Daily Archives: December 18, 2008

New Music: Joel P West

I finally saw Joel P West live last week. After months of listening to his new album, his live show didn’t disappoint.

He played the final show in the Adapta Project vs Sezio art shows at Cream Coffeehouse in University Heights.

Kinsee first introduced me to his album Dust Jacket which can be downloaded by trading something with him. Most people send pictures, poems or songs, I sent a poem and he sent me a link to download the album. A few weeks later I saw the poem posted on the Dust Jacket Project blog. I downloaded the album and was immediately hooked, its catchy and fun, one of the best new albums I’ve heard in a long time. So I was a little afraid the live show wouldn’t live up to the greatness of the album, thankfully it did.

Just a guitar and a cello, the music was soft and quiet and beautiful in the corner of the cafe. The PA wasn’t up to task though and the music couldn’t be heard over the chatter of the crowd. After a few songs the show moved outside onto the sidewalk. A smaller, quieter crowd followed and we were treated to a few more songs. It’s not often you see a musician decide to move their show outside so the people that really want to hear the music can, but thats what we got that night.

There are some pictures and commentary from the whole night at Sezio.

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Sensations lead to Memories

Yesterday, dripping wet from running to my car in the pouring rain, I turned the heater to full blast and put on Okkervil River’s Down the River of Golden Dreams. As the music started to get going the sounds, the wet hair and clothes and the smell of the heater all sort of combined nostalgically reminding me of the rain, space heaters and most importantly, listening to a lot of Okkervil River when I lived in Santa Cruz.

As I listened to the whole album, and then some other songs of theirs, most of the songs reminded me of a specific event, person, time or feeling.

It Ends With a Fall reminds me of walking down a brightly lit and decorated Pacific Avenue after work, on cold but dry December evenings, working my way through the Christmas shoppers and then down to a dark Laurel street and a lonely walk home alone.

Blanket and Crib – a housemate who didn’t like me much and never really gave me a chance.

The War Criminal Rises and Speaks– The smell of fresh baked bread coming from the Subway on Pacific Avenue.

The Velocity of Saul at the Time of His Conversion– This memory is much more recent. Standing on the deck at a friend’s apartment, winded from running, drunk from drinking, tired from not sleeping, a phone call and a conversation, Ryan playing this song for me as the night quietly winded down.

Song About a Star- New Years Eve with a German anarchist, staring up at the stars in the cold night just before midnight.

Red – drunkenly slow dancing, waltzing even at times when my feet would remember thats what they were supposed to do, in the common room.

Kansas City – Sunday afternoons and cooking with Elena, making and drinking vin brulé. Pretending like we knew what we were doing in the kitchen while talking about freedom and autonomy.

Westfall – Megan playing it on the guitar and the unexpected looks on people’s faces as she sang the lyrics.

Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas – A cold December night spent drinking room temperature Guinness at the Poet  with a new friend. Talking about the past and the future.

No Key, No Plan – Scrawling the lyrics out on the shower wall with special shower crayons.

A Favor – Lying in bed in silence with a friend, this song blaring from speakers, but neither of us with the energy to get up and turn the volume down. Finding out the next day that she was sure we were dying and our lifeless bodies would be found the next morning.

The Way I Measure a Bar

There are two types of bars I care to frequent. Both need to have friendly bartenders and a good vibe.

The first type is the beer bar, it should have good draft beer and at least a decent selection of bottles. A good example of this type of bar in San Diego is Hamilton’s Tavern.

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If a bar isn’t a beer bar, with an excellent selection, then I don’t really care about the beer at all, but they better have some decent whiskey. Most bars will have at least one or two good bourbons, so the way I measure these bars is very simple. Do they have ginger ale? I don’t always like to drink whiskey on the rocks, and no other mixer compares to real ginger ale (don’t try to give me seven-up and coke please).

Last night I finally made it to Starlite. I’d been wanting to check it out since they opened last year and I saw this picture on the cover of the Citybeat. (In fact, it was this fella that inspired me to start growing a moustache last year, which made it all the more funny when someone jokingly asked me last night if that was me in that picture).

So I knew Starlite was a good bar when I saw they had ginger beer (I’m really not sure what the difference is between ginger beer and ginger ale). They had a specialty drink, the Kentucky Colonel, which was bourbon, ginger beer, lemon and bitters. It was good, but the bourbon and ginger beer alone was good enough.

If I’m not drinking whiskey on the rocks I prefer the Whiskey Pres (short for Presbyterian apparently…). Whiskey with half ginger ale half club soda. In Santa Cruz where I was first introduced to the Whiskey Pres ($3 at the Rush Inn) they made them with Seven-Up, I never realized how wrong this was until I had one properly made.

I really wish more bars would have ginger ale for mixing drinks.