- Friday, December 28, 2018, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
A case can be made that the Paladins is greatest band ever to come out of San Diego. If by greatest, you mean most dedicated to a musical cause (in their case, raucous rockabilly), longest-lived (despite taking the occasional unscheduled hiatus), and most likely to blow the roof off of any place lucky enough to host them, which on December 28 will be the Casbah. It should be noted that Casbah owner Tim Mays recognized future greatness in the Paladins way back in 1982, when he became their first manager. After racking up nearly a dozen releases, the group is still fronted by founding duo Dave Gonzales (guitar) and Thomas Yearsley (bass). Earlier this year, the Paladins picked up a Lifetime Achievement trophy at the San Diego Music Awards, and they’ll be joined at the Casbah by Rockabilly Hall of Fame inductees Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, who’ve toured with the Paladins several times in the past. This bill includes the Tighten Ups, a local bluesy funk-n-soul band who at first glance might seem an odd addition to such a western rockabilly show. However, their recent CD, Tighten It Up, features a live performance engineered by Paladins bassist-singer Thomas Yearsley at his local Thunderbird Analog Recording Studio.
The local underground goth scene was embracing British minor chord maestros Bauhaus from their earliest U.S. tours. After playing San Diego several times, the band’s bassist David J liked our city well enough to relocate here, where he occasionally DJs and once even sat in with a local Bauhaus tribute band. Now that Bauhaus appears to be on yet another extended break, singer Peter Murphy occasionally comes to town with a solo set, but his January 24 appearance at Observatory North Park will feature a partial Bauhaus reunion with the participation of David J. Described as Celebrating 40 Years of Bauhaus, the duo will perform their former band’s entire 1980 album In the Flat Field, plus an “extended encore of Bauhaus classics.”
It’s hard to overestimate the impact that debut studio album had and still has, in both the monochromatic sound structure and as a DIY self-produced archive of exactly what the band was all about musically at that moment in time. Back then, it was more about drama than depression, though no doubt the dark topics and bleak nihilism explored in the lyrics were taken to far more depressive extremes on subsequent albums, not to mention by later bands who tended to equate goth with death. The Observatory show is the fifth U.S. date of a tour being billed as The Ruby Celebration. Though unspecified in advance press, the trek is likely intended to promote the upcoming release of The Bela Session, remastering Bauhaus’ original 1979 studio recordings that led to their breakthrough single “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” In addition, there’s the impending colored vinyl re-release of their complete catalog via Beggars Arkive.
- Wednesday, February 6, 2019, 8 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
$20 - $35
For over 20 years, the brothers Dickinson and their southern jam band North Mississippi Allstars has been bringing a century of down-home blues to concert stages all over the world. They’re so focused on touring that, in all that time, they’ve only released eight studio albums, interspersed with around the same number of concert recordings. That seems apropos, as the stage is where they do their best work. That said, their debut studio album for big-time Sony Records last year, Prayer For Peace, features some of their most heartfelt and powerful blues covers to date, including songs by Mississippi Fred McDowell (“You Got to Move,” a duet sung with Danielle Nicole), Gus Cannon (“Stealin’”), and R.L. Burnside (“Long Haired Doney”), whose son Duwayne has occasionally accompanied the Dickinsons. There’s even a lilting rendition of the spiritual classic “(We) Bid You Goodnight” that plays far more as a campfire sing-along than the many more rubber gospel versions heard over the years at Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers concerts. The Prayer For Peace support tour includes a February 6 show at the Belly Up, which appears to be the only place in San Diego that they’ve played since at least 2009.
- Thursday, February 7, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
5500 Canyon Crest Drive,
Viejas Arena turns up in the first round of announced dates for Kiss’s End of the Road World Tour, for a February 7 performance that the band promises in a press release to be “the ultimate celebration” and “our biggest show yet.” As to whether it’s actually the end of the road for the costumed entrepreneurs, who’ve been creating entry level rock for over 40 years, that’s certainly open to interpretation. They once swore never to put the makeup back on, as well as promising nobody would ever portray existing characters created by ex-bandmembers. But when your bassist famously swears he never drank alcohol, took drugs, or paid prostitutes – and yet sings of partying every day and does photo shoots with porn stars – it’s more evident than ever that truth isn’t truth. As far as we know, the touring lineup will consist of co-founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley backed by the usual two guys pretending to be Ace and Peter.
But the real Ace Frehley (who currently lives in San Diego) recently recorded with Simmons and performed with Kiss at a convention, and he's mentioned publicly that he’d like to be part of the “farewell” tour. Plus, supposedly retired drummer Peter Criss must be running low on old Kiss action figures to sell off by now, so who knows who'll be wearing the heels onstage by the time they arrive in San Diego. At this writing, only a few ticket packages have been announced, with seat prices averaging $30 to $1000. There are two VIP options, a “Captains Lounge” meet and greet that includes a dedicated VIP entrance, a photo op with Kiss, and a hospitality lounge with a bar serving beer, wine, and Kiss’ signature End of the Road cocktail. The regular VIP meet and greet comes with a commemorative laminate and “access to crowd-free merchandise shopping.”