San Diego Music Thing returns for another year to celebrate all things music this weekend. Besides its original purpose as a two-day arts conference at the Lafayette Hotel in North Park, the corresponding “festival” of sorts sets up shops at some of San Diego’s most popular music venues for two nights stuffed to the brim with an interesting mix of local and touring bands.
Here is a summary of all the live music festivities. There's something for everybody, so whether you’re into EDM or indie folk, you’ll find something to satisfy any possible musical urge you may have.
Friday, September 14
Bar Pink: Bar Pink’s set-up on Friday features some of garage rock’s finest, headlined by Austin rockers Ume. Once touted by Rolling Stone as one of the best unsigned bands in the United States, the group will appear at Bar Pink alongside Voxhaul Broadcast, punk rock guitar god and MC5 co-founder Wayne Kramer, eclectic garage-folk outfit He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, dream-poppy Angelenos So Many Wizards and San Diego’s own Wild Wild Wets.
Claire de Lune: At Claire de Lune, a jazz, rock and soul vibe will be served up via performances by local jazz-rock group Tori Roze & the Hot Mess, Bart Mendoza & True Stories, the soulful Miss Erika Davies, indie-pop locals the Country Fair and a very mysterious and equally special guest.
Eleven: Local rock favorites Family Wagon will headline the Friday festivities at Eleven with indie rockers Sleep Lady, Quebec metalheads Archons, LA indie-pop group Mini Mansions and wildly melodic local art metal outfit KATA.
Soda Bar: Southern California indie pop sets the tone for the talent at Soda Bar on Friday of the fest. The lineup features the fantastic Nite Jewel, aka Los Angeles’ Ramona Gonzales, who comes to San Diego with her unique lo-fi electro-pop sound. Joining Nite Jewel on stage are poppy L.A. groups Superhumanoids, JJAMZ, A House For Lions and locally based Maren Parusel.
Sunset Temple: Whether you call it cowpunk, alt-country, alt-punk or chicano rock, Alejandro Escovedo has done it all. This prolific singer/songwriter will share the stage at Sunset Temple with a bevy of talented singer/songwriters including San Diego’s own Gregory Page, Ben Taylor (who is the offspring of James Taylor and Carly Simon), L.A. punk/bluegrass outfit Old Man Markley and “gypsy jazz absinthe bar music” band Noah & the Megafauna.
The Casbah: Oakland’s Hunx & His Punx will take the stage at the Casbah for what is sure to be an engaging show, encompassing Hunx’s love for '50s rock & roll, '60s girl groups, punk rock and bubblegum pop. Fellow punxster Shannon Shaw will pull a split shift as her band, Shannon & the Clams, will perform as well. San Diego’s Mrs. Magician, Echo Park’s finest NO and San Diego’s garage rock outfit the Kabbs round out the awesome lineup with delightfully sassy rockers Bunny Gang holding it down in the Atari Lounge.
The Office: Jazzy siblings Mattson 2 are highly regarded around town for the versatility of settings where their songs would be appropriate. The duo will take up the nightclub scene at North Park’s the Office alongside Ted Washington and the soul-funk sounds of San Diego’s the Fire Eaters.
Tin Can Ale House: Timothy Joseph, who releases music under the moniker the Palace Ballroom, will perform at Tin Can Ale House alongside the band that author Dave Eggers declared as having his favorite new bandname of last year, Manuok, as well as Drew Andrews and River City.
U31: Alt-country, whisky and women are likely topics that will come up when Blackout Party takes the stage at U-31. They will be joined by San Diegans the Heavy Guilt, St. Louis roots Americana musician Pokey Lafarge & the South City Three, rockers Strange Vine and Crash & the Burns
Whistle Stop: One-woman singing and dancing machine Smile Now Cry Later, aka Liz Santos, will perform at Whistle Stop alongside her lawfully wedded husband Rafter, ferocious electro-pop outfit Lion Cut and a DJ set by SoundDiego’s own Robin Roth.
Saturday, September 15
Bar Pink: Tropical Popsicle will drop some tropical psych-folk on Bar Pink for night two of the San Diego Music Thing. Also appearing at Bar Pink are L.A. indie-rock outfit Races, North County’s the Howls, IAMDYNAMITE, Hills Like Elephants, and Church Hustlers.
Claire de Lune: Folk and Americana take over Claire de Lune with performances by Josh Damigo, Jesse LaMonaca & the Dime Novels, Colin Clyne, Vanja James and Karla Davis.
Eleven: Experimental rock fans will want to camp out at Eleven for the night for performances by SoundDiego LIVE alums the Burning of Rome, plus Deadly Birds, Children of Nova, Subsurfer and Ben Union.
Queen Bee (all ages): The sound of apocalyptic, purely primal rock & roll will push you to the ground with performances by Retox, Ghetto Blaster Coda Reactor, Sculpins, and Rail Them to Death at Queen Bees. This show is all-ages, but get ready to get roughed up.
Soda Bar: Dream-punk rockers from Roanoke, Va. Eternal Summers will take the stage at Soda Bar along with indie electro-buzz band White Arrows, Philadelphia shoegaze/post-punk outfit Bleeding Rainbow, Shake Before Us, and someone so very special who will headline.
Sunset Temple (all ages): Sunset Temple will host pioneering San Diego favorites Pinback for a special show. The band has been relatively quiet after the release of its 2007 record Autumn of the Seraphs. In that time, the band has taken time to nurse side projects such as frontman Rob Crowe’s tinfoil-clad Devfits project and his worthy-of-an-Adult-Swim-show project Optigonally Yours, featuring Mattel’s 1970’s toy organ the Optigon. Now, the band is back together on the heels of the announcement of its fifth studio album Information Retrieved, which is to be released in Oct. 2012. The band will be joined by Mac Demarco, Hume, Jamuel Saxon and Dr. Seahorse.
The Casbah: Former Fleet Fox J. Tillman has garnered much critical praise for his new project Father John Misty. The experimental folk singer will perform at the Casbah alongside veteran local musicians Get Back Loretta, Dead Feather Moon, Wildcat Wildcat and Kevin Martin. The bluesy one-man show known as Low Volts will set up his kickdrum/tamborine contraption in the Atari Lounge and is certainly not to be missed.
The Office: Does the name Public Enemy ring a bell? Prolific doesn’t touch the surface when describing the contributions of Chuck D, rapper, activist, producer and the former leader of Public Enemy. Chuck D makes a very special appearance as San Diego Music Thing’s keynote speaker and at the Office alongside Public Enemy turntablist DJ Lord. Also appearing at the Office are San Diego electronic group Illuminauts and recent recipients of the Best Hip-Hop award at the 2012 San Diego Music Awards, Parker & the Numberman.
Tin Can Ale House: Local hardcore rock/punk/metal groups will dominate the stage at Tin Can Ale House on Saturday of the San Diego Music Thing. Locals Lord Howler cite rock, metal, horror, punk, libations and world domination as their sound, which makes for a live set of true raw power. The rockers will be joined by hardcore outfit the Long & Short Of It, San Diego natives Upsilon Acrux and party punks the Lumps.
U-31: Straight-up rock & roll takes the stage at U-31 with San Francisco-based '70s revivalists the Stone Foxes, Chula Vista’s dapper rockers the Beautiful View, L.A. rockers Queen Caveat, reckless garage outfit Natural Child and gritty Americana locals Santos.
Whistle Stop: The much-beloved Whistle Stop staple Booty Bassment goes down with appearances by blues/alt-country groups the Bedbreakers and Grandpa Drew.
That's a lot of music for two days so be sure to plan ahead, carb up and stay hydrated. The SDMT website has all the set times, but everyone’s a musician so it probably won’t be on time.