Neighbors to the North w/ special guests Chess Wars

@ Seven Grand San Diego

Neighbors to the North is a trio of San Diego musicians.

Harnessing their wide-ranging and eclectic influences into a focused rock-n-roll whirlwind, their music incorporates elements of alternative, indie and blues. Bringing a fierce energy to the stage, Neighbors to the North is best experienced live.

Their debut EP album ‘Starfisher’ was officially released in Spring 2013, and is available everywhere.

Chess Wars was born out of a long-standing request made to singer and songwriter Dustin Lothspeich. Al Howard of San Diego’s own The Heavy Guilt had told Lothspeich that he needed to cover “Hard Times” by Baby Huey for awhile, and that dream became a reality at the Al Howard birthday party show at Soda Bar back on February 26th. The song was in fact covered, with Lothspeich on guitar and vocals and Jake Najor on drums, accompanied by Mr. Howard himself on tambourine.

Not long after, Howard had another request for the boys. With an upcoming show for Howards newest project set for April 11th at The Void, he contacted Lothspeich and Najor. “(He) suggested that Jake and I should ‘get the ole band back together’ and play the show too,” says Lothspeich. He continues, “Life is weird.”

Dustin Lothspeich and Jake Najor are in no way strangers when it comes to San Diego music. Lothspeich, who recently was named as one of San Diego’s Best Guitarists by SoundDiego, currently writes for and plays in Boy King and Old Tiger. Jake Najor bangs the skins in The Styletones, Lord Howler, Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact amongst numerous other projects.

The beginning to the Chess Wars story is something most of us may find hard to imagine. From what started as a “Hey, you should play this show” scenario, emerged a brand new rock-funk & roll force within the San Diego music community. In what seemed like mere weeks, the boys have written and recorded a 9 track record and solidified multiple live dates around America’s Finest City.

The debut record PEACE, out now, is a solid 9-track showcase of the boys’ deep song writing ability and musical talents. Lothspeich proves yet again just how strong a grasp he has on a style of funk and rock n roll that existed long before he, or most of us, ever did. PEACE brings to life a style of gritty rock, that in 2013 stands in a class all its own.

Chess Wars puts on a display that ranges from smoky lounge rock to steamy, danceable bedroom funk. Lothspeich’s fiery guitar tones and on-point vocals mend perfectly with Najor’s soaring backbeat. From the title song “Peace”, with its dark and heavy, thumping-guitar tones to the full powerful chorus that, to borrow some of the lyrics, will blow your mind before fleeing the scene.

They drop it down on track “Do Better”, a steamy funk ballad that chugs along softly, but is filled with the same attitude that spans the entire record. A real sweet, pajama party-of-two style jammer. The attitude kicks up a notch in the classic rock rager, “Relax”. The track fires off with classic guitar riffing, which builds stronger and stronger through out the whole song until it bursts into the energetic finale. Of course, the debut record wouldn’t be complete without their rendition of the long requested “Hard Times”, which closes the record

in ultimate fashion.   -ThreeBZine

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