You’d be hard-pressed to find a band more comfortable with change than Santa Rosa’s Ceremony, now 15 years into a career of stagediving and a raucous exploration of post-punk’s boundaries. From the current of movement that trademarks their intimate live performances to the gradient stylistic shifts they produce from album to album, they’ve lovingly embraced the evolutionary trajectory of their artistry. According to guitarist Anthony Anzaldo these are biologically inherent aspects of the band’s creative process, allowing for each member’s distinct interests to intersect in a way that captures a specific moment in their career. Though the sound is ever-changing, the band has only ever aimed to create something true.
“There’s nothing to lose by creating something that is honest and truthful to us,” he said.
Now five albums in, Anzaldo remembers a time when most of the artists that Ceremony has been able to play with on tour would’ve been stuck in their respective scenes. The world of underground music today is less stratified, allowing for a wide range of crossover and more diverse shows. To celebrate this, Anzaldo is in his second year of organizing Home Sick 2 “Fest,” a one-day post-punk inclusive event for the North Bay community that launched Ceremony’s career.
“I had noticed that there weren’t any mid-level fests that had really mixed and broad line-ups, but all of the big festivals have line-ups that are really mixed,” said Anzaldo. “Underground music now is more open and accepting of now than it’s ever been.”
Now in its second year, Home Sick illustrates the spectrum of bands that Ceremony has toured with over the years, from sharp, angry hardcore like Krimewatch to the gorgeous drone selections of harpist Mary Lattimore. Less like a larger festival and more like a couple of bigger shows sewn together, this event showcases the talents of friends from across the genre at the Phoenix Theatre, where Ceremony played their first gig.
It’s a way to give back for Anzaldo, who feels that Petaluma and Santa Rosa are often overlooked and seem too remote for touring bands like those he has booked for Home Sick. In addition to introducing music that he admires to a community he loves, the fest was able to raise funds for a donation to wildfire victims last year. For Anzaldo, being a fan of the artists that he’s been able to work with is the most fulfilling facet of putting the event together. “As far as curating the show, we’re finding all of the things that we’ve been called in the past,” said Anzaldo. “I’m a fan of everyone that’s playing. I have a relationship with most of the bands that are playing, so I’m very excited about the bands that have agreed to play.”
Attendees can expect something for everyone from the overwhelming variety of music at Home Sick 2. For those who prefer mellow compositions, prodigious LA darkwave band Cold Cave, the haunted and drowsy melodies of Tamaryn, the somber synth-pop of Choir Boy, and the gloom drenched cold-wave of Oakland’s Fearing. Fans of abrasive hardcore will be pleased to see the blasting fury of Seattle power-violence two-piece Iron Lung, the dystopic thrash-hardcore diffusions of New York City’s Uniform and the grimy weirdo punk of Toronto’s S.H.I.T. — and, of course, Ceremony.
“The beauty of putting on any event is that you’re going to turn people on to alternative things,” Anzaldo said. “Those lines that are dividing each scene are becoming more blurred.”
Ceremony, Cold Cave, Iron Lung, + more
January 19, 2019