Creating a guide to an event that's never happened before is like writing a biography of someone who hasn't been born. A certain member of the organization (San Diego Music Foundation) behind said event (the North by North Park Music Conference/Festival) also happens to be the publisher of CityBeat. But one person's mystery is another's discovery and one man's nepotistic is another man's nepotastic!
Besides, what other event in town features dozens of industry professionals offering pointers on the music business by day and more than 100 musical acts playing at 14 venues by night?
That's what I thought.
You can learn more about the conference portion of NXNP at the website below (starring former N.W.A. manager Jerry 'No Vaseline' Heller as the keynote speaker), but our focus is on the music festival. What follows is a guide to the NXNP bands that will shake your booty after the conference stimulates your brain. Or something like that.
Venue: Bar Pink Lineup: Pant Hoots, Apes of Wrath, The Glossines, Thin Man, Wild WeekendDon't miss: Wild Weekend. Sure, they're basically a cover band, but they're covering The Zeros, so they get points for semi-obscurity. Plus, they're pretty damn good. Don't overlook: Thin Man. The newish side project from Dan Wise (Kill Me Tomorrow) has honed its grittier version of dance rock (or cleaner version of garage rock) with a weekly residency at Tower Bar.
Venue: ChasersLineup: Say Vinyl, Hotel St. George, OAKS, Batwings, Bunky, The ViewmastersDon't miss: OAKS. Then again, their smart, earth-scorching hard rock is hard to miss when it's giving your skull a tingling sensation. Don't overlook: The Viewmasters. You literally don't want to overlook them since this is billed as the second-to-last garage-soul revival the on-again-and-soon-to-be-off-again 'Masters will ever play.
Venue: The Radio RoomLineup: The Mice, The Frantic Romantic, The Burning of Rome, The Drowning Men, Lauren DeRose & The Kates, The Tighten UpsDon't miss: All the other The's are solid, but Lauren DeRose & The Kates are the most capable of pouring a little Veruca Salt into your punk/folk wounds. Don't overlook: The Radio Room. This is the coming-out party for the former Zombie Lounge and the first time in a while the venue has hosted bands that aren't anything “—abilly” (rock, psycho, punk, etc.).
Venue: Lestat'sLineup: Billy Midnight, Steve Harris, Gregory Page and special guestsDon't miss: Page. The former Rugburn has almost made enough of a name for himself as a great solo artist to get people to stop calling him a “former Rugburn.” Almost. Don't overlook: The special guests (listed on the NXNP website as “VERY SPECIAL GUEST #1” and “VERY SPECIAL GUEST #2”). Anybody who warrants all-caps must be very special, indeed.
Venue: KadanLineup: Miki Vale, Addiquit, MC Flow, M-Double-A-L, Jenn Jenn, Broken Dreams, Dubba DeezDon't miss: Addiquit and Flow are arguably San Diego's most visible solo hip-hop exports, though I'm told (by CityBeat's Kinsee Morlan) that Dubba Deez is “electro goodness.” Don't overlook: M-Double-A-L. A Cleveland transplant who adds some needed quirk, testosterone and old-school hip-hop flavor to the bill.
Venue: Air ConditionedLineup: Shark Attack DJs, Morgan Young, DJ Edgartronic, DJ Mike CzechDon't miss: Shark Attack. An electro DJ duo with, I shudder to say, bite. Don't overlook: Mike Czech. I have no idea if the dude can handle a turntable, but anybody with a stage name this fantastic shouldn't be underestimated.
Venue: U-31Lineup: Swandive, Buddy Akai, The Silent Comedy, Get Back Loretta, Scarlet SymphonyDon't miss: The Silent Comedy. They're not particularly quiet or funny, but TSC does produce great alt-folk rock just the same. Don't overlook: Scarlet Symphony. The reunited, reinvigorated quartet provides an energetic rock hybrid that sounds even better when vivacious vocalist Gary Hankins is howling it in your face.
Venue: Ray Street Stage (The Rubber Rose)Lineup: Tropical Depression, Sus Hijos, Building Better Monsters, The LocustDon't miss: The Locust. Like OAKS, hard to miss. But the local noise institution also supplements its face-melting sonic attack with bug costumes, which is fun. Don't overlook: Building Better Monsters. The raucous garage punks are much more than their song “Mediocre Burrito,” even if they don't really need to be.
Venue: Planet Rooth GalleryLineup: Secret Apollo, Wendy Darling, The Common LoonDon't miss: Wendy Darling. Indie rockers prepping for the release of Half-Told Bedtime Stories, which, thankfully, won't actually put you to sleep. Don't overlook: Secret Apollo. Indie rockers fresh off releasing Hiding Something Great (which, admittedly, is closer to good).
Venue: Kensington ClubLineup: The Sess, Vision of a Dying World, Crocodiles, Fantastic Magic, DJs Mario Orduno, Sir Charles and Brandon WelchezDon't miss: The Sess. It's hard to go wrong with the best all-around lineup of the night, but The Sess is The Shiz. Pronunciation note: Say “The Seth” with a lisp. Don't overlook: Crocodiles. The implosion of The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower scattered a good sort of musical debris (The Prayers, Skull Control, etc.) over San Diego. This duo is just the latest and greatest.
Venue: The OfficeLineup: Fing, Jezebel, Atoms, DJ Ikah LoveDon't miss: Atoms. Two former Wild Weekend warriors find three musicians who share their affinity for The Ramones and The Go-Go's.Don't overlook: Ikah Love. Kinsee has three words to say about Ikah: He's. The. Man.
Venue: The Whistle StopLineup: Like a Bird, The Moviegoers, Lanterns, DJ Gabe VegaDon't miss: Lanterns. Indie upstarts whose Apocalypse Youth is less a mournful lament than a devil-may-care celebration. Don't overlook: The Moviegoers. The local-music equivalent of that lo-fi summer movie that's a little predictable but still a lot more fun than that haughty art-house film you're supposed to like.
Venue: The AvalonLineup: Manuok, Japanese Sunday, The Knee Highs, Republic of Letters, Roses on her GraveDon't miss: Manuok. In fact, their alt-folk is much better than just OK, man. Don't overlook: Roses on her Grave. On the surface, Roses is just an updated throwback to Sunset Strip sleaze. But that stuff kicks more ass than you allow yourself to remember.
Venue: Claire De LuneLineup: Every other San Diego singer/songwriter, with more than 30 acts playing three different stages. Don't miss: Astra Kelly & The 47s. A semi-arbitrary selection considering the sheer volume of acts, but the AK/47s have as much firepower as any. Don't overlook: Ryan Blue. A singer/songwriter whose Clark Kent alter ego happens to be the display sales manager at CityBeat. Hey, I told you this was nepotastic.
North by North Park runs from 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, until 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, with workshops held at the Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd., and the Music Fest at various nearby venues. Visit sandiegomusicfoundation.org.