On Friday, Aug. 16, San Diego IndieFest kicks off a three-day weekend of music and film, bringing together both local and national artists on five different stages. On Friday evening, a series of electronic artists will be serving up beats for the festival kick-off, but the bulk of the action happens on Saturday, when headliners Cake and four-dozen other acts will perform at the NTC Promenade.
There's a lot to choose from this year, spanning numerous genres and styles. Here we've highlighted six solid artists who are definitely worth your time if you plan to hit up the festival. ---
The Heavy Guilt (3:30 p.m., Durga Sound Stage): Easily one of the best live bands going right now in San Diego, The Heavy Guilt do meaty, soulful rock 'n' roll with no need for prefixes, hyphens or other unnecessary nomenclature. And should they happen to break into a cover or two, you're definitely in for a treat.
Magneta Lane (3:30 p.m., Green Stage): This Canadian trio isn't terribly prolific, having just released a new EP after a four-year break from new releases. But their fuzzy, guitar-heavy indie-rock sound isn't the type of thing that wears out easily, driven by powerful melodies and strong vocal harmonies.
Betsy and Beau (5 p.m. Green Stage): Had I not known beforehand that Betsy and Beau were a contemporary group, I might think I was listening to an obscure country-folk act from the 1960s. Their reverb-heavy Americana recalls the psychedelic folk that Nancy Sinatra created with Lee Hazlewood on "Some Velvet Morning." Very cool stuff.
Best Coast (5:15 p.m., Durga Sound Stage): As a musical project, Best Coast more or less serves as a perpetual advertisement for California. And can you blame them? It is pretty great here. But frontwoman Bethany Cosentino definitely knows her way around a catchy tune, which will sound all the better near the SD coastline.
Talib Kweli (6:30 p.m., Durga Sound Stage): From his early guest spots on Mood's debut in 1997, to his Black Star super-team with Mos Def, and prolific solo career, Talib Kweli has more than proven himself as an emcee to be reckoned with. Don't miss one of the hardest-working rap vets in the game.
Gilbert Castellanos (10:15 p.m., Craig Yerkes Stage): A staple of the local jazz scene, and one of the most active San Diego musicians overall, Castellanos is a great choice for closing the festival on Saturday night. In particular, this set will serve as a tribute to Latin jazz, so expect some classic samba and bossa nova standards to end the evening.