Arts & Entertainment

Review: Albums

Guru’s Jazzmatazz “”Streetsoul”” MCA Records C- Quite a few years back, Anheuser-Busch mounted a huge ad campaign in an attempt to promote responsible drinking. The centerpiece of its campaign was a brilliant slogan that ultimately became embedded in America’s collective national consciousness. It went something like this: “”Know when to say when.”” Now, I must admit I do not know whether this product of marketing genius was effective for its intended purpose. In any case, I believe that this phrase should be taken to heart by all, and it should not be exclusively applied to responsible alcohol consumption. It should also be directed toward the continuous, inexcusable production of potentially great — but ultimately mediocre — hip-hop recordings. Guru’s latest Jazzmatazz endeavor is an excellent example of this sad trend. Let’s be brutally honest for a minute. Everyone knows that Guru has never been a very good MC, but for some reason many people seem hesitant to admit it. Why is that? What do people think they owe him? It is well past time for this shameful facade to end. MCing is a continuously evolving art form, and few can argue that Guru merely has not kept up with the times. For the most part, Guru’s lyrics these days are inane and uninspired, and his flow is often nonexistent. His trademark deadpan voice used to be novel, but now it’s just annoying. He is exceedingly arrogant regarding his so-called “”skills”” on the mic, although in most cases it is painfully obvious that if he didn’t have Premiere backing him up, he never would have blown up in the first place. This is not to discredit him entirely, of course. As a part of Gang Starr, Guru has made a significant contibution to hip-hop as a whole, but that’s because Gang Starr was a formulaic success that focused and relied mainly on Premiere’s beats and production. Mr. “”Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal”” may have been somewhat lyrically impressive on “”Words I Manifest,”” but he hasn’t progressed much since then. All of this might sound too harsh, but it’s readily apparent. Just consider your favorite Gang Starr tracks from past albums. Odds are, they’re the cuts with the special guests who shined while Guru did his best to avoid ruining the whole damn thing. Now, to Guru’s credit, it should be noted that his first Jazzmatazz album was certainly innovative, groundbreaking and relatively well-done. It spawned a number of commercially successful singles, while stretching rap, R&B and jazz in whole new directions. The problem is that Guru hasn’t been able to follow it up, because he’s been too busy promoting himself on the two subsequent Jazzmatazz albums, this one included. On “”Jazzmatazz Vol. 1,”” his vocals seemed to blend almost seamlessly with the guest artist contributions, and more often than not, his vocals were appropriate to the song’s subject. This is not the case any more. Lately, Guru’s incessant demand for respect seems to be sabotaging his art, with every other verse or skit on Streetsoul talking about how great he is, whether it’s a would-be revolutionary anthem like “”Lift Your Fist”” (featuring the Roots) or a supposed seductive love ballad like “”Night Vision”” (with Isaac Hayes). Simply put, his self-aggrandizing rhymes ruin almost every collaboration on this album — especially the ones that would have been definite hits if he just toned it down a little. Maybe that’s why I’ve been so hard on Guru here; it’s just too disappointing to hear so many collaborations with respected artists like the Roots, Isaac Hayes and Herbie Hancock go down the toilet thanks to Guru’s insipid vocals. The potential was there, and there are a few bright spots on this album, but for the most part, this album is a huge letdown. Friends shouldn’t let friends pick this one up. — Sky Frostenson PJ Harvey “”Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea”” Island Records A PJ Harvey recently moved to New York and then she wrote an album about it. “”Stories from the City, Stories From the Sea,”” Harvey’s latest release on Island Records is littered with references to the Manhattan skyline. Against the backdrop of “”The Empire State Building,”” Harvey traces a love affair that blooms “”on a rooftop in Brooklyn,”” and then wilts on the album’s mournful last track. “”Stories”” is one of those albums you have to listen to from start to finish. It is like a novel and it tells a story. The album begins with Harvey longing for “”a different land”” in “”Big Exit.”” Harvey and her mysterious companion discover New York with wide-eyed wonderment and fearless enthusiasm, like two tourists who just got a hotel room overlooking Central Park. But their love does not last forever. After the glitter of New York fades, Harvey and her lover go their separate ways as the album concludes with “”Horses in My Dreams”” and finally “”We Float.”” Musically, “”Stories”” is more accessible than past PJ Harvey albums. In the past, Harvey’s sense of melody could have been hard to take in. However, “”Stories”” offers a mix of experimental melodies as well as tunes that will have you singing along in your car. The optimistic “”Good Fortune”” sounds oddly reminiscent of Liz Phair’s “”Exile in Guyville,”” while “”This Mess We’re In,”” on which Radiohead’s Thom Yorke adds vocals, is classic Harvey. Harvey has created an amazing album that has the depth of great literature and the drama of a good movie. “”Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea”” is enough to make you want to hop on a plane and go find New York for yourself. — Lindsay Boyd ...

The Hiatus Calendar

Thursday Jazz act Return to One will perform at Galoka on La Jolla Boulevard. You can expect to hear original tunes as well as some John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and more. The show begins at 9 p.m. and the cover is $5. Call (858) 551-8610 for more information. Etta James is in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1994 she won a jazz Grammy and the W.C. Handy award. However, mere awards do not convey the amount of energy she exudes. James will perform at the Belly Up Tavern. Tickets are $35 and the show starts at 9 p.m. Call Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497. Friday San Francisco blues guitarist Tommy Castro will perform at 4th & B. The show starts at 8 p.m. To buy tickets call Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497. UCSD alumnus and San Diego native Chris Klich will announce the release of his CD “”The First Take”” with a show at Dizzy’s. The album features Klich on the clarinet, alto and tenor sax as well as the flute. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets cost $4. Call (858) 270-7467 for more information. Regina Carter has redefined the image of what a violin can do. Carter will bring her blend of jazz, funk, African and Brazilian music to the UCSD Mandeville Auditorium. She has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Lauryn Hill, Billy Joel and Dolly Parton. Tickets cost $20 and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. To buy tickets call the UCSD Box Office at (858) 534-TIXS. Saturday Indie rockers Karate will perform at the Che Cafe at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $6. For more information call (858) 534-2311. There was one song on the radio all the time by Common Sense. Little did you know that their mix of reggae, rock, funk and soul adds up to more than just one radio hit. They will perform in the Belly Up Tavern at 9:15 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling (619) 220-8497. Sunday Alternative rock band Flaming Lips will perform at 4th & B. Tickets cost $16.50 and the show starts at 8:30 p.m. For ticket information call Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497. You cannot miss a show by a band that calls itself Midget Handjob. They will perform at the Casbah. Tickets cost $8 and the show starts at 8:30 p.m. Call Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497 to buy tickets. Pop punk rockers No Use for a Name will perform at the Mira Mesa Epicentre. The show begins and 7 p.m. Call for ticket information at (858) 271-4000. Monday If you know country music or even pop music, for that matter, you know the magic of the Dixie Chicks, who will perform at the Cox Arena. Tickets will be sold through Ticketmaster outlets or you can call Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497. Wednesday Start your Thanksgiving with a bit of jazz. Dizzy’s will host a Thanksgiving Eve Jazz Fest featuring Peter Sprague, Chris Thiele, Sean and Sarah Watkins, and Kevin Hennessy. Show times are at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8. For more information call (858) 270-7467. The Offspring are often criticized for being mainstream, but you’ve got to admit that they have catchy tunes. They will perform at the Cox Arena at 8 p.m. SX-10, Cypress Hill and MxPx will open the show. For ticket information call (619) 220-TIXS. ...

Get More Than Just Blockbusters for Your Buck

In the constant search for the unique and wonderful, look no further than Blockbuster Video’s “”Pre-Viewed”” movie section. With a little time and a little money, you can invest in your own movie collection, with a surprising selection of low-cost gems. In this section, you’ll find hundreds of titles from every movie genre. The idea is pretty simple: The store gets multiple copies of a video when it is a new release, the title moves over to another shelf when it is no longer a new release, and they sell the rest off, which means a good buy for you. The first thing to keep in mind with any bargain hunt is that you must be willing to invest some time in looking. You are liable to find the prospect somewhat daunting, so here’s a breakdown of the pricing. All movies for sale are priced according to how recently they were released and their general popularity. So the older and lesser-known films are the best deals here. To find movies good for when you are extremely bored or stoned, you can browse the $2.99 section. Be forewarned that most of these are movies that no one has ever heard of. But considering their current sale, which offers $2 off any previously viewed movie, this option is tantalizing. We’ll start at the low end. For $3.33, I found “”Corporate Fantasy,”” a 1999 ultra-soft-core porn, the kind that only a family video store would carry. It was so lame that not even the Fox network would show it. If not for its shits-and-giggles value, this movie would never leave the store. Moving up to $5 movies, there is a dynamic improvement in the quality of movies available. From a 1995 MTV series comes “”AEon Flux,”” a futuristic cartoon sci-fi with a lot of sexual overtones. AEon Flux is an agent for the fictional, communist country of Bregna and she has a love/hate/kill relationship with Trevor Goodchild, an opposing nation’s leader. Goodchild is incredibly evil and that turns Flux on and pisses her off, so her goal is to kill him or sleep with him. Most know this show for the mega-gore factor and the surreal twists that completely lose you. It’s definitely a cult classic in the making. Other notable titles include “”Drop Dead Gorgeous,”” “”The Corndog Man,”” “”Titanic”” (shudder), and “”Welcome To Woop Woop.”” The last title is directed by Stephan Elliot, the same guy who made “”The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.”” “”Welcome to Woop Woop”” is a bizarre contribution to the arts from Down Under. It’s the twisted tale of a New York con artist on the lam in Australia, where he wakes up to find that the hitchhiker he picked up is now his teen-age wife and that her beer-guzzling psycho father is the ruler of a town that no one is allowed to leave. It’s something like “”The Addams Family””-meets-Australia on acid. A must for the quirky — it’s odd, but funny, and your friends will think you are some kind of freak for owning movies like this. Also recommended is Martin Scorsese’s latest and strangest, “”Bringing Out The Dead.”” It tracks two days in the life of burnt-out paramedic Frank Pierce and his descent into madness and subsequent redemption. It is a very dark and gritty movie and it doesn’t always manage to make sense. The plot has a couple of ambulance-sized holes, but Pierce’s bizarre partners and his attempts at getting fired keep things interesting. Basically, Pierce can’t get past the memories of people he could not save. This film is in the middle of the price range, listing at $7. Finally, we have the full-priced videos at $14. These are the must-haves, the classics that will not be going down in price, or the movies that you just want now. Two oustanding selections in this group are “”Dune,”” a sci-fi epic, and “”Drowing Mona.”” The latter is a hysterical comedy about dismemberment, semi-accidental death, and covering your ass. Bette Midler gets killed off and everyone in town is a suspect, including her husband and son. Packed with famous faces, you may want to wait for this movie to drop in price. ...

The Hiatus Calendar

Thursday The Dandy Warhols will play at Canes Bar & Grill at 8 p.m. to promote their new album “”Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia.”” Enjoy their layered guitar and keyboard-heavy sound for $10. Call Ticketmaster for tickets at (619) 220-8497. Do not miss Jurassic 5 and their unique style of positive lyrics and phat beats at the Belly Up Tavern. Call Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497 to buy tickets. The show starts at 9 p.m. The Wallflowers will christen the new Jenny Craig Pavilion at the University of San Diego. The Wallflowers, led by Jakob Dylan, will promote their first album in nearly four years. Tickets cost $35 and can be purchased by calling (619) 260-7575. Friday Do you wonder where Hootie and the Blowfish have gone? Tonight they will perform at the Viejas Casino & Turf Club. The show starts at 8 p.m. and the tickets cost $35. Call Ticketmaster for tickets at (619) 220-8497. Saturday The eclectic No Knife will play at the Che Cafe, which is located on the UCSD campus just east of the theatre district. No Knife will be supported by Sunday’s Best. No Knife is a local band and they will perform at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $6. Call (858) 534-2311 for ticket information. Spain’s Noche Flemenca will showcase their passion and sensuality at the UCSD Mandeville Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling (619) 220-8497. The Homeless Advocates of San Diego are the sponsers of the Homeless Artists and Writers Association Benefit. The Homeless Advocates hope to encourage a connection between all members of the community. Tickets are $25 and will be sold at the Sushi Theatre on the night of the performance. The performance starts at 7 p.m. Call (619) 233-8500 ext. 1500 for more ticket information. Sunday Ravi Shankar and Anoushka Shankar will perform at Copley Symphony Hall at 7 p.m. Ravi Shankar was popularized by his friendship with then-Beatle, George Harrison. His daughter Anoushka Shankar, who also plays the sitar, continues the legacy of her father with the recent release of her second album. Anoushka is the youngest and only female to be presented with the House of Commons Shield by the British Parliament for her artistry and musicianship. Tickets start at $8 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at (619) 220-8497. Tuesday The Squirrel Nut Zippers along with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band will bring their style of big band/swing music to 4th & B. Tickets cost $20. Purchase your tickets through Ticketmaster by calling (619) 220-8497. Wednesday Jewel will try to fight against the commercial shortcomings of her 1998 release, “”Spirit”” and her overexposure on VH-1, MTV and nearly every single pop-rock radio station. Jewel will perform at the California Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $30 and can be purchased by calling (619) 232-HELL. Thursday Jazz act Return to One will perform at Galoka on La Jolla Boulevard. You can expect to hear original tunes as well as some John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and more. The show begins at 9 p.m. and the cover charge is $5. Call (858) 551-8610 for more information. ...

Old Sound of New Order

NEW ORDER Courtesy of Fuel 2000 Records BBC Radio – Live in ConcertFuel 2000 Records A- New Order can be described as one of the most definitive bands of the ’80s and one of the earliest founders of ecstasy-driven techno. They have produced some of the greatest club hits of all time and they are continuing to be remixed by Perfecto, Shep Pettibone and Armand Van Helden. The original mix of “”Bizarre Love Triangle”” can still rock any party with good musical taste. However, in the live album they recently re-released for the American public, you can hear just how vulnerable and uncomfortable New Order were with their success at Glastonbury in 1987. Bernard Sumner, the frontman of New Order, was still recovering from the suicide of his close friend and bandleader Ian Curtis. Curtis had led Joy Division to mythical proportions and from its ashes came New Order. Sumner was not sure how to handle his colleague’s death, but in the memory of Curtis, New Order pushed on. In this timeless recording of their show in Glastonbury you can hear the energy and nervousness of the New Order performance. Being on stage took away their cool and clean studio sound and revealed the abrasive guitar of Bernard Sumner over the melody of Gillian Gilbert’s keyboards and Peter Hook’s definitive bass riffs. Their sound is reminiscent of a punk-rock group pushed along by the technology of the time. Their raw Glastonbury performance almost recaptures their punk influences of bands like The Clash and sheds any image of a sappy pop-techno group. Sumner tears through the songs on his guitar with such ferocity you almost forget about the clean studio tracks that we have gotten used to. Raw intensity and powerful vocals lead the group past missed chord changes, flubbed lyrics and the general insecurity of a group coping with something it has always been uncomfortable with: success. “”Touched by the Hand of God”” opens the album and sets the tone as Sumner wails and yelps throughout the song. “”Temptation”” is played at an amphetamine pace as Sumner cries out, “”up, down, turn around. Please don’t let me hit the ground.”” This performance reveals a band that is on the verge of success. As they introduce their “”new”” song “”True Faith,”” you can hear an early version of what was to become a massive international hit. You can also feel the vulnerability of Sumner as he stumbles through the verse before he comes back with a rousing chorus. You can only imagine the frenzied dancing of the crowd as the first few bass notes are plucked out on “”Bizarre Love Triangle.”” Sumner growls through the words of the song as the now classic synths build upon each other to climax at a glorious finish. Amidst the cheers of the crowd you can hear a self-conscious Sumner tell the crowd, “”notice that all our songs finish with big endings. Big songs, small dicks.”” The nostalgia of “”Perfect Kiss”” beautifully melts into grinding guitars and an angry and distorted solo. “”Age of Consent”” follows with more thick guitars doused with chorus effects and the passionate vocals of Sumner, who yells, “”I’m not the kind that needs to tell you just what the fuck you want me to.”” A guitar-heavy cover of Lou Reed’s “”Sister Ray”” at the end of the show seems to cry out that New Order still remembers Ian Curtis and their previous band, Joy Division. New Order’s performance on this album is not polished nor is it cleaned up in the studio. This will not be best performance that you will hear from New Order. There are other New Order albums you should probably get before this one. But this performance on a summer evening at Glastonbury in 1987 is what defines the attitude and energy of the enigmatic New Order. ...

Review: Charlie's Angels

They ended the series for a reason. Girls can only flip their hair and smile like dolls for so long before audiences get bored and look for other forms of entertainment. CHARLIE’S ANGELS “”Charlie’s Angels”” is overflowing with plenty of fighting action and heavy makeup. There is a sufficient amount of eye candy for both sexes to withstand the film, but I wouldn’t recommend to this one more than once. Let me explain. The directors and producers tried their very best to imitate and ridicule the popular 1970s series. Consequently, the three Angels, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Lu and Drew Barrymore, did a fine job of running around in tight, revealing clothing, looking tough yet perfectly cute and primped, and beating up some attractive bad guys without smearing their lipstick. All while they attempted to maintain the happy, yet typical, lives of independent Los Angeles women. In spite of the predictable ending and the lack of any relevant dialogue, I was entertained for the majority of the film. However, by the end I didn’t have any trouble departing from the movie theater. For some reason, the movie had a lighter atmosphere than the series. Some funny cameos were included; Bill Murray and Tom Green presented their quirky one-liners and L.L. Cool J dropped in for a minute or two. It was fun to watch and even more fun to make fun of, but that’s about it — no real message given, no moral to be learned. Just a quick tip before you buy your ticket: Walk in with the notion that the movie will be horrible and it will actually turn out to be better than you expected. And don’t forget to say hi to Charlie for me. ...

Music Department Students Go With Their Flow

Dueling saxophones, vocal wanderings, talking trumpets, drum solos and even turntables — hell, just about any sound may be included in this quarters Jazz Improvisation performance. On Monday the students of George Lewis’ music 131 class will present a night of improvisation running from swinging versions of traditional standards to loose interpretations of experimental scores. Yet despite the title of the class, this performance will include a lot more than what people typically consider to be “”jazz.”” “”I’m not really interested in jazz,”” Lewis explained. “”Well, I love it … but I have a problem with the word.”” A music isn’t alive to grow if it is too defined. “”I prefer the garage band model; there is no one looking over your shoulder, pointing their finger.”” Many students don’t realize that the UCSD music department is one of the most innovative in the country. Beyond the typical classical repertoire, our music department pays attention to the last century of musical development and expands on the outdated canon of significant composers. The department houses amazing composers and performers who are active today — faculty, graduate and undergraduate. However, improvised music is still gaining respect. “”There could be a lot more interest in jazz and other types of improvised music,”” Lewis said. “”The department is moving towards giving improvised music more credit.”” Jazz, of course, is one of the most amazing musical forms to have come out of the last century. New ideas of collective jamming, vocal quality, distortions, percussion significance were developed throughout the history of jazz — from the earliest days of Dixieland, swing, Ellington, bebop and free jazz. All of these forms are present in the “”type”” of jazz that’s going around today. A great example of what is going on today will be heard at Monday’s concert. Some of the best musicians here at UCSD will play time-honored jazz standards, classics from the bebop era, experimental collaborations and compositions of their own. I’ve seen pieces that involve people running across the stage and pieces that involve the creative scratching of records on two turntables. Lewis is a great facilitator for this class because he knows how to use what’s new while respecting the past; how to keep the art of improvised music alive and kicking. “”I like an atmosphere where students feel nurtured — I’m tired of directing,”” Lewis said. “”I want the students to direct the music themselves. That’s the danger of the pedagogy — it’s so authoritarian. “”I have a multigenre background in music; contemporary notated music, computer music, jazz, etc.,”” Lewis added. “”But my students’ backgrounds are different than mine. I don’t want to give them my experience, I want them to use what they have — I’m learning from them.”” Hopefully, Lewis himself will play. He is a well-known trombonist, improviser, composer and multimedia artist and has worked with some of the best in all his areas of interest. He has been directing this class since 1991, touching on all types of techniques, concepts and styles. He has watched the class change over the years, accepting more and more forms of improvisational explorations and student input. “”You know, I wish for more musicians,”” Lewis said. “”There are 18,000 students on this campus. I don’t want total beginners — but if students know how to play their instruments they can always learn to improvise.”” If you are a big fan of improvisational music you should check out this concert and if you know absolutely nothing about improvisational music you should check out this concert. Hey, if you’re interested in playing music you should consider joining this class. This is a chance to see great performance that is also cheap and close to home. The concert is in Mandeville Recital Hall, costs $3 for students and starts at 8 p.m. Come hear for yourself what some of your schoolmates study. ...

spinning in the air

Winter may be rearing its ugly head but Thursday night the flowers will be in bloom — The Wallflowers that is — at the University of San Diego’s Jenny Craig Pavilion. It has been a long time since The Wallflowers were last in the spotlight with their 1996 album “”Bringing Down The Horse.”” Six million copies and four years later, lead singer Jakob Dylan, keyboardist Rami Jaffee, bassist Greg Richling, guitarist Michael Ward and drummer Mario Calire are finally ready to take the stage once again. The Wallflowers have returned in the nick of time. Four years between albums is a long time, especially in an industry where pop acts are cranking out Christmas albums, multiple singles and remixes, one after another. The Wallflowers were almost in danger of winding up on VH-1’s “”Where are They Now”” program. However, rock critics will always pay attention to The Wallflowers. Every song Dylan writes will be dissected for any glimpse of what life is like when you are — as put by both Rolling Stone and Elle magazines — “”Son of Bob.”” It is inevitable that Dylan is singled out from the rest of the band in almost every interview or article. The Wallflowers are very much his band. After the band practically dissolved following its unsuccessful self-titled debut on Virgin Records, Dylan and keyboardist Jaffee recruited what became the Wallflowers’ new lineup, and recorded “”Bringing Down The Horse.”” The album’s first single, “”6th Avenue Heartache,”” had already been playing on modern-rock radio and VH-1 long before rock journalists made the connection between Dylan and his legendary father. It was clear that the younger Dylan was not about to let music press drift in the direction of his father. Thus, the band embarked on two-and-a-half years of touring, playing over 270 shows in 1997 alone. The album produced three hit singles, “”6th Avenue Heartache,”” “”Three Marlenas”” and “”One Headlight,”” which picked up a Grammy for Best Rock Song, proving this band had legs of its own. Still Dylan was often criticized for being too impersonal in his songwriting and on stage. In other words, not talking about or referring to his father enough to satisfy rock historians’ insatiable appetite for a glimpse into the life of Bob Dylan. Shy by nature, Dylan often feared achieving too much success. He admitted to Rolling Stone last month that he is a reluctant rock star. “”I never spent anytime working on that kind of skill,”” Dylan said when asked about his stage presence. Toward the height of The Wallflowers’ success with “”Bringing Down The Horse,”” Dylan also began to see flaws within his songwriting as metaphors and imagery, especially in “”One Headlight,”” which flew right over the heads of fans. So after the grueling tours wrapped up, Dylan did what every “”serious musician”” dealing with the harsh reality of fame does. He took a vacation and retreated to his home in Los Angeles to spend time with his wife and two children. Dylan’s third child was born in September. To write the songs for The Wallflowers’ new album “”Breach,”” Dylan rented a house in Los Angeles that he converted into a studio, put in eight hours a day of undisturbed creativity and found inspiration in the most dreaded place: his own life. Still, there are no songs titled “”My Father the Icon”” or “”Dad Wrote ‘Blowin’ in the wind'”” on this album, but Dylan is definitely more comfortable penning lyrics that address his rock ‘n’ roll lineage. Songs like “”Hand Me Down”” and “”I’ve Been Delivered”” are obviously about feeling overshadowed and unappreciated. One can only imagine to whom Dylan might have been referring. The songs on “”Breach”” are lyrically abstract enough to taunt rock critics drooling for the slightest Bob reference. However, it is unlikely that any of the fans that attend tonight’s concert care much about Dylan’s illustrious father. Fans will turn out because The Wallflowers are simply a good band. The songs are catchy, and, at the risk of sounding completely shallow and superficial, Dylan is not too bad to look at, even if he is married with three kids. In past shows, Dylan evoked Beatle-esque screams from adoring female fans. Now in his thirties, it will be interesting to see if his fans have grown up as well. It will also be interesting to see if Dylan’s new lyrical honesty will translate into his stage persona. In front of a college crowd is where The Wallflowers should feel most at ease. From the beginning it has been younger fans that have actually given The Wallflowers a fair shot. Even though Dylan sounds more like Bruce Springsteen than Bob Dylan and draws inspiration from acts like The Clash and Paul Westerberg, early concert reviews repeatedly compared The Wallflowers’ songs to Bob Dylan songs. One Rolling Stone review of a San Francisco show in 1997 even said “”‘6th Avenue Heartache’ sounded like an update of ‘Like a Rolling Stone'”” So The Wallflowers might be the first rock band that would rather talk to Carson Daly on “”Total Request Live”” than Rolling Stone magazine. Bassist Richling told David Fricke for the October issue, “”It’s nice to be in a position where it’s about our group, our music.”” Even if that means playing to audiences that have never heard “”The Times They are a-Changin’.”” However, the audience at tonight’s USD concert will have most likely heard “”Like a Rolling Stone,”” “”Blowin’ in the Wind,”” “”Mr. Tambourine Man”” and “”The Times They are a-Changin’.”” There is enough room in rock for two Dylans, and there is room in San Diego for just about any rock band that wants to play because God only knows what else there is to do around here. Tonight’s show will kick off what may be the first leg of a North American tour. Doors open at 8 p.m. with opening act Everlast followed by The Wallflowers. See the Hiatus Calendar for ticket prices and information. ...

Open Mike at Java Joe's

It is another Monday night in San Diego. Another week of classes or work are ahead, and people are already asking, “”Is it Friday yet?”” At Java Joe’s open mic night at 1956 Bacon Street in Ocean Beach, Monday nights are a lively mix of song and laughter. Wendy, the open mic’s emcee, takes the stage and leads everyone in a rendition of the open mic theme song. The crowd knows the song well — many of them come to Java Joe’s every Monday night. They come in baseball caps and business suits, and play guitars, saxophones or flutes. One man even plays his homemade percussion instrument. Each night features a wide variety of performers, well worth the $3 cover charge. There is a myth about open mic nights: that they are a sort of breeding ground for raw, unbridled talent. In most cases, this is not true. A usual open mic will have a handful of girls singing about ex-boyfriends and guys growling warped renditions of the blues. There are always one or two gems but for the most part it is painfully obvious why some people have record deals and other’s don’t. At Java Joe’s, there are more than just a few gems. Every performer is unique, and shockingly, they are very good. On Monday night (Oct. 9th) the line-up began with Matt Carone, who, after hearing a few jokes about his last name, claimed it was French for “”I don’t give a shit.”” Imagine his set as Bob Dylan as a Hell’s Angel. The dim lighting and intimate setting embraced all the performers who took the stage. Whether they made mistakes or stole the show, Wendy was never condescending or insulting. He complemented everyone and the crowd followed his lead. Later in the evening, it was Johnny Love’s turn. Johnny must have been a thespian in high school because his 10-minute set combined humor and camp with a rich voice and great songs. Unlike most open mics, Java Joe’s allows dance, comedy and poetry. Any oddball talent is good enough for their stage, as long as it does not exceed the two-song/10-minute time limit. So will any of the performers at open mic nights become the next Jewel? Maybe. Or, then again, probably not. After the last latte has been poured and the coffee filters have been emptied, everyone goes back to their day jobs. If you drive two hours north to Los Angeles on any given Wednesday (most open mics in L.A. are on Wednesday nights) you will find an entire calendar section of L.A. Weekly full of open mics from Common Grounds in the suburbs to Highland Grounds in the city. Anytime live music is played in Los Angeles, even if it is someone playing the xylophone, there is always the underlying hope that, somewhere out in the audience, there might be an A&R rep, and a waitress could become a rock star within a week. Is there any truth to this illusion? NO. In Ocean Beach, it’s all about music that may never come out of your stereo but will still echo in your head. In a time when decent entertainment is expensive and most concert tickets are over $40, Java Joe’s is an affordable yet fun way to spend a Monday night — especially since nobody cracks open the books until Wednesday anyway. The sign-ups begin at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. For more information check out the Java Joe’s Web site: http://javajoes.org, or call (619) 523-0356. ...

Review: Legend of Bagger Vance

If life were a game of golf, then it is the perfect swing within everyone that helps play the game. “”The Legend of Bagger Vance”” tries to tie golf to life in similar fashion to other films such as “”The Natural”” and “”Field of Dreams.”” Whereas those films have a strong plot with understandable characters, “”Bagger Vance”” has neither the depth of character nor mysticism that define a great sports movie. Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron) is in financial trouble as her deceased father leaves her with a debt-ridden but fabulous golf course in Savannah. In order to promote the course, Adele creates a golf tournament between two golf greats, but the local businessmen will not sponsor the tournament without a local player. The only person that can fill that role is Rannulph Junuh (Matt Damon), a former amateur champion who has lost his touch after returning from war. Not only has Junuh lost his passion for the game of golf, but he abandons his girl, Adele. Junuh enters the tournament even though he has lost his swing. Practicing his broken swing late at night, Junuh encounters an unknown stranger by the name of Bagger Vance (Will Smith). Vance becomes not only his caddie, but also his spiritual guide. Without any depth to the characters, it is uncertain why Junuh was traumatized from the war. Nor is there understanding of how Adele feels and responds when Junuh abandons her. Inexplicably, there is almost no animosity between Adele and Junuh, even though Junuh abandoned her. Instead, there are a lot of nice and overly pleasant scenes where everyone seems to get along with one another. Considering Savannah is part of the deep South, it’s awkward as to how Vance, a black man, can easily go anywhere he wants at an all-white golf course. Bagger plays quite a minor role, and his words of wisdom do not seem to resonate nor even motivate. The entire film itself is a wild stretch of the imagination in terms of plausibility as everyone seems to rally around Junuh without much reason. The golf tournament is also an exaggeration, having shots and plays that would be rarely, if ever made, let alone being made over and over again in a small golf shootout. It is this exaggeration that leaves the film unsatisfying. It is a disappointment considering the venerable Robert Redford (“”The Natural,”” “”A River Runs Through It””) is the director. Although beautiful cinematography and gorgeous golf scenes that mark Redford’s films are visible, the depth of the characters that define Redford’s work is not apparent. Although the film tries hard to relate its message of golf and that perfect swing with life, it tries too hard. The result is a film that is pleasant, but not fulfilling to the soul. ...