Guess what, everyone? There’s only 52 shopping days left until Christmas! What’s that you say? It’s too early to be thinking about gifts and lights and trees and such when the Halloween cobwebs are still up and there’s hardly a dent in the kids’ candy buckets?
You must not be paying attention to the retail sector—despite the day after Thanksgiving being the historical start to the holiday shopping season, major retail establishments have been busting out the seasonal decorations and gift ideas earlier and earlier every year. In fact, it seems like just yesterday when Halloween was the final threshold. But this year, even before stores marked down Halloween stock by 50 percent or more, little Santa figurines and yuletide napkin rings began their slow takeover of the seasonal section.
Peppermint-flavored coffee and those obnoxious commercials with people getting a brand new luxury car with a big red bow are just around the corner, so you might as well embrace our eventual destiny of being a year-round holiday machine. And what better way to get into the holiday spirit than hunkering down at a local booze-dispensing establishment for some live music that is not, thankfully, Christmas carols?
Where/when: Friendly Grounds Coffeehouse, 9225 Carlton Hills Blvd., Santee, 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Why Go: Once, there was just “American Idol.” Now, there are about a dozen other “make it big” musician/singer/otherwise artist shows jostling for our attention and votes. Wouldn’t you rather kick back at a local coffee shop and enjoy rising talent just feet away, instead of enduring shrill auditions and horrid disco covers through your TV?
Where/when: Hooley’s, 5500 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa, 9 p.m. Friday.
Why Go: According to geography, there’s not much west of the 5, if we’re talking about the freeway that runs from Mexico to Canada. Maybe a sliver of beach here, a sleepy little village there, but mostly, it’s just the wide Pacific stretching out into what seems to be forever. Perhaps that’s a metaphor for the band West of 5, perhaps not, but their music might give you a clue either way at Hooley’s this Friday.
Where/when: Lacey J’s Roadhouse Saloon & Grille, 8861 Magnolia Ave., Santee, 9 p.m. Friday.
Why Go: While many band names instantly describe the type of music you should expect, country music has, hands down, some of the most tongue-in-cheek, wryly appropriate band names in existence. For instance, anyone going to the Off the Wagon show knows to expect songs about booze-filled shenanigans, booze-induced break-ups, and booze-soaked regrets about everything else.
Where/when: Dirk’s Nightclub, 7662 Broadway, Lemon Grove, 9 p.m. Friday.
Why Go: Speaking of appropriate band names—if only this listing appeared in last week’s column…how awesome would that have been for Halloween? Nevertheless, the Monsters of Rock aim to scare you with how good their classic rock and metal covers are, so check them out at Dirk’s this Friday (and Saturday, too).
Where/when: , 8086 Broadway, Lemon Grove, 6 p.m. Saturday.
Why Go: While sometimes this column presents excellent, off-the-beaten-path date ideas, please note: this is NOT one of them. Bring your bros or gals instead to the 7th annual Western Roundup and Chili Cook-off, featuring dancing, drinking, raffles, silent auctions, door prizes and, of course, hot, spicy, meaty, beany, lip-smacking good chili.
Where/when: Sycuan Showcase Theatre, 5469 Casino Way, El Cajon, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
Why Go: Usually, an artist breaking off from a major band to go solo is a big deal, and much of the time, the artist is so impressive in his own right that it’s not a shock when ticket prices to his concerts are close to what his full band commanded (like Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who just announced a San Diego show on May 13—woo hoo!). And then there’s Aaron Lewis. Of Staind. Um, yeah…
Where/when: Cosmos Coffee Café, 8278 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, 7 p.m. Saturday.
Why Go: Everybody loves an indie chick, and alternative singer/songwriter Carmen Caserta fits the label to a “T.” Check out her performance during Cosmos Café’s weekly local artist night, featuring acoustic sets of original music from musicians who could very well hit the big-time tomorrow.
Where/when: Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co., 9828 Mission Gorge Rd., Santee, Nov. 4-13.
Why Go: Wine enthusiasts aren’t the only ones who get to pair food with different beverage varieties as way to enhance the flavor of both. Certain beers (of the non-Bud/Coors/Miller variety, that is) can also fit with certain dishes just as well. In honor of San Diego Beer Week, Oggi’s is offering a special three-course beer pairing menu—to enhance the effect, you can even swirl your beer around in the glass, give it a sniff, and savor the taste before digging into the chow.
Price: Call for details.