TBD Festival: Under the Radar

TBD Fest has just wrapped up this past weekend and I for one had a lovely and rip roaring good time listening to music, hanging out with friends and supporting local businesses and culture. For me the draw of any good music festival is two fold. One being the promise of seeing some of your favorite and typically well established head liner. Personally, this year’s festival’s most enticing lineup eye candy were MSMR, Danny Brown, and The Drums. All of whom delivered on their unspoken promise of fulfilling my desire see them perform live and perform well.

However, this blog is not about them. It is instead abut the second fold I mentioned earlier. An aspect that is equally vital, if not the direct line to the heart of any successful music festival. I speak of course, of the bands you didn’t know you wanted to see; but now that you have, you could not imagine having gone to this festival and not have their set be apart of your experience. This blog is about those bands who make festivals more than just an extra expensive way to see your favorite bands and turn it into a Pandora’s box of musical discovery.


The first such band I would like to highlight is Male Gaze. This band had my attention as soon as they announced their name, as I presume it is a reference to film theorist Laura Mulvey’s idea of “the male gaze” in cinema. Which, as a film student and theorist nerd, I appreciate immensely. But name aside, Male Gaze was killer. At first listen they appeared to be a n extremely tight and fuzzy lo-fi punk band. But as their set goes on and you begin to listen to their songs more in depth, they are revealed to be an extremely tight and fuzzy lo-fi punk band, with an ear for pop. Beneath the layers of pristine fuzz and feedback laced punk angst are some well crafted layers of surf pop and 80s Bowie infused pop hooks.

The second band I feel deserves some praise and greater recognition is quirky electro synth funk group French Horn Rebellion. Now, this band was recommended to me by my friends and colleagues here at the station, so I was expecting and hoping for a quality performance. But what I was not expecting was the explosion of frantic awesomeness that was French Horn Rebellion’s dance inducing, charisma infused set. As the name suggests front man Robert Perlick-Molinari lays down funky melodies on his French horn, as well as, taking up most of the singing, sequencing, and synth playing duties. The highlight of the set came when Perlick-Molinari burst off the stage and into the crowd to serenade a lucky female audience member with a sexy horn solo. For those of you who happened to miss the epicness that was this performance, fret not, for French Horn Rebellion will be back in Sacramento playing at LowBrau restaurant on Sunday November 2nd.MSMR

Last but not least is Small Pools, a band that  is on the up and up in the pop scene, getting a nice bit of radio play and love for their recently released self titled EP. Small Pools is probably the most well known group out of this bunch, but one that I had not heard of prior to stumbling upon their set, in the hopes they could provide some entertainment while we waited for MSMR. However, after their set was over, I came away more than pleasantly surprised at Small Pools paradoxical mix of crisp musical polish and charmingly awkward in between song banter. For me, their music bridges a sonic gap between fun, and Two Door Cinema Club. Blending shiny guitar lines with sparkling synths, party pop hooks and a subtle nostalgia for pop punk, Small Pools are able to capture the raw energy of a late night house party. It seemed that with each song their set just kept getting better and by the end, both me and my friend, were happy residents of the Small Pools fan base. Be on the look out for the drop of their LP, which is rumored to be coming out some time soon.coil

So if the festival scene has never seemed like your kind of thing, I hope this blog has shown you that the music festival has much more to offer than the glimmering appeal of big time headliners. That they offer a chance to poke around and explore the world of the bottom half of the lineup and maybe, just maybe you’ll find your new favorite band.

This blog has been brought to you by DJames, be sure to listen in to my shows each week from 3-4pm and 6-7pm, only on KSSU

TBD Fest 2014 Review

10497888_977879928905052_6671002027215165432_oAnd just like that, TBD Fest 2014 came and went.  I won’t bore you with the historical background of this festival (I already did that).  So lets get to it!

There were some technical difficulties of sorts to start things off.  The crowd was not let in to the grounds on opening day, October 3rd, until close to the close of amazing local band Autumn Sky’s set around 4 PM’ish.  Once things opened up and everyone came in, amazing happened.  I could tell you how amazing so many artists were this weekend, but that would be a very lengthy read for you.  Instead, just know that many were extremely on point.  But for the sake of getting it out there, here’s a list of bands I saw (in no particular order except from me reading the schedule from Friday to Sunday):  Autumn Sky, Who Cares, Exmag, Young Rising Sons, The Drums, Gramatik, Com Truise, Dillon Francis, Danny Brown, French Horn Rebellion, The War on Drugs, Male Gaze, Smallpools, Sister Crayon, MS MR, Teen Daze, Explosions in the Sky, Keys N Krates, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Total Slacker, Deltron 3030, 8th Grader, and Yacht. [Read more…]

TBD Fest Preview

tbd-fest-2014-1557452-regularComing on October 3rd, 4th, and 5th, Sacramento will be sonically assaulted by the biggest musical festival the 916 has yet to see.  From the makers of the Launch Festival comes to newly re-branded TBD Fest!

The Launch crew is seven years deep in experience with providing Sacramento with their SXSW-inspired festival.  For a number of years, Launch was a one day ordeal.  In 2012, Launch expanded into a two-day extravaganza.  Last year, Launch was a two-day party at Cesar Chavez Park, with a pre-party being held the Friday before at Ace of Spades.  Those three days last year was probably the most fun, enhancing, and artistically filled days of my life on the best coast.  Last saw headlining acts of Wallpaper on Friday at the pre-Launch Party at Ace of Spades, and Girl Talk and Imagine Dragons on Saturday and Sunday night at Cesar Chavez Park in Downtown Sacramento.   [Read more…]