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Music

Local band to watch: Sugar Skulls

Photo: NATALIA GONZáLEZ, License: N/A

NATALIA GONZáLEZ

Alyson Alonzo and Jeff Escamilla in 40-Year-Old Virgin mode.



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Jeff Escamilla was the only sober person at a party a couple of years ago, and Alyson Alonzo was about to pass out when she heard something. While everyone else crashed out on the floor, Escamilla had gone to a bedroom and started playing guitar for himself. For Alonzo, that guitar was like a magnet. "I immediately went in and said, 'What the hell is happening here?'" she told the Current. "I asked him if I could sing with him, and he said, 'Sure.'"

And that was it. Perfect chemistry.

"She started singing and I couldn't believe it," said Escamilla. "I almost freaked out."

The duo started performing together as Vincent Vega and quickly established themselves as an instant favorite. (They've recently renamed themselves Sugar Skulls because, it seems, there's tons of Vincent Vegas out there).

Escamilla is a subtle, versatile player with great rhythm in his right hand, and Alonzo a vocal powerhouse that channels Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Amy Winehouse via show-stopping, hypnotizing performances. They're a jazzy, bluesy version of retro-soul only now recording their first tracks, but she's already thinking of a full-band format. "I ultimately want the whole deal: piano, bass, drums, horns," Alonzo said. "I have it all in my head."

For now, they've proven all they need is each other. Check them out 9 p.m. Saturday at 502 Bar.

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