LIVE MUSIC: Girl music power, prime blues and a CD-release weekend party
by Bart Mendoza
Published - 05/08/13 - 02:39 PM | 4722 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sara Groban will compete in a battle of the bands at Brick by Brick on May 16. 
	Courtesy photo by Frank Rodrick
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Does the world need another girl with a guitar? The answer is yes, at least when it comes to a talent like Sara Groban. Appearing at Brick by Brick on May 16 as part of a battle of the bands, Groban has a nice way with a melody and a wonderful picking style that sets her miles apart from the typical coffeehouse fare. When she plays solo acoustic tunes, she’s good. For example, songs like “Promises” deserve a wider listen. But its when she plays with her band that things really light up. The bill also includes Locjaw and Tin Star, so no matter which band takes home the trophy, it’s the audience that are the clear winners.

• The Sara Groban Band: Thursday, May 16 at Brick by Brick, 1130 Buenos Ave. 8 p.m. 21 and up. Free.

There are plenty of blues bands to go around, most with decent guitar players. So what truly sets a band apart is its songs selections. Such is the case with The Charles Burton Band, performing at Tio Leo’s on

May 16. Guitarist Burton is a solid player, but it’s his range of music that will please the audience. Mixing in the obvious like “Shake Your Hips” by Slim Harpo with obscure gems like “Gangster of Love” by Johnny Watson, and adding choice recastings like the Classics IV hit “Spooky,” The Charles Burton Band delivers a fine set that’s both satisfying and avoids cliché.

• The Charles Burton Blues Band: Thursday, May 16 at Tio Leo’s, 5302 Napa St. 9 p.m. 21 and up. Cover TBD.

Local music fans won’t want to miss a special CD-release weekend at Dizzy’s on May 17 and 18. Friday night will feature a performance celebrating the release of “The Excluded Middle,” a new album by jazz bassist Ben Wanicur and his quartet, featuring guitarist Peter Sprague, saxophonist Ian Tordella and drummer Charlie Weller. On Saturday, the venue will host a CD-release show for the Rob Thorsen Trio. Also featuring pianist Joshua White and drummer Duncan Moore, the band will perform from its latest disc, appropriately entitled, “Live.” If you are a jazz aficionado, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to take in new music from some of San Diego’s finest musicians.

• CD-release weekend: May 17 and 18 at Dizzy’s, 4275 Mission Bay Drive. 8 p.m. $15.

Mixing elements of rock, soul and electronica, Hills Like Elephants, may have only been together for a little over two years. But in that time, it has managed to make an impact as big as its name. Currently supporting its latest disc, “Feral Flocks,” Hills Like Elephants perform at The Griffin on

May 21. Definitely a great live act, make sure to check out its San Diego-centric YouTube videos to get the full effect of this band’s musical sensibilities and humor. Songs like the dance-oriented track, “Ninjavitus,” not so much burst as glide from the speakers with melodies so catchy you’ll find yourself humming the tunes long after you’ve played the album.

• Hills Like Elephants: Tuesday, May 21 at The Griffin, 1310 Morena Blvd. 8:45 p.m. 21 and up. $8.

Superunloader frontman Jimmy Lewis has a new residency at the 710 Beach Club every Friday evening at 5 p.m. Performing in solo acoustic mode, Lewis may not have the bombast of the band behind him, but he more than makes up for this with his excellent voice and heartfelt strumming. Best of all, Lewis has a truly impressive set list. Sure, he can reel off The Beatles, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan tunes like nobody’s business, so the hits are covered. But he’s also into deep tracks that musical connoisseurs will relish hearing. Few local acoustic performers have included songs like Alice Cooper’s “Generation Landslide” or Elton John’s “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” in their set lists. Lewis’s expansive repertoire is the perfect way to get the weekend started.

• Jimmy Lewis: Fridays in May at the 710 Beach Club, 710 Garnet Ave. 5 p.m. 21 and up.
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