Sep 13, 2023 - Music

San Diego music is fine: Go see Jesus Gonzalez

Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The pandemic was a tough time for live music.

Shows ended. Venues closed. Musicians struggled.

Our thought bubble: That's why I'll never forget stumbling across a free, socially distanced, impromptu show in South Park in May 2020.

  • I sprinted home, threw my 2-year-old in a wagon, roused my pregnant wife, and scrambled back to a show that's among my fondest memories of that terrible year.

The musicians were Jesus Gonzalez — a local singer-songwriter whose ethereal mix of psychedelic folk rock and soulful R&B relies less on his experimental use of looping and more on his giant, meditative voice — and Lis Viegas, a drummer and DJ.

What's happening: Gonzalez is playing a free concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park on Friday at 8pm.

  • It's the latest in what he calls his "Tour of Enchantment," shows at unconventional venues with guest appearances, innovative visual elements and whatever else goes through his creative mind.
  • For a quick sense of Gonzalez's music, check out his Tiny Desk submissions.

But wait: There's another great local show this week.

  • Local musician Kevin Vega was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer, and his friends are throwing a benefit concert for him at Casbah on Thursday at 8pm. Tickets are $20.
  • Mrs. Magician, Los Shadows, Heavy Hawaii, Spooky Cigarette and DJ Nathan of Wavves make up the bill of local stalwarts.

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