This year, 2013, will be our third year with season passes to the Green Flash Concerts at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. In addition to supporting the Birch Aquarium, it is a great way to spend a summer “hump day”. The 3rd Wednesday of the month from May until September, Birch Aquarium transforms their tide pool area overlooking La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean into a stage and with the help of KPRI. The Green Flash concerts are all about great music, but they also have some tasty and healthy food, adult beverages, and the most spectacular view of any music venue in San Diego, or anywhere else I’ve been.
The line-up for 2013 has a similar feel to past years, some new acts with current hits, some local Southern California groups to make us feel at home, and a couple acts I’ve never heard of but I’m sure I’ll enjoy… I always have. The year will kick off on May 15th with Bob Schneider and Alpha Rev. I like the sound of some of music Bob Schneider has on YouTube and I’m looking forward to seeing him live. I love the Alpha Rev song Sing Loud, great sound and lyrics.
On June 19th two powerful new women will be entertaining us, Vicci Martinez and ZZ Ward. Vicci Martinez will start the night off. She was on Season 1 of the voice, not one of the shows I watch regularly, but I like Vicci Martinez. Her song Come Along, which in a different version of Come Along song by Vicci Martinez and featuring The Voice coach Cee Lo Green is getting a lot of play time on the radio. The first time I heard ZZ Ward’s song Put the Gun Down on the radio I thought it might be Adele, it came out about the same time as her James Bond theme song. While ZZ Ward didn’t get the same recognition for this song, I like it’s raw sound more than the more “polished” and produced Skyfall.
On July 17th The Fixx, a British blast from the past, will rock us. Songs like Red Skies, Saved by Zero and One Thing Leads to Another were big hits in the late 70s and early 80s… big MTV hits.
A couple of Southern California acts will close out the year. Matt Costa , we have not seen before, but I like some of his music online. Steve Poltz we have seen several times and always enjoy both his music and his humor. (Update Jul 22 2013: Delta Rae was added to the August show, with Matt Costa. Won’t want to miss this one! Her new song with Lindsey Buckingham – If I Loved You, is terrific)
I’ll come back to this post throughout the year to add something for each show. If you’ve never been to one of these concerts and live in the area, I recommend checking them out. My guess for the best show of the year will be June 19th, but they should all be entertaining, and the venue is spectacular.
Update May 18 2013: We attended the first Green Flash concert of 2013 last Wednesday. The weather was overcast and there was no sunset, but it was still a beautiful view from our favorite location.
Alpha Rev started the night out. The first thing we noticed, after 2 years of hanging by the stage was that the speakers were much louder than usual. Actually kind of hurt the ears. Maybe I’m getting old? Anyway, rather than move back, we moved a little forward past the front of the speakers and it was tolerable. We enjoyed Alpha Rev, but we were in for an expected treat when Bob Schneider came to the stage. I had heard the song 40 Dogs regularly on the radio, but I had not listened to his other stuff. He is a singer (great voice)… song writer (some sad, funny, irreverent, and eclectic stuff) and played solo for this show. With the help of his looping machine he was able to put together a very full sound when he wanted to with guitar, keyboard, and percussion. I’ve found some of his music on YouTube, a great example of one of his sadder songs Blow Me Back To You. What you don’t hear in this in version is the deep fullness of the lows in this song – live it was rumbling. I couldn’t find one of my favorites (made me laugh so hard my eyes watered), but here’s a good example of what I liked about his music: Trash. Finding new favorite music is a great reason to go to the Green Flash concerts.
Update June 20 2013: The June 19th performance of the 2013 Green Flash Concert series got off to a fast start when Vicci Martinez came on stage. Here hit “Come Along with Me” is not her only terrific song, she has a great voice that came through very clear even when the rest of the music was blasting away.
There were still some issues with the volume of the music. The volume was again in the painful range and the mid-ranges were completely distorted for both acts. We go to lots of concerts and have no problem with loud music, but this is affecting the quality of the sound. We plan to move back next time, but hopefully they will fix the issue.
The sun was extremely bright at the beginning of the performance it was a relief when it moved lower and I could watch the show without shielding my eyes. The pictures were easier to take too.
ZZ Ward started out with the song that first made me notice her on the radio, Put the Gun Down.
The sun started to set shortly after ZZ Ward started to sing. One of the best sunsets we’ve seen at a Green Flash Concert over the last 3 years.
I don’t know if anyone caught an actual green flash, but the conditions looked about right as the sun got lower.
Here’s another shot of ZZ Ward. Not hard to tell what she is about to sing… WooHooHoo… love that part of the song.
ZZ Ward has a ton of good music. My favorite song of the night was Charlie Ain’t Home.
We had a great time, but were partially deaf for an hour or so. Great night, and great music – definitely up for some more of that!
Update July 19 2013: We were a little later than usual getting to the July 17th performance of the 2013 Green Flash Concert series thanks to horrendous traffic getting out of Sorrento Valley. We decided to just relax and get there whenever. The first act Bushwalla was already started when we got there. The crowd seemed much bigger than the two sold out shows we had already been too in May and June. I have to admit that by the time we got our food, beer, and got settled in Bushwalla was done. There were new speakers inside though so we heard a few relaxed acoustic songs and at least one rap song… wish we had seen his act.
Our plan after two months of painfully loud and distorted music was to move to the back. However, the crowd had filled every nook and cranny.
The only reasonable spot left was our regular spot right in front of the speaker. In fact a little closer than usual. Really too close to even see the whole band all at once.
The Fixx still have all of their skills. They delivered the music like the old pros that they are. I was completely unfamiliar with the first 4-5 songs, but they were good and there were a lot of fans in the crowd that knew the words. I was surprised that my favorite song of the night was “One Thing Leads to Another”. The line “But when the wrong word goes in the right ear I know you’ve been lying to me” had more meaning to me this time than it didn’t back in 1983. There were no “lines that grabbed me” in the other hits. “Saved by Zero” still sounded like an 80’s MTV video hit to me. Their big finish song “Red Sky’s at Night” didn’t have any meaning to me, but it definitely is a cool song. The guitar in that song really makes it good for me.
I got a reasonable sunset picture too, the size of the crowd made it much harder to get a good angle, but I love the trees surrounding the tide pool area at the Birch Aquarium.
And a pretty amazing shot of the moon with my little compact Nikon 9100.
It was another fun summer evening at the Birch Aquarium. We’re looking forward to the other two concerts to come.
Update Aug 21 2013:The August lineup was a strong one. Due to the late announcement of the second act there was some confusion and maybe argument about who was the headliner. I enjoyed both acts so win-win.
Matt Costa’s music is eclectic with good lyrics. His song Good Times is his best know song, but he had several good tunes. He has a smooth steady voice and the band played a great set. Although I enjoyed the music, I have to admit to being distracted by the sun as it went behind some clouds…
and finally set.
Usually the sunset is at the beginning of the second act. This seemed to be part of the compromise on who was the headliner. Either way, it was another terrific sunset that blessed us!
Delta Rae has one of my current favorite songs on the radio… If I Loved You
I have to admit to being very surprised by this group. I expected one lead singer, the lead on If I Loved You, but there were absolutely 4 very talented lead singers in this group. Two brothers (Ian Hölljes, Eric Hölljes), a sister (Brittany Hölljes), and the lead on If I Loved You, Elizabeth Hopkins. My Wife liked the voice and vocals of Eric, on keyboard the best. Here’s one of his songs – Morning Comes. I have to admit he had a terrific voice, but I didn’t have a favorite. I loved them all, and well definitely be adding this group to my list of favorite bands! I look forward to more music from them and to seeing them play again. Be sure to check them out online!
Update Sep 21 2013:There were two local acts for the September’s Green Flash Concert. Pulling into the parking lot I knew there was a different kind of act, and a different crowd for tonight’s show. There were several groups of people tailgating! Great idea when you are getting ready to see Steve Poltz!
Paul Cannon opened the night. This was the second time we saw him, he opened for Matt Nathanson at the Green Flash Concert in July 2012. The first thing I noticed was he had flip flops on… this surprised me because he was barefoot last time. The flip flops were gone by the time he stepped up to play though! He has a very rich voice and I like his music. A very relaxing act to listen to as the sun sets over the Pacific (or at least appears to).
Next up was Steve Poltz. There was a bit of confusion on the introduction… Steve snuck up on stage early and introduced Madison (KPRI’s morning show host), to introduce him. His first song about Friends was my favorite of the night, it definitely struck a cord with me. He is a very talented musician, and a rare individual.
If you have never seen Steve, definitely check him out live. Be sure to do some tailgating first and hit the gym for at least a few weeks prior, you never know what you may need to hold over your head.
Another season of Green Flash concerts in the books… we love these concerts. There are times when we feel a little rushed getting there on a Wednesday night, traffic may not always be the best, but once we get there it is “the best venue” I’ve ever been to! KPRI always has great music lined up, and the food and refreshments are terrific. This was our third year with season passes and I hope we decide to do this again next year.
Other Green Flash posts and more: Live Music Posts (Favorite Artists and Favorite Venues)