Saturday • May 30
Donavon Frankenreiter •• Website
To create his fifth full-length album Start Livin’, Hawaii-based singer/guitarist/songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter holed up in a Southern California studio for seven days with his longtime bassist Matt Grundy—and no one else. The follow-up to 2010’s Glow, Start Livin’is a nine-track selection of folk-infused songs that sweetly reflect the simplicity of their recording. With its smooth showcasing of Frankenreiter’s rich, honey-thick vocals and masterful guitar work, Start Livin’ bears all the
intimacy of an impromptu back-porch performance and the tenderness of a treasured love letter.“
Start Livin’ is basically a love album,” says Frankenreiter, who co-produced the record alongside Matt Grundy and Adam Ableman. “Most of the songs are about my wife and our two boys, and the life that we’ve built together in Hawaii.” Thanks to Frankenreiter’s infectious warmth and finely honed pop sensibilities, each of those songs has the singular effect of drawing the listener into that bright and breezy world for a blissed-out moment. Essential to the record’s playful feel is Frankenreiter’s inspired use of instrumentation. “This album’s completely unlike anything I’ve ever done be fore, in that we skipped the basics and went for a whole lot of different instruments,” he says. “We never brought in a drum set—instead there’s handclapping for percussion, or the two of us banging on pots and pans. We were using everything from bells to singing bowls to Zippo lighters; at one point we put some beans and salts in a can and shook it around.” Grundy playeda key role in the wildly varied sounds on Start Livin’, according to Frankenreiter. “Matt was playing ukulele and lap steel guitar and banjo—he’d grab an instrument and we’d do a take live and just build the track up from that. It was a real fun vibe.”
JD McPherson •• Website
As a visual artist, Broken Arrow, Okla., native JD McPherson is well versed in the process of working within clearly defined formal parameters, and he employs a similarly rigorous discipline with his music. On Signs & Signifiers (Rounder, April 17), McPherson’s seductively kickass debut album, produced by JD’s musical partner, Jimmy Sutton, this renaissance man/hepcat seamlessly meshes the old and the new, the primal and the sophisticated, on a work that will satisfy traditional American rock ’n’ roll and R&B purists while also exhibiting McPherson’s rarefied gift for mixing and matching disparate stylistic shapes and textures.
Big Mountain •• Website
Big Mountain (band) is the Reggae band that holds the international crown as the King of Reggae. Lead singer Quino has one of the most recognized voices in Reggae and pop music. Their fame spread quickly when they recorded a reggae version of Peter Frampton’s song “Baby I Love Your Way,” which was featured on the soundtrack of the Ben Stiller and Wynona Ryder movie Reality Bites. Featuring Quino’s unique vocals, this hit single reached #1 on the U.S. charts and dominated the Top 5 in Europe and Japan for nearly a year! The hit remains a favorite among people around the world, including new listeners alike.
Aloha Radio •• Website
Keeping one foot on the beach and stepping the other into the street, Aloha Radio's music captures the pulse of Southern California. This crew of four friends from Orange County, have created their own brand of west coast rock with heavy grooves and catchy melodies.
Thunder Road •• Website
Thunder Road is a San Diego-based tribute band playing the music of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Thunder Road provides an authentic Springsteen-concert experience, faithfully reproducing the songs as they have been performed by the Boss in concert over the years. We focus on the first fifteen years of Springsteen’s musical career, with occasional more recent songs thrown in. At Fiesta Del Sol you’ll be sure to hear all the hits, and most of your favorites!
Zen Thomas •• Website
Singing since he was 2 years old. Zen Thomas has known all his life that hei was destined to be a performer. Whether it is through music or acting. Zen started playing guitar when hei was 12 years old. Since then he has not stopped giving his all. Originally from Fort Lee NJ, he moved to Solana Beach California to be closer to the music industry and make a name for himselff in LA. You will be hearing big things about Zen Thomas.
Morgan Leigh Band •• Website
Morgan Leigh Band is one of Southern California’s most sought after up and coming high energy country bands. Preforming all of your favorite current country hits as well as their original debut album “Trouble”, they keep the party going all night long. Morgan Leigh has been seen recently on American Idol S10 and S12, Texaco Country Showdown, American Country Star Finals, and a National Anthem performer for PBR Finals, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and PRCA Rodeo’s. Morgan Leigh Band has recently played along side national acts including, Pat Benatar, Loverboy, Jamie O’Neal, Phil Vassar, Craig Wayne Boyd, James Otto and Sammy Kershaw. You can find Morgan and the Band on tour nationally this summer.
Sunday • May 31
Super Diamond •• Website
When your parents popped in a Neil Diamond tape on repeat during long interstate road trips, you reluctantly sang along. Never thought you'd turn out to be a Diamond fan now, right? But singing along to "Sweet Caroline" and "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show" is so addictive now, you'd do anything to see Neil on stage. A band out of San Francisco can put a rest to that Diamond thirst. Super Diamond delivers a high-octane Diamond tribute show that rocks! After assembling a band of truly kindred spirits, Surreal Neil and Super Diamond began to perform regularly in San Francisco and then all over the U.S., and something quite wonderful happened: People turned out in large numbers to see them, and returned again and again and again... Thank you!
The Drowning Men •• Website
With their sleeve-length tattoos and stevedore swagger, one might mistake the members of The Drowning Men for blue-collar dockworkers in their hometown of Oceanside, CA. Perhaps they were longshoremen in another life, but in this one they are every bit a rock and roll group in the classic sense, a band of brothers who joined together to form an extended community and a family. Formed in 2006 by grade school friends Nato, Rory, and James, the Drowning Men amplified their initial sound by adding Todd on bass guitar and Gabriel on keyboards. The line-up complete, the band proceeded to experiment with their multi-flavored musical influences, blending folk and roots Americana with sing-along sea shanties and pirate chants, with side forays into Eastern European ethnic folk delivered with the rhythmic complexity of a Brecht-Weill opera. “I love theatrical melodies and swells, and the purity of folk music from around the world”, explains Nato, the band’s main lyricist and songwriter, whose personal influences include Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and the bleak poetry of Nick Cave, who’s novel And the Ass Saw the Angel inspired the band’s name. After honing their live chops by touring with the likes of Flogging Molly, Alkaline Trio and The Airborne Toxic Event, The Drowning Men will soon re-enter the studio to start recording a new album with producer Billy Mohler whose past project include the Smashing Pumpkins’ Jimmy Chamberlin, Samantha Ronson, Macy Gray and Jon Brion. The Drowning Men’s music is a glorious melting pot for our uncertain times, centered on fighting the good fight, being the last bastions of hope and survival in a world rapidly coming apart at the seams, and refusing to go under as the rising tide threatens to envelope. Every night, they play their instruments as if their—and your—lives depended on it. “We like to position ourselves as your last bit of hope,” concludes Nato. “Being on-stage and playing music ‘in the moment’ is what it’s all about for us.” The Drowning Men have just thrown us all a life-saver. Take them up on it.
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad •• Website
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad (GPGDS) is known for folding the aesthetics of the jamband scene into the structures of reggae. In the live setting, the band performs extended jams, while their previous studio albums have blended roots reggae with psychedelia (In These Times, 2012) or diverged from the genre completely, journeying into straight Americana (Country, 2012). On STEADY, the band’s fourth studio album (and first on Easy Star Records), GPGDS has synthesized their approach by weaving traditional folk instrumentation into a foundation of reggae, with arrangements that let the reggae breathe in a non-traditional way. While STEADY may not be the first record to find inspiration in both old time Appalachia and ‘70s Jamaica, it may be the best. Giant Panda formed in 2001 in Rochester, New York. A mysteriously fertile area for developing the U.S. reggae scene, the city has ties going back to 1981 when Lee “Scratch” Perry recruited his entire backing band from Rochester. The Upstate NY region became early supporters of GPGDS, while its members were in high school and beginning college, playing weekly gigs to cut their teeth. In these formative years, Giant Panda began to explore their songs with an experimental approach that is stylistically akin to the Grateful Dead, while keeping their roots firmly planted in reggae rhythms and lyrical content. Around 2005 tapers began to notice and soon after one of the band’s first Colorado shows received homepage placement on the popular taper website Archive.org. Almost overnight GPGDS became a mainstay on the jamband festival circuit.
Inspired and the Sleep •• Website
What began as a solo project for songwriter Max Greenhalgh has since evolved into a revolving collaboration. Focusing on rhythm and melody, Greenhalgh’s loop-based ideas are reworked through collaborative effort into full-band, groove-based pop tunes. The Inspired and the Sleep name was originally kindled by the dissonant nature of insomnia, “Inspired” being the exciting, creative experience nurtured by late night anxieties, and the “Sleep” representing the stagnant aftermath of a disrupted balance. Focused on continuous reinvention, the San Diego band is moving towards a refined approach to constructing tunes with enhanced production while hinting towards Greenhalgh's previous lo-fi ponderings.
Pine Mountain Logs •• Website
Prepare yourselves, if you can, for cover songs performed with such energy and attitude, with voices so pure and performances so transcendent, that you might just find yourself, against your better judgment, dancing so hard that your legs snap off, leaving your torso flopping helplessly -- yet happily -- into a musical oblivion. Such is the power of The Pine Mountain Logs.
Atomic Groove •• Website
Atomic Groove, San Diego’s premier Variety Dance Band for special events since 1995, knows how to pack a dance floor and keep it that way with their infectious energy, crowd-pleasing song selections and their impressive performance-oriented musicianship. With lead singer/band leader “Atomic Girl” Carrie Weiland at the helm, this talented, interactive cover band consistently provides a distinctive, ever-evolving Atomic Groove personality that keeps setting AG apart from the rest. Performing locally and abroad for parties, wedding, fundraisers, galas and more, Atomic Groove has been voted several times as San Diego’s “Best” in dance band entertainment, including most recently “Best Music” for San Diego’s A-List 2014 for the third year in a row. Since 2005, Atomic Groove’s initmitable Friday night Happy Hours at The Belly Up continue to draw large, enthusiastic crowds, every show spotlighting the bands musical diversity, high performance energy and incomparable approach to FUN. The unique addition of The AG Fly Girlz dance troupe at these (or any) shows elevates the Atomic Groove presentation to another dynamic level that gets crowds involved and inspired to party on the dance floor! Whether it’s the most compact and intimate configuration of AG (5 pieces) or the Big AG Show (15 pieces+), Atomic Groove fans have come to know and love that AG always delivers just the right amount of explosive dance party fun for any event.
The Wheeland Brothers •• Website
The Wheeland Brothers are two Southern Californian brothers who grew up in Orange County surfing, scarfing down hole-in-the wall Mexican food, and jamming around bonfires. Their music has a sound which they describe as "beach rock reggae"; inspired by waves, hangin' with friends, and dreaming of distant shores. Fast forward to 2014 and they have played Firefly, Wakarusa, High Sierra and Summer Camp Music Festivals, have supported national acts such as but not limited to 311, Bob Marley's legendary band The Wailers and Slightly Stoopid, are currently being spun on radio stations nationwide in addition to music choice on TV and have received commercial syncs with Forever 21 and Hollister Co. The only downside to their busy new schedule is having less time surfing their favorite secret spots. The waves will have to wait.