I know I’m the LA half of LMN, but I too love the music community down in San Diego. One of my favorite annual events is the San Diego Music Thing. It gives me a chance to catch up with what’s happening with some of my favorite SD bands, venues, and fellow music-lovers. I didn’t go down so much to cover as to enjoy, but I wanted to share some of my experiences, thoughts, and of course, new band discoveries! Here are my 5 highlights from SDMT 2014.
New Band Love: Colony House
The block party on Saturday was full of musical gems but I was particularly impressed by this band from TN. Colony House delivered in both performance and sound which reminded me a bit of Ivan & Alyosha (probably due to the fact that the singer was wearing an I&A t-shirt). They have a fun dance-able indie pop sound with catchy melodies and pristine vocals, but what really drew me in was the band’s rock flavor. They are not afraid of throwing in a fun guitar riff or head-banging moment. This was more evident in their live performance, but you can get a taste in their single, “Silhouettes”. You can catch Colony House on the road with Knox Hamilton who played before them at the block party and are also worth a good listen and follow.
Best Food Discovery: City Taco
Friday was such a crazy day, getting dinner didn’t really happen until way past dinner time. I got lost trying to find The Irenic where Justin Furstenfeld was surely putting his audience in a music-induced trance and I ran into Amanda instead, realizing that perhaps this was my subconscious telling me to eat something. The San Diego food expert took me to City Taco where affordable gourmet tacos were the order of the day. I don’t know if it was my extreme hunger or the quality of the chorizo asado taco (with caramelized pineapple!) but the food was so tasty we ended up going back the next evening where I sampled an equally enjoyable and slightly less messy pollo asado taco complete with raisins and almonds. Delicious!
Feels Like Home: Friday Night at U-31
Usually, I’m more inclined to run around and sample bands, a few songs here, half a set there, but the lineup and people Friday night at U-31 kept me pretty glued to that venue. I walked in dancing to LA staples, The Janks (pictured right). They were followed by the very last show of one of my favorite SD rock bands, Deadly Birds. Although the singer of Deadly Birds had been in an accident and was unavailable, the rest of the band delivered a rockin’, more jam-y set, as bassist Johnny Rey stepped up to the mic. They brought up a guest vocalist, Jacob Underwood, who before whaling into the mic, revealed he was a member of the MTV-crafted pop group O-Town who I subsequently gathered has recently released a new album. After the Deadly Birds finale (sadness!), my beloved rockers Queen Caveat (pictured left) took the stage to share with an eager crowd the new music they have been working on. Per usual, singer Lauren Little, got the crowd going and despite a minor broken bass issue, the set was one of the best I caught that weekend. I’m loving the new Queen Caveat tunes. One of the highlights of the evening happened between the sets catching up with so many people including friends from Hunnypot Unlimted and Badass Bands Blog. I was surrounded by so many friends, it really felt like home. Dead Feather Moon closed out the evening with a late late set. I had to leave before I got too sucked in. Sometimes sleep > more music.
We Are Perpetual Scholars – The SDMT Conference
SDMT is more than watching music, it’s a conference designed to gather together the local music community to help them grown and learn more about the business they are in. Panels on both Friday and Saturday made experts available on all kinds of topics from legal issues to social media, PR, and management to music writing and blogging. Witnessing the eager participants networking with each other and getting valuable advice to help them advance their careers is inspiring. Saturday, I sat in on a few panels just absorbing information. I love conferences. They make me feel like what I’m doing with my life is bigger than just me, more important I guess. As a bonus, in between panels and mentoring sessions, the day stage hosted some talented musicians like Dani Shay and Josh Damigo. Another bonus, the several pools located around the Town & Country Resort where the conference was taking place. Work doesn’t feel so much like work when it’s done next to a pool.
Set of the Weekend: Meg Myers
I am a fan girl when it comes to Meg Myers. There is something about the power and intensity behind every performance she gives that just makes me giddy. Saturday at the SDMT block party Meg and her band were on point. She dominated that stage playing many of my favorite off her newest Make a Shadow EP and even breaking out a song so new she needed a lyric cheat-sheet. The set was relatively early in the evening and I almost feel like the rest of my night was spoiled because of it as no one else could possible top the Meg Myers high.