When you realize you are frustrated and fed up with the music scene, you go ahead and create your own scene.
After being burned out by the local music scene, musician and performer Chuck Perrin took matters into his own hands. Perrin said he was “”frustrated by the lack of acceptable venues to present music the way I envisioned it.”” So he opened up a small space in downtown San Diego, named it Dizzy’s and dedicated it to music.
Dizzy’s has torn down all of the distractions found at many other clubs, and placed all of its focus on the music itself. There is no bar or restaurant to divide your attention. Dizzy’s is a place where you get lost in the sounds of the fantastic talent that comes to play. Perrin explained that more often than not, “”performers are competing with three or four televisions tuned to sports in other areas of the room.””
There are no such annoyances at Dizzy’s.
Nestled on the edge of downtown San Diego’s East Village, Dizzy’s is a haven for jazz purists, blues musicians and folk performers. The small venue offers an intimate setting as well as a high ceiling that provides fantastic acoustics. Unlike other venues, the stage at Dizzy’s is only eight inches off the ground and is set very close to the audience. This gives the people the chance to interact with the musicians on stage, and it allows the musicians to connect with their audience. A professional lighting system gives way to a slightly more laid-back feel with chairs that are set around small candle-lit tables on a concrete floor.
As a bit more than a casual fan of jazz, and as a musician, I crave places such as these. I want that relaxed atmosphere where the focus is on the musicians and their music. In that respect, Dizzy’s does not disappoint, because Dizzy’s has eliminated all of the pretenses.
Slide guitar player and New Orleans funk and blues performer Billy Thompson was the first act to grace the Dizzy’s stage last April, and little has changed since. As Perrin put it, Dizzy’s “”is what it is.”” I get the feeling that Dizzy’s is not a place that will cave to the over-commercialization that turns artists into sales-generators and makes them a part of the background.
“”It’s OK for a musician or artist to work as an actor for bar and restaurant owners, because that can pay the rent,”” Perrin said. “”But for their sanity and growth as artists, there has to be a place where the focus is only on the art.””
Dizzy’s is a brick building that was built in 1913 and it looks cold, but when you step inside, there is more than enough warmth because of the hospitality and dedication. The entire ambiance of Dizzy’s makes you feel like you’ve stumbled across some underground jazz club in a dark alley deep in the city where all the hip cats go to relax and listen to some soothing jazz.
There are also paintings by local artist John DeMarco projected behind the performers, which depict legendary as well as local jazz musicians. Perrin has described the venue as having a “”New York City, Greenwich Village vibe.””
Although the emphasis seems to be on jazz and blues, Dizzy’s does book a wide variety of performers. From bluegrass to spoken word performances and acoustic folk performances, Dizzy’s has something for everyone. You can also catch Gilbert Castellanos hosting the East Village Late Nite Jam, which runs every Friday from midnight to 2 a.m. Saturday.
The O’Brien Brothers from Dublin, Ireland also recently graced Dizzy’s stage and treated the crowd with an acoustic folk performance with distinctive Irish influences. Band members Donal and Gerard O’Brien were in the States to promote their new album “”Morning Sun,”” which can be found on their Web site at http://www.obrienbrothers.com. The dapper kids from the Ryan Mar-Tet played straightforward jazz and jammed for nearly two hours during another performance. So you can be sure to catch almost any kind of music on most nights during the week.
What is especially wonderful about Dizzy’s is that the music is not limited to those who are 21 and up. It opens its doors to all ages, which gives many younger people the chance to go to a small club and listen to live music.
You can also rest a bit easier knowing that 70 percent of the eight bucks you pay to get into Dizzy’s goes directly to the artists. The other 30 percent just pays the bills to keep the place open. This isn’t about the profit. Dizzy’s is truly about the music.
Dizzy’s is located at 344 Seventh Ave., and there is parking along the street as well as at the parking structure in the nearby Clarion Hotel. Check the hiatus calendar for performance dates, times and cover charge. You can also call (858) 270-7467 for more information.