TBD Fest day 2 recap, plus pics, lazy writing, etc

Danny Brown gives the crowd some tongue.

The dust may never settle—but day two of TBD Fest is over.

Saturday’s affair was a sell-out, according to organizers. Attendance number weren’t provided, and I was too busy fighting with everyone else for an Uber ride to ask a police officer on attendance estimates after the final band. My guess is about 6,000. I could be shorting that by a couple Gs; I’m not the fire marshall, it’s not my job to count heads.

So, yes, I was up well past the last act, Empire of the Sun, and into the morning. Translation: Hell if I’m in any mood to want to write this recap for you. But I’ve made promises, and I like to follow through at least 74 percent of the time.

Let’s do bullet points, OK?

  • Empire of the Sun headlined. For the uninitiated: They’re an electronic/dance group from Australia, a PBD (pretty big deal) Coachella-headliner caliber act. They do this song that plays every time you’re at LowBrau (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eimgRedLkkU). The stage show includes 16 performers: the main two dudes, live drums and keys and bass, and a bunch of dancers. Numerous costume changes, trippy lights, videos. Confetti and smoke explosions. It’s in your face. My friends and I agreed that the vibe fits in somewhere between Elton John, Prince, Las Vegas and The Neverending Story (no Falcor sighting, sigh). I’m not doing this justice (or Justice). Just watch this Vine video up there a few more times.
  • It’s important to point out that TBD isn’t your average “rock concert.” The multi-acre slab of riverfront in West Sacramento just south of Raley Field basically has been transformed into a very tiny city. Four big stages, two of them operating at a time. On the opposite end of the main stages is a maze of vendors—food, clothing, arts, crafts, what-have-you. I’m a fat ass so let’s discuss the fare: I ate a pretty decent Napolatena style pizza from a chef recommended by Chef Michael Tuohy of Block. Only 10 bucks. Crust had a nice chew. Chef Brian Mizner of Hook & Ladder dished up some free fresh octopus tacos at The Pit, which is a chef-competition stage. Chef Michael Fagnoni of Hawks had some  excellent free ribs at The Pit, too. Attendees used Twitter to vote for their favorites, but I’ve no clue what’s up with the winners because it wasn’t easy to figure out results on Twitter. Chef Michael Thiemann of Mother made some pretty amazing breakfast-cereal flavored soft serve ice cream. Chef Matt Brown roasted an entire pig. Anyway, the point is that them’s not normal festival eats. Soil & Sun had a refreshing lime and spinach juice.
  • Local post-new-wave indie troupe Contra was my first undercard of the day. They were tight and it was a treat to hear them over the booming Red Bull stage system. Ghost Beach, an uptempo pop trio, was a find and is worth digging more into. They have a fun riding-your-bike-in-Midtown-chewing-on-gum sound. Shaun Slaughters D.A.M.B. beats were fun. I’m terrible at pigeonholing dance genres, but I’d call it a tropical house. The Sacramento Ballet did their thing to his set. I was happy to see it as part of the festival. (Ugh, I”m not doing any of this justice—again!—just look at some pics):

D.A.M.B. and The Sacramento Ballet.

  • Danny Brown’s recordings, especially Old, are catchy front-to-back listens, but there’s something unsettling about his live set. The bass and the production is there. But maybe it’s just weird standing there listen to a guy rap about having sex with women while they’re doing handstands instead of taking it in on the privacy of headphones? Anyway, his set was groupie city and he commanded his legion like a pro. 
  • Nick Waterhouse, a soulful rock troupe from L.A., was a lovely reprieve from the blasting dance of Friday night. Great set. Powerful set!

Nick Waterhouse.

  • There was nary a technical glitch at TBD until War on Drugs went on. There weren’t any snafus afterward. I’m just going to leave it at that.

The War on Drugs.

  • Let’s talk about Sister Crayon’s new material. Moody, minimal, flourishes of industrial that are draped with the soulful curtain of Terra Lopez’s still-amazing voice. I really dug the new look (a trio). Can’t wait for the new record; rumor has it they’re partnering with a certain former At The Drive-In member …

Sister Crayon.

  • My brother says Metz is the loudest act he’s done live sound for. The hardcore-indie crew ripped it up as about 200 Giants fans next to the stage screamed when their team pulled out an 18th inning win. Fun moment. 
  • Explosions in the Sky, always great outdoors. Very cinematic even though the only diagesis is four guys on stage.

Explosions in the Sky.

  • I’m glad that West Sacramento law enforcement is being reasonable about the noise complaints. I sympathize with the NYMBYs. But I can also sleep through earthquakes and 8 a.m. Fourth of July fireworks (remember?), so for three days a year I’m thinking the West Siders need to get over it.



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