Smells Like Teen Spirit

A special School of Rock show focuses on some of SD's best bands

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Dan Chusid

Come Jan. 18, you’ll be able to see Mrs. Magician, Night Marchers, the Heavy Guilt, the Locust, Transfer, the Tree Ring and the Album Leaf at the Irenic. And while you’ll hear their music, you may see slightly smaller, younger versions of those bands onstage as well. Great Scott! No, time travel hasn’t been discovered just yet: All of those bands, and more, will be covered by San Diego’s School of Rock during a special Best of San Diego show.

Founded in 1998, the School of Rock opened its first location in Philadelphia. With more than 69 schools now in the U.S. and Mexico, the institution teaches its students how to play guitar, bass, drums, keyboard and sing -- and, just as important -- prepares them to perform onstage in front of crowds.
The Irenic, situated inside a North Park church, is one of San Diego’s only all-ages clubs, so it’s fitting that it would host School of Rock shows. Having recently held shows by Cults, Twin Forks and Titus Andronicus, the club is scheduled to bring MxPx, Of Montreal and Reggie & the Full Effect through town in January, among others.
Normally, the school's shows revolve around more classic-rock fare. For example, just a day earlier, they’ll be performing the Clash’s London Calling in its entirety on the same stage. And even though they generally focus on covering huge, nationally touring acts, the decision to go local could have some beneficial side-effects.
"National acts are, more often than not, national for a reason -- and whether you love their music or not, they’ve done something that has tapped into the collective consciousness of the masses," said lyricist and percussionist Al Howard of the Heavy Guilt and Midnight Pine, who will also be covered at the show. "It’s important to learn from that, whether structurally, thematically or with regards to a proficiency in approach. But music should be tangible, and something gets lost in an arena; there’s often a disconnect. On the local level, you can talk to the musicians -- they can be a resource, a mentor and even a friend.”
The school is definitely on the right track: Why ignore the in-town music scene these students may very well be participating in later in life? The push to help them learn and network with musicians currently working within it is guaranteed to pay dividends. Besides, for the bands being covered, having their music studied and performed by a different group of people, especially teens, probably doesn’t suck either.
"It feels great," Howard admitted. "Once a year, something seems to happen that legitimizes some of my life choices -- particularly music and poverty. I save these instances for the inevitable conversation I have with my mom, when she asks, ‘Isn’t it time for you to get a real job?’ And this year, I can respond with, ‘A group of young folks enjoyed something I had a part of creating and chose to perform it.’ It’s an honor."
The Best of San Diego School of Rock show will include performances of songs by:
  • The Nervous Wreckords
  • The Tree Ring
  • Weatherbox
  • Lord Howler
  • The Locust
  • The Widows
  • Octagrape
  • Spider Fever
  • Mrs. Magician
  • Beehive & the Barracudas
  • The Midnight Pine
  • Creepy Creeps
  • The Heavy Guilt
  • Black Hondo
  • The Album Leaf
  • Blackout Party
  • Night Marchers
  • Sleeping People
Tickets are $10 in advance, or $12 at the door. They can be purchased here.

Dustin Lothspeich plays in Old Tiger, Diamond Lakes, Chess Wars and Boy King. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.

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