Wrex the Halls Preview

by Ryo Miyauchi and Courtney Brown

The annual 91X Wrex the Halls returns to Valley View Casino Center on Dec. 12. The San Diego station has brought an impressive lineup of alternative music acts for the long-running event year after year. Last year welcomed Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend, among others. This Friday sees Billy Idol, Cage the Elephant, Alt-J, Interpol, Spoon and Banks take stage. For the occasion, assistant entertainment editor Ryo Miyauchi and staff writer Courtney Brown discussed the lineup and what to expect for Wrex the Halls.

Ryo: I got to admit, this year’s 91X Wrex the Halls has probably the most interesting line-up than what I’ve seen in the past — the radio station got Billy Idol! A lot of great bands will play but which act are you most stoked for, Courtney?

Courtney: I’m definitely pumped for Billy Idol! Alt-J and Cage the Elephant played last year and were both rad. I have to say Alt-J might be one of the best bands I’ve ever seen live. I will for sure be jamming out to “The Underdog” by Spoon as well.

Ryo: Banks would be the one to check out for me. Her debut, “Goddess,” was so-so but her electronic-heavy songs might be better experienced live. And though I have heard almost no music by Billy Idol before, he should be one seasoned performer. Alt-J’s music doesn’t excite me much, but they seem like a band that puts on an elaborate show. What were some highlights from their set last year?

Courtney: I had already seen Alt-J in a more intimate setting at Coachella in 2013, where I pegged the band as one of my favorite performances of the festival. So I was unsure what the experience would be like at the Valley View Casino Center arena (where I literally sat at the very back of the nosebleed section.) But this is a band that never fails to deliver a unique and amazing live performance. Their signature folk-infused pop sound and energy are almost indescribable. 91X always does a great job putting together a variety of genres at Wrex the Halls. The lineup transitions from indie-rock to electronic to Billy Idol of all people, but the common thread is quality live music.

Ryo: I also sat up top when I went back in 2011 with Death Cab for Cutie and Florence and the Machine as headliners. And it was not that bad of a view. Maybe nosebleed seats for almost $40 is a bit on the high side for some, but it’s a pretty good deal if you count in the fact you can see several great bands back to back. Have you been on the general admission floor area of VVCC or know anyone who has?

Courtney: Last year was actually my first time seeing a show at VVCC. And when I say nosebleeds, I mean the furthest back you could possibly be. But honestly it was still such a good time. I’m not sure if you’ve been to any other events there, Ryo, but I think that speaks to how good the show is — even the worst seats in the house are great seats.

Ryo: Totally. Another great live act worth mentioning is Spoon. The band has been doing it for two decades now, and the members haven’t let age get in the way one bit. Its new record, “They Want My Soul,” is proof as another thrilling record from the band. Along with the older hits like “The Way We Get By,” “Do You” from the new one seems like a sure anthem for the live set. Do you like the new Spoon stuff? If you haven’t checked it out yet, what are some of your favorite things about the band?

Courtney: I don’t know too much about Spoon besides their main hits, but I did give their new album a listen. I agree, “Do You” is getting a lot of radio time and will most likely be a fan favorite at Wrex the Halls. My other favorite tracks from the album are “Inside Out,” “I Just Don’t Understand,” and the title track, “They Want My Soul.” I used to listen to a lot more of Spoon than I do now, but this concert might just inspire me to get back into them. Like I said earlier, “The Underdog” is one of my favorite songs, so you’ll definitely be able to find me getting super groovy to that one.

Ryo: That’s a great Spoon song, too. Before we wrap up, anything that people should know or remember before going to the show?

Courtney: Most of my best concert experiences have been at shows like this. It’s a rare opportunity to see a lineup of killer bands all in one night. When else would Cage the Elephant, Alt-J, Interpol, Billy Idol, Spoon and Banks be playing on the same stage? There’s still time to grab a ticket, and like I mentioned earlier, even the worst seat in the house is a good seat. And attending 91X Wrex the Halls is a way to support a San Diego local radio station and live music.