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

UK sensation Sam Smith sings “Stay With Me” and others from his debut.
Courtesy of Scott Newton for KLRU
UK sensation Sam Smith sings “Stay With Me” and others from his debut.
San Diego's Top Weekend Events: Two Alternative Giants And A Pop Star
San Diego's Top Weekend Events: Two Alternative Giants and A Pop Star GUEST: Nina Garin, editor/producer, KPBS/Arts Calendar

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.

This Labor Day weekend brings two giants of alternative rock, one from Mexico City and another from Chicago, plus, a concert by current radio giant Sam Smith.

Sam Smith with Beth Ditto

Music

Sam Smith is a radio-friendly pop/soul artist known for the hit "Stay With Me." The British artist grew up singing in choirs and admiring musicians like Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder.

Smith's debut album was released in 2014 and it earned four Grammys. He's beloved for writing earnest love songs and even more heart-wrenching breakup anthems.

Opening the show is Beth Ditto, former frontwoman of the punk band The Gossip.

Details: 8 p.m. Saturday. Valley View Casino Center, 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., Midway District. $31 to $121; find tickets to Sam Smith.

A promotional poster for the band Cafe Tacvba.
Courtesy of Cafe Tacvba
A promotional poster for the band Cafe Tacvba.

Café Tacvba

Music

The Del Mar Summer Concert series comes to a close this weekend with one of Mexico’s greatest alternative rock bands, Café Tacvba.

The innovative group blends Mexican folk music with punk rock and electronica. Together since 1989, Café Tacvba was a Rock en Español band that managed to cross over into the U.S. and play festivals, including Coachella.

The band will perform after the final horse race on Friday. Tickets are free with racetrack admission. Also performing this weekend at the race track will be Slightly Stoopid on Saturday and Ice Cube on Sunday.

Don’t forget, these shows are only for audiences over 18 years old.

Details: After the last race on Friday (around 8 p.m.). Del Mar Racetrack, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. Free with race admission or $30 after the races; Find tickets to Cafe Tacvba.

A 2018 promotional photo of The Smashing Pumpkins.
Courtesy of the artist
A 2018 promotional photo of The Smashing Pumpkins.

Smashing Pumpkins

Music

The Smashing Pumpkins, one of the seminal bands from the 1990s alternative rock scene, celebrates its 30th anniversary with a reunion concert.

Most of the original lineup — Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlin and James Iha — will be performing music from the group's first five records: "Gish," "Siamese Dream," "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness," "Adore" and "Machina/The Machines of God."

Details: 7 p.m. Saturday. Viejas Arena, 5500 Canyon Crest Drive, SDSU. $53 to $565; find tickets to the Smashing Pumpkins.