- Thursday, June 27, 2019, 8 p.m.
3615 El Cajon Boulevard,
L.A. alt-rockers Rooney will be celebrating 20 years of music, “unplugged and live,” for their Break the Wall Tour, due to hit Soda Bar on June 27. Fronted by singer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Schwartzman, the band was originally part of the late ‘90s wave of cookie cutter acts “discovered” by Jimmy Iovine for then-thriving Geffen/Interscope Records. Their brand of carefree goodtime radio rock hasn’t really changed all that much since then. Early tracks have somewhat surprisingly survived the test of time far better than those of ‘90s labelmates such as Helmet, 4 Non Blondes, Smash Mouth, Limp Bizkit, and Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch. After taking a hiatus that ended in 2016, they returned as a newly indie band with their own record label, Beachwood Park Music, and their first album in six years, Washed Away. The two singles weren’t exactly blockbusters, but both got plenty of streams and good words on the blogs that matter most, especially “Why” featuring French singer-actress SoKo. They followed up in 2017 with their El Cortez EP, which I was unable to spin for this column but from all accounts seems to be more or less consistent with their previous five albums and EPs. That’s four albums and two EPs in 20 years, not a huge selection from which to build a setlist. However, they’re reportedly working on new music planned for release later this year that may well be taken out for a warmup spin around the City Heights block.
Kaaboo, Bayked, Gator on the Bay — there’s no shortage of festivals coming up with both local and national acts packing the bills. Add to that the Disrupt Festival, coming to North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre on July 26 and featuring a fest-tested lineup of the Used (with new guitarist Joey Bradford), Thrice (who have a new EP called Deeper Wells), Circa Survive (their first time in San Diego since 2017), Sum 41 (who last dropped an album three years ago), the Story So Far (whose fourth studio full-length Proper Dose was released last September), Atreyu (who just played HOB in December), Sleeping With Sirens, Andy Black, Four Year Strong, Memphis May Fire, Trophy Eyes, Meg & Dia, Juliet Simms, Hyro the Hero, and more. The inaugural roadshow is so far scheduled to visit 25 cities, with San Diego being among the last three locales set to host what, from what few details are available, sounds to be a very Warped-type event. That should come as no surprise, given that grandaddy Warped announced it’ll be folding up its EDM tents and portable stages for good after this year. It should be obvious from both the lineup and the promo artwork and logos that this incarnation of the Disrupt Festival is unrelated to an earlier same-named event featuring electronic world artists. Nonetheless, it seems some people online are making a big electronic stink about the “theft” of their festival moniker, a growing brouhaha that may well litigate this lollapalooza into wearing a different nametag before it arrives in San Diego.
- Saturday, August 3, 2019, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
$18 - $20
As far as I can tell, Alabama alt-folksinger A.A. Bondy has played San Diego less than a half dozen times since 2010, always at the Casbah, where he returns on August 3. His early band Verbena may have only breezed through town once, coincidentally enough at the Casbah’s original address, but when it was occupied by a bar called Velvet. That seems surprising, seeing as how bare-bones solo “this is just between you and me” folkies with homegrown stories to share have long been welcomed on our more intimate local stages, whose number were once legion. He has infiltrated the local airwaves via a number of songs that were heard on TV shows such as House, Bones, Shameless, One Tree Hill, and most recently AMC’s adaptation of the Preacher comic books. As evidence of just how rural and folksy his tracks tend to be, his first solo album was recorded in a barn near his Catskill mountain home, a second was taped in Mississippi, and a third, released in 2011, earned comparisons to Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen, even if it turned out to be his last release for the next eight years. He’s touring in support of his newest, Enderness, reportedly completed within 24 hours of the day he lost his house and all his belongings to a wildfire.
- Thursday, October 24, 2019, 7 p.m.
House of Blues,
1055 Fifth Avenue,
Multi-instrumentalist and singer Andrew Bird has headlined venues ranging from Disneyland to Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House, both as a solo performer and as a longtime member of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. You may recognize him as the Whistling Caruso in a fairly recent Muppet movie. He’s also worked on several site-specific short improvisational films and recordings called Echolocations, taped in offbeat locales like an abandoned beach bunker, a canyon in Utah, and the middle of the Los Angeles River. Bird’s new album My Finest Work Yet dropped last month, preceded by a video for “Manifest” that demonstrates his penchant for mixing political lyrical content with what are essentially dramatic vignettes, narrated by your coolest high school science teacher. The video is animated by Andrea Nakhla, unfolding a sort of kiddie cartoon lesson in the history of the planet’s environmental and organic evolution. Produced by Paul Butler and recorded live to tape at L.A.’s Barefoot Studios, the single for “Bloodless” is a gospel tinged, soulful number as topical and timely as anything ever put to tape by Bob Dylan or Joan Baez. “I’m interested in the idea that our enemies are what makes us whole,” he says in a press release about the project. The album features guest players such as bassist Alan Hampton, keyboardist Tyler Chester, and guitarists Blake Mills and Mike Viola. The tour bringing Bird to downtown’s House of Blues on October 24 includes Yola, who’s featured on the recent Bird track “I Forgot to be Your Lover.”