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Asphalt Ballet Debut Gives GNR a Run for Its Money

Audible above the critical and retail din surrounding the double Guns ‘N Roses release (“Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II”) is a little San Diego voice.

Back in mid-August, it was noted here that Asphalt Ballet, an L.A.-based hard-rock quintet featuring several San Diegans, was scheduled to release its debut album Sept. 17. It did, and according to several national radio trade publications, the band actually beat out the GNR guys to become the “most-added” group on metal-oriented radio.

Meanwhile, “Soul Survive,” the first video from Asphalt Ballet’s self-titled opus, has just been accepted for play on MTV’s “Headbangers Ball” feature. The video was shot Aug. 20 at the Bacchanal.

And speaking of the Bacchanal, the 500-seat Clairemont Mesa club has officially changed its name to Sound FX. The change reflects a transfer of ownership, from Rinja Inc. to the Encinitas-based Que Pasa Entertainment Inc.

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According to sources, there were mixed feelings among the venue’s extended management family about canning the Bacchanal logo, which had acquired invaluable name recognition in its 15-year history. But Que Pasa’s owner, North County resident Paul Deutz III, sought the name-change to underscore the point that the club is celebrating a “new beginning.”

Initially, there was some confusion as to whether the new name would be “Sound EFX” or “Sound FX.” Of more concern to the new owners, however, is the fear among some observers that the venue’s rebaptism will signal a switch to a glitzier “disco” format. Not to worry. According to management, the club merely is undergoing a long-overdue face lift; its booking policies will remain the same.

One other result of the change of ownership is a resumption of alcoholic beverage sales. (The old owners voluntarily surrendered their license several months ago.) On Sept. 16, the Que Pasa folks posted a notice announcing that Sound FX will be serving alcoholic beverages beginning in mid-October. Music fans being an impatient lot, however, some people are doing their drinking before entering the club, and Sound FX’s security force has been patting down patrons in an effort to detect concealed mini-bottles of the type sold on airline flights.

The hard-earned, long-awaited, debut solo album by local songwriter Mark DeCerbo finally has a release date. Officially, “Baby’s Not in the Mood” was supposed to be out on Monday. But, as these things go, the opus (on the Bizarre-Straight label) probably won’t actually hit the stores for another week. In the meantime, the former Four Eyes vocalist-guitarist is opening tonight’s Squeeze gig at the Belly Up Tavern. It will be a mostly solo affair for DeCerbo, who might be joined by Rockola’s Bob Tedde and Dweezil Zappa’s guitarist Mike Keneally for the set.

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Undoubtedly, a number of San Diegans scanning the radio dial late Friday morning were surprised to find Frank Zappa’s entire 1988 “Broadway the Hard Way” album playing, without commercial interruption, on the 91.7-FM band. It was startling enough to hear progressive, non-commercial music on the air in these days of tight playlists, but more so because no local radio station broadcasts on that frequency.

No “authorized” station, anyway. The unscheduled, hourlong interlude was brought to bemused listeners by a radio pirate known as Captain Mark of the Sky.

Anyone with the right equipment and the requisite chutzpah can “pirate” their way onto the city’s radio airwaves. You simply access an unused frequency (not easy to find in clogged-dial San Diego) and broadcast your own program. Of course, one risks getting caught by the FCC.

But fear of the authorities was no deterrent to Captain Mark, an electro-tech wiz who resuscitated the nom de air he first used in the ‘60s as a teen-ager pirating from his parents’ Pacific Beach home. Now, the buccaneer spirit is being passed on to a new generation; the Captain was assisted in Friday’s broadcast by his 13-year-old son, Radio Wave Dave.

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Because of the frequency’s relatively weak signal, the clarity of reception of the illegal mini-show was determined by one’s location, and the power of one’s receiver/antenna. Captain Mark showed up on 91.7 later that night, playing Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ latest release, “Black Music for White People,” and again on Saturday night, when he aired a private recording of a local 1972 concert by the Last Poets. As is the nature of such pirates, the good Captain probably will play radio roulette until it feels too risky.

GRACE NOTES: (Tickets for the following concerts will be sold at all TicketMaster outlets unless otherwise specified). By the time you read this, Bonnie Raitt’s Oct. 9 concert at the Starlight Bowl will have sold out. Some $100 “Golden Circle Reception” tickets, which include preferred seating and attendance at a backstage soiree with Bonnie, are still available. There are no plans for a second show. . . .

Things are heating up at the Casbah, probably the smallest venue in San Diego to present touring recording acts (comfortable capacity: about 75). The Black Watch, a sort of post-punk It’s a Beautiful Day (violin, guitar, drums, bass) plays there tonight at 9 p.m. Dave Alvin of the Blasters shows up Friday night at the Kettner Boulevard bar/club on a bill with Medicine Rattle and the Gigantics. . . .

91X-FM and Reggae Makossa present “The Second Annual Cabo Classic Reggae Surf Splash” on Oct. 10, through Oct. 13, in Los Cabos, Baja California. Various free activities culminate Saturday night with a free concert featuring Pato Banton and Dave Wakeling. For more information, call the Reggae hot line at 259-0803; to make weekend travel-package plans to the festival, call the Travel Connection at 422-7344. . . .

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Hispanic singing superstar Luis Miguel is booked into the San Diego Convention Center for Oct. 18-19 (on sale now at TicketMaster and auxiliary outlets; for a complete list of ticket locations, call the center’s concert hot line at 525-5678). . . .

Oingo Boingo returns to play a “Halloween dance party” at San Diego State University’s Open Air Theatre on Oct. 26 (on sale Saturday at 10 a.m.).

Tom Petty will play the San Diego Sports Arena on Nov. 12, tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m.

CRITIC’S CHOICE: WAYNE TOUPS AND ZYDECAJUN AT THE BELLY UP

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Watching Wayne Toups and his band Zydecajun work the crowd at the 1990 Street Scene, one knew that Cajun music and rock ‘n roll were meant for each other. With Toups pumping his accordion like a man trying to put out a fire with a bellows, the band dispensed piping-hot servings of the locomotive rhythms and skittish shuffles that are the heart of this bayou-bred music. Last February, the band released a corker of a sophomore album, “Fish Out of Water,” which should provide much of the repertoire for its gig at the Belly Up Tavern on Thursday night. The Gnarly Braus open the 8:30 show.


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