t.i. "top back" live on bet awards
like this, but powerful. peep the flickr profile for my photoset.
Hey you know what the 2007 UCSD Sun God Festival was a rip roaring good time! And a total sell out! And the "biggest sun god festival ever" and, as much as I HATE to admit it- it was likely due to the unconventional choice of third eye blind as co- headliner- a decision made my budding promotions impressario kevin highland. highland, a ucsd undergrad displayed impeccable decision making powers in booking the line up- which also featured t.i., ozomatli, ben kweller, fifty on their heels & mc flow. take note of this lad- kevin highland. he would make an excellent intern at the casbah, house of blues, 94/9, 91x, etc. I've got his email if anyone is looking.
The extended Cat Dirt posse rolled up at precisely 5 PM- we in the Cat Dirt family of artists pride ourselves on punctuality. That comes from a couple of years of putting on OUR OWN outdoor concerts- like, say, Sessions Fest- coming again this september. You need to have the opening bands on point and on time or that can create problems on the back end. More then anything, I wanted both Fifty and Flow to be ON TIME.
The mostly student staff was most kind, very appreciatve and not at all assholes. Really- they were very professional and put I don't know, say, the House of Blues? to shame. TO SHAME.
They had a sweeett "green room" it's where they give the artists and crew food and drink. No booze, but good food. and coffee and that was pretty cool. T.I. didn't even show till 930 and Third Eye Blind was um... not being social.
The first act was the battle of the bands winner from UCSD- they had their own banner and good merch, they had a straight up white boy reggae/ska sound which is like "meah" for me.
MC flow was the first act on the main stage- the main stage was fucking enormous. I think Kevin said it was the same stage they used at Street Scene. I don't even want to know what that costs. But Flow was pretty stoked and despite some mild, turntable related drama, everything went smoothly (note: it is NOT ok to "borrow" ti's turntable rig- that shit simply does not fly).
MC Flow put on a sparkling set. She seemed energized by the atmosphere, even though the crowd was, at best indifferent. The crowd was still "arriving" up until halfway into the third eye blind set/extended jam a thon- which was about 10 PM. It looked like getting in was a total nightmare because of all the security they had. Seriously- I've never seen so much law enforcement and security but the show was a total sell out.
Fifty on Their Heels went on right after MC Flow. They used two stages- main and side, and the next band went on as soon as the band on the other stage finished their set. So, MC Flow was on the main stage, finished, and then fifty on their heels show. Again- a great set. I really didn't feel like there was a whole lot of difference between the "local" and "touring" acts, except, of course, for audience appreciation Ben Kweller, who was next on the side stage, enjoyed the Fifty on Their Heels set, and said so on stage during his set ("keep you eye out for the band that played before me. they're great.").
After Fifty ended their set on time, I breathed a sigh of relief. We had delivered our opening sets on schedule, and that was really all I cared about.
The band after Fifty on Their Heels was touring with Third Eye Blind. Strike one! They had a fucking jar begging for money so they could raise $15,000 to record their first record(!)(!). Are you fucking kidding me? A fucking tip jar? Asking for 15K to record a cd? Fuck off. If you want to spend 15k on your first record, spend it, but don't beg from fans when you're on the road with third eye blind. have some dignity.
Ben Kweller played- he was good, great crowd reaction- mentioned fifty on their heels (sort of) on stage, people loved him. He was pretty good. Not really a fan, but I came away from the perf. with new found respect for Ben Kweller. Got some good pictures of him.
Next was Third Eye Blind and man- was it fucking bonkers for these cats. Who would have thought? The crowd was hanging on every word of Stephen Jenkins. He was alot...um... fatter? Then I remember from the semi charmed life video. He was clad in jeans, tucked in t-shirt(!), velvet jacket(!) & belt.
Because I care so much, here is the set list, procured by Tania of Sound, Sound, Sound (our guest).
Third Eye Blind 3eb Set List from UCSD Sun God Festival 2007
1) Losing a Whole Year
2) Crystal Baller
5) never let you go
6) 1000 julys
8) deep inside you
9) motorcycle drive by
10) summer town
13) semi charmed life
How's it Going to Be
(Slow Motion and God of Mine CUT for time concerns)
Now what is there to say about Third Eye Blind. Woof. Where do I even start? First, do you see how song 11 and 12 are both "jumper"? That's because the song was stretched out to 10+ minutes to include BOTH an insufferable guitar solo AND a lengthy, and totally unnecessary drum solo. No lie. Man oh man. He wore a top hat? With his velvet jacket? For a couple of songs during the set? Yeah. Top hat.
Jenkins expressed appropriate concern for the kids who were being crushed to death due to the incredible fan enthusiasm. I was quite taken aback at the level of fan enthusiasm for Third Eye Blind, but in retrospect, it looks like genius booking. These kids were singing along- for whole verses. Crazy.
That does not change the fact that Third Eye Blind seems like a pretty douchy bunch of cats. My personal highlight came when I was in the area between the stage and the fans- the photography pit, basically-- and I personally wtinessed a disreputable looking roadie (procurer?) walk from being on the stage, into the pit, and hand out third eye blind passes to three YOUNG looking girls. Um yeah. AND then I took pictures of the girls- see if you can find them in my flickr photo set- worth it to see how YOUNG those girls looked. Aight?
Near the end of the set I moved in between the stage where 3eb was finishing up and the stage where Ozomatli was about to play and waited with Kevin for 3eb to bring it down. Did I mention their huge "THIRD EYE BLIND" glowing sign that was hung behind the stage? No? Well they had one. Ultimately though- Third Eye Blind sold out that show, and that is all you really need to know.
Ozomatli was next. I was impressed that they had their own fans there, but personally- I'm not a big fan. There is just too much going on. I like to be able to focus- and I really don't like multiple rapping vocalists unless strictly necessary. Too "busy" I guess.
Watched the cops drag out dude after dude in hand cuffs- under cover buy/bust operation? Hey dudes- don't sell grass to old guys- those old guys are cops!!! Lesson for X fest/Indpendence Jam- I like how the cops are making busts at the ucsd sun god festival- that's so fucking classy. fucking cops. But if you deal drugs at a concert you deserve whatever you get.
So that brings us to my personal highlight- seeing T.I. in person. T.I. is just on my list of acts I want to see- like Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy-- I mean i LIKE what I've heard of T.I. on record. He seems possessed of a certain charisma and style that sets him apart. I wanted to get a good back stage photo of him taking the stage, but man- black hooded sweat shirt, large posse, and he's about 5'4". so small! like t.i.n.y. but seriously- he was really great. beats sounded great- delivery was on point. So yeah. Thumbs up on T.I.
Didn't stay for the whole set, but I do believe I might to pay to see him again if it was part of a larger bill, perhaps with Lil Wayne? I dunno- I liked T.I. He's just got a big things going on.
Dedicated to classics and hits.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
show review: 2007 UCSD Sun God Festival w/ T.I., Third Eye Blind, Ben Kweller, Fifty on Their Heels, and MC Flow
t.i. "top back" live on bet awards
Friday, May 18, 2007
First of all- UCSD Sun God Festival is at RIMAC field on UCSD campus. Hope that helps everyone. There is a box office somewhere around there. Etc.
Second of all- please read this article so you can UNDERSTAND my RIVALRY PARTY costume on Saturday. That's Grand Ole Party v. Muslims? Yes? You miss that party on saturday night , you are not nearly as cool as you think you are. End of Statement!
Inside a Mini Dorm!!
Please review my new blog. It's called "newly discovered planets" and it is all about newly discovered (extra solar) planets. I know all my readers are fascinated by outer space. Admit it.
Newly Discovered Planets (New Cat Dirt Blog)
Monday, May 14, 2007
show review(s): Endless Bummer, Beat Beat Whisper, Water Colors @ The Habitat AND North Atlantic and Red Fang @ The Casbah
Sunday 5/13/07 (Mothers Day)
Endless Bummer(San Diego)
Beat Beat Whispter(Santa Cruz/Berkeley)
Water Colors(Santa Barbara
@ The Habitat
The North Atlantic (San Diego)
Red Fang (Portland)
@ The Casbah
Endless Bummer @ The Habitat House
I'm not much for a proper chronology. Endless Bummer was the head liner for the Habitat show. It is a two person group concerned with Dave (Che Cafe Booker) and a woman whose name I forgot. Endless Bummer kind of had a beat happening/neil hamburger vibe to it. Basically, Dave would play key board and the woman played percussion and the lyrics were kind of off beat, but heart felt (or the opposite of heart felt) and interesting. The between stage patter by Dave was pretty hilarious- and I know my comedy! The whole performance seemed kind of complicated to understand, which I like. I won't presume to pass judgment at this point- though my tenative is a strong thumbs up, because I'm going to see them open for Calvin Johnson at the Che Cafe later this month. Or is it june? Pending! Also, I think Endless Bummer would be PERFECT for a Rythym Lounge- maybe MC Flow, Endless Bummer, Boyish Charms- late july? Let's do this: CAT DIRT PRESENTS.
Water Colors @ The Habitat
That's Roy of the Habitat there on "tiny drum set" Water Colors was another two piece out of Santa Barbara. Best thing about their set was the repeated observation by the 22 year old vocalist that everyone was "so old here." Hey thanks! Again- I'm not sure if there some wry humor going on- one of her songs was about obtaining troubling medical diagnosis- which is either uncomfortably personal song writing OR semi-brilliant schtick. Like Endless Bummer, I was kind of concerned with how to interpret what I saw- but that's a GOOD THING.
Beat Beat Whispter was a brother/sister two piece from Santa Cruz (but moving to Berkeley). They had the most fully developed act of the three performers- and a full length cd, which i bought and will post mp3s from... later. not now. i'm interested to listening to their record- they kind of had a calexico vibe, which i like. "im all about calexico, band AND city."
After hurriedly trying to book endless bummer for my hypthetical rythym lounge show in mid/late july, I had to run to the Casbah to see The North Atlantic.
Walked in on Red Fang (Portland, Oregon). They had a doom rock sound- older gentleman- kind of a portland version of the swami records vibe- ya dig? Loud- glad I had ear plugs. I am a sucker for doom rock/metal. DOOOOMMMM!
Finally I had my long awaited encounter with the North Atlantic. The vibe was um, sedate but I saw some devoted North Atlantic fans singing along to the tunes and a band that had a well developed stage show- pedals! comptuers! electronic effects! They are a clear nominee, if not winner of "San Diego Music Awards "Best Alternative Band" this year. They HAVE to be nominated in that category. I would kind of compare them to Filter and/or Fugazi. The electronic effects are pretty "alt rock" but alot of the underlying bass/guitar work is kind of jawboxy "post hard core" and the drumming is rock/punk. The performative aspects- jumping around lead singer, cerebral aspect to appearance, def. reminded me of the "DC Scene"- but the more accessible side. Snowden is another contemporary reference point.
I didn't hear a single type song- but I didn't stay for the whole set. It was super late. I am soooooooo tired. But thanks to Roy for another great Habitat show and Cullen North Atlantic for putting me on the guest list. North Atlantic/Fifty on Their Heels/Roman Spring JULY FRIDAY NIGHT @ The Casbah.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
let me tell you about a band called slab city. slab city is from el centro, california and they have five band members- drummer (pictured above), singer (felipe who is, i am happy to report- not a crackhead, but is pretty cool), guitarist and bassist annnnddd a keyboardist/back up vocalist. they are about to unleash their mayhem on an unsuspecting west coast, and i would be deeply, deeply worried about said unleashed mayhem. they took the stage in costumes: freddy krueger, mexican wrestler, um... shirtless drummer wearing a green cape(superhero?), and keyboardist wearing hat made out of beer carton (um... help me out on that one.)
they kind of reminded me of a "bizarro" atoms- kind of the obverse of that band, with certain similarities in song writing (simple, punk inspired) and audience reaction (all ages, enthusiastic). that being said, atoms are more devo, and slab city is more... misfits? in inspiration. however you want to phrase it, i was impressed by slab city and it was sweet to see them in their home environment. i felt privelged, in all honesty.
ok. this guy. the um... "venue" is called la casa tia tina and it is a kind of all ages venue/artists collective located in the beating heart of mexicali, mexico. it is basically a bombed out series of structures located about a mile from the calexico/mexicali border crossing. and they have art on the walls. shows take place on a "whenever they want to do it" basis. they seem to have some kind of organizational structure- marcos booked the show, and then they had volunteers who were taking tickets and what not. the sitch with alcohol was "b.y.o.b."although for some reason you couldn't bring in OPEN cans.
the atmosphere seemed akin to d.i.y./punk/art spaces i've seen in many cities- gilman street in the sf bay area, the che cafe in san diego, the beehive in washington d.c., the smell in los angeles, abc no rio in new york city. You get the idea. I really have no basis for evaluating the vitality of this partic scene. my observation was that it seemed pretty healthy. it was not bonkers or "off the hook."
i think la casa tia tina is an important d.i.y venue in mexicali, mexico. very easy, logistically- bands should not be concerned about bringing their equipment into mexico- the risk of theft seemed low, low, low. also the directions are easy- take 8 east from san diego 100 miles, take a right onto 111 follow it into mexicali and hang a left on ave nicolas bravo (one mile in). easy, peezy.
the only negative was that the first band didn't start until 11:30 PM! Ho ho- I was NOT expecting that. Espech since I had to fucking drive home at 2 AM in the fuchking morning- bummer, huge bummer. People were still ARRIVING at 1:30 AM. The bottom line is that I wasn't mentally prepared for a show that didn't start till close to midnight. I'm old.
this is a photograph of the border area in mexicali, mexico. mexicali is a city of roughly a million people. in terms of size, it dwarfs the american side cities of calexico and el centro- combined, doubled, and doubled again. mexicali is a main location of maquiladora's- toxic factories that provide industrial development and make the place the asthetic equivalent of london during the industrial revolution. that is not a slur against the place- merely an observation. mexicali is a smelly, itchy place. my eyes burned almost immediately upon entry.
i have to think however, if you asked a booking agent or record label executive- "name the city with a million people that is equidistant between san diego and tucson?" they would say "phoenix" or maybe "las vegas", but the fact is from a touring perspective, mexicali is a much more interesting locale for your band. consider it.
this gives you an idea of what casa tia tina was like- note the mr. t graffiti/art. it's a pretty sophisticated sense of style- tad derviative of the shep fairey look, but still. fuck. would you ever imagine? totes cool. deserves respect. and more ink and more attention.
props to the imperial valley- mexicali, el centro. good looking out. But it was a privilege to meet Marcos, the promoter, Felipe the singer from Slab City- who seemed to be an occasional cat dirt sez reader- Felipe- you are the man. Sorry I was grumpy- next time i come out, i won't leave san diego till 10 PM.
I was so GLAD to get out of san diego. this city bores me to death sometimes, to be sure. there is a big, scary, interesting world south of the border. mexico is an exciting place, if you can handle it. and if you can't- don't blame mexico- you probably just lack a sense of adventure.
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