Sunset Session, a music-industry insiders convention that has been visiting San Diego for several years, returns next week.
The event brings together the people that put the music on the radio or in the commercials or video games ot TV shows or movies. It is an exclusive event that has typicially visited here twice a year -- one event is for what they call Triple A or adult alternative, the other is for active or alternative rock -- sort of like SxSW but scaled down so artists are actually able to reach the "tastemakers."
The event has been closed to the public in the past (though you can still buy badges at the registration table at the Hilton in Carlsbad), but Sunset Sessions recently began holding their evening showcases at the Belly Up, one reason being that it's much nicer to see a band in a club with real fans, not just the industry insiders who stand and nod. Also, it's a much more comfortable experience for the artists.
The attendees are radio programmers, music supervisors for TV/film and video games, artist managers, booking agents, brands, record labels and others, and convention-goers will attend panels at the Hilton that include Inside the Music Supervision World; How to Make Money at Triple A Radio; Bands, Brands and Radio Panel; and the Music Meeting Panel. Three days of conferences and three nights of music!
In the past, the conference has provided everything from intimate performances by Jason Mraz to interviews with Sammy Hagar. The list is pretty long, and quite a few of the acts who attended went from obscurity to radio play in a short period of time.
This year Sunset Sessions has a wide variety of artists, including Ziggy Marley, the Hold Steady, Augustana and Beware of Darkness. As I said, the shows at the Belly Up are open to the public, but the events at the Hilton Carlsbad are not.
Note to local bands, the lobby at the hotel is a great spot to drop off some CDs or promo flyers. And any band can buy into this and have the exclusive exposure -- Gayle Skidmore performed several years ago and gets invited back as an alumni every year. Look into it, local bands!
Tickets are still availabe for Thursday's show at the Belly Up with Ziggy Marley, the Hold Steady, Jeremy Messersmith, Aurora Barnes, Dez Money, DJ Mike Czech and Malcolm of Skratch n Sniff; as well as Friday's lineup of Augustana, the Parlotones, Beware of Darkness, Porter Lori, the Wind and the Wave, and Atlas Road Crew.
Saturday, however, is sold out, so you'll need to be creative or lucky to see the John Butler Trio, needtobreathe, Kodaline, Vance Joy, Arielle, and Flagship.
Tim Pyles, a longtime local who grew up in La Jolla, is the unofficial mayor of local music who hosts The Local 94/9 via FM94/9 every Sunday from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. He also books local acts at the Casbah, hosts the weekly Anti-Monday League, books/hosts the monthly Maryjane's Underground at the House Of Blues and is an entertainment writer for Pacific San Diego Magazine. Check out his website thelocalpyle.com and and follow him on Twitter @thelocalpyle. You can reach him directly here firstname.lastname@example.org