"Are you not entertained?"
Let’s break it down: There’s a big difference between a performer -- and an entertainer. The San Diego music scene’s been gifted its fair share of stellar musicians, talented songwriters and immensely popular acts, but true entertainers are few and far between. They’re just cut from a different cloth than most. They make a lasting impression even after the music is over. When they walk into a room, everything suddenly feels electric, and when they leave, the party’s over. We decided to shine a light on some of San Diego’s finest entertainers taking over stages, hearts and minds these days. Of course, we can’t list everyone -- so if you think of someone deserving of inclusion, let us know in the comments!
- Joe Aguilar, the Burning of Rome: As the long-haired, bombastic guitarist for his eclectic gypsy punk band, Aguilar hurls himself across stages and audiences alike during shows -– with little to no regard for his body. So much that we’re starting to doubt that he actually has any bones. Dude’s a real-life Gumby!
- Pat Beers, the Schizophonics: No one, and we mean no one, plays guitar like Pat Beers. Who knew you could play righteous fuzz-rock guitar solos with only one hand, while jumping around like a maniacal cheerleader? Even Hendrix got some help from his teeth.
- Ryn Foxe, Ghetto Blaster: Even though he’d laugh at us for including him here, he’s still one of the best frontmen in the game –- mainly because it’s clear he has no f---s to give. While his band opened for Hot Snakes last year at the Irenic, dude nailed an audience member with his microphone while swinging it over his head, and then threw out the cash he had in his wallet to the poor guy -- all while barking out a hardcore tune. That’s rock & roll, folks.
- Lucina Go, Madly: Formerly the frontwoman for Black Hondo, Lucina Go exudes a Jim Morrison-level of dark intrigue and hypnotic attitude while hitting stages in her new indie-rock outfit, Madly. Yet to release an album, the band (and Go in particular) has been wowing us with their performances over the past year or so.
- Alfred Howard, the Midnight Pine: What can we say? Howard’s been instrumental in bringing the chain/table saw blade game to San Diego. Often to the detriment of his own body, he pounds out ramshackle, stomping rhythms on curious, household items that may or may not pose serious health risks to the general public. No matter what’s going on around him (and he’s usually surrounded by fantastic musicians), you can’t help but watch him go at it.
- Joshua Kmak, Shady Francos: As you may have guessed from our SoundDiego TV theme song, we’re kinda fans of Shady Francos. While their music definitely rocks, their lead singer/guitarist Joshua Kmak bobs around the mic like Bart Simpson on a pogo stick – and that’s just the start. The band’s energy and furious garage rock are simply infectious.
- Jake Najor, Taurus Authority: Anyone who’s seen ‘The Naj’ play the drums has been left asking, "Did you see the faces that drummer was making?" While he mans the kit in the background for several San Diego bands such as Birdy Bardot, Erik Canzona & the Narrows, Lion & the Lady and Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact (while logging studio time for bands like TV on the Radio and Kelis), Najor’s unbridled enthusiasm is also likely to steal the show every time he takes the stage.
- Sarah Norwood, AJ Froman: AJ Froman’s relatively new to the music scene here in town but it hasn’t prevented them from rocketing to the top of the psych rock game. That’s partly due to their Pink Floyd experimentalism and Zeppelin riffage, but a lot of it can be attributed to their charismatic frontwoman, Norwood. Under a mane of curly locks, she crawls, stalks and dominates stages like At the Drive-In’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala –- and is nothing short of impressive every single time.
- Rafael Reyes, Prayers: If the Cult’s Ian Astbury and Blink-182’s Travis Barker are fans of your work, you’re doing something right. Very right. In the case of cholo-goth pioneers Prayers, they’re on the cusp of huge things. Reyes is one of the most confident and fascinating frontmen we’ve ever seen, as we saw firsthand during their standing-room only performance at our recent SoundDiego LIVE party. Visually striking and with a larger-than-life persona that borderlines on dangerous, heads turn and cameras flash when Reyes walks in the room. If that ain’t a sign of a true entertainer, we don’t know what is.
Here's a few other lists we've put together.