|||||Big Sonic Chill (still!)||]|
This last weekend really was a busy one for me. Maybe it’s
just that I usually end up just being a homebody, but the
bike ride in Mexico
was quite a change from that. On top of that, I went to see some
great bands Sunday night.
is a local band that I’ve been hearing about for a while now. I
think it started with a favorable (and intriguing) review in the
San Diego Reader,
and some airplay on
Big Sonic Chill.
I picked up a few copies of their albums, then promptly sent them
off as birthday gifts.
When I saw that they were playing yesterday night (Sunday,
2003-09-28), I was excited to finally get to see them in person. To
make it even better, they were playing at
The Belly-Up Tavern,
which is probably my favorite venue here in San Diego so far.
The show was actually three bands: Ilya,
The Skills of Ortega,
It was a stop on the
Yellow Umbrella Tour,
a benefit concert series for fighting cervical cancer. I was a
little bummed at how few people showed up; granted, it was a Sunday
show with lesser-known acts, but it is a great cause, and the music
was fantastic. The people who didn’t show up missed out on a
Well, except maybe for the emcee. I mostly could have done without
him. (His later introductions got me laughing — dunno if it
was the extra beer, or if they were actually funnier...
Ilya opened the show in wonderful style.
Blanca’s even more beautiful in real life than in photos
I’ve seen of her (which is saying something) — between
her dress and “sexy marionette” dancing, it was a visual
feast (at least for a perv like me!). The rest of the band were in
Stylish Black, providing an impressive aural and visual backdrop.
At one point, Blanca was singing, three of the guys in the band were
wailing away on electric guitars, and the bassist and drummer were
keeping time (with some weird time signatures thrown in for good
I had never heard of Skills of Ortega before, but I
have to track down more of their stuff. It managed a neat trick:
the lyrics are undeniably intense and heartfelt, the music is a
strange mix of Tori Amos-esque piano with a touch of happy
electronica. I can’t describe it very well, but I was
dancing for most of it. Continuing the perving, Christine Baze is
very striking; I have no idea how she packs that powerful a voice
into such a slender frame. Wonderful eyes, looks, and grins.
I’d heard of Michelle Shocked for years, but
I never heard much of her work. She was in full-on folk-rock
protest mode last night, and it was wonderful. “President
Bush: why don’t you pull out ... like your Daddy should
Her first few songs were rather laid back; a trilogy of songs about
East Texas (having lived in Austin and done some driving
thereabouts, I could relate!) Then three songs about trains; then
three about love. Yes, she had a trilogy thing going on.
For the last few “train” and “love” songs, a
couple had been dancing out on the floor. She ended up calling them
up on stage and modifying one of her tunes to be a waltz. As soon
as I saw them up there, I thought: “Wouldn’t it be cute
if he were to propose?” ... Yup. Congrats (and a hefty
“¡Que Huevos!”) to Josh and Ann, newly engaged.
Michelle later spilled the beans: Josh had approached her earlier in
the day, and asked her whether she would be ok with it. It was
shechemist will be happy to know that, while I
didn’t quite run away from the attractive women, there was a
very cute tall girl being a bit of a wallflower; after Josh &
Ann proposed, Michelle decreed that everyone should get out and
dance. This promptly sent me to the wall, where I dithered away the
rest of the dance debating whether or not I should ask the tall
cutie for a dance or not. Insecurity won, of course. Still,
it’s vaguely reassuring that my friends know me so well.
I left a few songs later; it was getting a bit late, and I was
intending to get to bed quickly. (Didn’t happen, of course,
as I actually spent the next three hours writing up the
of the day before!) On the way out, I stopped by the merchandise
booth to buy another copy of the Ilya CD that I had sent off to a
friend. Blanca was staffing the merchandise booth at the time; she
really is very beautiful, and her accent is deeply charming. (Weird
that I think she sounds a bit like Björk when singing, but
speaks English with a very heavy Hispanic accent.)
And just to rub it in to poor deliriumdreams: Neener,
neener, I got to see them first. They claim there’s another
tour happening this fall; hopefully they’ll make it to ABQ
again. I asked Blanca about that show, and she said they only found
out it was cancelled two days before they were supposed to play
— so it sounds like we weren’t the only ones caught
A great show, great music, many beautiful people (heck, even the
waitresses were exceptionally attractive!) I wish there had been
more people there, and that more of them would have joined me out on
the main floor for the first two acts, but whatever.
And I found a new band I like: now I need to track down lots of music from Skills of Ortega. :)