San Diego's Dream COVID Music Collabs

Andra Day (left) and Julieta Venegas
Fatima Kelley (left), Getty Images

San Diegans are gearing up for "next stages" of the coronavirus pandemic as we slowly reopen more parts of the economy, rolling out limited dine-in restaurants and socially distanced retail experiences, but we're still waiting for data to get where we want it to be for the return of live performances at small music venues.

In the meantime, the artists we know and love -- and some we've only recently discovered -- continue to take advantage of livestream options like Facebook, Instagram and Twitch. Other musicians are using interesting apps like Acapella to make things easier for performances or employing teleconferencing apps for virtual band practices.

I was recently tasked with putting together some dream collaborations between San Diego musicians, vibing off collabs like the ones the Redwoods collective's Al Howard has had over the years, or the magic of seeing couples sheltering in place -- like Low Volts and Dani Bell -- putting out beautiful songs. Here's Round 2 of my dream COVID collabs:

Jake Skolnick & the Euphoria Brass Band

Jake Skolnick, who runs the local label Mannequin Vanity Records while also booking several venues in town -- including the Tipsy Crow and The Holding Company -- also fronts Quel Bordel, a super-fun local act in the vein of Gogol Bordello. The Euphoria Brass Band play their share of originals and covers, and do it all while onstage or playing as a second line, marching through the streets. Combine Skolnick's punk energy with the Euphorias and I think you would be able to have quite a party that could maintain social distance, to boot.

DJ Ratty & Jake Najor

DJ Ratty has been known for decades for his Sunday night Rat Sabbath parties at Bar Pink, among other venues around San Diego. Jake Najor, of course, is the funkiest drummer around and can play amazingly to anything. The DJ and live drummer thing has certainly been done, but I'd love to see Jake and Ratty freestyle together when Pink is allowed to have live music again -- they could easily keep 6 feet apart from each and any size crowd. Plus, neither would actually be singing, so you don't have to fear for any of those dreadedaerosolized particles we've been hearing so much about.

Julieta Venegas & Andra Day

I know Venegas and Day have far outgrown the small stages of San Diego, but being that both were brought up in the same region, and that fact that each is a stunning reflection of their respective culture, I think their two voices would be magical together, even if only for some perfectly sung public service announcements to shine a light on the South Bay and the importance of our cross-border relationships. Levantate! (That's “Rise Up” in Spanish, in case you're still working on your Espanol 101.)

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