This year, 2014, will be our fourth year with season passes to the Green Flash Concerts at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. We have had some terrific times in past years and are really looking forward to the shows this summer. The concerts are the 3rd “hump day” of every month from May to September. The venue is fantastic and the timing perfect with the show scheduled to give everyone a great view of the sun setting into the Pacific Ocean. I haven’t seen a green flash yet, but as you can see in the above picture it is just a matter of time… maybe a long time, but I’ll keep hoping!
One of the things I love about the Green Flash concerts is the chance to discover great new music. KPRI has consistently found very talent acts for every show I’ve been too. We usually buy our tickets in December as soon as they are available. This is before the acts are even announced. At some point in the spring, this year seems a little later than usual, the schedule starts to fill in. I check the KPRI and Birch Aquarium sites for the Green Flash concerts regularly to find out who we’ll be seeing. What looks like a full schedule for 2014 is now posted.
The year will kick off on May 21st with Joan Osborne and Birds of Tokyo.
Although I didn’t recognize either act by name, I love Joan Osborne’s song One of Us. I really enjoyed listening to many of her other songs on YouTube… I really enjoy the mixture of 60’s folk, with a heavy dose of blues. Birds of Paradise is a successful alternative rock band from Australia. My favorite song from their new album is Laterns. I’m sure we will enjoy this show. It will be a good way to start the summer off.
Update 21 May 2014: The first show of 2014 included two very strong performances.
Birds of Toykyo came out strong. They are a young and energetic group. This was the most stress I’ve ever seen a group put on the temporary stage above the tide pool behind the Birch Aquarium. I would not be surprised if they need to replace some boards after that performance! I knew I would like Lanterns, but also loved much of their other music. My favorite other songs were Circles and Plans.
A paraglider showed up between the two acts and continued to soar overhead through much of Joan Osborne’s performance.
Of course everyone loved the song “One of Us”, in the middle of Joan Osborne’s set, but it seems like everyone loved her other songs as much as I did.
She gave a terrific overall performance playing some older songs and some new songs off her new Album “Love and Hate”. She has a wonderful voice and can really deliver. Her song Shake Your Hips got everyone moving. Off her new album – Work on Me, is a hauntingly beautiful song of loss and heartbreak – really terrific.
As a side note the speakers were really loud again for this concert. This happened for the first 2 shows last year, but got better for the last 3. I really didn’t notice it as much as last year, but in the end it was worse. My hearing was affected in my right ear of a couple days and I heard ringing in that ear for about 4 days. Luckily no permanent damage. I think I will be giving up my favorite location in front of the stage for the next show though!
The schedule is a little sketchier from this point on as it is not listed on KPRI’s website yet so I’m assuming there may be more acts on some of the below dates, but I’ll go with what I see for now on the Birch Aquarium site. Update: The full schedule is now up on both sites. Check it out.
Wednesday June 18th – Eric Hutchinson & Scars on 45.
Eric Hutchinson’s a young guy, but he’s a singer songwriter and from what I see very talented. I’ve heard his song Rock and Roll before and really like it. His song OK, It’s Alright with Me was familiar and then I saw the version sung by Casey James on American Idol several years ago a little further down on the YouTube list. This took me back. Casey James wasn’t a one of my favorites that year but he sang this song really well, and seeing some of the old judges took me back.
If you are my age, Scars on 45 is a familiar sounding name. There was a group – Stars on 45 – on the radio in the late 70’s. They created disco beat music that strung together medleys of popular songs.
Scars on 45 is a very different type of music (thankfully), with a lot of acoustic songs online. I love acoustic music, and this group seems to do it well. I really like Crazy for You and Only A Game. This video for Give Me Something shows a different style – nice song.
Wednesday July 16th local favorite Steve Poltz.
He has been there every year, usually in September. I’m sure we will have a fun night at his show. Last year he played some recently released music that I really enjoyed, so it will be interesting to see what’s new this year. He is a terrific song writer, a very funny guy, and a solid performer.
Update 17 July 2014: We had one act not on my original schedule last night.
But first a little about the venue and the night. I knew as I walked down the hill toward the ocean from work that we would have a terrific view that night. The air over the ocean was extremely and unusually clear. I’ve never seen such crisp and clear views of the water. We weren’t disappointed!
The Tolan Shaw Band is a young group but I like their musical style (bluesy mixed with youth!) and they have some good original songs online at their website TolanShaw.com. My favorite song of theirs on YouTube is Come Back. The Tolan Shaw Band provided a relaxing way to transition from work and traffic to enjoying a happy Wednesday in La Jolla.
Steve Poltz was Steve Poltz. He is an undeniable original! He can also be an acquired taste. Having seen him 5 times, I am definitely at the point of really enjoying his unique brand of entertainment. Whether he has a band or it’s just him, he will grab your attention. He had 3 new songs for us last night. He started the night with a touching tribute song to Tony Gwynn. Toward the end of the night he sang Folk Singer, a funny ditty about being a washed up folk singer. And after inviting a couple on stage to dance to a romantic tender song, he broke out his third original song… something to do with nipples! As usual he had plenty of stories and plenty of friends in the crowd. My favorite song of the night and probably my favorite Steve Poltz song was I want my friends to be happy. (Note: This link is from the 2013 Green Flash.)
Wednesday August 20th Marc Broussard and Tyrone Wells.
A couple of singer songwriters sounds like the perfect night to me. Even though I’ve never heard of either of these guys I’m looking forward to this one.
Marc Broussard’s music is full of surprises. He really can’t be nailed down to one genre – very versatile, and I’m fine with that. You can find some examples of his music on the music page of his website. I really liked the song Lonely Night in Georgia from his album Live at Full Sail University. Most of the music on his site at the time I looked seemed to be a mix of a mix of folk, jazz, and blues. The first song I listened to on YouTube Home, has a very southern feel to it. I love southern rock, and I really like this song. The second song I listened to was a cover of Al Green’s Love and Happiness. He did a great version of this R&B song. I think we’re going to enjoy Marc Broussard.
Although I was not familiar with Tyrone Wells, after listening to some of his music online I know we are going to love this show. In fact I’ve downloaded a CD and an EP of his music from iTunes. Really talented singer! Great traffic jam music – very calming.
The first video that came up when I Google him was Sea Breeze. This definitely peaked my interest. You can stream his latest album on his website TyroneWells.com and there are links to download any or all of his CD’s from iTunes. He has tons of music… another favorite – And the Birds Sing. This video of Beautiful Girl, Beautiful World is amazing – he has one very happy fan for sure!
Update 26 August 2014: We enjoyed every minute of the August show.
The weather had been cloudy most of the day, but it started to clear up as the sunset approached. We met a couple of my wife’s co-workers and were visiting right at sunset. If there was a Greenflash I missed it and the sunset. The view was still great even a few minutes later.
Tyrone Wells came on stage with no introduction… the new crew at KPRI took awhile to get their act together. When he started singing he immediately had everyone’s attention though.
What a great voice. This venue is a perfect place to see a singer songwriter like Tyrone Wells. Beautiful views, warm breezes, and a setting sun (sounds a bit like a KPRI commercial) and a small area so you can get up close and enjoy the show. I recognized about half of his music as I have been listening to the CD I downloaded from iTunes in my car for about a month. In fact it was the only CD I brought (accidentally) for our road trip to the Grand Canyon. There were a couple of high points in the performance. He did a cover of the song Ain’t No Sunshine (video is the same song different venue/night) with a ton of emotion. He also sang a new song that really got me Brother. Made me think not only of my brother, but of a couple of best friends.
I expected another mellow act from Marc Broussard, but I guess I had forgotten the music I heard online. High energy from start to finish. I pulled this picture from a video of the tune Shine.
Loved the song. Right before he sang this one he thanked San Diego for an export we sent to southern Louisiana a few years back. Although he didn’t mention any names, I’m betting he was talking about Drew Brees. He was a lot happier about that move than anyone in the crowd!
Wednesday September 17 – Augustana & Paul Cannon. We’ve seen Paul Cannon a couple of times and enjoyed his laid back attitude and music. Augustana is out of San Diego and has some interesting music out there. Their single Boston has a haunting lyric and sound. They have a new album and a new single Ash and Amber, that I also like.
Update 17 September 2014: Paul Cannon and Augustana were a strong finish the 2014 Green Flash Concert series. As always the venue was at least half of the show.
Paul Cannon has a strong voice and is just the act you want to see after a stressful day at work.
He focuses you on what’s important in life – the connections you make and the people you meet and love. His laid back attitude and life advice is just what I needed to relax. Some great music, breath in, breath out, let it all go and relax! What a terrific way to spend a Wednesday night. I usually have a beer or two at the beginning of the night, but I’m taking a medication that doesn’t mix at all with alcohol, so no beer. I didn’t miss it all.
Dan Layus of Augustana was another big surprise.
I keep seeing new acts (for me) at the Green Flash every year, and I keep being surprised. Instead of the whole band, it was just Dan, and alternately his guitar or the keyboard. I will definitely be listening to more of him! He’s a very talented singer. All by himself – riveting. My favorite song of the night was a new song he played in the middle of his set. I haven’t been able to find the song online. He said that he wasn’t sure when it would be released. His acoustic version of Boston was awesome, and my favorite, but I loved all of it.
Other Green Flash posts and more: Live Music Posts (Favorite Artists and Favorite Venues)