Bad Suns at the Observatory North Park

Bad Suns

The Bad Suns’ 2019 Mystic Truth Tour brought them to the Observatory North Park during April 3rd this year alongside Carlie Hanson.

Before the Bad Suns’ set began, 18 year old Carlie Hanson opened the venue with some entertaining, uplifting energy followed by passionate music coming from her band.

When her time was up, it was setting up time for the stagehands. It was quite clear that although the instruments for the band were there the set was not ready beforehand. This lead to waiting for the main show to start, but that is expected usually when seeing a band that is constantly touring. When the set was ready and the light tests were done, out went the lights and the show began.

Shortly afterwards, a couple notes began playing and the Bad Suns walked on stage to their designated spots amazed the audience. Their passion for music and the sound that they create go in hand with each other, and is demonstrated even better when seen performed.

As someone who was not fully aware of their songs and progress, I definitely saw myself having a good time at the concert alongside all these die hard fans who were singing and dancing their hearts out along Christo Bowman (Lead Singer of Bad Suns). There was never a single mistake through their entire performance, which was fantastic to see.

In conclusion, this band did a great job at creating the environment fans wanted, there wasn’t a second where they were not going mental over the sounds being emitted. If you ever get the chance to see these young indie legends perform, I would say take it because you will be in for a modern rock experience.

Written by: Santi Vidal

San Diego Strike Force Falls to Arizona in 52-14 Loss

The San Diego Strike Force watched an early lead dwindle away against the Arizona Rattlers, eventually losing Monday night 52-14.

The Arizona Rattlers’ running back Rolan Genesy Jr finished with three touchdowns and averaged over six yards per rushing attempt but only ended with 75 yards on 12 carries. San Diego Strike Force’s offensive coordinator Taylor Genuser spoke highly of the opposing offensive coaches.

“[Head] Coach Kevin Guy is one of the best in the business; he does a great job of game planning. That’s a play caller I aspire to be like, and his preparation was better than mine.”

Taylor Genuser

The Strike Force wasn’t able to find much offense against the Rattlers, finishing with 127 passing yards and -18 rushing yards.

“I need to do a better job of mixing up our looks and do a better job of getting the defense out of position and not feeling so comfortable. I am going to put it [the loss] on me, not our players or our effort.”

Taylor Genuser

The Rattlers held a one-point lead after the first quarter and a 10 point lead at the half. It wasn’t until the third quarter, which the game became lopsided. Right after the second half kick off, the Rattlers got on the board via a Gensey Jr. touchdown and a safety. For the Strike Force, the offense gained very little momentum in the second half. The Strike Force’s quarterback Jihad Vercher finished the game with one touchdown and three interceptions while completing 50% of his passes. All of his interceptions came in the second half.

“I need to minimize the mistakes. I let my guys down today as far as my decision making I need to go back to the drawing board and get it right for my guys. We have to play as one. We have to come together, fix our mistakes today, and come out a lot harder against Tucson.”

Jihad Vercher

The Indoor Football League (IFL) began to play in 2009, but 2019 marks the inaugural season for the San Diego Strike Force.

The team plays at the Pechanga Sports Arena. The league has noticeably different rules than the NFL. Some differences include the field only being 50 yards in length, teams are made up of only 21 players, only eight players take the field for each team at a time, and out of bounds is the walls. Any time a player makes contact with the walls or goes over the wall, the play is dead. For the complete list of rules visit here.  The team has six games left, three of them at home.

Coming up for the Strike Force team is an away game against the Tucson Sugar Skulls on May 4. The team will return home May 9 to face the Sugar Skulls once more.

Written by: Daniel Farr

Behind the Mic: The Flow w/ De Leon

Mikel De Leon

In this segment of Behind the Mic, we examine the wild life of thrill-seeker / adventurer / local lunatic, Mikel De Leon!

A gift (or curse, depending on how you look at it) has been bestowed upon Mikel De Leon: the need to always be doing something that increases his heart rate. It drove him to pick up soccer when he was 4 years old. Then surfing. Then, in November of last year, he bought a motorcycle.

Two months later, his body was lying in the middle of the freeway after being struck by a car.

“All I could think of was ‘Get up, get back on your bike, go home. Tell your dad you’re sorry. Everything’s ok,’ ” De Leon said about the incident that sent him to the hospital. He couldn’t get up, though. He didn’t have the physical strength to collect himself despite not feeling any pain, because his body had already gone into shock. Miraculously, to his (and his doctor’s) disbelief, he didn’t break any bones or even damage his brain. He did, however, injure his ankles, knees, shoulders, left wrist and lower back. Now, he’s grateful to be recovering at a relatively quick pace, but in all honestly, he just wants to surf again.

“I’m just like ‘Come on, I want to get back in the water. Let’s go!’”

Mikel De Leon

Mikel (MEE-kehl) De Leon is the host of “The Flow with De Leon,” which airs Thursdays at 8 a.m.

Although De Leon won’t be getting back on a motorcycle any time soon (or hopefully ever considering he’d like to be alive as long as possible and healthy enough to one day teach his future children how to surf), he’s still finding ways to scratch his adrenaline-seeking itch. At first, soccer scratched it for a while, but he began to lose interest in it after over a decade of playing. He wanted to replace it with something equally athletic to keep the weight off. The activity would also need to be peaceful and leave him in a serene mental state.

Mikel De Leon being the coolest cat around.
Photo by Monica Vigil. Coolness by Mikel De Leon

Surfing fit the bill.

“Surfing was just like, dude, everyone loves a surfer. Of course I’m going to get into it. It turns out, it’s not like that. But it’s ok. As long as I’m out there with my friends surfing, that’s all I care about. As long as I catch at least three good waves per day, I’m good.”

Mikel De Leon

Since the accident, De Leon hasn’t been able to surf and as a result, he’s been growing impatient to return to the ocean. He currently lives in Imperial Beach, a sandy, laid-back beach city in southern San Diego, just a hop and a skip away from the sea. Beforehand, De Leon would wake up every morning and make his way to the water with a surfboard in hand to catch a few waves before school or work.

“Sometimes I wouldn’t even shower because the waves were that good. I’d go straight to work and they’d know. They’d be like ‘Dude, there’s sand in your ear.’”

Mikel De Leon

His life appears to come in seasons, packaged up in different themes depending on the chapter. Sometimes he’s a chill surfer, a passionate soccer player, or even a temporary motorcyclist.

Long, soft hair totally by Mikel De Leon and genetics.
Photos by Monica Vigil. Long, soft hair totally by Mikel De Leon and genetics.

And now? He’s a radio host.

His brother attended Georgetown University and had a late night radio show at his college station. De Leon remembers listening to it and deciding he wanted to do that one day. One day after he transferred to San Diego State University from Southwestern College, he saw a sign promoting KCR and the rest has been a joyful, musical ride. His show heavily features groovy indie sounds like Homeshakeand Yellow Days, peppered in with bedroom pop. Want to tune in and listen to a combination of Beach Goons, Temporex, Minor Gems and Oak Palace? Do it! He’s plays them all.

What’s unique about “The Flow with De Leon” is that many episodes are themed (kind of like his life). One episode was full of music he would play if he owned a low-rider, featuring oldies, cholo goth, cumbia and the iconic Selena Quintanilla. He’s also had some dirty rock and reggae days, amongst many others.

An avid consumer of music, De Leon has even begun singing and creating his own tunes.

“I started off doing stupid, little, fun projects where I wasn’t taking it seriously,” he said. His friends, however, told him that he was good. He began to experiment with genres and searched for his sound in pursuit of turning the fun hobby into something more serious. Influenced heavily by Tame Impala, he plans on releasing an EP sometime in the summer. De Leon is implementing a deadline on himself or else he’ll “never release it.” He watched a short documentary about the singer of Tame Impala, Kevin Parker, and how he also had to give himself deadlines or else he would never publish his music, always trying to perfect it. It inspired De Leon to try the same approach.

“I need to set a date because if not, this is going to be a never ending cycle.”

Mikel De Leon

Be sure to listen to his shows and start your Thursday mornings right. You never know what theme you’ll stumble upon. Also, come summertime, remind him that he’s got an EP to release.

His favorite modern band?

Tame Impala (duh.)

Feel free to follow Mikel De Leon on Instagram. You can listen to his Spotify playlists here and here.

Written by: Monica Vigil

Vancouver Special: Vundabar at the Fox Cabaret

Vundabar playing at the Fox Cinema

Boston-based “sludgy jangly pop” (per their Facebook About page) trio Vundabar went on an expansive North American tour with a number of different supporting acts.

Vundabar came to Vancouver’s Fox Cabaret with support from El Monte, California’s The Red Pears and Washington’s Le Grotto.

The Fox Cabaret is a historic venue in Vancouver’s hip Mount Pleasant neighborhood that hosts touring bands, themed dance parties, and intimate comedy shows. Until 2013, the Fox was actually an adult movie theater known as the Fox Cinema. After a thorough cleaning and a major facelift, the Fox Cabaret was opened in 2014 among the craft breweries, vegan donut shops, and themed bars that populate the area.

I arrived at the Fox around 9:00 and Le Grotto was midway through their set. The venue wasn’t full yet, but everyone who was there seemed into the band’s ‘70s-inspired rock (including me). I’d call them garage rock, but their Facebook genre is listed as “Vaping Rules”. Take my label with a grain of salt, I suppose.

The Red Pears were up next. For a sad Canadian girl like me who’s perpetually missing the Southern California music scene, they were a nostalgic treat to have in Vancouver. They reminded me so much of all the local San Diego surf/garage rock bands that I miss dearly. As The Red Pears concluded their set and began packing up their equipment, the familiar sound of the Growlers rang out over the speakers. If you read my review of the Growlers’ Snow Ball show, you know that for me, there is only the Growlers. I danced around to “Who Loves the Scum?”, inadvertently clapping at the end as if I were actually at a Growlers show.

Fortunately, The Fox Cabaret really knows how to get people excited for their next act.

Vundabar came out around 10:00 as the crowd moved in toward the stage that has had countless pornographic films projected above it. They opened with “$$$”, a six-minute-long song from 2018’s Smell Smoke. Things were immediately off to an uproarious start.

I find Vundabar’s sound a bit hard to describe. I hear a lot of grunge in the tracks from their newest record, Smell Smoke. However, the first single from that record, “Acetone”, leans much more towards pop punk. Their self-imposed “sludgy jangly pop” label feels pretty accurate, especially for 2015’s Gawk. Genre labels aside, the energy they put into their shows is infectious, and the crowd at the Fox reciprocated by keeping things rowdy throughout their set.

The band played all their well-known favorites, including “Alien Blues”, “Holy Toledo”, and “Oulala”. Lead vocalist Brandon Hagen’s signature rapport with his bandmates and with the crowd made everything extra fun, particularly when a piece of the drum set went missing and we had to wait for a replacement to be brought out.

Unfortunately, Vundabar’s set was cut short to allow time to set up for the 80s vs. 90s dance party that was scheduled after the show. For once, the band’s “last song” actually was the last song, as the crowd’s cheers for an encore were left unfulfilled. I, however, was treated to yet another song by the Growlers as the 80s vs. 90s DJs set up their booth. If we weren’t going to get a Vundabar encore, dancing around to “City Club” was good enough for me.

Written by: Andrea Renney

A “Vancouver Special” is a popular style of home that was built in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in mass quantities between the years of 1965 to 1985. The homes are boxlike and visually unappealing, often featuring a second-floor balcony on the front of the house and a stucco exterior with brick accents. Vancouver Specials are still seen in most Greater Vancouver neighborhoods despite the city’s major gentrification and increase in property development over the last few decades.
Vancouver Special is also a new series on the KCR College Radio Blog featuring show reviews, interviews, and maybe other things located in/related to Vancouver. The series is written by KCR member and ex-SDSU exchange student Andrea Renney. This is KCR Canada.