Music From The San Diego Music Thing – Live Reviews










Caught a bunch of music in North Park this weekend from the San Diego Music Thing. Here’s a quick rundown and review of a few of the shows:


Low Volts at the Lafayette Hotel-

One man band Low Volts wrapped up the first day of panels with a plugged in poolside set. The Volts’ guitar-heavy riffs and quick blues drenched numbers were served up loud to the afternoon crowd. Though the set was filled with enough driving beats and slide guitar maneuvers to keep it interesting, playing poolside tucked underneath a bunch of low lying palms seemed a little strange. This guy gets down and dirty with a sound more suited for a gritty nightclub. An acoustic set in the Red Fox Room, now that would have been the perfect match for the Low Volts sound.

Grampadrew and the Gut String Girls at the Café De Lune-

Café De Lune was the perfect setting for the acoustic performance from Grampa Drew and the Gut String Girls Friday night. Drew Douglas (guitar and vocal) created an enriching mood into which he dropped his original songs. The sound was mixed perfectly and really worked in this room. Drew was backed by the Gut String Girls- violinist Marta Z. and cellist Erin Browder. Both ladies were more than up to the task, creating a depth to the material, especially Marta Z., who plays around town with The Silent Comedy, Transfer and Republic of Letters, to name a few. Her soaring violin solos really accented the emotion in Drew’s lyrically focused material. Be it a fast workout or a sprinkling of tone here or there, Marta Z.’s violin created a nice chemistry with Drew. Grampa Drew and the Gut String Girls were well received at the popular North Park coffee house and were the perfect way to start my Friday night.


Jesse LaMonaca and the Dime Novels at the Soda Bar

Halfway through his set, Jesse LaMonaca thanked his drummer for being the only band member in his band The Dime Novels to be able to make it for the show. For some, this could have derailed the performance, but LaMonaca responded with a riveting stripped down set that featured his rich voice and guitar. LaMonaca charged through a number of songs that dug in lyrically and built on some nice guitar melodies. The single drum played with brushes complimented LaMonaca with enough background to fill out his sound, especially when his drummer got on the harmonica and pushed a few songs into a nice bluesy place. But without a doubt, it’s LaMonaca’s voice that is his calling card and Saturday night it really had a chance to shine.

The Heavy Guilt at The Soda Bar

Damn, I forgot how good this band is live! Heavy Guilt’s six members really had their sweaty swerve on Saturday night as they blasted through a wide range of material. This band can walk through so many different styles: rock, blues, folk, psychedelic, and keep an infectious groove throughout. Their original material is daring, never lacking of depth or imagination. They really seemed to push themselves Saturday night, treating the Soda Bar crowd to a rousing set. I always enjoy a band that can meld their talents and become one well-rounded sound. The Heavy Guilt has a thick sound that gives every member a chance to shine while creating something bigger than the individual. This band continues to grow.

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