A music lovers dream. The San Diego Music Thing went down last weekend for its sixth annual gathering September 13-14, 2013. This fun and fact filled conference/festival featured a broad range of performances from headliners like Ra Ra Riot, Unwritten Law, and The Silent Comedy. As well as up-and-coming artists like Island Boy, Torrey Mercer and more. So many more that it would be impossible for one reporter to see them all. The organizers also put together a conference during the day times that featured speakers from 91X, 94.9, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, and Mike Herrera of MxPx. There were lawyers, managers, branders, and mentors galore.
The North Park music scene was the perfect epicenter for the San Diego Music Thing. With so many venues within walking distance of each other, once Ra Ra Riot was finished playing for about 600 people at the Birch North Park Theater, all you had to do was walk across the street to Claire De Lune, or the Sunset Temple Room to keep the party going. Just a few blocks away there were bands at Seven Grand, The Office, Soda Bar, and more. On Saturday 91X shut down a section of Ohio Street at University Ave. for their Local Break Stage with a special acoustic performance from Scott Russo and original drummer Wade Youman from Unwritten Law. Then The Silent Comedy came out and rocked the house with an epic set of their alt. country and blues styles. Kim Gordon's new band Body/Head was headlining at The Casbah by the airport, and The Features headlined at The Griffen on Morena Blvd. 16 venues around town in all, with over 150 bands total...and a pass to get you into every venue for only $75.
Its hard to pick what was the best performance of the festival. Ra Ra Riot put on an epic show. The amazing vocals combined with violin, cello, guitar, and drums...plus they all seem to play multiple instruments, then violin player sings, and the whole time the crowd goes wild. WOW!!! Scott Russo and Wade Youman wowed their crowd with an acoustic set of classic Unwritten Law tracks. Famous for a long list of hit songs, and occasionally hitting each other on stage, 91X's Halloran got a laugh out of Scott and Wade as he joked with them about some of their past shenanigans. All that seems to be water under the bridge, and music fans are much better off for it. The Silent Comedy proved that a guy with a crazy twirled up mustache can look like a rock star as he head bangs playing the banjo. Another talented group of musicians playing multiple instruments, with multiple singers, The Silent Comedy shows all the signs of superstars in the making. Check out some more pictures here:
Of the up-and-comers, Cuckoo Chaos and Island Boy had similar sultry electro band dance music sounds. Pleasing to the ears with mellow dance beats and melodic vocals, both bands showed signs of future success. Torrey Mercer let people at The Claire De Lune into her world of wonderful vocals and her anti-bullying social conscience. It was nice to see a beautiful talented young blonde trying to get out a message of kindness towards others. Kids can be brutal sometimes. The Brothers Weiss was another notable band that brought their A-game to the stage.
At the daytime conference for the San Diego Music Thing, artists were treated to panel sessions giving them guidance to a better career. From the most simple things like making sure a band's metadata is attached to the tracks sent to radio stations so they know who you are without keeping the cd, to the complex world of pairing bands with brands to help finance a career. All corners were covered at this conference. Artists were told how radio stations like 91X look for bands on YouTube, and even prefer getting links there. Whether its a full music video, a lyric video, or even a slide show flowing while a song plays. They also look at BandCamp.com, and other sites on the web to check up on up-and-comers. There was a Sync panel for bands to learn more about getting their music on television, movies, and video games. All the info a dedicated and talented artist could possibly need for a shot at a career in music was there at The San Diego Music Thing.