Author: Benjamin Tyler Thomas Marotta
and beloved venue which Soda Bar has become.
There are several things which solidifies a music scene in a city;
first and far most important are the fans-
the collective which make up the scene itself. Second are the venues which are provided here in San Diego by the likes of Soda Bar, Casbah, The Merrow, Til-Two (fun fact: Bones of Lower Class Brats bartends there), Tower Bar, and of course our ever metal-mecca, run by metal-heads themselves Brick By Brick. The final ingredient is the quality of the musicians the scene produces which greatly varies from place to place. I have traveled quite a bit to different cities all over the United States and what I have discovered is that everywhere I have gone, every scene I have found all have those essential three things. The quality of those three, determines the strength and potential growth, even determines the life span of said scene. Here in San Diego I believe we have one of the strongest, truest, and continually flourishing scenes, especially Metal Music Scene, I have ever seen or had the pleasure to be a part of. I guess that has a lot to do with why I still call San Diego home and have refused to move on, but I regress that is a whole other article which will be written when I get to that point in my life. Tonight I wish to reflect on the events which took place at Soda Bar on April 19th 2018, the event which is still swirling around ripely in my mind.
Conjuring such sounds and beckoning such monolithic majesty. This is scarcely ever accomplished at any live show; despite the genre the musicians are playing precision of them playing their specific instruments while strumming or hitting perfectly inside the tempo is a near impossible task, especially when given the endless variables which arise at any and every live performance.
As a musician on stage, your monitor may not be loud enough, or too loud, or it may even short out, you may not hear your fellow tempo keepers which are traditionally the bassists and drummers but, when I watched the entirety of Beekeeper’s set I saw the impossible become probable. Their performance seemed flawless! Having heard their album several times and having seen them perform and grow as musicians through the years their performance on April 19thwas damn near perfect representation of their talent!
Ally the lead and sole guitarist as well as lead vocalist, shred her fingers to the bone and screamed as if her soul was escaping from her lips. It was an extraordinary display of a honed musician playing what they know but not routinely, she still mustered up the soul which true musician’s do at every live show they play.
Adam "Wally" Wollach roared on bass adding a solid structure to their sound and held down the rhythm as a bassist should, all while thrashing to the raging tunes Beekeeper releases.
Drummer Dylan Marks had several sections which clearly showed he’s a force to be reckoned with. The striking of each tom and crash of each symbol rang with feeling. Beekeeper is the band all musicians should strive to emulate as live performing musicians and demand to be seen if not their album a tight rotation in your cars stereo.
The second band to hit the stage wasn’t on the original bill, but was later added to a updated print of the shows flyer. Recalcitrant hails from Los Angeles, near where I got my own start in the metal scene, and was a welcomed addition to the night’s dark ceremonial festivities. Referring to themselves as grindcore Valdez on vocals brings the gore-grind and their guitarist Merrell rips out the fast punk rooted riffs. Altogether Recalcitrant was a pleasantly gore-ified surprise.
BAD ACID TRIP
Bad Acid Trip, which is labeled as grindcore isn’t exactly what I received from their performance. I did not feel it is grindcore by any real means to be perfectly honest, which is not exactly a bad thing in retrospect; they seem to challenge most all known genres of music which is what all truly groundbreaking and infamous figures have been doing who have come before them.
Now I’m also not saying B.A.T. is to the status of Chuck Schuldiner of Death nor a Dave Brockie of Gwar. That doesn’t mean the potential isn’t there. I was taken back by them rocking the trio of vocalist, bassist, and drummer whole thing, which is as uncommon as it was awesome.
I couldn’t quite put my finger on whatever genre these guys were aiming for but, in the end I think that was the point. They play what they play, and they sound how they sound, which in the end was refreshingly outside the sub-genre riddled box Metal sometimes falls victim to. The point was they put on an entertaining show, and they were talented as well which together I believe they have the makings to reach Buckethead/Primus/Mr. Bungle status or perhaps I am being to indulging.
Nukem, who has been a local favorite in the San Diego Metal Scene for years now showcased the reason why they are as revered and beloved as they are. Singer/guitarist Steve Brogden ripped out the licks, harmonizing with his fellow shredster the talented Laura Christine. Drummer Norm Leggio literally kicked out the jams MC5 style slamming on his kit while Don Lauder on bass kept the shred fest going and most importantly in time. If this is the first time you’re hearing of any of these bands especially Nukem do yourself a favor and catch Nukem at their upcoming Brick By Brick show with Power Metal Gods Flotsam and Jetsam, I guarantee they won’t disappoint.
Finally the night ended with Cave Bastard whose album was simultaneously released that night- from which they unfurled tracks from mainly composing the entirety of their set list which in some cases isn’t the best thing for certain bands to do but, this being Cave Bastard’s biggest release it made their set a spectacle you should be disappointed you missed. The band’s sound is along the lines of Red Fang and Early Man; those bands who’ve tried to revive the whole stoner rock Sabbath/Sleep style of heavy tunes that aren’t afraid to rest on that heavy deep G chord, for several seconds longer than most. They sludge away heavily trudging through the thickly culminating fog-filled atmosphere which was regurgitating like dry ice eerily does, and boiling up from the brink, and bowels of their dark soul-summoning-sounds. I felt the bass in my chest and it was from the guitar--not even the bass. Needless to say these rulers of the dopethrone deserve to have their album reach the furthest ends able and to be reviewed by any ears who are in a position to review such music.
I myself had to stop by their merch booth, as I believe all show patrons should at every show especially when seeing local or unsigned traveling bands because it is because of the numbers in attendance, and merch purchases which allow music to continue to flourish so let’s do our job as fans and keep these guys doing what they were conceived to do, and that’s create and play heavy fucking music!
Steph "Stezz" Glass is passionate about live music and capturing the moments she enjoys so much to witness.