’t take the stage until midnight.

Little did I know the show had already begun just not as I had expected, or what any Soul Clap fan had expected. The name Soul Clap is given to duo Eli Goldstein and Charles Levine, but it turns out only Levine could make an appearance for the night. Not that it’s the end of the world, but it’s like seeing Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys showing up without Carney, and replacing him with a drum machine–it’s just not the same. It would be like arriving to see Claude VonStroke’s deep house beats and finding out on the fly that he decided to do an experimental hip hop set for the night; it may be interesting, but not what was promised.


I must be a bit of a music snob at this point because I never found my groove with Soul Clap. I listen to their sets and tracks with frequency and have a huge appreciation for the work they do, but half the magic was missing. Steady, simple beats pulsated through the room with consistent pace and major emphasis on soul. At times, it got a bit funky, but it never strayed far from it’s rhythm and blues origin. It wasn’t long before I my group of dancing fools I and decided to call it a night because we were a bit bored and disappointed and were ready to move on with our night.

I wish I could have called the night a screaming success, but with a missing piece to the puzzle it just felt incomplete. When artists and venues don’t communicate appropriately with each other and their fans it seems socially irresponsible, but I suppose I can forgive the digression just this once and I suppose half the drunken crowd downtown didn’t notice the difference anyway; good riddance.

Soul Clap at Bang Bang–Weekly Show Recommendation (10-10)

When you’re living life like the baller you are and you get that feeling, an oddly punctuated feeling in the pit of your stomach, that someone is watching you or thinking of you–remember that feeling. Feel it deep in your gut. Look around to see if someone is watching. Swoop your head to the left, now to the right. Is it real or imagined?

When Soul Clap, dj duo Eli Goldstein and Charles Levine, put their grimy little hands on their mixers you get that feeling like you’re finally being noticed. That for one moment life is about you and being you is the cat’s meow. That may come across a little obtuse or even egocentric, but the chill minimal electronica causes your spine to straighten, your shoulders perk up and your neck extend like a fair swan, not of the ugly duckling variety.

Where the soul in Soul Clap really comes in is their throwbacks to 70s soul, integrating classics into future house beats that are downright funky. Little splashes of disco and hip hop give it depth and intrigue as that pulsating groove of the music changes with ease not shock or startle. They excel at keeping momentum without changing the entire energy of the set which is perfect for a long night of fancy footwork.

If there is one artist you check out this week, make it to Bang Bang to be hypnotized by Soul Clap!

soul clap

San Diego Music Scene Mixtape #2 10/8-10/14

This week’s mixtape represents the bands in town from October 8th through the 14th. There is definitely an influx of bands falling under the minimal/electronica genres making this playlist glide like fingers through slinky hair, like long eyelashes through air, like a grin on a dare.

Press play and don’t forget to share! Find your inspiration in the local scene. Even if you can’t make it out to a show you can pretend you did right here–anytime, anywhere. 

Phaeleh at The Casbah–Show Review

Catching Phaeleh at the Casbah last night was a totally-worth-it Sunday night full of debauchery and good times.

Arriving at the venue for opening acts isn’t always a must, but this particular night it worked out in my favor. Opening artist, Mystery Cave played dreamy beats that rolled with intricacy. As the DJ got more into his work,  his hair swallowed his face and he became animalistic as he fell into the groove and drew a hefty crowd who all got down with him.

The middle act failed to inspire, unfortunately. Illuminauts was a tad all over the place getting far to experimental for the ambient-loving audience. That’s ok, the more beer breaks the better and an awesome opportunity to to talk with Phaeleh outside before his set began!

Phaeleh, with his charming English accent, was totally down to Earth. Although, travelling causes it’s share of wear and tear, he seemed stoked to be back in San Diego after a years absence. As he sipped on a cocktail in anticipation of his set, he mentioned that he loved making music and wouldn’t do anything else.

When Phaleleh took the stage, the audience poured around, filling the floor. The minute his fingers lit up the sampler, fans began to move in a slow, rhythmic wave of motion. The minimal, ambient electronica was full of blistering energy and dreamy pulsations. The set unravled naturally with fluidity making fans happy.

The night was a success, I’d recommend a Phaeleh set any night of the week.

phaeleh (1)