Deep in the folds of Downtown SD.
May 13, 2023
Welcoming in the evening was Buddha Trixie, an indie rock band from the local San Diego scene. The band comprises guitarist Andrew Harris, singer/drummer Daniel Cole, and bassist Dennis Moon. They turned up the atmosphere with upbeat anthems such as the hit single “Stay” and “Pitbull Goes To the Club.” The band continues their three-city “Semi-Pro” tour with Lovejoy in Los Angeles at The Novo and in San Francisco at Bimbo’s 365. The thrilling energy of this set the tone for the later performances of the night.
During the set change, I found time to explore more of Music Box as the show’s host. Nestled in Little Italy, this premiere venue has a unique lofty tri-level structure for a dynamic, immersive experience on any floor. There is a full bar with enticing food options available. Signature drinks included handcrafted cocktails such as the Love Buzz, which consists of Screwball Whiskey, Modern Times Cold Brew, Godiva Chocolate Liquor, Mexican Mole Bitters, or the famous Smoke on the Water. In addition, the Box’s kitchen offers an assortment of flavors, such as the Kobe Beef Sliders, Achiote Chicken Nachos, and BBQ Chicken Naan Pizza, to list some savory choices. To fully appreciate this space, I recommend buying VIP seating or arriving early to find a good-standing room on the ground and third-floor balcony.
As the night progressed, the venue continued to fill with more eager fans prepared to scream along with their favorite artists. The next act up was Cry Wank, a British anti-folk band based in Manchester, England. The band is a duo consisting of vocalist/guitarist, founder Jay Clayton, and drummer Dan Watson. “Their work shifts focus from self-pity to self-criticism. It fluctuates from hard-hitting confessionals to tongue-in-cheek deconstructions, resulting in Crywank’s paranoid ‘sad-but-fun’ sound” (Crywank Spotify). This set made me smile because of how raw and authentic this performance was. The song “Momento Mori” offered a reality check on the mortality we all share and the nostalgia of being a baby with no care in the world. My favorite moment from this set was the screaming chorus that the crowd participated very intensely in during the song “Privately Owned Spiral Galaxy.”
Coming off their new EP release, “Wake Up & It’s Over,” Lovejoy enters the scene with smashing fan favorites to close a lovely night out. Hailing from across the Atlantic, this indie rock band formed in Brighton, England. The band consists of Wilbur Soot, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist; Joe Goldsmith, lead guitarist; Mark Boardman, drummer; Ash Kabosu, bassist; and tour trumpeter Alan. Soot embraces the San Diego crowd, claiming it is his favorite city in America. His two classic tracks, “La Jolla” and “Coronado,” show his affection for the Southern California region. Next, the visuals and lighting for their set complemented each song exceptionally well. For example, during “Perfume,” a magenta hue accompanies the flowery visuals on screen, giving a blissful tone to a heartthrob song about a former lover. The band continued to deliver a memorable experience, even playing their first EP, “Are You Alright?” amid the second-anniversary release featuring their most famous songs, “Taunt” and “One Day.” The crowd loved this nostalgic throwback to where it all started for the band. Towards the end of the show, drummer Mark serenaded the crowd with a solo leading into the final song of the night, “Concrete.”
(Wake Up & It’s Over – Lovejoy)
Ultimately this Music Box event featuring Lovejoy, Crywank, and Buddha Trixie was a phenomenal talent showcase. Each act gave me a different appreciation for the indie rock genre. The unique style of CryWank truly stuck out as a needed exposure to their authentic expression of pain. Although Lovejoy predominately deals with romance themes, the song “The Fall” centered around the political issues of the UK under the supervision of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. This change in composition reveals how impactful social problems are to artists and how their positions can reinforce the dilemmas or foster change. Lastly, Buddha Trixie’s choice to blend electric pop into their set gave a contemporary approach to music I have not experienced in indie rock before.
Cover Photo credit to Lovejoy