Jen Van Tieghem | Downtown News
House of Blues — HouseofBlues.com
May 19 — Band of Skulls
This UK alternative rock trio has been gaining serious steam since the success of their debut full-length record “Baby Darling Doll Face Honey” in 2009. Powerful guitar riffs are met with boy-girl harmonies sung at a breakneck pace on many songs. Known for hard rock numbers, the band is surprisingly skilled at softer ballads. “Cold Sweat” from their latest release, “Himalayan,” is one such standout. 7:30 p.m. $30+
May 30 — Ben Ottewell
As one of three singers for English indie-rockers Gomez, Ben Ottewell’s gravelly vocals are instantly identifiable and entrancing. His latest solo album “Rattlebag” puts those pipes on full display with a stripped down vibe. The delicate acoustics of these songs create a dreamy backdrop for Ottwell’s raspy voice to sing a hushed lullaby (“Distant Shores”) or belt out a heart filled plea (“Red Dress”). The singer will kick start the US leg of his tour at HOB’s Delta Room with songs from both his solo albums, along with select Gomez favorites. 8 p.m. $21+
June 3 — Kelis
Kelis’ sound has evolved since her angry girl anthem “Caught Out There” exploded in the late 90s, mostly overseas. The singer’s U.S. success came with her 2004 hit “Milkshake.” And once again she is poised to wow fans and naysayers alike with her newest album, “Food.” The catchy first single “Jerk Ribs” whets the listener’s appetite with a grooving rhythm and Kelis’ sultry soulful vocals leading the charge. 7:30 p.m. $30+
The Casbah — CasbahMusic.com
May 7 — Sister Speak, Hollow Wood, and Gayle Skidmore
Sister Speak’s debut album, released on the first day of spring, is as refreshing as a change in seasons. Lead singer Sherri-Anne’s vocals on “Rise Up For Love” are a rare balance of sweetness and depth. The group is reminiscent of popular folk rock contemporaries but with greater range and haunting harmonies to give them staying power. This show also features an ensemble in a similar folk genre, Hollow Wood, and local and lovely singer-songwriter Gayle Skidmore. 9 p.m. $6.
May 19 — Damien Jurado and Jerome Holloway
Jurado’s latest offering, “Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Sun,” is a mixture of ethereal vocal-driven songs with psychedelic meanderings thrown in. With the vocal chops and storytelling nuances of predecessors like Neil Young, the album is powerful from start to finish. Tribal-like beats spur songs forward adding a sense of urgency. Folk-soul artist Jerome Holloway will open this one with his mellow tunes and dreamy vocals. 9 p.m. $15
Humphreys by the Bay — HumphreysConcerts.com
May 9 — Ingrid Michaelson with Storyman and Sugar & The Hi Lows
Ingrid Michaelson walks the fine line of pop catchiness while maintaining a down-to-earth charm. Her latest single “Boys Chase Boys” exemplifies how her tunes will get stuck in your head and heart at once. The must-watch tongue-in-cheek video for the song is a gender-bending homage to Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible.” This show also features alt-pop singer-songwriter duo Storyman and buzzed about retro soul-pop duo Sugar & The Hi Lows. 7 p.m. $35+
May 18 – Gregg Allman with Brigitte DeMeyer
Legendary blues rocker Gregg Allman will bring his distinctive voice to the Humphreys stage. Allman’s sets pull from his long musical history including solo work and hits by The Allman Brothers Band. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer is also known to perform covers of soul, R&B and blues classics. Allman will be joined by Americana singer-songwriter Brigitte DeMeyer for this intimate show. 7:30 p.m. $55+
Croce’s Park West — crocesparkwest.com
May 16 — Teagan Taylor Band
This group is comprised of vocalist and cornetist Teagan Taylor playing alongside her bassist twin brother, Dylan, and guitarist dad, Tim. The talented family performs a wide range of songs pulling from jazz, rock, R&B, and other genres. Teagan’s vocals betray her young age with a sweet soulfulness and maturity. The band’s dynamic sound is a great fit for a relaxing Friday at Croce’s. 8:30 p.m. $5.
May 23 — Sue Palmer
The Queen of Boogie Woogie has showcased her talents throughout the world, but we’re lucky to have her call San Diego home. Her fun-loving style is reflected in her work including a solo piano album “After Hours” which won Best Blues Album at the San Diego Music Awards in 2010. She will also lead The Ladies Shoes Blues Revue at this year’s Gator by The Bay on Saturday, May 10. 8:30 p.m. $5.
—Jen Van Tieghem is a San Diego native with a healthy obsession for all things local music. She has been covering indie-alternative, folk-rock, and more — sometimes all within one night — around town for over two years. Her bucket list includes playing tambourine on stage with any band that would have her, creating a local music festival called Jenerated Sound, and finding the perfect moscow mule. Email her at Jen@SoundsinSanDiego.com.