Thursday, January 7, 2010
A sexy, French punk rock girl air-humps on top of the bar; a Danish metal band ventures from the stage to drink audience members’ beer (while continuing to play); shock rockers, dressed like warthogs, drench the audience with gallons of fake blood.
For the past two years, Tobin Peregrina consistently put together entertaining lineups at Jose’s Underground Lounge that generated scenes like these. And while Saturday’s show – featuring The Silent Comedy, Mississippi Man and Worker Bee – will be his last at Jose’s, at least for a while, his impact on the local music scene and the wild memories will stay.
Peregrina’s first show, featuring Hate for State and 3UpFront, was among his most memorable. No one came out in the 70mph winds and sideways rain to see the metal show under a leaky roof, but that didn’t stop Peregrina from having a good time. “I pretty much ended up drinking a bunch of whisky with the bands,” he recalls. “I have just as much fun when no one shows up as when the place is packed.”
The latter is far more common. By his second show a week later, with Beezle and Mouth of the Valley, the small space was stuffed like a ravioli.
Peregrina brought a whirlwind of bands to Jose’s, highlighted by Sugar & Gold’s 2008 Halloween show, a streak of Darktown Rounders performances, psychedelic Bay Area outfit Assemblehead in Sunburst Sound, Alabama surf-rockers Daikaiju and Salinas garage rockers, The Mystery Lights.
The 27-year-old longtime local says he appreciates Jose’s, and aside from a few disagreements concerning sound equipment, he has no hard feelings towards the Wave Street establishment.
Peregrina will be booking a Persephone’s Bee show at Blue Fin in February but says he will no longer book for any one establishment; he also plans on focusing his attention on booking in the San Francisco area.
“This will be an opportunity for me to get out there and grow,” he says.
His Jose’s reign ends with a loaded Friday lineup, billed as “Tobin’s Last Show,” reflective of the booker’s diverse, 24-month underground run.
Mississippi Man spent every Monday this past November playing the Silverlake Lounge in Los Angeles as its resident band. Past groups honored with the weekly slot at the hipster Mecca have included My Vampire Weekend, Cold War Kids and Band of Horses.
The Orange County quintet finds romance in aged dusty treasures like sun-soaked, 10-gallon cowboy hats and old Skip James 78s. This resonates in the band’s retro sound: The harmonies mirror the simple, agreeable offerings of The Zombies and Buffalo Springfield, as do the lyrics. “The Jester” begins with a lone Hohner, chiming each note with crisp satisfaction, before guitar, bass, percussion and cheery vocals enter.
The Silent Comedy also finds solace in vintage remnants of the yesteryears, like German cabarets and Eastern European circuses. “’49” is a patchwork of high-hats, wood blocks and mandolin that add up to the mantra, “You’re breaking my patience,” professed with the raw emotion of Son House.
The San Diego band also finds inspiration in cultures of the world: Singer/bassist Josh Zimmerman has lived in Russia, Thailand, Spain, South Korea, Nepal and the Middle East. This worldliness is present in “Gasoline,” featuring speedy, violin-fueled interludes rooted in Romani gypsy music.
Peregrina has come a long way since the rainy night two years ago and is confident that Jose’s will keep it going after he’s gone.
“I’m glad to see [Jose’s] is now a well-oiled machine,” he says, “and I think they’ll be alright without me.”