As with years prior, most of the speculation surrounding the San Diego Music Awards swirls around the nominees -- but one of the reasons the ceremony is always so memorable is the performances. Last year’s players included Blackout Party, the Palace Ballroom, Sara Petite and Old Tiger (fronted by our own Dustin Lothspeich -- hey now!). Similarly, this year’s show at Humphrey's By the Bay on Oct. 6 boasts some of the standout artists in the San Diego music scene -- fittingly, they’re all nominees, too -- for our listening and viewing pleasure in between award presentations. Let’s dive into a few of the scheduled acts before it all goes down.
- The Donkeys: Up for Best Rock Album (which we pegged them to win), the band’s washed out snapshot of vintage AM radio rock/pop will definitely draw the cool kids away from the back bar and have ’em dancing in the aisles with the rest of us.
- Euphoria Brass Band: Mardi Gras comes early this year -- this North County septet constantly wins over audiences with its uproariously fun performances that transport anyone within earshot to the French Quarter of New Orleans. What’s not to love about that?
- The Midnight Pine: For those of us looking forward to an enjoyable, laidback evening with friends in one of the most scenic venues in San Diego, there is no better soundtrack than the mesmerizing acoustic hymns of the Midnight Pine (which we just featured on SoundDiego TV -- watch them here). Led by Shelbi Bennett, a hypnotic vocalist with pipes of gold, the band will undoubtedly chill us out while we soak up the fun.
- Joshua White: White’s wizardry behind the keys has been making our jazz blogger, Robert Bush, gush uncontrollably with every performance (read about him here and here). After jazz trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos staged a coup and took home the Artist of the Year award in 2013, we’re thinking White could do the same.
- Tribal Theory/Todo Mundo: Both nominated in the Best World Music category, we might see an actual onstage showdown between Tribal Theory’s roots reggae and the reggae/Latin/gypsy maestros of Todo Mundo on Monday night. Could we possibly see a “Beat It” video-type battle? How about the best performance nets the award? Regardless, we’re the real winners: Both of these groups bring the chilled, positive vibes, and that’s all we really need.