The timing couldn't be better for the 7th Annual Budget Rock Festival to get underway this weekend in San Francisco. As a term that was coined to describe the sonic economy of early-90s garage punk acts like The Mummies, The Rip-Offs and Supercharger, the term "budget rock" has eclipsed it's original definition to encompass a wider gamut of styles. And that's OK, because in today's budget crisis, as we find ourselves in bowels of an economic crisis, there may be no better way to ease the mounting pocket book pressure than to drown yourself in the most severe forms of guttural rock'n'roll and wondrous glories of boundless binge drinking. Featuring over 30 bands with a wide range of styles, this four day festival has become one of the year's must-attend events for those who wish to "buy blow and sell high" in these troubled times.
Getting underway officially yesterday at the Stork Club, the opening night featured the newest Fevers off-shoot, The Rantouls, along with C'mon Everybody (featuring Tina Lucchesi of Top Ten, and Jay Rosen from Better Beatles) and headliners, The Hypstrz. The Rantouls, playing the perfectly fun bubblegum stomp tunes that turn live performances into a party, just released their debut single Chocolate Covered Records.
Tonight's showcase at the Stork Club features two excellent acts from Oakland, the soulfully gritty Touch-Me-Nots, and the glammy noodlings of the excellent Sir Lord Von Raven. The latter, featuring the brilliant mind of Greg Ashley, goes in a direction we haven't seen from Mr. Ashley until now. Teaming up with Eric Von of the Time Flys and pulling from the same musical corner as Marc Bolan and Bowie, Sir Lord Von Raven certainly explores the intersection where glam and psychedelia smash into one another, and come up from the horizon with a tastefully quirky and severely awesome sound. As a tuneful one-two-punch, the next act, Apache are a pretty solid follow-up. Celebrating the dirty, unkempt spirit of 70s rock'n'roll, Apache's bruised, patchy appeal lies in their uncanny ability tap into the "inner roach clip," and pull out an updated version of an excellent era for rock'n'roll, drugs and fringe leather jackets. The real treat for tonight is the headliner Roy Head. Wallowing in the ground zero of early 60s garage rock, Roy had his start with his first band, The Traits, who enjoyed national success with their hit "Treat Her Right." Roy continued his success throughout the 60s with a saccharine version of R&B which came to be known as "blue-eyed soul," referring more to the skin tone of an artist exploring the genre, than to the affective sounds they employed. Nevertheless, Mr. Head left an indelible mark on rock'n'roll music, and it's great to see his contributions praised.
Saturday, as the festival continues at the Stork Club, patrons are in for a long night. Starting off with the ridiculous and perfectly dumbed-up San Francisco act, Nodzzz, then sliding into the homemade quirk of Christmas Island. This San Diego act, who just found a home on In The Red Records, have a unique way of strangling poppy undertones with an eerie vibe that falls right in line with the likes of Pink Reason and Eat Skull, wherein they play to the macabre spirit of willfully alienating rock, and bring to mind the pasty skin of a happily misunderstood shut-in. The awesomely destructive and volatile Sacramento act, Mayyors, featuring Chris Woodhouse of the late FM Knives, have a slot later on in the evening and if you're lucky, there will still be a stage standing for Nothing People, Haunted George, Lamps, Hank IV, and headliners Human Eye to perform on later in the evening.
Now as the home stretch of the festival comes underway, Sunday may be a little hard for you to concentrate, and luckily for you the curators of this event had that in mind when getting the lineup together. Sunday night is an all out party getting started with Hoboken, New Jersey's Personal and the Pizzas. Beloved locals, The Pets are making an appearance later on in the evening, and after releasing their debut full-length, Misdirection this summer, they are on a roll. With each listen they sound closer to the Testors, but are able to pull back with blistering summer tunes that reek with blissfully stoned nostalgia. Then, after a bubbly appearance by Thee Makeout Party, Tina Lucchesi's Top Ten will be performing their requisite set, and by the time HEAD takes the stage for the closing performance, you should be getting your fourth wind for the after party.
check out a video clip of Roy Head performing "Treat Her Right" right here..
and check out a video clip of Nodzzz, right here as well...