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SoundDiego LIVE Blows Up in North County



    One night in January, while everybody was outside at the Double Deuce in the Gaslamp at SoundDiego LIVE between sets, Rosemary Bystrak of our partner site introduced me to Tom Pritchard of Dynamite Walls. Now I had never met Tom, who's a helluva nice guy and who proceeded to tell me how much he loved the party and how he loved Hotel St. George and River City, our bands that night. Was he just being a helluva nice guy or just talking? Keep reading.

    SoundDiego LIVE at the Saloon on April 28 with Dynamite Walls and FMera starts at 7:30 p.m.

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    Before long, Tom mentioned that he and his friends had driven down from Encinitas just for the party. Now it was my turn to gush: I told Tom how much I loved North County and had lived there for a time when I first returned to San Diego County.

    The conversation turned to the topic of live music venues in North County and how the crew at SoundDiego LIVE -- which, until then, had only traveled once outside of the Gaslamp/downtown nexus, to Bar Pink, in North Park -- had been searching for a site for one of our monthly hit-and-run parties. Tom said we had to check out the Saloon in Encinitas, a gritty, great joint with roots and history that hosted live music from time to time, filing up with music fans every week (with a line down the block) to hear DJ Gabe Vega on Mondays, among others.

    I told Rosey about the idea and she told me that, while it sounded right, it was unlikely SoundDiego LIVE would ever be able to book Dynamite Walls, a rampaging band signed to Universal/Republic influenced by everyone and everything from surf music to Coldplay to Nirvana and who inexplicably won a San Diego Music Award in 2010 for Best Pop band.

    I knew the Saloon but had never seen a show there, so I called up owner Chris Strickland, who didn't say no. We talked about our flow -- free music for the night with a free happy hour to kick things off -- and he said it could work. Next we talked bands -- I mentioned a North County band, FMera (that's two words, folks: FM and era), a post-shoegaze four-piece from Cardiff I came across looking for bands for another project. Chris said he'd check 'em out and get back to me.

    Fast-forward a week to when Chris calls up and tells me he's got Dynamite Walls (fresh off a show opening for Buffy Clyro at the Belly Up) locked in. My jaw drops -- he's got the bar and the band. This will be the easiest SD LIVE to program ever. Not only that, he talks Gabe Vega -- who normally DJs on Thursdays at the Saloon -- to spin between sets on our agreed-upon date of April 28.

    Phone calls to FMera's Paul Welch (a former member of English Beat) and DJ Chris Cantore seal the deal. Done.

    Looking back, I guess we'd all have to agree that Tom Pritchard is a helluva nice guy. So come on by the Saloon in Encinitas tonight to say hello and thank him for making April's SoundDiego LIVE come alive.