Sure, we could draft a map of the best shows Street Scene 2002 is offering. But, eschewing the myopic nature of music journalism (which we truly enjoy every other day of the year), we decided to open the doors to some of San Diego music's primary players.
We asked them for their top three picks at this year's event and a short response to, ‘Why?' The results proved one thing: music people are crate-digging historians. They appreciate legend. Thus, James Brown, George Clinton and punk granddads Bad Religion got the most votes. As well, San Diego's longest running rock enterprise, Rocket from the Crypt, notched a large share.
Anya Marina wanting to see some Convoy ass is as valid as J Snodgrass' wish to throw “BT sucks” stickers at the DJ. The Locust's Justin Pearson simply hates them all.
So here they are: some of San Diego's music's most interesting cats tell you where they'll be during the big event. (And yielding to my god-given prerogative as music editor, I give you my cent and a half as well.)
Mario Escovedo - Vocalist/ Guitarist, The Dragons
1) Social Distortion (with a shot of whisky) “Loud guitars and the look and experience of a hundred years of pain and pleasure.” 2) James Brown (with some gin and juice) “Even on a bad night he is still THE GODFATHER of SOUL.” 3) Los Lobos (with a shot of tequila) “‘La Bamba' aside, these guys will leave ya dancing in the street. My secret hot pick.”
Pamela Johnson - Talent Buyer, ‘Canes Bar & Grill
1. Stone Temple Pilots “STP always rocks. Besides, you never know when they will break up or tragedy will strike. Frontman Scott Weiland doesn't have the best track record.” 2. Ozomatli “One of those extremely high energy bands that gets you involved physically and emotionally. I love the percussion section.” 3. BT (DJ Set) “BT is one of the most talented DJs I have seen. He has collaborated with Tori Amos, and he definitely has stage presence.”
Scott Riggs - Co-Host of “Go Loco”, Independent 92/1FM
1. James Brown “Let's see, he's the Godfather of Soul, the hardest working man in showbiz, and he still has that guy that puts the cape on him at the end of his set. Need I say more?” 2. Bad Religion “Exhibiting what's left of the ‘punk' ideal to a new generation of kids, Bad Religion is guaranteed to entertain and give you one of the truly best punk shows you'll ever see in your life.” 3. Rocket From The Crypt “Hands down, one of the best bands to ever sprout from the talent-rich soil of San Diego. Expect nothing less than a full-fledged frontal attack of rock and punk, drenched in distortion and brass.”
J Snodgrass - Electronica Musician 1) Rocket From The Crypt “I heard they are Ja Rule's favorite band, so they must know how to kick out the jams. Rumor has it that Ashanti will be singing backups for Speedo.” 2) Ozomatli “One of my personal all-time punk rock moments: Shaking hands with Mike Watt as he was tapping his feet to this sexy rhythm machine many years ago.” 3) BT “Only so I can make fun of him for producing N-SYNC's ‘Pop' and throw ‘BT Sucks' stickers at him.”
Anya Marina - Singer/ Songwriter, DJ-Independent 92/1FM 1. Unwritten Law “Because maybe-just maybe-there will be another intra-band fight we can all witness. And because Scott Russo is a pop-punk melodic mastermind!” 2. The Dragons “Because they're S.D.'s answer to the Strokes, The Hives and The Vines and they don't give a fuck. And because ‘Loaded' is one of the greatest songs ever.” 3. Convoy “Because they have great hair and I've noticed that some of them wear no underwear... what more could you want in a rock show than occasional glimpses of ass?”
Eric Howarth Owner, M-Theory Records 1) Social Distortion “Mike Ness is such an incredible songwriter. I don't care how long it's been since Social D has released an album-it's always a great live show.” 2) Blackalicious “As far as alternative or progressive hip-hop goes, Blackalicious is at the top of their game. Instead of the bling-bling of gangsta rap, Blackalicious lyrics have something real to say, something more hip-hop artists should learn from.” 3) Jimi Hendrix Tribute “Slash, Dave Navarro, Ace Frehley? How can a person pass this up?! A tribute to rock's greatest guitar player, performed by guitarists who are killer in their own right.”
Jaime Valle - Latin jazz guitarist 1) Los Lobos “Imaginative and always evolving. Expect the unexpected when these vatos hit the stage-their best is yet to come.” 2) James Brown “My definite favorite. ‘Di Capo di Tutti Capi of Soul Music'-so funky you'll get a nose bleed!” 3) George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic “More funk! This cat has influenced almost every hip musician I know. Rookies pay attention!”
Tim Pyles - Co-Host of “Loudspeaker”, 91X 1. Rocket From the Crypt “Legendary San Diego band and still on top of their game! New record Live from Camp X-Ray (working title)!” 2. Jimi Hendrix Tribute “Slash, Mick Taylor, Buddy Miles, Billy Cox, Dave Navarro and Space Ace Frehley of KISS-stellar, that's all I can say!” 3. Busta Rhymes “Pass the Courvoisier-‘nuff said! Actually, it's always a good time party when Busta hits the stage!”
Beth Bennett - Director of Publicity and Promotions, 4th & B 1. Violent Femmes “'Cause I saw them at the race track and sing-alongs are fun!” 2. Jimmy Hendrix Tribute “Because rock guitarists rule and Jimmy was the king!” 3. James Brown “Because, like myself, he's a sex machine!”
Matt Gagin - Vocalist/Guitarist, Waterline Drift 1) James Brown “Why? Because he's James Brown, that's why.” 2) Antibalas “This is the most intense and rhythmically dynamic band of young musicians I have heard in along time. They mix the Afrobeat with a funky feel and they don't leave you any room to breathe. There are multiple layers of sounds that keep a seven-minute jam interesting.” 3) The Violent Femmes “Silly? Yes. Fun? Yes. They remind me of when I was a kid and I always like to hear anything from the '80s that doesn't sound dated. They still seem valid and are good to listen to at a party because everyone knows the words to all their songs.”
Mitch Wilson - Vocalist/Guitarist, No Knife 1) The Roots “I've heard they are a great live show. We listen to them on tour a lot.” 2) George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic “This is an obvious choice. They are a staple of our musical culture in the U.S.A. They paved the way for so many acts. Plus, they dress so smashingly well.” 3) Michael Rose “Black Uhuru was a favorite growing up because of Michael Rose's voice. I'd like to see what he's up to these days.”
Justin Pearson - Vocalist/Bassist, The Locust “Man, I wouldn't pick any of the bands. Bad Religion, only because Brett is a great guy and owns Anti-, the record label we are on.”
Demetrius Antuna - Vocalist/Keyboardist, The Dropscience 1. De La Soul “3 Feet High and Rising is one of my favorite records of all time, and when I saw them play less than a year ago they still kept it real and played a medley of songs from that record.” 2. Flogging Molly “Because Matt Hensley (the group's accordionist and ex-pro skater from Encinitas) was my biggest idol. Oh yeah, and I am also a big fan of Irish Whiskey and Guinness.” 3. Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra “One of the top three live performances I saw last year-INCREDIBLE!!!”
El Vez - The Mexican Elvis 1) Rocket from the Crypt “Because it's ROCKET FROM THE FUCKING CRYPT! Need I say more?” 2) Los Lobos “Because I love these guys. Not [because] it's part of my culture and I have to.” 3) Busta Rhymes “His latest stuff don't move me so much, but I bet he's still funny onstage.”
Mark Stuart - Singer/Guitarist, Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash “I am on the road and uninformed. Whoever is playing near the churro stand gets my vote.”
SLAMM's Picks (Note: We've already covered Antibalas and Michael Franti) 1. Blackalicious “Hands down one of the best hip-hop artists in the world right now, let alone at Street Scene.” 2. Se*Se “This NYC combo is captivating for three different peeps: clubbers who love beat driven electro, hip-hop heads who crave urbana in their thump and those who appreciate a Latin chanteuse with a soulful voice that oozes sex. Better chill-out for the soul than margs con salt.” 3. Chuck Prophet “In the '90s, California rockers discovered classic country's hip cache. Way before they bought their first thrift store country shirt, however, Chuck Prophet was sifting roots music through Keith Richards-like guitar wonders. An aching romantic with