Skip to main content
Visit the Midday Edition homepage

San Diego's Top Weekend Events: Two Alternative Giants And A Pop Star

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available.

August 31, 2018 1:44 p.m.

San Diego's Top Weekend Events: Two Alternative Giants and A Pop Star


Nina Garin, editor/producer, KPBS/Arts Calendar

Related Story: San Diego's Top Weekend Events: Two Alternative Giants And A Pop Star


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh the Labor Day weekend is the traditional transition out of summertime so if you've been waiting to have a summertime experience to remember you've got three days left. Now luckily there's plenty going on in San Diego especially if you like music. Joining me for our weekend preview is Nina Garin KPBS arts calendar editor. Nina welcome. Thank you. Hello. Now you're starting us off with one of your favorite bands cafe to Cuba. Tell us about them.

Have faith that you as a band from Mexico City and they've been together since 1989. They blend traditional Mexican music with punk and electronica and in the 1990s they became one of the biggest rock en Español bands. They crossed over into the United States and they still play festivals like Coachella and they were featured on NPR Music. So they're very well known.

What made café to Cuba stand out from all the other rock and Espanol artists.

So a lot of rock and Espanyol artists have a base in Scott Skog kind of music and Gafford that Cuba does too but they also just they don't stick to one thing they're not predictable. They've made over ten records and one might be more punk one more traditional Latin.

But what is always consistent about them is that they infuse electronic elements and they write very thoughtful and introspective lyrics. Let's hear some Keffa to Cuba. This is Eakes Dipak. Gammie God don't don't but. This concert is part of Delmore racetracks summer concert series yes.

This concert happens after the last race. You can buy a six dollar admission and then the event is free. But if we show up after the races it's 30 dollars and then the weekend still has several more concerts after the fact that Guba others slightly stoopid on Saturday and hip hop star Ice Cube on Sunday. And again these concerts are for ages 18 and up.

Cafe de Cuba performs tonight at the Del Mar racetrack. Next we have Sam Smith coming to town. Tell us about him.

How do you not know Sam Smith. He was a very popular song. Stay with me. He's kind of like a pop soul artist. He grew up singing and choirs and musical theater. So he has a very beautiful voice with a big range. And his debut album was out in 2014 and it won four Grammys.

Now Sam Smith is up there with Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. In terms of popularity how do you explain his appeal.

I think it's because he writes very earnest love songs and even more heart wrenching breakup songs. So he's he's your guy to go to if you're going through any of that. And he's British but he has this real respect for American soul music and he's very inspired by Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder.

Speaking of breakup songs let's listen to Sam Smith. This is too good at goodbyes.

What you're saying.

Another musician you like is opening his show. Beth Ditto. Who is she.

She was the frontwoman for the punk band the gossip. And now she is on her own. She has an equally intense and soulful voice. She's also a feminist icon. She's queer she's overweight and she wears those things very proudly. And she's also quite a fashion star.

Here's a little bit of Beth Ditto. This is fire. Sam Smith and Beth Ditto perform Saturday at Valleyview casino Center formerly the sports arena.

Finally we're going to talk about the Smashing Pumpkins something that you're actually not too sure about.

Yeah it's hard to like the Smashing Pumpkins. Of course they were one of the best bands in the 1990s but this time it's gone on the front man Billy Corgan has just been making questionable choices about. You know he goes on weird TV shows and he makes very weird statements. There's an article in San Diego City Beat that goes into this and I recommend that.

So why are we talking about it.

Well you know for years it was smashing pumpkins was basically Billy Corgan and he would bring on new musicians. But for this 30th anniversary reunion he has most of the band back. He has Jimmy Chamberlain back and James E hot the guitarist that everyone just really loves. And so we'll be playing songs from the first five smashing pumpkins albums which are the best ones.

So let's listen to a song from those days. This is Cherub Rock from the album Siamese Dream. The Smashing Pumpkins place Saturday at Da House arena on the campus and I've been speaking with PBS arts calendar editor Nina Garin. You can see more events at PBS dot org slash arts. Happy holiday weekend to you too. Have a great one. Midday edition is produced by Marissa Cabrera. Pat Finn and Brooke Ruth art segment producers are Beth aka Mondo and Nina Garin midday Edition's senior producers Megan Burke our executive producer is Natalie Walsh. Emily John Koski is our technical director. Stay with us for PBS roundtable coming up right after the break. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh and have a great weekend.