Are you ready, South Bay? Thursday marks the kickoff of C2SV, San Jose’s first real music festival in recent memory. Hosting over 70 acts across 12 venues in the downtown area, stretched out across four days, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Stumped on who to see? In no particular order, here are our picks for best bets at what we hope will be the first of many C2SVs to come.
Brother Grand, Saturday,September 28th, 9pm, Agenda
Ben Henderson, and the many projects he’s taken part in, is a little bit of a legend around San Jose. His latest team-up is a more minimalist approach than he’s previously taken, outside of his solo work – just him and an upright bassist. Still, it’s more than enough to captivate a room – see the haunting video of Brother Grand below.
Cartoon Bar Fight, Sunday, September 29th, 6pm, Café Stritch
If you dig the darker side of indie, it would behoove you to check out Cartoon Bar Fight, who create lovely, shimmering pop with an aura of eeriness. Their live show is sort of hypnotizing, and their C2SV appearance at Café Stritch will also mark the debut of their new E.P., The Labyrinth Suite. They go on 6pm on the 29th – early enough for you to be home in time for Breaking Bad.
Curious Quail, Saturday, September 28th, 2pm, Café Stritch
If you’ve spent any time at all on the San Jose scene, you’ve probably seen Curious Quail already. But who cares? See ‘em again. These guys are busting out big time; having just played BFD over the summer and their Kickstarter for their next record well exceeding their initial goals. A combo of tight, almost-orchestral musical talent and digital gadgetry, Curious Quail are real and true geek rock.
Dinners, Thursday, September 26th, 9pm, Café Stritch
With all the artsy directions San Jose’s scene has been going lately, it’s nice to know it hasn’t kicked all of its gritty, garage-y past out of its system just yet. Dinners are a great band that hearken back a little to SJ’s old days, but with one foot firmly in the future.
E V Kain, September 26th, 9pm, Café Stritch
E V Kain (spelled just like that) are kind of a trip. These three guys put on a heavy live show that might mess with your head a little, but should still leave you wanting to know more about them -– they’re disjointed, they’re kinda weird, but altogether intriguing. Also, they just released a freaky-ass video that is going to give you nightmares forever.
Picture Atlantic, Saturday, September 28th, 11pm, The Hedley Club
With a sound that covers everything from jangly pop to shades of flailing punk, Picture Atlantic are four dapper dudes known almost as much for their sartorial sense as their range of musical styles. They’ll be playing an appropriately elegant venue. — The Hedley Club in Hotel De Anza.
Dirty Pillows, Saturday, September 28th, 10pm, The Blank Club
Dirty Pillows are another band reminiscent of San Jose’s old days. Sounding like what you’d get if you put garage rock through a meat grinder, these much-loved SJ stalwarts will be hanging out at The Blank on Saturday night.
Social Studies, Saturday, September 28th, 3pm, Café Stritch
It’s no secret: We love us some Social Studies here at TBB. You don’t need us to tell you why you should see them, but Social Studies aren’t making this list just because they’re rad. They’re here because, well, it’s a pretty big deal to get a San Francisco band of their stature all the way down to San Jose, just as it’s a big deal when San Jose’s best bands are able to break into SF’s club scene. We’re hoping this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the two cities. Maybe they’ll come back soon and bring all their big-city friends with them.
The JurassiC, Friday, September 27th, 10pm, Mezcal
Many people outside of the area don’t know this, but San Jose is a hotbed of young jazz talent. This conglomeration of crazy-talented kids are all over the South Bay’s jazz scene; full of deep drama and a nuanced groove. Even if you don’t consider yourself a jazz person, you should still go expand your horizons with them at Mezcal on the 27th.
Finish Ticket, Saturday, September 28 at 10pm, The Hedley Club
Let’s face it, there’s not a whole lot on this list you can dance to. For that, there’s Finish Ticket, a band from the city that swings between blaring rock and passionate, melodic pop that’s ripe for singing along, all with heavy electronic elements. Find them at the Hedley Club on the 28th.
This is by no means a complete list of all the acts you should get your butt to this weekend. For the full lineup, which includes names like The She’s, Thee Oh Sees, Trails and Ways, The Soft White Sixties, Bosnian Rainbows, and oh yeah, The Stooges, go to the C2SV website. Happy club-hopping!