Musically Gifted


By Alex Zaragoza

Thank you ladies and gents for scribbling “a pair of kick-ass music bashes” on your year-end wish lists. The not-so-secret Santas at local radio stations 91X and FM 94/9 have delivered (again).

FM 94/9 is gift-wrapping its annual Indie Jam, Holiday Hootenanny, for presentation December 3 at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion. Not to be outdone, 91X is re-stocking its yearly rock-out, Wrex the Halls-stuffing top acts including Death Cab for Cutie into Valley View Casino Center December 10 and 11.

What a Hoot

This year’s FM 94/9’s Holiday Hootenanny-featuring station favorites My Morning Jacket, Two Door Cinema Club, Matt & Kim and Delta Spirit-is a dream come true for station program director Garett Michaels.

“It’s going to be a hell of a show,” says Michaels, noting that the event’s emphasis on just four solid acts playing full sets will distinguish this event from other local holiday concerts.

Michaels’ biggest score (seven years in the making, he says) is My Morning Jacket. The Louisville, Kentucky-rooted band, known for the impressive vocal range of frontman Jim James and currently enjoying success with its new album, Circuital, has been contracted to play for two hours at Hootenanny.

“They’re legendary for really long performances-sometimes four or five hours,” Michaels says. “You’re really going to get your money’s worth.”

Raising the Hooten-ante, three-piece Irish rock band Two Door Cinema Club is making their second San Diego appearance (having sold out House of Blues in October). Thanks to a touring schedule that would intimidate the most intrepid reindeer team, the buzz surrounding these lads is heavy.

Also making their sophomore stop in town (having sold out House of Blues with Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance in September), the equally energetic Matt & Kim are bringing their Brooklyn-based dance-punk, which typically involves keyboardist Matt Johnson getting the crowd’s fists pumping while drummer Kim Schifino gets her jollies on her kick drum.

Rounding out the show is soulful San Diego-born rock quintet Delta Spirit, which is using the Holiday Hootenanny to kick off a tour with My Morning Jacket.

WreX-mas Greetings

91X’s annual holiday concert will sound off with something for all ears.

“For this year’s WreX the Halls, we had the opportunity to do two shows- each representing distinctly different colors in our musical palette,” says Capone, 91X’s singularly named program director.

Day One (December 10), orchestrated as a gift to 91X’s hipster audience, features Florence + the Machine, Death Cab for Cutie, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Cage the Elephant, The Airborne Toxic Event and The Naked and Famous.

Comprising the alt-rock ticket for Day Two (December 11) are Blink-182, Social Distortion, Pennywise, DMC, Switchfoot, Everlast and Mutemath.

(Each day’s lineup requires separate admission.)

Capone says he’s excited about all of the bands performing at WreX and is “pretty damn stoked” to welcome Florence + the Machine (English singer Florence Welch and the various genre-blending musicians who back her up) to San Diego for the first time. Florence had a huge year with her debut album Lungs and its infectious track “Dog Days Are Over” (heard on the hit TV series Glee and performed live on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report); the band is now promoting a new album, Ceremonials.

Delivering their pop punk hits, hometown heroes Blink-182 will boost energy levels on WreX’s second day. And Capone predicts a “truly memorable” performance by the “King of Rock,” DMC (from the revolutionary hip-hop group Run-DMC), who will be backed by a live band.

“Our desire is always to do the best for our listeners,” Capone says. “I think we’ve managed to do that with this year’s WreX.”