San Diego IndieFest 7

March 16. 2011 | By Jessica Rae Cortez

The San Diego IndieFest finally outgrew North Park. And thank god. This go-around, the festival moved to Liberty Station, and with good reason. The first year ever where parking was free as a bird, and as close as a hand shake, the festival had enough space to not turn people away (1,000 people were left ticketless last year, can you believe it?).

Diverse as the city itself, the festival celebrates independent art, music, films, and thought- with more than 50 acts on six stages. Here are the bands that caught my attention, and the ones that left me running swift to the beer garden (of delight).

Republic of Letters – The first band I was lucky enough to catch, was San Diego’s own Republic of Letters. Their stage presence kicked ass like always. The end of their set came way to soon as the band asked everyone to sing along to their uber-catchy new song, “Stories.” Easy to dig, if you like British-sounding music. Download a free copy of their EP at their website immediately after reading this review. Next up…

Vanaprasta – Vanaprasta hails from Los Angeles, more specifically, the SoCal branded hipster-area of Silver Lake. Heavy on bass, the rock ‘n roll quintet is at their best when the lead singer soars his vocals. I’ve never heard so many delicious ooh’s/ah’s and glorious wailings come from a man. Impressed, nonetheless. The second they delved into pop territory, however, not so good. Stick with the aggressive, rhythmic guitar riffs guys! My sweet highlight of the night.

Photo by Philip DeFalco

James Marsters & Ghost of the Robot – James Masters Marsters is notably known for his punk-ass role as Spike from “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” He graced the SD Indie Fest stage this time with Ghost of the Robot, the band made popular by the TV show. There’s a saying that goes, “The higher the climb, the longer the fall.” If ever a let down after Vanaprasta, Mr. Marston Marsters was it. The music was so timid that the crowd literally left (to drink beer).

Plus, if you’re gonna play a cover song know the words. Mid-Dylan’s “Don’t  Think Twice, It’s Alright,” Marston continued to read lyrics off a paper in the palm off his hand. In other news, this is when the temperature got a little chilly. Coincidence much?

Photo by Philip DeFalco

Photo by Philip DeFalco

Vokab Company – This band is quintessential hip-hop and part classical music. Sounds confusing, but comes across as beautiful as the vast instruments on stage. The first San Diego band of the night to get the dispersed chain-smokin’, frisbee-throwing crowd up near the stage. Think trip-hop,  but with more zeal.

Photo by Philip DeFalco

Jorge and Alexa Narvaez –  If you’re the only person in America who hasn’t seen Jorge Narvaez and his daughter Alexa on YouTube covering Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zero’s hit “Home,” then skip this paragraph. If you have, you already know the video went viral, gaining over 5 million hits and landing them a spot on The Ellen Show. Jorge and Alexa covered Alicia Keys, “Un-thinkable” as well as “Home.”  While Jorge played an original song, Alexa stage-dived into the audience. A rock ‘n roll doll to the core!

Photo by Philip DeFalco

AWOLNATION – I haven’t decided if I’m a fan of this LA band yet. The lead singer is without a doubt, an obnoxious-walking fad. What else do you call a striped-shirt wearing, ego stage-talking, fist-pumping front man? Oh yeah, not graceful. But, back to the stage. Dance music has never felt so passionate and on fire, and for that my booty was shaking along with everyone else.

On a side note, a show is never the same without a drunken loudmouth. Thanking him for liking his mom, lead singer Aaron Bruno continues to fist pump. Minutes later: insert security guard, exit loudmouth.

Photo by Philip DeFalco

 

Photo by Philip DeFalco

Danielle LoPresti & the Masses – San Diego’s Danielle LoPresti & the Masses have been around for a decade. Their video “Objectify” was played in between sets prior to their performance- to the crowds delight- and can be seen on MTV Networks and Fuse TV.  LoPresti herself is a all sex, no kitten, and can sing your bitch to the underground. Tonight was no exception. She also founded the San Diego IndieFest, and has been producing and organizing it ever since.

Photo by Philip DeFalco

Photo by Philip DeFalco

We are Scientists – Known for their hit “After hours” (Ever heard of Nick and Norah?), We are Scientists ignite the crowd in more ways than one. Playing “Dinosaurs” resulted in cheers- a rush of indie adrenaline. The night seemed short (possible causes: Daylight Savings Time the next morning, or the electricity of excitement bouncing of the stage). Everyone with an IndieFest wristband was invited to the official after party at Corvette Diner, NTC. Not sure if this was the “after hours” buzz We are Scientists sung about…

Photo by Philip DeFalco

Photo by Philip DeFalco

Photo by Philip DeFalco

Photo by Philip DeFalco

Highlights:

  • Super short lines for beer- 3 people or less.
  • Sporadic 1/2-off beer prices in between set changes. AWESOME!!
  • No frisky-molesting security guards.
  • Art fluttered in abundance.
  • Spoken word sessions available, for the word-nerds inclined.
  • Cheap food was abound (healthy, not so healthy, vegetarian options).
  • No hassle parking lot (a block away).

Lowlight:

  • The only downfall consisted of the damn planes that flew overhead, every 10 minutes. Say, what?

 

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