Live music: Guitar masters, Three Chord Justice and Detroit Underground
by Bart Mendoza
Published - 08/02/13 - 02:38 PM | 3855 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stellita Lindgren 	Courtesy Sandra Castillo
Stellita Lindgren Courtesy Sandra Castillo
Mad Traffic performs at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the 710 Beach Club.
Mad Traffic performs at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the 710 Beach Club.
Anyone wanting a relaxing afternoon in Pacific Beach that doesn’t involve the beach will want to check out Café-Bar Europa on Tuesdays in August for music from guitarist Patrick Dowling. Inspired by the likes of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack Johnson and Ben Harper, Dowling’s music is acoustic pop rock with smooth vocals and a set list full of standards and pop hits. Easy on the ears and a great soundtrack for an early evening outing, Dowling performs regularly around town. But the intimate confines of Café -Bar Europa may just be the best place to hear his music.

Patrick Dowling performs from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays in August at Café-Bar Europa, 873 Turqouise St. 21 and up.

Virtuoso guitarist Allan Holds-worth performs at Brick by Brick on Aug. 2. Though not quite a household name, Holdsworth has inspired a legion of guitarists in his wake, from Eddie Van Halen to Rush fret man Alex Lifeson. He has dozens of albums to his credit, although nothing since “Flat Tire” in 2001, with the exception of some live work and collaborations. However it’s live where Holdsworth’s prowess must be seen to be believed. If you’re a fan of great guitar playing, you won’t want to miss a set from a man Frank Zappa once called “the most interesting guitarist on the planet.”

Allan Holdsworth performs at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2 at Brick by Brick, 1130 Buenos Ave. 21 and up. $25.

The annual Concerts on the Green series at Kate Sessions Park continues on Sunday, Aug. 4 with an appearance from country group Three Chord Justice. The six-piece band, led by Liz Grace, won the 2010 KSON Country Showdown as best band with a great mix of originals and covers by the likes of Hank William, Buck Owens and Patsy Cline. The band is terrific, but it’s Grace’s voice that shines through. It’s soulful and passionate, with a touch of grit. Whether you like to two-step or just listen from the comfort of your lawn chair, Three Chord Justice’s honky-tonk tunes are a great way to wind up the weekend.

Three Chord Justice performs at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4 at Concerts on the Green, Kate Sessions Park. All ages. No cover.

Soul, Motown and rock come together when Detroit Underground performs at the Kona Kai Resort on Aug. 3. Part of the venue’s beach-party series, the concert takes place right on a private beach, perfect for dancing to the band’s fantastic mix of tunes from the likes of Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder and the Ohio Players. Two things help make the group a standout. First, as a nine-piece combo, it has a horn section, offering musical accents that others often replicate with keyboards. Second, in vocalist Stellita Lindgren, the band has an amazing talent that can handle both Anita Baker and Madonna. With this blend of sun, music and the beach, it’ll be hard to beat this offering from the Kona Kai.

Detroit Underground: Saturday. Aug. 3, at the Kona Kai Resort, 1551 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island. 6:30 p.m. All ages. No cover.

91X Loudspeaker and The Griffin continue a great schedule of Tuesday-night shows showcasing the best of San Diego’s talent. Host Michael Halloran oversees the gig, with each week’s show well worth attending for anyone who wants a weekly dose of new rock ’n’ roll. Admission is free before 10 p.m. with an RSVP at the club’s website, but there is only a nominal $5 cover afterward. On Aug. 6, the night features one of the strongest bills yet, with The NFormals, Buddy Banter, Gone Baby Gone and the Frights. It’s hard to pick the top band on a bill this strong, but the NFormals’ debut album, “Self Titled,” is a gem. Full of sharp, concise tunes, mixing elements of garage rock, blues and punk, the quartet is one to watch in the coming months, having earned a nomination a Best Alternative Group in the 2013 San Diego Music Awards.

The NFormals perform at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at The Griffin, 1310 Morena Blvd. 21 and up. $5.


Some performers are seemingly born to front a band. Such is the case with Blaise Guld, singer with rock, pop and new-wave combo Mad Traffic. 2013 has been a busy year for the band. It has recently released a single called “Thunder and Lightning” as part of its latest release, “City,” which was nominated in the Best Alternative Album category at this year’s San Diego Music Awards. It’s easy to see why. The band’s songs are all catchy, melodic fun, but these guys are a great live outfit. Led by Guld’s “take no prisoners” performing style, it’s almost impossible not to be taken in by the band’s sound and stage presence. With a slew of hook-filled material and a really good live show, Mad Traffic is one of the city’s strongest contenders to take things to the national level.

Mad Traffic performs at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the 710 Beach Club, 710 Garnet Ave. 21 and up.
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