Gothic Tropic at San Diego’s Lantern Street Festival

Gothic Tropic Frontwoman

Gothic Tropic’s Headlinging Punk Performance at San Diego’s Lantern Street Festival Rocked and Banged the Night Away.

It’s a cool 70 degrees at approximately 5:35 p.m. The sun is shining down on San Diego’s Lantern Street Festival at Liberty Station headlined by Los Angeles band Gothic Tropic. Opening act Pretty Polly gracefully takes the stage, kicking off the evening as festival attendees are checked-in and given their lanterns. An all ages event, the festival is home to dozens of food stands with lantern decorating station taking over the back of the courtyard. The show has only just begun.

As a crowd of over 5,000 cycled in throughout the cool evening, opening performances by Pretty Polly and BELLSAINT warmed up crowds who were already filled up with delicious food. The time is now 8:30 p.m., Gothic Tropic is slated to take the stage in a few moments. This is their first headline performance, ever. Which begs the question, who is Gothic Tropic?

Gothic Tropic is the indie pop band of Southern California you’ve never encountered.

It is the creation of multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and Los Angeles native Cecilia Della Peruti. Della Peruti was recently chosen by Fender for their American Series Campaign, exemplifying the power she holds when a guitar is in her hands. Similar to what Prince’s band The Revolution was first known for, a guitar is a vessel for Della Peruti to express herself while putting a focus on the music instead of the artist.

Gothic Tropic’s debut album “Fast or Feast” was released on May 19, 2017 and has since established their name in Indie Rock and Pop. The quality of the debut shined a light on Della Peruti, being recognized by Beck and asked to join his touring band. Della Peruti stated that playing for Beck, “really elevated my understanding of what the gig is.” Della Peruti went on to
say:

“This artist is somebody I profoundly respect and admire and actually really look up to as a songwriter and an artist. Now I feel like I’m finally doing something right.”

Cecilia Della Peruti

Touring with Beck was an astounding achievement for the Gothic Tropic frontwoman…

But despite this, she still stays true to her methods. Humility, consistency, and transparency are the tools driving Della Peruti and Gothic Tropic to the top, at their own pace.

“Nothing’s changed in my approach or practices, but what informed me now watching him was how generous he is. And how easy-going and respectful of everyone an artist of that caliber can be.”

Cecilia Della Peruti

Fans are anticipating their next album, expected sometime before summer, and Della Peruti is as excited as the fans. “I’m really excited! I’m just so stoked.” said Gothic Tropic’s leading lady.
She is also working on a collaborative project called “Bloodthirsty” with Italian Composer Daniele Luppi and writer/producer Alex Goose.

“So it’s like punk as f*ck, but with like all this beautiful melody. And it’s very Italian, and I’m Italian!”

proudly declared by Della Peruti.

It’s now nine o’clock at the Lantern Street Festival. Gothic Tropic was supposed to be onstage 30 minutes ago.

Unfortunately, technical difficulties have been frustrating the band and the crew for the last hour. Eager to play, Della Peruti does a lap around the stage after showing a bit of frustration. The backing tracks are not coming through, making it difficult for the band to perform new songs, let alone any at all. The tracks are not coming in anytime soon.

“We’re a punk band tonight!” exclaimed Della Peruti as she ran on stage, signaling the band behind her.

The crowd watches.

The crowd has been ignorant to the technical difficulties up to this point; Soon, Peruti takes control of the crowd’s attention. “We’re Gothic Tropic, tonight it’s a punk show and we’re gonna play a new song called drunk on a rhythm.” Della Peruti shouted into the mic.

All the frustration is let out by her initial guitar strum; the headliners are here to rock the show. As the beautiful hand-decorated lanterns shone across liberty station, Gothic Tropic lit up the stage with their electric performance. Drummer Sheldon Reed was speechless after his first festival performance. Della Peruti melted faces of all ages with her masterful guitar solos
throughout. The transition of fan favorites from “Feed You To The Sharks” to “Your Soul” stole the ears of audience members. Closing out with their notable track “Stronger,” Della
Peruti’s exhilarating almost 3-minute guitar solo left the crowd cheering and Gothic Tropic’s frontwoman with nothing else to give the audience but a wave goodnight.

Written by: Alexis Camel

Interpol @ Open Air Theater

People thought rock was dead; Interpol showed us otherwise.

Legendary post-punk band Interpol came to shred underneath the disco ball at the CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theater, just one of many stops on their North American tour promoting their sixth studio album, Marauder. Completing the night’s bill were indie-rock trio Sunflower Bean and punk duo The Kills – a lineup which had several of my friends drooling with envy when I told them I’d be in attendance. Which, if I’m being honest, left me more than a little confused. Who listens to rock anymore? Punk hasn’t been cool since the Arctic Monkeys abandoned ship and indie-rock is teetering on the edge of irrelevance post-Mac Demarco. Although these claims may border on outrageous, it cannot be denied that the rock genre has been eclipsed in recent years by pop, EDM, and hip-hop.

Clearly none of the groups on stage got that memo.

Kicking off the night in outfits that would make any art hoe scream “yassss queen,” Sunflower Bean came to rock n roll. Straying from the Fleetwood Mac-influenced sound of their studio recordings, the trio amped up the energy with ripping solos from guitarist Nick Kivlen and raw, throaty vocals from singer/bassist Julia Cumming. With their blonde heads a-banging and trousers a-sparkling, Sunflower Bean’s entire existence pays homage to the genre which birthed them. Unfortunately, the band did suffer from the Indifferent Crowd Syndrome (ICS) that commonly plagues opening acts. Despite seemingly fazing the band, they still left the stage with this bold statement: “We’re Sunflower Bean and don’t you forget it!” Don’t worry, girl, I won’t.

Tunes to scope out: I Was Home, Twentytwo, I Was a Fool

Up next came the skinny-jean clad duo The Kills. The most notable aspect of their performance was the “the strut;” considering it’s been 15 years since their first LP, singer Allison Mosshart’s ability to own whatever stage her leather boots find themselves is downright impressive. Limbs rolling, long blond hair flowing, her control and ease over the environment is almost enough to compensate for the incomplete sound produced by the two guitars and drum kit. With moody, analog interludes, experimental guitar synths, the Kills are looking to take the genre somewhere. Where exactly, they have no definitive answer.

Tunes to scope out: Doing It to Death, Baby Says

At this point in the show, I was still inclined to believe that rock n roll is dead. Sunflower Bean and the Kills were both great bands, but neither seem to have the potential to revive the ailing genre. But as I furiously typed notes into my phone, I heard it. Life. The audience roars and rises to their feet as Interpol arrived to save us all.

Photo credited to the San Diego Union Tribune

Let me paint the scene for ya. A dark stage. Simple white spotlights cast light from behind the band, creating an eerie shadow of a band already dressed black. Then a single white light behind center stage rises to meet the disco ball, splaying light out to the crowd. It’s a simple set-up, but effective; Interpol’s music can speak for itself. You get the feeling they are at the service of the music. The band has mastered a suave rock sound that seduces you with every melancholy lyric singer Paul Banks wails with his haunting twang, and I am hit by a wall of sound, filled with textures and colors I’ve seen before, but perhaps not in this combination. Every song “bangs” and I can’t help but move my body to the beat, swaying my head back and forth so that I could hear every note. You can listen to Interpol’s entire set with your eyes closed, the music is a show in and of itself. And then it’s over, and I feel as if I’ve been abruptly woken from a sweet dream. The band humbly exits, it’s duty to the music completed: “We are Interpol, and that’s what we got.”

So, much to my chagrin, rock does live! It has bands like Interpol to keep its heart beating, and an audience desperate to consume it. The problem is that we’ve heard all these sounds before. Interpol’s music is superb, but the band has done little experimenting in their long career. I guess it’s true, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, but sticking with a sound that just works isn’t enough to compete with pop and hip-hop artists who cater to fans with an incessant appetite for new content. Interpol’s Marauder is enough to keep rock alive, if only just alive.

Tunes to scope out: If You Really Love Nothing, Evil, Pioneer to the Falls

Review by: Michaela Alejandra

Politically Driven Radio

There is no doubt that we are currently in the midst of a Presidential race that our children will ask us about and that will be written into history books. It’s an interesting time in our country to say the least. I’m not one to put my two cents in about political matters online, but many musical artists use their music as a platform to do so. This week’s mini playlist is what I like to call Politically Driven Radio. Here are a few songs driven by politics or some sort of political issue that may just get you thinking

1.God Save The Queen- The Sex Pistols

sex pistols

According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine of allmusic.com, the BBC banned this song because of its anti-royalty language. Although the Queen doesn’t actually run England (I’m laughing at you if you thought she did.), she is still a notable and respected figure. This song was released in 1977, when rock and roll was still relatively new, making the added political element extra scandalous. With a name like The Sex Pistols, there’s bound to be controversy, even if they only lasted a couple of years.

2. Two Weeks From Twenty- Yellowcard

yellowcard

This song touches on more recent issues concerning the United States involvement in foreign war. Perhaps the most provocative line of the song is, “There’s still no shame from the man to blame”. Released in 2006, during the George W. Bush presidency, we are only left to assume who the man to blame is intended to be.

3. Hero of War- Rise Against

rise againstAnother account of the United States involvement in foreign wars, “Hero of War” tells the story of a young military member, presumably fighting in foreign conflict around the time of the 2008 album release. The graphic detail of this song can make it tough to listen to, but it may get you thinking about some issues that have never crossed through your brain before.

4. Buffalo Soldier- Bob Marley & The Wailers

bob

One unfortunate part of our country’s history that many don’t like to talk about or remember, slavery, is touched on in many forms of art. Although slavery has been abolished, racism is still an ever present political and social issue in America. Bob Marley tells this tale of the slave trade through music, singing   “Stolen from Africa, brought to America” “Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival”

5. April 29, 1992 (Miami)- Sublime

watts

The image above is of the Watts towers in Los Angeles, an important area in the 1992 riots. You may or may not have been alive in 1992. Even so, you’ve probably heard about the Los Angeles riots that occurred after the police brutality instilled upon Rodney King (If this doesn’t ring a bell, google it). This song gives an account of riots that occurred all over the United States as an outcry against racially motivated police brutality. Has much changed surrounding this issue in the last 24 years? I’ll let you be the judge.

 

Listen to and follow the playlist here! 

For more information on voting and a non-partisan view on the candidates take a look at the KPBS Voter Guide.

 

Classic Rock for Dummies

Need a beginning lesson in classic rock and roll? Look no further.

Just as classic books such as Great Expectations and Pride and Prejudice are important to the history of literature and therefore shoved down innocent fifteen year olds throats, there are several artists that are essential to the history of rock and roll and should be shoved down your throat. Before we get to the playlist, here are a few *trigger warnings* for those who may consider themselves enthusiasts of rock:

  • I am anti- Beatles. I don’t really care how much you like Yellow Submarine, I’d prefer to be above ground. There is no denying that the Beatles definitely made an impact on music history, but in my blunt opinion, they suck.
  • The fact that you sang all the words to “Don’t Stop Believing” at a frat party does not make Journey a good rock band.

There are several other artists that could be included in a more extensive playlist (If your curious check out The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, Blue Oyster Cult etc.). This playlist was made assuming that the listener has little to no knowledge of classic rock and does not have hours and hours at their disposal for listening.

  1. Back In Black- AC/DC

I’m 99.99999% sure that you have heard this song in some way, shape, or form over the course of your lifetime. AC/DC is the definition of sex, drugs, and good ‘ol rock ‘n roll. They are definitely a great artist to dive right into when beginning to listen to classic rock.

  1. Tom Sawyer- Rush

Rush is that nerdy guy from your high school that has no friends, but eventually becomes your boss. Their innovative sounds were considered weird at first, but then they skyrocketed into rock stardom.

  1. Surrender- Cheap Trick

Surrender is another song that you’ve probably heard before, but may not have known the artist. Remember that early 2000’s Eddie Murphey movie, Daddy Day Care? Surrender was actually played “live” in the movie by Cheap Trick. Cheap Trick has several other rock classics including “I Want You to Want Me” and, in my very important opinion, is one of the most underrated classic rock bands.

  1. Show Me The Way- Peter Frampton

I’ve inserted a photo of the one and only Peter Frampton as the title image, to show you what a 1970’s sex god looked like. Just a little bit different than Zac Efron or Ryan Gosling. No matter what your taste in romantic partner, Peter Frampton is no doubt a rock god. His use of talk box, which is defined by Wikipedia as a “unit that allows musicians to modify the sound of a musical instrument by shaping the frequency content of the sound and to apply speech sounds (in the same way as singing) onto the sounds of the instrument”, is incredibly satisfying.

  1. Life In The Fast Lane- Eagles

Eagles are an American classic if there ever was one. The recent passing of Glen Frey has brought the Eagles old tracks up a bit more. This particular song choice is a good listen if you are feeling rebellious.

  1. Panama- Van Halen

Van Halen underwent lots of changes during their run as a rock band; still they remain a staple to this list.

  1. Achilles Last Stand- Led Zeppelin

One of the longest Led Zeppelin songs (just over 10 minutes), “Achilles Last Stand” includes the one critical element of a truly perfect rock and roll track, an infinitely long guitar sequence.

  1. Mary Jane’s Last Dance- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

While many will credit Free Fallin’ as Tom Petty’s greatest song, it’s me, so I’ve got to veer off from the typical choice a little bit. That’s where Mary Jane’s Last Dance comes in. This song inspired me to learn how to play harmonica because of the sick (excuse my out dated so cal terminology) use of harmonica. Other than violin, harmonica is my favorite supplemental rock instrument.

  1. Purple Haze- Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is absolutely one of the most gifted guitarists that ever lived. I gave you a beginner track, but if you catch feelings for Jimi check out his rendition of the star spangled banner live from Woodstock.

  1. More Than a Feeling- Boston

This is by far one of the most well-known classic American rock songs of all time and is most definitely Boston’s most popular track. I have more than a feeling about Boston, if you know what I mean.

 

Whether or not you agree with my choices, there’s no doubt that if you are a rock and roll beginner, these are some pretty solid training wheels.

Follow me on Spotify @kelseydonahue14 to check out this playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/user/kelseydonahue14/playlist/2U3eHujXAQuHUQFHbglnFG

I’m live Mondays from 10-11pm on KCR with The Road Less Traveled!