Arts & Entertainment

Wailing the Grammy Blues

What do you do when you lose a Golden Globe award and a Grammy to Phil Collins? Well, as far as Aimee Mann is concerned, you express your disapproval at live shows and play a kick-ass set that proves that the judges were either incompetent or deaf. Mann’s Dec. 13 stop at the Sun Theater in Anaheim was the 15th on her tour promoting her third solo album, “”Bachelor #2.”” She mockingly showed her distaste when she introduced “”Save Me,”” the song for which she received two award nominations. However, as she put it, she lost to a song about “”Tarzan and a cartoon monkey. That’s kind of how I feel about the election right now.”” Playing to an audience of mostly middle-aged people, Mann’s 13-song set included work from her solo albums “”Whatever”” (1993), “”I’m With Stupid”” (1995) and “”Bachelor #2″” (2000). It also included songs from the “”Magnolia”” soundtrack (2000), which made her music known to a mainstream audience. Grant Lee Phillips was the opening act that night, playing a fairly long 11-song all-acoustic guitar set. “”You guys might be able to rent ‘Magnolia,’ and by the time it’s finished, I’ll be done,”” he joked at the beginning of the set. This remark was one of many odd yet comical comments that Phillips made throughout the night. Aside from the jokes, his performance consisted of deep, metaphorical lyrics sung to beautifully elaborate chord progressions. His folk-blues set included songs from his recent album “”Mighty Joe Moon.”” The transition from Phillips to Mann encompassed a change from acoustic to electric guitar. Her set list ranged from heart-wrenching, slow ballads such as “”4th of July”” and “”Wise Up”” to upbeat tunes like “”Ghost World.”” The show’s highlights included an amazing acoustic rendition of “”It’s Not Safe,”” with violins fusing in after the first verse. After the song, Mann joked about the despondent nature of her music and sarcastically declared, “”That was my all-purpose protest song with my usual message, which is ‘Give up — it’s hopeless!'”” Other highlights included the energetic classic “”Choice in the Matter,”” the emotionally charged “”Susan”” and the desperate and vulnerable “”Long Shot.”” The night ended with two encores, the last of which was a moving, acoustic version of “”I’ve Had It.”” Mann left the stage graciously thanking the audience while the crowd cheered earnestly, affirming Mann’s position as a great performer and one of the more prolific songwriters of our time. ...

The Hiatus Calendar

Thursday The Black Eyed Peas will perform at the Belly Up Tavern at 9 p.m. Tickets are $17.50 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling (619) 220-8497. Friday Chris Calloway is the daughter of swing music legend Cab Calloway and will perform at UCSD’s Mandeville Auditorium. Calloway is singer, dancer and bandleader and she will lead the Hi-De-Ho Orchestra and Dancers through some of her father’s arrangements. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased through the UCSD Box Office or through Ticketmaster by calling (619) 220-8497. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. UCSD graduate Chris Kilch and the Chris Kilch Jazz Quintet will perform at Dizzy’s in downtown San Diego. Kilch will be featured on alto and tenor sax, clarinet and flute. The show starts at 8:45 p.m. and tickets are $8. Call (858) 270-7467 for ticket information. Saturday Countervail along with Give Until Gone, Curl Up And Die and Kareen will play at the Che Cafe at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $5. Call (858) 534-2311 for ticket information. Jam band Clyde’s Ride will perform at the Belly Up Tavern. The show starts at 9:15 p.m. and tickets are $7. Call Ticketmaster for more information at (619) 220-8497. Monday A Martin Luther King Jr. Day Memorial Concert will be held at Mandeville Auditorium. The UCSD Gospel Choir, under director Ken Anderson, will perform spirituals and gospels in celebration of King. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets range from $3 to $5. Call (858) 534-3229 for ticket information. Tuesday Touring behind their recent release, “”Jupiter,”” Cave In will perform at the Che Cafe with other hardcore acts The Thrones, Durga and Secret Fan Club. The show starts at 8 p.m. Call (858) 534-2311 for ticket information. Wednesday Gregory Isaacs will perform his smooth reggae groove at 4th & B. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $16.50. Call Ticketmaster for tickets at (619) 220-8497. Thursday Metal band Fear Factory will show off their evolving metal sound at Cane’s Bar & Grill. Their new album incorporates computer technology for a new groove but with a distinctively metal sound. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $15. To buy tickets call Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497. ...

Review: Album

Blur“”Blur: The Best Of””EMI Records A After six albums and more than a handful of hit songs, Blur has finally released “”Blur: The Best Of.”” The album provides 18 tracks of Blur and their growth from their 1991 release, “”Leisure,”” through their most recent release in 1999, “”13.”” For those of you whose knowledge of Blur doesn’t go beyond the techno-casino sounds of “”Girls & Boys”” and the familiar “”Whoo-Hooo!”” of “”Song 2,”” then this album will open your eyes to the music that is distinctively Brit-pop. Blur was first known as Seymour and started out playing their style of art-punk in various places around London in the late ’80s. In 1989 they changed their name to Blur, signed to Food Records and released “”Leisure,”” which included hits like “”She’s So High”” and “”There’s No Other Way.”” “”Modern Life is Rubbish”” was released in 1993 and it pioneered the Brit-pop sound of the early- to mid-1990s. The lush My Bloody Valentine-esque guitar work with Beatles-esque harmonies and the use of string and brass sections achieved a witty collection of songs. Their first No. 1 album, “”Parklife,”” continued Blur’s collection of hit songs including “”Girls & Boys”” and gave them four Brit Awards. With the release of their next album, “”The Great Escape,”” Blur became part of a media-created rivalry with Oasis. “”The Great Escape”” reached No. 1 in the British charts and sold 1 million copies in Britain. Their self-titled album, “”Blur”” was released early in 1997 and they were instantly known stateside with their two-minute hit simply titled, “”Song 2.”” “”Song 2″” also found its way into commercials, movies and other promos. Largely ignored were songs like “”M.O.R.”” and “”Beetlebum.”” Their most recent studio album, “”13,”” was lyrically direct and emotional with beautiful musical textures. Blur songwriter Damon Albarn wrote about his painful break-up with Elastica’s Justine Frischmann and used the brilliance of William Orbit to produce the album. Their “”best of”” album collects all of the songs that define Blur and their career. Classics such as “”Parklife”” and “”Charmless Man”” are included with the light melodies of “”Country House”” and “”To the End.”” The bonus disc includes 10 songs from their concert at Wembley Arena. “”Blur: The Best Of”” is a fantastic way to open your eyes to more than just the American radio hits and it’s a great way to start the foundation of your Blur collection. ...

Under the Scope

The first year of the new millennium brings many new films that will try to offset the horrible selection of movies that plagued 2000. Winter may prove chilly, but Hollywood intends to brighten and warm this season with films that range greatly in style and genre. Unfortunately, this winter may seem cold because many of the new films coming out continue the downward trend that began last year. Here is a look at some films coming to theaters this winter. Snatch Snatch Jan. 19 The Mexican Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Jason Flemying, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Rade Sherbedgia and Jason Statham. Turkish (Statham) is a boxing promoter who gets in trouble when he works with gangster Black Top to rig a boxing match. At the same time, a diamond theft occurs, but the diamond disappears; as a result, the mastermind of the heist, Avi (Farina), goes to England to get the lowdown. The two stories intertwine with each other, creating havoc in the process. Outlook: This film looks to be a winner with a fresh, fast-paced plot that is sure to bring out a bit of everything. Although it may be over the top, the chaotic yet stylish storyline should make this film fun and exciting to watch. The Wedding Planner Jan. 26 Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Justin Chambers and Judy Greer. When wedding planner Mary Fiore (Lopez) meets Steve Edison (McConaughey), she thinks she has found the man of her dreams. This is great until she finds out that Steve is engaged to Fran Donelly (Wilson-Sampras), who has hired Mary to plan her wedding. Mary now has to manage the fine line between her job and her love life. Outlook: A chick-flick that is sure to be a crowd pleaser this year. Chemistry between Lopez and McConaughey is good, but the predictable and simple plot makes this one seem like an ordinary romantic film. Sugar & Spice Jan. 26 Starring: Marley Shelton, Jame Marsden, Rachel Blanchard, Mena Suvari, Sean Young, Sarak Marsh and Melissa George. Diane (Shelton) is the captain of the school cheerleading squad and dates the quarterback Jack Barlett (Marsden). Everything is fine until Jack and Diane find themselves in an unexpected situation and need cash immediately. In order to help the couple, the rest of the cheerleading squad, the A-squad, plot a bank robbery. The girls put their futures on the line in order to help out their friend in this comedy. Outlook: Can you give me a “”D-U-M-B?”” The idea of a bunch of peppy cheerleaders turning to a life of crime is not exactly A-material. The only thing these cheerleaders can motivate you to do is to not see this poor excuse for a movie. Head Over Heels Feb. 9 Starring: Monica Potter, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah O’Hare, Shalom Harlow, China Chow, Ivana Milicevic and Tomiko Fraser. Amanda Pierce (Potter) is a single art restorer who resides in Manhattan in this comedy. When she lands a great deal on a new, luxurious apartment, she is both surprised and uncertain when her new roommates are four beautiful, gorgeous models. The models quickly change Amanda’s lifestyle and Amanda is attracted to Jim Winston (Prinze). Things are turning out fine until she witnesses what appears to be Winston committing a murder. Pierce and her new roommates are now on the trail to find out the truth. Outlook: “”Head Over Heels”” is another teen-pop flick that proves that all you need to make a movie is a pretty face. This movie lacks the credibility and plot to be much more than another chance to see an attractive actress or actor. Not only is the plot ridiculous, but it also has the intelligence of the movie’s character, which is none. Hannibal Feb. 9 Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Ray Liotta, Frankie R. Faison, Giancarlo Giannini, Francesca Neri and Zeljko Ivanek. The sequel of “”The Silence of the Lambs”” has the escaped Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins) being the hunted instead of the hunter when an old victim of Lecter, Mason Verger, tries to seek revenge and attempts to kill Lecter. In order to do this, Verger uses FBI Agent Clarice Starling (Moore) as a tool to capture Lecter. Outlook: The original movie proved such a success that Thomas Harris wrote another chilling book in order for a movie to be made. Although money was the catalyst, this film will prove to be one of the more thrilling and haunting films of the year. With director Ridley Scott and Anthony Hopkins back as the lead, this film will bring a realistic, spine-chilling thriller that is macabre and gruesome. Sweet November Feb. 16 Starring: Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron, Jason Isaacs, Greg Germann, Frank Langella and Liam Aiken. Keanu Reeves plays a busy executive too concerned with himself to care for the well-being of others. His way of life changes when he meets an awkward but free-spirited woman (Theron) who persuades him to spend a month with her in order to change not only his views, but also his way of life. However, neither of them expected to fall for each other. Outlook: This weak premise portrays itself as a warm, sentimental romance. A love story demands chemistry between the two leads, but Reeves and Theron are not known for their great acting. The odds of seeing not only good acting but also great chemistry from the two actors are the same as having a legitimate and fair election in Florida. The Mexican March 2 Starring: Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and James Gandolfini. Jerry Welbach (Pitt) is in a tight situation because he has to not only recover an antique pistol for his mob boss, but also has to deal with the fact that his girlfriend Samantha (Roberts) wants him to end his association with the mob. Trouble ensues when Jerry recovers the pistol, which turns out to be cursed, and by the fact that Samantha is now held hostage by a hit man. Outlook: Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, with their immense starpower, will ensure that this film will be seen by many and will be a success at the box office. This predictable film looks to be decently funny with a good blend of not only comedy, but also romance, drama and action. Animal Husbandry March 30 Starring: Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear, Hugh Jackman, Marisa Tomei and Ellen Barkin. In this romantic comedy, Ashley Judd plays talk show producer Jane Goodale who is in a romantic relationship with Ray (Kinnear). When their relationship turns south, Jane uses her knowledge of the male animal to write a sex column. In the process, Jane and her column become a sensation. Outlook: This look into men-women relationships falls flat as the script seems shallow and it clarifies the obvious. As a result, a meaningful understanding is never developed. Judd has been in many bad movies lately and this seems to be just another one of them. ...

The Presidents want your vote this year

Just when you thought you were stuck with this president for the next four years, you might want to look at the three candidates you should’ve voted for but punched the wrong chad. All three members of the band formerly known as The Presidents of the United States of America — Dave Dederer (bass/guitar/vocals), Chris Ballew (guitar/bass/vocals) and Jason Finn (drums) — are now back together, simply going by The Presidents. They might not have the answers to all your burning political questions, but they definitely have their post-election party planned, bringing you what could have been the most promising platform of the election: music that makes you laugh. The Presidents have always been remembered for their clever song-writing and tunes you could never get out of your head. The Grammy-nominated Presidents previously released two full-length records on Columbia. Their most recent release, “”Freaked Out and Small,”” hit stores nationwide in September. This latest project has a number of new twists but still maintains the band’s original sensibility. For this album, The Presidents didn’t rehearse the songs. They went into the studio, learned the songs, and then recorded them right on the spot, taking only three months to wrap up the entire recording process. The pure musical talent and energy created by this unique environment is evident on the 12-track compilation. “”We just have some kind of magic when we play together,”” Dederer stated. “”I can’t describe it, can’t define it, and I don’t think any of us can take credit for it. It’s just plain dumb luck to find that kind of synchronicity, and it shouldn’t be trifled with.”” “”Freaked Out and Small”” is The Presidents’ first full release since 1996. The new album is a strange mix of what you would expect to hear from The Presidents plus something similar to the sound of punky pop rock bands like “”The Mr. T Experience.”” The Presidents’ first single, “”Tiny Explosions,”” is heavily guitar driven and more rock than comedy. The lyrics are not quite as ridiculous as previous releases but they definitely make up for it with their new focus on the music. Five strings and half of a drum kit are all The Presidents ever needed to make their insanely catchy pop ditties. But don’t think they’ve lost their funny bone, because tracks such as “”Jazz Guy”” and “”Jupiter”” still make you laugh and remind you why this band is so great. The new album really shows some growth for the band. You can tell they wanted to come back strong, sounding a little different but still keeping the comedy act. Their music is fun, they have more ability with half of the equipment, and they remind us that those other presidents take themselves way too seriously. ...

Review: Albums

Amy Correia Carnival Love Capitol C- “”Carnival Love”” sounds a little like one of Lilith Fair’s smaller stage acts revisited. Amy Correia’s poetic, fresh lyrics are perhaps the only saving grace in this selection of otherwise static boardwalk songs. She establishes a somber carnival atmosphere on the opening track, “”Angels Collide.”” Hawaiian guitars and Correia’s half-sober voice provide a folksy feel to many of the tracks, especially “”He Drives It,”” a humorous take on unrequited love. A couple of exceptions — the more upbeat “”Daydream Car”” and “”The Bike”” — flirt with pop potential. Otherwise, the album rarely rises above the tone of a slightly flustered little girl. — Charlene Perez The Wallflowers (Breach) Interscope B+ The Wallflowers are back into their comfortable, sulky rock style. As the follow-up to 1996’s “”Bringing Down the Horse,”” the new album stays true to the mellow movement that made the band famous; there are no new tricks. In Wallflower fashion, laid-back guitars play second string to Jakob Dylan’s soft voice, and the band’s good-tempered alternative sound plays second string to Dylan’s somber lyrics. In “”Hand Me Down,”” Dylan sounds like the frustrated son of a demanding father — almost certainly a song directed at his real-life, rock icon father. “”I’ve Been Delivered”” offers the album’s first sign of optimism, even though a majority of its lyrics play to a dark atmosphere. Dylan humbly sings his dreary lyrics over a backdrop of sympathetic guitars throughout the album, but, in its own bleak way, his musical expression is resolved and satisfying. — Charlene Perez ...

Bang, Sizzle, Stomp!

What an amazing show! Call me easily entertained, but I never would have thought it could be so fun to watch a group of people hit a variety of household items together to make music. The original beats and rhythms of each person, done together, produced such a unique form of song. It was great to witness the interactions of the performers, each holding his own character, which developed throughout the show. The assortment of items used as instruments made the show fun and appealing, while the dancing, incorporated with the making of the music, made it impossible to look away. I was interested and astounded from one set to another at the skill it takes to do what those performers do. The show was amusing just to watch from the sides, but it was made even more entertaining by audience interaction. Led by one of the performers, the crowd clapped, snapped and stomped along during parts of the show. It was a nice little sample of what hard work it must actually be to dance on stage and hit a bunch of noise-making items at just the right times to fit in with the beat. I appreciated the show so much more when my arms and hands cramped up after 10 minutes of snapping along. The show was a breathtaking success. Because of its surplus of cleverness and creativity, it’s one I wouldn’t mind seeing again. ...

Review: Concert

“”Don’t let money change ya!”” proclaimed Blackalicious at their show on Nov. 20 at Canes in Mission Beach. True to their word, they have not. Blackalicious released their EP in 1999 and followed up with their full-length album “”Nia”” in 2000. In the early 1990s, Blackalicious helped to establish the underground hip-hop scene in San Francisco and, even today, continue to stay true to their origin. Known for their funky beats and lyric-induced imagery, Blackalicious are notorious for keeping the crowd perpetually moving and hyped up. Their lyrical skills, fresh originality and interaction with the audience made this show quite possibly the best hip-hop show all year. Blackalicious’ “”Nia”” really struck a chord in the underground with its true hip-hop flavor. Gift of Gab, the group’s forefront lyricist, along with producer DJ Chief Xcel, have been creating some of the most innovative, personal and witty lyrics and beats since they started out in 1994. Gift of Gab’s talent is stupendous and is not fully graspable until seen in the flesh. Gift of Gab performed the infamous song “”A to G”” from the new album and finished off with “”Alphabet Aerobics.”” These songs consist of a plethora of alliterations and tongue twisters. In addition, the beat gets faster with each consecutive letter so that the lyrics get so swift that they seemingly trip over themselves. However, Gab maintains his breath and pronunciation, though the crowd has to take a deep breath after this performance. His variety in pitch and meter is very distinctive, and matched with Xcel’s vintage beats and sampling from the ’70s and ’80s makes a divine combination. How Gab manages to go from a robotic monotone to a syrupy flow to a ghetto drawl with each song remains a mystery based in his endless talent and repertoire. Gab is not the only one with shining talent. Gab’s partner MC, Lateef, has a lyrical style influenced by dancehall. He gave a stunning performance, and his energy in managing the crowd never seemed to cease. His style of rapping and singing compliments and contrasts with Gab’s. Another highlight of the show was Erinn Anova, whose soulful and powerful voice weaves through the songs and gives emotional punch to their choruses. This trio of innovators never disappoints its audiences. The performances of “”Deception”” and “”You Didn’t Know That Though”” show off the inventiveness of the group’s lyrics and beats, which are influenced by tribal sounds and synthesized instruments. The driving rhythms of these songs, along with sing-song choruses, got the members of the crowd involved and bobbing their heads. Gab and Lateef even did a flow over the beats from the legendary Roger & Zapp. As a contrast to the other beat-heavy songs, “”Shallow Days”” and “”If I May”” are contemplative pieces that flow like storytelling. These lyrics are smart and personal narratives that keep the crowd interested and emotionally connected. The show was 18 and up, a rare occurrence in San Diego. Because most people 21 and older argue that an 18 and up age requirement makes for an annoying show, it was a surprise that the crowd was more excited and conscious of the music than any pretentious and self-conscious group of young hipsters. Breakdancing circles formed, and kids were practically on top of each other to be near the front. It was exciting to have San Diego host a group such as Blackalicious. If you don’t have their old album or their “”Quannum Projects”” album, or you haven’t heard them yet, wake up and give them a listen. Their music is honest and original, not overproduced like much of what crowds the airwaves today. — Chako Suzuki ...

The Hiatus Calendar

Thursday The performers of Lower Left will use mud, water and their sense of brutal sincerity for their performance and dance act at Sushi Performance & Visual Art in San Diego. There will be strong language and nudity. The show will run through Dec. 3 and again from Dec. 8 to Dec. 10. Call (619) 235-8468 for more information. Check out “”Gynomite: Fearless Feminist Porn!”” at Dizzy’s in downtown San Diego. Eight intelligent and sexy women will tell their stories about sex. The event starts at 8 p.m. and there is a $5 cover charge. Call (858) 270-7467 for more information. Check out some of the best in indie rock at the Che Cafe on the UCSD campus just east of the Theatre District. Songs: Ohio will headline and will be supported by Damien Jurado, Paris TX and Kind of Like Spitting. The show begins at 8 p.m. and tickets are $6. Call (858) 534-2311 for more information. Friday Digital Underground will perform at the Belly Up Tavern. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $15. Call the Belly Up at (858) 481-8140 for more information. Saturday Ska-Punk? Punk-Ska? Take your pick when the Aquabats perform at Canes Bar & Grill. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $12. Call Canes form ore information at (858) 488-9690. The incredible voice of Dave Wakeling which once led the English Beat and General Public can be heard at the Belly Up Tavern. The show starts a 9 p.m. Call (619) 220-TIXS for more information. ...

Beatlemania Returns to Theaters

We all know being a rock star is tough. Even before VH-1 dared to go “”Behind the Music,”” director Richard Lester took a light-hearted approach to the rockumentary when he made a movie about four young lads from Liverpool trying to survive the fast-paced road to stardom. Part comedy, part adventure, and part musical, “”A Hard Day’s Night”” captures John, Paul, George and Ringo in the midst of Beatlemania. It was 1964 when movie houses packed with screaming teenage fans first showed this classic Beatle film. The Fab Four had just invaded America and the question troubling every young girl was: Which one is cuter, John or Paul? The soundtrack, which features “”Can’t Buy Me Love,”” “”I’m Happy Just to Dance With You,”” and of course “”A Hard Day’s Night,”” was often drowned out by the uncontrollable wailing of devoted fans. Thirty-six years later, Miramax Films will re-release a fully restored version of “”A Hard Day’s Night,”” just in time for Christmas. The re-release of “”A Hard Day’s Night”” was originally planned for September of 1999 but was pushed back because of the August 1999 re-release of another Beatle movie, “”Yellow Submarine.”” It was then slated to hit theaters in October 2000, but Miramax pushed the release date back once again to coincide with release of other Beatle merchandise, such as the new “”Beatles 1″” compilation album and the Beatles Anthology book. “”A Hard Day’s Night”” will finally hit theaters Dec. 1 in New York and Los Angeles, and then Dec. 8 nationwide. As the sons and daughters of baby boomers, many of us have heard stories about the first time our parents saw “”A Hard Day’s Night.”” It is hard to believe that those doe-eyed, pre-teen Beatlemaniacs who have been preserved for posterity on old footage of the Ed Sullivan Show actually grew up to invest in mutual funds and retirement pensions. But if you have ever wondered what became of those screaming Beatle fans, they probably became your parents. So what better way to spend quality time with them this holiday season then by showing them you’re hip to their kind of music? OK, perhaps that is a bad idea, considering taking your mom to see “”A Hard Day’s Night”” might unleash some very unwelcome nostalgia trips. However, the chance to see this award-winning piece of pop culture in the theaters should not be passed up. This glimpse into history shows rock ‘n’ roll when it was still innocent, and gives insight into that all-important question: Who is your favorite Beatle? ...