From one-of-a-kind vendors and visual artists to local bands and non-profits, the ListenSD Zine Release Party delivered an explosive experience that personified the creative contents of the debut magazine.
With a diverse lineup of bands Buddha Trixie, Le Ra, Frankie and the Witch Fingers, and Death Valley Girls, as well as several extraordinary vendors and artists, it seemed everyone was drawn to ListenSD’s Zine Release Party at The Music Box on January 30th for a different reason; however, as soon as they entered the Little Italy venue, attendees melded together for a night that highlighted all the staples of San Diego culture: music, art, and community.
“Hang on, I love this song,” one fan said to his friend as indie band Buddha Trixie kicked off the night with their energetically elegiac track, “No One Hangs Out Anymore.” A garage rock outfit with atmospheric psych vibes, the bandmates of Buddha Trixie clearly enjoy performing together, as evident in the synchronicity of the beats between bassist Dennis Moon and singer/drummer Daniel Cole. The crowd drank in that camaraderie as if Cole’s twirling drumstick was a wand enchanting them to dance.
Attendees had more to do than simply hang about between sets with unique vendors like Cackling Caps Collective and Viva Wild present. The artist and Animal Oracle behind Viva Wild, Shakti hand-crafts Animal Medallions that embolden your own power animal. Each purchase plants one tree as Viva Wild partners with Eden Reforestation Project, so attendees could help care for the earth while enjoying the night.
Suave, silky, and sultry, the songs of indie band Le Ra bite with sudden tenacity, as Music Box discovered on Wednesday. “You guys can come closer if you want us to bite you,” singer/guitarist Mónica Mendoza joked into the mic as Le Ra’s blend of roots rock, bossa nova and Tejano percussion mesmerized the crowd. The concordant beats of drummers Milka Luna and Luis Lopez layered the set with an infectious rhythm, so when the band encored with a sensual cover of “Glory Box,” not a single body could resist swooning to Mendoza’s serenade.
For every ticket sold for the Zine Release Party, $1 was donated to non-profit organization Border Angels. Committed to stopping the unnecessary deaths of individuals traveling through areas located around the U.S. and Mexican border, the group shared the music video for “Selva,” a song they collaborated on with cross-border hip-hop group Tulengua.
Frankie and the Witch Fingers
As soon as Frankie and the Witch Fingers began, the crowd was immediately enthralled, incited to jump at every crash cymbal, bass note and guitar chord. The performance of their latest single, “Pleasure,” exemplified the band’s distinctive style. Messy but polished guitar, wild but controlled vocals, crazed but tight percussion, Frankie and the Witch Fingers thrashed with poised abandon. It didn’t take long for the renowned Panda to emerge and crowd surf during one of singer/guitarist Dylan Sizemore’s funk-punk solos.
To complement the amazing aural experiences of the night, several visual artists displayed their work at the Zine Release Party, including Greg Kozera, Julie Centuro and Kalyn Kendig. Colorized stories with power radiating from each brushstroke, Kendig’s work are bold portrayals of life’s myriad passions: love, lust, pain, music. Four originals hang on the third floor of The Music Box, including “Amy Amy Amy” and “Tupac,” right at home with the venue’s other depictions of Bowie, Lennon and more.
Death Valley Girls
Bursting with dark power and bright bliss, Death Valley Girls began their set with a spirited performance of “Abre Camino,” a song that fully demonstrates the band’s high-octane energy and lead singer Bonnie Bloomgarden’s formidable range. Lyrically, optically, musically, the band emanates intense darkness, but the bandmates bore wide smiles as they performed for the excited crowd. “I’m really happy we’re in San Diego,” Bloomgarden chirped between songs like a rock ‘n’ roll blackberry — dark and sweet.
The Zine & BAND RIDEZ
In every attendee’s hand or peeking out from their pocket, the 30+ page inaugural ListenSD Zine brought all these artists and audiences together for the release party. The zine is packed with exclusive interviews with local leaders like Kyla Rain of Pure Nowhere, a deep-dive into The Music Box, and a feature on the groundbreaking new project BAND RIDEZ. With local icons Tim Pyles and That Fucking Panda as hosts, BAND RIDEZ premiered its debut video at the release party, to which the crowd clamored in anticipated of the upcoming six-episode season.
Magic Hat Brewing Company
The magic of the Zine Release Party could not have been possible without the event’s sponsor, Magic Hat Brewing Company. Renowned for its creative twists to traditional styles, Magic Hat brews year-round favorites like its #9 “Not Quite Pale Ale” as well as several seasonal beers and variety packs. Its popular #9 was on tap at The Music Room. With a palette that’s somehow both fruity and dark, not quite bitter yet not exactly light, the “Not Quite Pale Ale” was a perfect pairing to the range of experiences that night.
Photos by: Rick Perez
Review by: Zach Miller