Beautiful Noise, Exquisite Tastes, and Creative Minds: The Complete TBD Fest 2015 Experience

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This past weekend TBD Fest has left a mark of music, art, design, food, and ideas in the city of Sacramento. The festival drew in thousands of diverse people, locals and visitors alike, to experience the unique Sacramento festival that is TBD.

To start off, this weekend was incredible. Everything from the acts to the food was something to look back on. The lineup fit the flow of the weekend; starting Friday off with bang, reaching a pinnacle of epicness on Saturday, and concluding with a sure sense of satisfaction on Sunday       (sorry for the tongue twister).


Festival Grounds

A vital part of any festival is to get a feel of where you will be for the next few days. The first thing to do is find a schedule and a map. They weren’t readily available, but the customer service tent had no problem handing out printed schedules (nothing too fancy, just a print out). Since there was no map, the only option was to explore the grounds.


Having fun with the displays!

The grounds weren’t too vast and the layout was simple: a main stage on opposing sides with smaller stages near them. In between there was the “Rise + Create” space. A vendor village, complete with local vendors selling food, drinks, art, and clothing. All the food and drink being carefully crafted, the clothes being hand-made or hand-pressed, and beautiful pieces of art being created. This section of the festival truly shows the creative and tasteful minds of Sacramento. Near and around the “Rise + Create” space there were some awesome displays. Changing pillars of light, painted pyramids, murals, and the great display by PORTAL SAC. the perimeters of the grounds had the bars and food trucks. The festival even had it’s own giant ferris wheel (which all the proceeds from went to helping those recently affected by the California wildfires). There was a lot to see and do at TBD Fest besides watch the musical acts.


Demolicious Derby

If none of the musical acts were catching your attention or it was just too hot for you to be standing outside, then the “Demolicious Derby” was the place to go! It took place under a shaded tent with a nice patch of grass (I’m assuming so none of the dirt or dust flies into your food). It’s a cook off between two Sacramento chefs of the fine dining scene. They both have to use a certain ingredient. They also have to cook and serve out of a food truck. The food was completely free and completely delicious.

While waiting for the food, festival goers could watch the cooking from a live video feed screened on a large screen outside. The visuals and smells would make the audience even more hungry. Some moves such as adding the spice would make the audience “ooo” and “ahh.” A comedic MC would be hosting the event so it’s not just two dudes cooking food. Attendees would have to partake in both dishes and place their used forks in their respective choices. Both competitors were always good and humble chefs.

A little example of a cook off: both chefs had to use lamb. One made street tacos, but instead of a tortilla, he a used flattened and fried pork bun. The other made a greek style lamb poutine. Drooling yet? We were.


The Music

As mentioned  earlier, each day had a lineup that made a great flow for the weekend. Little disclaimer: I’m not really a big fan of EDM, so I didn’t catch much of the DJ sets.  

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Toro Y Moi

Friday was explosive. The first artist was the band, Cathedrals. With their chill, new wave sound, and heavy bass, Cathedrals gave the crowd something great to vibe to. Then I was able to catch Towkio, Chicago based rapper associated with Save Money and Vic Mensa. Even though the crowd didn’t know the words, Towkio and his DJ were able to pump up the crowd. Head back to the main stage and you would be able to catch the dreamy set of Toro Y Moi. This was one of the artists I was looking forward to watching the most, and they did not disappoint. Playing a good blend of the newest album, What

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Tyler, The Creator

for?, and their older stuff, the set was great. Ty Dolla $ign got the entire crowd dancing or jumping to his songs. The best part of his set was when he pulled out a bass and started groovin out (I didn’t know he could even play instruments). He was even able to stage dive into the crowd during the end of his set. The only EDM set I caught on Friday was some of was RL Grime’s. Playing a heavy trap set for the festival, he had everyone moving. The craziest crowd goes to the set of Sacramento native, Death Grips. The experimental industrial noise rap group made the biggest mosh pit of the weekend, bringing the first big dust cloud into the air. Being in the mosh, I breathed in a little too much dirt. The night ended with Tyler the Creator bringing  energy to the stage. Although he couldn’t bring the visuals he wanted, the set was still crazy. The crowd moshed, jumped, and sang along to the words. It wouldn’t be a Tyler the Creator set without his comedic side comments. The day really set the mood for the rest of the weekend.


Chance the Rapper

Saturday was big. With the longest day of TBD Fest, there was a lot to do. Although the day was spent mostly walking around the grounds, eating, and hanging out, all the musical acts were great. Dark pop duo, ASTR, started the day off for me. They gave an electrifying performance with some heavy bass hits, melodic scales and licks, and some crazy dance moves. I even had the pleasure of interviewing them backstage (interview coming soon, really cool people). Joywave, an electronic indie band, drew one of the larger crowds for the small stages. Before playing, they took time to perfect their sound and it was worth it. The crowd was very responsive with each song and it was awesome to be apart of. Ratatat was one of my favorites for the weekend. The electric guitar duo had holograms and lasers, putting on one of the best visuals for the weekend. Porter Robinson had some nice visuals as well. Although I couldn’t really vibe to the music, he still put on a good show equipped with anime graphics and massive confetti shots. The crowd loved it. I was able to catch the tail end of Magic Man’s set on the opposing small stage. Although there weren’t that many people watching the set, they still gave it their all and ended with their hit, Paris. Chance the Rapper was the main act I was looking forward to for the whole weekend. The set was amazing. He came with his full band, Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment, which made for a much fuller sound. The visuals weren’t top notch, but it didn’t matter because the music and energy put out from the performance was, to me, the best for this weekend. Sing alongs, jumping around, crowd participation, amazing trumpet solos, it had it all. Even though he admit to go out of order of their intended set due to excitement (Chance would become a father two days later) they still made it the best. Saturday had something big for fans of all different music genres.

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Tears For Fears

Sunday was a great way for the weekend to wind down. Up and coming rap/r&b artist (who recently made a song with Kanye West) Post Malone put on a good five song set to start off our day. Although he has blown up due to the success of his hit song, White Iverson, Post Malone still kept it humble, and kept it entertaining. He even performed White Iverson again for his closer, having the crowd sing the entire last verse to closer. After, we were walking and on the nearby small stage, this band O began to play. They were able to keep us and the others for their whole set. They’re an indie band from San Francisco, do check them out. I was sad to have missed Dr. Dog and A Place to Bury Strangers due to attending a Demolicious Derby, but I heard the sets were amazing. Right when we got to A Place to Bury Strangers, the lead singer had just smashed his guitar to end his set. Sad to have missed that, but it was on to the 90’s alt rock band, Dinosaur Jr.! Although they are getting old, they can still play flawlessly. With great

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tunes and heart reaching solos, Dinosaur Jr. had a high-caliber set. After, Black Lips took the smaller stage. This goofy garage rock outfit from Georgia had a really fun set. After some jokes and moshing ensued, it was time for the OG (an older act, usually more famous in the 80’s)  headliner (every festival has to have one amiright?), Tears for Fears! Watching their set was like jumping back into the past, a time where most of the people attending TBD were either not alive or too young to go to a concert. Of course, the crowd sang along to classic hits such as Everybody Wants to Rule the World and their closer, Shout. They even surprised the audience with a slower yet full version of Creep by Radiohead. Madeon electrified the crowd as the last EDM performance of the weekend. I had to jump around a few times for that performance. I wasn’t able to stay, but I heard and read that crowd favorite Chromeo properly wrapped up TBD Fest with their funky tunes.


Closing Remarks

2015-09-22 04.01.12Overall, TBD Fest is a must-go for anyone in Sacramento, the surrounding Northern California area, or anyone in the world that wants to have a good time. Although not as big as famous festivals such as Cochella, TBD Fest is able to provide some of the top acts in music today in a comfortable yet enthralling environment. Everyone from the acts to the volunteers to the workers to the security to everyone else helped make this weekend what it was. It wasn’t just  about the music, but about the local artistic minds and tastemakers coming together to bring entertainment to Sacramento. It’s exactly what this city needs, a positive driving force in today’s creative culture.



Check out our mini Instagram Vlogs of the Festival!

If you liked this article, be sure to tune into on Wednesdays from 6:00pm-7:00pm for the 30/30! 30 minutes of music followed by 30 minutes of talk with me, Jerel Labson! 

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A Break Down of “Oh My God” by Sticky Fingaz Through an Anti-Anti -Essentialism Lens


Throughout the course of hip-hop culture anti-anti-essentialism has always played an essential element in conveying subliminal messages to their listeners. Anti-anti-essentialism is a technique that is used in many art forms, especially in visual and musical art. For instance, when an artist uses futuristic and transformative images, symbols, production style, and/or word play to deconstruct the embedded perceptions and implicit biases towards African American hip-hop culture. The first few artists that came to mind are George Clinton and the Parliament, Fela Kuti, OutKast, Missy Elliot, MIA and Nicki Minaj.

Although, I am aware of that hip-hop artist often use “trippy” or futuristic imagery to convey a deeper messages to their listeners. However, I did not have a deeper understanding and analysis of how hip-hop artist use anti-anti-essentialism to convey subconscious messages. It was not until last semester when I took Hip-Hop Music in Urban America course at Sacramento State that I began to look more in depth into the concept of anti-anti-essentialism through a hip-hop culture lens.

As I gained more insight into concept of anti-anti-essentialism I realized that anti-anti-essentialism is not merely about futuristic and trippy images, yet instead comparing and contrasting two different identities that are unrelated. The purpose of anti-anti- essentialism is to reveal and highlight an additional demission to pan-Africanism that is a not always showcased in mainstream media. Anti-anti-essentialism illustrates an undertone of complex thought and progression in black culture. In my hip-hop class I was required to chose and rap write a song that is good example of using anti-anti-essentialism. The first hip-hop song that came to me was “Oh my God” by Sticky Fingaz.

Kirk Jones aka Sticky Fingaz is an American hip-hop rapper, actor, film director, and record producer. He is a member of the multi-platinum record selling rap group called Onyx. His name comes from the slang term “sticky fingers” given to someone who is a thief. In the introduction of the song “Oh My God” Sticky Fingaz is crying out to “God” or ancestral being after Sticky finds out his friend has been murdered. There are two voices in this song, there is Sticky Fingaz voice and there is “God” or a deity’s voice. God’s voice has a very clear, deep, calming, and masculine tone. However, Sticky Fingaz voice has a high pitched and frantic tone. The conversation between God and Sticky Fingaz adds a subconscious element of signifying because the pitch of voices illustrates a deeper insight of spirituality in the black community.

Throughout the song Sticky Fingaz is bombarding God with series of questions regarding the philosophy of spirituality, the purpose of life and living. Although God is answering all of Sticky’s questions, yet Sticky is not satisfied with the answers that he is getting from God because Sticky’s character cannot comprehend what God is explaining to him. His understanding of a higher spirituality is limited to pre-conditioned ideologies that are ingrained in American culture. Sticky cannot accept the fact that life is less complex than humans make it out to be. Sticky’s character represents the broader identity of American culture, comprehension, and perception of death. In some ways the Westernized conception of the purpose of life and death can be deemed as primitive because Sticky and like many other human beings, will only accept what is tangible to them, and information that backed with Westernized technology and scientific research.

After God answers Sticky’s last question the closing hook is Sticky singing, “If you could talk to God, exactly what would you say? (2x), if you could talk to God”. I thought this closing line was interesting because the way Sticky is singing the lyrics. The closing lines are a conversation between God and Sticky and turns into the chores of the song. His words are dragged out and it lingers an ominous feeling. There is also a blues influence in the chorus.

I think this song is a great example of anti-anti-essentialism because there are multiple-juxtaposing identities illustrated. One of the first examples demonstrated this “hood” or “thug” man is having a profound spiritual conversation with a ancestral higher being. Not only is Sticky open to having this conversation with this spiritual being, but he is also asking “God” profound and thought provoking questions. Revealing this image of a black man illuminates the conception of that black men do have complex thoughts and experiences surrounding the philosophy of religion and spirituality.

This image is not traditionally promoted to represent black men. By Sticky Fingaz exposing this alternative dimension of him reflects and while deconstructing the single-story complex of the black man in America. The dominant stereotype of black men from the hood predominantly illustrates violence, disparity, and hopelessness, this is why this song is a great example of anti-anti-essentialism because this “hood” or “thuggish” man is having insightful and profound conversation with higher spiritual being illustrates the multidimensional aspects in black culture.

Stay funky and keep it juicy,

DJ AfroDust a radio DJ at KSSU

#SpectrumRadioPodcast #KSSU

Wedding Crashers: Punjabi Edition

By: Joanne Serrieh

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Never in my life would I have ever thought of crashing a wedding until I received an assignment titled “being the other.” For this assignment, I was required to attend some kind of event where I would be the only one who’s “the other.” I had to make sure I stood out wherever I decide to go. I remember how excited I was when I received this assignment and I knew I would enjoy it. Most other students planned on attending some kind of religious service at a church, mosque, temple, etc. but I wanted something different, something unique.

For a while I was totally lost not knowing what I should do. I did not want to attend a religious event because that’s too typical and might have been a little boring. I knew I wanted to do something different so I decided to crash a wedding reception. Not just any wedding, but a Punjabi wedding where unless you are dressed in traditional Indian attire you will stand out and attract everyone’s attention. photo 4

I found out about this wedding through a friend and got all the details for the time and place then decided to show up. I wore a simple black cocktail dress with heels, did my hair and makeup and headed over to the banquet hall. The reception was set to start at 6 p.m. at the White Lotus Banquet Hall right behind India Oven restaurant in Citrus Heights. I showed up at 7 p.m. thinking I’m late only to realize the parking lot was still empty. I was expecting to see a full lot since I heard there would be about 400 people attending but there were only 20 cars or so parked even though I arrived an hour late. I was not too surprised because I am used to people showing up really late to Arab and Middle Eastern events that I usually attend. I sat in my car for about half an hour. I was nervous because I had no idea what to expect. Will I feel awkward? Will they realize I’m not invited? Will I find people willing to discuss their culture and traditions with a wedding crasher? I took a deep breath, built up the courage and walked in.

photo 1 The Punjabi music was blasting and could be heard all the way to the outside of the building. Walking down the hall that leads to the main entrance I caught a glimpse of all the lighting and decorations through a window on my right. Beautiful bright colors lit up the room. Other people were walking in at the same time. Men were dressed in suits and some, mostly the older men, wore the traditional turban. The women were all in different colored Indian outfits which I later learned are called shalwaar kameez. There were family members standing by the main door greeting guests, I smiled, nodded and said hello as I walked in. For a second I felt like everything around me stopped moving and I was the only one standing in place just blown away with all of the colors and elaborate decorations. Then I walked across the dance floor to some empty tables and grabbed a seat. Of course there were people looking and probably wondering who I was and why I was even there but that was the point of the assignment. Not many people will admit this but that kind of attention is nice sometimes.

During one of the performances

During one of the performances

Hors d’oeuvre were served buffet style and I was curious to see what was offered. I walked to the back corner where I found samosas, chicken tika masala, tandoori bread, yogurt sauce, chutney, and different salads. All of this could have been considered a meal but these were only the appetizers. I was not hungry at that point so I just grabbed a drink and went back to my table.

It was almost 8 p.m. and the bride and groom had not yet arrived. The DJ booth was right next to my table. The DJ did a great job of keeping the guests entertained with all the mixes and tracks he played. No one was on the dance floor yet and I don’t know how people were able to sit through all of those songs and not  feel the urge to rush to the dance floor.

As we were all awaiting the arrival of the bride and groom I asked a younger guest sitting at the adjacent table a few questions about the traditions of an Indian Punjabi wedding. In about five minutes Bhupinder Badwal thoroughly explained to me everything that takes place leading up to the wedding reception. Wedding celebrations typically last three days in the Indian culture. The first party is the henna night. The next day, the day before the wedding, the groom has a party at his house with a DJ. The bride also has a party at her house where different kinds of oils, provided by the bride’s family, are rubbed onto her as part of the traditions. These are like going away parties but everything is supposed to be simple. The groom grows photo-1.PNG out his beard because it is a tradition to have a beard for the wedding ceremony and the bride does not wear any makeup. Rajeev Basra, another guest, added to the information that Badwal gave me. He said, “The night before the wedding, it’s a tradition for the families of the bride and groom to get a bowl filled with candles and lights that they put on their heads and walk around the streets to tell people ‘Hey, we have a wedding.’”

The actual ceremony takes place at a temple located in the same city where the bride’s family lives and they are the ones who pay for it. Inside the temple, men and women are separated and the couple sits upfront. The couple makes four laps around the priest, each lap signifies something in the marriage but unfortunately Badwal did not know what this signifies. The bride’s brothers stand around the priest, bride and groom while the couple is holding a material that holds them together. As the bride is walking around the priest the brothers surrounding them signifies them giving her away. They sit down and do a prayer after the first lap then go for another lap to a total of four laps. After the fourth lap the couple is considered officially married. “In the Indian culture the girl leaves her family behind after the ceremony and goes with her husband and the husband’s parents because now she provides for them,” said Badwal. Following traditions, the first meal that the bride and groom have right after the ceremony is provided by the bride’s parents and it is an all vegetarian meal.

Choreographed performance put on by a group of young guys

Choreographed performance put on by a group of young guys

Following the wedding ceremony everyone goes back to the bride’s house. “That’s super emotional, her parents are crying, she’s giving hugs to her family, her suitcases are ready and she says her final goodbyes,” said Badwal.

If the bride and groom are from different cities, the reception takes place the second day because it would be really hard to get all of the guests to the other city. For this wedding, both families are from Sacramento so the reception took place on the same night as the ceremony. Unlike the ceremony, the reception guests are always from the groom’s side with only the close side of the bride’s family present. The couple clean up for the reception, the groom shaves his beard they get really dressed up.

Mickey Singh and Sandhu performing

Mickey Singh and Sandhu performing

At the reception the bride arrived with her husband while her family waited at the banquet hall just like all of the other guests. The couple walked down a decorated isle draped on both sides with colored material that led to the dance floor where the wedding cake was. They cut the cake, took some photos then had the first dance. Following the first dance there was another slow dance where other couples joined. “Till midnight everyone will just be dancing and drinking the night away,” said Badwal.

The DJ made an announcement that there will be a surprise performance by two Punjabi singers, Mickey Singh and Sandhu. I am not familiar with Punjabi music but judging from the guests’ reactions, especially the young ladies, these two musicians are popular in the Punjabi community. I ran up to the dance floor to record videos and take photos of Mickey and Sandhu performing with the guests dancing and singing along on the dance floor. At one point I felt like I was at a concert  instead of a wedding. These guys were very entertaining and great performers but I felt like this took away attention from the bride and groom. The couple was on the dance floor dancing but the guests all had their attention focused on the singers. The dance floor was packed and everyone seemed like they were enjoying every second of their time. I know I was already having a great time and the night was just getting started. Mickey and Sandhu performed for a while then they posed for photos with the guests then left. Even though I didn’t know who these guys were I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take a picture with them of course.

With Sandhu (left) and Mickey Singh (right)

With Sandhu (left) and Mickey Singh (right)

I am not the kind of person who enjoys being a wall flower at weddings or any kind of party. I was running around taking pictures and videos on the dance floor so I had to at least attempt to dance to Punjabi music. Did I know what I was doing on the dance floor? No. Did I enjoy at least trying to dance? I sure did. I observed for a few minutes and some people tried showing me steps but all I could do was try my best and just laugh with everyone else.

Overall, I learned a lot about a culture that I was completely unfamiliar through this experience. Weddings are a great place to go if one needs a crash course on cultures and traditions especially since people at weddings are usually in a joyful mood willing to speak to anyone to share their culture and traditions. I never thought crashing a wedding would be this fun and I’m thinking of making this my new hobby. Crash random weddings then blog about them. One thing that I’ll keep in mind for the next wedding is to try to learn some traditional dance moves beforehand.

Joanne Serrieh is a Radio Presenter
All The Latest With Joanne Tuesdays at 3 p.m.
Twitter: @JoanneSerrieh #AllTheLatestKSSU