Saved by the Daylights (Feb 2001)
Now I had noticed Cheme and Jessica talking before the gig, so I was anticipating a duo, but became extremely excited when I saw Todd get on stage first because I knew we were in for a triple horn ho down. And I assure you I was not to be disappointed, at first Todd was on flute with Jessica and Cheme on sax, not to mention Arne and Dale going berserk keeping it all on track. After a spontaneous compilation of musical talent between the five masters on stage Todd stepped off praising Jessica, leaving her and Cheme to blow hard with hints of Galactic, minus the advent of a lead guitar.
After about ten minutes of watching the Daylights plus Cheme soar through expressive open music and insanely funky transitions Harold Todd could stand no more as he jumped back on stage with the other two horns to finish off one of the freest, most expansive jam sessions I have seen in quite some time. When Arne stopped trampling his bass with deep funky bass grooves he seemed as pleased with the music as the crowd was, which happened to be fairly decent for Sunday night at Winston’s. Arne stepped up to the mike and praised Psydcar, for planting the seeds of all the energy in the bar. It was a pleasant surprise out of the at times unwelcoming San Diego crowd. Arne continued to explain that they almost never do sets like that, with no real songs or direction, just open jam sessions, and that they would come right back and “actually play some of our own songs, we are a trio.”
The Living Daylights were obviously extremely turned on by the positive, creative atmosphere laid down by Psydcar, and thankfully couldn’t seem to slip away from that. As they returned to the stage after no more than a five-minute break, a true rarity in the music world, conga player, trumpet player, and vocal lead man Tim Pacheco from Psydcar joined them. As Pacheco was helping to establish the rhythmic almost Latin beat with Dale, Arne was once again displaying his mind-bending abilities on the bass with his eyes closed in an almost meditative state. As the music progressed Arne pulled back just a bit as Jessica’s talents were screaming in my ears. She blew her sax around the world, at times taking me to a Bulgarian temple, then throwing me into an Afro-pop whirlwind, and placing firmly back in the progressive sound of Seattle. I was in awe of the array of noises that were weaving this beautiful tapestry of sound. I closed my eyes and drifted along with Jessica as Arne echoed bone rattling bass bombs over the non-stop drumming of Dale who was accompanied by Pacheco on congas. They were calling on aspects of the late sixties and early seventies Miles Davis projects in an all out combusting wide-open freak space jam.
As if this wasn’t enough Harold Todd came back on stage with his flute to accompany his band mate Pacheco, while Jessica picked up a cow bell and slowed things, returning us to this planet while the ‘last call’ lights were blinking. As Todd was dancing with his flute he led us down a beautiful path while Pacheco surrendered a vocal stream of consciousness to serve as the only words for the evening. The Living Daylights and their special guests from Ocean Beach obviously couldn’t get enough as they played until the lights came on and they were literally ushering people out of the bar at 1:45 in the morning. As the music fell silent, Arne took the mike for one last moment sending the endearing message “you don’t have to go home but ya cant stay here” out to the still captivated audience.
The music was amazing, and as is the case with the Living Daylights in general impossible to categorize. They balance such a variety of sounds from break beat
Electronic drum spasms, to Eastern European Saxophone echoes, to Arne’s complete control of the bass all the way back to African drum engagements. It was so enjoyable to watch and be a part of, not to mention a much needed soul refresher after the previous evenings Snoop fiasco, that I couldn’t wait to pick the band members brains for few minutes before they split on their way to Santa Monica.
I caught up with Arne right after the show and the energy was just pulsating off of him as he wiped the sweat from his forehead. I asked him about the show I had seen a while back with the Slip at High Sierra. And a huge smile came over Arne’s face as he elaborated on how that was “totally, just really out there stuff, that was a real trip.” And for any of you who were there at two, three, four, in the morning you know he couldn’t have said it better, that sure was a trip. We talked a bit about the evenings show at Winston’s and he expressed how much fun he had. He couldn’t say enough about Psydcar and the tone they set for the evening. “If Sunday nights with Psydcar are the thing, then will make it a point to be hear with them.” He commented on how the last time they were in San Diego there was no real support but was extremely enthusiastic about the turn out, and whole show in general on this evening. He said, “It couldn’t have gone better.” Being skeptical of San Diego as I am at times, nothing could have made me happier than to see a band like the Living Daylights who are playing on the edge of music, and trying to do something new, come down play a ripping show and be excited about coming back. I realize this is my only hope for a flourishing music scene here in San Diego, to have talented new musicians keep coming here, and continue to pave the road from the North and the East.