The Coast News Group
Scene and Heard

Art, music and community join together

Places often spring up around North County quicker than I can catch on to them. Lucky for me, I have a few very in touch, hip friends who always seem to know where the most happening places are on any given weekend in our little slice of the world. A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to go see a friend’s band, The Minor Keys, play at an art show opening at this place in Oceanside called Swiv Tackle Circus. With a name like that, I was actually quite surprised that I hadn’t heard of this place before, especially since it was hosting both music and art, and located directly on Coast Highway in Oceanside (just two doors down from the Hillstreet Cafe), an area that I drive almost weekly.
Nestled cozily into a cool leftover relic from the ‘60s, a retro-style building which formerly housed a furniture store, sits the Swiv Tackle Circus gallery/boutique. Swiv, which is run by its owners Jeff Black and Shaney Jo Darden, is both a boutique and art gallery. Embarrassingly enough for this young writer, Swiv has been apart of the Oceanside landscape since March 29, 2008. If you haven’t visited this place it’s pretty amazing. Just adjacent to the building is the Swiv Community Garden, where a full organic garden can be found sprouting right along the sidewalk filled with delicious veggies like onions, beets, carrots, peas and other interesting edibles among a few interesting garden sculptures, including a large, rideable snail — which many of the drunks delight in much later into the evenings.
The Saturday night that I went with my friend Karla D. to see The Minor Keys play happened to be part of a much bigger event that was going on that night, which was the “Native” Art Exhibit Opening, which we took initially for Native American art. However, when we arrived at Swiv to see a mish-mash of crazy psychedelic headwear and retro skateboards hanging on the walls, among other random but very unique pieces of art, we realized it was “native” only in the sense that natives of Southern California were the ones behind it.
Lucky for us, that night also happened to be the second official harvest of the Swiv Community Garden and for just $2.50, the kind folks at Swiv let you fill a paper bag full of the produce harvested just earlier that day, including some amazing and delicious blood oranges they had on hand from the kind folks at the Hillcrest Organic Farm. They made great use of the blood oranges that night in other ways too, featuring them in an awesome blood orange and vodka cocktail, which they served to the revelers all throughout the evening. Also in plentiful fashion were ice-cold Stone IPAs, which make any art and music show all that much better.
After taking a look at all of the art exhibits on the walls, everyone gathered around the makeshift stage to watch local boys The Minor Keys finish out the rest of the night with their snappy looks and retro sound — think of a more indie version of The Strokes and you get the idea.
Once the night ended, everyone shuffled out the doors and on to other bars or house parties or otherwise ending another awesome Saturday night in Oceanside. All in all, the Swiv Tackle Circus is a gem of a place to have in our little town. Honestly, it seems like it’d be something better-suited for Encinitas but with the rock-n-roll aspect they bring and as many live shows as they have there, there’s really no better place for them than in Oceanside.
The only way to properly check out this place is by walking through their doors yourself, but if you can’t make it in there anytime soon, visit Swiv hosts live music and art every week so be sure to come by and check out the local fare at what is known as the “Greatest Gallertique on Earth.”