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Arts & Culture

Listening To 150 Bands Courtesy Of North Park Music Thing

If you only have one weekend to devote to local music, then this is the one to choose. The North Park Music Thing hops the San Diego music scene up on steroids for two nights, giving you the chance to explore what our town has to offer.

For musicians, this even offers conference sessions on issues ranging from promoting your band with social media to legal shenaniganery in the music business.

For the rest of us, North Park Music Thing is like a rock’n’roll Souplantation. For one price, you get to go from bar to bar, checking out any of the 150-plus bands. You can stay for the ones you like and ditch the rest.


Not into the hip hop at Kadan? Take the free shuttle over to the Ken Club for some lo-fi. Or cruise down to Eleven for an indie rock showcase. Half the fun is walking from place to place, trying to figure out what convinced people to leave the house dressed like that.

Oh, and you also get to feel high and mighty because all the proceeds for the event will be donated to the San Diego Music Foundation.

But while having over 150 bands sounds pretty awesome, it can be quite daunting – especially if you don't possess a fixed gear bicycle or an ironic mustache (the calling cards of hipsters, for those of you playing at home). In hopes of robbing you of the “I don’t know which bands to see” excuse, I have put together two handy-dandy schedules with just five bands to see each night.

These schedules, which only includes mild abuse of the space-time continuum, will give you a taste of music at nine different venues with styles ranging from hip hop to jazz, country, and in-your-face rock. Each band name has a link to their MySpace page, so you can give them a listen and decide whether I have good or bad taste before you go.

Two important notes:


1) Do leave time for waiting in line and don’t get butthurt if you only get to see a band play a couple of songs. This is a local music event, so you can pretty much see them all next month anyway.

2) If your list of recommendations is better than mine, please post it in comments!


8:00 Whistle Stop - Street of Little Girls – Piano, accordion, and viola with a dash of crazy of the dark variety? I’m in. A bit of the Dresden Dolls spirit lurks within this musical troupe.

9:30 Bar Pink - Diablo Dimes – A self-described “funeral stompbox moonshine song balladeer,” Diablo Dimes is a jumping-around-the-stage, Tom Waits-y bluesman who wanders the earth dispensing music like Cain from Kung Fu, if Cain were armed with a harmonica, a kazoo, and a pile of old guitars.

10:10 Claire De Lune - Miss Erika Davies – Miss Erika Davies may actually be a jazz singer from the 30s. I’m not saying she’s a vampire, but unless you are Sookie Stackhouse, you will be glamoured by her voice. It’s absolutely spellbinding.

11:40 Kadan - Deep Rooted – Widely regarded as one of our town’s best hip-hop acts, they are rumored to have a live show so full of energy that you’ll be left gasping the words “Red Bull…. Red Bull!”

12:30 Ruby Room - Circa Now – What better way is there to end the night than drenched in sweat after a set of some kick-ass rock’n’roll?


7:10 Queen Bee - Gregory Page – Gregory Page is a legend in this town. Who else has a stage named after them before they die? (It’s the acoustic stage at Lestat’s, in case you’re wondering.)

9:30 Bar Pink - The Old In Out – Garage rock that will beat you up and take your lunch money.

9:50 The Office - Pocket – I defy you to spend five minutes at this show without feeling both groovy and funky. If you dig the Meters, check out Pocket.

11:50 Ken Club – Behind the Wagon – If you’d like a little punk with your country music, check out Behind the Wagon. And if you’d like a little country with your punk, then stick around for the Screamin’ Yeehaws.

12:35 U-31 – Shark Attack – End the festivities by dancing yourself stupid to the electronic beats of Shark Attack.

Single Stage Pass

If you’re feeling a bit too beat up by the economy to spring for the all-stages pass, for half the price (just $10/day), you can grab a single stage pass. And for that, I’d recommend Bar Pink on both nights. Between Jamuel Saxon, Diablo Dimes, The Creepy Creeps, Dirty Sweet, The Old In Out, and New Mexico (the band formerly known as Apes of Wrath), you’ll have plenty of delicious local music sustenance to keep you nourished for the weekend. But get there early, because you will definitely not be alone there.