Tag Archives: live shows

Meet and Greets: Cory Monteith was in an indie rock band

cory_monteith_glee_bonnie_dune_the_indie_sdSometimes we come across an artist who is not only beautiful as a person, but also as a musician. And sometimes those artists struggle with various things, including addiction. One of those artists was Cory Monteith: star on Glee, but who I knew as the talented drummer for Bonnie Dune.

I heard of this band many years ago while I was in high school. I knew some of the people who were in the band. Years passed, and I heard of them again, this time with a new drummer, one many people recognized for his vocal and acting skills on television. My friend’s band The Honey Trees was opening up for Bonnie Dune, so I decided to go. After their set it was Bonnie Dune’s turn. I instantly fell in love with the amazing harmonies, the vocals, and the way all the instruments came together so beautifully, you felt yourself plucked out of where you were, out of everything that was going wrong or worrying you, and out in the middle of a story. It was only you and the band. That’s how those artists made you feel, Cory included.

After the show, he came out to sign autographs and take photos. I knew I had to meet him. When it was my turn, I looked at him and I said “You were phenomenal. I know a lot of musicians, I’ve known every drummer this band has had. You were amazing. You played beautifully. I just had to say that you’re a great drummer. ” He looked at me, with genuine eyes and an authentic smile, and said “thank you”. We took our photo then I left.

Years passed, and I heard of him entering rehab for drug and alcohol addiction. I heard a lot of negativity about this and I thought of musicians, artists, actors, and other people who have gone through similar. Imagine yourself going through the pressure of what they deal with. It’s not so easy. Addiction is a disease. There are artists who can push through it such as Russell Brand,  and some that even after trying so hard, just can’t, such as Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin.

Months later, I heard of his passing. Heroin and alcohol is what they said. I am brought back to my good friend, an amazing musician as well, who died from an overdose just months before Cory passed; and it all seems real again. I break down. I think of his band mates, friends, loved ones and family. I break down for a bit and it’s hard.

People talk about the actor and celebrity factor of it all, but others have come to forget he was a musician as well. This was someone whose drumming could calm the most panicked hearts. I cry to think we will never hear it live again. We are just left with his memory, the recordings, and photographs. This amazing musician, gone too soon. This amazing artist, we will always miss.

Addiction is real and it affects millions around the world daily. If you or anyone you know is affected by this, talk to them. Talk to someone. Get help. Music culture is a family, and we are here to help.

By Toni Rivera

Each week, TheIndieSD.com would like to feature your true and personal stories about meeting your favorite musician. Indie bands have some of the most social and outgoing musicians, and many times people have been given the chance to speak with them after shows, take photos, and simply discuss how their music has touched our lives! If you want to share a story about meeting your favorite indie artists, let us know by sending an email to info@theindiesd.com, and it could be featured on the site!

Drug Addiction Help Online. Suicide Prevention Online: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

San Diego Music Thing: Manuok / Ed Ghost Tucker / Boy King

Each day I’m going to discuss a San Diego Music Thing performance that you can’t miss, so that you are — hopefully — ready for this overwhelmingly awesome music festival this weekend. But a week isn’t even enough time to go through everything, because that is how big this fest really is!

Still, I can offer some highlights, so that you can make a very well-informed decision on who you should see first. Actually, just duplicate yourself and see them all. It’s for the best that way!

Starting off…


Manuok, Ed Ghost Tucker, Boy King at Whistle Stop Bar – Friday September 13th

manuok_the_indie_sdSan Diego’s indie pop love child, Manuok, is a music project that really showcases just what this music scene can offer. Feel proud to be a So Cal music lover as you sway along to the crooning voice of the brains behind this solo project, multi-instrumentalist Scott Mercado. Legendary, impeccable, mellow and fascinating are just a few spot-on adjectives that come to mind.

Ed Ghost Tucker is the kind of act that immediately pulls you in — with a genre-bending approach to music that is mostly folky-surf tunes with a hint of jazz appeal. Smart and alluring, their music is the perfect backdrop to nearly any venue. When performing live, Ed Ghost Tucker knows how to control their volume and dynamic, adding perspective to music that is already beaming with depth. If you enjoy beachy vibes and the jazzy version of Vampire Weekend, Ed Ghost Tucker will not disappoint you.

Rounding out this trifecta of awesome sauce is Boy King, a rock ‘n roll based group that isn’t afraid to bring a bit of an edge to the party. With guitar riffs like Wolfmother and The Black Keys, and lead singer Megan Liscomb channeling a 70s rock goddess, Boy King is sure to prove they’re royalty among local rock ‘n roll.

For more information on the San Diego Music Thing, including the full lineup and how to purchases tickets and passes, check out the official website.

DJ Carnage comes to San Diego’s Harrah’s Rincon Casino

Don’t have plans this weekend? Then you must not have heard about the multitude of dance and hip hop acts that will be in San Diego. Please make sure you don’t miss out on any of these great times; you don’t want to be that friend come Monday morning, do you?

Friday August 23rd: KYLE at Porter’s Pub

A fresh new talent in the hip hop world, rapper KYLE is heading off on his first headlining tour and stopping in San Diego on Friday. His quirky and playful approach to music makes his latest album, Beautiful Loser, the perfect mixture of songs to dance to. And if you’re not a good dancer, you’ll be more than entertained with his lyrics alone. Don’t believe me? Check out this interview I did with him for more proof of his awesomeness. (All Ages Show, For tickets, click here.)

Saturday, August 24th: DJ Carnage at Harrah’s Rincon Casino

The DJ who brought you the inventive and unique genre called “Festival Trap” never disappoints, and Saturday will be no exception. The fact that he’s performing at Harrah’s Adult Swim Saturdays means you can make a day of it — so bring your 21+ friends for a little gambling before dancing away at what is sure to be one of the hottest pool parties this weekend in SD. This DJ is creative and has already put his own personal stamp on the EDM world, making him an act you just don’t want to miss. (21+, For tickets, click here.)

GP of the Week: Anatomy of a Boy Band

Before You Exit, performing live in San Diego, CA. Photo by Christian Rodas.

Ah, let me tell you the problem with boy bands. Oh wait, you mean you already know the answer to that? How about instead, I tell you why the ‘age of the adolescents’ isn’t really all that bad. Don’t turn away from this article just yet – there are a lot of facts to learn about the elusive, mysterious, all-male musical machine known as the boy band, and some of these facts might actually surprise you.

For instance, one of the main issues with the typical definitive boy band is that it gives every young male musician under the legal drinking age a bad rep. We’ve always been a bit pretentious as a society when it came to music, especially when artists use their looks or their sex appeal to gain fans. And yet, this is completely acceptable in any other form of entertainment. ‘That Oscar winning actress is totally hot.’ ‘This model has a sexy body.’ ‘Let’s give Lara Croft a huge rack.’ You might need to be a gamer geek like me to get that last reference, but the point still stands – the entertainment industry as a whole has always welcomed and embraced sex appeal…at least, when it refers to women.

Male musicians have always garnered screaming, crying, panty-tossing female fans. But back in the day, those male musicians were playing instruments. Elvis Presley was “reinventing” mainstream rock ‘n roll. The Beatles were expressing their music without suffering creativity. Even 80’s hair metal groups — some of the first true boy bands, if you ask me — were rocking and rolling all night, and partying every day to the riffs of their guitars and the power of their drums. And they all had screaming, crying, no-holds-barred female fans.

That can’t really be said these days. The music industry evolved, and as a result, so did the boy band. But I’m telling you, it’s not all bad. Maybe we’re used to the age of One Directions and Justin Beibers (he counts as a boy band in my book; I think they might actually be cloning him for insurance reasons), and this reluctant acceptance has closed our minds to the idea that yes, boys can play instruments too.

We even want to ignore the typical boy band “formula” once our favorite songs are involved. Recent Grammy winners Fun. pretty much fit all the boy band criteria, and yet for some reason these guys are exempt. Is it because their music is about life instead of about love? I’m really starting to think the main factor is drinking age. And also,  once you put instruments into the mix, there’s something else that appeals to the band’s fans than just their good looks.

Take the indie band of brothers Before You Exit, for instance. The modern day boy band formula is there: attractive young dudes, sentimental pseudo-love songs, high energy performances, and photo shoots reminiscent of the 90’s, minus the 90’s fashion trends. But there’s an extra element of surprise here, and it comes in the form of many, many instruments. This is a group that is okay with being adorable as long as they also get to be amazing, well-versed musicians in the process.

If you think about it, it doesn’t make sense to persecute musicians of any gender simply because they are beautiful. A female singer is less reputable because she’s stunningly hot? A group of guys can’t be taken seriously because they’re well groomed? These kinds of theories only make sense when image is just as important as the music itself.

Here’s the kicker: regardless of what kind of music you listen to, image is always important. Would you listen to your favorite punk band if they wore polo shirts and belonged to a golf club? Would Lady Gaga, who is actually a stunning singer and multi-instrumentalist herself,  garner as many “little monsters” if she didn’t wear suits made of meat? There’s a direct correlation between a musician and his or her image, whether you want to admit it or not. It’s simply up to each individual artist to decide if that image is going to be used for good (such as, The Beatles walking Abby Road), or evil (whatever this is.)

And while I’m not ready to put One Direction on repeat anytime soon — unlike a preteen adolescent girl, I know what makes me beautiful and I’d prefer not to hear it from a boy I can’t legally date–, I would listen to Before You Exit. Maybe I’ll also give latest X Factor finalists Emblem 3 a chance, too. Because there are male musicians all around us who play well, learn their trade, entertain us on stage, and happen to look really great while they’re doing that. I’m not saying they aren’t that media definition of a “boy band”. But I am saying we can at least toss image aside and judge a musician on their abilities, just this once, right?

If you’re still pretty upset with boy bands in general, don’t stone me! Instead, tell me what you think about bands like Before You Exit, Emblem 3, and even pop rockers like Fun. being considered a “boy band”. Comment below with what you think!

Check out these photos of Before You Exit, from their San Diego show at the Epicenter. Photos by Christian Rodas, Soul Venture Productions.

Click photos to launch full-screen.


Immovable Objects definitely moving your ears

There are three things you should know about this show. 1) This was my first time using my 35mm camera, so sue me if the images are unsatisfactory. 2) Immovable Objects is more amazing than most. 3) I would have gotten in for free if it weren’t for those meddling kids!…or the meddling bartender.

Ah Bar Eleven. Well aren’t you too cool for school? And too cool for free covers, but I’ll let it pass because your cover is nothing in comparison to how much fun your dark, alluring venue is. Bar Eleven is awesome because you walk in and instantly feel home — and not in an Alcoholics Anonymous sort of way. More importantly, Immovable Objects was playing a show with two highly attractive instrumental geniuses, pretty much making this the instrumental rock show of San Diego. If you weren’t there, you probably missed all the good stuff that San Diego has to offer in this genre. And with all three of these bands heading into the studio soon, you’ll have to scrounge up some of the demigods of instrumental rock in these parts, if you want a good show in the next couple of months. Good luck with that, let me know how it goes.

If you were of the lucky chosen crowd, you were there to appreciate the near perfect acoustics of Bar

Immovable Objects at Bar Eleven
This guy is either enjoying the show, or eyeing the girl with her boobs hanging out across the bar. Or...both.

Eleven. It was loud, but in that amazingly awesome way. It was right on the edge of the perfect supersonic sound barrier. That alone was impressive. If you’re impressed with the sound check, you have to know the show itself will be amazing.

As one can expect from Immovable Objects, guitarist Matt Gagin and his crew of instrumental geniuses belted out dynamic after dynamic, taking you on a rollercoaster ride that few bands can offer in modern music, all under the backdrop of thought-provoking, silently beautiful movie that painted across the band, sometimes seeming to pull each band member into the frames of the film.

As mentioned earlier, I almost got into the show for free. I occasionally play with Immovable Objects on the harmonium, so maybe I can attempt to be snooty and say I’m with the band. Eck, that was horrible just reading that. All jokes aside, I almost got into Bar Eleven for free because their doorman was probably a certified crack head who wasn’t even at the door when me and my friend showed up. We walked right in, and if it wasn’t for that meddling bartender, we would have gotten away with it too! But he was mixing us drinks, so I forgive him. Plus, supporting your local bands is always a great deal. Did you know that every

Please don't sue me, NBC.

year, local bands have to kill thousands of drummers because their band shelters are overrun with them, and that for every person who pays to attend a local show, you could save a drummer? The more you know.

It’s also apparently a proven fact that bartenders in dive bars know EVERY PERSON who walks in that door. “Hey, you weren’t here twenty minutes ago.” totally works in a venue that probably holds around…60. But once again, I’m not bitter because the drinks were good, the music was amazing, and the venue itself looks like the kind of place that is legendary and yet no one knows it. Did you have

Bar Eleven in San Diego
Bar Eleven has been hip since before hipsters existed. I'm pretty sure the original Mona Lisa threw up on these very floors. Legendary.

any idea where you were standing? Do you have any idea who’s walked these beer-stained floors? Kids these days.

When the second in line band, Kata, began to take the stage, my music geek heart filled up with joy to see not one, but two cellists setting up right in the front of the stage. Two cellists, a keyboardist, bass, drummer, and a handful of guitars. I think all of the numerous members of Kata comprised half of the bar, but maybe more musicians meant they sounded even more amazing? I would have waited to see, but I’m pretty sure they were trying to break the Guinness Book of World Records’ “longest time it takes to get set up for a gig.” But with so many instrumentalists, I don’t really blame them for taking their time.

The best part? Looking like the ultimate hipster with my 35mm Nikon that I bought off some failing former photography major a week ago. I really don’t recommend looking like a hipster to anyone. But for a person who hasn’t touched film since she before she hit puberty, I think I did fairly well.

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