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Weekend Preview: VinOpera, Foxygen and Fairy Tales

Indie-rock band Foxygen plays Soda Bar Saturday, March 31.
Angel Ceballos
Indie-rock band Foxygen plays Soda Bar Saturday, March 31.
Weekend Preview: VinOpera, Foxygen and Fairy Tales
GUESTSBarbarella Fokos, NBC Universal correspondent and writer at the San Diego Reader. Peter Holslin, Music Editor, San Diego CityBeat.

CAVANAUGH: Can we pull a rabbit out of the hat on this Easter weekend preview? Maybe if your tastes run toward new music and slightly offbeat events. We'll be talking about a couple of young bands coming to town, a fairytale circus, and some Puccini with your linguini. [ LAUGHTER ] CAVANAUGH: Peter Holslin and Barbarella. BARBARELLA: Thank you so much. CAVANAUGH: VinOpera, you can start us off with the event, it features an unexpected pairing. It's opera and dinner. That's not an unexpected pairing for everybody. BARBARELLA: Maybe dinner and then the opera. We're used to wine pairings with dinner, but they're doing an event where they're pairing music with each course. It's not just -- there's opera happening when you're eating. The owner loves opera, sings opera, and he arranged this so they would pair the wine that matches but also the sounds that match with the flavors you're experiencing. CAVANAUGH: Growing up in Queens, I got to tell you, this is not a new idea! [ LAUGHTER ] BARBARELLA: Do they pair to the food? CAVANAUGH: Well, people get up and sing during. BARBARELLA: Do they actually curate? CAVANAUGH: Okay, you got me. BARBARELLA: They do it in L.A. too, but the pairing is new. CAVANAUGH: You're right. That aspect is new. BARBARELLA: Stop saying it's not new! [ LAUGHTER ] CAVANAUGH: Give us a preview of the food! BARBARELLA: The food sounds fine and fancy. Have an antipasto, a risotto, first course is polenta ragu. This is some fancy stuff! CAVANAUGH: Each course has about 2-3 songs that's specific for them. I do not have these in Italian. But the English ones for the first course, write to me, when I fall in love, tell me that you love me, and for the first course, bad women, green eyes, what I want to be. So they're kind of pairing it to the food. CAVANAUGH: Where will the wine be from? BARBARELLA: It's from a huge purveyor in Italy. They're one of the premiere wineries, they specialize and 60% of their grapes are Nebiola. But they also make a moscatto, which is a slightly sweet sparkling white. CAVANAUGH: And who's going to be singing? BARBARELLA: Daniel Hendrick, who is a world-renowned tenor. The New York Times called him rich and secure in his tenorness. [ LAUGHTER ] BARBARELLA: He's travelled all over the world. And Cassandra, a soprano from La Jolla. She's beginning her career where's I think Daniel is way in it. CAVANAUGH: It's not like having your Aunt Josie get up and sing. [ LAUGHTER ] BARBARELLA: No, and I actually listened to clips just to hear, and it really did blow me away. I was not expecting that kind of insane quality. CAVANAUGH: Now, have you eaten at this restaurant before? BARBARELLA: Not this one. I actually think I've been to the one in Florence! I was looking at pictures. CAVANAUGH: Vin opera is tonight at Aqua Al 2 restaurant in the Gaslamp. CAVANAUGH: Peter, the first show is happening at the soda bar, it features indie rock band with an absolutely fabulous name, Foxygen. HOLSLIN: And they have amazing song titles too. They're a duo from LA. And they're composed of these two guys named Sam France and Jonathan Redo. And they kind of instill all of these different sounds of rock and roll from the late '60s and early '70s and kind of borrow liberally from the beetles and the rolling songs and the kinks, and they put it together and make this soft, silky smooth -- I don't know, it just sounds so good. [ LAUGHTER ] CAVANAUGH: Their new album is called “We Are the 21st Ambassadors”, isn't of peace and love or something like that? HOLSLIN: Yeah, it's been getting pretty good reviews. And the funny thing about it is, it's very sophisticated, complex music. It's rich and it's layered, and there's these lush arrangements. And then they mix these different elements in. But then they somehow just bring it together so perfectly and it just feels so good. Like it -- the music just washes right over you. And it just sounds awesome. CAVANAUGH: Let's listen to a bit. (Audio Recording Played) CAVANAUGH: I got to ask you this, you think their frontman Sam France actually imitates Mick Jagger? HOLSLIN: Well, he doesn't exactly imitate him. He has his song vocal style. But the way I think of it is that he's kind of a hipster Mick Jagger. He has this nonchalant style, like he's all aloof and just soft and nice. But then he'll have these little vocal ticks and techniques that totally sound like something Mick Jagger would do. BARBARELLA: Instead of big lips, he wears big glasses. CAVANAUGH: Very good! [ LAUGHTER ] CAVANAUGH: You also like their opening band, Sam Flax. HOLSLIN: You know, I didn't find too much about them. CAVANAUGH: Okay. We'll have to discover together! They play on Saturday, March 30 at Soda Bar. Let's move to something that's really very interesting, for the whole family, fairy tales, a curious collection of fractured fables. It's a circus that is going to perform fairytales! BARBARELLA: Right. This is performance theatre. The company is actually "otherwise entertainment" but they're also the sister company to Wanderlust. They're taking classic tales and showing them to kids of all ages. It's for everybody, via circus acts. It's a duet for Acrobats. He climbs the tower and rescues her. They're telling stories. And they will be recognizable. CAVANAUGH: As I say, it's for the whole family. People can go and bring their kids. Now, are these local performers that are doing this? BARBARELLA: They are all local. They're based right here. And I want to tell you a couple more stories that you have. Or do you want to know the other kinds of performances? CAVANAUGH: Go for it! BARBARELLA: You can expect to see the Goldilocks and the Three Bears, acts from Alice in Wonderland, a dozen acts, and they include everything from there's one that's called Acro Adagio. There's six people, and it's all choreographed where they're throwing each other and making human structures. Somebody uses a light staff. Exactly like star wars. No, just kidding. But it's lit at the end, and there's a whole act based on that. There is a hanging iron ring known as the Lira. There's a dozen acts with a lot of difference. Some of these classic fables might have a few acts per fan. CAVANAUGH: And the performers? BARBARELLA: In addition to the actual company which is otherwise entertainment there's some special ones, Sarah Cranberry who is a locally known violinist. And she's going to play the violin while one of the Acrobats happens to be an opera singer. Kyle Clark is the light staff artist. There's a lot. CAVANAUGH: I wonder how many Acrobat opera singers there are in the world. [ LAUGHTER ] HOLSLIN: That sounds difficult. BARBARELLA: And the whole thing in terms of fun names, the co-directors of it are Honeybadger and LeeLee. CAVANAUGH: The venue is sunset Temple in North Park. The fairytales, a curious collection of fractured fables is happening Sunday March3 0. BARBARELLA: I think it's Saturday, and there are two shows. There's 1:00in the afternoon. CAVANAUGH: Oh, please, okay. BARBARELLA: One in the morning and one in the evening. You better Google it! CAVANAUGH: Peter, a punk show at the Casbah tell us about Ice Age. HOLSLIN: They are a punk band from Copenhagen. And they are these young guys, and they look like they're possessed by demons, and they sound like they have been possessed by demons too. But that sounds like kind of scary, but it's actually -- they have a very strong gift for songwriting and melody. CAVANAUGH: Uh-huh. HOLSLIN: And you know, just -- it's just great music. But it's also incredibly brutal and awesome and exciting and thrilling. CAVANAUGH: Well, let's hear some from them. This is ecstasy. (Audio Recording Played) CAVANAUGH: One reviewer said it sounds as if they'd be happy if their music was the sound track to a riot. [ LAUGHTER ] HOLSLIN: Some of their live shows are rather riotous too. CAVANAUGH: Is there a message behind this music? HOLSLIN: Well, they're not political like a lot of punk bands are. A lot of their lyrics are just very open-ended. And just kind of centered around feelings of existential dread. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, you say that you heard their last San Diego show was pretty crazy. What do we expect from this band live? HOLSLIN: Honestly I think there's going to be a big mosh pit, people are going to be freaking out, maybe someone might get bruised a little bit. Maybe a few will get bruised. But it's at the Casbah and they're really good at keeping things safe. So you can definitely watch from a safe distance. BARBARELLA: The experience that lasts into the weekend. [ LAUGHTER ] CAVANAUGH: It's on Sunday? HOLSLIN: It is on Sunday. [ LAUGHTER ]

This weekend's offerings are diverse: including an operatic dinner, an indie-rock show, a circus show for the kiddos and a little punk rock to round it all out.

On Thursday night, diners will have the chance to enjoy a four-course Italian meal while taking in a live performance by opera singers Daniel Hendrick and Kasondra Kazanjian. Downtown's Acqua Al 2, which also has locations in D.C. and Florence, Italy, calls the event VinOpera, creating an out-of-the-norm dining experience for those who are lovers not only of fine dining but also fine arts. Each course will also be paired with wines from Italy’s Batasiolo Winery. Find more details and make a reservation at the event's Facebook page.

Saturday night you'll want to head over to the Soda Bar to catch a live performance by up-and-coming indie-rock act Foxygen. The duo, comprised of singer/songwriter Sam France and guitarist/keyboardist Jonathan Rado, just put out a new album titled We are the 21st Century Ambassadors , which is getting great reviews. Their modern sound is heavily influenced by rock legends like The Rolling Stones and David Bowie, but they manage to put a new spin on every beat. Get all the details at Soda Bar's website.


Next up is a kid-friendly circus show happening on Saturday, March 30 at North Park's Sunset Temple. Fairy Tales: A Curious Collection of Fractured Fables will put a new twist on all the fables most people know and love: Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Sleeping Beauty and more. Put on by Otherwise Entertainment, a group known around town for their eclectic, neo-circus performances, the show is sure to dazzle and amaze with its stunts and acrobatics. Find tickets for the events here.

The weekend concludes with a Sunday night show at The Casbah featuring Iceage, a rowdy punk act from Denmark that's known for sending its fans away with bloody noses. The band has received a lot of press and international acclaim since they formed in early 2008, when they were all still teenagers, and they just put out a new album: You're Nothing. Their brand of post punk is a mix of experimental riffs and breathy vocals, featuring lyrics that are riddled with angst. Get your tickets at The Casbah's website.